Archive for June 26th, 2008

By- Bob Cesca @ 3:29 EST

Holy crap on a stick. Bill Kristol — who has been so wrong so often that he was somehow rewarded with a job at the New York Times — might have actually been right about something political. For once. Back on February 17 on the self-satirical FOX News Sunday program, Kristol made a prediction:

KRISTOL: …at the end of the day it’ll be McCain against Obama in a national security election. The Democrats can say Nancy Pelosi’s fond of quoting Franklin Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” We do have something to fear but fear itself. We have terrorists to fear and we have people who want to kill Americans to fear. And people who totally want to destabilize the Middle East to fear. And I think that’s a pretty good argument for McCain to make against Obama.

In addition to being one of the most grotesque examples of a far-right feargasm, and also ignoring the fact that the Bush administration has destabilized the Middle East, Kristol had the audacity to both poo-poo the anti-fear message of President Roosevelt, while also managing, in that process, to suggest that terrorism is more worthy of our collective fear than was the Great Depression. To that argument, thanks to Kristol and the policies of the Bush administration, we might yet be able to form an accurate, modern comparison between these “threats” as we grow dangerously close to revisiting the Depression while simultaneously fighting terrorism. Heckuva job!

And so, remarkably enough, Kristol appears to have been exactly right with his prediction that the general election would revolve around fear. But how can this be? He was wrong on Iraq; he was wrong about the surge; he was wrong about the success of the Bush administration. Wrong, wrong, wrong.


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Yep, Bush Screwed It Up…

GEF @ 4:08 PM MST


75% blame Bush’s policies for deteriorating economy

The figure includes large numbers of dissatisfied Republicans and represents a sharp increase in pessimism over the last year. Higher fuel prices have sharpened the criticism.
By Maura Reynolds

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

June 26, 2008

WASHINGTON — Three out of four Americans, including large numbers of Republicans, blame President Bush’s economic policies for making the country worse off during the last eight years, according to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll released Wednesday, reflecting a sharp increase in public pessimism during the last year.

Nine percent of respondents said the country’s economic condition had improved since Bush became president, compared with 75% who said conditions had worsened. Among Republicans, 42% said the country was worse off, while 26% said it was about the same, and 22% thought economic conditions had improved.

Phillip Thies, a registered Republican and clothing-store owner in Cedar, Mich., who was one of those polled, said the president was doing an able job through the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but “right after that, it was steadily, steadily downhill.”

“There has been a lack of leadership and a lack of timeliness of leadership, of not being conscious of the magnitude of the problems,” Thies said of Bush in a follow-up interview. “He’s always a day late and a dollar short.”

Said Lois Coleman, 84, of Floyds Knobs, Ind., who described herself as an independent, “I’m not as well off as I was before he was president and that pertains to all my friends, too, everyone I know.”


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GEF @ 3:18 PM MST

Senate Expected To Pass Wiretap Bill

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2008

(AP) The Senate signaled an end Wednesday to months of rancorous debate over surveillance legislation that would protect from civil lawsuits the telecommunications companies that helped the government wiretap American lines.

By an 80-15 vote, the Senate turned back a last-ditch effort to kill the bill, setting up a vote to approve the measure on Thursday. The House passed the bill last week, and the Senate was expected to send it to President Bush for his signature.

Critics of the bill argue that immunizing the companies from lawsuits amounts to letting the Bush administration off the hook for nearly six years of warrantless tapping of phones and computer lines inside the United States following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The surveillance took place without the permission – or even the knowledge – of a secret court created 30 years ago to oversee just such activities.

The bill amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is a compromise reached after a monthslong standoff and weeks of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans. In exchange for telecom immunity, the inspectors general of the Pentagon, Justice Department and intelligence agencies will investigate the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.

The bill would also establish new rules to govern when the National Security Agency, CIA, FBI or other agencies can tap American phone and computer lines.

About 40 lawsuits have been filed by people and organizations who believe they were illegally spied on by the government with the companies’ help.

The compromise bill would direct a federal judge to review certifications by the attorney general that the companies acted on the orders of the president, who told them wiretaps were needed to detect or prevent a terror attack. If the paperwork were deemed in order, the judge would dismiss the lawsuit. The judge would not, however, determine whether the warrantless wiretapping program itself was legal.

Opponents say lawsuits are the only way that Congress and the public will ever learn the full extent of the surveillance program. The White House said Bush would not sign a bill that did not immunize the companies.


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McCain and his BLOG stalkers!!!!

Posted by Basheert @12:25pm

Courtesy of Crooks and Liars:

McCain “gets” the Internet Thing, Awards Website “Points” to Right Wing Commenters

//driftglass.blogspot.com (image by Driftglass)

McCain’s website is offering “points” to folks who cut and paste pro-McCain content onto other blogs.

Wow, what can I get with my points, a cabin upgrade for that cruise with Hugh Hewitt? SO not worth it.

MotherJones Blog:

On McCain’s “Blog Interact” page, where the candidate’s supporters can find recommended blogs of all ideological stripes, the campaign is actually awarding points for trolling.

Help spread the word about John McCain on news and blog sites. Your efforts to help get the message out about John McCain’s policies and plan for the future is one of the most valuable things you can do for this campaign. You know why John McCain should be the next President of the United States and we need you to tell others why.

Select from the numerous web, blog and news sites listed here, go there, and make your opinions supporting John McCain known. Once you’ve commented on a post, video or news story, report the details of your comment by clicking the button below. After your comments are verified, you will be awarded points through the McCain Online Action Center.

The site even has “Today’s Talking Points” that McCain supporters can cut and paste into the comments sections of liberal blogs.

That’s right, computer-savvy Republicans! You can spend your days cutting and pasting comments from McCain.com into Daily Kos for “Online Points.” It will be a race to the finish to see if the McCain techs can “verify” your comments before they are troll-rated off the site! So be careful when you visit those “recommended” blogs….

The content of these sites is not controlled by the McCain campaign and may contain offensive material.

Filed Under: John McCain, Right Wing Stupidity

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John McCain’s Divorce…

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:05 PM MST

McCain’s Divorce


June 26, 2008

Before John McCain’s tour of duty in Vietnam, he married Carol Shepp, a model from Philadelphia. On his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam in 1967, McCain was shot down and captured.

While he was imprisoned, Carol was in an auto wreck (1969), thrown through her car’s windshield and left seriously injured. Despite her injures, she refused to allow her POW husband to be notified about her condition, fearing that such news would not be good for him while he was being held prisoner.

When McCain returned to the United States in 1973 after more than five years as a prisoner of war, he found his wife was a different person. The accident “left her 4 inches shorter and on crutches, and she had gained a good deal of weight.”

Yearning to make the grade of admiral, McCain enrolled in the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. and underwent physical therapy in order to fly again. The Navy excused his permanent disabilities and reinstated him to flight status, effectively positioning him for promotion.

In his book, The Nightingale’s Song, Robert Timberg chronicled McCain’s post-Vietnam military assignments and some of his “adulterous” behavior leading to his divorce from Carol and marriage to Cindy Hensley.

Timberg wrote, “in the fall of 1974, McCain was transferred to Jacksonville as the executive officer of Replacement Air Group 174, the long-sought flying billet at last a reality. A few months later, he assumed command of the RAG, which trained pilots and crews for carrier deployments. The assignment was controversial, some calling it favoritism, a sop to the famous son of a famous father and grandfather [both were Navy admirals], since he had not first commanded a squadron, the usual career path.”

While Executive Officer and later as Squadron Commander McCain used his authority to arrange frequent flights that allowed him to carouse with subordinates and “engage in extra-marital affairs.” Such behavior was a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice rules against adultery and fraternization with subordinates..


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Afternoon Jukebox… Sharp Dressed Man

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:00 PM MST

ZZ Top- Sharp Dressed Man

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Posted by Basheert @11:19am

Courtesy of Daily Kos

The McCains’ little alcohol problem

by MissLaura

Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:19:49 AM PDT

John and Cindy McCain’s financial and business arrangements have been a goldmine of mini-scandal for the past few months. (Even if they’ve only garnered half the traditional media coverage that Democrats in the same position would have.)

There was his unethical-but-not-quite-illegal use of her corporate jet. Her refusal to release her tax records. The credit card debt.

But until now, the ramifications of her ownership of a beer distributorship haven’t gotten much scrutiny. Ralph Vartabedian at the LA Times lays out the issues, which will deserve further scrutiny. Like the lobbying:

The company has opposed such groups as Mothers Against Drunk Driving in fighting proposed federal rules requiring alcohol content information on every package of beer, wine and liquor.

Its executives, including John McCain’s son Andrew, have written at least 10 letters in recent years to the Treasury Department, have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to a beer industry political action committee, and hold a seat on the board of the politically powerful National Beer Wholesalers Assn.

Hensley has run afoul of health advocacy groups that have tried to rein in appeals to young drinkers. For example, the company distributes caffeinated alcoholic drinks that public health groups say put young and underage consumers at risk by disguising the effects of intoxication.

The involvement of McCain’s family in federal regulatory issues could create a conflict of interest for a future McCain administration, according to advocacy groups and political analysts. McCain has recused himself for many years on alcohol issues in the Senate. As president, however, McCain would face far more difficulty distancing himself from an issue with such broad scope.

Cindy McCain does not just profit from this activity. She actively oversees it, and has not indicated that she would cease to do so as First Lady.

Political analysts said they were astounded that the presumptive Republican nominee had not already addressed the issue.

“You can’t run a beer company out of the White House,” said Samuel L. Popkin, a political science professor at UC San Diego. “You can’t run any company from the White House. McCain is leaving a live hand grenade on the table, a major embarrassment.”

Seriously. Imagine the White House dinners, complete with guests’ choice of Budweiser, Bacardi Silver Mango Mojito, or Hurricane Malt Liquor. (And imagine all the “John McCain is a man of the people” stories his base the traditional media would roll out as a result.)

Then there’s the religion question. The LA Times article notes that 1/3 of Americans abstain from alcohol altogether, and that for many (including members of the Southern Baptist Convention and of course the LDS), that’s a religious issue. This ties into the lobbying Cindy McCain’s company engages in, because so much of that lobbying has been to keep regulation of beer at the absolute minimum. I know Southern Baptists who, when their town went wet a few years ago, boycotted any store that started selling beer, even if that meant going twice as far for a gallon of milk. Imagine those people’s feelings about voting for a man whose eight (or so) houses are paid for by his wife and children marketing caffeinated, fruit-flavored malt liquor to teens.

But apparently that’s an issue of less interest to the pundits than Barack Obama drinking orange juice rather than coffee.

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By- Suzie-Q @ 9:30 AM MST

Supreme Court Upholds Right To Own Guns For Self-Defense

MARK SHERMAN | June 26, 2008 11:25 AM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices’ first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by “the historical narrative” both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home,” Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington’s requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.


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By- Suzie-Q @ 9:00 AM MST

Rove-Reversal: Jewish Dems Attack McCain’s “Strength” On Iran

Huffington Post – Sam Stein

June 26, 2008 08:00 AM

Several of Congress’ most prominent Jewish members are set to go after John McCain on an issue of perceived strength: his proclaimed “toughness” in dealing with Iran.

On Thursday, Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Ben Cardin, alongside more than half-a-dozen members of the House of Representatives and the National Jewish Democratic Council, will host a press conference highlighting a vote McCain made that helped corporations like Halliburton continue doing business with sanctioned countries like Iran.

The vote, McCain’s critics argue, demonstrates a strand of political hypocrisy — on the campaign trail, the Senator has repeatedly called for divestment from Iran — and pokes holes in his attacks on Barack Obama.

“John McCain has been arguing that he is Mr. Tough Guy on Iran,” said Ira Forman, Executive Director of the NJDC. “At the AIPAC conference he talked about how he would introduce stronger sanctions and boycott measures. He’s also saying Obama is naïve and can’t be trusted to deal with the Iranians. But when it came to deciding to be tough on Iran or supporting Halliburton, he stuck with Halliburton. It is easy to talk the talk but it is not so easy to walk the walk.”

In July 2005, Sen. Lautenberg introduced an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that would have closed a loophole allowing U.S. corporations to do business with terrorist-sponsoring nations by setting up foreign shell companies. The measure had broad support as it became evident that several major companies, including Halliburton, had taken advantage of the system. Frank Gaffney, the neoconservative columnist, opined that the situation was an “affront to the letter and spirit of the law.”

But when the provision came to the floor, the vote split almost entirely down party line. Only two GOP Senators supported the amendment and neither had the last name McCain.

Soon thereafter, a less-stringent amendment was passed, roughly reinstating the legal status quo. As a Democratic aide noted, “it allowed Republicans to cover themselves on the issue.” The Center for Security Policy wrote:

“The [GOP version] would seek to penalize individuals or entities who evade [International Emergency Economic Powers Act] sanctions – if they are “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.” This is merely a restatement of existing regulations. The problem with this formulation is that, in the process of purportedly closing one loophole, it would appear to create new ones… If the Senate is serious about truly closing this loophole, it must adopt the Lautenberg Amendment.”

Now, three years later, Lautenberg, Cardin, the NJDC and others are trying to extract a political price from McCain for not supporting their legislation. And, as some Jewish politics observers suggested, there could be political room to operate.

“The bottom line is this,” said Mark Mellman, President & CEO of The Mellman Group. “There is an obviously grave concern in the American Jewish community about a nuclear Iran. This is a leadership that has pledged to wipe out Israel and is developing the means to do that. And so there is grave concern within the Jewish community but also outside the Jewish community.”

It is a Rovian effort — going after an opponent’s perceived strength. After all, McCain has made the concept “getting tough” on hostile regimes a central thrust of his foreign policy. During a speech at AIPAC he spoke directly about the benefits of cutting off Iran’s financial pipelines.

“As more people, businesses, pension funds and financial institutions across the world divest from companies doing business with Iran, the radical elite who run that country will become even more unpopular than they are already,” he said.

And the Senator has often backed his rhetoric with action. In 1992, McCain coauthored the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act, which prohibited the transferring for weapons or technology to those two countries. More recently, he has championed the Lieberman-Kyl amendment, which designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. In fact, in 2006, McCain tried to have Iran banned from participating in the World Cup soccer tournament.

All this Forman acknowledged. But he added, “when you are the guy who says ‘I am tough, I will be the one who will extend sanctions against Iran, and my opponent is weak’ — when you run your campaign in the Jewish community around this point, you are particularly vulnerable when you didn’t do what you said you will.”

As demonstrated by the Lautenberg amendment, McCain’s resume isn’t entirely without weak points. This list include his campaign staff, which currently includes Charlie Black, whose firm was paid $60,000 to lobby on behalf of the Chinese oil conglomerate doing business in Iran; and Carly Fiorina, who as CEO saw her company Hewlett-Packard trade with the Iranians.

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Bu$h’s Legacy to be Honored in San Francisco

Geezer Power…8:19 am

While some of my more profound thoughts seem to occur while sitting on the throne, I find myself thinking of Bu$h’s legacy this morning. The folks in San Francisco have proposed that the city rename their state of the art sewage treatment plant and the news has reached even the NY Times. This is getting a lot of support by most San Franciscans, but the folks who work at the plant don’t like the idea too much. Their opinion is that it would be an insult to have his name on a facility of this quality.

Hmm, I think that I can see what they’re talking about. We have a series of small treatment ponds here in our small Oregon community where the waste water mellows before percolating into the Willamette River and there are times in the summer when they are quite aromatic, but I would still consider it a personal affront to have George Duhhbya Bu$h’s name posted anywhere in our town…G:

Satire at the ballot box to ‘honor’ Bush

Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If you’ve attended an event or festival in San Francisco lately – or even just hung out at a city park – you’ve probably seen them.

Admittedly, they’re hard to miss. Someone in the group is usually toting a large American flag, and another is often carrying a boom box blaring patriotic music. Sometimes one of them dresses up as Uncle Sam.

They’re the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco, but don’t let the serious name fool you. The group’s intentions are in the gutter: They want to rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant come January, when the next president is sworn in.

During the inauguration, the group also wants supporters to participate in a “synchronized flush”- a way to send a gift to the renamed plant, which supporters say, would be a “fitting monument to this president’s work.”

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