Archive for August 23rd, 2008

Sudhan @19:08 CET

Sharafuddin Sharafyar, Reuters in Herat | The Guardian, Saturday August 23 2008

US-led coalition forces killed 76 Afghan civilians in western Afghanistan yesterday, most of them children, the country’s Interior Ministry said.

The coalition denied killing civilians. Civilian deaths in military operations have become an emotive issue among Afghans, many of whom feel international forces take too little care when launching air strikes, undermining support for their presence.

“Seventy-six civilians, most of them women and children, were martyred today in a coalition forces operation in Herat province,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Coalition forces bombarded the Azizabad area of Shindand district in Herat province on Friday afternoon, the ministry said. Nineteen of the victims were women, seven of them men and the rest children under the age of 15, it said.

US-led coalition forces denied killing any civilians. They said 30 militants had been killed in an air strike in Shindand district in the early hours of Friday and no further air strikes had been launched in the area later in the day.

Air strikes took place after Afghan and coalition soldiers were ambushed by insurgents while on a patrol targeting a known Taliban commander in Herat, the US military said in a statement.

“Insurgents engaged the soldiers from multiple points within the compound using small-arms and RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) fire,” it said. “The joint forces responded with small-arms fire and an air strike killing 30 militants.”

A senior police commander in western Afghanistan confirmed the incident but could not say how many civilians died.

“More than 30 people have been killed. I cannot say how many of them are civilians,” General Ikramuddin Yawar told Reuters.

A spokesman for the Defence Ministry in Kabul said US special forces and Afghan troops had been carrying out an operation against a commander named Mulla Sidiq, who was planning to attack a US base in Herat. “Twenty-five Taliban were killed, including Sidiq and one other commander,” said spokesman General Zaher Azimi.

“Unfortunately, five civilians were killed in the bombing.”

Afghanistan has seen a surge in violence this year as the Taliban steps up its campaign of guerrilla attacks, backed by suicide and roadside bombs, to overthrow the pro-western Afghan government and drive out foreign troops.

Meanwhile, soldiers from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) fired artillery rounds into Pakistan from the eastern province of Paktika yesterday in a coordinated attack with the Pakistani military, the Isaf said.

The rounds were fired at militants across the border who the Pakistani military said were preparing to fire rockets at an Isaf base in Paktika, Isaf said in a statement.

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Sudhan @19:00 CET

By Max Blumenthal, The Nation. Posted August 23, 2008.

Corsi’s success represents the apotheosis of a long, strange trip from the furthest shores of the right into the national spotlight.

These are good times for Jerome Corsi. Already notorious for his factually challenged book-length takedown of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, Unfit For Command, the 61-year-old Corsi has another hit on his hands. His new book, Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality has made Corsi a hot commodity again on the right-wing radio circuit, the bane of the Obama campaign and catapulted to the top slot on the New York Times bestseller list. With his newfound notoriety, Corsi has brought his pathographic anti-Obama narrative to hundreds of thousands of readers — and millions on radio and TV — just as he did with Kerry. Corsi has become the court bard of the conservative movement. “The goal is to defeat Obama,” Corsi told the New York Times. “I don’t want Obama to be in office.”

Corsi’s success represents the apotheosis of a long, strange trip from the furthest shores of the right into the national spotlight. During George W. Bush’s first term, Corsi was a little-known financial services marketing specialist. In 1995, according to the Boston Globe, he coaxed twenty people into a shadowy investment venture in Poland that ultimately lost them a total of $1.2 million. “It ruined my career in the brokerage business, and it was a sad story for a lot of people,” said Bradley Amundson, one of those enlisted into Corsi’s bungled scheme. The FBI opened an investigation but never filed any charges.

Corsi had dabbled off-and-on the fringes of conservative backlash politics for nearly three decades. In his spare time, which he appeared to have lots of, Corsi busied himself at his computer, firing off opinions on the far-right website Free Republic, marked by their sexual and racial obsessions.

In a comment typical of the dozens he posted under the handle “jrlc,” Corsi wrote, “Anybody ask why HELLary couldn’t keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?” In another, he ranted, “Isn’t the Democratic Party the official SODOMIZER PROTECTION ASSOCIATION of AMERICA — oh, I forgot, it was just an accident that Clintoon’s [sic] first act in office was to promote ‘gays in the military.’ RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters — it all goes together.”

Then he composed Unfit For Command, suddenly vaulting into best-sellerdom. Surrounded by the media buzz of talk radio and Fox News, Corsi no longer plied the seamy troll-zones of the right-wing blogosphere. Overnight, he had become a conservative folk hero. But as Bush’s popularity waned during his second term, Corsi’s star dimmed. He tried to reignite it by co-authoring a book with “prophecy expert” Michael Evans, Showdown with Nuclear Iran, calling on the United States and Israel to attack Iran “before it’s too late,” and another, Black Gold Stranglehold, claiming to expose the Big Lie that will “enslave” Americans: “the belief that oil is a fossil fuel and a finite resource.” Corsi’s conspiracy theories consolidated his cult status, but he did not revive the brightness of his Swiftboating campaign. As another presidential election approached, however, Corsi followed his well-trod path back to renown.

In early 2007, Corsi huddled with an old friend, Howard Phillips, a veteran conservative operative who had attempted to organize the anti-government militia movement into a cohesive political bloc during the 1990s. Corsi emerged from their discussion convinced of his destiny. He would declare his campaign for the presidential nomination of the ultra-right Constitution Party, enthusiastically embrace the party’s call for a complete halt on immigration, banning abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and upholding its official platform that the “U.S. Constitution established a Republic under God, rather than a democracy.” With this momentous announcement, Corsi hoped to cast himself as the last, best hope to save America from the godless, globalist duocracy conspiring to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada into a “North American Union.” (His latest flop, published in 2007, was a screed entitled, The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada.)

In July 2007, Corsi spoke before the Texas Constitution Party. At the time, he remained focused on foiling the ambitions of Hillary and Bill Clinton. “I don’t want Bill Clinton anywhere near the White House,” Corsi proclaimed. “We had enough serial rape going on when he was president.” But Corsi didn’t want a Republican in the White House either, especially not Senator John McCain. The war-scarred McCain, Corsi wrote in a column for the far-right webzine WorldNetDaily, is a possible jihadist dupe who “has enjoyed strong support from a lobbying group that backs … a Muslim terrorist group with ties to criminal drug networks and Al Qaeda.” Even George W. Bush was now treasonous. “Bush,” he told the Texas Constitution Party, “is post-America and post-God,” a figure so indebted to foreign interests that he had allowed “communist China” to “run its gunboats up the Mississippi.” In Corsi’s mind, both parties were fronts for the money-masters, the Trilateralists, the plotters of Bohemian Grove — the “elitists who want to destroy the nation-state.”

Continued . . .

See also: A Book Written to Defeat Obama

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Biden Is Obama’s Vice Presidential Running Mate

By- Suzie-Q @ 9:15 AM MST

Joe Biden Is Barack Obama’s Vice Presidential Running Mate

BETH FOUHY and LIZ SIDOTI | August 23, 2008 11:39 AM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — Democrats coalesced around Barack Obama’s selection of Joe Biden as his running mate on Saturday while Republicans quickly seized on the Delaware senator’s past criticism of the presidential candidate’s inexperience.

Former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, an also-ran in Obama’s search for a vice presidential choice, called Biden “an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Obama-Biden ticket will bring the change the country needs, including a filibuster-proof Senate majority.

The campaign of Republican rival John McCain wasted no time, immediately producing an ad featuring Biden’s previous praise for McCain and comments critical of Obama from an ABC News interview last year. Biden had said he stood by an earlier statement that Obama wasn’t yet ready to be president and “the presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.”

“There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama’s lack of experience than Joe Biden,” McCain campaign spokesman Ben Porritt said in a statement. “Biden has denounced Barack Obama’s poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing _ that Barack Obama is not ready to be president.”

Some of Biden’s Republican colleagues in the Senate praised the Delaware Democrat, including Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., called Biden “the right partner for Barack Obama” and the decision “good news for Obama and America.”

Obama and Biden were set to meet for an afternoon rally in Springfield, Ill., in front of the old state Capitol where the Illinois senator kicked off his presidential campaign nearly 20 months ago.

The Obama campaign sent a text message announcing his choice to supporters’ phones and e-mail addresses about 3 a.m. EDT, the latest innovation by a tech-savvy operation that has deftly used the Web as a fundraising and organizing tool. The rollout was diminished somewhat when word of Obama’s choice began leaking out to news media shortly before 1 a.m. EDT.

Obama and his famously disciplined team managed to keep Biden’s selection a secret for several days, leading to a frenzy of speculation that mounted throughout the week. Two of those thought to be on the short list _ Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh _ indicated Friday night that Obama had chosen someone else.

Biden, 65, is a creature of Washington, a 35-year Senate veteran and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee whose national security credentials will help patch a hole in Obama’s relatively thin resume. Polls show that McCain holds a wide lead over Obama on the question of who is better prepared to be commander in chief.


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Suzie leaves the GOP!

anthony @ 13:24 BST

That’s Susan Eisenhower, not Suzie-Q!

Reflections on Leaving the Party

Susan Eisenhower | nationalinterest.org | August 21, 2008

I have decided I can no longer be a registered Republican. For the first time in my life I announced my support for a Democratic candidate for the presidency, in February of this year. This was not an endorsement of the Democratic platform, nor was it a slap in the face to the Republican Party. It was an expression of support specifically for Senator Barack Obama. I had always intended to go back to party ranks after the election and work with my many dedicated friends and colleagues to help reshape the GOP, especially in the foreign-policy arena. But I now know I will be more effective focusing on our national and international problems than I will be in trying to reinvigorate a political organization that has already consumed nearly all of its moderate “seed corn.” And now, as the party threatens to trivialize what promised to be a serious debate on our future direction, it will alienate many young people who might have come into party ranks.

My decision came at the end of last week when it was demonstrated to the nation that McCain and this Bush White House have learned little in the last five years. They mishandled what became a crisis in the Caucusus, and this has undermined U.S. national security. At the same time, the McCain camp appears to be comfortable with running an unworthy Karl Rove–style political campaign. Will the McCain operation, and its sponsors, do anything to win?

This week, I changed my registration from Republican to independent. The two political parties as they exist today, and the partisanship that they foster, reflect the many fights of the cold war, the Vietnam era, the post–cold war and the 9/11 periods. Today we are in a different place altogether, where our security as a nation is challenged not just from abroad but also close to home. The energy, health-care and financial crises threaten our national prosperity and well-being, just as surely as any confrontation overseas or an attack by radical terrorists.


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The Mystery Candidate

anthony @ 12:36

Related Story: McCain’s neocon warmonger


Related Story: McCain’s neocon warmonger

Eugene Robinson | TruthDig | August 21, 2008

There’s a candidate in this presidential race who remains a mystery—hazy, undefined, so full of contradictions that voters may see electing him as an enormous risk. I’m referring to the cipher known as John McCain.

In fact, there are some basic things about McCain that apparently even McCain doesn’t know. Asked Wednesday by reporters from Politico how many houses he and his wealthy wife, Cindy, own, McCain responded, “I think—I’ll have my staff get to you.” The correct answer seems to be somewhere between four and seven, but who’s counting?

I don’t begrudge McCain his multiple residences or his $520 Ferragamo shoes. I understand that he was just being flippant and unresponsive when he said at the Saddleback Church forum last weekend that being rich meant having an income of at least $5 million a year. But it’s a stretch, to say the least, for McCain to portray himself as a Regular Joe while painting Barack Obama as some kind of jet-set celebrity.


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Obama: I have some important news… !

anthony @ 10:30 BST

Friend —

I have some important news that I want to make official.

I’ve chosen Joe Biden to be my running mate.

Joe and I will appear for the first time as running mates this
afternoon in Springfield, Illinois — the same place this campaign
began more than 19 months ago.

I’m excited about hitting the campaign trail with Joe, but the two of
us can’t do this alone. We need your help to keep building this
movement for change.

Please let Joe know that you’re glad he’s part of our team. Share
your personal welcome note and we’ll make sure he gets it:


Thanks for your support,


P.S. — Make sure to turn on your TV at 2:00 p.m. Central Time to join
us or watch online at http://www.BarackObama.com.


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