Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mark McKinnon: I Won't "Run" Against Obama

McCain's Media Mastermind Will Quit if Obama Is Nominated
By Rory O'Connor

Wednesday 20 February 2008

McKinnon, the media mastermind who helped launch Bush into office, says he won't attack Obama.

If you're a Democratic primary voter in Ohio, Texas or Pennsylvania, and you're still torn between Obama and the Clintons, here's the best reason I know to throw your support to Obama: Mark McKinnon.

Love him or hate him, there's general agreement that McKinnon - the chief media adviser and strategist for presumptive Republican nominee John McCain - is a genius at what he does. So it's no surprise that, even though it's relatively old 'news,' word that McKinnon will stop working for McCain if Obama is the Democratic nominee has been freshly burning up cyberspace of late.

Citing his admiration for the Illinois senator, McKinnon says he cannot face being part of a campaign that "would inevitably be attacking" Obama. "I have met Barack Obama. I have read his book. I like him a great deal, he told National Public Radio. "I disagree with him on very fundamental issues, but it would be uncomfortable for me, and it would be bad for the McCain campaign."

But who is Mark McKinnon - and why does his unusual stance matter so much? For starters, because as the chief media adviser and strategist for the Bush-Cheney campaigns, he arguably deserves more credit (or blame, depending on your politics!) than any other individual for George Bush being in the White House. Anyone who can get George Bush elected president of the United States twice (and governor of Texas before that) is a danger to Democrats everywhere, and the fact that McKinnon will withdraw his services from McCain in the event of an Obama nomination should be music to the ears of anyone who wants to see an end to our long national nightmare - aka the Bush administration and its possible successors.

I first met McKinnon in 2004 while covering the presidential media campaigns for the television industry journal Broadcasting & Cable. He returned my first call immediately - unlike his inept Democratic counterparts, who failed to return 14 calls and then hung up when I finally got through. After telling me to check in with presidential counselor Dan Bartlett (who also promptly returned the call), McKinnon then invited me to spend a day at the Bush/Cheney campaign offices in suburban Virginia.

Upon arrival, I asked McKinnon what his media plan for the campaign against John Kerry would be. To my surprise, instead of dodging, filibustering or ignoring the question, he answered in a forthright manner. "We plan to spend $60 million in the next 90 days defining John Kerry before he can define himself," McKinnon told me.

"How are you going to define him?" I shot back.

"As a flip-flopping liberal who's wrong on defense," McKinnon replied.

I then watched in amazement over the next three months as he proceeded to do exactly that. Within weeks of our conversation, ordinary people all over the country suddenly began saying that they had doubts about Kerry - particularly, they parroted, because he seemed like such a "flip-flopper." The mainstream media lapdogs soon followed suit.

Kerry never recovered from the preemptive assault on his authenticity, which was later reinforced by images of windsurfing and clips of him saying, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Game, set and match to the Republican side.

So who, then, is Mark McKinnon? And why is the man who first elected George W. Bush, and later rescued John McCain from the land of the politically dead and then took him to the brink of the nomination, saying he won't help McCain in November if Obama is the Democratic candidate? The high-school dropout, one-time staff songwriter for Kris Kristofferson, formerly Democratic political operative who once denounced Karl Rove, and friend of such liberal heavyweights as onetime Clinton advisers Paul Begala and James Carville, seems an unlikely choice as President Bush's or candidate McCain's campaign media director. But politics is first and foremost about winning - and McKinnon's candidates win.

"It all started with Hank the Hallucination," McKinnon recalls. "Hank and Paul Begala are the reasons I got into politics." Hank, an illustrated comic strip character in the Daily Texan, the student newspaper McKinnon edited, ran with his backing against Begala in a 1982 contest for student government president at the University of Texas in Austin - and won. "I was a bit of an anarchist in those days," McKinnon recalls.

Hank was the first in a long series of winning candidates that McKinnon has backed. "I was a volunteer for Lloyd Doggett in my first real campaign in 1983," he says. "Carville was the campaign manager, and Begala was in the upper echelon. He brought me out of the basement."

McKinnon continued to work in winning Texas Democratic campaigns after that, helping to elect Ann Richards as governor in 1990 and Bob Lanier as mayor of Houston in 1991, among others. But by 1996, as he explained in a Texas Monthly essay called "The Spin Doctor is Out," he had burned out on partisan politics and "last-minute attack and response ads." Instead he planned to concentrate on corporate clients and public affairs, such as a successful 1997 effort to preserve affirmative action.

Then he fell in love, and everything changed. As he famously told a reporter, McKinnon saw Bush at a party and had the feeling that a man has "when he's at a party with his wife and sees a beautiful woman across the room."

The object of his newfound affection was George W. Bush, then governor of Texas. "It is unusual" for a conservative Republican politician and a liberal Democrat media maven to hook up, McKinnon admits. "The nexus was [Democratic] Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, who was my mentor." McKinnon and Bush became jogging partners and fast friends. Soon Bush began courting McKinnon professionally as well.

"Even as governor, President Bush was famously skeptical about political consultants," McKinnon says. "And at the time, all the typical Republican hired guns were circling. Hiring me was certainly a counter-intuitive move. I think he liked the idea that I wasn't looking to work in politics anymore."

In the end, McKinnon says, he decided to work for Bush "out of respect, loyalty and friendship - which as you know are qualities that are very important to the Bush culture." Those feelings were reciprocated by Bush, who put McKinnon in charge of two of the most well-financed media operations in history.

The strategies McKinnon employed in the past decade may seem awfully negative for a man who says, "Negativity drove me out of politics in the mid-'90s." (After all, McKinnon was the architect of the ads that trashed John McCain in South Carolina and beyond in 2000, ensuring a Bush nomination.) But McKinnon says it isn't so.

"It's not negative to define John Kerry. We're not doing attack ads, we're doing strong contrast ads," he told me four years ago. "That's legitimate, not negative. We aren't saying Kerry is 'weak on defense,' we're saying he's 'wrong on defense.' There's a big difference."

As I wrote at the time, "The war of words matters a lot, and while McKinnon concedes that the Bush campaign is busy testing them in focus groups, he offers no details. Still, it's clear he is attempting to position the president as a "steady" leader and Kerry as a "flip-flopper" who changes positions often for political expediency. If the words work, they will be repeated over and over as part of that 'coordinated blitz' aimed at defining Kerry as 'indecisive and lacking conviction.'"

Despite the fierce hatred he has engendered in some of his former friends, McKinnon generally remains an approachable and affable figure. Even Begala - who eventually did become student body president by winning a runoff between the "two top humans" after Hank the Hallucination was gunned down - extols him. "I love him!" Begala told me. "He's a wonderful, terrific guy."

Even though he went over to the Dark Side?

"It's a free country. Sure, he was way to the left of me in college, and now he's way to the right," Begala responded. "But hey - James Carville goes home every night and goes to bed with Mary Matalin ... Mark has changed his life, but I don't believe he had a conservative epiphany.

"I believe him when he says this is based on a deep and personal love of George Bush. But this is not a race for student government president," Begala concluded. "Still, if Bush is ruining the country, I say let's attack the organ grinder and not the monkey."

"I haven't taken as many shots as I thought I would," McKinnon conceded at the time. "Probably because Begala blessed me."

Would he describe himself as a Republican?

"Let's just say I'm a man of evolution," he responded with a grin.

His many critics now contend that, far from "evolving," McKinnon is just an opportunistic turncoat, a lustful chameleon, a bizarre sellout ... and worse. In any event, now it's time for another hallucinatory campaign, and McKinnon is once again in the thick of it.

Just ask John McCain - or Barack Obama, for that matter!

Filmmaker and journalist Rory O'Connor is now completing AlterNet's first-ever book, which is on the subject of right-wing radio talkers like O'Reilly, and will be available early in 2008. O'Connor also writes the Media Is A Plural blog.

Go to Original

Give Dennis Kucinich His Due
By Steve Cobble
The Nation

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Five years ago, this month, the world said no to the Iraq War, with massive demonstrations all around the world involving 10 million people. In the United States, more than 100,000 people came to New York City to challenge the Bush/Cheney rush to war-and one of the speakers, one of the very few elected officials to speak that day, was Dennis Kucinich.

So what, you say? Well, maybe it's time to give Dennis his due.

Compare the outpouring of affection and respect for John Edwards with the snark and abuse offered Kucinich when they each bowed out of the presidential race last month. Most liberal columnists and progressive bloggers offered kudos to Edwards for forcing and/or encouraging Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to move left on healthcare, on trade issues, on poverty and inequality. John and Elizabeth Edwards did exactly that, and I offer my own thanks for the issues they ran on, especially given everything that was going on in their family. They deserve our appreciation for boldly putting good issue positions on the table, fighting hard for them and opening the door for the other candidates to get bolder, too.

But why stop there? Why not ask who opened the door for Edwards? Because on almost every issue that John Edwards battled hard on in 2007, helping move Obama and Clinton closer to the light, it's indisputable that Dennis Kucinich pushed on those same issues back in 2003, again in 2007 and every year in between. In other words, Kucinich was against the war, for fair trade, against NAFTA and the WTO, against the Patriot Act, for single-payer health care, for an infrastructure plan to rebuild America and put forward a plan to bring the troops home-all long before not just John Edwards, but long before almost anybody.

Consider the Patriot Act vote, cast by the Congress in October of 2001, only a few weeks after 9/11, in a scary time of threats and intimidation from the Bush/Cheney Administration. This vote had our lawmakers so scared that only a few brave House members stood up to oppose it, and in the Senate, only Russ Feingold had the guts to say no. But Kucinich voted no. Why? Because he read the bill. He risked his political career to oppose an intrusive, liberty-violating, fundamentally un-American bill. Very few others did, especially House members from ethnic urban districts.

So give John Edwards his due. But give Kucinich his due, too.

Because the truth is, Dennis Kucinich has the best voting record in Congress of anyone from a mostly white, ethnic district. No one else who shares most of Kucinich's positions-even those who are much less outspoken than he is-also has a district like his. He's not from Berkeley or Madison. He doesn't have a huge, liberal base constituency. Dennis Kucinich is consistently braver than his district would suggest he should be; and perhaps no other progressive is as brave compared to the people they represent. If you disagree, I offer impeachment as an example. Or gay marriage. Or animal rights. Or the abolition of nuclear weapons. Or a ban on weapons in space. Or his early opposition to pre-emptive war.

Maybe those brave votes are a big part of the reason that Kucinich currently has four opponents for his House seat, including at least one who's being massively funded by outside corporate interests. Maybe his tough race is not all due to his absences, but to his outspokenness. Maybe it's not his ears but his votes. Maybe it's not his size that irritates the big corporate boys but his willingness to act on his beliefs.

Maybe the special interest money that's pouring into Cleveland these days for his opponents is not really because they're dissatisfied with his constituent service but because they don't like his commitment to ending the war economy; because they're irritated by his feistiness on behalf of canceling NAFTA, for fair trade, for living wages, for card-check union organizing; or because they hate his years of leadership on behalf of getting the insurance and drug companies out of people's healthcare.

Think about this: Kucinich campaigned in 2007 on almost exactly the same key issues he ran on in 2003-ending the war, fair trade and single-payer health care for all. Since that time, the Democratic Party as a whole has moved more towards his early positions on these issues, as have all his opponents (to greater or lesser degrees) in the presidential primary last year-but he hardly moved at all. He was right then, and he's right now, on most of the fundamental issues that base Democratic voters care about.

Here's a fun experiment. Go to ActBlue right now, pick out any House candidate randomly, and see if their proposed issue positions outdo Kucinich's existing votes. And then think about the fact that progressive groups will in the coming months spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the blogosphere will correctly exalt and extol many of these challengers, and activists will offer up thousands of words and hundreds of hours and dozens of dollars each, all to elect people who do not now-and likely never will-measure up to Kucinich's existing track record.

Then consider treating him with a bit more respect.

(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, February 22, 2008

The Courage To Avoid Conviction

After the Keating 5, I would have thought that Johnny-be-bad would have toned it the hell down. But then, that's what I thought about Bill Clinton,too.

Silly, Silly Me!

John McCain's Long Career Of Sleazy Lies, Semi-Affairs & Total Corruption

So old and crooked.This whole “presumptive nominee” thing must be serious, because the New York Times just dumped a million-word “investigative report” on how John McCain is the sleaziest sack of scum since, uh, all the other Republicans who already dropped out of the race. Also: Did he have a Dirty Sex Affair with some lobbyist broad who looks suspiciously like his current wife? Let’s find out!

Under a grainy black-and-white 1970s-looking mafia photograph of McCain as he “conferred with his lawyers before testifying in January 1991 before the Senate Ethics Committee regarding his involvement with Charles Keating and the Lincoln Savings and Loan,” the NYT samples from the rich trove of Corrupt McCain evidence and comes up with this pretty good initial batch of sleaze:

  • While Grandpa Straight Talk was running for the presidency in 2000, all his aides were going nuts because he was constantly traveling with a good-looking lobbyist gal who was, at the time, in her early thirties.
  • Whether or not McCain and Vicki Iseman were having sexytime on the corporate jets he used to fly around the country, McCain did do the bidding of Iseman’s clients.
  • At this point, he had barely cleared his name from the Keating Five Savings & Loan scandal.
  • In one of his few acknowledgments that the Arizona senator has ever been to Arizona, McCain made a point of not flying direct from National Airport to Phoenix because he had some part in opening up that commercial air route — but because he always flies in luxury private jets provided by the Corporates, it didn’t much inconvenience him.
  • McCain helped launch some campaign-ethics group, but the group ended up doing the exact same corrupt things it was supposedly against, so he quit in shame.
  • Corrupt banker/developer Charles Keating was, obviously, an immediate supporter of McCain’s long congressional career. Keating showered dirty money and fancy vacations on McCain, who loves all that shit.
  • Then McCain tried to get the government off the back of Keating’s failing corrupt Lincoln Savings and Loan, because McCain really wants to get government off the backs of his corrupt millionaire friends.
  • McCain got caught, but somehow clung to his senate seat.
  • But McCain can still pretend to “wince” at the memory of getting caught, so who cares if the bailout cost American taxpayers $3.4 billion?
  • He also got caught having a big lobbyist fund-raising deluxe luxury fancy party in 2000. So he ran and hid like a little girl.
  • Lobbyists control his entire miserable, corrupt life.
  • He loves lobbyists, both in the figurative and literal sense, because he was probably screwing that one lobbyist.
  • And when the lobbyists need a quick letter to the FCC or whatever to help their clients, John Maverick McCain is always quick to help, the end.
For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk [NYT]

(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.

Barack Left Unprotected In Dallas

When security is pulled from a president or candidate for the presidency, one is left scratching one's head in amazement these days if not making a note of it somewhere, just in case.

When one knows the history of the JFK assassination in Dallas, one wonders if we, the people, should protect Obama ourselves. A secret service agent riding the right rear bumper of Kennedy's car was pulled off by a superior just minutes before gunshots were heard in Dealey Plaza. The agent would have been in the line of fire from the book depository, perhaps preventing Oswald from firing. If the only shots had come from some where else, the lone gun man theory would have never been.

That's not to say that we would KNOW anything. When the government is involved in something, speculation is usually all we ever have.

Not long after I left the Navy, I ventured down to the southern islands in the Carribean . I was seriously thinking of staying down there. On the way back, some friends and I found ourselves at Grand Turk. One evening, around sunset, I was alone at a Tiki bar. (Most of my friends had sun burns from a day on the beach under overcast skies and were in no mood for staying out late.)

I wasn't much of a partier in those days, but I did like Island drinks, sunsets and the beach at night. I got into a conversation with a fellow, there at the tiki bar. By that time, back in the states, Nixon had resigned in disgrace and Gerald Ford was president. The 60s were, for all practical purposes, over and I had found out many truths about my country which, having been young and naive when the era began, had changed me in some profound ways. It was like getting an answer to a question, of which you had never even conceived, let alone asked and that answer to that question had left you with nothing but questions. I felt like Alice through the looking glass Nothing much made sense anymore. I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but everything I had done until I joined the Navy made no sense after I took the off the uniform.

My partner in conversation wasn't a complete stranger. I had seen him around for the 5 days we had already been there. He said he lived there, "for now." One of my friends had spent a little time with him and had reported that the guy was a real trip. He seemed fairly harmless. The sea breezes, the moon rise and those wonderful island libations were, for me, as close to heaven as I would ever get.

My drinking buddy (whom I will call FB, for fried brain) drank skowly, as I did. Neither of us was there to get drunk. We weren't there for each other either, except for the conversation. We were there for the same heaven.

I remember thinking that the sea breezes, warm and balmy, were far more mind-altering than the Rum and whatever else they put in the drink. That night was like a time out of context. We talked mostly about the government, but there was no emotion; no anger, no patriotism, no pride......

More, it was like observing certain realities unfold, from different perspectives, as a scientist observes and then speaks of his observations to another scientist; casually, 0ver a beer.

At some point he told me he was ex-CIA. Most people I knew hated the CIA. By that time I didn't care. We were all just actors in a sick film, no one any worse or better than anyone else. I had enough on my psychic plate, so to speak, to take on the job of judging other human being like me...powerless, no money to speak of, flawed, but not capable of effecting much of anything that went on in the world. At least he and I had decided we no longer wanted to be involved, even as mindless chess pieces.

It was such a weird time in history and the evening seemed almost psychedelic. Our egos were not attached to anything as far as I could tell.

Toward what would be the end of the conversation he asked me what I thought about why there had been such a world-wide uprising, made up of so many different types of people, with such different agendas, etc.

Pausing to think, the JFK assassination floated through my conscious. Somehow, that had something to do with it. Perhaps it was the U.S. trigger but one, followed by two others.

What triggered it in other nations, I had no idea.

I said, "you know, so many forces came together in such a way and at just the right time, that something was bound to happen."

For a guy who was supposed to be the enemy of the "pro-civil-rights, anti-war, loony left he certainly didn't disparage them. As a matter of fact, he knew what I knew and so much more.

Charles Manson was no more a Hippie than Adolph Hitler was a Socialist Democrat. There was a big difference between the antiwar movement and the peace movement. Few Americans, relatively speaking, had so much as a clue what a Hippie really was nor did they know what Hippies generally believed.

Much effort was put forth to see that that was the case. Richard Nixon once said that Timothy Leary was the most dangerous man on earth. We should not have laughed nearly so hard. If people actually believed him, there would be hell to pay for anyone who even gardened, let alone wore flowers in their hair. Ah, yes....fear. Trying to convince anyone that a real, Tie-dyed-in-the-wool Hippie was a person to be feared would not be easy.

Along came Charlie Manson. Yep, that was the ticket. A Scary-looking, burnt-out, sociopathic reject from the W.Va prison system slices up a whole bunch of people in Lefty Hollywood. That will be the end of this bunch. That and a couple of other nudges, sent the Hippie movement over a cliff (actually just under ground). Most people didn't know the difference between civil rights workers, anti-war people and Hippies. They were all commies and traitors as far as most people were concerned. After all, hadn't Spiro told them that? See how simple that makes everything?

Soon, it woudn't matter, as the women's movement, the environmentalists, the GLBTs, the peace movement and others would take the place of the "anti" people and quietly, new spiritual traditions took root. There were Zen Buddhist, transcendental meditators and other "real" meditators (TeHe), devoteess of Yoga of all kinds, practioners of Tai Chi and Taoism and those who practiced a half-breed, mixed version of two or more of the above. When the 60s ended, a whole new chapter began for human kind.

I got up, paid my tab and reached to shake his hand. He said, "So, what you are saying is that Kennedy had to die?" I jumped back as if he had handed me a snake. "What" I asked, shocked at the question.

I was not unfamiliar with the fate thing; Judas was meant to betray Jesus so that he would be killed and a new movement could be born; one that would last for 2000 years and bring many changes to the life of mankind.

"But Kennedy didn't die for such noble reasons. Or did he? No, Hell No, Kennedy didn't have to die! He died because powerful people and some with no power, but know-how, wanted him dead and his brother, for that matter, powerless little people who would sell their own soul's for the right amount of money. Those with the money, will never be suspected of anything and probably don't even have souls in any case".

The man smiled, slightly...but his eyes did not. He put money on the counter and strode off down the beach into the darkness, alone. He seemed very comfortable alone, as if he had spent much of his life alone.

I had just met a man, talked to him for hours, who knew more about the Kennedy assassination, personally, than most Americans ever would. Was he in on it? Did he know who was?

I'll never know and even if I did, it wouldn't matter. No one would believe me if he had told me outright that he and others had done it.

But he sure as hell knew a lot for the time.

I guess I never really believed that Oswald killed Kennedy, alone, on Castro's orders or for some other goofy reason and then there was Bobby......

Damn I feel helpless right now.

Police concerned about order to stop screening

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Barack Obama speaks Wednesday at a Democratic rally in Dallas' Reunion Arena. Police were told to stop screening people for weapons before the rally began.
Barack Obama speaks Wednesday at a Democratic rally in Dallas' Reunion Arena. Police were told to stop screening people for weapons before the rally began.

DALLAS -- Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

"Sure," said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a "friendly crowd."

The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

Doors opened to the public at 10 a.m., and for the first hour security officers scanned each person who came in and checked their belongings in a process that kept movement of the long lines at a crawl. Then, about 11 a.m., an order came down to allow the people in without being checked.

Several Dallas police officers said it worried them that the arena was packed with people who got in without even a cursory inspection.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because, they said, the order was made by federal officials who were in charge of security at the event.

"How can you not be concerned in this day and age," said one policeman.

JACK DOUGLAS Jr., 817-390-7700

(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.

The McCain Flap: Huckabee and Romney are still Candidates

Looking Left is a waste of time, Goopers, and you know it.

Timing, Sourcing Suggest GOP, Not Dems, Behind McCain ‘Smear Campaign’

The McCain campaign has had two months to prepare for the story published in the New York Times about his cozy relationship eight years ago with a young blond woman who happened to be a lobbyist.

The possibility that Romney’s mitts were all over this might explain McCain’s palpable antipathy toward him.

The campaign’s rapid response team put out a news release last night that twice used the phrase “smear campaign” to describe the Times story:

“It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

“Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career.”

They have had this response in the can for two months, so it bears some scrutiny. The word “smear” is predictable but to use it twice in conjunction with “campaign” is interesting.

One news story is hardly a “campaign.” And it is obvious from even a casual reading of the Times article that lawyers have been all over it. But is there more to come? The McCain team’s use of the word “campaign” suggests there could be.

Or, it is equally likely that “campaign” is a bit of transference — that McCain and his operatives know the source of the story was a rival campaign.

Conservatives are swarming the media this morning trying to pin this story on a) Democrats and b) the liberal media. But as was noted here last night, the timing and sourcing — as well as the actions of two of the other GOP candidates — suggest the Times got the story from McCain’s conservative Republican opponents.

First, the source of the Times article can only be detected by parsing, but it is clear that the details could have only come from — and confirmed by — operatives in McCain’s 2000 campaign, all of whom, let’s assume, were Republicans. As to motive, how about sour grapes from a 2000 staffer who was not asked to work on the 2008 campaign? Or perhaps one of the 2000 operatives was an extreme-right Dittohead mole, who had a job on a rival GOP campaign when the story was originally set to run in December.

Second, the timing: Whoever leaked the story to the Times appears to have synced it to the campaign schedule so that, with fact-checking and the other vetting, the story would be ready to go around December 20 — immediately before public attention turned away from the campaigns and onto the holidays — and two weeks before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3.

In late December, the Democratic campaigns were focused on each other, and weren’t expending much, if any, energy on their Republican rivals. At that point, it was far from clear that McCain would become the frontrunner.

The source of the story was most likely one of McCain’s rivals. Judging by their actions, almost all of them could be eliminated except for Mitt Romney, who, as has been noted here and elsewhere, made a big show of “suspending,” not ending his campaign. (Campaigns are often technically “suspended” when they close in order to keep payroll and accounting functions open but the difference here is how Romney stressed the word “suspended” in his concession, and how that keyword was picked up and repeated over and over by Beltway pundits and newsreaders — all of whom have known about this story since before Christmas.)

The possibility that Romney’s mitts were all over this might explain McCain’s palpable antipathy toward him.

The Huckabee campaign has known about the story, too, which explains Huckabee’s insistence on staying in, despite the dead-certain odds he’ll never get the delegates to beat McCain at the convention. Huckabee has said he’s sticking around in case McCain has a “macaca moment.”

Perhaps this is it.

(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, February 21, 2008

The McCain Story; Or Is It Or Who Cares?

John Stewart is unimpressed.

I'm with John on this one. Having said that, I haven't turned on the Old TeeVee since last night as Dan Abrams broke the story for MSNBC, therefore, I don't know much about it. There may be more to it. Who knows? Probably a lot less.

Sometimes it's just damned painful to watch karma whack someone, especially when no one learns a damn thing from it. Poor Cindy McCain got whacked.

Earlier in the day, I had watched Cindy McCain take a swipe at Michelle Obama because Mrs Obama had made a statement about her pride in her country the day before. She said, in the much played clip, that for the first time in her adult life, she was really proud of her country or to be an American; something like that. At some point there was another clip showing Mrs. Obama explaining her prior remark. I don't know where she was at the time. Perhaps she was giving a talk to the learning impaired, or just plain slow.

Mrs. McCain stated that she had always been proud to be an American. She stumbled over her words a wee bit, but I just figured that that was because Mrs. McCain is not a politician nor a public speaker for any other reason. Maybe she's not too good at one-liners. She does seem shy in large crowds, anyway.

I did not immediately jump to the conclusion that she was not telling the truth about her pride or non-pride in being an American. I notice that no one else did either, or if they did, I haven't heard about it and would consider anyone a true whack-job who had had such thoughts.

I have often wondered why people say they are proud to be an American, especially when that fact is due to an accident of birth. I'm not proud to have blue eyes nor that my hair is silver. I'm an American because I was born in Mobile, Alabama and have never left to live in another country, torn up my passport and decided to call that country "home," providing that country would have me as a citizen.

I can feel the building about to fall on me, but it won't be the first time, so here goes, anyway. I never understood why people were proud to be black, back in the day or today. I can see why one might be proud that one had mustered the courage to fight the good fight for civil rights for all Americans, but not because of the color of one's skin. Of course, I was white, at least in the winter months, and I felt no pride in that. I never went through what black people went through. Maybe they were simply proud to have survived. I can come somewhat close to imagining what it must have been like for a black person back then, but no white person can lay full claim to that one.

Funny, though, I knew immediately what Michelle Obama meant without her having to explain it. I'm quite a bit older than she is and have much less energy for things like pride or, even less, enthusiasm. We have lived during a slightly different bit of American history. I could easily be her husband's mother. Nevertheless, I knew what she meant. She wasn't suddenly proud to be an American because her husband might get to be president or, even, that a woman might, if he didn't. She was looking, as she had been for a year, out over ever-growing crowds of Americans; thousands who looked like Americans, white, black, red, yellow, brown, who gave a damn about the political process in this country. This, after years of way less than 50% of the eligible voters in this country getting off their butts to vote, let alone work for a candidate whose vision they shared. (Perhaps that was because no candidate had had a vision that so many could share, or maybe the last 7 years shocked Americans out of their over-work, TeeVee induced semi-comas.

Perhaps it is all a combination of forces coming together and, low and behold, as good fortune would have it, there is a guy who is saying what they had wanted to say and hear for 40 years. The first time I listened to a whole Barack Obama speech, from beginning to end, I sat there, motionless, chills running up my spine and tears running down my cheeks. I didn't want to hope with him. Sometimes, I still don't. It can be painful for me, you see. I have a forty year old wound that his words tear open, again.

She had met unbelievable crowds of people who said, give me something to do...I wanna help Obama because his dream seems much like mine. She felt like a family of strangers had embraced her and her family, not because they were black, but because they stood for something; like justice for all people, like taking care of the least of these and doing so in a way that left everyone's dignity in tact.

There is much more to it; his vision, Americans waking up, seeing what our government has done, in our names and with our blood and treasure, crawling out of the woodwork to take responsibility for it all and to re-build something together; not something built on hate or fear or a feeling of emptiness, no matter how much one has, but on something else.

Then came last night and the McCain story about a possible romantic relationship with a lobbyist for whom he, allegedly, did favors. Isn't that what all politicians do for lobbyist....favors? We all know it. Some of us try to pretend that we don't know it, but we do.

Most of us know that American politics is just a big old fascist game. If you have enough money you too can play. We also know that American institutions we used to trust; banks, the news media, print as well as electronic, real estate brokers, not to mention the institutions of government, are as corrupt as a corpse, homes to worms and maggots.

Just about 24 hours was all it took for the hand of karma to slap Cindy and John, right upside the head. That unkind, wise-crack about Michelle Obama's pride in her country and now this.

Perhaps, candidates and their staffs should learn something from this. It can take thousands of years for karma to roll around. Nevertheless, it can come much, much faster, if it has to, to balance things out and bring the gift of learning this simple but profound proverb: What you do to another you have already done unto yourself, because, you see, there is no difference, that really matters, between you and me. There is no separation. Just as there is none between Michelle and Cindy.

I feel for both of them. It's going to be a long hard summer if people just refuse to learn anything.

Stewart: McCain story 'has tired dusty feel to it'

02/21/2008 @ 9:48 am

Filed by David Edwards and Muriel Kane

News that the New York Times would be reporting on an improper relationship between Sen. John McCain and a female lobbyist broke as CNN's Larry King was doing a live interview with the Daily Show's Jon Stewart Wednesday night.


When asked by King for his thoughts on the matter, Stewart was clearly unprepared, but his first reaction was to say, "I think John McCain is someone who I have great respect for ... It's very unfortunate. ... This has an awfully tired and dusty feel to it."

Stewart went on to reflect, "If this is about lobbying and things like that, certainly that's very much in the public interest. ... But I think the general parasitical nature of lobbying to government is pretty out there for everyone to see."

"I think this sounds like a pretty hurtful personal thing," Stewart concluded. "It's a shame, and I feel badly for him and I feel badly for his family, because they're lovely people."

John McCain has made more appearances on the Daily Show than any other guest, with last September's appearance being his eleventh, and John Stewart has described him as a friend.

Stewart also downplayed King's suggestion that the fact that the story is running in the Times makes it more credible, saying, "There are very few organizations left that have a credibility savings account that they can draw on any more."

(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.

The Bushites and Poppy's Agency: Betrayal.

Tape Inquiry: Ex-Spymaster in the Middle

by Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane

WASHINGTON - It would become known inside the Central Intelligence Agency as “the Italian job,” a snide movie reference to the bungling performance of an agency team that snatched a radical Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan in 2003 and flew him to Egypt - a case that led to criminal charges in Italy against 26 Americans.0220 06

Porter J. Goss, the C.I.A. director in 2005 when embarrassing news reports about the operation broke, asked the agency’s independent inspector general to start a review of amateurish tradecraft in the case, like operatives staying in five-star hotels and using traceable credit cards and cellphones.

But Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., now the central figure in a controversy over destroyed C.I.A. interrogation tapes, fought back. A blunt-spoken Puerto Rico native and former head of the agency’s Latin America division, he had been selected by Mr. Goss months earlier to head the agency’s troubled clandestine branch. Mr. Rodriguez told his boss that no inspector general review would be necessary - his service would investigate itself.

It was a protective instinct that ran deep inside the C.I.A.’s fabled Directorate of Operations, the agency’s most powerful branch. The same instinct would resurface months later, when Mr. Rodriguez dispatched a cable to the agency’s Bangkok station ordering the destruction of videotapes that showed C.I.A. officers carrying out harsh interrogations of operatives of Al Qaeda.

“He would always say, ‘I’m not going to let my people get nailed for something they were ordered to do,’ ” said Robert Richer, Mr. Rodriguez’s deputy in the clandestine branch until late 2005, who recalls many conversations with his boss about the tapes.

No Record of Punishment

With the tapes’ destruction now the subject of overlapping Congressional and criminal inquiries, investigators are trying to determine whether Mr. Rodriguez, 59, acted on his own or with at least tacit approval from superiors at the C.I.A. or the White House. Officials now say a recent review by the C.I.A. of Mr. Rodriguez’s personnel file found no record of any reprimand or punishment for his action.

The destruction of the tapes is hardly the first time that the C.I.A.’s mission to take risks and to counter threats abroad has come into conflict with American notions of justice, legality and human rights. From assassination plots in the 1960s to the Iran-contra scandal of the 1980s, American spymasters have found themselves in legal jeopardy for acts they said were lawful and necessary.

The tapes episode and Mr. Rodriguez’s role reflect the intensity of the particular tensions that have played out since the Sept. 11 attacks, a period in which the C.I.A. has been asked to play a new role in capturing, questioning and imprisoning terror suspects, and is now facing questions about whether its conduct crossed the line into illegality.

The events surrounding the tapes unfolded during one of the most tumultuous periods in the C.I.A.’s 60-year history, when the insular and proud clandestine service clashed with the strong-willed team that Mr. Goss, a former Florida congressman, brought with him to the agency. Mr. Rodriguez was “the man in the middle,” Mr. Richer said.

Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Goss declined to be interviewed for this article.

Mr. Goss was not the first C.I.A. director to discover that operatives who were trained to destabilize foreign governments could sometimes put those same skills to work inside the agency.

In a striking metaphor for Mr. Goss’s powerlessness, as officers of the Directorate of Operations, or D.O., ignored his instructions and shunned his staff, he later told a colleague that “when he pulled a lever to make something happen in the D.O., it wasn’t just that nothing happened,” the colleague recalled. “It was that the lever came off in his hands.”

Mr. Rodriguez joined the C.I.A. in 1976, at a time when the agency was still reeling from Congressional investigations into assassination plots, coup attempts and domestic wiretapping.

With his thick accent and undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida, he stood out in the clandestine service, which even in the 1970s was a preserve of the Anglo-Saxon, Ivy League establishment.

But over the next two decades in a series of overseas postings, Mr. Rodriguez ascended the ranks of the directorate’s Latin America division, serving from Peru to Belize and heading the C.I.A. stations in Panama, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

He ran the kind of espionage missions and covert operations that defined the agency, overshadowing its other task of analyzing intelligence from all sources. Clandestine officers fashioned themselves as the “fighter jocks” of the C.I.A., the swashbuckling spies who risked their lives for their country.

Dominating the Culture

The Directorate of Operations “is a really small part of C.I.A., in terms of budget and people,” said Mark M. Lowenthal, a former assistant agency director. “But in terms of culture, the D.O. dominates the place.” In mid-2005, the directorate was renamed the National Clandestine Service.

A popular boss, Mr. Rodriguez occasionally flashed the maverick spirit prized by clandestine officers. One former colleague recalls that while in Mexico he named his horse Business, instructing subordinates to tell the ambassador or the C.I.A. brass that he was “out on Business.”

By the mid-1990s, Mr. Rodriguez was head of the Latin America division. But his career was nearly cut short when the C.I.A. inspector general reprimanded him in 1997 for a “remarkable lack of judgment” after he intervened to stop jailhouse beatings by guards of a childhood friend arrested on drug charges in the Dominican Republic.

A C.I.A. officer stationed in the Dominican Republic complained to the inspector general that the intervention was improper, according to a former agency official. Mr. Rodriguez was removed as chief of the Latin America division, and later returned to run the station in Mexico.

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, he was tapped to become chief operating officer of the agency’s Counterterrorism Center, based at the C.I.A. headquarters, which was ballooning to nearly 1,500 officers from 300. There was grumbling that Mr. Rodriguez, with no experience in the Muslim world, was given the job. But seven months later, he was promoted to head the center, placing him in charge of the hunt for Qaeda operatives and the interrogation of terrorist suspects in a chain of secret C.I.A. prisons.

By the time Mr. Goss was sworn in as director of central intelligence in late September 2004, the agency’s clandestine service was already embittered by finger-pointing over the Iraq war.

The arrival of the new leader and his outspoken aides, dubbed the “Gosslings” by some within the agency, made matters worse.

Many agency veterans suspected that Mr. Goss and his team were on a White House mission to clean house at the C.I.A. The two top officers of the clandestine service, Stephen R. Kappes and Michael J. Sulick, soon quit.

When Mr. Goss looked for replacements, two agency officers turned him down, fearing that accepting the job would be seen as a betrayal of the clandestine branch. In the end, Mr. Goss offered the job to Mr. Rodriguez.

According to Mary Margaret Graham, a career clandestine officer who recently retired as head of intelligence collection for the director of national intelligence, Mr. Rodriguez had similar concerns about “betraying” fellow undercover officers. He assured her that he had accepted the position “on his terms.”

“I think in hindsight they expected a much more pliable person than they got,” she said.

Mr. Rodriguez traveled to overseas stations more than many predecessors, to build morale and get a firsthand account of operations. One result was that the clandestine branch’s daily operations were often left to his chief of staff, who had worked with Mr. Rodriguez in the Counterterrorism Center. Because she is still under cover, The New York Times is not publishing her name.

Several former C.I.A. officials recall repeated clashes between Mr. Rodriguez’s chief of staff and aides to Mr. Goss on matters from the trivial to the serious.

One serious concern, in the view of Mr. Goss’s staff, was the resistance of Mr. Rodriguez and his chief of staff to outside reviews of such missteps by the clandestine service as the Italian operation. In the matter of the tapes, there was also concern that Mr. Rodriguez and others who were involved in creating them were now pushing to destroy them. “It was just that they weren’t very impartial judges,” said a former C.I.A. official.

Mr. Rodriguez, who was nearing retirement, saw the tapes as a sort of time bomb that, if leaked, threatened irreparable damage to the United States’ image in the Muslim world, his friends say, and posed physical and legal risks to C.I.A. officers on them.

People close to Mr. Goss, who knew from his Congressional years how explosive accusations of cover-up could be, insist he told Mr. Rodriguez the tapes should be preserved.

But if Mr. Goss believed Mr. Rodriguez had disobeyed him, why did he not punish the clandestine service chief? One former C.I.A. official said White House officials had complained about the news media firestorm that accompanied the departure of Mr. Kappes and Mr. Sulick a year earlier, and Mr. Goss felt he could not risk another blowup.

‘Loyal and Dedicated’

Robert S. Bennett, Mr. Rodriguez’s lawyer, said his client was never instructed to preserve the tapes and recalls no discussion of conflict of interest on his part.

“Guys like Jose are loyal and dedicated and take risks to keep the country safe from terrorism,” Mr. Bennett said. “Now, his own government is investigating him, and I think it’s shameful.”

Not long after the tapes were destroyed, Mr. Goss held a management retreat for top agency officials meant in part to soothe tensions among the agency’s dueling branches. There the deputy director for intelligence - the head of analysis - complained openly about the arrogance of the clandestine branch and said undercover officers thought they could get away with anything.

That was too much for Mr. Rodriguez. He stood up in the room, according to one participant in the meeting, and shouted in coarse language that the analysis chief should “wake up and smell the coffee,” because undercover officers were at the “pointy end of the spear.”

The clandestine branch, Mr. Rodriguez was making it clear, would do what it wanted.

© 2008 The New York Times

(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.

The Super-Entitled Had Better Think twice!

Like the Bushes, the Clintons seem to believe they have some special entitlement to the White House, and thus whatever they do to get there is justified. The two ruling families function with a monarchical air that is unique – or foreign – to the American experience.

George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have enjoyed wearing baseball caps emblazoned with “41” and “43” respectively, signifying their numerical claims on the U.S. presidency. It is still not known what articles of clothing the Clintons might embroider with “42” and “44.”

But like the Bushes, who bullied their way back into the White House by shutting down vote-counting in Florida in December 2000, the Clintons also seem to view their claim on the presidency as a right. Any serious challenger must be treated as a pretender guilty of the crime of insolence.

So, even as Hillary Clinton’s cornerstone argument – her “ready on Day One” superior management skills – has crumbled amid the wreckage of her inept campaign, she sends her surrogates out to attack Barack Obama over trivial matters, like whether he adopted a rhetorical argument that his friend, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, once used.

Though politicians often borrow phrases – and policies – from one another, the Clinton campaign accused Obama of “plagiarism,” an over-the-top attack on his character. It didn’t seem to matter that Obama and Patrick had discussed the use of the phrasing and that the Massachusetts governor – an Obama campaign co-chair – wasn’t complaining.

Nor did it seem to matter that the substance of the Obama/Patrick argument was correct – that inspiring words can be crucial in rallying citizens in a democracy to join in an important cause or to overcome entrenched interests.

In her recent stump speeches, Hillary Clinton has demeaned the power of words to put down Obama, who clearly has an oratorical advantage. She said: “There’s a difference between speeches and solutions, between talk and action. I was raised to believe that actions speak louder than words.”

Responding to that argument in a speech in Milwaukee on Feb. 16, Obama said, “Don’t tell me words don’t matter. ‘I have a dream.’ Just words? ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words? ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words? Just speeches?”

In a way, of course, Clinton is right. Her recent action – dispatching her spokesmen to attack Obama’s character over trivial issues – does speak volumes. It underscores that the Clintons are prepared to sink to any depth and create bitter divisions within the electorate to secure what they regard as their entitlement, the presidency of the United States.

[For more on this topic, see the Washington Post, Feb. 19, 2008, or’s “How Far Will the Clintons Go?” and “The Clinton Audacity.”]

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to

(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.

Harry Reid Is Shameful And A Disgrace!

I'm not going to take a lot of your time this morning. Not because I couldn't go on and on about this, I could. But it's not necessary. It's simple. Let's start with this:

If you should run into Hillary or Barack on the campaign trail ask them the following question:

If you become President of the United States of America, making your running mate the constitutional president of the US Senate, will you demand that the current Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, be replaced immediately?

It's a critical question. Harry Reid is, to put it mildly, the worst, most ineffective, mealy-mouth, wimp to lead the US Senate in my adult life time. And he proved that again this week when he allowed the administration's bill granting immunity to the telecoms to pass the Senate.

In effect what Reid did by allowing that legislation to pass is to ratify Richard Nixon's stated belief that, "if the President does it it's not illegal."

Fortunately the House, under Nancy Pelosi's leadership, showed more backbone than Reid and his Senate colleagues by refusing to ratify the Senate's version giving the telecom's a get-out-jail free card for aiding and abetting the administration's illegal wiretapping. Instead the House shelved the matter allowing the current authority to lapse this Saturday and took two weeks off.

This morning President Bush was on TV whining that refusing to grant the telecoms immunity will mean "it will be harder for us to get companies to cooperate with us in protecting you."

The statement is correct, though worded incorrectly. The correct way to put it is that, failing to provide telecoms protection from lawsuits will, "make it harder for us to get companies cooperate with us to protect you by illegally spying on you."

To which I say, good. It should make it harder, just as the threat of lawsuits make it's harder for companies to screw consumers, which many companies would be delighted to do if they figured they could get away with it. But also, and more importantly, the threat of lawsuits will force the telecoms to do a basic cost/benefit analysis before they pull a stunt like this again. That analysis would go something like this:

- By helping the government spy on Americans the govenment owes us one the next time we want something from the government, be it legislation or regulatory favors.

- But, without immunity if the courts later find we broke the law it could cost of billions of dollars in damages, more than wiping out any gains we might garner by cooperating.

(Do notice that the top three recipients of telecom money are also the top three candidates for President -- Here)

What Harry Reid did last week was to assure that the telecoms would only see upside and no downside when faced with any similar requests from this or any other administration in the future.

The reason this is so important is that the nexus of big government and big business must always be viewed with the greatest attention and suspicion. If history has taught us anything it's that it is at that nexus where seeds of corporate fascism geminate, and if allowed to grow, thrive.

Those seeds took root in a startlingly aggressive way under this administration. Not only did major telecom companies comply with the administration's request for assistance in its illegal warrantless wiretapping, but they did so with frightening gusto, efficiency and enthusiasm.

AT&T built warrantless wiretap rooms for the NSA

AT&T has asked a court to suppress documents leaked to the Electronic Frontier Foundation by an ex-employee detailing how the company indiscriminately diverted domestic and international traffic to the National Security Agency for warrantless wiretapping:

AT&T built a secret room in its San Francisco switching station that funnels internet traffic data from AT&T Worldnet dialup customers and traffic from AT&T's massive internet backbone to the NSA, according to a statement from Klein.

Klein's duties included connecting new fiber-optic circuits to that room, which housed data-mining equipment built by a company called Narus, according to his statement.

Narus' promotional materials boast that its equipment can scan billions of bits of internet traffic per second, including analyzing the contents of e-mails and e-mail attachments and even allowing playback of internet phone calls.

Eventually Klein blew the whistle saying that, "We all remember Big Brother, and suddenly there I was hooking everyone up to the Big Brother Machine."

Harry Reid failed us and he violated his oath of office, the oath he took to "preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America from enemies foreign or domestic."

So, ask the two Democratic candidates if they would push to replace Reid immediately upon taking their oath of office.

(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.

Sephen Pizzo: It;s Over....not quite

Not quite, Stephen. There is still the general and the old man who apparently believes that every generation should suffer just as he did, for nothing.

It's Over

What do Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton have in common?

Neither seems to have heard the old Kenney Rogers tune, the refrain of which goes:

"You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run."

Last night's results from Wisconsin were stunning, and telling. But even more telling was what was going on behind the scenes. Taken together with the poll results, if Hillary Clinton took Kenney Rogers' advice above she wouldn't just walk away, she'd sprint for the nearest exit.

In case you missed it, here's what happened after the polls closed in Wisconsin.

Once it was clear to both campaigns that Obama had definitively won Wisconsin, the Obama folks let the Clinton folks know Obama would wait before he spoke to let Hillary speak first. Their assumption being that she'd concede the Wisconsin race and congratulate Obama for the win.

How little the Barackistas still understand the Clintons. Like Lucy in the Peanuts cartoon, she pulls the football away just as Charlie Brown goes for the kick. And so it came to pass, again -- Hillary, speaking before a crowd in Texas, launched right into a campaign attack speech.

Furious they'd been had again, the Obama campaign "big footed" Hillary by having Barack begin his speech right there and then. They knew that, as the winner last night, all the networks would switch from Hillary's speech to his -- and that's just what happened. Hillary was blacked out -- right in the middle of her pitch.


But it wasn't "ouch" for those of us watching on TV --- it was deal closer. We were instantly transported from Hillary's sing-song, robotic, entirely predictable remarks, to a soaring address by Obama. (Watch it here)

As I listened to Obama I turned to my wife and said, "it's over."

It was so clear... stunningly clear. The Obama folks may have cut into Hillary's speech in a moment of anger, but in so doing they created a contrast so startling in it's starkness that only the most lobotomized Clinton Moonies could have resisted it. The contrast was so immediate and so stunning it hit me like a truck.

The contrast forced the question on me, and I suspect millions of others who saw and heard it. It reduced all the noise and posturing of this campaign down to a very simple choice:

Did I want four years of more of the same -- the same poll-tested nostrums, the same all-talk, process-pablum that has, for the past couple of decades masked a failure of either party to govern -- the failure to solve real problems rather than use them as brickbats against "the other side?"

Was that what I wanted?

Or did I want the candidate who was giving this hard-boiled, as-cynical-as-they-come, crusty old reporter goosebumps every time he opened his mouth? Did I want the candidate that included me in his equation, the candidate who didn't just ask for my vote, but my help, should he win. Did I want the candidate that didn't tell me he/she was prepared to do it all FOR me "on day one," but rather that he could not do any of it for me, only WITH me.

It was no contest. None. Hillary offered same-old,same-old, on steroids. The same old talking points, same old "vast conspiracies" that she'd use to explain her failure to deliver and, of course, the same old loose canon, Bill, rolling fore and aft on our national -- and emotional -- decks.

Of course, there's no way for me -- or you -- to know, with any degree of certainty, if Obama can deliver on any of the high-minded promises he makes. But then he doesn't claim he can. He only claims "we can."

How surprising is this? Following so many years of hopelessness, when hope returned it arrived in a plain brown wrapper.

So it is that, after two decades of helplessly watching my country slide backwards -- backwards in education, backwards in healthcare, backwards in human rights, backwards in open government, backwards in protecting the environment, backwards in economic equity, backwards in freedom itself -- I am pushing all my chips in for the candidate who clearly believes we can reverse this decline.

Obama has convinced me, we can. Yes, we can.

Hillary, do yourself, us and the nation a favor -- fold-em.

Yes, you can.

(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.

OMG! Well, We Knew It Was Coming....

FBI program alleged to prepare businesses for martial law

(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.

Goopers Planning For Obama

Barack Obama appears to be riding high after winning his ninth and tenth primary contests in a row on Tuesday night in Wisconsin and Hawaii. And while Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign may be struggling to knock the Illinois senator off stride, all indications show that Republican political strategists are gearing up for their own attacks on the candidate if he sustains his momentum.

In a blog post at the National Review Online, reporter Jim Geraghty asked the question, "Once you take away Barack Obama’s likeability… what’s left?"

Geraghty argued in the Tuesday post that Obama is highly vulnerable to a set of criticisms that can only be made by Republicans, and that once they are deployed, they will reverberate with voters around the country and end the idea that Obama is untouchable.

John McCain can point out that Obama wanted to make it a felony if your gun is stolen from your residence and used in a crime, if the government determines you did not “securely store” the weapon. Hillary Clinton can’t.

John McCain can point out how Obama opposes a ban on partial birth abortion ban, and who voted against a bill that would require medical care for aborted fetuses who survive. Hillary Clinton can’t.

John McCain can point out how Obama was the only state senator to oppose a law that prohibited early prison release for sex offenders. For some reason, Hillary Clinton hasn’t.

John McCain can point out that Barack Obama has been rated the most liberal lawmaker in the U.S. Senate by National Journal. Hillary Clinton can’t.

As Geraghty goes on to explain, "In other words, the only information most Americans have encountered regarding Obama so far has been gushing press coverage, and ineffective attacks on him from Hillary from the left. Conservatives have not, by and large, focused their ire on Obama… mostly because he ain’t her."

Senator McCain himself seemed ready to contrast his candidacy with that of Senator Obama in his victory speech on Tuesday night after winning the Wisconsin primary.

"I'm not the youngest candidate. But I am the most experienced," he said. "I know what our military can do, what it can do better, and what it should not do. I know how Congress works, and how to make it work for the country and not just the re-election of its members. I know how the world works."

Republican activists also played up the experience theme.

"In November, American voters won’t have to decide between a candidate with no experience and a candidate who is untrustworthy," said Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan in a statement after Obama's victory. "I am confident Americans will choose the most qualified candidate to take on the big issues our nation faces, and that candidate is not Barack Obama.”

McCain's wife Cindy also took a shot at Obama's wife Michelle on Tuesday, highlighting her remark that "for the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country."

"I am proud of my country," McCain's wife said Tuesday in Wisconsin. "I don’t know about you? If you heard those words earlier, I am very proud of my country."

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