Saturday, March 1, 2008

That's Tax Payer Money You're Squandering, Junior

Well, of course they are blocking it. We're talking fraud and, probably, outright theft.

The Bush administration is blocking an inquiry into the delay-plagued construction of the $736m US embassy in Baghdad, a senior Democrat in Congress said today.

Henry Waxman, who is chairman of the oversight committee in the House of Representatives, asked US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice today to explain why her department certified the embassy as "substantially completed" in December despite inspections that reveal continued deficiencies in the facility's water, fire alarm and kitchen systems.

The Baghdad embassy, which stands to become the largest US diplomatic facility in the world, had an original opening date of mid-2007. But the project stalled amid ballooning cost estimates as well as charges of corruption and shoddy work by the private contracting company overseeing the project.

In addition, two US state department employees who worked on the embassy project are now under criminal investigation. Waxman urged Rice to release subpoenaed documents related to the Baghdad embassy project next week or risk being forced to do so.

"It appears that the state department is concealing from Congress basic information about the status of the embassy project and the activities of the individuals and contractors involved," Waxman wrote to Rice. "This continued intransigence is inappropriate."

The private construction company, First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting, declined repeatedly to provide safety inspectors with reports on fire protection systems at the embassy, according to reports released by Waxman. First Kuwaiti, based in Kuwait, remains the target of a separate US criminal probe into allegations of labour trafficking.

The state department has not yet received Waxman's letter but plans to address the Democrat's concerns by his March 7 deadline, spokesman Tom Casey told reporters today.

Casey defended the delay in construction of the embassy, asserting that the building would not be occupied until its fitness for use could be certified.

"[W]e certainly have no intention of taking occupancy or establishing occupancy in a facility that doesn't fully meet all our standards," Casey said. He reminded reporters that First Kuwaiti is required under its contract to bear the cost of any needed additional work.

The new director of building operations at the state department has ordered a review of the embassy project and may revoke the building's "substantially completed" certification, McClatchy news service reported this 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.

The Clintons Are Showing Their True Colors Again

The Clintons are by far the most money grubbing of any Democratic presidential team I've seen and a lot of it is for personal wealth, although it's hard to out do them when it comes to campaign funds and sleaze.

From NBC's Lisa Myers and Jim Popkin

Sen. Hillary Clinton
has declined to return $170,000 in campaign contributions from individuals at a company accused of widespread sexual harassment, and whose CEO is a disbarred lawyer with a criminal record, federal campaign records show.

The federal government has accused the Illinois management consulting firm, International Profit Associates, or IPA, of a brazen pattern of sexual harassment including "sexual assaults," "degrading anti-female language" and "obscene suggestions."

In a 2001 lawsuit full of lurid details, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims that 103 women employees at IPA were victimized for years. The civil case is ongoing, and IPA vigorously denies the allegations.

"This is by far, hands down, the worst case I've ever experienced," said Diane Smason, one of the EEOC lawyers handling the lawsuit. "Every woman there experienced sex harassment, they were part of a hostile work environment of sex harassment. And this occurred from the top down."

Sen. Clinton's spokesman, Howard Wolfson, told NBC News in a statement that the senator decided to keep the funds because the lawsuit is "ongoing" and because none of the sexual harassment allegations has been proven in court.

"With regard to the pending harassment suit, as a general matter, the campaign assesses findings of fact in deciding whether to return contributions," Wolfson said.

(What a load of crap; notice the lawyerly speak? "findings of fact.") By the time the facts are found, no one will remember or give a damn. Slick 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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Will Next President Give Green Light To Gays In The Military?

A better question is why would anyone care?

Most gays I have known have better sense than to join up after the last 7 years.

Though I have no hard proof of this, I would bet a large sum of money that gays, in general, are smarter than heterosexuals and while they may be just as patriotic, they know war crimes when they see them.

When people think of the holocaust and Germany under Hitler, they usually think of the Jews, but many others know that the gays were persecuted and murdered as well. Would those who were the victims of a madman fight for another and commit the horrors required?

What gay or lesbian person would want to join up?

This presidential campaign has seen plenty of platitudes on matters of national security but precious little real discussion about what America's armed forces will look like in the years to come. There are extraordinary challenges ahead, not the least of which is rebuilding a military utterly spent by the war in Iraq. As for the people who would be commander in chief, we know that all the remaining candidates want to defeat terrorism and keep America strong. In other words, we don't know much at all.

There are many facets to the issue of our military's future, but for the moment I want to discuss just one: whether the ban on gays serving in the military will finally be repealed. Of the 26 countries in the NATO alliance, only Portugal, Greece, Turkey—and the United States—ban gays from serving in the military. Other countries have reported no problems integrating gay service members into their military. This is true even in Israel, where they take military matters very, very seriously.

When he ran for president in 1992, Bill Clinton pledged to repeal the ban, perhaps not realizing how much opposition it would engender from both inside and outside the military. When he tried to make good on his promise, a firestorm erupted, one of the most remarkable elements of which was the fact that all over the media senior active-duty personnel were quoted as opposing the policy decision their commander in chief was considering. (Historical fun fact: One of the most prominent advocates of repealing the ban and letting gays serve openly was conservative hero Barry Goldwater.)

The resolution the administration came up with was "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which is a deceptive moniker for what was an extremely minor shift. The only "not asking" that took place was that recruits would no longer be forced to attest to their red-blooded heterosexuality before they joined the service. The rest of the policy remained largely unchanged: You could still be kicked out of the military for any "homosexual conduct," which is not limited to sex but includes letting other people know you're gay.

The result was unsurprising: Gay soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines felt no less required to hide their identity, and nearly every day someone was being kicked out of the military because of their sexuality.

But then something interesting happened: The exigencies of war made booting gays out of the military a little less appealing. Discharges under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" peaked at 1,227 in 2001 and have since declined rapidly, numbering only 612 in 2006. That's still plenty, of course. But there are also plenty of gay service members whose sexuality is known to their units, and whose commanding officers have decided that they're going to pretend they don't know in order to avoid losing a valuable member of their team.

John McCain, you will be shocked to learn, thinks that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should remain in place, while both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have said they'll move to repeal the ban if they become president. If a Democrat is elected in the fall, he or she will have one advantage Bill Clinton didn't in moving to repeal the ban: the support of a clear majority of the American people. In 1993 the public was closely split on the issue, with supporters of the ban usually outnumbering opponents by a small margin. But today, between 60 percent and 65 percent of people tell surveyors that gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military (see for example Gallup or Pew).

What happened? America became a different country in the last 15 years. In 1992, 42 percent of Americans told a CBS News/New York Times poll that they personally knew a gay person. In 2004, a Los Angeles Times poll asked a similar question and found that the number was 69 percent. Was there some sort of explosion of gayness in the interim? Extraordinarily successful efforts on the part of the Gay Recruitment Agency? Of course not. What occurred was a cultural shift: rising visibility for gays in popular culture gave more and more individuals the license and courage to come out to their friends, families, and co-workers.

So the general public might be supportive of repealing the ban, but what about members of the military themselves? The evidence is spotty, but it suggests that resistance to removing the ban is more likely to be found in the military's upper ranks, whose members are older. For instance, the quadrennial National Annenberg Election Survey found a stark split in their 2004 survey: While a majority of officers and their families opposed allowing gays to serve, a majority of enlisted personnel supported lifting the ban. The direction in which opinion within the military might be headed was suggested by another finding: "On another issue that had once divided the armed forces, the military sample resoundingly approved the work of women in the service. Seventy-four percent said they performed as well as the men they served with, 10 percent said they did worse than men, and 7 percent said they did better than men."

But even at the top, opinions are beginning to change. Last January, Gen. John Shalikashvili, a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, wrote in The New York Times, "Last year I held a number of meetings with gay soldiers and marines, including some with combat experience in Iraq. … These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers. … I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces."

When you ask proponents of the ban why it should remain in place, they almost never say that gay service members aren't capable of doing their jobs. Instead, they argue that the reason we can't let gay people serve is because of straight people. Being around their gay comrades would make them feel all, you know, funny. The result would be an inevitable decline in "unit cohesion."

Of course, "unit cohesion" can be harmed by any number of things—for instance, if one of the unit's members is a jerk. But the unit cohesion argument is an updated form of the same claim that was made before Harry Truman desegregated the armed forces. White soldiers just wouldn't tolerate blacks working, eating, and sleeping next to them, it was said. And the public, too, wanted to keep the races separate: A 1948 Gallup poll found that 60 percent of the public was against the idea of desegregating the army.

Today, our reaction to those poll numbers is to say, too bad. The moral wrong of segregation was not mitigated by the fact that undoing that wrong would make many people uncomfortable. The identical logic applies to the ban on gay people serving in the military: It is simply wrong to ban a certain class of Americans from serving in the military when their membership in that class does nothing to affect their performance. The fact that some other members of the military don't like them being there makes no difference. There are probably some anti-Semites in the military, too, but we don't prohibit Jews from serving because of it.

What history will say about the public figures of our time depends on what they do when confronted by moral questions like this one. Did they take the position history judged to be the right one? And did they have the courage to walk to the side of justice when there were political costs? The record of the Democratic Party on issues of gay rights has been tepid and timid, staying a step or two behind public opinion as it evolves in a steadily progressive direction. But at least on this question, the Democrats who would be president have arrived in the right spot. It may not have been discussed much in this campaign, but the ban will be repealed, if not in the next presidential term then not long thereafter. When it does happen, there will be another fight—perhaps not as bitter and laced with open bigotry as the last—but a fight nonetheless. And history will note where every politician stood.

(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.

Hillary, the people have pretty much spoken....

and we all know. Obama is not just a president. Obama is a movement; a movement like we have never seen before that was not in the streets. Thank your lucky stars that that movement is not in the streets and get out next week when the primaries are over.

Get out and get behind him with the rest of us and let's see that McCrackers doesn't win and destroy what's left of America.

We've had all we can take, Hillary. Are you with us or against us?

Clinton Needs to Secure `Overwhelming' Primary Wins (Update1)

By Hans Nichols and Catherine Dodge

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton may be unable to match Barack Obama in the party's delegate race even if she pulls off wins in the Texas and Ohio primaries next week.

While the math says she can still catch him, the odds are daunting because the Democratic Party doesn't have winner-take- all contests. Clinton instead may need to rely on chemistry, a chain-reaction set off by big wins in the March 4 races and in Pennsylvania in April that will persuade wavering delegates that she's the stronger candidate to face the Republican nominee in November.

Because of proportional representation, if one candidate gets a significant lead of pledged delegates, it's difficult -- but not impossible -- for the trailing candidate to make up the delegate disadvantage,'' said Tad Devine, a strategist for Democratic Senator John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid. "It would take overwhelming victories in the remaining primaries. You really need to beat someone by 20 percentage points."

Obama is ahead of Clinton by as many as 156 pledged delegates, who will vote on the nomination at the Democratic convention in August, according to an unofficial count by NBC News. There are 370 delegates at stake on March 4, and party rules for how they are awarded make it unlikely Clinton will cut much, if at all, into his lead.


Clinton, a senator from New York, continues to have an edge among superdelegates, Democratic officeholders and party officials who aren't bound by primary and caucus votes, according to a tally by The Green Papers, a nonpartisan Web site. Still, Obama, an Illinois senator, has momentum on his side, gaining backing from superdelegates such as Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, who dropped his own presidential bid in January, and Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.

Next week's contests, which include Rhode Island and Vermont, illustrate Clinton's challenge. A narrow victory by her in Ohio will lead to an almost equal distribution of the state's 141 delegates. In Texas, with 193 pledged delegates available, the arithmetic for Clinton is worse.

State party rules will ``create some interesting distortions,'' said Jack Martin, a Texas Democratic strategist.

Clinton, 60, could win statewide in Texas and still collect fewer delegates than Obama because 126 of them are awarded by state senate districts, and those won by Democrats in the last two elections get more delegates.

District Math

The most delegate-rich districts -- those with five to eight delegates each -- are in Houston, Dallas and Austin, many with concentrations of black voters. That will be Obama territory. Most of Clinton's strongholds are among the heavily Hispanic districts along the Texas-Mexico border areas, most with no more than four delegates.

Even losing the ``South Texas vote by as much as a 2-to-1 margin, Obama could be down as few as two delegates'' statewide, Martin said.

The remaining 67 pledged Texas delegates are awarded in caucuses convened after polls close for the primary. Obama, 46, has beaten Clinton in all but two of the caucuses held so far. In one of those losses, Nevada, Obama still managed to gain one more delegate than Clinton.

Early voting has already started in both Ohio and Texas.

After March 4, with about a fifth of the pledged delegates still available, Obama may have the upper hand.

A private Obama delegate projection shows Clinton's challenge even with victories next week. The calculations are conservative. For example, they showed Obama losing Maine on Feb. 10 and he ended up winning there.

Obama's Projections

The Obama campaign's projection assumes Clinton will win Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Puerto Rico. It shows Obama winning more states, including Wyoming, Mississippi, North Carolina, Indiana, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota.

Under that scenario, he would get slightly more delegates than Clinton, letting him build his lead in pledged convention votes and giving him an opportunity to win over more of the 795 superdelegates, only about half of whom have publicly taken sides. Still, it shows neither candidate with the 2,025 total delegates needed to win the nomination.

Democratic political strategists not associated with either campaign, independent experts and even some Clinton supporters concur in that outlook.

``I don't think superdelegates are going to go against the flow,'' said Stephen Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington. ``Politicians hate to get on the wrong bandwagon.''


Again, Obama has the momentum. In the 11 contests he has won since Super Tuesday on Feb. 5, he has pocketed 65 percent of the pledged delegates, according to William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Clinton will need to match that yield to pull even.

``It's difficult to imagine that Clinton can win'' in the March 4 states ``with sufficiently large margins to appreciably close her delegate deficit with Obama,'' said Charlie Cook, an independent political analyst in Washington. ``She'd have to win with landslide margins.''

``The powers that be in the Democratic Party'' won't call on Clinton to leave the race before March 4, said Cook. Starting on March 5, ``you will hear a chorus calling for her to drop out.''

To contact the reporters on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at ; Catherine Dodge in Washington at

(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 Deepest Recesses Of Hell Are Reserved For These healers who won't stand up to the Bush administration and say, "No more!"

Military Doctors Withholding Treatment from Soldiers with Mental Health Problems

By Maggie Mahar, Health Beat
Posted on February 27, 2008, Printed on February 28, 2008

Since 9/11, one Army division has spent more time in Iraq than any other group of soldiers: the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, New York.

Over the past 6 years and and six months, their 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT) has been the most deployed brigade in the army. As of this month, the brigade had completed its fourth tour of Iraq. All in all, the soldiers of BCT have spent 40 months in Iraq.

At what cost? According to a February 13 report issued by the Veterans for America's (VFA) Wounded Warrior Outreach Program, which is dedicated to strengthening the military mental health system, it is not just their bodies that have been maimed and, in some cases, destroyed. Many of these soldiers are suffering from severe mental health problems that have led to suicide attempts as well as spousal abuse and alcoholism.

Meanwhile, the soldiers of the 2nd BCT have been given too little time off in between deployments: In one case they had only six months to mentally "re-set"; following an eight-month tour in Afghanistan -- before beginning a 12-month tour in Iraq.

Then, in April 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decided to extend Army tours in Iraq from 12 to 15 months -- shortly after the BCT had passed what it assumed was its halfway mark in Iraq.

As the VFA report points out, "Mental health experts have explained that 'shifting the goalposts' on a soldier's deployment period greatly contributes to an increase in mental health problems."

Perhaps it should not come as a surprise that, during its most recent deployment, the 2nd BCT suffered heavy casualties. "Fifty-two members of the 2nd BCT were killed in action (KIA)," the VFA reports and "270 others were listed as non-fatality casualties, while two members of the unit remain missing in action (MIA)."

This level of losses is unusual. "On their most recent deployment," the VFA report notes, "members of the 2nd BCT were more than five times as likely to be killed as others who have been deployed to OEF and OIF and more than four times likely to be wounded." One can only wonder to what degree depression and other mental health problems made them more vulnerable to attack.

When they finally returned to Fort Drum, these soldiers faced winter conditions that the report describes as "dreary, with snow piled high and spring still months away. More than a dozen soldiers reported low morale, frequent DUI arrests, and rising AWOL, spousal abuse, and rates of attempted suicide. Soldiers also reported that given the financial realities of the Army, some of their fellow soldiers had to resort to taking second jobs such as delivering pizzas to supplement their family income."

What has the army done to help the soldiers at Fort Drum? Too little.

In recent months, VFA reports, it has been contacted by a number of soldiers based at Fort Drum who are concerned about their own mental health and the health of other members of their units. In response, VFA launched an investigation of conditions at Fort Drum, and what it found was shocking.

Soldiers told the VFA that "the leader of the mental health treatment clinic at Fort Drum asked soldiers not to discuss their mental health problems with people outside the base. Attempts to keep matters 'in house' foster an atmosphere of secrecy and shame," the report observed "that is not conducive to proper treatment for combat-related mental health injuries."

The investigators also discovered that "some military mental health providers have argued that a number of soldiers fake mental health injuries to increase the likelihood that they will be deemed unfit for combat and/or for further military service."

The report notes that a "conversation with a leading expert in treating combat psychological wounds" confirmed "that some military commanders at Fort Drum doubt the validity of mental health wounds in some soldiers, thereby undermining treatment prescribed by civilian psychiatrists" at the nearby Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, NY.

"In the estimation of this expert, military commanders have undue influence in the treatment of soldiers with psychological wounds," the report noted. "Another point of general concern for VFA is that Samaritan also has a strong financial incentive to maintain business ties with Fort Drum -- a dynamic [that] deserves greater scrutiny."

Because some soldiers do not trust Samaritan, the report reveals that a number of "soldiers have sought treatment after normal base business hours at a hospital in Syracuse, more than an hour's drive from Watertown ... because they feared that Samaritan would side with base leadership, which had, in some cases, cast doubt on the legitimacy of combat-related mental health wounds.

"In one case," the report continued, "after a suicidal soldier was taken to a Syracuse hospital, he was treated there for a week, indicating that his mental health concerns were legitimate. Unfortunately, mental health officials at Fort Drum had stated that they did not believe this soldier's problems were bona fide."

According to the VFA, the problem of military doctors refusing to back soldiers with mental health problems is widespread: "VFA's work across the country has confirmed that soldiers often need their doctors to be stronger advocates for improved treatment by their commanders and comrades. For instance, soldiers need doctors who are willing to push back against commanders who doubt the legitimacy of combat-related mental health injuries."

While talking to soldiers at Fort Drum, VFA also discovered "considerable stigma against mental health treatment within the military and pressure within some units to deny mental health problems as a result of combat.

Some soldiers who had been in the military for more than a decade stated that they lied on mental health questionnaires for fear that if they disclosed problems, it would reduce their likelihood of being promoted."

Soldiers at Fort Drum are not alone. In an earlier report titled "Trends in Treatment of America's Wounded Warriors" VFA disclosed that leaders of the military mental health treatment system have been warning Department of Defense leadership of the magnitude of the mental health crisis that is brewing.

A report by the Army's Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT) that was released last May found that the percentage of soldiers suffering "severe stress, emotional, alcohol or family problem[s]" had risen more than 85 percent since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. MHAT also found that 28 percent of soldiers who had experienced high-intensity combat were screening positive for acute stress (i.e., Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD).

Finally, MHAT disclosed that soldiers who had been deployed more than once were 60 percent more likely to screen positive for acute stress (i.e., PTSD) when compared to soldiers on their first deployment.

VFA's most recent report notes points out that, despite these warnings, soldiers at Fort Drum do not have access to the care they need: "More than six years after large-scale military operations began in Afghanistan and, later, in Iraq, a casual observer might assume that programs would have been implemented to ensure access for Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division to mental health services on base. Unfortunately, an investigation by VFA has revealed that [soldiers] who recently returned from Iraq must wait for up to two months before a single appointment can be scheduled ...

"Given the great amount of public attention that has been focused on the psychological needs of returning service members, a casual observer might also assume that these needs would have been given a higher priority by Army leaders and the National Command Authority -- the two entities with the greatest responsibility for ensuring the strength of our Armed Forces. These needs have long been acknowledged but," the report concludes " there has been insufficient action."

Last month the army tried putting a band-aid on the problems at Fort Drum by sending three Army psychiatrists from Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) to the Fort D on a temporary basis to treat the large influx of returning soldiers requiring mental health care. But, as the VFA points out, "this is only a temporary fix", as the Walter Reed-based psychiatrists will likely return to Washington, DC, within a few weeks.

Fort Drum will again be left with the task of treating thousands of soldiers with far too few mental health specialists. In addition, for those service members who were initially treated by psychiatrists from Walter Reed, their care will suffer from discontinuity, as their cases will be assigned a new mental health professional on subsequent visits."

And the war drags on. Earlier this month, the UK Times reported that "the conservative Washington think tank that devised the "surge" of US forces in Iraq [the American Enterprise Institute] now has come up with a plan to send 12,000 more American troops into southern Afghanistan.

A panel of more than 20 experts convened by the (AEI) has also urged the administration to get tough with Pakistan. "The US should threaten to attack Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters in lawless areas on the border with Afghanistan if the Pakistan military did not deal with them itself, the panel concluded."

Where do conservatives expect to find those troops?

More soldiers are likely to suffer the fate of the soldiers at Fort Drum. They will be sent back to combat, again and again -- until finally, they break. Soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression or a host of other mental problems are not in a good position to protect themselves. Sending them back only guarantees that fatalities will rise.

Maggie Mahar is a fellow at The Century Foundation and the author of Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much (Harper/Collins 2006).

© 2008 Health Beat All rights reserved.
View this story online at:
(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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dodd Throws Support To Obama

updated 5:35 a.m. ET, Tues., Feb. 26, 2008

WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut plans to endorse former presidential rival Barack Obama.

Dodd will endorse his colleague, a senator from Illinois, in Cleveland on Tuesday, according to a Democratic official close to Dodd who requested anonymity because no formal announcement had been made.

Dodd’s support, coupled with his liberal credentials, could provide a boost for Obama as major contests near in big states such as Ohio and Texas on March 4. Obama has won some key Democratic endorsements in recent weeks, including Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, a close friend of Dodd.

Much sought-after support

Obama and rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had been vying for Dodd’s support since he exited the presidential race after a poor showing in the Iowa caucus last month. Dodd, who won his Senate seat in 1980 and chaired the Democratic National Committee from 1995-1996, has long-standing ties to the Clintons.

Dodd is a “superdelegate,” one of nearly 800 Democratic officeholders and party officials who automatically attend the national convention and can vote for whomever they choose. They have become an important force in the close race between Clinton and Obama, and both candidates are lobbying hard for their support.

During the campaign, Dodd cast himself as an experienced leader who unites people. He stressed his long Senate career, foreign policy experience and work on education and children’s issues. But his long-shot candidacy, overshadowed by the huge campaign accounts and star power of Clinton and Obama, never caught fire.

Still, Dodd’s popularity with liberal voters could benefit Obama on both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Dodd voted in 2002 to authorize military intervention in Iraq, but has become an outspoken critic of the war and now calls his vote a mistake. He has said he would oppose an escalation of U.S. forces in Iraq and has said Congress should consider withholding funding for such a troop increase.

Dodd's influence

Dodd also could help Obama with Hispanic voters. A fluent Spanish speaker, Dodd served in the Peace Corps in a rural village in Dominican Republic from 1966-68 and has had a strong interest in Latin American affairs throughout his career.

Since his election to the House in 1974, Dodd has forged strong ties with labor unions, tried impose fiscal accountability on corporations and championed family and children’s issues. He chairs the powerful Senate Banking Committee.

Dodd was the chief Senate sponsor of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or to tend to a personal or family illness.

(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.

W. Ben Barnes, The Texas Lottery and Don Siegelman

Posted by McCamy Taylor in General Discussion
Mon Feb 25th 2008, 08:28 PM

Sometimes, I think Karl Roves gets his ideas for how to smear his opponents by looking at the real crimes of the Bush family.

The charge that Alberto Gonzales’ Grand High Inquisitors created----making it a crime to re-appoint someone to a state board after he has donated money to a state lottery campaign---absolutely pales in comparison to what went on when George W. Bush was governor of Texas.

Remember Ben Barnes? The Democratic former Texas Speaker who helped W. evade the draft and get a spot in the Texas Air National Guard ahead of other men, back during the Vietnam War? That favor he did for the Bush family really paid off. Here is a link to the story from WorldNetDaily (so we are not talking the liberal media here):

What GTECH revealed in its 1997 10-K was that the company was under investigation in Texas because of allegations against one of its paid consultants, one Ben Barnes, who previously had been lieutenant governor of Texas. GTECH hired Barnes in 1991, before the company had the Texas Lottery contract, because Barnes claimed to have influence with then-governor of Texas, Ann Richards. For getting GTECH the Texas contract in 1992, Barnes received somewhere between 3.5 to 4 percent of GTECH's gross Texas Lottery revenue, a percentage that yielded Barnes somewhere in the range of $3 million a year.

The 1997 GTECH 10-K noted that the company was under investigation in Texas and its contract had been open to competitive bid. GTECH disclosed that Texas Lottery contract was then the company's largest contract, accounting for 16 percent of GTECH's total revenue in fiscal 1997. Losing this contract would materially hurt GTECH's operating income and depress its stock price as a consequence. GTECH ran for cover by terminating Ben Barnes contract and paying him $23 million to stay quiet.

Why did Barnes hold out until 1997? He was a Democrat with influence over Democrat Gov. Ann Richards, but what hold did he have on Republican Gov. George W. Bush?

You already know what he had over Bush, because I just told you. He knew that W. got into the National Guards—and avoided going to Vietnam with the riffraff to die—due to favoritism. However, as usual, the cover up was much worse than the crime.

Things went on the way they were until 1997 when someone noticed that everything about the Texas State Lottery was illegal, including its habit of hiring former state officials like Ben Barnes. A new executive director named Larry Littwin was brought in.

He decided to put the GTECH contract up for competitive bid. Mr. Littwin was ordered by the Texas Lottery Commission, including Harriet Miers, to stop his investigation. On Oct. 29, 1997, only five months after he had been hired, Mr. Littwin was fired by the Texas Lottery Commission, whose only state reason was that they had "lost confidence" in him.

Littwin sued and during the discovery phase, his attorney questioned Barnes and obtained testimony in which “he disclosed his alleged involvement with the Bush National Guard controversy and his political influence peddling for GTECH through the first two years of Bush's term as governor of Texas.”

Littwin was able to settle with GTECH in exchange for suppressing these incriminating documents. And the contract was re-awarded to GTECH.

Here is James Moore, at Huffington Post, on the same story (so left and right agree on this one):

Barnes had been hired by G-Tech, and had signed a lifetime contract giving him a percentage of revenues generated by the lottery. In the late 1960s, Barnes was also Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. As one of the two most influential people in the Texas legislature during those years, Barnes frequently took requests from people interested in getting their sons enlisted in the Texas National Guard. Enrollment in the Army or Air National Guard was considered a legitimate method for avoiding the draft, and not fighting in Vietnam. As a result, there were more than 100,000 young men on waiting lists around the country, hoping to get enrolled. Usually, they were drafted before the Guard called. Waiting lists were often up to five years long. A friend, or family member, who wanted to get George W. Bush into the National Guard, would have had to contact Barnes or someone on his staff.

So, obviously, if young W. got into the National Guard , he did it through Ben Barnes. When Republican Governor W. took over in Austin, there was no question that Barnes’ company, GTech would continue to manage the lucrative Texas State Lottery. In 1994 W. had sworn that no special influence was used to get him into the National Guard. He needed to keep Barnes happy to keep that story from being revealed to be the lie it was.

However, according to Moore, an anonymous letter made the rounds in Texas in 1997, including the federal attorney.

“Several months ago many of us felt that the Lottery Commission should re-bid the G-Tech contract when it came up for renewal,” the unsigned and undated letter said. “Leaders of the Republican Party strongly supported re-bidding and I believe the chair of the commission also wanted to re-bid. It is now time to disclose at least one reason why it was not re-bid. Governor Bush thru Reggie Bashur made a deal with Ben Barnes not to re-bid because Barnes could confirm that Bush had lied during the ’94 campaign. During that campaign, Bush was asked if his father, then a member of Congress, had helped him get in the National Guard. Bush said no, he had not, but the fact is his dad called then Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes to ask for his help to get his son not just in the Guard, but to get one of the coveted pilot slots, which were extremely hard to get. At the time contacted General Rose at the Guard and took care of it. George Bush was placed ahead of thousands of young men, some of whom died in Vietnam.

Bashur was sent to talk to Barnes who agreed never to confirm the story and the Governor talked to the chair of the Lottery two days later and she then agreed to support letting G-Tech keep the contract without a bid. Too many people know this happened. Governor Bush knows his election campaign might have a different result if this story had been confirmed at the time.”

After the lawsuits were settled and the tell-tale depositions had been buried, Barnes issued a public statement saying that he did not do any favors for the Bush family. GTech bought out his interest in their company for $23million. And that was that. Or it would have been that. Except that in 2004, Ben Barnes told the whole truth for the first time to Dan Rather for a 60 Minutes II episode.

"I would describe it as preferential treatment. There were hundreds of names on the list of people wanting to get into the Air National Guard or the Army National Guard," he said. "I think that would have been a preference to anybody that didn't want to go to Vietnam or didn’t want to leave. We had a lot of young men that left and went to Canada in the '60s and fled this country. But those that could get in the Reserves, or those that could get in the National Guard - chances are they would not have to go to Vietnam."

Which is pretty amazing, after all the millions Barnes had made off the citizens of Texas by not saying it. Makes you wonder why he decided to go ahead and talk to Dan Rather in 2004. Barnes was giving up his chance to extort the Bush family forever, so he was losing a lot for no return. Unless someone told him to talk to 60 Minutes to make sure that the Bush AWOL story was run, Barnes being the star witness and all.

My own theory (as I have described before) is that Rove wanted the Bush AWOL story to run, because he planned to attack Rather and his team, in order to have them tied up during the days preceding and following the 2004 election. I believe that Sumner Redstone was party to this plan. Rove knew that the election results would provoke controversy, with the voter disenfranchisement in Ohio and Florida, and the likelihood of e-vote/exit poll discrepancies in Ohio high. The last thing that he wanted was the Rather investigative news team on the scene reporting on the stories as they happened. The fall of Dan Rather would also serve as a warning to other investigative reporters. Stick your nose into Bush family business, and it would get chopped off

Anyway, we have come full circle, now that 60 Minutes has reported on Karl Rove’s attempt to create a bogus lottery scandal in Alabama to take out a political enemy and stage a political coup. What Siegelman is accused of doing is nothing compared to the crimes of Governor George W. Bush, who allowed a firm to overcharge the state for its lottery work so that Ben Barnes would keep quiet about a secret that would jeopardize his political career and who, when the conspiracy was uncovered, participated in a cover up with the assistance of Harriet Miers. Siegelman is charged with letting someone keep a state board appointment after he donated money to a state lottery fund. Is that even a crime? Not according to CBS.

Is Don Siegelman in prison because he’s a criminal or because he belonged to the wrong political party in Alabama? Siegelman is the former governor of Alabama, and he was the most successful Democrat in that Republican state. But while he was governor, the U.S. Justice Department launched multiple investigations that went on year after year until, finally, a jury convicted Siegelman of bribery.

Now, many Democrats and Republicans have become suspicious of the Justice Department’s motivations. As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, 52 former state attorneys-general have asked Congress to investigate whether the prosecution of Siegelman was pursued not because of a crime but because of politics.

Memo to Karl Rove: People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.


I found another link here

The New York Sun has reported that Lawrence Littwin, a former executive director of the Lottery Commission, is eager to testify should the Senate subpoena him. Mr. Littwin claims that in 1997 Ms. Miers fired him after five months on the job because she was protecting GTECH, the controversial Rhode Island firm managing the lottery. GTECH had been mired in controversy for years, and in 1996 David Smith, its national sales director, was convicted in New Jersey in a kickback scheme involving a lobbyist.

Mr. Littwin has alleged that aides to then-Gov. Bush were worried that should GTECH lose its lottery contract, its top lobbyist, Mr. Barnes, would discuss efforts he claimed to have made to push a young George W. Bush to the top of the coveted waiting list for a pilot's slot in the Texas Air National Guard.

Littwin was precluded, by the terms of his lawsuit settlement, from discussing what he had learned about the sweetheart deal between Barnes, GTECH and Gov. Bush, but had the Harriet Miers nomination gone forward, he might have been called to testify about the role she played in covering up for W.

(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.

Pardon Us Old Folks, Barack....

.....but we do worry. Not that our worrying will change anything, but it is as unstoppable as the sunrise. It is a part of our lived history; not just words in a history book.

It was our collective heart that was broken and our hope that was stolen by people, some of whom we wouldn't recognize if we met them on the street and others whose names with which we are all familiar.

We worry and we also warn.

Don't do it, don't even think about it! If you are out there reading this, take warning. You won't get away with it this time, but the FBI and the DHS will be the least of your worries. Do you understand? Think about it, and I think you will understand very well.

In Memories of a Painful Past, Hushed Worry About Obama
By Jeff Zeleny
The New York Times

Monday 25 February 2008

Dallas - There is a hushed worry on the minds of many supporters of Senator Barack Obama, echoing in conversations from state to state, rally to rally: Will he be safe?

In Colorado, two sisters say they pray daily for his safety. In New Mexico, a daughter says she persuaded her mother to still vote for Mr. Obama, even though the mother feared that winning would put him in danger. And at a rally here, a woman expressed worries that a message of hope and change, in addition to his race, made him more vulnerable to violence.

"I've got the best protection in the world," Mr. Obama, of Illinois, said in an interview, reprising a line he tells supporters who raise the issue with him. "So stop worrying."

Yet worry they do, with the spring of 1968 seared into their memories, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated in a span of two months.

Mr. Obama was 6 at the time, and like many of his admirers, he has only read about the violence that traumatized the nation. But those recollections and images are often invoked by older voters, who watch his candidacy with fascination, as well as an uneasy air of apprehension, as Democrats inch closer to selecting their nominee.

Mr. Obama has had Secret Service agents surrounding him since May 3, the earliest a candidate has ever been provided protection. (He reluctantly gave in to the insistent urging of Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and others in Congress.) As his rallies have swelled in size, his security has increased, coming close to rivaling that given to a sitting president.

His wife, Michelle Obama, voiced concerns about his safety before he was elected to the Senate. Three years ago, she said she dreaded the day her husband received Secret Service protection, because it would mean serious threats had been made against him.

Among friends and advisers, danger is something Mr. Obama rarely mentions.

"It's not something that I'm spending time thinking about day to day," said Mr. Obama, who has been given the Secret Service nickname Renegade, a way for agents to quickly identify him. "I made a decision to get into this race. I think anybody who decides to run for president recognizes that there are some risks involved, just like there are risks in anything."

Not long ago, his advisers worried that some black voters might not support his candidacy out of a fierce desire to protect him. It was a particular concern in South Carolina, but Mr. Obama said he believed the worry was also rooted in "a fear of failure."

Now that he has won a string of primaries and caucuses in all corners of the country, and built a coalition of black and white voters, failure would seem to be less of an issue. The fears, however, remain.

Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, raised concerns in a letter in January to officials who oversee the Secret Service. While Mr. Obama was already receiving protection, Mr. Thompson said that the intense interest in the election prompted him to make sure that Mr. Obama and the other candidates were offered adequate security.

"The national and international profile of Senator Barack Obama gives rise to unique challenges that merit special concern," Mr. Thompson wrote. "As an African-American who was witness to some of this nation's most shameful days during the civil rights movement, I know personally that the hatred of some of our fellow citizens can lead to heinous acts of violence. We need only to look to the assassinations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and 1968 presidential candidate Robert Kennedy as examples."

In an interview, Mr. Thompson declined to elaborate on any specific threats that had come to the attention of his committee or authorities. He said he wrote the letter to the Homeland Security Department without discussing it with Mr. Obama, whom he has endorsed.

"His candidacy is so unique to this country and so important that the last thing you would want is for him not to have the opportunity to fulfill the role of a potential presidential nominee," Mr. Thompson said. "It's out of an abundance of caution that I wrote the letter, rather than keep our fingers crossed and pray."

Before Mr. Obama decided to run for president, he discussed his safety with his family. His campaign employed a team of private security guards before he was placed under Secret Service protection. Since then, he has grown fond of the agents who surround him, inviting them to watch the Super Bowl at his home in Chicago and playing basketball with them on the days he awaits the results of an election.

Mr. Obama was reticent in speaking about his security or the period in American history that is often raised - without prompting - by voters who are interviewed at campaign events. Mentions of the fate that befell President John F. Kennedy and Senator Kennedy only increased after Mr. Obama was joined on the campaign trail by Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

"I'm pretty familiar with the history," Mr. Obama said. "Obviously, it was an incredible national trauma, but neither Bobby Kennedy nor Martin Luther King had Secret Service protection."

Indeed, the assassination of Senator Kennedy in 1968 prompted Congress to authorize protection of major presidential and vice presidential candidates. In this campaign, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has had Secret Service protection from the beginning, because she is a former first lady. None of the other candidates had protection during their primary campaigns.

"Some candidates are bigger targets than others - any transition candidate or change candidate has a higher profile," said former Senator Gary Hart, who received protection as a Democratic presidential contender in 1984 and 1988. "The evocation of the same excitement surrounding John and Robert Kennedy triggers both negatively and positively."

The Secret Service does not discuss details of its protection, including whether Mr. Obama is receiving more protection than Mrs. Clinton.

Gerald Posner, author of books on the assassinations of President Kennedy and Dr. King, said he did not believe that Mr. Obama was under a significantly higher risk than President Bush or Mrs. Clinton. The fears are more openly discussed, he said, because he is the first black candidate to come this close to winning a major party's presidential nomination.

"Barack scares those of us who think of the possibility of an assassination in a different way," Mr. Posner said. "He represents so much hope and change. That is exactly what was taken away from us in the 1960s."

Here in Dallas, those memories were raised in conversation after conversation with several of the 17,000 people who came to see Mr. Obama at a rally last week.

"Right around the corner is the John Kennedy Memorial; everyone all around me was talking about it," said Imogene Covin, a Democratic activist from Dallas. "In the back of my mind, it's a possibility that something might happen because he's something to gawk at right now. But you know why I think he will be safe? He has a broad range of people behind him."

That afternoon, Mr. Obama's motorcade passed Dealey Plaza and the Texas Book Depository building, where the fatal shot was fired at President Kennedy in 1963. Several campaign aides looked out their windows, silently absorbing the scene.

Not so for Mr. Obama, who later said he had not realized he was passing the site. And no one in his car pointed it out.

"I've got to admit, that's not what I was thinking about," he said. "I was thinking about how I was starting to get a head cold and needed to make sure that I cleared up my nose before I got to the arena."

(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.

Hillary And John

Mark Penn's lobbying shop is headed by John McCain's top adviser

Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 08:14:08 PM PST

Let's say that the Democratic nomination battle had been winnowed down to two candidates, and that one of those two candidates (let's call him Barack Obama) was a huge favorite to win. Meanwhile, the GOP nominee has been all but decided. (We'll call him John McCain.)

Now let's imagine that Obama's opponent (we'll call her Hillary Clinton) was desperately slinging every piece of mud she could at him without regard to whether or not her attacks would help John McCain.

Finally, imagine that you found out that Clinton's chief strategist was not only her campaign's leading advocate for these attacks -- but was also the CEO of a public affairs firm whose DC-based lobbying subsidiary was headed up by John McCain's top adviser.

Would you say this posed at least the appearance of a conflict of interest for the strategist in question?

What would you think if you found out that it's all true?

Well, it is true.

Hillary Clinton's chief strategist is Mark Penn, and Charlie Black, John McCain's top adviser, is chairman of BKSH, the DC-based lobbying subsidiary of Burson-Marsteller -- of which Mark Penn is CEO.

Yes, this is the same lobbyist Barack Obama was referring to when he criticized John McCain for allowing lobbyists to conduct their business on board his bus.

BKSH is a bipartisan lobbying firm. Black, the chairman is the top Republican. The top Democrat is R. Scott Pastrick, who like Penn, supports Hillary Clinton.

Mark Penn's personal interests would clearly be best served by a Hillary Clinton victory.

A McCain presidency wouldn't be a bad consolation prize, however. It would be far better to have the head of his lobbying be tight with the president than to have a president like Obama who sought to impose new restrictions on his lobbyist operation.

Burson-Marsteller's work is primarily for corporations, ranging from Blackwater to Microsoft to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the government of Abu Dhabi that recently purchased a 5% stake in Citigroup.

As Ari Berman's Hillary, Inc. details, there's every reason to be skeptical of Mark Penn's willingness to help Democrats. He's criticized Al Gore for running to far to the left in 2000 and when he was brought into the Clinton's orbit by Dick Morris, he wasn't even a political operative.


As the New York Times has reported, Mark Penn is the leading advocate within the Hillary Clinton campaign for her decision to go nuclear on Barack Obama. Mandy Grunwald, a Democratic political consultant, recommended against the Penn strategy, but Thursday night's debate closing notwithstanding, Grunwald seems to have lost the battle to Penn.

In the past ten days or so, Hillary Clinton has gone nuclear on Barack Obama too many times to count.

On at least four of those occasions, her attacks have echoed a nearly identical attack from John McCain's campaign (or is it vice versa?).

  1. Plagiarism-gate: Before the Deval Patrick brouhaha, the McCain and Clinton camps both accused Obama of "stealing" policy proposals from Clinton in Wisconsin.
  1. Both Clinton and McCain have challenged Obama's readiness to be commander in chief.
  1. After Thursday's debate, both Clinton and McCain attacked Obama on Cuba.
  1. Clinton's mocking attack today was very similar in tone to McCain's mocking attack after the Potomac Primary.


These are all tough attacks but the worst of the bunch is Clinton's decision to join McCain in challenging Obama's fitness to be commander in chief.

This kind of attack has such power because if it is successful, it effectively disqualifies Obama from winning the election. Fortunately, Obama is plenty tough and can stand up to Hillary's attacks, but she is still running the risk of causing serious damage to Obama because when Democrats attack Democrats it's different than when Republicans attack Democrats. Voters expect members of either party to attack one another -- but when someone directs a significant attack inwards, it does real damage. This is why we needed to expell Joe Lieberman from the party.

Republicans are eating up Clinton's attacks:

If it is any consolation to Mrs. Clinton, the Republican National Committee and Senator John McCain of Arizona, his party’s likely nominee, are trying much the same lines of attack as the ones she has used. The committee issued a series of talking points to party leaders, first reported on the political Web site, that contended Mr. Obama’s "greatest weakness is inexperience. He is not ready to be commander in chief. He is not ready to be president."

Republican Party officials and aides to Mr. McCain cautioned it would be a mistake to assume that what did not work for Mrs. Clinton would not work for Mr. McCain either. Mr. McCain is a different messenger — a war hero whose foreign policy credentials are well-established — and the audience for him is a general electorate, which could be quite different than the Democratic primary voters who are now the audience for Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama.

"I think it’s the difference between their party and our party," said Robert M. Duncan, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. "They have a more liberal constituency. And the country is center-right."

Making things worse, Clinton's campaign is making the case that McCain would be a stronger President than Obama.

Both Sen. Hillary Clinton, his rival in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, and Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, are arguing that Mr. Obama, who has no military background and few foreign-policy credentials, is ill-equipped to serve as commander in chief. Both say he would stack up poorly next to Mr. McCain, a Vietnam War hero who has been involved in many foreign-policy debates during his Senate career.


The "fitness" attack is tough enough when it comes from just the Republicans. Now that we're so close to having a nominee, there's just no reason for Hillary Clinton to be leveling the same charge.

And it stinks to high heaven when the two sources quoted by the Wall Street Journal about the parallel attacks are -- you guessed it -- Mark Penn and Charlie Black.

Should Mr. Obama win the Democratic nomination, Mr. McCain plans to press the issue throughout the year. "It will be one of our major themes, certainly," said Charlie Black, a senior McCain adviser. On Tuesday night, in a thinly veiled reference to Mr. Obama, Mr. McCain asked if the nation is prepared to risk "the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate."


Chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn said yesterday that she is the only Democrat in the race "ready to be commander in chief." And he argued that Mr. McCain would be able to exploit Mr. Obama's weakness in a general election.

Mr. Penn told reporters that there was a "very stark choice" between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, who he said had little experience in national security and had been in the Senate for only a short time.

It's tag-teaming Burson-Marsteller style.


In recent days, Hillary Clinton's actions have challenged my faith in her dedication to the Democratic Party as opposed to her own self-interest. Worse, she has seriously eroded my confidence in her judgment.

Even if her current scorched earth strategy is the correct one, she must realize how bad it looks to have her chief strategist taking the lead on an attack strategy that will benefit his financial self-interest even if Clinton loses the nomination.

For obvious reasons, the right wing isn't attacking Charlie Black's relationship with Mark Penn -- it seems to be working in their favor.

Can you imagine what would happen if it were the other way around?

(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.

Clinton Uses Drudge

Hillary Clinton Campaign Connection to Drudge Report Detailed by International Herald Tribune (NYT) in October of 2007



An International Herald Tribune story of October 22, 2007, covers the irony of the Clinton campaign feeding stories to the Drudge Report as part of its strategy. (It was a repost from the New York Times, which owns the IHT.)

And the Clinton campaign wasn't hiding their new found interest in using Drudge to get attention for stories. They had [and may still have] a designated "liaison" according to the International Herald Tribune:

Clinton's communications team, led by Howard Wolfson, is not leaving Drudge to the Republicans. Five current and former Democratic officials said Clinton has on her side the closest thing her party has ever had to Rhoades [a GOP leaker to Drudge] in Tracy Sefl, a former Democratic National Committee official. The officials said that Sefl had established a friendly relationship with Drudge and that Clinton's campaign often worked quietly through her to open a line of communication with Drudge.

Though liberals say Drudge's ideological imbalance remains plain, Republicans, who viewed the site as theirs in campaigns past, say they are noticing what they believe to be more Democratic driven, often Clinton driven, items on it.

And, as New York magazine reported recently, it has escaped no one that Drudge has sometimes mentioned Clinton favorably on his syndicated radio program, even if no one really knows whether his comments reflect admiration for her or simply a recognition that keeping her in the news is good for his business.

The International Herald Tribune story begins with a telling anecdote:

As Senator Barack Obama prepared to give a major speech on Iraq one morning a few weeks ago, a flashing-red siren alert went up on the Drudge Report Web site. It read, "Queen of the Quarter: Hillary Crushes Obama in Surprise Fund-Raising Surge," and, "$27 Million, Sources Tell Drudge Report."

Within minutes, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's fund-raising success was injected via Drudge into the day's political news on the Internet and cable television. It did not halt coverage of Obama's speech or his criticism of her vote to authorize the war in 2002, but along the front lines of the campaign - the hourly, intensely fought effort to capture the news cycle or deny ownership of it to the other side - it was a telling assault.

Clinton's aides declined to discuss how the Drudge Report got access to her latest fund-raising figures nearly 20 minutes before the official announcement went to supporters. But it was a prime example of a development that has surprised much of the political world: Clinton is learning to play nice with the Drudge Report and the powerful, elusive and conservative-leaning man behind it.

So, today's non-denials from the Clinton camp notwithstanding, it is clear that the campaign has cozied up to Drudge -- even if he trashes the senator from time to time -- in an effort to make use of his vast audience, and to use them to their advantage to the extent that they can.

That's not coming from BuzzFlash; that's directly from the International Herald Tribune, in an article reposted from the New York Times.

The author is the respected NYT journalist Jim Rutenberg.


(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.


Having been at the hospital almost all day for an outpatient procedure, I flopped on the couch and flipped on the TeeVee, my usual response to those all-day-at-the-hospital days; the old flop and flip. The procedure did not require chemistry-altering medications, so I feel free to do a little commentary on the first thing I witnessed when Wolfe Blitzer appeared with a video of Hillary Clinton waving a piece paper, screaming "Shame on you Barack Obama, shame on you....blah, need to start running the campaign you said you would run (or something like that) that is what I expect from you...blah...blah," all in the most aggravating voice I have heard since I was subjected to nasty old school-marms, who believed that shame was right up there with fear in convincing the class clown to behave in an appropriate way.

Anyone with a dimes worth of common sense, let alone one semester of developmental psychology knows better than that. But that's neither here nor there with Hillary and her full-grown "student," who happens to be a Junior Senator in the U.S. Senate, just as she is.

Suddenly, I knew for sure why so many people can't stand her and why she would cause a right-wing white man (and probably quite a few on the left) to climb out of the grave to vote against her, plus a surprising number of other people; people who normally show more signs of mental health than to even consider voting for John McCain.

I've had my theories from time to time, when the subject comes up but I've never been sure. What is it about Hillary?

She's too smart? Uh uh, I don't think so. The woman has major, muscular neuronal networks, but that's not the problem, at least it isn't the main problem. No one wants a stupid president. Not now. We've seen what happens when that happens (or what happens when one has an agenda; an agenda the American don't know about and if they did, could not force themselves to believe a President (or Vice president and half the cabinet, for that matter, could possibly have.)

She's a woman, period. No way. Perhaps some blood-red-necks and, yes, black men do feel that way, and even some women, but the majority of white guys and black guys and women I know, do not feel that way, and I live in the deep south. (Admittedly I don't have many politically intimate conversations with white male conservatives)

Frankly, I couldn't understand why anyone hated her as pathologically as....say...Tucker Carlson, Karl Rove and others. I know now! Why? Because I just felt what they must feel, if even for a second. FURIOUS!!!!

People don't like being shamed.

It is a deeply hurtful thing and such an important feeling that if it occurs during a certain time period and over a period of time in a child's life; a child's psycho-social development, it can cause life-long problems for the child and, unfortunately, others who may come into contact with him.

Of course, no one has to worry about Barack's state of mind. He is a grown man and had wonderful women around him as he grew to be an awesome man.

What Hillary attempted to do today, publicly, to Obama was done to her husband by some really ugly Republicans (several of whom were guilty of the same kind of behavior and/or worse than he was guilty of) and that is exactly why he had the poll numbers he had at the height of his impeachment trial. It wasn't just the hypocrisy of his tormentors, it was their attempts to shame him.

Did Clinton have it coming to him, for lying in American faces, shaking his finger and stating, in no uncertain terms, that he did not have sexual relations with "that woman?" No, he did not.
He deserved what he got from Hillary and I feel sure that was comparable to the fires of hell. That should have been the end of it.

I never believed him in the first place. The guy had a history. He was under major pressure in his political game of chicken with Newt. The government was not open for business. Shit was happening.

If she honestly believed him innocent of the Monica accusation, again her judgment needs to be questioned. He was her husband, not mine and not the spouse of any of those pathetic House Managers as they ceremoniously marched across to the Senate, appearing so ridiculous to the world, to publicly shame a president of the United States and more importantly, a human being, for all of us, human beings, to see.

We saw it. We didn't like it. We still don't. Whether we had believed him or not, we didn't much care by that time. That's where the Rethugs made their big mistake. We might have all bene ready to toss our cookies about what he did but, nevertheless, the constitution was not about to be the victim of spontaneous combustion. The flag wasn't gonna fall.

Oh well, it did distract us all from the possibly...probably unpleasantness of Osama's war on America. I can barely remember that time now, when all we had to be concerned about was Bill Clinton's sex life.

I'm not a Clinton fan, anymore, (I voted for him in 1992 but not again.) However, I would have voted him in 2000, for a third term, just to cram him down the collective throat of those self-righteous, womanizing, hypocritical creeps who persecuted, prosecuted and, yes, attempted to shame Bill Clinton from almost the day he took office.

I would have far rather had Clinton/Gore in the W.H. on 9/11/01. What makes me really nauseous is that I don't think there would have ever been "a 9/11" if Gore had won.

(If Blitzer says one more word about that freakin' photo of Obama in Africa, wearing African garb, I think I may scream. Shut the hell up, Wolfe. You've asked every reporter east of the Mississippi River what they think about it. Now we know. Does anyone really care? You only show your own ignorance, Wolf, when you don't seem to understand that most African-Americans wear native garb if they are fortunate to make the trip back to their native land)

When will Hillary Clinton learn that the "school marm thing" doesn't work with any of us. It not only doesn't work, it makes me cringe and I'm not alone!

With those three words, you lost this election for sure: "Shame on you."

"I'm so honored to be on this stage with Barack Obama...."

"Shame on you, Barack Obama."

Which is it, Hillary?

Maybe we will all find out in Ohio; isn't that the place for high noon, at the debate? Didn't you call him out? Something tells me you're going to regret that, but it won't matter, because you've already lost the election.

Shame on you, Hillary Clinton.

As I have said to friends many times; yes, I would love to see a woman in the White House in my lifetime. But not this one.

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