Black and White Raindrops wallpaper

Black and White Raindrops wallpaper

Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin gives us a great example of Republican priorities. Is she upset about the housing crisis, your son or daughter dying in Iraq, the inability of John McCain to figure out who America is fighting or why. No, Malkin is upset about polar bears being listed by the Bush administration as a threatened species, You go, girl: Alaska GOP Gov. will sue Bush administration over polar bear listing By Michelle Malkin • May 22, 2008 12:06 AM, MM links to this report by Reuters,

Even though Kempthorne enacted a rule aimed at precluding any new restrictions on oil and gas operations as a result of the listing, the Palin administration believes a wide variety of other development activities in Alaska would be hampered if the listing goes through, Daugherty said.

Any development or activity requiring federal permits or using federal funds would have to engage in a “consultation” process to ensure that polar bears are not harmed, he said.

Malkin like most Republicans fails to see the hypocrisy and irony of foaming at the mouth over the idea that there might be a small hurdle to spending federal funds on development or activity. Malkin thinks its just an outrage to inconvenience people like Sen. Ted Stevens(R-AK) from building bridges to nowhere. Malkin, other then some whining about immigration reform has been an ardent and frequently shrill Bush supporter. So she can’t be upset about a little paper work, this sliver thin EPA addition to some nebulous federal project that would be paid for with taxpayers monies, Federal bureaucracy thickening, study finds (2004)

“Despite the president’s promise to bring businesslike thinking to the federal government, the Bush administration has overseen, or at the very least permitted, a significant expansion in the both the height and width of the federal hierarchy,” said Paul Light, director of the Center for Public Service at Brookings and a professor at New York University. “There have never been more layers at the top of government, nor more occupants at each layer.”

As always there is reality and priorites and then there is the little mental closet that Republicans like Malkin live in. “You go girl”.

River Waters wallpaper

Beck revived falsehood that Bill Clinton said “We’ve got to slow down our economy” to fight global warming

Summary: On his nationally syndicated radio show, Glenn Beck falsely claimed that former President Bill Clinton said, “We’ve got to slow down our economy” in order to combat global warming, and aired a portion of a speech Clinton made in January. However, as Clinton’s full remarks make clear, he did not suggest “slow[ing] down our economy” to fight global warming.

As Media Matters for America noted, Clinton’s full quote makes clear that he did not say “[w]e’ve got to slow down our economy” or “the only way to really do this is to halt the economy.” Rather, he said that “rich” countries could take that approach, but it would not work. He said that the “only way” to fight global warming is to prove that doing so “is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy”:

CLINTON: And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada — the rich counties [sic] — would say, “OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.” We could do that. But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world’s fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.

A gram of pocket lint has more integrity then Beck yet he’s everywhere – books, radio, television making millions giving his grand insights into the problems facing the nation.

Here’s a gentleman with some insights,

The contents of the Downing Street Minutes confirm that the Bush Administration was determined to go to war in Iraq, regardless of whether there was any credible justification for doing so. The Administration distorted and misrepresented the intelligence in its attempt to link Saddam Hussein with the terrorists of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden, and with weapons of mass destruction that Iraq did not have.

In addition, the Downing Street Minutes also confirm what has long been obvious – that the timing of the war was linked to the 2002 Congressional elections, and that the Administration’s planning for post-war Iraq was incompetent in all its aspects. The current continuing crisis is a direct result of that incompetence. …

President Bush constantly talks about the ‘progress’ that is being made in Iraq against the insurgency, but he’s looking for good news with a microscope. All anyone can see is ‘Mission Mis-accomplished’ and the continuing losses of American lives, the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis, the torture scandal, and the ominous decline in our nation’s moral authority in the world community.

We know the Administration had been planning to invade Iraq for many months before the invasion actually began. We know the Administration twisted the intelligence to make the facts fit their plan. We know that the Administration never really intended to give the U.N. weapons inspectors a reasonable chance to succeed. The Downing Street Minutes demonstrate that the Administration knew their case for war was paper thin, and that in order to go into war with the support of our allies, we had to demonstrate some willingness to go along with the UN inspection process. But the Administration continued to misuse its intelligence, distort the facts and pay only lip-service to the UN’s role in disarming Iraq.

We never should have gone to war for ideological reasons driven by politics and based on manipulated intelligence. The Downing Street Minutes provide even more proof that this is exactly what happened on Iraq. The Administration’s dishonesty, lack of candor, and lack of planning have brought us to where we are today, with American soldiers dying, Iraqi civilians living in constant fear, and with no clearer picture of our strategy for victory in Iraq than when we started.

—Sen. Ted Kennedy, June, 2005

The Astute Bloggers and Hassan Qazwini versus LGF and Captain Yee

From a Conservative blog called The Astute Bloggers, Tuesday, May 20, 2008, Six degrees of Barack Obama — Updated

On May 14 Barack Obama held a private and unpublicized meeting with Imam Hassan Qazwini at Macomb Community College in Michigan.

Qazwini heads the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. Debbie Schlussel describes Qazwini as the Hezbollah terror group’s foremost agent in America.

Qazwini is very open about his support for Palestinian homicide bombings, HAMAS, and Hezbollah. And he’s a good friend of Hezbollah spiritual leader, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah–the man who issued the fatwa to Hezbollah terrorists to murder over 300 U.S. Marines and U.S. Embassy civilians in cold blood. Qazwini’s mosque has held rallies and celebrations in support of Hezbollah, and many of Hezbollah’s biggest money-launderers and agents in America are his congregants.

Not so Astute Bloggers

An “unpublicized” meeting? That would be the kind that runs in the Detroit Free Press with a photo that the Astute Bloggers used,

Born in Iraq into a long line of Shi’ite clerics, Qazwini and his family left for Iran to escape persecution under the regime of Saddam Hussein. He later moved to the U.S. and become head of the Dearborn mosque, one of the largest Shi’ite Muslim centers in the U.S.

Qazwini has also met several times with President Bush and other elected officials.

The AB link/quote from Conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel without doing the slighest bit of research. There is zero evidence that Qazwini supports Hamas or Hebollah. If this is yet another in the thousands of attempts by the fringe Right to make its case using guilt by association then they might want to explain this,

That’s  Hassan Qazwini in the background.

Bush hugging Hassan Qazwini

Imam Hassan Qazwini was selected to lead a prayer before Congress and has meet with Bush several times including a faith based event at the Whitehouse.

Hurt Porter, Co-Founder, Kidcare
Imam Hassan Qazwini, Islam Center of America
Dr. Willie Richardson, Pastor, Christian Stronghold Baptist Church
Reverend Eugene Rivers
Sister Mary Rose, Covenant House
Denny Rydberg, President and CEO, Young Life
Reverend Mark Scott, Ella J. Barker House
Dr. Jim Skillen, President, Center for Public Justice
Joe Tierney, President, Public/Private Ventures
Stanley Carlson-Thies, Center for Public Justice
Rabbi Abraham Twerski, Gateway Rehab Center

It must be smear Barack Obama day. Ap reports, Ex-Army chaplain cleared in Gitmo spy case is Obama delegate

After spending 76 days in solitary confinement, he was exonerated, resigned from the Army and received an honorable discharge.

A former Army chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who was cleared of spy accusations will be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Former Capt. James J. Yee, a Muslim, was among the delegates pledged to Sen. Barack Obama who were elected by precinct representatives Saturday. He’s representing the state’s 9th Congressional District at the party’s convention in Denver in August.

The West Point graduate was accused in 2003 of being part of a spy ring at the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay.

The Conservative Little Green Snotballs Footballs responds with Obama Delegate from Washington: Former Gitmo Muslim Chaplain Yee, Tue, May 20, 2008 at 2:37:08 pm PST

The Associated Press is up to their usual tricks with this one. According to our post back on March 20, 2004, Yee was certainly not exonerated or cleared; the charges were dropped, according to Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, because there were “national security concerns that would arise from the release of the evidence” if the case proceeded.

The reason charges were dropped is because after several tries the Pentagon could find no evidence to support the charges. An obvious and easily checkable fact that LGF decided not to do. Then they cite Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller as their unimpeachable source, General Asserts Right On Self-Incrimination In Iraq Abuse Cases

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, a central figure in the U.S. detainee-abuse scandal, this week invoked his right not to incriminate himself in court-martial proceedings against two soldiers accused of using dogs to intimidate captives at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to lawyers involved in the case.

The move by Miller — who once supervised the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and helped set up operations at Abu Ghraib — is the first time the general has given an indication that he might have information that could implicate him in wrongdoing, according to military lawyers

Miller was soon given a nice little ribbon by Bush and shown the door to a sudden retirement. Capt. James Yee’s has written about the abuse he witnessed at Gitmo in his book, In New Book Ex-Chaplain at Guantánamo Tells of Abuses

Mr. Yee, 37, is a former Army captain and a West Point graduate who was arrested and imprisoned in 2003 on suspicion of espionage. It was a case that, in the end, proved groundless, to the embarrassment of the Pentagon.

[  ]… Mr. Yee describes how, to extract prisoners from their cells, soldiers used a procedure known as “irfing”: a team in heavy body armor, called an Immediate Reaction Force, would physically subdue the prisoners and remove them from their cells.

He writes that the irfing operations were sometimes needed to control unruly prisoners, but “they were doing it so frequently, so regularly at Guantánamo that I came to believe it was solely to rile the prisoners.”

He says some prisoners were irfed because of such violations as having extra plastic foam cups in their cells; the procedure would later be described as necessary to “retrieve contraband.”

The military has said repeatedly that incidents of abuse have occurred, but that they are isolated and that all accusations are thoroughly investigated.

Maybe it wasn’t smear Barack day, it was a contest between Republican bloggers to see who could twist and falsify the facts to the best bizarrely partisan effect.

Does John McCain really stand for anything

John McDoubletalk, does he really stand for anything

McCain Hits Obama’s “Inexperience And Reckless Judgment” On Iran

“Senator Obama has declared, and repeatedly reaffirmed his intention to meet the President of Iran without any preconditions, likening it to meetings between former American Presidents and the leaders of the Soviet Union. Such a statement betrays the depth of Senator Obama’s inexperience and reckless judgment. Those are very serious deficiencies for an American president to possess. An ill conceived meeting between the President of the United States and the President of Iran, and the massive world media coverage it would attract, would increase the prestige of an implacable foe of the United States, and reinforce his confidence that Iran’s dedication to acquiring nuclear weapons, supporting terrorists and destroying the State of Israel had succeeded in winning concessions from the most powerful nation on earth. And he is unlikely to abandon the dangerous ambitions that will have given him a prominent role on the world stage.

Clear enough McBush thinks that merely talking to the bad guys is a bad thing. If you’re brave and strong you don’t talk to the perps no matter what. McCain and the usual cadre of wing-nut Republicans must think that America’s police and Special Weapons and Tactics and Tactics Teams are appeasers and cowards, Law Library – American Law and Legal Information :: Crime and Justice Vol 3, Police: Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Teams

A recent study of forty SWAT units from agencies serving 250,000 or more people disclosed that these teams discharged firearms only in sixty-four of the several thousand incidents they handled from 1990 through 1996. Because the only shots fired in many of these sixty-four incidents were directed at nonhuman targets (such as vehicles and street-lights), it is apparent that the shooting of a citizen by a SWAT team is an extremely rare event.

This low rate of deadly force use may be at least partly attributable to the fact that early in the evolution of SWAT, verbal tactics emerged as a vital part of how the police sought to manage special threat situations. Rooted in the fundamental precept that most crises can be resolved by de-escalation, police agencies developed training programs to teach officers how to negotiate with hostile individuals, in hopes of talking them into surrender. Some agencies use SWAT team members as negotiators; others have separate negotiation units. Whatever the structuring of the tactical and negotiation components in a given agency, SWAT teams rely heavily on negotiations to help resolve special threat situations.

Senator McCain like his blabbering supporters talk like cartoonish school yard braggarts. His intention is portray himself as a strong leader who will make the most intelligent decisions . Obviously the Senator has hoped that his listeners are all uninformed ideologues that will simply march like a well behaved mindless herd to the beat of the empty defamation of his opponent. Obviously not all situations can be resolved by negoiations, but America has seven years of all force all the time for every situation. The little success that we’ve against radical terrorism has been through our intelligence community. McDoubletalk and the his fear peddling supporters think that talking never solves anything. A seasoned hostage negotiator disagrees and all the people whose lives have been saved by SWAT guidelines would too, Guide To Crisis Negotiations

Negotiators have become very active, due in part to the reputations they have established for the successful, peaceful resolution of various types of critical incidents. For example, in 1993, the Hostage Negotiations Team of the Seattle, Washington, Police Department resolved 21 incidents, expending a total of 263 negotiator hours. In 1994, negotiators resolved 32 incidents, spending 407 hours in negotiations.

America’s police and sheriff’s departments successfully negotiate with our societies worse sociopaths. So even if Iran or Hama’s leadership are as bad as our domestic murderers and hostage takers they can be talked to without compromising our national security.

McCain’s record is clear. In the past he has not been for tough well planned negotiations he has been pro appeasement, McCain Defended Reagan, North During Iran-Contra Scandal

On Thursday, McCain tried to back up his appeasement charge against Obama by citing the mythical resolve of Ronald Reagan.

“Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain.  I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.”

Sadly, Ronald Reagan did in fact negotiate with those very extremists during the Iran-Contra scandal of 1986 and 1987.

McCain acknowledges at the TPM link (top) that Bush administration officials have had talks with Iran. So McCain and the Right, one supooses based on their utter failure in the Iran-Contra scandal, the 4000 and counting dead solders in Iraq, the lack of progress in Afghanistan plus the largest debt that the U.S. has ever accumulated that only a Republican can or should have talks  with our adversaries. It looks like McCain and the Right are afraid, very afraid that a moderate Democrat might be able to make some progress where they have failed miserably.

They deserve better then McBush

McCain’s campaign manager’s name still on lobbying firm’s letterhead

Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign has recently begun purging itself of lobbyists. Yesterday, a fifth aide resigned because of lobbying ties. Yet McCain is still refusing to fire certain top aides, like campaign manager Rick Davis, who is a former lobbyist.

McBush spells integrity L-O-B-B-Y-I-S-T.

Never could an increase of comfort or security be a sufficient good to be bought at the price of liberty

Remember John McCain’s recent pander dance to the fringe Right with a little speech on one of their favorite buzzwords judicial activism. Jeff Jacoby writing at the Boston Globe points out that if anything the courts have frequently been too passive, McCain’s Supreme wrongheadedness

But is it really the proper function of the courts to simply rubber-stamp laws passed by Congress and state legislatures? Is a law presumed constitutional merely because elected officials enacted it? “If my fellow citizens want to go to Hell,” declared Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, a staunch advocate of judicial restraint, “I will help them. It’s my job.”

It was a clever remark – but a poor recipe for sustaining the Framers’ system of checks and balances, or defending important liberty interests against political encroachment. Quite the contrary: Judicial deference to the political branches has led to some of the worst judicial decisions in American history. Think of Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 case upholding a Louisiana statute that mandated racial segregation in public  accommodations. The Supreme Court certainly deferred to the elected lawmakers who wrote that statute. It also helped lock Jim Crow in place for the next 60 years.

Refitting the Presidency to the Constitution or  Bush and Conservative’s’s Assault on the Constitution a Legacy of Shame

The 44th president will assume office with powers greatly enlarged by his or her predecessor. Drawing on recent precedents, the next president could launch preemptive wars with only minor interference from Congress, ignore the ancient right of habeas corpus and imprison political enemies, spy on American citizens without serious legal restraint, use practically any federal agency for political purposes, manipulate the press in ways inconceivable prior to 2000, corrupt the federal justice system for political gain, destroy evidence in criminal cases, use the Justice Department to prosecute members of the opposing party, offer lucrative no-bid government contracts to friends, expand the creation of private security armies, use torture, create secret prisons, assassinate inconvenient foreign leaders, circumvent laws with signing statements, and a great deal more. Such things are now possible because the system of checks and balances carefully written into the Constitution and explained in great detail in the Federalist Papers were weakened as a result of historical circumstances of the 20th century, but systematically and with great forethought by the administration of George W. Bush.

Said to be necessary in order to protect the country from terrorism, the expansion of presidential authority in truth was carried out by neo-conservatives who in the smoke and ashes of 9-11 smelled opportunity. The result is James Madison’s worst nightmare: the unification of once carefully separated powers of governance — executive, judicial, legislative — in the hands of a single faction along with substantial control over the press, radio, and television and an extensive police and surveillance apparatus he would have loathed.

As spot on as David W. Orr is in such a short essay he probably lets Congress off a little easy. The framers of the Constitution and their vision of three equal branches of government did not foresee what would happen during the Bush years. With a Republican majority in both houses and a Democratic party that was for the most part afraid of being portrayed as weak on national security, America lost one of the major forces that stood between genuine democracy and an imperial presidency.  Instead of a Congress that exerted its rightful place in when and how wars were conducted, how legislation was applied and standing in the way of the deeply mendacious use of presidential power we had grave speeches, concerns expressed, vague threats and unenforced subpoenas issued. The founding fathers probably never imagined that there would come a time when Congress would be ready and willing to roll over like an obedient old dog instead of the first wall of defense against an out of control presidency.

Reading Room Library of Congress

The Today Show’s Matt Lauer Sleep Walks Through Another Interview  About National Security and the Bill of Rights,

On the May 14 edition of NBC’s Today, during an interview with former CIA agent Michael Sheehan about his new book, Crush the Cell: How to Defeat Terrorism Without Terrorizing Ourselves (Crown, May 2008), host Matt Lauer said, “You say we’ve got to use more undercover agents, informants, wiretapping, email surveillance, the works. The sound you just heard, Michael, is the far left, grabbing for their remote controls, ’cause they say, you’re going to do this, you’re going to trample civil liberties.” In fact, despite Lauer’s suggestion that it is only “the far left” that is concerned about “trample[d] civil liberties,” Americans across the political spectrum have denounced the Bush administration for alleged violations of civil liberties, including conservatives such as former congressman (and current Libertarian Party presidential candidate) Bob Barr, former Reagan administration associate deputy attorney general Bruce Fein, other members of the conservative American Freedom Agenda, and members of the libertarian Cato Institute.

In addition, Lauer did not challenge Sheehan’s assertion that the wiretapping and investigative authorities of the CIA, FBI, and NYPD have not “been abused over the last seven years.” Sheehan stated: “What you need is good oversight involved. You need oversight within the agencies; you need congressional oversight; oversight from the press — and make sure that when we give our CIA or FBI or NYPD the authority to do wiretaps or do investigations, that they’re not going to abuse it. I don’t think it has been abused over the last seven years.” Lauer did not point to any of the reports of abuses of authority by the Department of Justice inspector general or to the reports of dissent from within the administration regarding the warrantless domestic surveillance program run by the National Security Agency (NSA).

As Media Matters for America has noted, in a March 2007 report, the Justice Department inspector general (IG) found many “instances of illegal or improper use of national security letters [NSLs]” by the FBI between 2003 and 2005.

Let’s assume for a moment that was Matt’s idea of playing devil’s advocate. That still leaves him wanting for some excuse to be out the obvious abuses of domestic surveillance by this administration. The way it works from what I understand is that Mat goes over what is to be covered in an interview with the producer of that segment – the blue cards they hold have the questions and notes for the segment. Matt together with a producer that was concerned about presenting  a more truthful picture of who objected to Bush’s domestic spying programs and why they have done so would be the absolute minimum requirement for people like Matt that have multi year multi million dollar contracts.

Never could an increase of comfort or security be a sufficient good to be bought at the price of liberty ~ Hilaire Belloc

Polar Bear photos post and other news

Polar Bear nap time 1075×1520. All of these bear images are rights managed, but you’re welcome to use them for your personal use like wallpapers and educational use like school reports.

Polar Bear resting

Polar Bear yawn

Polar Bears walking

Wildlife numbers plummet globally

The world’s wildlife populations have reduced by around a quarter since the 1970s, according to a major report published Friday by the WWF conservation organization.

Marine species have been particularly hard hit as the human population booms, while numbers of birds and, fish and animals have also gone down, said the WWF in a report.

[ ]…Over-fishing and hunting, along with farming, pollution and urban expansion, were blamed.

WWF director general James Leape warned: “Reduced biodiversity means millions of people face a future where food supplies are more vulnerable to pests and disease and where water is in irregular or short supply.

“No one can escape the impact of biodiversity loss because reduced global diversity translates quite clearly into fewer new medicines, greater vulnerability to natural disasters and greater effects from global warming.”

The marine LPI showed a 28-percent decline with a dramatic drop between 1995 and 2005. The overall freshwater LPI fell by 29 percent between 1970 and 2003.

Biologist estimate that as much as 60% of the world’s Polar Bears live in Canada where even with government protection bear populations have declined 22% just since the 1980s.

Let’s get this straight. Bush goes to a foreign country where he implies that Senator Obama would be too quick to have diplomatic relations with countries like Iran even as Bush’s own administration is having talks with Iran. So does Dubya thinks Dick Cheney gives him a little gold star every time he tells another lie rolled up with the worse kind of hypocrisy, Bush’s appeasement malarkey

Perhaps Bush forgot that his ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, has been holding talks about Iraq with an Iranian counterpart. If so, there were Knesset members who could have reminded him. Israelis are intensely aware of the strategic gifts that Bush bestowed on Iran by toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime and empowering Iran’s Shi’ite proteges in Iraq. Indeed, few have done more to enable Iran than George W. Bush.

‘‘Some seem to believe,’’ Bush told the Knesset, ‘‘that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.’’ He was comparing unnamed appeasers of today to isolationists who thought they could negotiate with Nazi Germany and keep the United States out of World War II. Bush implied that Obama would be just that naive.

In reality, the likely Democratic nominee seems inclined toward a tough and prudent statecraft in the mold of Bush’s father and his secretary of state, James Baker. It also seems to have slipped the younger Bush’s mind that his own policy for keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran’s grasp is to encourage diplomacy along with mild United Nations sanctions.

AS we get to the end of Bush’s last term it seems that looking back over junior’s entire life it has always been his goal to act with as little integrity and honor as possible. On this one objective Bush Jr. has been remarkably successful.

Iraq Veterans Share First Hand Accounts of Iraq War During Forum on Capitol Hill

“These first-hand accounts really highlight some of the tragic costs and horrific consequences of this Administration’s utterly failed policies in Iraq,” said CPC Co-Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). “We must redouble our efforts to end the occupation and to truly honor our troops by bringing them home.”

Don’t those vets realize that their Decider Guy gave up golf for them.

A short interview with documentarian Morgan Spurlock about his new project , Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?

FP: President Bush has said that he’s not all that concerned about finding Osama bin Laden at this point, and I know you interviewed some U.S. military personnel in the region for this film. From what you saw, is that their attitude as well?

MS: I think there is a concern, because you still have someone whose rhetoric does inspire people. The minute he puts out a tape or there’s some story that’s leaked about him, people get into fervor. It almost does become a call to action for a lot of people—a lot of extremists—in some of these countries. For me, I think there were multiple things that I found out. One is, of course, you should find this guy and he should be brought to justice.

McCain flip flops on Hamas

We don’t have to wait for the Rethuglican Swiftboaters to rev up their smear campaign Senators McCain has decided to launch his own Swiftboat style attacks filled with the kind of fact free flip flopping hypocrisy the United States of America has come to expect from the Republican Party. Conservatives continue to make it obvious they cannot win elections based on an honest discussion of the issues, Hypocrisy on Hamas – McCain Was for Talking Before He Was Against It

Two years ago, just after Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections, I interviewed McCain for the British network Sky News’s “World News Tonight” program. Here is the crucial part of our exchange:

I asked: “Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?”

McCain answered: “They’re the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it’s a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that.”

For some Europeans in Davos, Switzerland, where the interview took place, that’s a perfectly reasonable answer. But it is an unusual if not unique response for an American politician from either party. And it is most certainly not how the newly conservative presumptive Republican nominee would reply today.

Given that exchange, the new John McCain might say that Hamas should be rooting for the old John McCain to win the presidential election. The old John McCain, it appears, was ready to do business with a Hamas-led government, while both Clinton and Obama have said that Hamas must change its policies toward Israel and terrorism before it can have diplomatic relations with the United States.

Even if McCain had not favored doing business with Hamas two years ago, he had no business smearing Barack Obama. But given his stated position then, it is either the height of hypocrisy or a case of political amnesia for McCain to inject Hamas into the American election.

McCain has also tried to link Barack Obama to Iran’s Ahmadinejad and the dreaded a word appeasement – in Rethug World diplomacy and appeasement are the same thing; someone might want to let Merriam Webster know.. The problem is that if McCain wants to run his campaign as a four year extension of Bush’s foreign policy the senator might want to tell Bush’s Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to shut up, Boogeyman Foreign Policy

When asked to respond to McCain’s charge about Ahmadinejad, one of Obama’s senior advisers simply forwarded a comment by Defense Secretary Gates from today’s Washington Post. “We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage,” said Gates, “and then sit down and talk with them. If there is going to be a discussion, then they need something, too. We can’t go to a discussion and be completely the demander, with them not feeling that they need anything from us.” That’s Obama position, articulated by Bush’s defense secretary, say his aides. McCain’s Manichean view of negotiations, on the other hand, is the same one that bogged down the United States in the Middle East and squandered our international prestige. McCain doesn’t just share Bush’s policy positions on foreign affairs, goes this line of accusation—he shares his reckless neoconservative mindset.

If this is any indication it looks as though the coporate media is going to help McCain with the Swiftboating, Wash. Post’s Weisman, Shear repeated GOP’s false claim about Obama and Israel without providing context showing it was false

In a May 14 Washington Post article, staff writers Jonathan Weisman and Michael D. Shear wrote: “Republican surrogates have relentlessly tried to portray [Sen. Barack] Obama as anti-Israel, just this week plucking one sentence out of an extended interview with the Atlantic Monthly to accuse him of calling Israel ‘a constant sore’ that infects U.S. foreign policy.” But Republicans did not “pluck[] one sentence” out of the Atlantic interview; they plucked out two words, and Weisman and Shear did not provide the context in which Obama used the words “constant sore” to show readers that the attack is false. Indeed, in his May 12 interview with Atlantic magazine national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama used the words “constant wound” and “constant sore” in referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not Israel. Further, Weisman and Shear did not note the Obama campaign’s or Goldberg’s responses to the Republican attacks, both of which noted they are false.

Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics

We’ve all been down this road before. All the best minds in foreign policy look into their crystal ball and tell us what the future will bring,

Last March on “Meet the Press,” moderator Tim Russert asked Cheney: “If your analysis is not correct and we’re not treated as liberators but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, bloody battle with significant American casualties?”

Cheney replied: “Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators.”

Sure its stretch to call Dick Cheney a foreign policy expert, but its Republicans that have dragged down our national standards for such titles. We do live in a country where Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter are thought of as insightful pundits. These guys might be right or at least in the ball park, Desipte Bush’s Bizarre Ramblings, in 25 Years Iraq Will Probably Look More Like Lebanon Then A Neocon Wetdream of Democracy

And yet, whether the United States stays in Iraq or goes, “Lebanonization” is the most likely result: a foundering half-failed state where neighbors fight proxy battles through sectarian militias and through the many factions in a government that is unable to govern at all. There will be times of war when life seems to go on almost as normal, and times of peace when it seems not to. There will be spurts of investment, maybe even tourism. There will be festivals of democratic excitement. And then sudden storms of savage violence will sweep through the streets of the capital, only to subside, then erupt in smaller cities, and subside. And erupt again. And so it goes, to borrow the old refrain from Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Slaughterhouse Five.” If the world pays any attention at all, the span will be brief. The fighting and the failures to govern will have gone on so long that nothing seems new in that news.

The chances for meaningful reconstruction diminish by the day in such a place. The brains and talent needed to build the home country will, for the most part, be building other countries, having left over the years as much out of frustration as fear. The best, lacking all conviction that things can improve, will have established their own families in Abu Dhabi or New York—wherever there seems some modicum of sanity and a real commitment to the future, not just an endless settling of past scores.

Glenn Greenwald gets under Republican bloggers skin like few others so I’ll do my small part to help him sell some books, Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics

Glenn Greenwald puts this bogus GOP mythology under microscopic critique and successfully argues that none of these men is, in fact, a brave, strong moral warrior—far from it. Rather, most have dodged military duty, have strings of broken marriages and affairs, and live decadent, elitist lives, which they so ruthlessly condemn Democrats for doing. Such false archetypes—that GOP leaders are exclusively ?t to command the military, represent traditional family values, and are fiscally restrained and responsible because they’re just regular folk like us—are so firmly entrenched in our culture as to allow the GOP to sit back and let their time-tested marketing ploy spin itself silly while avoiding debate on real issues. When they actually do voice opinions, it’s nothing more than a smear campaign of the supposed weakness and elitism of the Democrats.
To prevent this tired marketing scheme from succeeding again, Greenwald takes off the gloves and knocks down the hoaxes and myths, exposing the tactics the right-wing machine uses to drown out both reality and consideration of real issues. But he also calls on Democrats to shake off the defensive posture (“We love America too,” “We support the troops too,” “We also believe in God”) and start attacking the Republican candidates for the hypocrites they, in truth, are.

The first book to dissect the Republican Cult of Personality and leave it openly exposed in its unabashed, shameful depravity, Great American Hypocrites is a deeply necessary call-out to Democrats to attack the GOP with their competitor’s very own weapons.

Wal-Mart’s “Faded Glory”

Faded Glory is not new. The brand has been around for decades, and though you can find numerous consumer complaints online about the fragile quality of the brand’s jeans and underwear, the line has been financially successful.

But changing circumstances have a way of twisting the irony knife. There’s always been some bitterness to be mined in the marketing paradox that clothing designed to trade off of images of Americana is overwhelmingly manufactured in places like Bangladesh and China.

I wore Levis or Lee jeans when I was a kid, but I remember the Faded label only it wasn’t owned by Wal-Mart so they must have bought the brand at some point. It figures that they would water down the quality in addition to having it made by non-union labor in the far east.

Kerry Swiftboater: “We Will Attack Obama Viciously”

“We will attack Obama viciously on all fair issues, whether they are national security, whether they are taxes or the economy,” promised Chris LaCivita, one of the Republican strategists behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that attacked Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry in 2004. LaCivita added: “At the end of the day, every individual has a right to participate in the political process whether John McCain likes it or not. It’s their constitutional right.”

Yes win nuts like Chris have the Constitutional right to lie, smear, distort and generally act like gutter trash, but the issue is how ethical is it for Chris and his reactionary cohorts to do so.

Sky Tram in Japan. For no particular reason other then yet another blog with nothing, but text can get boring.

Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics. ~ Jane Addams

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good.

Ah….ok….excuse me…..I was choking back a tear. We knew that Dubya sacrificed a trip to Vietnam to patrol Texas bars looking for Vietcong and now we learn that he has given up golf because it “sends the wrong” signal to continue to play during the occupation of Iraq. The again he might have made this brave sacrifice because his knees aren’t up to running or playing golf anymore. Another brick on the House of Bush legacy, pluming new depths of wussiness. VoteVets notes,

Bush actually played his last round of golf on October 13, 2003. This means that the reason he gave for quitting after the August 2003 U.N. bombing is dubious at best. More likely, he made the story up in a clumsy ploy to gain sympathy. In many regions and cultures around the world, this is called “lying.”

I realize that was a heart rendering story and many readers may not be prepared for another story on the depth of humanity that is Conservatism, Rumsfeld On 2006 Election: “The Correction For That…Is An Attack”

An ongoing exploration of the documents related to the Pentagon’s “message force multipliers” program has unearthed a clip of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld suggesting that America, having voted the Democrats back into Congressional power, could benefit from suffering another terrorist attack, and doing so in the presence of the very same military analysts who went on to provide commentary and analysis of the Iraq War.

As documented by Newsvine, it all went down at a valedictory luncheon Rumsfeld hosted for those analysts on December 12, 2006…

If that wasn’t bizarre enough Rummy made this observation, “This President’s pretty much a victim of success. We haven’t had an attack in five years.” Actually we did, it was called Katrina and unlike 9-11 when Bush just sit there reading My Pet Goat, he and Mike Brown had a little chat about fashion choices. Bush put boots on the ground in a situation that didn’t call for that type of response against a country that everyone has seen was hardly an international powerhouse as far as national security goes. Everyone should watch The Carrier. There is enough fire power on the Nimitz alone to level every major population area in Iraq. As a matter of fact from the early nineties to the beginning of Bush’s little game with the U.N. and weapons inspectors the Navy flew thousands of missions over Iraq without a single casualty. This is the nation that is a huge threat to America. Sure the wing-nuts think so because that Chicken-Little mentality runs deep on the Right.

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children. ~    Jimmy Carter  graduate of the United States Naval Academy and former president.

San Francisco Night Skyline wallpaper

San Francisco Night Skyline wallpaper

Canadian Fishing Village. A photo more then a wallpaper. When I was a kid I lived in a few south eastern coastal towns so photos of the coast and fishing boats bring back some nice memories.

General Petraeus has been called brilliant by so many people including former Democratic presidential candidate General Wes Clark that it would probably take me hours to run down all the quotes. If Wes Clark says the guys brilliant when it comes to counter insurgency tactics I tend to think there’s something to that declaration. Petraeus was in charge of the “surge”. He literally wrote the book on countering and subduing local insurgencies in which he claimed that the U.S. would need 25 soldiers for every 1000 Iraqis. The “surge” wasn’t anywhere near that. As Larry Beinhart points out we were about 380,000 short. The Bush Cult declared the surge a success and as recently as March 30,2008 a long time Bush dead ender declared the surge had even succeeded in Moqtada al-Sadr’s stronghold Basra. That was kind of strange since on April 20, 2008 amid some final concessions and ranting from Sadr, mostly American forces took over Basra. Some how out of all the dust that’s been kicked up it is supposed to look like something has been won. Only if winning in a no win situation is defined as not letting things get too much worse.

“We have gone from drowning to treading water,” said Biden, D-Delaware, who mounted an unsuccessful presidential campaign this year. “We are still spending $3 billion every week, and we are still losing … 30 to 40 American lives every month. We can’t keep treading water without exhausting ourselves, and that is what the president seems to be asking us to do.”

And the committee’s ranking Republican, Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, questioned how the military gains could be converted to a settlement that would allow U.S. withdrawals he said would be forced by strains on the U.S. armed services.

“Simply appealing for more time to make progress is insufficient,” Lugar said.

So why all the verbal confetti from the war dead enders; beacuse rather then a steep decline Iraq has reached a kind of equilibrium. Not getting better, but not falling behind. The “surge” has worked, though in a back handed kind of way that Bush knew it would because, well the brilliant General Petraeus wrote the book on what success required and knew what could be accomplished and what could not. The General knew he could not shape Iraq into a shining beacon of democracy in the Middle-Eeast. What he could do was give many Americans the illusion of progress…another few yards toward the goal line. But that is exactly what Bush and the General had planned; that it not look like Bush failed while the occupation of Iraq continued into the term of the next president,

The intent was to create a political situation in which we would stay, month by incremental month, until Bush was gone. Then someone else would have to withdraw.

Bush will then commit the propaganda mill he’s creating in the guise of a presidential library into pounding out the myth that had we stayed his course, we would have won, and his successor was responsible for the defeat. Plenty of others will join in. A fair number of people will believe it. As they currently believe the media and the hippies lost Vietnam. Which they did not. Bad policy, bad strategy, bad tactics, and a ferocious commitment of an enemy fighting on their home territory caused the US to lose that war.

You don’t need special powers to see into this future it is already being echoed by the Republican party in all the usual echo chambers. In the last year of this occupation all the deaths and spent tax dollars haven’t been about saving Iraq. We know from the history of Bush’s negligence toward Darfur and the Congo that human rights and saving lives is very low on his list of priorities. No the goal is to save Bush and the Republican party’s legacy – they can’t have history see them as the arrogant screw-ups they are. Its obviously going to be a story book legacy spun much like they spun the news that was spoon feed the American public through military analysts. What else could we expect from the movement that invented Saint Ronnie. It is not that they get the facts wrong, which they do, it is more that modern Conservatism the party of doublespeak doesn’t like facts. If McCain wins the next election, a long shot, but his victory would be the final nail in the coffin of the Reagan revolution. McBush will be the one that either redeploys the troops or stays for a hundred years. So if McBush wins moderate Americans can take some consulation in that as they try and cope with four more years of Bushnomics.

Very sad that yet another one of our esteemed leaders has come under the spell of Hamas, Lieberman: Obama’s Alleged Endorsement By Hamas Shows “Difference” With McCain

When Wolf Blitzer pointed out that Obama also labels Hamas a terrorist organization, making his position the same as McCain’s, Lieberman said, “that’s true,” adding that Obama “clearly doesn’t support any of the values and goals of Hamas.”

Then, with depressing predictability, came the inevitable caveat:

But the fact that the spokesperson for Hamas would say they would welcome the election of Senator Obama really does raise the question, “Why?”

And it suggests the difference between these two candidates.

So Lieberman thinks that statements and endorsements made by any and all wacky foreign entities should be utmost on every voter’s mind before they leave a hanging chad. So did Joementum vote for Kerry in 2004, Osama Endorses Bush!

The declaration turned its attention to President Bush, saying: “A word for the foolish Bush. We are very keen that you do not lose in the forthcoming elections as we know very well that any big attack can bring down your government and this is what we do not want.

“We cannot get anyone who is more foolish than you, who deals with matters with force instead of wisdom and diplomacy.

“Your stupidity and religious extremism is what we want as our people will not awaken from their deep sleep except when there is an enemy.

“Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilisation.

“Because of this we desire you [Bush] to be elected.”

By Lieberman and McCain’s logic a vote for Bush in 2004 was a vote for Osama Bin laden and Al Qaeda. Since Bin Laden is still running around free maybe they’re on to something.