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Archive for June 22nd, 2008

Lieberman: I Wanna Be Number Two

By- Suzie-Q @ 4:00 PM MST

I Wanna Be Number Two: Joe Lieberman

23/6

June 19, 2008

In the latest in our on-going series of possible vice presidential candidates, today: Joe Lieberman. He’s been attached to John McCain at his (still unbroken, knock on wood) hip, and, as Walter Shapiro wrote in Salon this week, “it is not hard to pick up Republican whispers that the wild-card Lieberman speculation is grounded in reality rather than water-cooler fantasy.”

Sure, he used to be a Democrat, but on the other hand he is willing to say anything, and next to John McCain, he’s almost charismatic. Plus, in the GOP’s southern base, his religion is less despised than Mitt Romney’s.

For more about Joe Lieberman…

Current job: U.S. senator from Connecticut

Age: 66.

Astrological sign: Pisces.

A-hole factor (1-10): 11.

Vibe: Annoying.

Celebrity look-a-like: Deputy Dawg.

RGI (Regular Guyness Index):

Extremely low. Spent the early years of the Vietnam war fighting on the New Haven front, at Yale University.

Cons:

  • Combined age of ticket would be 226 years old
  • Despised by virutually everyone who comes into contact with him.

Pros:

  • Not everyone has come into contact with him.
  • Has already helped the Republicans win one presidential race (2004).
  • Has the most love for John McCain that a man can legally have according to the laws of Connecticut and the Torah.

Famous for:

  • Being the first prominent Democrat to publicly criticize Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
  • Leaving the Democratic Party and running under the “Connecticut for Lieberman” party after he was beaten in the Democratic Party by Ned Lamont in 2006.

What John McCain loves about him: His loyalty.

Brings to ticket:

  • Youth—five years younger than McCain.
  • Can deliver the self-hating Jewish vote.
  • Wife Hadasssah rumored to be a swinger.

How Bangable by Opposite Sex (1-10): 1.

How Bangable by Same Sex (1-10):

  • Gay community at large: 2
  • Jowl fetish community: 8

Most likely scandal:

Is found to be having a long-term sexual affair with the Western Wall.

Odds of being chosen: 10 – 1.


Previously: I Want To Be Number Two: Bobby Jindal

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GEF @ 12:38 PM MST

Democrats Have Legalized Bush’s Crimes

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

Editor’s note: You can read more about Obama backing a FISA “compromise” here.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that a key positive feature of the new wiretap “compromise” is that the bill reaffirms that the President must follow the law, even though the same bill virtually assures that no one will be held accountable for George W. Bush’s violation of the earlier spying law. Share this article

In other words, in the guise of rejecting Bush’s theories of an all-powerful presidency that is above the law, the Democratic leadership cleared the way for the President and his collaborators to evade punishment for defying the law.

So, why should anyone assume that the new legislative edict demanding that the President obey the law will get any more respect than the old one, which established the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 as the “exclusive” means for authorizing electronic spying?

It wasn’t that Bush and his team didn’t understand the old law’s language; they simply believed they could violate the law without consequence, under the radical theory that at a time of war — even one as vaguely defined as the “war on terror” — the President’s powers trump all laws as well as the constitutional rights of citizens.

Essentially, Bush was betting that even if his warrantless wiretap program was disclosed — as it was in December 2005 — that he could trust his Republican congressional allies to protect him and could count on most Democrats not to have the guts to challenge him.

His bet proved to be a smart one. After the New York Times revealed the warrantless wiretaps two and a half years ago, Congress took no steps to hold Bush accountable. Before the 2006 elections, Pelosi declared that Bush’s impeachment was “off the table.”

Then, on the eve of the August 2007 recess, the Democratic-controlled Congress was stampeded into passing the “Protect America Act,” which effectively legalized what Bush had already done and expanded his spying powers even more.

After that law was passed, U.S. news reports mostly parroted the White House claim that it “modernized” FISA and “narrowly” targeted overseas terror suspects who might call or e-mail their contacts in the United States.

However, it soon became clear that the law applied not just to terror suspects abroad who might communicate with Americans, but to anyone who is “reasonably believed to be outside the United States” and who might possess “foreign intelligence information,” defined as anything that could be useful to U.S. foreign policy.

That meant that almost any American engaged in international commerce or dealing with foreign issues — say, a businessman in touch with a foreign subsidiary or a U.S. reporter sending an overseas story back to his newspaper — was vulnerable to warrantless intercepts approved on the say-so of two Bush subordinates, the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.

Beyond the breathtaking scope of this new authority, the Bush administration also snuck in a clause that granted forward-looking immunity from lawsuits to communications service providers that assisted the spying.

That removed one of the few safeguards against Bush’s warrantless wiretaps: the concern among service providers that they might be sued by customers for handing over constitutionally protected information without a warrant.

In short, the “Protect America Act” made warrantless surveillance legally cost free for a collaborating service provider, tilting the scales even further in favor of the government’s spying powers.

Catching on

A week after the “Protect America Act” was passed, the New York Times and the Washington Post published front-page stories explaining how the Bush administration had ambushed the Democrats.

Pressed up against the start of the August recess and the prospect of Republican taunts that Democrats were “soft on terror,” the Democratic leaders abandoned earlier compromise proposals and accepted the more expansive law. Their one point of resistance was putting a February 2008 sunset provision into the law.

Still, the Democratic cave-in in August 2007 provoked an uproar among rank-and-file Democrats. Pelosi’s office reported receiving more than 200,000 angry e-mails.

Stung by the reaction, House Democratic leaders balked at White House pressure to make even more concessions, including retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies that had collaborated with Bush’s warrantless wiretaps in the years after the 9/11 attacks.

In February 2008, to the surprise of many observers, the Democratic leadership allowed the “Protect America Act” to lapse. Though Republicans attacked the Democrats as expected, the accusations seemed to have little political resonance.

Nevertheless, the Democratic leadership — behind Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland — continued working on a compromise.

While the new version drops some of the more intrusive features of the “Protect America Act,” such as allowing warrantless wiretaps of Americans outside the United States, the bill adds retroactive telecom immunity (only requiring the companies show they got a written order from the President).

The bill also would grant the administration emergency power to wiretap a target for up to one week before getting a warrant from the secret FISA court. But the bill bars the government from targeting a foreigner as a “back-door” way to spy on an American without a court warrant.

‘Capitulation’

Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wisconsin, a strong constitutionalist, termed the new bill “not a compromise; it is a capitulation.”

One of the bill’s illusions would seem to be that the precedent of a President ignoring the FISA law and escaping any accountability can somehow be negated by restating what the original, violated law had declared.

In her June 20 floor statement, Pelosi said in her view this was a crucial feature of the bill, the statement that the President cannot ignore the FISA law again. However, Pelosi’s position sounded like the words of an indulgent parent of a spoiled child: “This time I really mean it!”

The more powerful message from the latest Democratic compromise is that a President — at least a Republican one — can break the wiretap law under the cover of national security and expect to ride out the consequences.

Rather than reaffirming the rule of law and the Constitution’s checks and balances, as Pelosi claimed, the new FISA “compromise” may have done the opposite, signaling that the President is above the law.

After Pelosi’s speech, the House passed the bill by a 293-129 margin with 105 Democrats — including most of the leadership — voting in favor and 128 Democrats against. The bill then went to the Senate, which was expected to approve it.

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By- Suzie-Q @ 8:30 AM MST

Mullen: I Want ‘A Healthy Dialogue With Iran’ Because ‘Engagement Would Offer An Opportunity’

Think Progress

By Matt on Jun 21st, 2008 at 7:45 pm

Last month, President Bush launched a political attack at Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and other Democrats while speaking before the Israeli parliament, saying that they favor a policy of appeasement toward terrorists. “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals,” said Bush. “We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement.”

After Bush made the comments, CNN’s Ed Henry reported that “White House aides” said that Bush was referring to those who have said “it would be okay for the U.S. President to meet with leaders like the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.” But now, Bush’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, appears to be siding with those who favor direct engagement with Iran.

In an interview with National Journal published today, Mullen speaks favorably of directly engaging with Iran, even though he says Iran has not always shown a “propensity” for it:

NJ: Given Iran’s role as a spoiler in the region, and with so much now at stake for the United States, doesn’t it make sense to directly engage with Iran to discern its motives and explore potential accommodations?

MULLEN: I would like to have a healthy dialogue with Iran, but many different administrations over a period of decades have been unable to achieve that. But I do think engagement would offer an opportunity, certainly, to understand each other better. That said, the Iranians have to want to talk too. It can’t just be a desire on our part. And the Iranians haven’t shown much propensity for dialogue.

Mullen isn’t the only administration official who has eschewed Bush’s absolutist rhetoric in favor of a more diplomatic approach.

The day before Bush made his “appeasement” remarks, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a group of retired diplomats that we need to “figure out a way to develop some leverage” with Iran “and then sit down and talk with them.” Gates later refused to defend Bush’s attack.

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No EU – Common Purpose Government Infiltrators

anthony @ 13:23

This presentation was given at Leicester England. MEP Rogert Helmer came specially to be there and guest host the meeting. Edward Spalton of the CIB (Campaign for an Independent Britain) gave a short introduction. The presentation was given by Brian Gerrish on his researches concering Common Purpose.

google video currently unavailable. I’ll try posting it later

Common Purpose is Treason – Brian Gerish

Former British Navy Lft Commander Brian Gerish exposes the evil charity Comman Purpose. This group is a fifth column that has infiltrated the heart of British society & its infrastructure. This is a very imporant film and should bee seen by all freedom loving people. The full three hour version will be released soon.

Related Video: Peter Hitchens on the EU on Question Time

Peter Hitchens gives the best anti-EU case ever broadcast on UK National television.

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anthony @ 12:27 BST

As many as 100 F16 and F15 warplanes were involved in flying long-range missions as part of the operation

The United Nations nuclear watchdog has warned that a military strike on Iran to prevent it developing atomic weapons would turn the region into a “fireball”.

By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem | telegraph.co.uk | Last updated: 2:44 AM BST 21/06/2008

Mohamed ElBaradei said unilateral military action, which has not been ruled out by Israel or the US, would push the Islamic republic into a “crash course” of developing nuclear weapons and threatened to resign if an attack took place.

“What I see in Iran today is a current, grave and urgent danger,” said Mr ElBaradei. “If a military strike is carried out against Iran at this time … it would make me unable to continue my work.”

“A military strike, in my opinion, would be worse than anything,” the International Atomic Energy Agency director general said. “It would turn the region into a fireball.”

He said any attack would only make the Islamic Republic more determined in its confrontation with the West over its nuclear programme.

“If you do a military strike, it will mean that Iran, if it is not already making nuclear weapons, will launch a crash course to build nuclear weapons with the blessing of all Iranians, even those in the West.” (more…)

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The Book They’re still Talking about

anthony @ 12:26 BST

The recent publication of Pat Buchanan’s latest book, Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, was greeted with a plethora of reviews, including Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s, “Churchill and His Myths” (a possible allusion to Churchill’s phrase, “Hitler and all his works”), which appeared in The New York review of Books, and in which he also reviewed a number of other books on Churchill, these being John Lukacs’ own Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: The Dire Warning, Lynne Olson’s Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England, about the Tory rebels who voted against Chamberlain in 1940, and Nicholson Baker’s Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization, which Lukacs has denounced, unsurprisingly, as “a bad book”, and, most notably, John Lukacs review, “Necessary Evil”, which appeared in the June 2, 2008 [sic] issue (presumably online), sometime late last May, of The American Conservative.

On this side of the Big Pond, Peter Hitchens, younger brother of Christopher, wrote a review for The Daily Mail, titled, “Was World War Two just as pointless and self-defeating as Iraq, asks Peter Hitchens”, in which he confesses to having to revise his view of Britain’s role in the Second World War, something which I myself have been doing in recent weeks, both as a result of my reading of Guido Giacomo Preperata’s book, Conjuring Hitler, and Buchanan’s book.

(Preperata’s book, though thought-provoking, suffers from the fact that he uses works by the discredited British author, David Irving, who lost a libel case against Penguin books in 1998 and served a prison sentence in Austria for identifying and glorifying the Nazi Party, as a secondary source, an error which the cannier Buchanan has studiously avoided.)

Not to be outdone, big brother Chritsoper Hitchens has now weighed in with a scathing review titled, The Necessary War, and published, along with a number of other articles on Churchill, in Newsweek magazine, which concludes with the words, “This book stinks”.

Buchanan answers Hitchens’ points in an article published in Taki’s Magazine, which I reproduce below:

Was the Holocaust Inevitable?

“What Would Winston Do?”

So asks Newsweek‘s cover, which features a full-length photo of the prime minister his people voted the greatest Briton of them all.

Quite a tribute, when one realizes Churchill’s career coincides with the collapse of the British empire and the fall of his nation from world pre-eminence to third-rate power.

That the Newsweek cover was sparked by my book Churchill, Hitler and The Unnecessary War seems apparent, as one of the three essays, by Christopher Hitchens, was a scathing review. Though in places complimentary, Hitchens charmingly concludes: This book “stinks.”

Understandable. No Brit can easily concede my central thesis: The Brits kicked away their empire. Through colossal blunders, Britain twice declared war on a Germany that had not attacked her and did not want war with her, fought for 10 bloody years and lost it all.

Unable to face the truth, Hitchens seeks solace in old myths. (more…)

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A Totally Lawless Regime

Sudhan @12:30 CET

By Paul Craig Robertts | Counterpunch, June 21/ 22, 2008

Think about this question: In the 21st century what regime is more lawless than the Bush Regime?

Everyone is entitled to his own answer. The only answer I can come up with is the Zimbabwe regime of Robert Mugabe. Voted out of power in the last election, the great man hasn’t left. Zimbabweans are going to have to vote again, and the great man has said that any vote that is not for him will be cancelled by a bullet.

Does anyone remember how determined the British and the Americans and everyone else was to turn Rhodesia over to Mugabe in order to save Rhodesia from the evil Ian Smith? What a fool everyone was.

But before we laugh at those fools, we had best laugh at ourselves, or cry.

It is now an incontrovertible fact, known all over the world, that George W. Bush and his regime lied through their teeth in order to launch wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the Bush regime is doing the same thing again in hopes of launching an attack on Iran.

There have been a number of memoirs from high ranking Bush appointees who cannot stand all the lies. Bush’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill, told us that an invasion of Iraq was on the agenda prior to 9/11. There is the leaked Downing Street Memo in which the head of British Intelligence told the British Prime Minister and his cabinet that the Americans have decided to attack Iraq and are creating the “intelligence” to justify the attack.

And now we have the White House’s own spokesman from 2003-2006, Scot McClellen, ratifying what we all already knew, that President Bush deceived us and led us into war based entirely on lies and fabrications, and that he, Scott McClellen, was deceived into issuing a false public denial that top Cheney aide Scooter Libby and White House operative Karl Rove were involved in committing a felony under US law by revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative, Valerie Plame.

As a consequence of Bush’s lies, there are a million dead Iraqis, mostly women and children, and four million displaced Iraqis, 4,100 dead American soldiers and tens of thousands of seriously wounded. No one knows how many dead in Afghanistan. And there is the ongoing Israeli slaughter of Palestinians and Lebanese that has fallen under the rubric of the “war on terror.”

The only ones pleased with these wars are the American neoconservatives, the Israeli right-wing, the US corporate military-security complex, and Osama bin Laden.

The Bush regime has created enormous hatred and disrespect for the United States. A recent world wide poll found that George W. Bush ranks at the bottom of world leaders as one of the least trusted along with US Pakistani puppet Musharraf and the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, who has the disadvantage of being the victim of demonization by the US and European corporate-controlled media, which serves as ministries of propaganda for the governments that control their broadcast licenses. The American and European media lie for their living.

The two leaders with the highest approval rating are UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

So, the old adversary, Russia, now has a more respected leader than the “leader” of the Great Free Nation, a Great Free Nation that has sat on its hands while its “leader” destroyed America’s civil liberties, America’s reputation, the jobs of Americans, and committed the US to a course of war crimes punishable by the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

Continued . . .

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