Republicans and Bush Screwed The McCain Pooch

Via TPM Muckraker, and most worthy of a laugh considering Republican stonewalling and filiblustering since they lost Congress:

We noted this yesterday. But The Washington Post does a good job today in sizing up the situation and its possible mammoth consequences for McCain's campaign.

There are really two completely separate issues here.

First, McCain opted in to the public finance system for the primaries last year. It meant that his struggling campaign would get $5.8 million in public matching funds in March. Now that he's effectively the Republican nominee, he wants out, because the system entails a spending limit of $54 million through the end of August. He's almost spent that much already, according to the Post.

So the McCain campaign sent the Federal Election Commission a letter (pdf) earlier this month saying that he was opting out. But there's a problem. And FEC Chairman David Mason, a Republican, made it plain in his letter (pdf) yesterday: McCain can't tell the FEC that he's out of the system. He can only ask.

And the FEC, which normally has six commissioners, can't give him an answer until it has a quorum of four commissioners. It currently only has two. That's because the Senate has been deadlocked over four nominees; Democrats insist on a separate confirmation vote for vote-suppression guru Hans von Spakovsky, and Republicans insist on a single vote for all nominees.

The Double Talk Express is oh so out of gas having already vaporized his entire campaign stash.

Now... You my be wondering if this is really that serious an issue?
"Knowingly violating the spending limit is a criminal offense that could put McCain at risk of stiff fines and up to five years in prison."
As a side note, and back on the lobbying/adultery stories, Hoffmania seems to think that the NY Times article about McCain's alleged affairs may be a plant:
I was kinda liking the theory that McCain himself planted the story to offset the age issue and show that he's a spry little sex poodle.

Stranger theorizes that's not far off the mark (although the motivation is quite different).

You have to look at the timing of this whole thing. By letting the legal teams hash out the release of the story for three months before acquiescing to its publication, we see the release of the story just as McCain seems poised to take the GOP monination - but still pretty far out from Election Day. Given that many TV pundits have already decided that this story will only hang around for a couple of days, all McCain needs to do is deny, deny, deny until it dies down, and presto! - he's innoculated! Any revisiting of the story between now and November - whether or not there are new revelations - will be written off by the McCain campaign as 'old news.'

But it doesn't stop there - not by a shot. Over at Politico, McCain advisor Charlie Black lets slip that after negotiating with the Times over the story for months, now they're going to cash in on it.

That's one of what we're sure is going to be hundreds of theories surrounding the timing and reason for this story. With this one, we share Stranger's intrigue of how the NY Times has vetted it with their people as well as McCain's.

The problem for McCain on that kind of gamble is that the lobbying stories are what stood out for most of the media and the Blogosphere... They are digging like crazy on the McCain lobbyists and they have already hit paydirt. This time, McCain only appears to have screwed himself if the story was a plant.

I wonder if these peace songs will get played on the radio?

Via Think Progress:
“Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Pearl Jam have contributed tunes to the anti-war soundtrack for a documentary about a U.S. soldier paralyzed in Iraq. The 30-song, two-disc album ‘Body of War: Songs That Inspired an Iraq War Veteran’ will be released March 18 via Warner Music’s Sire Records label. All proceeds from the sale of the album will benefit Iraq Veterans Against the War.”
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder is behind the effort to support Iraq Veterans Against the War and the album will include songs like "No war" - "Masters of War" - "Devils & Dust" - The Restless Consumer" - "Yo George" - "Son of a Bush" - "Bushonomics" - and a bunch of other inspiring tunes.

A little bit on who and what makes up the Iraq Veterans Against the War taken from their "about" page:

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) was founded by Iraq war veterans in July 2004 at the annual convention of Veterans for Peace (VFP) in Boston to give a voice to the large number of active duty service people and veterans who are against this war, but are under various pressures to remain silent.

From its inception, IVAW has called for:

  • Immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces in Iraq;
  • Reparations for the human and structural damages Iraq has suffered, and stopping the corporate pillaging of Iraq so that their people can control their own lives and future; and
  • Full benefits, adequate healthcare (including mental health), and other supports for returning servicemen and women.

Our membership includes recent veterans and active duty servicemen and women from all branches of military service, National Guard members, and reservists who have served in the United States military since September 11, 2001.

IVAW’s strategy is to mobilize the military community to withdraw its support for the war and occupation in Iraq. Therefore, IVAW is leading the movement of veterans and GIs who are working to bring the troops home now.

Today, IVAW members are in 48 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and on numerous bases overseas, including Iraq. IVAW has chapters around the country and in Canada. IVAW members educate the public about the realities of the Iraq war by speaking in communities and to the media about their experiences. Members also dialogue with youth in classrooms about the realities of military service. IVAW supports all those resisting the war, including Conscientious Objectors and others facing military prosecution for their refusal to fight. IVAW advocates for full funding for the Veterans Administration, and full quality health treatment (including mental health) and benefits for veterans when they return from duty.

To learn more about IVAW's strategy to end the war and bring the troops home now, you can download our strategy pamphlet in PDF format here.

I am a veteran for peace and wholeheartedly support their efforts. I also look forward to every informational Newsletter I get from them in my Email inbox.

Lobbying for the Truth Behind the McCain Affairs

The truth that the GOP is trying to avoid discussing... Has nothing to do with the fact that McCain cheated repeatedly on his first wife, finally leaving her when he found a suitable stepping stone spouse for his political career. I could deal with The Real McCain's family values disgraces but I'll leave that to the ostriches in the conservative echo chamber to choke on:
According to Joel Skousen's World Affairs Brief, February 1, 2008, "[John McCain] used nepotism to get ahead: When he was rejected by the National War College, he used his father's contacts with the Secretary of the Navy to make them reconsider." Skousen also notes that "McCain cheated on his first wife after she had a severe accident. He then divorced her and married his multi-millionaire mistress, whose daddy bought McCain a spot in the Congress."

It has also never been explained why the son and grandson of Navy admirals would not rise to the rank of Admiral himself. (He exited the Navy as a Captain.) Was it his numerous adulterous affairs or his violent temper? Or both?

John McCain's biographer Robert Timberg chronicles McCain's numerous sexual affairs with subordinates both when he was an Executive Officer and later Squadron Commander. Obviously, such fraternization is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
They can torture themselves over McCain's hypocrisy on that issue while burying their heads in the sand from the real issue raised in the recent NY Times article. Glen Greenwald gets straight to the heart of the very real McCain issue, the issue that the GOP is avoiding like a neoconservative plague:

In issuing a very specific, point-by-point denial of the NYT story, McCain specifically denied that he ever talked to Paxson's CEO, Lowell Paxson (or any other Paxson representative) about this matter:

No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay discussed with Senator McCain the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceeding. . . . No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC regarding this proceeding.
Au contraire, my fuzzy, feathery pet neocons:
But Newsweek's Mike Isikoff today obtained (or was given) the transcripts of deposition testimony which McCain himself gave under oath several years ago in litigation over the constitutionality of McCain-Feingold. In that testimony, McCain repeatedly and unequivocally stated the opposite of what he said in this week's NYT denial: namely, that he had unquestionably spoken with Paxson himself over the pending FCC matter:
"I was contacted by Mr. Paxson on this issue," McCain said in the Sept. 25, 2002, deposition obtained by NEWSWEEK. "He wanted their approval very bad for purposes of his business. I believe that Mr. Paxson had a legitimate complaint."

While McCain said "I don't recall" if he ever directly spoke to the firm's lobbyist about the issue -- an apparent reference to Iseman, though she is not named -- "I'm sure I spoke to [Paxson]."

It's hard to imagine how there could be a clearer contradiction in McCain's statements than (a) "I'm sure I spoke to [Paxson]" and (b) "No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay discussed with Senator McCain the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceeding."
I'll let the GOP cry over whether or not he cheated on his second wife, the lobbying mistress he left his first wife for after repeatedly cheating on her, and whether or not he married her for her money and used her to further his career ambitions... Most of the left could care less about McCain's spousal issues. It is a minor issue, and trivial to a certain degree. It is all just a shield for the right to try deflect from and avoid the lobbying allegations. Never mind the hypocrisy concerning other lobbying aspects of his dubious campaign:
Set aside the issue of the nature of his relationship with Iseman, and you have the undeniable conflict of McCain, the chest-beating reformer, being so undeniably close to lobbyists. That, many have pointed out, is the real story. The man who's absurdly proclaimed that "I’m the only one the special interests don’t give any money to" is surrounded by lobbyists.

And The Washington Post, a day after it ran its own Iseman story on page one, goes with that story on today's front page under the concise headline, "The Anti-Lobbyist, Advised by Lobbyists."

I'm not playing into John McCain's supporters hands and deflecting from the real issues of lying about unethical lobbyist connections because...

I'm Not Your Stepping Stone!

Certainly not when all John McCain has to offer is less jobs, and MORE WAR!

[update] Via MSNBC, McCain says he won't discuss his Lobbyist weaknesses any further:
"I don't have any more comment about this issue. I had a press conference yesterday morning, and I answered every question," McCain said.

"I'm moving on. I'm talking about the issues and the challenges of America and the big issues that Americans are concerned about. I addressed the issue and addressed every question that was addressed to me.

"I do not intend to discuss it further," he told reporters.
After omitting the fact that he lied at that press conference yesterday, McCain then goes on to exactly what he said he wouldn't do: Discuss it further:
"I square it one way," McCain said. "The right to represent interests or groups of Americans is a constitutional right. There are people that represent firemen, civil servants, retirees, and those people are legitimate representatives of a variety of interests in America.
WOOOHOOO! The old "Constitutionally protected" argument from a candidate that regularly ignores and tramples on The Constitution when it comes to your rights and mine. When McCain says he isn't going to talk about it anymore... He is really just praying that we will stop asking and digging on it. Good luck on that one!

[update deux] Crooks and Liars chronicles some of the lies from McCain:

So much for the Straight talk express. He’s been trying to spin the influence that Ms. Iseman had on him overall and specifically regarding the Paxson deal. McCain’s camp had this to say:

Statements from McCain’s office said Iseman met only with staff and indicated that a staff member was involved in drafting and sending the letter. Thursday’s statement went to lengths to say why McCain could not have met with Paxson.

There’s a slight problem with that. Bud Paxson basically called McCain a liar.

Broadcaster Lowell “Bud” Paxson yesterday contradicted statements from Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign that the senator did not meet with Paxson or his lobbyist before sending two controversial letters to the Federal Communications Commission on Paxson’s behalf.

Paxson said he talked with McCain in his Washington office several weeks before the Arizona Republican wrote the letters in 1999 to the FCC urging a rapid decision on Paxson’s quest to acquire a Pittsburgh television station.

And what about Vicki Iseman, you know, the lobbyist that McCain called a “friend?”

Paxson also recalled that his lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, likely attended the meeting in McCain’s office and that Iseman helped arrange the meeting. “Was Vicki there? Probably,” Paxson said in an interview with The Washington Post yesterday. “The woman was a professional. She was good. She could get us meetings.”

Oh yes! There's still more more lies and inconsistencies from McCain...

[update trois] Denis Horgan sums up the inconsistancies of McCain on the lobbyists well:
Snow is sunshine. The moon is Mars. What’s the difference? How is the truth relevant?

Oh, yes. We need four more years of this.


Bill O'Reilly on Lynching Michelle Obama

Via Crooks and Liars, where they have the video up:

Keith Olbermann brings on Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson to discuss the horrific history behind Bill O’Reilly’s casual and callous use of the phrase “lynching party” in reference to Michelle Obama’s quote about being really proud of this country and the implications one may draw from it.

You know what lynching was? Lynching was a horrific practice of murder, torture, dismemberment, burning alive, hanging, and the only purpose of lynching was to perpetuate white supremacy in the Jim Crow south. It wasn’t…the idea of course, wasn’t to lynch all black people, but by lynching a few black people…not a few, by lynching some black people to demonstrate to other African Americans that this could happen to you, that you have no power, that we have all the power, and that we can take anything we want from you, including your life. There’s nothing funny about lynching. There’s certainly nothing at all funny or remotely appropriate about the use of a lynching reference to talk about Michelle Obama. And the word “unless” followed by “we’ll track it down,” is way beyond the pale.

I have written on this subject before, and I agree with Eugene Robinson on this topic, but I also think that it goes beyond just the racial issues:
Is Racism on the Rise in the USA?

I am sadly leaning towards a "yes" considering the reports of things that are going on locally in Connecticut and, via Man Eegee, around the rest of the country:
I'm sure race has nothing to with the recent surge of nooses in the news since we are soooo over bigotry in the U.S.
Police are looking for whoever dangled a 3-foot rope with a small loop at its end from a tree outside a campus cultural center that is home to several black organizations. The incident is being treated as a possible hate crime.

"This is bigger than a noose," Black Student Union President Altmann Pannell told his fellow students, many of whom were wearing "Terps as one" buttons."

"This is bigger than a noose because we as a community know that something else is going on in this country," Pannell said to murmurs of agreement.
That "something else" is not missed by minority communties, especially when the disparities in justice are blatantly tied to the color of one's skin.

For a year, Jena (pronounced JEEN-uh), a poor mining community of 3,000 people, has been embroiled in racial tensions pitting the black community against white school officials and a white prosecutor. It began last August when a black student asked at an assembly if black students could sit under a tree where white students usually sat. The next day, two nooses hung from the tree.

Black parents were outraged by the symbolism, recalling the mob lynchings of black men. They complained to school officials. District superintendent Roy Breithaupt and the school board gave three-day suspensions to the white students who hung the nooses, overruling the recommendation of then-principal Scott Windham that the students be expelled.


The case of the Jena Six has been covered extensively by fellow bloggers, such as Hello, Negro with information on how to donate to the defense fund; also My Right Mind! who offers a slew of tips to assist these young teens.

Nooses are more than just complex slip knots in a rope - they are both symbolic and directly representative of torture, murder and racist mob rule.

Man Eegee has some more bad news on this sad reality check...

But before you go there, I want you to think about this:
Lynching is sometimes justified by its supporters as the administration of justice (in a social-moral sense, not in law) without the delays and inefficiencies inherent to the legal system; in this way it echoes the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, which was justified by the claim:

"Terror is nothing other than
prompt, severe, inflexible justice."

What are some of the possible reasons why racism seems to be on the rise in the Good Ol' USA? Hey! It's not like anyone in our government would ever encourage this kind of terrorizing behavior with its own actions and ideologies...

The "traditional" conservative Claes G. Ryn has argued that neoconservatives are "a variety of neo-Jacobins." Ryn maintains that true conservatives deny the existence of a universal political and economic philosophy and model that is suitable for all societies and cultures, and believe that a society's institutions should be adjusted to suit its culture, while Neo-Jacobins

are attached in the end to ahistorical, supranational principles that they believe should supplant the traditions of particular societies. The new Jacobins see themselves as on the side of right and fighting evil and are not prone to respecting or looking for common ground with countries that do not share their democratic preferences. (Ryn 2003: 387)

Further examining the relationship between Neoconservatism and moral rhetoric, Ryn argues that

Neo-Jacobinism regards America as founded on universal principles and assigns to the United States the role of supervising the remaking of the world. Its adherents have the intense dogmatic commitment of true believers and are highly prone to moralistic rhetoric. They demand, among other things, "moral clarity" in dealing with regimes that stand in the way of America's universal purpose. They see themselves as champions of "virtue." (p. 384).

Thus, according to Ryn, neoconservatism is analogous to Bolshevism: in the same way that the Bolsheviks wanted to destroy established ways of life throughout the world to replace them with communism, the neoconservatives want to do the same, only imposing free-market capitalism and American-style liberal democracy instead of socialism.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, had the following to say in a December, 2005 interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel:

"They are not new conservatives. They're Jacobins. Their predecessor is French Revolution leader Maximilien Robespierre."

Sheeple see... Sheeple do...
Or some terrorizing thought like that?

His statement makes Bill O'Reilly both racist and a homegrown terrorist, IMHO. The Jacobins used lynching to terrorize the people during the French revolution, and the neoconservatives/Jacobins do it today.

The prospect of even a symbolic press lynching party is a horrible and disgusting message for O'Reilly to send to Michelle Obama and it is meant to go to the entire African American community in the USA... But it is also part of the "Fear Campaign" meant for the consumption and terrorizing of all Americans and to spill over to the rest of the world.

To Chris Healy Fans... With Love

Marco had this to say in comments on my previous Chris Healy Post:
You know - your comments are really tasteless and really indicate what a senseless boor you are.

Shame on you.

Being critical of policy is one thing but making such nasty remarks is really unnecessary and very juvenile.
People lose all sense of humor and perspective when it is their child gone all wrong… So much so that lil’ marco pulled a michelle malkin and stalked me to my Blog to leave an infantile faux superiority complex message. One word for ya marco, and learn it well child:


But let’s assume you are right in calling me a juvenile, nasty, tasteless and senseless bore when Healy says this:

U.S. Rep. John B. Larson’s take on the Republican walkout Thursday at the U.S. House: “The political theater enacted by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle today was akin to Otter and Boone leading the Deltas out of the student body at Faber College.”

Republican State Chairman Chris Healy wasted no time with this retort: “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

There is a child, Healy in his own words and commenting on the childish walkout of republicans from doing THEIR JOBS (and it was nothing more than cheap political theatrics at that), begging for a very public spanking on his own “personal” issues…

Sorry, but you are 100% wrong in your name calling, marco. This is the reality of what Healy is. He is a hypocrite. He is an adult child gone wrong. Irresponsible and untrustworthy. He represents everything wrong in today’s republican party.

And he is worthy of every public kick he gets on these issues, snark or not. To Chris Healy fans - With love... This is the face of the republican party in Connecticut:

Healy really needs to lay off that ginned up Republican tonic that has him recklessly driving the CT GOP into the ditch. Doesn't Healy realize how much harm he does to his ever shrinking party and base nationally and in the state of Connecticut when he pulls cheap PR stunts like this? Or was he drunk when he wrote it?
And I stand by it as a snarky and honest assessment of Connecticut Republican Chris Healy.

Hugs and kisses to ACR at CLP too...

ACR said:

>>What is your partisan reason to explain why the Republican party is shrinking in Connecticut,


More towns have a Republican at the head (Mayor, Town Council Chair, 1st Selectman, etc.) than at any time in over 40 years.

That’s “shrinking”?????

Further our state central is more hands on and has become a greater resource for our constituent party members than at any previous point - ever.

Don’t pull a strawman out and argue against your own point. Address the entire question:

Bad assumption there ACR. I am not a Dem. Just an independent with no party affiliation. What is your partisan reason to explain why the Republican party is shrinking in Connecticut, while the Democratic party is making some gains and the independents are the fastest growing part of Connecticut politics?

Including the stated qualifiers to the question in bold, ACR. Your answer is only arguing with your own made up point that I did not make. I know you can read and give an honest answer to the question, ACR, but I also know that you can cherry pick what you answer.

Did you not get the memo? People don’t discuss politics on republican terms anymore, ACR. And some of us play hardball. If you want to keep swinging at pitches I didn’t even make, you’ll strike out every time. :)

I am not a Dem…

Strike one!

I didn’t ask you that question, and you are smart enough to know that…

Strike two!

Care to take a third swing?

Though, I suggest ACR puts down the republican whiffle bat before he tries to answer.


Some sobering thoughts on Chris Healy

Healy really needs to lay off that ginned up Republican tonic that has him recklessly driving the CT GOP into the ditch. Doesn't Healy realize how much harm he does to his ever shrinking party and base nationally and in the state of Connecticut when he pulls cheap PR stunts like this? Or was he drunk when he wrote it?

What your mother never told you about Blogrolling

But only because you never thought to ask...
In Support of the Now-Eponymous Link-Digression Syndrome

SEO principles have long reminded us that blogrolling doesn’t parse well for search engines, which have conveniently been configured to ignore blogrolls. The code which Wordpress, Blogger, Typepad, et al use to generate blogrolls automatically gets ignored by spiders. That’s why, whenever i add someone to my blogroll, i try to do a couple of things:
  1. announce it. you saw me do that yesterday. announcing it ensures that your expression of endorsement, friendship, commonality, or whatever, is made visible to spiders.
  2. click it. providing a link isn’t enough. if you want that link to show up in that blogger’s statistics, clicking the link you just made is essential. the spiders may eventually discover the link you provided in your post about blogrolling said blogger, but that can be up to three-to-four weeks later. after someone else has clicked the link in your blogroll. repeatedly. faithfully, even.

one thing that spiders do recognize is link titles. link titles are a handy way to increase the visibility of your site through your blogroll, and to increase the visibility of those whom you blogroll. link titles are a win-win for everyone involved. Wordpress’ blogroll system, for example, uses a “Description” field that is rendered as link titles in the blogroll. what i do when i blogroll someone is use their blog’s tagline as their blogroll description. this results in very nice links in this particular theme, which provides a specially-formatted popup for link titles. so, if for example, your blog has a tagline of “i like to eat live chickens”, anyone who does a search on “eat live chickens” will find not only you, but by association, me—provided, of course, that the link from me to you is clicked on.

intrigued? want to learn more, but your index finger holds you back? click it with your other hand!

Worth the read. Especially if your mother is computer illiterate and wouldn't be able to tell you this stuff even if you thought to ask about her it. And Geez… All I will end up with is a bunch of plastered people that want to drink more showing up at my place with my tagline:
Grab your favorite libation and Drink Liberally with the only Blogger guaranteed to be plastered all over the Internet!
Most of the time I try to use keywords for links to others' (and my own) posts because I know a bit about that Googlebomb effect, and how words used can make someone an "authority" on a topic. Also, I already use the links on my Blogroll to go to all of the Blogs there. Click! Click! Click! I think that many people use readers these days, but I want people to know that I, or even occasionally someone else, have visited from my Blog. Now, I know that that was/is a good policy for practical purposes.

I guess that I’ll have to add the practice of announcing links on my Blogroll among a few of other things as well. I'll have some more to write about this later, I think?


CT State Rep. Comes Out of the Closet

Via the Danbury NewsTimes:

State Rep. Jason Bartlett put rumors to rest Tuesday when he announced publicly that he's gay.

Bartlett, a Democrat who represents portions of Bethel, Redding and Danbury, said he has been open about his sexual orientation with relatives and decided now was the time to speak publicly.

Video: Click here to watch Bartlett talk about his decision.

"For me the decision came down to why not now," said Bartlett, 41, during a meeting with The News-Times Tuesday. "To me this is about having a conversation with my larger family - the people of Greater Danbury who voted for me."

Via GayPolitics.com:
The announcement makes Bartlett the nation’s first and only openly LGBT African American state legislator.

I am glad for him that he feels comfortable enough to come out. This should be a non-issue but some close minded individuals may try to make it one. It is not likely that he has the hypocrisy baggage of your typical republican on this issue.

[update] Connecticut Bob digs into his extensive video archives:
At last year's JJB Dinner, I spoke with Jason about the important issues. Here's the video of our discussion:

ctblogger has more video of an extensive interview Jason Bartlett here...

[update deux] Via the Hartford Courant:
Bartlett said he never misled voters about his sexual orientation, either
in how he described his domestic life or by positions he has taken on gay
issues. He said he always has supported gay rights, including same-sex civil
unions and gay marriage.

[update trois] Welcome to Buzzflash readers. A cool place that I highly recommend if you want to keep up with progressive/liberal news as it's breaking. If you like their front page news section... You might like some of these places too:

What is this 'Iraq war' charge on my bill?

I had already written on John McCain's obvious campaign platform for the upcoming elections... So this particular new campaign certainly caught my eye:

h/t to Carol at My View of It

From John McCain's Less Jobs. More War.

We laugh, we yell, we worry. But, thankfully, we live in a time and a world where we can do something. While Clinton and Obama are focused on winning the nomination, we have a job to do.

Will you invest a dollar for every year you think John McCain will keep us in Iraq? A dollar now could quite possibly save us from the decades of "more wars" McCain has promised. Make an investment

At a time when all television spots are fundraised around helping a particular candidate win, there is a critically important role for online communications to play. We can reach hundreds of thousands online, instantly. Wired just did an article about this.

Brave New Films was on the case over a year ago with The REAL McCain, and it looked like America was through with him after that. But now he's back and more dangerous than ever. We must act now!


Rethinking Torture Tapes and the 911 Commission

Former Reagan administration Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Paul Craig Roberts, takes a look at the not so obvious concerning the destroyed torture tapes and the 911 commission:
Is the torture issue a red herring? The 9/11 Commission was not tasked with investigating interrogation methods or detainee treatment. The commission was tasked with investigating al Qaeda's participation in the 9/11 attack and determining the perpetrators of the terrorist event. There was no reason to withhold from the commission video evidence of confessions implicating al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

Was the video evidence withheld from the 9/11 Commission because the alleged participants in the plot did not confess, did not implicate al Qaeda, and did not implicate bin Laden?

There is no reason for the Bush administration to fear the torture issue. The Justice Department's memos have legalized the practice, and Congress has passed legislation, signed by President Bush, giving retroactive protection to US interrogators who tortured detainees. The Military Commissions Act passed in September 2006 and signed by Bush in October 2006 strips detainees of protections provided by the Geneva Conventions: "No alien unlawful enemy combatant subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights." Other provisions of the act strip detainees of speedy trials and of protection against torture and self-incrimination. The law has a provision that retroactively protects torturers against prosecution for war crimes.

Did the Bush administration cleverly take advantage of the torture claims in order to spin the destruction of the CIA video tapes as a "torture story." It is conceivable that the tapes were destroyed because they reveal the absence of confession to the plot. As Kean and Hamilton ask, without evidence how do we know the truth?

Just some food for thought...

Clinton Accuses Obama of Plagiarism

The highly original "Yes we will!" campaign accuses the "Yes we can!" campaign of plagiarism:

By now, you've probably heard of the new attack line from the Hillary campaign, accusing Obama of plagiarism because an ad-libbed portion of his stump speech mimicked the language and rhythm of a two-year-old speech by his friend and supporter, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Patrick told the New York Times that he and Obama freely exchange speech ideas and that he didn't feel like a citation was needed.

The Clinton campaign held a conference call this morning to continue pushing this line of attack. TPM Election Central asked campaign adviser Howard Wolfson about Patrick's remarks:

Wolfson said the plagiarism charge still holds because listeners go in with the assumption that Obama's speeches are original, unless credit is given. "So I think it's fine that Deval Patrick said that," Wolfson said. "But what I'm concerned about is that the public has an expectation that Sen. Obama's words are his own."

Wolfson's concern for the public's fragile expectations would be quaint if it wasn't so transparently self-serving. Obviously, this isn't plagiarism.

But like the flip-flop line of attack Hillary is pressing on Obama's public financing pledge, the attack speaks to her campaign's effort to undermine the very thing that has been the centerpiece of Obama's candidacy: his authenticity.

Sure he gives better speeches than I do, the Hillary line goes, but the words aren't even his own.
All I can say is:

Pot Meet Kettle...

US Judge Shuts Down Access to Whistleblower Site

But it isn't going over so well:

From the BBC:

Wikileaks.org, as it is known, was cut off from the internet following a California court ruling, the site says. The case was brought by a Swiss bank after "several hundred" documents were posted about its offshore activities.

Other versions of the pages, hosted in countries such as Belgium and India, can still be accessed.

However, the main site was taken offline after the court ordered that Dynadot, which controls the site's domain name, should remove all traces of wikileak from its servers.

Wikileaks has been the source for a number of revelatory documents, including the U.S. military's manual for Gitmo and the rules of engagement for U.S. troops in Iraq.

But see it for yourself, wikileaks.org is indeed out of commission. The Belgian wikileaks, however, is still up.

Wikileaks has released the following statement on the situation:

Wikileaks Press Release



Contacts: http://wikileaks.be/wiki/Contact

Mon Feb 18 00:00:00 GMT 2008

The following release has not been proofed due to time constraints.

Transparency group Wikileaks forcibly censored at ex-parte Californian hearing -- ordered to print blank pages -- 'wikileaks.org' name forcibly deleted from Californian domain registrar -- the best justice Cayman Islands money launderers can buy?

When the transparency group Wikileaks was censored in China last year, no-one was too surprised. After all, the Chinese government also censors the Paris based Reporters Sans Frontiers and New York Based Human Rights Watch. And when Wikileaks published the secret censorship lists of Thailand's military Junta, no-one was too surprised when people in that country had to go to extra lengths to read the site. But on Friday the 15th, February 2008, in the home of the free and the land of the brave, and a constitution which states "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press", the Wikileaks.org press was shutdown:

                    BANK JULIUS BAER & CO. LTD, a
Swiss entity; and JULIUS BAER BANK

WIKILEAKS, an entity of unknown form;
WIKILEAKS.ORG, an entity of unknown
form; DYNADOT, LLC, a California
limited liability company; and DOES 1
through 10, inclusive,


                             IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:


       Dynadot shall immediately clear and remove all DNS hosting
records for the wikileaks.org domain name and prevent the
domain name from resolving to the wikileaks.org website or
any other website or server other than a blank park page,
until further order of this Court.

The Cayman Islands is located between Cuba and Honduras. In July 2000, the United States Department of the Treasure Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued an advisory states stating that there were "serious deficiencies in the counter-money laundering systems of the Cayman Islands", "Cayman Islands law makes it impossible for the supervisory and regulatory authority to obtain information held by financial institutions regarding their client's identity", "Failure of financial institutions in the Cayman Islands to report suspicious transactions is not subject to penalty" and that "These deficiencies, among others, have caused the Cayman Islands to be identified by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (The 'FATF') as non-cooperative in the fight against money laundering". As of 2006 the U.S. State Department listed the Cayman Islands in its money laundering "Countries of Primary Concern".

The Cayman's case is not the first time Wikileaks has tackled bad banks. In the second half of last year Wikileaks exposed over $4,500,000,000's worth of money laundering including by the former president of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi (see http://wikileaks.be/wiki/The_looting_of_Kenya_under_President_moi which became the Guardian's front page story in September 2007 and swung the Kenyan vote by 10% leading into the December 2007 election and http://wikileaks.be/wiki/A_Charter_House_of_horrors reported in the Nairobi paper The Standard and now the subject of a High Court Case in Kenya).

To find an injunction similar to the Cayman's case, we need to go back to Monday June 15, 1971 when the New York Times published excepts of of Daniel Ellsberg's leaked "Pentagon Papers" and found itself enjoined the following day. The Wikileaks injunction is the equivalent of forcing the Times' printers to print blank pages and its power company to turn off press power. The supreme court found the Times censorship injunction unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision.

The Wikileaks.org injunction is ex-parte, engages in prior restraint and is clearly unconstitutional. It was granted on Thursday afternoon by California district court judge White, Bush appointee and former prosecutor.

The order was written by Cayman Island's Bank Julius Baer lawyers and was accepted by judge White without amendment, or representations by Wikileaks or amicus. The case is over several Wikileaks articles, public commentary and documents dating prior to 2003. The documents allegedly reveal secret Julius Baer trust structures used for asset hiding, money laundering and tax evasion. The bank alleges the documents were disclosed to Wikileaks by offshore banking whistleblower and former Vice President the Cayman Island's operation, Rudolf Elmer. Unable to lawfully attack Wikileaks servers which are based in several countries, the order was served on the intermediary Wikileaks purchased the 'Wikileaks.org' name through -- California registrar Dynadot, who then used its access to the internet website name registration system to delete the records for 'Wikileaks.org'. The order also enjoins every person who has heard about the order from from even linking to the documents.

In order to deal with Chinese censorship, Wikileaks has many backup sites such as wikileaks.be (Belgium) and wikileaks.de (Germany) which remain active. Wikileaks never expected to be using the alternative servers to deal with censorship attacks, from, of all places, the United States.

The order is clearly unconstitutional and exceeds its jurisdiction.

Wikileaks will keep on publishing, in-fact, given the level of suppression involved in this case, Wikileaks will step up publication of documents pertaining to illegal or unethical banking practices.

Wikileaks has six pro-bono attorney's in S.F on roster to deal with a legal assault, however Wikileaks was given only hours notice "by email" prior to the hearing. Wikileaks was NOT represented. Wikileaks pre-litigation California council Julie Turner attended the start of hearing in a personal capacity but was then asked to leave the court room.

White signed the order, drafted by the Cayman Islands bank's lawyers without a single amendment.

The injunction claims to be permanent, although the case is only preliminary.

Wikileaks remains available publishing from non-US, non-Chinese jurisdictions including http://wikileaks.cx/ and http://wikileaks.be/. See http://wikileaks.cx/wiki/Wikileaks:Cover_Names for more.





In case you are unfamiliar with Wikileaks, via dkos:

Created by several brave journalists committed to transparency, Wikieaks has published important leaked documents, such as the Rules of Engagement for Iraq [see my The Secret Rules of Engagement in Iraq], the 2003and 2004 Guantanamo Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures, and evidence of major bank fraud in Kenya [see also here] that apparently affected the Kenyan elections.

As of Friday, February 15, those going to Wikileaks.org have gotten Server not found messages. Today I received a message explaining that a California court has granted an injunction written and requested by lawyers for the Cayman Island's Bank Julius Baer. It seems that the bank is trying to keep the public from accessing documents that may reveal shady dealings.
As Time Magazine has said about Wikileaks:
... could become as important a journalistic tool
as the Freedom of Information Act.

— Time Magazine
Important enough as a journalistic tool that some, with shady dealings, seem to see a need to shut it down. Welcome to the bush and GOP created and corporate owned America.

This is just another chapter in a bigger battle, IMHO:
They Want To Rebuild the Internet

Whenever I read paragraphs like these, yanked from the Hartford Courant, I take note:

One challenge in any reconstruction, though, would be balancing the interests of various constituencies. The first time around, researchers were able to toil away in their labs quietly. Industry is playing a bigger role this time, and law enforcement is bound to make its needs for wiretapping known.

There's no evidence they are meddling yet, but once any research looks promising, "a number of people [will] want to be in the drawing room," said Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor affiliated with Oxford and Harvard universities. "They'll be wearing coats and ties and spilling out of the venue."

Do they want to rebuild the Internet for everyones' benefit or will this be the first steps towards a conservative's corporatist wet dream and extremely policed Internet?

The big telcoms have already shown a willingness to try and take control of the internet AND will sell out your right to privacy at the drop of an FBI letter.

Yeah... Ya gotta sleep with one effin' eye open at all times in this modern America. Freedom ain't Free, it'll cost ya a lot of sleep.

A little something you can do about this, as well as helping spread the word for Wikileaks, via Save the Internet:

You can help make the internet faster, more open and accessible to all. Tell Congress to preserve Net Neutrality and help ensure that the benefits and promise of the Internet are available to all Americans.

Tell your story to the FCC

Sign the petition and send a message to Congress

Call your members of Congress

Write a letter to your hometown newspaper

Support the SavetheInternet.com Ad Fund

Promote SavetheInternet on your blog or site

Tell five friends to join the fight for Internet freedom

Take action today!

The Heritage Foundation Doomsday Clock

Fear! Fear! Fear!

Glen Greenwald catches the Hertiage wackos spreading FISA fear:
The deeply serious Heritage Foundation -- and this is real -- has a countdown clock on its frontpage, showing to the second milisecond the time that we all have left before we become -- all together now -- unsafe and unprotected (h/t sysprog):

It is true, of course, that many right-wing polemicists use fearmongering techniques like this manipulatively, to exploit the Terrorist threat for more unchecked government power and to advance their political agenda.

But many of them actually believe this, and there are undoubtedly all sorts of individuals in the U.S. today nervously looking at their clocks, with accelerating heartbeat and a deepening sense of foreboding, knowing that the Hour of Danger is nigh upon us. This pitiful, fear-drenched absurdity is the face of the Bush Movement, the symbol of the post-9/11 Bush Era in the United States.

List of things we should really fear:

1. The deeply serious think tanker wannabes at Heritage Foundation can't even spell the word EXTENSION...

2. The deeply serious think tanker wannabes at Heritage Foundation don't seem to be able to tell the time, since they appear to keep resetting their clock.

At least they fixed the spelling on their count-up clock now. As of this post we are a little over 3 hours past doomed to some kind of Constitutionally protected privacy and about ten hours into LOL from their stupidity.

Are we dead yet?


In Iraq: Is US Diplomacy Being Shortchanged?

Some people might think so... Some might even think others are "willfully negligent or criminal" in their mismanagement of the job in Iraq:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sat before senators on Capitol Hill Wednesday to urge a State Department budget increase of 8.5% and the hiring of 1,100 new staff. Unusually, some lawmakers wished she'd have asked for even more. Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat, told Rice that her request was "small compared to the overall needs." and that U.S. diplomacy was still getting "shortchanged."


A former top Republican congressional aide who this month completed an assignment as an adviser to Ambassador Ryan Crocker in Iraq blasted the State Department's performance there in a valedictory memo. "The foreign service is not competent to do the job that they have undertaken in Iraq," wrote Manuel Miranda, citing "an excuse-making culture," "willfully negligent if not criminal" management, a "built-in attention deficit disorder," and "information hoarding."

Even more might think so after reading that article from Time Magazine. (h/t buzzflash)

Meanwhile, in other Iraq news:
Anger grew on Sunday at an overnight air raid by US forces on a village in central Iraq that a tribal leader said killed three members of an American-backed anti-Qaeda "Awakening" front.

The helicopter attack on the village of Jurf al-Sakher, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Baghdad, on Saturday provoked furious members of the group to quit en masse, according to their tribal leader Sabah al-Janabi.

"It was the third incident in a month. We have lost 19 men while 12 have been injured because of coalition attacks," Janabi said.

"The group, which comprises 110 members, resigned in protest at organised assassinations by the coalition forces,"
Janabi added.

"We have been badly affected and are very angry at this aggression," said Rariri. "Whether it was an error or intentional, it proves that the coalition is not worried about the stability of our area."

Another member, Abdallah al-Janabi, 29, accused the US military of deliberately sowing disorder so that they can stay in Iraq "for as long as possible."

"They ensure that chaos and terrorism continues by all possible means," he charged. "But we remain vigilant against those who want to kill our children and our families."
And St. McCain says he wants another 100 years of this... Think about that.

100 years more of Republican terrorism. Heck! Maybe even ten thousand years...

John McCain in 2008!
The best of the worst the GOP has to offer!
"The jobs are never coming back,
the illegals are never going home,
but we’re gonna have a lot more wars."

The Republican party is insane enough to ALMOST make me want to join the Democratic party.

[update] ThePoliticalCat has some thoughts on this and other things:
Damn, all this successful successin' is just too fucking confusing for us. There must be somebody out there who can figure out just who the fuck our friends are and who our enemies are in this unholy mess.

Meanwhile, in other late-breaking news, a woman suicide bomber has blown herself up in a Baghdad shopping mall; a suicide bomber killed 80 people in the southern Afghani town of Kandahar; and the Pentagon states that there will be more U.S. troops in Iraq after the "drawdown" (huh?).

And Bush's friend, Prince Bandar of the House of Saud (whose country generously supplied 15 of the 19 terrorists responsible for the September 11th attacks on the U.S.), has been doing some stenchful deals for military might with U.K. companies, and threatening the UK with terrorist attacks if they investigate bribes that were paid to him.

The Boston Globe tells us that the Saudi government provided the September 11th terrorists with financial and logistics support in their quest to destroy the Twin Towers. While the New Yorker (Seymour Hersh, the most trusted name in news) tells us that the Saudi government has given a great deal of financial support to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Why is the Bush family personal friends with these people?
Bush friends with the terrorist financier Bandar who?

Ambassador and terrorist Prince Bandar bin Sultan at the Bush
Ranch in Crawford, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2002

Seymore Hersh - Impeachment - A Constitutional Duty

Just a reminder of what patriotism is all about:
"The voice speaking in this message is Seymour Hersh (Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the New Yorker) - taken from one of his lectures at the ACLU."

"Remind Congress to uphold it's Constitutional obligation to open an investigation against anyone who has committed crimes against it's country.

For more specific information on the Articles of Impeachment of President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (ed. note, already GONEzo) - please visit:

These sites can help to find your Congress member's contact information.

Criminals stand trial for their crimes. Period.

Richard Nixon was impeached 2 years after a landslide election victory—for crimes far less incriminating than the Bush Administration. In 1973, 50,000 telegrams to Congress forced them to begin impeachment hearings.

Please visit these sites to learn more specifically about the cases against them and how you can help make sure they don't dodge Justice. This is our country, and we can force the House to Impeach them with your help. It's time to relearn what this country's ideals are based upon.

Send a request yourself:
Nancy Pelosi's fax #: 202-225-8259
John Conyer's fax #: 202-225-0072

Impeachment in 2007 - Our Constitutional Duty."

(h/t grateful dissident and via the freeway blogger)

Another Republican Pedophile

In Maryland, another typically republican sex scandal:
In Maryland Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, on Friday announced his resignation from the House of Delegates after information surfaced that deputies, acting on information that child pornography was in the residence, searched his Halfway home on Jan. 31.

During the search, investigators seized two computers, about 30 videotapes and a “significant amount” of printed material, including magazines, Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said Friday afternoon during a press conference.

No charges have been filed.

McKee, in a faxed statement, also said Friday that he had resigned from his position as executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County, an organization he said he served for 29 years.

A quick look at how McKee has kept a close eye over his favored objects of sick and perverted sexual desires over the years:
Member, Washington County Foster Care Review Board, 1989-95; Tri-County Council for Western Maryland, 1995-99; Special Committee to Study Issues Related to Class-Size Reduction, 1998-99; Task Force on the Exemption of Law Enforcement Officers' Pensions from Taxation, 2004-05. Member, Western Maryland Children's Center Advisory Board, 2005-; Incentives for Agriculture Task Force, 2006-07; Commission to Develop the Maryland Model for Funding Higher Education, 2007-.

Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, May 7, 1949. Hagerstown Junior College, A.A., 1969; Lynchburg College, B.A. (political science), 1971. Hospital Corpsman, U.S. Naval Reserve, 1971-77. Frostburg State University, M.B.A., 1991. Executive Director, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Washington County, Maryland, Inc. Delegate, Republican Party National Convention, 1972. Chaplain, Hagerstown Jaycees, 1978-84. Chair, Citizens Advisory Committee, Lincolnshire School, 1980-84. President, Little League of Halfway, Inc., 1980-85, 1992-94. Treasurer, Washington County Mental Health Association, 1980-87. Secretary, Antietam Exchange Club, 1984-. Secretary, Parent and Child Center Advisory Committee, 1985-88. Staff, Maryland District I Little League, 1986-. Chair, Maryland State Association of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Agencies, 1986-. Vice-President, Hagerstown Junior Basketball League, 1987-89. Board of Directors, Hagerstown Junior College Alumni Association, 1992-. Carey Brewer Alumni Award, Lynchburg College, 1986. Book of Golden Deeds, Antietam Exchange Club, 1994. Member, First Christian Church (moderator, 1986-88; trustee, community services chair, 1990-).
Note the "Book of Golden Deeds" mention there... An award given out by the National Exchange Club:
The Exchange Clubs in the United States are collectively committed to one project, the Prevention of Child Abuse, which was adopted in 1978.


The Exchange Club's most prestigious award is the Book of Golden Deeds Award given to a special person that has dedicated their time and efforts to strengthen their community. This award may be given to a member of Exchange or a non-member.
I am thinking that they might want their award back now... The Baltimore Sun had this bit of information that screams GOP hypocrisy:
McKee, who was active in numerous youth athletic and civic groups in his district, was among the General Assembly's leading advocates on children's issues. This year, he co-sponsored a bill that would deny child sexual predators the ability to earn good-conduct credits on their prison sentences. In prior years, he was a co-sponsor of legislation aimed at toughening penalties for sex offenders, or barring them from working in schools.
And OMG!
"A child, who was not a blood relative to McKee, had been living in the home, Mullendore said Friday afternoon. The sheriff was unsure whether the child still was living there."
From the WaPo:
GOP's McKee Resigns After Home Is Searched

For decades, McKee has been involved in youth athletics and children's groups, according to his General Assembly biography. He has served in officer positions in two Little League groups and as secretary of a parent and child center advisory committee.

During the 1970s, McKee was a reservist in the U.S. Navy. He is a former chaplain for the Hagerstown Jaycees and is a trustee and community services chairman at First Christian Church.

"In the long run, I hope and pray that my work in the local community for the last three decades will speak louder than the challenges I now face," McKee said.

Yes... The decades of work in the local community that just happened to keep young victims within your grasp for all of those years. Even the Republican Blogs are starting to catch on to the pattern here, as evidenced by the first comment on this story at Powerline:

Republican politician, does lots of work with kids, sponsors bills to protect kids from sex predators, up to his eyeballs the Christian church.

...OF COURSE he’s a child sex predator.

I kind of just see the R beside their names and become suspicious... But that is just me being logical.

[update] Bumped to make sure it is viewed!