Saturday, March 15, 2008

Domocratic and Republican Lead toward the Abys

As the article below points out, the resignation of Adm. Fallon is like a blow to the solar plexus for all of us who keep up with such things as Bush Co. insanity when it comes to military misadventure's and war crimes.

I seem to recall that my words were, "Oh God! Here we go!" I've been nauseated ever since.

News reports denying that there was so much a a bump in the road, when it came to The Busites' good relations with Adm. Fallon from the MSM and press are cold comfort, as they are only reporting what the White House says, which means nothing anymore, if it ever did. I'm not sure why it's even reported, unless we just want them on-record lying again and again to the American people, about anything and everything.

I'm not sure that Robert is paranoid enough when it comes why Fallon left. I doubt that it was over being asked to draw up a new plan for war against Iran, unless that was just the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. Don't they draw up plans all the time?

In my mind it is one of two things. Junior and the Dick are planning to hit Iran before they leave office and Fallon sees the writing on the wall and wants no part of it. Even though they do have Hillary as a back up, they would not be wise to trust her to do what they want done. If Hillary, a Democrat, even if in name only, bombs Iran without unsinkable reason (maybe even with it), she had better be out of the country when she does it and she would be wise to stay out. Her rank and file supporters would turn on her like a vicious, huge pack of Dobermans and that would be nothing compared to how Obama supporters would feel. She would be, at the very least, no longer be considered a Democrat, there would be howls for impeachment, if not worse.

She may be willing to carry on a war, once started by them, instead of shutting the damn thing down and handing George and half his administration over to the World Court at the Hague immediately. Of course by then, the U.S. will have exploded into a fury that we I.U.'s have felt rumbling right beneath the surface for over a year now. People are going to get hurt, right here in the streets of America, on college campuses; it is gonna be a huge mess. The people of the U.S. are continuing to do this whole thing legally, though many of us find our patience worn thin after the Dembulbs took Congress and did nothing to bring these people to justice. Oh yes, there have been a few hearings but has anything come of it? Has anyone been held accountable for criminal acts? No. (We can certainly expect that to continue even if the Dems take back the W.H. under Hillary and have over-whelming success on the Hill. ) No one in Washington is going to make any real attempt to bring anyone in the Bush administration to justice, ever.

There is one other reason why Fallon may have resigned. He is now free to say whatever he pleases. He is out of the monkey's command structure. He is a civilian. (I have often wondered why and how Fallon remained head of centcom as long as he did, given his almost mutinous behavior in the spring of 2006, when Junior wanted to shake-up the Iranians by seeming to put three carries groups in the Persian Gulf, when all that was really happening was a carrier group swap, one headed home the other coming in. Fallon refused to put the third carrier group in the gulf at the same time. One had to leave before the third would be deployed into the Gulf. Bush was trying to incite the Iranians to do something stupid that could be considered an act of war. Fallon said, No. That takes guts; far more than Junior ever had in his life.)

Has he managed to walk out of the Pentagon with the kind of information that would shut the NeoCons down permanently, if it became public. Could be. Is he going to blackmail them into peace?

If so, rave on Admiral.

Do us all a favor and consult with Obama and no one else.

That might be enough, right there, to cause McCrackers to implode on camera and make Hillary highly paranoid.

Two seemingly disconnected events have created a suddenly dangerous turn regarding the future of U.S. wars in the Middle East.

One was the abrupt resignation of the person who has been the biggest obstacle to a U.S. military strike against Iran, Admiral William Fallon, the chief of Central Command which oversees U.S. military operations in the volatile region.

The second is the ugly direction that the Democratic presidential competition has taken, with Hillary Clinton’s campaign intensifying its harsh rhetoric against Barack Obama, reducing the likelihood that he can win the presidency – and thus raising the odds that the next president will be either John McCain or Sen. Clinton, both hawks on Iran.

Throughout the campaign, Clinton has mocked Obama as inexperienced for his desire to engage in presidential-level diplomacy with Iran and other adversarial states. And she recently judged him as unqualified to serve as Commander in Chief, while declaring that both she and Sen. McCain have crossed that “threshold.”

The cumulative effect of Clinton’s attacks on Obama’s qualifications – combined with her campaign’s efforts to turn many white voters against him as the “black candidate” – has buoyed Republican hopes for November.

By simultaneously marginalizing and dirtying up Obama, the Clinton campaign also has tamped down the excitement of many Democrats, especially the young, for a candidate that they see as offering a refreshing message of hope and change.

Replacing Obama’s message of reform and reconciliation is a Clinton message of resentment and victimization, as voiced by former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro who claimed that Clinton confronts “sexist media” bias as a woman while Obama gets an easy ride because he’s black.

“If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position,” Ferraro, the former Democratic vice presidential candidate, told The Daily Breeze of California. “And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is.”

The idea that a black man in America, who was raised by a single mother and who bears an exotic foreign-sounding name, would be deemed “very lucky” struck many Americans as a bizarre choice of words. But it fits with a key sub rosa theme of the Clinton campaign, that an unqualified black man was cutting line in front of a better qualified white woman.

Clinton gingerly distanced herself from Ferraro’s comments and Ferraro resigned from Clinton’s finance committee. But even political analysts who are fond of Clinton found the larger picture of her campaign strategic demeaning of Obama offensive.

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann said he decided reluctantly that he must speak out against the Clinton campaign’s behavior.

“As it has reached its apex in their tone-deaf, arrogant and insensitive reaction to the remarks of Geraldine Ferraro, your own advisers are slowly killing your chances to become president,” Olbermann said in a “Special Comment” on March 12.

“Senator, their words, and your own, are now slowly killing the chances for any Democrat to become president. … You are now campaigning as if Barack Obama were the Democrat and you were the Republican. As Shakespeare wrote, Senator, that way madness lies.”

Into the Abyss

If followed to its logical – yet crazed – conclusion, the madness also might be leading the United States into the ever deepening abyss of Middle East wars.

After all, both McCain and Clinton were staunch supporters of the Iraq War, now nearing its fifth anniversary with no end in sight.

McCain remains an Iraq War advocate, even he says if the U.S. occupation must last a century or more. Clinton only reversed herself on the war as she prepared to run for the Democratic nomination, realigning herself with the anti-war views of most Democrats, but she refused to admit that her 2002 war-authorization vote was a mistake.

Both McCain and Clinton also favor a hard line toward Iran.

During a South Carolina campaign stop in April 2007, as the Bush administration was pounding the war drums with Iran, McCain veered off into a musical rendition, changing the lyrics of an old Beach Boys song to “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.”

In September 2007, Clinton supported a Senate resolution co-sponsored by neoconservative Sen. Joe Lieberman that sought to have Iran’s Revolutionary Guard designated a “global terrorist organization,” a move that Sen. James Webb, D-Virginia, warned could be tantamount to a declaration of war.

A month later, however, President George W. Bush opted for a less extreme position than the one Sen. Clinton favored. He designated only the Quds Force, a special operations branch of the Revolutionary Guard, as a “global terrorist” group.

Now, however, the abrupt resignation of Admiral Fallon, who had publicly challenged the saber-rattling toward Iran coming from the White House, removed one of the chief obstacles to the use of military force against Iran over its nuclear program.

Intelligence sources have told me that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were eyeing possible air strikes against Iranian targets in 2007 before they encountered Fallon’s stiff opposition.

The White House hardliners also met resistance from the U.S. intelligence community, which released a National Intelligence Estimate reporting that Iran had shut down a key element of its nuclear weapons program.

Since Fallon’s sudden resignation, intelligence sources have said they do not foresee an imminent U.S. assault on Iran, although one source said Fallon quit, in part, over a new White House demand for an updated attack plan.

More likely, the sources say, the issue of how to deal with Iran will pass to the next president. In that regard, McCain and Clinton promise more tough talk and belligerence, while Obama vows to speak directly with Iran’s leaders over how to reduce tensions.

Yet, the combined events of the past several days – the sudden ouster of the chief military opponent of an expanded war in the Middle East and the apparent decline in the political fortunes of the most dovish candidate – suggest that the Bush-Cheney belligerent strategies may well outlast their terms 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.

More Evidence Of An Awesome Republican Cabal

New Evidence In Siegelman Case Points To Republican Cabal
By Sam Stein
The Huffington Post

Thursday 13 March 2008

A new review of evidence suggests that an aligned group of Republican interests were pressing for - and seeking to profit financially from - the trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on charges of bribery.

According to court documents and official testimony, months before Siegelman was charged, Rob Riley, the son of the state's governor, expressed confidence that an indictment would occur and that Siegelman's political financier, Richard Scrushy, would be drawn into case.

Around the same time, moreover, Riley managed to maneuver himself into an extremely profitable position: lead local counsel on a separate, massive civil suit against Scrushy and his company, HealthSouth.

How he received the assignment aroused some suspicion.

Riley had limited experience in securities litigation. And, for critics, his appointment gave of the appearance of legal-political insider trading: the governor's son, cognizant that Scrushy would be dragged into Siegelman's case, saw the benefits to be had from the civil suit against Scrushy's company, and positioned himself to profit.

Riley denied these charges in an interview with the Huffington Post, saying that he had no prior knowledge of Siegelman's forthcoming indictment and arguing that he had been recruited to come on board the HealthSouth case, not the other way around.

What is agreed upon, however, is that Riley earned big money from his work. Ten months after he signed onto the HealthSouth suit, Siegelman was indicted. Less than a year after that, the former governor was convicted of bribery along with Scrushy. And months later, Health South settled for $445 million one of the largest settlements in securities litigation history.

In the early days of 2005, HealthSouth and Scrushy were in the midst of a long-waged battle over whether the company had "perpetrated an elaborate scheme to deceive HealthSouth's investors." The case alleged that the company, and its financial supporters, had "committed deceptive acts whose primary purpose and effect was to create a false appearance" of good financial results and future prospects. There were no connections to Siegelman.

On January 13, Rob Riley, a lawyer for the firm Riley & Jackson P.C. and the son of the state's governor, was abruptly added as local counsel to the New Mexico State Investment Council, a relatively new plaintiff in the case against HealthSouth. It was an interesting move. Riley, who specialized in medical malpractice law, had little history in complex securities litigation. Co-plaintiffs complained, as they often do, that his presence would simply drive up the cost of the case and cut into the pot of any settlement. But their appeal was denied.

Why did Riley come on board? According to him, it was a product of local stature and a bit of luck.

"A guy in New Mexico said, 'Hey, we are trying to get involved in this case,'" Riley recalled. "At that point, it was pretty well out in the papers that there had been fraud at HealthSouth. So I felt like it was probably a good case. I didn't know what chance we had at being lead counsel."

Another official with knowledge of the case said Riley was chosen primarily for his political connections.

But around that time, Jill Simpson, an Alabama Republican official and opposition researcher, told the House Judiciary Committee that Riley called her and said the state's legal apparatus was gearing up to re-investigate Don Siegelman. Moreover, Simpson recalled Riley as saying that Republicans would tie the former governor with Scrushy, "a reviled figure in Alabama."

Less than a year earlier, Siegelman had been indicted for conspiracy and Medicaid fraud but his trial - which seemed politically motivated - fell apart within a day in court.

On this new go-around, the prosecution had a more favorable judge. Mark Fuller, who had been appointed by President Bush to the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Alabama, was well connected in Republican circles and, according to local Alabama journalist Glynn Wilson, had personal ties to Rob Riley.

Ten months after Riley signed onto the HealthSouth case, Siegelman and Scrushy were indicted on charges of political bribery. At the center of the charge was a $500,000 donation Scrushy made to the former governor's 1999 campaign. The money had gone to the state's education lottery and in exchange Scrushy got a position on a hospital regulatory board.

The connection, critics claim, was weak and prejudiced. Scrushy had been appointed to the board under several governors and his firm had no interests under the board's purview. But the trial, which began ion April 2006, reverberated throughout Alabama's political and legal circles. Siegelman's bid to become governor again was snuffed out. And the civil trial against HealthSouth was altered.

"[Riley] very aggressively he thrust himself into that suit as a late comer," said Scott Horton, a law professor at Columbia University who has written extensively on these issues for Harper's magazine. "He knew that Fuller had made statements suggesting that he felt he had once been a target of a politically motivated attack by Siegelman. He knew that this would make someone predisposed against Siegelman and perfect hanging judge. And he would reap the benefit of the class action suit on the side."

As the criminal case against Siegelman proceeded, so too did the suit against HealthSouth. And in the spring and summer of 2006, the two cases intersected.

According to the Associated Press, in May 2006, William McGahan, an official at UBS, one of HealthSouth's investment bankers, testified in the Siegelman case that he had been pressured to pony up $250,000 for the donations to the state's education lottery. The testimony had limited relevance to the class action suit. But, over objections, it found its way into the court record. McGahan, the document read, was eager to please Scrushy and "arranged for UBS to be the source of the funds for the bribe."

What affect this, and Scrushy's ongoing criminal trial, had on the proceedings is a subject of debate. Riley, pointing to earlier HealthSouth executives who had pleaded guilty to fraud, said he saw no tangible cross-over between the two cases.

"I don't believe that had anything to do with the settlement," he said. "I don't think that it aided it at all."

Two other lawyers who served with other plaintiffs on the class action suit against HealthSouth, however, offered different opinions.

"It is not common that you have criminal trials of corporate executive at the same time that a class action suit is taking place involving the same individual," said Louis Mallone, an attorney for O'Donoghue & O'Donoghue LLP and liaison counsel on the case. "It certainly didn't hurt the prospects of the [class action case]."

A second official, who declined to speak on the record, said that while the HealthSouth case was a "slam dunk" even before the Scrushy-Siegelman trial began, having Scrushy as a convicted felon "obviously helped" the suit against HealthSouth.

In June 2006, both Siegelman and Scrushy were convicted on charges of bribery. Siegelman was sentenced to seven years and four months in federal prison. Scrushy was given six years and ten months.

Months later the HealthSouth case, after years of trial, was finally settled. The company announced that it would pay a whopping $445 million. It was, said Malone, "one of the top fifteen or twenty [settlements] of all time."

Riley declined to reveal what he made from the case, saying that the amount was "evolving." But he did acknowledge that it was substantial. "It was a very good settlement," he said. "But at the same time there was a lot of work that went into it.

For critics, however, the message was clear. Riley knew Scrushy going down in the criminal trial and saw a way to reap the benefits on the separate civil suit. In other words: Good work, if you can get it.

"Rob Riley approved of the strategy of the dragging Scrushy into the [criminal] case because it would have benefits for him in the class action suit," said Horton. "It was clear that he was intently following what was going on in Fuller's court and knew that the conviction of Scrushy in that case would have strong benefits in the class action suit."

(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.

Bad People, Bad System?

Bad Capitalists or a Bad System:
Hollywood Comes to Blows With Upton Sinclair

By David Bacon

t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 14 March 2008

I was disappointed Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for "There Will Be Blood," not because he's not a great actor (he is), but because the movie was such a betrayal of the book on which it was based. Movies don't have to follow books. Many don't. But in this case, what we missed were the things that made Upton Sinclair's "Oil" a politically courageous book for its time. For our time, it unearths a crucial part of the hidden history of our own working class movement.

"Oil" could have been made like "Gangs of New York." That movie explored the racial and ethnic conflicts at New York City's birth, which so frightened its moneyed class that, at the film's climax, the rich shell their own city to prevent the upending of their social order. Both movies allowed Day-Lewis full range for the extreme violence of his screen persona. In "Gangs of New York," his power was magnified by being placed in a (relatively) true social landscape. "There Will Be Blood" diminished Day-Lewis by making his portrayal socially irrelevant.

Actually, a good movie made from "Oil" would have been more like "Reds," exploring not just social conflicts, but the way they gave birth to unions and left movements in much the same period. "Reds" was painted on a large canvas, moving from Oregon to the East Coast, and, finally, Smolny Institute and the storming of the Winter Palace. "Oil" covers the same period, and many of the same political arguments. But they play out instead in a concentrated look at just one city - Los Angeles.

Upton Sinclair was not just an author who lived in Southern California or wrote about it. He was a political activist who tried to change it. He founded the Los Angeles chapter of the ACLU. He went to jail with longshoremen in the Long Beach harbor, for speaking in defense of their strike. He ran for governor seven years after the novel was published. Incredibly, as a socialist he not only won the Democratic Party nomination in the depth of the Depression, but hundreds of thousands voted for his platform to "End Poverty In California." He gave the state's corporate elite the biggest political scare they've had in any election before or since.

"Oil" gives us a history of the city's economic rise, even as Los Angeles was becoming the economic epicenter of the western United States. But it does more than tell the story of the birth of the industry that has come to dominate this country's politics, as "The Jungle" did for meatpacking. "Oil" is more politically sophisticated, and recounts the growth of the social movements that challenged the harsh domination of the oil titans.

That's what is missing from "There Will Be Blood." The movie history is false, where Sinclair's was true.

"Oil" unfolds as the story of the political education of Bunny Ross, and of his love for his father, J. Arnold Ross, an oil wildcatter turned tycoon. Sinclair paints his characters in primary colors with a broad brush, in the style of the time. Bunny's nickname signals his character as a Southern California innocent, always motivated by the best of intentions. His father, Sinclair tells us, is kind and good. He loves Bunny and spends his life trying to make him happy and keep him from harm.

The two characters are the keys to the political analysis Sinclair impresses on the reader. Personal kindness, he says, cannot change poverty, exploitation, war or corruption. J. Arnold Ross helps poor families as he takes their land for wells. He admires and respects his workers, but must stick with the other oil operators when they bring in strikebreakers to bust their union and evict the strikers from their homes. In a not-very-fictionalized account of the "Teapot Dome Scandal," J. Arnold tells Bunny again and again bribing politicians, even a president of the United States, is simply what is required in order to do business.

It doesn't matter whether a capitalist is a good person or a bad one, Sinclair says. It's the system that grinds one class into poverty, and allows another to reap the benefit. J. Arnold Ross, a loving father and paternalistic employer, commits criminal acts because his social class not only makes it possible, but necessary. His pained justification to Bunny for hiring gun thugs is that, if he doesn't, the other oil operators will combine against him and drive him out of business. Capital operates as a class.

"There Will Be Blood" turns "Oil" on its head. Bunny basically disappears as a character, making only a few appearances to dramatize his father's cruelty and corruption. J. Arnold, now a villain and renamed Daniel Plainview, expropriates Bunny as a child from his dead father, and then banishes him when he goes deaf after a well explosion. Plainview's personal degeneration culminates in beating an evangelist preacher to death in the bowling lane of his palatial home. His violence is treated as a defect in his character, a symbol of his evil nature. His crime is personal, not social.

As a result, the movie is devoid of the social conflict that is the book's main narrative. There are no unions and no strikes. Class conflict is out. The corruption of politicians becomes the product of a corrupt personality, not a corrupt system.

And, since there is no class conflict, there is no room for the novel's main achievement. "Oil" takes Bunny through a process in which he learns not only about how the world works, but about how people organize to change it. Both the movie and book show the Ross expropriation of the farm of the poor Watkins family. But "Oil" follows the political radicalization of Paul Watkins - drafted as a doughboy in World War I, and then sent with the interventionist armies to put down the Russian Revolution. He returns and becomes an oil union leader, and then a member of the left wing of the Socialist Party. When that party splits in 1919 (a scene dramatized in "Reds" as well), Paul Watkins becomes an organizer in the new Communist Party.

Upton Sinclair, whose sympathies were much more with the right wing of the Socialist Party than the left, still draws an admiring portrait of the worldly Paul, showing his courage in facing imprisonment, and his eventual fatal beating by right wing assassins. Sinclair draws out the political differences of the day in his debates with Bunny, whose eyes he opens. Bunny eventually has to choose whose side he's on. The more he learns about the world, the more he rejects his father's class, while still loving him as a person. And that class turns against him in the end.

In "There Will Be Blood" Paul disappears. In his place his evangelist brother Eli becomes the main antagonist to Plainview, a religious hypocrite pitted against a violent and powerful oilman. It is a conflict without social relevance, one the movie hardly bothers to explain. In its lowest point, a grown Bunny gratuitously returns to announce to his father that he's going to become an investor in Mexican oil wells. Sinclair would have torn his hair out over that one.

"Oil" recounts just a small piece of what is now a hidden history of the radicalism of Los Angeles's labor movement before and after World War I. In 1903 the city's socialist labor council helped Mexican and Japanese farm workers win one of the state's first agricultural strikes, just north in Oxnard. The Los Angeles unions were then shocked when Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, refused to give the workers a union charter unless they rid themselves of their Asian members. "Oil" shows the fear the oil operators had for the Wobblies (the radical Industrial Workers of the World) and their (mostly rhetorical) commitment to sabotage in the workplace. In the city's real history, two prewar labor leaders, the McNamara brothers, spent their lives in prison after a bomb they planted blew up at The Los Angeles Times building.

This was the most turbulent era for the labor and radical movements of Los Angeles. Sinclair describes how the oilmen defeated the workers and socialists, and created the "citadel of the open shop." Bunny resists, and even makes his father put up money to bail out strikers. But he can't stop the class war.

Sinclair recreates the era's radical spirit, weaving political debate, action and romance into a complex tapestry. He was a daring author for his time. He describes Bunny's sexual awakening as frankly as he could get away with, in an era when books really were banned for open descriptions of sex. His women are mostly foils for men, and they both seem a little wooden in comparison with the intimacy and realism achieved by writers since. Yet, Sinclair gets real drama from Bunny's conflict between his youthful lust for his studio star lover and his growing desire to make a full commitment to political organizing. In the end, he falls for a Jewish Socialist woman who clearly is his equal in debate, and greater in her commitment.

Hollywood today has less of the radical spirit that made "Reds." It's not hard for a studio now to reinvent the war in Afghanistan as a crusade ("Charlie Wilson's War"), confident that no one will ask why Ronald Reagan bankrolled Osama bin Laden and other extremists, calling them "freedom fighters," so long as they were willing to fight the Soviets. I can't wait to see what they do with Central America.

But Los Angeles? Hollywood's own city? Working class social and political movements get written out of the textbooks all the time. Writing us out of a movie made from "Oil" expropriated one of the most important works of our own history. I hope the producers don't have exclusive rights to the book. Perhaps, a more courageous group will make the movie as Upton Sinclair wrote 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.

An Yet Another Target

It really is getting nasty if not out right evil out there.

The War Party gets ugly

Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector who quit in 1998 and now says the U.S. is intent on manufacturing phony "evidence" of arms violations as a pretext for war, is the victim of what may be the sleaziest set-up job in recent history, a smearing so foul that it makes the Clinton crowd look like a bunch of amateurs. The news that he may have been arrested, in June 2001, as the result of an internet sex sting, in which an undercover cop posing as a sixteen-year-old girl lured him into "sex chat" over the internet, came to light in a very strange way. A local newspaper, the Daily Gazette, of Schenectady, New York, was first to pick up the dirt, which apparently came to light when an assistant district attorney was fired for settling the case and not informing the D.A. According to the Gazette:

"Police and prosecutors have declined to discuss the case, which involved at least one class B misdemeanor, because it was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal and ordered sealed by a Colonie Town Court justice. The Daily Gazette's request for access to the arrest report was denied by the Colonie town attorney's office, which ruled disclosure was barred under the state Freedom of Information Law."

So the police just happened to conduct a "sex sting" operation against the one man who had exposed the lies of our war-mad rulers from the inside. On the eve of war, as hundreds of thousands protest in the streets, this staunch Republican and solid family man who has become one of the War Party's most formidable enemies is suddenly "exposed" as a child molester.

Since the court records have been sealed, and the case was merely "adjourned in contemplation of dismissal," the authorities will say nothing, at least in public. The entrapment was apparently so transparent, so obviously the clumsiest sort of Cointelpro-style operation badly bungled by our newly-empowered political police, that the charges were dropped to the legal equivalent of a traffic ticket. Could it be that the records were sealed not to protect Ritter, but to protect whomever tried to set him up?

Anybody who doesn't believe that Ritter was specifically targeted on account of his political activities needs to seek help: that sort of naivete can be terminal, and the patient probably shouldn't be trusted to cross the street unattended.

In the post-9/11 era of the "Patriot" Act and the Office of Total Information Awareness, what is happening to Ritter is meant as a warning to anyone who dares oppose this government. Former UN inspectors, it seems, are a special target. Remember that other inspector, Jack McGeorge, also an American, who was "outed" as being a member of a sado-masochistic "advocacy" organization? Just as our war birds were wailing in bitter disappointment that the inspections process would delay or maybe even derail the much anticipated bloodbath, suddenly one of the inspectors is "exposed" as a sadomasochist. The point was not to somehow prove that this made him unfit for the job, but simply to degrade him, to make the experience so painful that he would immediately withdraw – which is precisely what happened.

There's nothing at all fishy about a "sealed" court record leaked to reporters, complete with an alleged "mug shot" of Ritter broadcast on television and republished by MSNBC. It's all a coincidence that this comes out just as the war crisis reaches its climax – or anti-climax – and the administration is desperate to come up with a half-way convincing rationale for war. What are you – a conspiracy theorist? Everybody knows the U.S. government is inherently and constitutionally incapable of pulling off such a dirty rotten lowdown trick. After all, isn't that why they hate us – because we're so wonderfully "free"? Free to be spied on; free to be set-up and smeared if we defy the powers-that-be; "free" to be entrapped by cyber-cops who randomly chose the single most convincing opponent of the War Party to snare in a web of deception.

The reaction to this is really a sight to behold. The same "conservative" movement that reveled and rolled around in the muck of the Clinton years like a pig in a deluxe pen, luxuriating in the filth that bubbled up like a perpetual hot bath, is all abuzz. With all the defiant malignity of Lucianne Goldberg and her son, what's-his-name, rolling the latest Clintonian dirtball around on their tongues as if it were the last bon bon in the box, they are drooling over this one. (Look at bottom-feeder Jonah Goldberg lap it up.)

It's sickening, really, to even contemplate what is going on here, but we should look at this ugliness full in the face. Because in forcing ourselves to see it, we can see the War Party – the gang of lying, thieving, conniving thugs with delusions of grandeur who dominate this administration – in its essence.

Look on the face of evil, and, if you don't turn to stone, remember it well. Because this is what we're up against, in America: an evil that is almost demonic in its pure malevolence, a dark destructive spirit that feeds on pain and is animated by the will to crush its enemies underfoot. This is the face of an enemy that must be defeated.

– Justin Raimondo

(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, March 14, 2008

Spitzer and The Predatory Lending Nightmare

While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an 'escort' $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush's new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.

Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there's a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush's man Bernanke was using ours.

This week, Bernanke's Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks' mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.

Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers' bordello: Eliot Spitzer.

Who are they kidding? Spitzer's lynching and the bankers' enriching are intimately tied.

How? Follow the money.

The press has swallowed Wall Street's line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn't afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey. That's blaming the victim.

Here's what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new species of loan became the norm, the 'sub-prime' mortgage and it's variants including loans with teeny "introductory" interest rates. From out of nowhere, a company called 'Countrywide' became America's top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large chuck of these 'sub-prime.'

Here's how it worked: The Grinning Family, with US average household income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 a month payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years. But in two years, the promise ain't worth a can of spam and the Grinnings are told to scram - because their house is now worth less than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to recover the "discount" they had for two years. Suddenly, payments equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. Grinnings move into their Toyota.

Now, what kind of American is 'sub-prime.' Guess. No peeking. Here's a hint: 73% of HIGH INCOME Black and Hispanic borrowers were given sub-prime loans versus 17% of similar-income Whites. Dark-skinned borrowers aren't stupid - they had no choice. They were 'steered' as it's called in the mortgage sharking business.

'Steering,' sub-prime loans with usurious kickers, fake inducements to over-borrow, called 'fraudulent conveyance' or 'predatory lending' under US law, were almost completely forbidden in the olden days (Clinton Administration and earlier) by federal regulators and state laws as nothing more than fancy loan-sharking.

But when the Bush regime took over, Countrywide and its banking brethren were told to party hardy - it was OK now to steer'm, fake'm, charge'm and take'm.

But there was this annoying party-pooper. The Attorney General of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who sued these guys to a fare-thee-well. Or tried to.

Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush's regulators went on the warpath against Spitzer and states attempting to stop predatory practices. Making an unprecedented use of the legal power of "federal pre-emption," Bush-bots ordered the states to NOT enforce their consumer protection laws.

Indeed, the feds actually filed a lawsuit to block Spitzer's investigation of ugly racial mortgage steering. Bush's banking buddies were especially steamed that Spitzer hammered bank practices across the nation using New York State laws.

Spitzer not only took on Countrywide, he took on their predatory enablers in the investment banking community. Behind Countrywide was the Mother Shark, its funder and now owner, Bank of America. Others joined the sharkfest: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup's Citibank made mortgage usury their major profit centers. They did this through a bit of financial legerdemain called "securitization."

What that means is that they took a bunch of junk mortgages, like the Grinnings, loans about to go down the toilet and re-packaged them into "tranches" of bonds which were stamped "AAA" - top grade - by bond rating agencies. These gold-painted turds were sold as sparkling safe investments to US school district pension funds and town governments in Finland (really).

When the housing bubble burst and the paint flaked off, investors were left with the poop and the bankers were left with bonuses. Countrywide's top man, Angelo Mozilo, will 'earn' a $77 million buy-out bonus this year on top of the $656 million - over half a billion dollars - he pulled in from 1998 through 2007.

But there were rumblings that the party would soon be over. Angry regulators, burned investors and the weight of millions of homes about to be boarded up were causing the sharks to sink. Countrywide's stock was down 50%, and Citigroup was off 38%, not pleasing to the Gulf sheiks who now control its biggest share blocks.

Then, on Wednesday of this week, the unthinkable happened. Carlyle Capital went bankrupt. Who? That's Carlyle as in Carlyle Group. James Baker, Senior Counsel. Notable partners, former and past: George Bush, the Bin Laden family and more dictators, potentates, pirates and presidents than you can count.

The Fed had to act. Bernanke opened the vault and dumped $200 billion on the poor little suffering bankers. They got the public treasure - and got to keep the Grinning's house. There was no 'quid' of a foreclosure moratorium for the 'pro quo' of public bail-out. Not one family was saved - but not one banker was left behind.

Every mortgage sharking operation shot up in value. Mozilo's Countrywide stock rose 17% in one day. The Citi sheiks saw their company's stock rise $10 billion in an afternoon.

And that very same day the bail-out was decided - what a coinkydink! - the man called, 'The Sheriff of Wall Street' was cuffed. Spitzer was silenced.

Do I believe the banks called Justice and said, "Take him down today!" Naw, that's not how the system works. But the big players knew that unless Spitzer was taken out, he would create enough ruckus to spoil the party. Headlines in the financial press - one was "Wall Street Declares War on Spitzer" - made clear to Bush's enforcers at Justice who their number one target should be. And it wasn't Bin Laden.

It was the night of February 13 when Spitzer made the bone-headed choice to order take-out in his Washington Hotel room. He had just finished signing these words for the Washington Post about predatory loans:

"Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye."

Bush, said Spitzer right in the headline, was the "Predator Lenders' Partner in Crime." The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet.

Spitzer wrote, "When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably."

But now, the Administration can rest assured that this love story - of Bush and his bankers - will not be told by history at all - now that the Sheriff of Wall Street has fallen on his own gun.

A note on "Prosecutorial Indiscretion."

Back in the day when I was an investigator of racketeers for government, the federal prosecutor I was assisting was deciding whether to launch a case based on his negotiations for airtime with 60 Minutes. I'm not allowed to tell you the prosecutor's name, but I want to mention he was recently seen shouting, "Florida is Rudi country! Florida is Rudi country!"

Not all crimes lead to federal bust or even public exposure. It's up to something called "prosecutorial discretion."

Funny thing, this 'discretion.' For example, Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him diapers (ewww!), yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors busting the pimp-ring that pampered him.
Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer - rarely done in these cases - was made at the 'discretion' of Bush's Justice Department.

Or maybe we should say, 'indiscretion.'

Listen to Palast on Clout 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.

Iran Is Being Bombed: What do we do now?

by David Swanson | March 14, 2008 - 7:30am | permalink
article tools: email | print | read more David Swanson

Imagine yourself sitting down transfixed and watching video footage of U.S. bombs hitting Iran. You see children ripped limb from limb, mothers screaming and wailing, people panicked, tortured, traumatized, and killed. Imagine asking yourself at that point: What was I doing these past many months that I thought was more important than preventing this?

Now ask yourself today: What am I doing that is more important than ending the ongoing hell of the U.S. occupation of Iraq?

Are you struggling to support your family? So are many, many other people who still find hours and days to commit. While congress members and senators have the gall to tell constituents that opposing Pelosi or Reid and cutting off the funding lies outside their "comfort zone," citizens are going without sleep, ruining marriages and friendships, losing money, fasting, and risking serious jail time for nonviolent protests. Are those children hit by the bombs living within a "comfort zone"?

» article continues...

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

Hillary Is Misleading The American Public

Craig Gregg, former counsel to Bill Clinton and now Obama supporter, sat down for an interview with National Journal. His comments reflected more strongly a memo he had penned last week, suggesting that Hillary's claims of experience were overblown. An excerpt from the interview:

Q: But was that experience, do you think, that is -- having a lot of influence with advisers, giving private advice to her husband -- was that experience that has helped prepare her to be commander in chief?

Craig: Oh, I don't doubt that. The point that I am making is that her claims of the nature of that experience are overstated. The fact is she did not sit in on national security meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the situation room. She conducted no negotiations. She did not manage any part of the national security bureaucracy. She did not have her own national security staff. That's the fact. Now the experience that she did have -- watching and sometimes sitting in the room where discussions were going on and also meeting heads of state and foreign ministers -- that is good experience, and it's invaluable to understanding how the world works when it comes to international organizations as well as international negotiations.

Read the whole interview here.

The Clintons responded quickly, noting a contradiction between this statement and other statements. Only last week Gregg claimed:

When your entire campaign is based upon a claim of experience, it is important that you have evidence to support that claim. Hillary Clinton's argument that she has passed "the Commander- in-Chief test" is simply not supported by her record.

The comments by Gregg come at a time when the Clinton camp is facing increasing scrutiny over the former First Lady's record.

The Boston Globe reported this morning that Sen. Clinton had less to do with the passage of the SCHIP program in the early 90s, and cites Republican Orrin Hatch who, with Sen. Ted Kennedy, helped spear the legislation:

"The White House wasn't for it. We really roughed them up" in trying to get it approved over the Clinton administration's objections, Hatch said in an interview. "She may have done some advocacy [privately] over at the White House, but I'm not aware of it."

"I do like her," Hatch said of Hillary Clinton. "We all care about children. But does she deserve credit for SCHIP? No - Teddy does, but she doesn't."

(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.

Can Junior's Protection Racket Last?

Friday, 07 March 2008


The elephant is great and powerful, but prefers to be blind.
David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest (1972)
(Here's an aside on the future of the "national security" system. Please bear with me as I work on it.)

The US national security budget is nearly $700 billion a year (much more if the total costs of Iraq/Afghanistan are thrown in), more than the rest of the world combined. Unfortunately, within that entire budget there isn't a single research organization or think tank that is seriously studying, analyzing or synthesizing the future of warfare and terrorism. Fatally, most of the big thinkers working on the future of warfare do their critical work in their spare time, usually while working other jobs to put food on the table for their families. In sum, this deficit in imagination will soon be the critical determinant on whether the national security bureaucracy remains relevant in a rapidly changing global security environment. That relevance is the key to its future.

Here's why. The need for relevancy became apparent on 9/11, when a small group of attackers hit the US without regard, or even a passing thought, to the trillions the US had previously invested in national security. The public's response, this first time, was to pour more trillions to correct that failure. When another unanticipated situation occurs again (and it will, likely in a increasingly rapid succession as small group warfare climbs an exponential ramp of productivity improvements), the public will not be as generous as they were the first time to a legacy organization that can't/won't do the job we pay it for. In fact, the public's displeasure will likely be expressed in a series of major defunding events for the national security bureaucracy. Here's the process that will cause it:

  • Funding will already be very scarce. The combination of demographically driven entitlement spending (the first baby boomers retire this year), ballooning deficits (funded by harder to get and more expensive debt), and an inability to raise new federal revenue (money under pressure moves global) means that money will be very tight. As a result, the Federal government's discretionary budget will suffer significant and prolonged shrinkage.
  • A need to show results. Given insufficient funding over a prolonged period, much more attention will be paid to the returns of investment from government programs (a result of too many programs chasing an ever tighter budget in an increasingly transparent society). Those programs that don't perform well, will fall under the axe. Further, citizens, who increasingly view themselves as customers of government security services rather than passive recipients, will be increasingly critical of failures from programs that cost plenty but deliver little. ( Let's hope this includes all the corporations involved in this mess. It's not the U.S. Army who has effed everything to kingdom come. Can you spell Blackwater? KBR? Halliburton? Just for starters?
  • Competition from below. New, grass roots efforts at the state and local levels will compete favorably against national programs. As in: if the federal bureaucracy can't protect us, we will do the job ourselves locally (New York City has already paved that pathway with its own counter-terrorism center). Expect a fight between local and federal, a fight where the local wins.
In short, the next black swan is likely to do the opposite of what the national security bureaucracy thinks. Rather than be the driver of massive rounds of new funding, it could turn it into a husk of its former self.

Given that simply remaining relevant will become the key to future public funding of our national security system, will the bureaucracy react to save its own hide? Likely not. The smart money is on a failure to change, irrelevance, and organizational dissolution.

NOTE: If you could get the top 20 people in the warfare/tech futures space under the same virtual roof and focused their output, the result would be complete dominance of the idea space. Low cost. High value. Within a year, their output would dominate the press and policy.

(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 FBI Doesn't Know The Law

Perhaps they were told it would not be necessary to know the law during this administration since no one really knows what the law is except the preznit, who more or less makes it up as he goes along by doing as he damn well pleases until he gets caught, then he blackmails congress to change the law so he remains unimpeachable, unindictable, whatever.

Every congressional act is met with a signing statement in which the business C-student in the W.H. tells congress how he interprets the law and how it doesn't apply to him any way because he is the commander-in-chief (der furher) and the executive is unitary and congress is urinary or some such babble

Do we not have the Supremes anymore? Don't they decide what's constitutional and what isn't. That's not the preznit's job, is it? If so, why do we even have a congress? Why are we paying all those nitwits on the Hill when we can just pay one nitwit in the White House.

Can't see why we need Vice either. He doesn't even know what branch of government he is in. That could be because all the people in his office have been working hard to make sure there are no branches of government. It's understandable that he is unfamiliar with them.

How many days has it been since we've seen the old beast anyway. Not since he has his batteries replaced, me thinks. Actually, I hear that he has been slithering about the country raising big bucks for various and sundry Rethugs who are up for re-election. It's easy for him to raise money for life's losers. He just carries his gun with him.

F.B.I. Made ‘Blanket’ Demands for Phone Records

WASHINGTON — Senior officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation repeatedly approved the use of “blanket” records demands to justify the improper collection of thousands of phone records, according to officials briefed on the practice.

The bureau appears to have used the blanket records demands at least 11 times in 2006 alone as a quick way to clean up mistakes made over several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to a letter provided to Congress by a lawyer for an F.B.I. agent who witnessed the missteps.

The F.B.I. has come under fire for its use of so-called national security letters to inappropriately gather records on Americans in terrorism investigations, but details have not previously been disclosed about its use of “blanket” warrants, a one-step operation used to justify the collection of hundreds of phone and e-mail records at a time.

Under the USA Patriot Act, the F.B.I. received broadened authority to issue the national security letters on its own authority — without the approval of a judge — to gather records like phone bills or e-mail transactions that might be considered relevant to a particular terrorism investigation. The Justice Department inspector general found in March 2007 that the F.B.I. had routinely violated the standards for using the letters and that officials often cited “exigent” or emergency situations that did not really exist in issuing them to phone providers and other private companies.

In an updated report due out on Thursday, the inspector general is expected to report that the violations continued through 2006, when the F.B.I. instituted new internal procedures.

The inspector general’s ongoing investigation is also said to be focusing on the F.B.I.’s use of the blanket letters as a way of justifying the collection of large amounts of records at one time. F.B.I. officials acknowledged the problem Wednesday, calling it inadvertent, and said officials had been instructed that they could no longer issue blanket orders. Instead, officials have to determine why particular records are considered relevant.

One has to wonder how many Americans are really al Qaeda agents. I wouldn't have thought there were all that many. Geeze Louise, admittedly we Americans have been playing kinda fast and loose with our sanity for some time, but al Qaeda agents by the hundreds, perhaps thousands. Can anyone really believe that?

If not, whom, pray tell, is the FBI really looking at and why?

A letter sent last week to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, provides new details on the F.B.I.’s use of the national security letters, including the practice of issuing the blanket demands.

A copy of the letter was provided to The Times. It was written by Stephen M. Kohn, a Washington lawyer representing Bassem Youssef, an F.B.I. agent who reported what he thought were abuses in the use of national security letters and was interviewed for three days by the inspector general. In a separate matter, Mr. Youssef is suing the F.B.I. in a discrimination claim.

Mr. Grassley said Wednesday that he was concerned by the issues raised in Mr. Kohn’s letter.

“In the past, the F.B.I. has shown a propensity to act as if it were above the law,” he said. “That attitude clearly needs to stop. Part of the way we can help the F.B.I. clean up its act is to pay close attention to information from whistle-blowers like Bassem Youssef. We need aggressive follow-up from the inspector general to ensure accountability and reform.”

Oh really, Mr Grassley. I'm sure that Sibel Edmonds and others will be glad to hear of your new found appreciation for whistle-blowers. There are so many of them now, they've had to form their own support group, but no one on the Hill has seemed the least bit interested in hearing from them. I'm sure they wait with baited breath to hear from you.

By 2006, F.B.I. officials began learning that the bureau had issued thousands of “exigent” or emergency records demands to phone providers in situations where no life-threatening emergency existed, according to the account of Mr. Youssef, who worked with the phone companies in collecting records in terrorism investigations. In these situations, the F.B.I. had promised the private companies that the emergency records demands would be followed up with formal subpoenas or properly processed letters, but often, the follow-up material never came.

This created a backlog of records that the F.B.I. had obtained without going through proper procedures. In response, the letter said, the F.B.I. devised a plan: rather than issuing national security letters retroactively for each individual investigation, it would issue the blanket letters to cover all the records obtained from a particular phone company.

“When Mr. Youssef was first informed of this concept, he was very uncomfortable with it,” his lawyer, Mr. Kohn, said in his letter to Senator Grassley. But the plan was ultimately approved in 2006 by three senior officials at highest levels of the F.B.I., and in the process, Mr. Kohn maintains, the solution may have worsened the problem.

“They made a mistake in cleaning up a mistake,” Mr. Kohn said, “because they didn’t know the law.”

We are really in deep do-do in America when three TOP senior officials at the highest levels of the FBI don't know the damn law, at least well enough to cover-up after having broken the damn law. My head may expolde any minute.

An F.B.I. official who asked for anonymity because the inspector general is still examining the blanket warrant issue said the practice was “an attempt to fix a problem.”

“This was ham-handed but pure of heart,” the official said. “This was nothing evil, but it was not the right way to do it.”

Oh ferChrissake, if it wasn't all those things, except the pure of heart part which doesn't even fit in that sentence, this bozo wouldn't be running around saying that it wasn't. Since when do Americans officials have to constantly tell us that they aren't doing evil things and that they aren't evil?

Uh...well, maybe for the last 7 years?

(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, March 13, 2008

Does Anyone Believe This Crappola?

Fallon was the only man standing between us and another insane war. This time, with Iran and we are supposed to believe that he stepped down on his own?

OK, maybe he did, but if he did, it was a warning to the rest of us that war is coming, before the Monkey leaves office.

Look out Dems! The Goof-balls in the W.H. are about to drop a big bomb on you too.

Bush Administration Denies Central Command Chief Forced to Resign

By VOA News
12 March 2008

A spokeswoman for President Bush says the head of the U.S. Central Military Command is not being forced to resign, despite reports that Admiral William Fallon disagrees with the president's policy on Iran.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino Wednesday, said President Bush welcomes robust and healthy debate and is grateful for the admiral's service.

Fallon was on a trip to Baghdad Tuesday when he announced he is resigning at the end of the month. That announcement followed a report in Esquire magazine that said Fallon disagrees with the Bush administration on whether to take military action against Iran for failing to stop its nuclear program.

Admiral Fallon denied that his opinion differs from the president's, but he said the perception of discord makes it difficult for him to serve effectively.

The Navy admiral is in charge of managing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and U.S. military engagement throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and East Africa.

At the Pentagon Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called "ridiculous" the notion that Fallon's resignation signals the Bush administration is preparing to go to war with Iran. Gates said the admiral made the decision to step down on his own.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, expressed concern that the departure is an example that dissenting opinion is not welcome in the Bush administration.

Admiral Fallon's resignation takes effect March 31, marking the end of more than four decades of service. He will be replaced temporarily by his deputy, Lieutenant General Martin Dempsey.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

(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.

Keith's Scating Comment on Clinton Campaign

Last Night, Keith crystallized our frustration with the low-road tactics and the increasingly desperate aura of this campaign, and what it's doing to the discourse and the Democratic party.

Transcript follows:

Finally, as promised, a Special Comment on the presidential campaign of the Junior Senator from New York.
By way of necessary preface, President and Senator Clinton -- and the Senator's mother, and the Senator's brother -- were of immeasurable support to me at the moments when these very commentaries were the focus of the most surprise, the most uncertainty, and the most anger. My gratitude to them is abiding.
Also, I am not here endorsing Senator Obama's nomination, nor suggesting it is inevitable.
Thus I have fought with myself over whether or not to say anything.
Senator, as it has reached its apex in their tone-deaf, arrogant, and insensitive reaction to the remarks of Geraldine Ferraro... your own advisors are slowly killing your chances to become President.
Senator, their words, and your own, are now slowly killing the chances for any Democrat to become President.
In your tepid response to this Ferraro disaster, you may sincerely think you are disenthralling an enchanted media, and righting an unfair advance bestowed on Senator Obama.
You may think the matter has closed with Representative Ferraro's bitter, almost threatening resignation.
But in fact, Senator, you are now campaigning, as if Barack Obama were the Democrat, and you… were the Republican.
As Shakespeare wrote, Senator -- that way… madness… lies.
You have missed a critical opportunity to do... what was right.
No matter what Ms. Ferraro now claims, no one took her comments out of context.
She had made them on at least three separate occasions, then twice more on television this morning.
Just hours ago, on NBC Nightly News, she denied she had made the remarks in an interview -- only at a paid political speech.
In fact, the first time she spoke them, was ten days before the California newspaper published them... not in a speech, but in a radio interview.
On February 26th, quoting...
"If Barack Obama were a white man, would we be talking about this, as a potential real problem for Hillary? If he were a woman of any color, would he be in this position that he's in? Absolutely not."
The context was inescapable.
Two minutes earlier, a member of Senator Clinton's Finance Committee, one of her "Hill-Raisers," had bemoaned the change in allegiance by Super-Delegate John Lewis from Clinton to Obama, and the endorsement of Obama by Senator Dodd.
"I look at these guys doing it," she had said, "and I have to tell you, it's the guys sticking together."
A minute after the "color" remarks, she was describing herself as having been chosen for the 1984 Democratic ticket, purely as a woman politician, purely to make history.
She was, in turn, making a blind accusation of sexism -- and dismissing Senator Obama's candidacy as nothing more than an Equal Opportunity stunt.
The next day she repeated her comments to a reporter from the newspaper in Torrance, California.
"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
And when this despicable statement -- ugly in its overtones, laughable in its weak grip of facts, and moronic in the historical context -- when it floats outward from the Clinton Campaign like a poison cloud, what do the advisors have their candidate do?
Do they have Senator Clinton herself compare the remark to Al Campanis talking on Nightline... on Jackie Robinson day... about how blacks lacked the necessities to become baseball executives, while she points out that Barock Obama has not gotten his 1600 delegates as part of some kind of Affirmative Action plan?
Do they have Senator Clinton note that her own brief period in elected office, is as irrelevant to the issue of judgment as is Senator Obama's…
…while she points out that FDR had served only six years as a governor and state Senator before he became President?
Or that Teddy Roosevelt had four-and-a-half years before the White House?
Or that Woodrow Wilson had two years and six weeks?
Or Richard Nixon… fourteen... and Calvin Coolidge 25?
Do these advisors have Senator Clinton invoke Samantha Power -- gone by sunrise after she used the word "monster" -- and have Senator Clinton say, "this is how I police my campaign and this is what I stand for," while she fires former Congresswoman Ferraro from any role the campaign?
Somebody tells her that simply disagreeing with and rejecting the remarks is sufficient.
And she should then call, "regrettable", words that should make any Democrat retch.
And that she should then try to twist them, first into some pox-on-both-your-houses plea to 'stick to the issues,' and then to let her campaign manager try to bend them beyond all recognition, into Senator Obama's fault.
And thus these advisers give Congresswoman Ferraro nearly a week in which to send Senator Clinton's campaign back into the vocabulary... of David Duke.
"Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says let's address reality and the problems we're facing in this world, you're accused of being racist, so you have to shut up.
"Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white.
"How's that?"
How's that?
Apart from sounding exactly like Rush Limbaugh attacking the black football quarterback Donovan McNabb?
Apart from sounding exactly like what Ms. Ferraro said about another campaign, nearly twenty years ago?
"President Reagan suggested Tuesday that people don't ask Jackson tough questions because of his race. And former representative Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that because of his "radical" views, "if Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race."
So... apart from sounding like insidious racism that is at least two decades old?
Apart from rendering ridiculous, Senator Clinton's shell-game about choosing Obama as Vice President?
Apart from this evening's resignation letter?
"I am stepping down from your finance committee so I can speak for myself and you can continue to speak for yourself about what is at stake in this campaign.
"The Obama campaign is attacking me to hurt you."
Apart from all that?
Well. It sounds as if those advisors want their campaign to be associated with those words, and the cheap… ignorant… vile… racism that underlies every syllable...
And that Geraldine Ferraro has just gone free-lance.
Senator Clinton:
This is not a campaign strategy.
This is a suicide pact.
This week alone, your so-called strategists have declared that Senator Obama has not yet crossed the "commander-in-chief threshold"…
But -- he might be your choice to be Vice President, even though a quarter of the previous sixteen Vice Presidents have become commander-in-chief during the greatest kind of crisis this nation can face: a mid-term succession.
But you'd only pick him if he crosses that threshold by the time of the convention.
But if he does cross that threshold by the time of the convention, he will only have done so sufficiently enough to become Vice President, not President.

Senator, if the serpentine logic of your so-called advisors were not bad enough...
Now, thanks to Geraldine Ferraro, and your campaign's initial refusal to break with her, and your new relationship with her -- now more disturbing still with her claim that she can now "speak for herself" about her vision of Senator Obama as some kind of embodiment of a quota...
If you were to seek Obama as a Vice President, it would be, to Ms. Ferraro, some kind of social engineering gesture, some kind of racial make-good.
Do you not see, Senator?
To Senator Clinton's supporters, to her admirers, to her friends for whom she is first choice, and her friends for whom she is second choice, she is still letting herself be perceived as standing next to, and standing by, racial divisiveness and blindness…
And worst yet, after what President Clinton said during the South Carolina primary, comparing the Obama and Jesse Jackson campaigns -- a disturbing, but only borderline remark...
After what some in the black community have perceived as a racial undertone to the "3 A-M" ad... a disturbing -- but only borderline interpretation...
And after that moment's hesitation in her own answer on 60 Minutes about Obama's religion -- a disturbing, but only borderline vagueness...
After those precedents, there are those who see a pattern... false, or true.
After those precedents, there are those who see an intent... false, or true.
After those precedents, there are those who see the Clinton campaign's anything-but-benign neglect of this Ferraro catastrophe -- falsely or truly -- as a desire to hear the kind of casual prejudice which still haunts this society voiced... and to not distance the campaign from it.
To not distance you from it, Senator!
To not distance you... from that which you as a woman, and Senator Obama as an African-American, should both know and feel with the deepest of personal pain!
Which you should both fight with all you have!
Which you should both insure, has no place in this contest!

This, Senator Clinton, is your campaign, and it is your name.
Grab the reins back from whoever has led you to this precipice, before it is too late.
Voluntarily or inadvertently, you are still awash in this filth.
Your only reaction has been to disagree, reject, and to call it regrettable.
Her only reaction has been to brand herself as the victim, resign from your committee, and insist she will continue to speak.
Unless you say something definitive, Senator, the former Congresswoman is speaking with your approval.
You must remedy this.
And you must... reject... and denounce... Geraldine Ferraro.
Good night, and good luck.

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