Saturday, June 2, 2007

Congressional Dems Will Lose In 2008?

We strongly doubt this, however it does point to the furstration of progressives. liberals and anyone else who honestly believed, on election night, that the Democrats really had a workable majority.

They do not.

Democrats Have Lost 2008 - Wonder if they know
A. Alexander,
May 31st, 2007

A political party's base wins or loses elections. The Republicans figured that out more than 40 years ago. Democrats, incredibly, remain stubbornly and willfully ignorant. One is left to wonder whether or not the Democratic Leadership Council-sponsored (DLC) DC Democrats have realized yet, that their unfettered war-funding disaster has already cost them the 2008 Congressional elections?

Probably not, because the DC Democrats have condemned themselves to the DLC's delusional belief that a nonexistent entity called the "sensible center" wins and loses elections. The "sensible center" concept sounds great and would be purely wonderful...if it actually existed. It doesn't exist...well, except for in the mind of the delusional DLC.

The nonexistent "sensible center" is the same "sensible center" that the DLC told Democrats the party needed to placate in order to win in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004 - each year, of course, proved a stunning Congressional election defeat for the Democratic Party.

Only in 2006, when the base physically disconnected the DC Democrats from the DLC's grip, did the party experience victory.

Unfortunately, DC Democrats appear to be addicted to the DLC and, by default, to losing. The truly unforgivable transgression wasn't so much that the Democrats surrendered to Mister Bush on funding for the Iraq War, as much as it is that they recklessly and foolishly entered into a political battle that they had no intention of trying to winning.

Worse yet, Democrats entered into the game of political chicken pretending that they were actually going to stand up to a stubborn, despised, and dangerous president. And that was never their plan.

It was, perhaps, one of the most amateurish and reckless political gambits ever witnessed in the history of the United States.

Politics is often about expectations. A party usually tries to lower expectations when they know a cause is lost and conversely, parties make an effort to rev up expectations when they know victory is certain. In their pretended fight with Mister Bush over war-funding, Democrats went out of their way to heighten expectations.

On several occasions, the Democrats had assured the nation that Mister Bush would receive "no more blank checks." And then, when the dust settled, the Democrats wrote Mister Bush a blank check.The Democratic Party's war-funding scheme was disingenuous, incompetently handled and amateurish in conception and execution. At the end of the day, all the Democrats managed to do was alienate their base. And in the doing, they lost the 2008 elections.

One wonders whether or not that reality has yet occurred to the DLC-sponsored DC Democrats?

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Global Warmimg: A Good Thing?


George W Bush and his happy cabal of greedy, corporate idiots should not be allowed to run a county in the wilds of northern Canada, let alone the U.S.A.

George W. Bush snared front-page attention for his supposed shift on global warming, but the President’s tepid “aspirational goals” – and comments from his NASA chief that a hotter planet might actually be beneficial – continue to reflect Bush’s long-held doubts about the urgency of the problem.

Since running for the presidency in 2000, Bush has justified his foot-dragging on the issue, in part, through reliance on coal-industry-financed research embracing the same notion expressed by Bush’s NASA administrator Michael Griffin, that global warming may turn out to be a good thing.

For instance, in a major energy policy address on September 29, 2000, candidate Bush turned to research from the Greening Earth Society, a think tank financed by the Western Fuels Association, a cooperative owned by seven coal-burning utilities.

In the speech, Bush offered the surprising assessment that technological breakthroughs, such as the Internet, were draining the nation’s electrical grid and required construction of many new power plants, including coal-fired generators.

“Today, the equipment needed to power the Internet consumes 8 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States,” Bush declared, an assertion that drew little press attention but astounded many energy experts who consider the Internet and similar advances, on balance, a way to improve productivity and reduce energy demands.

But there was another level to Bush’s Internet claim, a peculiar relationship between Bush and the Greening Earth Society, which produced the dubious data and endorses the view that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – and the global warming it would produce – are good for the earth.

Bush’s Internet energy figure could be traced to a 1999 study entitled “The Internet Begins with Coal,” written by Mark Mills, president of Mills McCarthy & Associates Inc. Based on Mills’s calculations, the study stated, “The electricity appetite of the equipment on the Internet has grown from essentially nothing 10 years ago to 8 percent of the total U.S. electricity consumption today.”

Though Bush cited Mills’s 8 percent figure as fact, the estimate was vigorously challenged by many energy experts who put the Internet’s demand at only about 1 percent of U.S. electricity, even before considering energy savings from such altered habits as shoppers buying online.

According to a summary of Mills’s report, his Internet project grew “out of an inquiry by Greening Earth Society president Fred Palmer.” Mills also was listed as a scientific adviser to the Greening Earth Society.

Loving Carbon Dioxide

In a report entitled “The CO2 Issue,” the Greening Earth Society painted a rosy picture of the global warming brought about by greenhouse gases: “Evidence of very modest nighttime winter warming, robust plant growth, rejuvenating forests and ample harvests abounds.”

Greening Earth Society president Palmer also was chief executive of the Western Fuels Association, a cooperative which delivered 22.7 million tons of coal to member utilities in 1999, according to its annual report.

In its 2000 annual report, Western Fuels condemned the “anti-coal activities” of the Clinton-Gore administration. The report also criticized efforts to address the problem of global warming through the international agreement, reached in Kyoto, Japan, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

While the national press corps took little note of where the Republican presidential candidate was getting his data, environmentalists were alarmed because Bush seemed to be embracing the coal industry’s propaganda. [For our coverage of this issue in 2000, see’s “Bush, Coal & the Internet.”]

Environmentalists consider coal a major polluter of the land, water and air – as well as a principal source of greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Energy Department estimated that burning coal then released 36 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

Even in 2000, there was widespread agreement in the scientific community that sudden and drastic climate change would have a devastating impact on the earth’s environment. From rising sea levels to sudden changes in habitats for wildlife to more extreme weather patterns, droughts in some places, floods in others, the warning signs were clear.

Nevertheless, Bush chose to listen to industry-funded naysayers who downplayed the threat. His campaign’s position simply called for more “research into the causes and impact of global warming” while promoting only modest initiatives to develop alternative energy sources and energy efficiency.

Now, almost seven years later, with the scientific consensus on global warming even stronger and with U.S. allies pressing for action, Bush announced that he was prepared to take command of the issue.

“In recent years, science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it,” Bush declared in a speech on May 31. “The United States takes this issue seriously.”

Bush said he would lead discussions with other industrialized nations on setting what would appear to be voluntary standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the long term.

‘Aspirational Goals’

Bush’s White House environmental adviser, James L. Connaughton, said the countries would be called on to set “aspirational goals.”

“Each country will develop its own national strategies on a midterm basis in the next 10 to 20 years on where they want to take their efforts to improve energy security, reduce air pollution and also reduce greenhouse gases,” said Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

In a National Public Radio interview broadcast the same day, Bush’s NASA chief Griffin indicated that his own “aspirational goal” might be to do nothing as he voiced support for the Greening Earth Society’s view that global warming and the melting ice caps might turn out to be a positive.

“I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with,” Griffin said. “To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of earth’s climate today is the optimal climate. … I guess I would ask which human beings, where and when, are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now, is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.”

Given the administration’s mixed messages and the fuzziness of Bush’s plan, many environmental groups reacted skeptically. Some critics suggested that Bush was doing little more than paying lip service to a grave problem.

Nevertheless, Bush’s speech earned respectable coverage as the lead story of the Washington Post on June 1, with the headline “Bush Signals Shift on Warming” and with critical reactions confined to the jump on an inside page.

The New York Times also led its editions with Bush’s speech, declaring “Bush Proposes Goal to Reduce Greenhouse Gases.” The Times did include some environmentalist criticism of Bush’s announcement on Page One, including concerns that Bush offered no clear indication of “what steps the United States would take to limit emissions over the next 10 to 20 years.”

Perhaps more timely coverage of where Bush was getting his information – back during Campaign 2000 – would have alerted more voters to the global risk that Bush represented when the other leading candidate was Al Gore.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Fred Thompson, In Brief......

Actor/Politician Fred Thompson May Run for President in 2008

Ties to "Scooter" Libby, a failed S&L Crisis and a public misinformation campaign trail the man who might throw his hat in the ring for President.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The national spotlights are on Fred Thompson, and rumors are flying that the Law and Order actor could be the new shining star of the GOP. He announced on Fox News Sunday that he may throw his hat in the ring as a Republican candidate for the 2008 Presidential race.

The party's presidential candidates so far, are anything but a dazzling bunch in comparison, engaged as many seem to be in a slow motion race to demonstrate just who most closely meets the criteria of the nation's most right-leaning religious organizations. Others, like pro choice Rudy Giulani and Maverick switch hitter John McCain, seem to be marching to the beat of a different drummer, while Mitt Romney continues to keep his cool during personal assaults primarily directed at his Mormon faith.

It's kind of a mess, politically, and nobody seems particularly enthralled with any of the candidates, even if many bring good qualifications to the table. The whole group just seems too stuffy, largely reminiscent of many who stood in their place before bailing out of the race altogether.

Thompson brings a rich screen history that began after his role as an attorney in bringing down then Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton In 1977, Thompson took on a Tennessee Parole Board case that ultimately toppled Tennessee Governor from power on charges over selling pardons.
An interview over his actual participation in the event spurred a producer to ask him if he would play himself. He agreed, and his list of movies since then includes releases such as Barbarians at the Gate, In the Line of Fire, and The Hunt for Red October. He is known today for his role on the widely popular TV show, Law and Order.

Some staunch conservatives are going to find this candidate ideal, as he seems to carry many of the attributes and values of standing President George W. Bush and his administration's policies are something he had fought for.

In fact, Thompson went so far as to be featured in a March 2003 commercial by the conservative group Citizens United that advocated the invasion of Iraq, stating: "When people ask what has Saddam done to us, I ask, what had the 9/11 hijackers done to us -- before 9/11"
History is not always a friend, and it now shows that the Iraqi people and even their notorious leader Saddam Hussein, had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11, carried out almost completely by people from Saudi Arabia.

In 1982, Thompson was one of the lobbyists who was after U.S. Congress to pass the Savings and Loan deregulation legislation that allowed for additional government support of ailing S&Ls, and was a major contributing factor in the subsequent Savings and Loan crisis in the late 1980s.
Thompson's political experience grew when he was appointed to an "informal position" by President George W. Bush to help guide the nomination of John Roberts through the United States Senate confirmation process after the retirement of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 2005.

In 2006 he served on the advisory board of the legal defense fund for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr, who was indicted and later convicted of lying to federal investigators during their investigation of the Valerie Plame affair.

But maybe another Hollywood actor is what the Republican party needs for a U.S. President this time, again. The visibility factor is huge and star appeal seems to work particularly well in California, but nationally as well.

The last Hollywood President, Ronald Reagan, left a highly criticized legacy with his policies that became known as "Reganonomics". While his decisions helped many, they also dissolved the infrastructure of a large aspect of the American healthcare system.

"Reganonomics" moved money away from mental health programs to boost American business that was sagging in the wake of the Vietnam War. To this day, a growing homeless situation all across the nation is attributed to Reagan's policies as a national leader.

Another side of Thompson, perhaps his most famous, came when he was an attorney during the Watergate Hearings, when he served as co-chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in its investigation of the Watergate scandal in 1973 and 1974.

He is remembered for his role in urging Howard Baker, the influential ranking minority member of the Senate committee investigating Watergate, to deliver a question that is said to have contributed directly to the downfall of President Richard Nixon— "What did the President know, and when did he know it?" Thompson's voice has become immortalized in the recordings of the Watergate proceedings, in which he asks the key question, "Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?

So, Thompson is an actor, a lawyer, a man who implied that Iraq attacked our country September 11th, and he helped fall President Richard Nixon, the Republican who ended the Vietnam War.

It seems he is that and a lot more. Thompson recently criticized controversial filmmaker Michael Moore's visit to Cuba, where he shot a scene for his latest movie. The interesting part is that Michael Moore offered in response to publicly debate Thompson.

Thompson declined the opportunity to set the record straight in a face to face manner with the notorious Michael Moore. It appears the Hollywood approach is Thompson's way of answering the call. He made a video and posted it on the Internet as a response to Moore's challenge.
In declining to debate Moore, the actor used the video to mention Cuban filmmaker Nicolás Guillén, who was jailed by the Cuban government and allegedly subjected to electroconvulsive therapy.

Critics shot back at Thompson for backing a government that is behind incidents such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, where numerous incidents of torture are documented at the hands of U.S. military forces and contractors.

The Weekly Standard reported today that Thompson will set up a "testing-the-waters" committee that will begin accepting contributions on June 4th. Also on May 30th, The Politico reported that Thompson plans to enter the presidential race over the Independence Day weekend. But a Thompson associate quoted in The Hillary Spot said "there will not be a presidential announcement from Fred Thompson on July 4th."

The Advocate News and Politics says it 's hardly a stretch to imagine Fred Thompson as president. After all, he's played the role in movies, his imposing 6-foot-5 stature and Southern-tinged commanding voice creating the illusion.

Fred Thompson describes himself as a Conservative. He has said Federalism is his guiding principle.

"Our government, under our Constitution, was established upon the principles of Federalism -- that the federal government would have limited enumerated powers and the rest would be left to the states. It not only prevented tyranny, it just made good sense. States become laboratories for democracy and experiment with different kinds of laws. One state might try one welfare reform approach, for example. Another state might try another approach. One would work and the other would not. The federal welfare reform law resulted from just this process."

He says Federalism also allows for the diversity that exists among the country's people. "Citizens of our various states have different views as to how traditional state responsibilities should be handled. This way, states compete with each other to attract people and businesses -- and that is a good thing."

Special thanks to Wikipedia for information in this report.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Griffin To Resign As U.S. Attorney, Arkansas

The buzz is that Griffin has an offer from Fred Thompson' campaign. Guess Fred can't make it without Rove's man, Mr. Vote Caging.

Me thinks it would be bad for Thompson if Mr Griffin gets arrested during his campaign, but who cares, really?

If Fred thinks that hiring a Rover protege will be good for his camapign, he doesn't have good enough judgement to be president.

But it isn't just Thompson, is it? It seems that all of Washington has gone tone deaf, if not stone deaf.

I have a feeling that something very strange is going on; strange even for Washington.....

Griffin To Resign Friday, Congressional Staffers Say
By Peggy Harris
The Associated Press
Wednesday 30 May 2007

Little Rock - Tim Griffin, the federal prosecutor in Arkansas whose appointment was among those that led to calls for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, is resigning Friday, spokesmen for Arkansas congressional members said.

Griffin, a former assistant to President Bush's top political adviser Karl Rove, stepped in as interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas in December, replacing U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins.

Cummins, a well-respected prosecutor, was one of eight U.S. attorneys who were fired over the winter, leading to accusations of White House meddling in federal law enforcement. U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., was particularly infuriated that the White House had skirted the Senate confirmation process in appointing Griffin.

Wednesday, Pryor spokesman Michael Teague said the Justice Department informed the senator's chief of staff late that day that Griffin would resign Friday and that First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Duke, who also worked under Cummins, would become acting U.S. attorney.

"This is a positive development, and Senator Pryor looks forward to restoring creditable leadership to the U.S. attorney's office," Teague said. "It is long overdue."

Griffin, who has said he would not seek Senate confirmation to the post permanently, would not say whether he was resigning. He said he might have an announcement today "with some specifics." He had no further comment.

In March, 3rd District Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, provided the White House with the names of three people whom he considered suitable for the U.S. attorney's post in Arkansas. Boozman consulted with Pryor and Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., in making his recommendations.

Matt Sagely, Boozman's chief of staff , said Wednesday he learned from the White House that Griffin would resign Friday and be replaced by Duke. Sagely said he was sure Griffin's decision was strictly voluntary.

"I don't think it had anything to do at all with the administration saying, 'Yeah, we need to appoint an interim and you need to be gone by June 1," Sagely said. "I think as we're working through the process of his replacement, he's just been out and doing what he should do and that is talking to people about jobs and trying to find his next step.

"He's a guy that knows a lot of people and is going to do very well after this," Sagely said.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Two Major Parties: No Profiles In Courage Here.

Editor's Note: Since 2002, Democratic consultants have been whispering in the ears of party leaders to give George W. Bush what he wants on the Iraq War as a way to avoid accusations that they are "soft" or "unpatriotic" or "against the troops." The results of those calculations can now be measured in the growing lists of dead and wounded as well as in the Democrats' plummeting poll numbers.

In this guest essay, political analyst Brent Budowsky traces this thinking and its consequences:

Now we read in the Boston Globe how John Kerry, preparing to campaign to be Commander in Chief, voted in 2002 for the Iraq War after his political consultants informed the would-be leader of the free world that he would not be “politically viable” unless he voted yes.

This followed the disclosure that Bob Shrum advised John Edwards to send young men and women to die as a way of improving his weak national-security resume in 2002.

Why Democratic officials listen to this is beyond me.

Here are the presidential campaigns that Bob Shrum lost: 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004. Here are the presidential campaigns Mr. Shrum won: none.

Nice work, if you can get it.

By the way, Republican consultants are no better. They loved the Iraq War when they could use it to run television ads, accusing Democrats of being unpatriotic. Now they are reduced to gibberish about “surrender dates” while their members run to the White House and whine to the President, waving their polls, then vote for it again.

From the moment of the Democratic victory in the congressional elections of 2006, many of these Democratic consultants told party leaders that it would be wrong to make a powerful and principled stand against the Iraq War policy.

The majority consultant view was summed up early in the Democratic Congress by Celinda Lake, quoted in the Washington Post as believing that Democrats were not elected to solve the Iraq War, and that waging a politically heroic fight for change would be a distraction.

Think about it, folks: The Democratic 2000 nominee for vice president (Joe Lieberman) is one of America’s leading neoconservative theoreticians in favor of the war. The Democratic leaders in 2002 joined Messrs. Cheney and Perle in advocacy of the war.

The Democratic nominees for president and vice president in 2004 (John Kerry and John Edwards) both supported the Iraq War in 2002 after hearing the voice of the consultant class. They then lost an election they should have won through vacillation on the war, made famous by the quote about what one voted for before one voted against.

From the beginning, at every stage, Democrats did better in elections, to the exact degree that they spoke out strongly. In 2002, they voted for the war and lost. In 2004, they moved daintily in opposition and did better, but lost again. In 2006, they took their strongest position yet, and won, and Democrats in Congress surged ahead of the Republican Congress and Republican
President in early 2007 opinion polls.

Enter the Democratic consultants.

Here, again, is their handiwork. We entered 2007 with one of the most unpopular presidents in history and one of the most unpopular Republican Congresses in history. Now, after a few short months of not fighting courageously for change, the Democratic Congress shows up in polls as equally unpopular as George W. Bush.

Great work.

Here are some truths that you haven’t read yet in the Washington Post or The Hill or seen on the cable talkies, though you will.

The Democratic consultant class likes the Iraq War because it gives Democrats the chance to play pretend with non-binding actions, issue talking points about how they fought to change the policy, then lose everything in the end, at which point they can blame the Republicans for the war.

The majority view of Democratic consultants is they don’t want to win a change in policy, because then they have ownership. They want to look like they tried, then lose, and then blame Republicans for the war.

Morally speaking, this is dead wrong; in politics, this is half-right. Here is something else you have not seen from the pundit class, but it’s true, and you will. There is a gigantic difference in the objective political interest between Senate Democrats and House Democrats.

With 21 Senate Republicans running for reelection, the Democrats will pick up seats. There is a chance the Democrats pick up many seats, based purely on the math.

The Bob Shrum award for lack of courage and principle on war votes, coupled with an uncanny ability to lose elections, goes to the Senate Republicans. They support a war that few privately believe in, and commit political hari-kari by doing so. Anyone who believes “we can work this out in September” is dreaming.

On the House side, with an overwhelming majority of Americans loathing this war, the vulnerability is in the freshman class of new Democrats and those Democrats who won narrow victories. Their objective interest politically is doing far more than the current Congress for troops and vets and offering principled opposition to the hated status quo.

Projecting current trends, it is very possible that Democrats increase their margin in the Senate while losing control of the House. Remember where you heard it first.

Here’s my view, as an unyielding opponent of the war policy and unyielding supporter of troops and vets: Who cares about the politics? War is a moral and patriotic matter that should be decided on the grounds of high principle and high honor.

We have just ended one election, which neither party now honors with regard to Iraq, and the next election is about a year and a half away.

Here is the state of play, rounding off the numbers. Seventy percent of the American people disapprove of the current policy; disapprove of President Bush; disapprove of Republicans in Congress; and now disapprove of the Democratic Congress.

It is America versus Washington.

On matters of patriotism, honor, war and peace, reasonable people can disagree about the policy. What is extraordinary and unique in my experience is that on this matter the truth is that 98 percent of Democrats in Congress, 70 percent of Republicans in Congress, perhaps 100 percent of the Joint Chiefs of Staff strongly oppose the current policy in private but then act to continue it in public.

On the most authoritative poll, in Military Times, the president’s popularity among active-duty troops in the military is under 40 percent. Think about it.

Meanwhile, the Marine Corps makes an urgent appeal for life-saving equipment in 2005, which is 90 percent held in contempt, i.e. ignored, by the very politicians who vote for a war they don’t believe in, then give Memorial Day speeches proclaiming their love for the troops.

Who do they think they’re kidding?

It is America versus Washington, and what Washington insiders don’t get is this: When 70 percent disapprove of them all, and they issue talking points proclaiming their own greatness, all this does is make Americans disapprove of them even more strongly.

On all issues involving the war and the troops, we have the most educated Americans in history. They cannot be fooled; politicians who insult them, with obviously untrue talking points, do so at their peril.

Here’s my advice: First, tell the truth. Second, support the troops and vets in ways that are far more comprehensive and honorable than what either party is doing today. Third, fight like hell to change the policy.

When Washington begins to respect America, Americans will no longer feel 70 percent disrespect for both parties in Washington.

The way to win the election in 2008 is to respect the election of 2006.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen on intelligence issues, and served as Legislative Director to Rep. Bill Alexander when he was Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Leadership. Budowsky can be reached at

(A version of this story originally appeared at The Hill.)

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Former Iranian Defense Minister Held In D.C.

Sources have reported that former Iranian Defense Minister Ali Reza Asghari, who disappeared on December 9, 2006 in Istanbul while on an "olive oil marketing" trip to Syria and Turkey, is being held against his will by U.S. intelligence in the Washington, DC area.

Asghari, who was apparently kidnapped in Istanbul by covert U.S. agents, with the approval of Turkey's intelligence service, is a retired Revolutionary Guards general. Espionage charges brought against three U.S.-Iranian citizens in Iran -- Haleh Esfandiari of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Kian Tajbaksh of George Soros' Open Society Institute, and Pamaz Azima of the U.S.-government's Radio Farda -- may be a gambit to arrange for the exchange of the three Iranian-Americans for Asghari and other Iranians detained by U.S. forces in Iraq.

Asghari's wife in Tehran, as well as the Iranian govenment, have repeatedly asked the Turkish embassy in Tehran for information about her husband.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Attorney Firings: It Just Gets Worse....

Minnesota case fits pattern in U.S. attorneys flap

A prosecutor apparently targeted for firing had supported Native American voters' rights.

By Tom Hamburger
Times Staff Writer
May 31, 2007

WASHINGTON — For more than 15 years, clean-cut, square-jawed Tom Heffelfinger was the embodiment of a tough Republican prosecutor. Named U.S. attorney for Minnesota in 1991, he won a series of high-profile white-collar crime and gun and explosives cases. By the time Heffelfinger resigned last year, his office had collected a string of awards and commendations from the Justice Department.

So it came as a surprise — and something of a mystery — when he turned up on a list of U.S. attorneys who had been targeted for firing.

Part of the reason, government documents and other evidence suggest, is that he tried to protect voting rights for Native Americans.

At a time when GOP activists wanted U.S. attorneys to concentrate on pursuing voter fraud cases, Heffelfinger's office was expressing deep concern about the effect of a state directive that could have the effect of discouraging Indians in Minnesota from casting ballots.

Citing requirements in a new state election law, Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer directed that tribal ID cards could not be used for voter identification by Native Americans living off reservations. Heffelfinger and his staff feared that the ruling could result in discrimination against Indian voters. Many do not have driver's licenses or forms of identification other than the tribes' photo IDs.

Kiffmeyer said she was only following the law.The issue was politically sensitive because the Indian vote can be pivotal in close elections in Minnesota. The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has one of the largest urban Native American populations in the United States. Its members turn out in relatively large numbers and are predominantly Democratic.

Heffelfinger resigned last year for personal reasons and says he had no idea he was being targeted for possible firing. But his stance fits a pattern that has emerged in the cases of several U.S. attorneys fired last year in states where Republicans wanted more vigorous efforts to legally challenge questionable voters.

Politics have always played a role at Justice and other Cabinet-level departments. But, critics say, Bush administration strategists went beyond most of their predecessors — Democratic or Republican — in seeking ways to convert control of the federal government into advantages on election day.

And the Heffelfinger episode has contributed to a backlash among some Minnesota Republicans.

Sen. Norm Coleman, a Bush loyalist in the past who is facing reelection next year, has called on Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales to resign — largely as a result of the U.S. attorney firings and the revelations about Heffelfinger.

A hint at why Heffelfinger's name was on termination lists that Justice Department officials and Bush political strategists put together emerged when Monica M. Goodling, the department's former White House liaison, testified last week before the House Judiciary Committee about the firings.

Goodling said she had heard Heffelfinger criticized for "spending an excessive amount of time" on Native American issues. Her comment caused bewilderment and anger among the former U.S. attorney's supporters in Minnesota. And Heffelfinger said it was "shameful" if the time he spent on the problems of Native Americans had landed him in trouble with his superiors in Washington.

But newly obtained documents and interviews with government officials suggest that what displeased some of his superiors and GOP politicians was narrower and more politically charged — his actions on Indian voting.

About three months after Heffelfinger's office raised the issue of tribal ID cards and nonreservation Indians in an October 2004 memo, his name appeared on a list of U.S. attorneys singled out for possible firing."I have come to the conclusion that his expressed concern for Indian voting rights is at least part of the reason that Tom Heffelfinger was placed on the list to be fired," said Joseph D. Rich, former head of the voting section of the Justice Department's civil rights division. Rich, who retired in 2005 after 37 years as a career department lawyer — 24 of them in Republican administrations — was closely involved in the Minnesota ID issue. He played no role in drafting the termination lists, which were prepared by political appointees.

Justice Department officials refused Tuesday to confirm whether particular U.S. attorneys may or may not have been on one of the termination lists prepared by D. Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff to Gonzales. But Dean Boyd, a department spokesman, did say that "the Justice Department and the attorney general have been and remain committed to working on issues of importance to Native Americans."

Boyd cited cases in which Justice Department lawyers have gone to court to uphold Indian voting rights.

Suspicion of Indian voter fraud was strong among Republicans in the upper Midwest in advance of the 2004 election. The GOP blamed what it said was fraud on Indian reservations for the narrow victory of South Dakota Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson over Republican candidate John Thune in 2002.

It was in this environment, Rich says, that he got an Oct. 19, 2004, e-mail from an assistant U.S. attorney in Minnesota named Rob Lewis, informing him about possible voter discrimination against Indians.

Described as a matter of "deep concern" to Heffelfinger, the issue arose from Kiffmeyer's directive in the fall of 2004 that tribal ID cards could not be used for voter identification off reservationsAbout 32,000 Indians live off-reservation in Minnesota, mostly in the Twin Cities.

In the e-mail — which Rich described to The Times — Lewis wrote that Kiffmeyer's memo had sparked "concerns regarding possible disparate impact among the state's substantial Indian population."

"Disparate impact" is a term used in civil rights litigation to describe a circumstantial case of discrimination.After reviewing the matter, Rich recommended opening an investigation.In response, he said, Bradley Schlozman, a political appointee in the department, told Rich "not to do anything without his approval" because of the "special sensitivity of this matter."

Rich responded by suggesting that more information be gathered from voting officials in the Twin Cities area, which includes Minnesota's two most populous counties.A message came back from another Republican official in the department, Hans von Spakovsky, saying Rich should not contact the county officials but should instead deal only with the secretary of state's office.

Von Spakovsky indicated, Rich said, that working with Kiffmeyer's office reduced the likelihood of a leak to the news media.The orders from Schlozman and Von Spakovsky, who wielded unusual power in the civil rights division, effectively ended any department inquiry, Rich said."It was apparent to me that because of these extremely tight and unusual restrictions on the investigation that this matter had political implications," Rich said in an interview.

Rich is now working for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which was formed at the request of President Kennedy in 1963 to combat discrimination.

Schlozman, who served briefly as U.S. attorney in Missouri and brought a voting fraud case shortly before election day last year, was not available for comment, Justice Department officials said. Von Spakovsky, now at the Federal Election Commission, said through a spokesman that he could not comment.Kiffmeyer also did not respond to requests for comment.

With the Justice Department inquiry going nowhere, lawyers for the Indians asked the federal courts to intervene. A few days before the November 2004 election, federal District Judge James Rosenbaum ordered that tribal identification cards be accepted at the polls.

After Heffelfinger resigned, the Justice Department replaced him with someone more attuned to the administration's views.

On his way out, Heffelfinger recommended that Joan Humes, the No. 2 person in the office, be named interim U.S. attorney. But Humes was rejected by the Justice Department — in part, Goodling testified, because she was known to be a "liberal.

"The job went to a conservative Justice Department employee, Rachel Paulose. She had Ivy League credentials, brief experience as a prosecutor, and as a private lawyer had helped bring election lawsuits on behalf of the Minnesota GOP. She declined to comment for this article.

One of Paulose's first acts in office was to remove Lewis, who had written the 2004 e-mails to Washington expressing concern about Native American voting rights in Minnesota, from overseeing voting rights cases.

For his part, Heffelfinger said, he took Goodling at her word and believed that he was on the termination lists for his zeal in confronting problems facing Indian country. But Heffelfinger said he did not know whether voting rights in particular affected his standing with Washington."I was just flagging an issue and giving an opinion," he said. "I think that's the kind of analysis a U.S. attorney is supposed to do."*

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Aw Gawd, Is It Gonna Be "Morning In America" Again?

C'mon, people!

We really cannot do this again. Not now!

(Then again...why not? We have no freakin' credibility anyhow. Why not elect the D.A. from "Law and Order?" Have there been any episodes about terrorism? Wait! Why not just elect Keefer Sutherland and be done with it?)

If Americans have any sense at all, and after the last 6 1/2 years that is doubtful, we will elect someone who can deal with a full-blown economic, domestic crisis, because that is what we are going to need by then, if not before. That, in my expeience, cannot be any Republican I have ever known.

The Leading Role

By Sridhar Pappu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 31, 2007; C01

There's a moment in "Back to the Future" when Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly shows up at the home of Dr. Emmett Brown, whose DeLorean time machine has rocketed McFly from 1985 to 1955. Wary of McFly's story, Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, says, "Tell me, Future Boy, who's president in the United States in 1985?"

When McFly responds, "Ronald Reagan," Brown goes on a rant.

"Ronald Reagan? The actor?" he screams as he tries to run away from McFly. "Then who's vice president? Jerry Lewis? I suppose Jane Wyman is the first lady! And Jack Benny, the secretary of the Treasury."

Finally, everyone's favorite whacked-out scientist says, "I've had enough practical jokes for one evening. Good night, Future Boy!"

Well, it's morning again in America. With Fred Thompson deciding to read for the part of Republican presidential nominee, we thought we'd see how the pickup-driving former senator and "Law & Order" star stacked up against others who used their SAG cards to gain political favor.

Helen Gahagan Douglas

ROLES: Okay, there's only one. Despite being a presence on Broadway during the 1920s, her lone appearance on the screen came in the 1935 movie "She," in which she played the master of a lost city. Her performance is said to have inspired the depiction of the evil queen in the animated "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

OFFICE WON: Served three terms in the House, representing that promised land for actors -- California.

POLITICAL LEGACY: Helping spread the use of "Tricky Dick" in reference to Nixon while unsuccessfully running against him in the 1950 Senate race.

George Murphy

ROLES: A career supporting actor, he's probably best remembered dancing with July Garland in the 1942 movie "For Me and My Gal." The very poor man's Fred Astaire also had an appearance in the Shirley Temple classic "Little Miss Broadway."

OFFICE WON: Murphy was a senator from California from 1965 to 1971.

POLITICAL LEGACY: One could argue that it was Murphy who -- for better or worse -- gave us Dutch, who gave us the Governator. A song-and-dance man in the very literal sense, Murphy used his role as president of the Screen Actors Guild to build a power base before becoming chairman of the California Republican State Central Committee.

Ronald Reagan

ROLES: You saw this one coming like a fastball from a Nats starting pitcher. Of course there's "Knute Rockne All American," where Reagan plays the legendary George Gipp, whose on-screen death inspired a thousand bad speeches from high school football coaches. But we prefer his portrayal of Prof. Peter Boyd in "Bedtime for Bonzo."

OFFICE(S) WON: Onetime Democrat Reagan first won the governorship of California as a Republican before serving two terms as president, from 1981 to 1989.

POLITICAL LEGACY: Yeah, like we're really walking into this minefield. Let's just say that during his presidency we saw the advent of parachute pants, the greatest sitcom ever made ("Punky Brewster") and the best pop album ever -- Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Arnold Schwarzenegger

ROLES: Where do we start? "The Terminator"? "Conan the Barbarian"? "Conan the Destroyer"? We prefer his starring part in "Twins" as Danny DeVito's brother. A short guy and a muscular marvel sharing the same mom and wearing matching suits? Get me Reitman!

OFFICE WON: Schwarzenegger, perhaps the only Republican to marry a Kennedy, first came to office after defeating Gray Davis in a 2003 recall election and was reelected in 2006.

POLITICAL LEGACY: During the 2007 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, he was one of the few people Rich Little impersonated who were actually alive.

Sonny Bono

ROLES: Well, Sonny Bono. As a man who gave hope to millions of height-challenged men, he and then-wife Cher brought humor and song into our lives with their variety show. But it's his heroic effort in "Battle of the Network Stars II" in 1977 that inspired millions.

OFFICE WON: Republican member of the California delegation in the House.

POLITICAL LEGACY: The passage of the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 that prolonged the terms of U.S. copyrights by 20 years. Somewhere Walt Disney is still smiling.Clint Eastwood

ROLES: Like Arnold and Reagan, there's a lot to list. Do you go with any of his portrayals in spaghetti westerns? Or how about Dirty Harry? Or would you prefer the more mature Eastwood playing the tortured William "Bill" Munny in "Unforgiven"? Or Hilary Swank's trainer in "Million Dollar Baby"?

OFFICE WON: The 1986 mayoral election in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.

POLITICAL LEGACY: Earned his Republican bona fides by repealing restrictions against -- get this -- selling ice-cream cones.

Fred Grandy

ROLES: Gopher from "The Love Boat." Come aboard, we're expecting you!

OFFICE WON: U.S. representative from Iowa.

POLITICAL LEGACY: A Republican, he sponsored a bill that turned over the bar at all political events to Ted Lange? Yes, we're drawing a blank.

Ben Jones

ROLES: Cooter, the mechanic on "The Dukes of Hazzard."

OFFICE WON: U.S. representative from Georgia.

POLITICAL LEGACY: Wait, the mechanic from "Dukes of Hazzard" was elected as a Democrat to Congress?

Jesse Ventura

ROLES: Besides being "The Body," Ventura appeared with Schwarzenegger in "Predator," "The Running Man" and "Batman & Robin."

OFFICE WON: In 1998, running under the Reform Party banner, he won the governorship of Minnesota.

POLITICAL LEGACY: Fulfilling the dreams of every little boy chugging protein shakes that he can someday be both a professional wrestler and an elected official. You there at the GNC, pick up your social studies book! It's time to get to work.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

American TV In Iraq Broadcasts Terrorist Messages

Can the Bush administration GET anymore incompetent????

U.S. Government Gave Airtime to Terrorists, Official Admits

May 22, 2007 10:47 AM
Justin Rood Reports:

Al Hurra television, the U.S. government's $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program.

That might explain why critics say the service has recently been caught broadcasting terrorist messages, including an hour-long tirade on the importance of anti-Jewish violence, among other questionable pieces.

Facing tough questions before a congressional panel last week, Broadcasting Board of Governors member Joaquin Blaya admitted none of the senior news managers at the network spoke Arabic when the terrorist messages made it onto the air courtesy of U.S. taxpayer funds. Nor did Blaya himself or any of the other officials at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the network.

"How does it happen that the terrorists take over?" asked Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, D-N.Y., at a hearing last Wednesday of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee he chairs. "Is there no adult supervision?"

Blaya conceded that the top officials in the network's chain of command could not understand what was being said on al Hurra broadcasts.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bush and Congress fail to Hear American Voice

GALLUP: What Americans Would Like to Tell Bush About Iraq

By E&P Staff
Published: May 31, 2007

NEW YORK - A unique survey question posed by the Gallup organization reveals just how far the president and Congress -- and most newspaper editorial pages -- appear to stand from the wishes of the American public on getting out of Iraq. Gallup, in a report today, said it posed the question: If you had 15 minutes with President Bush in Oval Office what would you tell him to do about Iraq?

The majority (56%) said they would urgently urge him to focus on getting out of Iraq, with the highest number (nearly 4 in 10) agreeing with the wish to simply "pull the troops out/end it" and others backing other exit ideas.

Only one in four would tell the president to stay the course or be more aggressive in Iraq. Six percent would tell him to admit his mistakes in Iraq and apologize. About 7% would advise the president to work with study groups or the United Nations to figure out a solution.

Gallup concludes: "The majority of Americans, as measured in a number of Gallup Poll surveys this year, believe the initial decision for the United States to become involved in Iraq was mistake.

Research also shows a majority of Americans favor a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

It is not surprising, therefore, to find that Americans -- if given the chance to talk with President Bush about Iraq -- would be most likely to tell him to figure out a way to get U.S. troops withdrawn from that country."The president maintains the loyalty of a smaller group of Americans -- one in four -- who are supportive of his current actions or would even want him to be more aggressive."

E&P Staff (

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Seems The Cold War Isn't Over, After All

Only George W. Bush could manage to rob, from Reagan, the single accomplishment that nearly everyone agreed to: winning the cold war, or at least working with Gorby to end it.

We've never been really sure how one side or the other wins a cold war. How can one be sure when it is over? There is no "last shot fired." No armistace is signed.

A wall in Berlin came down and the cold war was pronounced over. Oh really.

Certainly seemed so, eh?

Well, think again. George Bush has managed to rob us of yet another Gooper fairytale. The arms race is back on. Feels just like old times.

Except that, now, everybody hates us and our military is broken and our credibility was flushed down the toilet years ago and we are morally bankrupt and oil prices are 3 to 4 times what they were when that Wall came down.

(Wait! Eastern Europe still likes us. Of course, that could be because they know damn well that Reagan didn't win a damn thing and that Big Bears do not lose. They just hibernate)

There is another big difference betwen now and then. Russia and China have had joint military exercises together for the first time in history. That would have caused a red alert back in the Gipper's day.

Yeah, other than that, it's just like old times.

Russia says new ICBM can beat any system

Associated Press Writer
Tue May 29, 7:00 PM ET

Russia tested new missiles Tuesday that a Kremlin official boasted could penetrate any defense system, and President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe would turn the region into a "powder keg."

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Russia tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple independent warheads, and it also successfully conducted a "preliminary" test of a tactical cruise missile that he said could fly farther than existing, similar weapons.

"As of today, Russia has new tactical and strategic complexes that are capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defense systems," Ivanov said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. "So in terms of defense and security, Russians can look calmly to the country's future."
Ivanov is a former defense minister seen as a potential Kremlin favorite to succeed Putin next year. Both he and Putin have said repeatedly that Russia would continue to improve its nuclear arsenals and respond to U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic — NATO nations that were in Moscow's front yard during the Cold War as Warsaw Pact members.

Russia has bristled at the plans, dismissing U.S. assertions that the system would be aimed at blocking possible attacks by Iran and saying it would destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe.

"We consider it harmful and dangerous to turn Europe into a powder keg and to fill it with new kinds of weapons," Putin said at a news conference with visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates.

Russian arms control expert Alexander Pikayev said the new ICBMs appeared to be part of Russia's promised response to the missile defense plans and, more broadly, an effort to "strengthen the strategic nuclear triad — land-based, sea-based and air-based delivery systems for nuclear weapons — which suffered significant downsizing" amid financial troubles after the 1991 Soviet collapse.

The ICBM, called the RS-24, was fired from a mobile launcher at the Plesetsk launch site in northwestern Russia. Its test warhead landed on target some 3,400 miles away on the Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, the Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement.
The new missile is seen as eventually replacing the aging RS-18s and RS-20s that are the backbone of the country's missile forces, the statement said. Those missiles are known in the West as the SS-19 Stiletto and the SS-18 Satan.

The RS-24 "strengthens the capability of the attack groups of the Strategic Missile Forces by surmounting anti-missile defense systems, at the same time strengthening the potential for nuclear deterrence," the statement said.

Ivanov said the missile was a new version of the Topol-M, first commissioned in 1997 and known as the SS-27 in the West, but one that that can carry multiple independent warheads, ITAR-Tass reported. Existing Topol-M missiles are capable of hitting targets more than 6,000 miles away.

Pikayev, a senior analyst at the Moscow-based Institute for World Economy and International Relations, said that little had been revealed about the missile's development, but that Russia has been seeking to improve its capability to penetrate missile defense systems and that the new missile would likely answer to that goal.

He said Russia had been working on a version of the Topol-M that could carry MIRVs — Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles — and that its development was probably "inevitable" after the U.S. withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in 2002 in order to develop a national missile defense.

Pikayev concurred with the missile forces' statement that the RS-24 conforms with terms laid down in the START-I treaty, which is in force, and the 2002 Moscow Treaty, which calls for reductions in each country's nuclear arsenal to 1,700-2,000 warheads.

Ivanov also announced the successful "preliminary" test of an improved tactical cruise missile designed for a mobile Iskander-M launcher, ITAR-Tass reported. Ivanov said last year that Russian ground forces would commission 60 short-range Iskander-M missiles by 2015.

While Ivanov's saber-rattling about missile defense penetration was clearly aimed at the United States — and at Russians who will vote in March for a successor to Putin — he suggested Russia's armament efforts were also aimed to counter a potential treat from the Middle East and Asia.

"We see perfectly how our eastern and southern neighbors here, there and everywhere are acquiring short and medium-range missiles," Ivanov said in televised comments at Kapustin Yar, the southern Russian site where the tactical missiles were tested.

Ivanov said the 1987 Soviet-American treaty limiting such missiles — the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, or INF — is no longer effective because "dozens of countries — many of them along our borders — have acquired them. All of this is a real danger for us, and the consequences can be unpredictable."

He emphasized the need to equip the armed forces with "the most modern, precise weapons" and suggested Russia could arm itself with missiles whose range exceeds the lower limit of 310 miles set in the INF. The ranges of Russia's missiles are "for now within the commitments that Russia has taken upon itself, but I stress: for now," ITAR-Tass quoted him as saying.
Matthew Bunn, a senior research associate at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said the missile test was "in line with Russia's renewed emphasis in recent years of maintaining their weapons systems after years of decline."

Bunn said he did not think the Russians had planned the test as a reaction to U.S. plans to deploy the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, although they may have worded Tuesday's announcement to make it appear that way.

"I think if anything, the wording of the announcement may have been changed to emphasize the missile's ability to evade defense systems, but the test was probably planned way before," Bunn said.

Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the test was Russia's way of showing the U.S. and its own people that it was investing more in national security.

"The Russians have been talking about developing and testing new weapons for years now, so this isn't a surprise. They have a very aging nuclear missile structure and this test fits in with a broader trend of upgrading security," said Kuchins.

"After years of spending little on their military, they're now showing us and showing the Russian population that they're paying more attention to defense."
Russia is also embroiled in a dispute with the West over another Soviet-era arms pact, the 1990
Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.

Putin has announced a moratorium on observance of the treaty and threatened to withdraw altogether if the United States and other NATO members do not ratify an 1999 amended version.

Russia said Monday that it lodged a formal request for a conference among treaty signatories in Vienna next week.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Real Politik (?) And Impeachment

As we have, often, opined on this blog and others, there is a huge difference, it seems, between the way independents and Democrats in the hinterlands view impeachment.

Number 1) It is not so difficult understand why Democrats would be loathe to initiate impeachment-type investigations. For one thing no one wants government by investigation, as we had all through the 1990s. Nevertheless, we haven't even had any meaningful congressional oversight for almost 6 years, so that possibility is already out. But many D.C. Dems fear blow-back, like the losses the GOP experienced after their ridiculous exercise in stupidity, pomposity and pathetic prudishness which lead to the impeachment, but not to the conviction of Bill Clinton. DC Dems do not seem to be in touch with the electoral pulse if they think there would be any comparisons of the two situations that would not favor them. The situations are a different as daylight and dark. To put it in a nice slogan:" When Clinton Lied, No One Died."

Number 2) It isn't only about Iraq War, however. It wasn't the Vietnam War which eventually put Richard Nixon's butt in a sling. It was "abuse of power" directed at political opposition, Jouranalists and citizen activists who opposed policy. This administration has committed abuses of power that make Nixon look like a neophyte, all across the board. How can we allow such abuses to go unaddressed? Where is the accountability; the same accountability we demand of people who are guilty of far lesser offenses every day, that isn't a government holiday, in these United States? Are we a nation under law or not? That becomes a very important question, especially when it is the government that is behaving in an unlawful manner, with all of the power and agencies of the executive as tools of abuse.

Number 3) Of course, to the Democrats, there is real politk to consider. If the GOP decides to, they can block any hope of conviction in the Senate. The Democrats don't have a real majority in the Senate, let alone enough votes to convict Bush/Cheney of even the most solid Articles of Impeachment if the GOP maintains a solid front.

Some Democrats, reportedly fear appearing weak or silly or as losers if their is no conviction.

If the GOP should do such a thing as protect Bush/Cheney, again,, after all the evidence is laid out, I believe it would be the biggest mistake they have ever made, other than running George W. Bush for the presidency to begin with. They would probably be powerless for generations to come.

There must also be a real temptation to just allow the steady drip, drip, drip of oversight hearing after oversight hearing, possibly having a similar outcome.

We are more concerned about this country than either major political party. Politicians might want to think about that.

Our only concern is that a non-conviction would greatly harm the country, as the world would see such an official finding as a blanket pardon for Bush and Cheney by the nation. This administration must not be pardoned, in any form, for their many crimes, both domestic and those which have been commited abroad.

Number 4) The people cannot stop raising the heat and demanding accountability. Impeachment and trial by the senate is our only legal tool for dealing with an out-of-control executive. We must do all in our power to force accountability on a seemingly unwilling government.

The future of this nation is clearly in the hands of her people. Leadership will not be forthcoming from Washington, D.C, apparently.

Published on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 by McClatchy Newspapers

Democrats in Washington Want To Keep Impeachment Off The Table
by Steven Thomma

WASHINGTON - The push to impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney is gaining a hearing in some parts of the country, but not in Washington.

More than 70 cities and 14 state Democratic parties have urged impeachment or investigations that could lead to impeachment. The most common charge is that Bush manipulated intelligence to lead the country into the Iraq war. Other charges include spying on Americans and torturing suspected terrorists in violation of U.S. and international law.

Most recently, the Massachusetts Democratic Party voted to push impeachment of both men. The 2,500 state convention delegates voted almost unanimously against Cheney; the vote against Bush was closer.

Massachusetts’ Democratic Party thus joined 13 others on the investigate-or-impeach bandwagon, including: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Among the cities and towns, the largest and most recent is Detroit, where the city council voted 7-0 this month to urge Congress to impeach Bush and Cheney for “intentionally misleading Congress and the public regarding the threat from Iraq in order to justify the war.”

“There’s a lot growing in support,” said Tim Carpenter, the director of the liberal group Progressive Democrats of America. “Whether Congress will respond, that’s another question.”

Indeed. The Democrats who run Congress have no interest in impeaching Bush or Cheney, despite pressure from their party’s base outside the Beltway.

It’s noteworthy that impeachment pressure is coming from the home states of the two Democratic leaders in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Pelosi said last year that impeachment “is off the table.” Under the Constitution, the House impeaches; the Senate then decides whether to convict and remove from office.

It’s also interesting that one of the resolutions came from Detroit, home to Rep. John Conyers, who as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee would lead any impeachment hearings.
The Detroit resolution was co-authored by Monica Conyers, the congressman’s wife. But she hasn’t had any noticeable clout at home: Conyers said last year that he wasn’t interested in impeachment - just oversight investigations - and he hasn’t changed his stand.

There are both policy and political reasons that Democratic leaders are risking the anger of their

One is that some don’t see an impeachable offense in what Bush has done, what the Constitution calls “high crimes and misdemeanors.” They might find such evidence in any of the many congressional investigations, but they haven’t yet.

Another is that they fear a political backlash from voters similar to the one that punished Republicans after they impeached Bill Clinton. One factor on the side of the pro-impeachment crowd: Clinton was much more popular than Bush.

The third is that they’re eager to keep Bush and Cheney around as punching bags for Democratic candidates in the 2008 campaign.

“The political lens they’re looking through is the 2008 election,” Carpenter said. “They want to see Bush and Cheney dangling so the election is a referendum on them. That is not the correct lens.”

To him, the right lens is the last election, when voters threw the Republicans out of power in Congress. Those people, he said, now want Bush and Cheney out.

“There is a groundswell here,” Carpenter said. “Pelosi says it’s off the table. It’s our role to put it on the table."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

OMG! Bushites Using, Word For Word,....

....Nazi Slogans to Describe Torture.

Very uncomfortable.

"Enhanced interrogation", the Bush administration's preferred newspeak for torture, appears to have been coined by the Nazi Party in 1937.

There are way too many facile comparisons of whatever group or individual we dislike to Nazis.

But when the shoe fits.

-- Josh Marshall

(Yeah. Us too, Josh.)

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

It Takes The Non-aligned Grassroots!

In the 60s and early 70s, independents were re-born by the bus-loads.


Because a Democratic president lied us into an escalation of the war in Vitenam, after which casualty rates soared. Then A Republican president, promising to end the war with honor, broadened the damn thing, causing near revolution in this country. Neither party held any moral high-ground on Civil Rights. It did seem, however, that the Dems moved forward and the Rethugs moved backward, where civil rights were concerned in the decades that followed.

They were the party of FDR and JFK, after all. (of course, neither of these guys were perfect, but we do not expect perfection. St. Francis of Assisi is not likely to throw his cowl into the political ring anytime soon.

Still, we remained independent.

We saw the writing on the wall. We witnessed enough corruption to last a life time and we saw political courage that has inspired us 'til this day. Good thing, too. It has rarely been dupilicated since.

But it is about to be.... the universe and the human spirit willing.....and the 60s generation of independents will walfk the path of the American Political Tao.


After several months of empty posturing against the war in Iraq, politicians in Washington have made what Democratic congressman James P. Moran called a "concession to reality" by agreeing to give President Bush virtually everything he wanted in funding and unrestricted license to continue waging the increasingly detested war that has made Bush the most unpopular president since Richard Nixon.

This is the outcome that we warned against two months ago when we wrote "Why Won't MoveOn Move Forward?" In it, we criticized MoveOn for backpedaling on its previously claimed objective of ending the war in Iraq immediately. Anti-war sentiment was the main factor behind last year's elections that brought Democrats to power in both houses of Congress. Once in power, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed through a "compromise" bill, supported by MoveOn, that offered $124 billion in supplemental funding for the war. To make it sound like they were voting for peace, the Democrats threw in a few non-binding benchmarks asking Bush to certify progress in Iraq, coupled with language that talked about withdrawing troops next year.

Understanding how legislative processes work, we expected then that even those few nods to anti-war sentiment would be eliminated in due course. Bush had already said he would veto the Pelosi bill and pledged to hold out for funding without restrictions of any kind. Moreover, there was little doubt that the Democratic leadership would eventually cave to his demands.

Notwithstanding their stage-managed photo ops and rhetorical flourishes for peace, prominent Democrats signaled early that they would give Bush the funding he wanted. Barack Obama even went so far as to state publicly that once Bush vetoed the original bill, Congress would approve the money because "nobody wants to play chicken with our troops on the ground." (Two weeks later, MoveOn announced that it had polled its members, and Obama was their "top choice to lead the country out of Iraq.") In effect, the confrontation between Bush and the Democrats was a high-stakes game of poker in which the Democrats went out of their way to make it clear that they would fold once Bush called their bluff.

Not everyone saw this coming, of course. Back in March, called MoveOn's Eli Pariser "shrewdly pragmatic" for backing Pelosi's original supplemental war funding bill. It quoted Pariser predicting that after Bush was "forced to veto" Pelosi's bill, "That forces the Republicans to choose between an increasingly isolated president and the majority of the Congress and the majority of the American people."

Similar "shrewd pragmatism" came from blogger and Democratic campaign consultant Matt Stoller at, praising MoveOn's "dedication to practical results" and calling the Pelosi bill "a major step forward ... Moveon was true to its members in helping this happen." Stoller criticized us by name for our naiveté in thinking otherwise:

John Stauber, who is an ardent critic of Moveon, comes from a different generation of liberal activism. ...

Stauber isn't used to a non-Southern Democratic Party. It's nothing he's ever known, and it's frankly nothing that any of us have ever known. None of us know how to wield power in this new political world, where the public is liberal, the military industrial state is cannibalizing itself, and the political system is (slowly) reorienting itself around this shocking new paradigm.

Stauber is also not used to the idea that activist liberals actually like the Democratic Party. He believes that Moveon members would not support Democratic leaders if presented with a different set of choices, without acknowledging that Moveon members have traditionally supported Democratic leaders when the questions are tactical in nature.

A "tactic," as the dictionary explains, is "an expedient for achieving a goal." If the goal is to end the war in Iraq, the Pelosi bill was never a tactic that had any chance of succeeding. Its provisions had no teeth and it was clear that too many Democrats never intended to see the fight through. As this week's betrayal by the Democratic leadership demonstrates, ending the war is simply not their goal. Their goal is to continue the war for the time being, while giving themselves just enough distance from it that they can run as the anti-war party in next year's presidential and congressional elections. Stoller seems to have belatedly arrived at this realization himself.

Responding to this week's news, he writes:
We're in Iraq because the political system, the public, and all of us became unable to distinguish between truth and falsehood. We're still in Iraq, and will be there until the public is genuinely convinced to leave. Right now, we're not there. I know what the polls say, but I also am watching Clinton, Edwards, Obama, Giuliani, Romney, etc running for President, and not one of them is calling for a full withdrawal. Not one. Clinton, the leading nominee in a supposedly antiwar party, is a hawk and doesn't even think that voting to authorize the war was a mistake.

Amazingly, the conclusion that Stoller draws from these facts is the following non sequitur:
So do not tell me that Pelosi, Reid, and Moveon are doing a bad job. They are not. They are persuading a country and a politics that is used to lazy bullshit that kills a lot of people to think twice about it, and resist.

Here's the point that Stoller seems to have missed: There is a difference between what the public wants and what politicians do. Just because the high and mighty politicians don't get it yet, don't assume that the average American doesn't. It is not "the public" that needs to be persuaded. The politicians, their marketing campaigns, and the bloggers who join them may be "unable to distinguish between truth and falsehood," but the public at large fully understands that we need to get out of Iraq. The question is simply how to translate that public awareness into effective pressure that will force the politicians to change course. As we wrote in March, "When politicians and advocacy groups like MoveOn play anti-war games of political theater while effectively collaborating with the war's continuation, they merely add one more deception to the layers of lies in which this war has been wrapped."

Since 2003 we've co-authored two books on Iraq, and we have been reporting on the war for over five years now, since we began to dissect the Bush administration's propaganda push almost immediately after 9/11. We've been reporting on MoveOn for almost as long. And by the way, we are not "ardent critics" of MoveOn, as Stoller claimed. We are trying to constructively criticize an organization whose leaders mean well, even though they have been selling a flawed strategy. MoveOn has emerged as a powerful political player with a massive email list of more than three million names and the ability to raise millions of dollars for Democrats while waging innovative PR campaigns around the environmental, political and social issues they promote.

The bottom line, however, is that MoveOn until now has always been a big "D" Democratic Party organization. It began as an online campaign to oppose the impeachment of President Clinton, and its tactical alliances with Democratic politicians have made it part of the party's current power base, which melds together millionaire funders such as George Soros and the Democracy Alliance, liberal unions like SEIU, and the ballyhooed Netroots bloggers like Matt Stoller, Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of the Daily Kos. At a personal level, we presume the members of this coalition genuinely want the war to end, but their true and primary priority is winning Democratic Party control of both houses of Congress and the White House. Now that the war in Iraq hangs like a rotting albatross around the neck of the Bush administration, it has become the Democrats' best weapon to successfully campaign against Republicans. From a "shrewdly pragmatic" point of view, therefore, they have no reason to want the war to end soon.

Some Democrats (not the top politicians, of course) are saying this openly. Here, for example, is how one blogger at the Daily Kos sees things:
I know, that means more American casualties, more Iraqi casualties, more treasure and lives wasted.

But I think you've got to keep in mind the big picture here. ... [B]y the end of September, people will be beginning to pay real attention to the next election...

I think this does give the Democratic party a tremendous opportunity to crush the Republicans for perhaps a couple of decades to come. Iraq, and the Republican support of it, may well do for the Republicans what Vietnam did for Democrats — make the public suspicious for decades about the party's bona fides on foreign policy.

In this analysis, "more treasure and lives wasted" are the "little picture," while winning elections is "the big picture." Democrats like Russ Feingold who oppose the Iraq supplemental do not share this strategy, and it is never explicitly stated even by the Democratic politicians who are signing on this week to fund the war, but it is implicit in their actions.

If you visit the MoveOn website today as we write, the top item on the page is a request for people to sign a petition against price gouging by oil companies. They're focused on the "big picture" of using the current spike in gasoline prices as an opportunity to build their email list, while the little picture of ending the war has fallen from the top of the page. Yesterday MoveOn began a campaign calling on Democrats to vote no on the Iraq supplemental. MoveOn is also talking for the first time about supporting primary challengers to Democrats who "ran on ending the war but vote for more chaos and more troops in Iraq." This belated spark of independence, however, is too little and too late to stop a deal that has already been struck, in which politicians that MoveOn has been supporting have just surrendered ground from a position of strength to a president and party that is weakened, on an issue of utmost importance to their country.

MoveOn is expert at marketing, PR and advertising. Their emails to members convey a friendly, informal style and a sense that "they" are just like "us." But there are important differences between the organization and many of the people who sign their petitions and give them money. MoveOn has not been primarily a movement against the war. It has been a movement of Democrats to get the party back into power.

We do not doubt that MoveOn's leadership sincerely believes they are pursuing the most practical and effective course to improve America's political problems by vanquishing the Republicans and getting Democrats elected. However, when given a choice between building a powerful grassroots movement to end the war, versus exploiting the war for the benefit of getting Democrats elected, MoveOn has repeatedly chosen the latter while probably believing there is no difference.

There is an organized anti-war movement in America that is not an adjunct of the Democratic Party. Up until now, it has been weak and divided and unable to organize itself into an effective national movement in its own right. In its place, therefore, MoveOn and its Netroots allies have become identified as the leadership of the anti-war movement. It is vitally important, however, that a genuinely independent anti-war movement organize itself with the ability to speak on its own behalf.

In the 1950s and the 1960s, the civil rights movement was most definitely not an adjunct of the Democratic or Republican Parties. Far from it, it was a grassroots movement that eventually forced both parties to respond to its agenda. Likewise, the movement against the Vietnam War was not aligned with either the Democratic or Republican parties, both of which claimed to have plans for peace while actually pursuing policies that expanded the war.

That's the sort of movement we need again, if we wish to see peace in our lifetime.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.