Saturday, September 20, 2008

John and the very delicate subject of his marbles

How he lost them? When did he lose them?

Should Americans not use what knowledge they have to elect a president? The man is 72 Y.O.A. He was a POW. He was tortured. He has flaming PTSD.

Now, do you want this guys finger on the button? Read on....

"Evil must be defeated!" -- John McCain 8/16/08

"Enough is enough! We're going to put an end to greed!" -- John McCain 9/17/08

It's inspiring to know that John McCain has a plan to end greed. I just hope it doesn't distract him from his mission to defeat evil. Either way, it has to kick the shit out of whatever Barack Obama's got on the docket, with his empty words and pie-in-the-sky promises.

America's choice is clear. Barack Obama, a messianic egomaniac who thinks he's, like, our savior or something, or John McCain, who will defeat evil and put an end to greed.

John McCain will not only take on special interests and Washington insiders, he'll fundamentally alter human nature. And without raising taxes, either. He'll lead us to a sort of martial nirvana where all other emotions are replaced with patriotism, and turn the United States into a shining, selfless, bipartisan cross between heaven and Sparta.

Or maybe he's just a desperate shell of a man, babbling glorp.

If Reverend Wright went around shouting stuff like "We're going to put an end to greed!" people would start thinking he was some kind of fruitcake.


You might think "I'll end greed" would be the most mortifying thing John McCain could say at one sitting. You'd be wrong. At Wednesday's town hall -- his first with Sarah Palin -- he topped himself with this explanation of her credentials:

"She has been commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard. Fact. On September 11 a contingent of the Guard deployed to Iraq and her son happened to be one of them so I think she understands national security challenges."

Which is fine except:

The governor of Alaska doesn't command the National Guard in combat overseas.

Sarah Palin didn't deploy anyone anywhere on September 11th. She was a guest speaker at an Army deployment ceremony.

Track Palin isn't in the National Guard; he's in the Army.

Sometimes it seems like it's more than John McCain can handle, just keeping all the lies about Sarah Palin straight in his head. Tomorrow he'll say she's in the Air Force herself, on a plane she bought on eBay, bombing the bridges at Toko-Ri.


It's all Shiites and Sunnis to John McCain. So what's your problem? We're told that Lord Raglan fought the entire Crimean War believing the Russians were the French. And that worked out okay because, uh, everyone under his command died.


"I know how to win wars! I know how to win wars!" -- John McCain 7/15/08

I know this is a sort of threadbare exercise -- the old switcheroo -- but imagine what would happen if Barack Obama got the Army and the National Guard mixed up.

"Evil must be defeated!" -- John McCain 8/16/08 "Enough is enough! We're going to put an end to greed!" -- John McCain 9/17/08 It's inspiring to know that John McCain has a plan to end greed. I jus...
"Evil must be defeated!" -- John McCain 8/16/08 "Enough is enough! We're going to put an end to greed!" -- John McCain 9/17/08 It's inspiring to know that John McCain has a plan to end greed. I jus...

More in Politics...

(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.

Did Violence In Iraq Go Down Because of Ethnic Cleansing?

Satellite images show ethnic cleanout in Iraq - [ Is the surge responsible for drop in violence or population shift? ]

Satellite images taken at night show heavily Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Baghdad began emptying before a U.S. troop surge in 2007, graphic evidence of ethnic cleansing that preceded a drop in violence, according to a report published on Friday. The images support the view of international refugee organizations and Iraq experts that a major population shift was a key factor in the decline in sectarian violence, particularly in the Iraqi capital, the epicenter of the bloodletting in which hundreds of thousands were killed. "By the launch of the surge, many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country, and they turned off the lights when they left," geography professor John Agnew of the University of California Los Angeles, who led the study, said in a statement. "Essentially, our interpretation is that violence has declined in Baghdad because of intercommunal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning," said Agnew, who studies ethnic conflict. [ MORE AT STORY SITE ]

(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.

Drugs, sex and ....OIL

There just really isn't much hope, is there?

by Meg White

So, let me get this straight: House Republicans are slamming Dems using advice from drug-addled cheaters who are literally in bed with oil executives? Yes, sadly enough, that is one way to refer to the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service.

The House voted this week to pass an expansion of offshore drilling to allow companies to extract oil from coastal regions as little as 50 miles from the shoreline. Though they've been crying out for an expansion of offshore drilling for what seems like forever, Republicans still found a way to make Democrats weak at the gas pump. They said that "experts" say all the good oil reserves are between three miles and 50 miles from the shore. And who are these experts? Why, it's the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, which was just revealed by the department's inspector general to have engaged in drug use and illicit sex with oil company executives.

The Associated Press reported the story, but they did it backwards. Always looking for conflict and a news peg, they started out talking about the new bill and Republicans attacking Democrats, sneaking the sex and drugs in at the very end, after readers had fallen asleep or turned to the crossword puzzle.

(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.

Palin probe has parallels to 2000 recount fight

September 19, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) -- This time, there are no hanging chads.

Yet the Republicans' drive to derail an abuse of power investigation against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP vice presidential candidate, reflects the same determination and many of the same methods employed in shutting down the 2000 presidential recount in Florida.

Now, as then, the playbook includes lawsuits, the exercise of power by sympathetic state officials, and appeals to the court of public opinion -- all in an operation directed by out-of-state Republicans.

''Hold me accountable,'' Palin said when the Republican-controlled legislature launched the investigation in mid-August.

Now John McCain's running mate, she declines to cooperate. She calls the investigation tainted, her husband won't honor a subpoena to testify, and Republican lawmakers are in court with a pair of lawsuits challenging the legitimacy of the probe.

Republican lawyers, researchers and public relations specialists have been dispatched to Alaska. The Anchorage lawyer originally hired by the state to represent Palin is no longer paid by taxpayers and instead is part of the McCain-Palin campaign's legal team.

Former prosecutor Ed O'Callaghan, from New York, is the team's leading voice. ''The investigation is no longer a legitimate investigation because it has been subjected to complete partisanship and does not operate with the authority that it had at the time of its initial authorization,'' he told reporters earlier in the week.

Even though lawmakers announced plans for new subpoenas on Friday, there appears little chance that investigator Stephen Branchflower will receive testimony from all the witnesses he seeks before his Oct. 10 target date for completion.

That's nearly four weeks before Election Day, the date by which Troopergate, as it is known, can no longer affect McCain's chances of winning the White House.

And Democrats are not without their own maneuvers -- casting Palin in an unfavorable light with allegations that Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his party are playing politics with the issue.

''The Republican presidential campaign is doing everything it can to stall and smear,'' says Patti Higgins, chairwoman of the Alaska Democratic Party.

So far, the struggle has been largely one-sided. Advantage: Republicans and Palin, the governor whose firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan triggered the controversy this summer.

Critics say Monegan was fired because he refused to dismiss a state trooper who had gone through a difficult divorce with the governor's sister. Palin says she acted in response to a disagreement with Monegan over state spending.

Whatever her motivation, Republicans have acted as though they could not afford to allow Branchflower to complete his probe before the election.

One Republican veteran of the Florida recount, attorney Ben Ginsberg, said comparing that case to the one in Alaska was like mixing apples and oranges.

''If you won the election once, why would you ever have a recount?'' he said. And in the case of an investigation, ''there's always one side that tries to shut it down and another side that wants to keep it going.''

The similarities to the contested Florida recount of 2000 are striking, if imprecise -- the uncertain outcome of a complete manual recount then, the unpredictability of a full accounting of the Monegan firing now.

Then, Bush clung to a slender lead in Florida over Al Gore after a statewide machine recount. Democrats sought a follow-up manual re-tally by hand in four counties, and Republicans determined to block them.

Given a margin of a few hundred votes out of millions cast, it was impossible to tell who had truly won the state. There were numerous disputed paper ballots -- including those with partially-punched out holes that became instantly known by the phrase ''hanging chads.

Republicans also were fearful of forfeiting their advantage in the public relations battle. Their man was ahead, and any reduction in his lead could only undermine his claim on the White House.

Lawsuits tumbled on top of one another, eventually involving Florida's highest court and U.S. Supreme Court.

Katherine Harris, the Republican secretary of state, was stopped by court order from certifying the results once -- a ruling issued by seven judges appointed by Democrats, Republicans noted.

One county canvassing board, besieged by Republican protesters, shut down the recount Democrats sought. Harris refused to accept results from another county, submitted 90 minutes past the court-imposed deadline of 5 p.m. on Nov. 26.

That day, she certified Bush the winner of Florida by 537 votes -- and the tally stood despite days of additional lawyering and hand-counting.

The stakes are not nearly as large this time, and Democrats have appeared slow off the mark, unwilling or unable to dispatch their own crew to Alaska to counter the Republicans.

And while there is no direct equivalent of Harris, Alaska's Republican attorney general, Talis Colberg, has played a pivotal, if quiet, role in trying to bottle up the investigation of the woman who appointed him.

When Branchflower sought to subpoena 10 employees of Palin's administration, Colberg reponded with a letter that said they had been placed in a untenable position.

''As state employees, our clients have taken an oath to uphold the Alaska Constitution,'' he wrote.

Yet, he added, ''our clients are also loyal employees subject to the supervision of the Governor'' whom he said has stated that the subpoenas were of questionable validity.

''We respectfully ask that you withdraw the subpoenas directed to our clients and thereby relieve them from the circumstance of having to choose where their loyalties lie,'' he added.


Eds: David Espo covers presidential politics for AP.

(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.

Recommendations From Bush War Crimes Prosecution Conference

By Sherwood Ross

ANDOVER , MASS. (Special) -- Twenty recommendations made at a conference on prosecuting President George Bush for war crimes are under consideration for action, according to conference convener Lawrence Velvel, a prominent law school dean.

"Attendees discussed the violations of international and domestic law that were committed and are now studying recommendations for action," said Velvel. “All of us feel that those who committed war crimes and other crimes against humanity must be held accountable," he said. “The continued viability of Nuremberg Principles barring aggressive war and torture depends on it.”

More than 120 public officials, lawyers, academics, and authorities on the U.S. Constitution and international law attended the two day conference, which was held in Andover , Massachusetts on September 13th and 14th.

The conference resulted in recommendations ranging from asking the next U.S. Attorney General to prosecute Bush, to having any of some 2,700 county district attorneys launch proceedings against him for murder, to having Bush prosecuted for war crimes in other countries.

A newly formed committee will decide which of the suggestions can practicably be pursued.

The complete list of possible actions is:

1. Working for the election of district attorneys who pledge to prosecute high level war criminals for murder under state law, and working for the reelection of district attorneys who pledge to prosecute such criminals for murder.

2. Working for the election of state attorneys general who pledge to prosecute high level war criminals for murder under state law.

3. Working for the election of local executive and legislative officials (e.g., city council members) in specified localities who will formally denounce war crimes and might even seek to take action against them, as apparently has occurred in Vermont.

4. Mandamus proceedings to force local prosecutors to act.

5. Requesting state bar authorities to disbar the lawyers who were part of the executive cabal to authorize torture and other abuses that are crimes under international law, domestic law, or both.

6. Teach-ins at universities on the question of war crimes.

7. Asking universities to conduct hearings on whether certain individuals (e.g., John Yoo, Jack Goldsmith) should be dismissed from faculties for aiding and abetting criminal acts.

8. A march of many thousands of American lawyers on the Department of Justice (a la Civil Rights or Viet Nam war marches or the million man march). The purpose of the march would be to highlight lawyers’ belief that crimes were committed and must be punished.

9. Seeking prosecutions of high level war criminals before foreign courts or before international tribunals such as the International Criminal Court.

10. Asking the next federal Attorney General to prosecute war criminals.

11. Seeking major congressional investigations of what occurred.

12. Obtaining inspector general reports of what was done in given federal departments like the Department of Justice, the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, etc.

13. A truth and reconciliation commission.

14. Impeachment, even after the culprits leave office. And, unless he resigns from the federal bench, Jay Bybee, who collaborated with John Yoo on the first torture papers, will still be in office after the election.

15. Legislative or judicial action to dramatically cut back on, and sometimes totally eliminate, the present vast overuse by the federal government of the state secrets doctrine, executive privilege and other such doctrines.

16. Repeal of immunity amendments (which, even if not repealed, may have tremendous holes in them with regard to federal prosecutions, are unlikely to have any immunizing effect at the state level (though they may nonetheless be claimed as a defense), and whose only effect on foreign and international prosecutions would be to encourage them because these amendments indicate that the American federal government (like the governments of Argentina and Chile for many years) refuses to take action against federal criminals.

17. Resisting pardons, particularly advance pardons by Bush or the next president before there are convictions.

18. Creating an office of Chief Prosecutor(s), with Vince Bugliosi as Chief Prosecutor for domestic actions and perhaps a Co-Chief Prosecutor, with international prosecutorial experience, as Chief Prosecutor for foreign and international actions. This office would handle prosecutions in which governmental officials are willing to use “our” designated chief prosecutor as the lead lawyer, and would advise governmental prosecutors who desire to handle the prosecutions themselves but are willing to use “our” chief prosecutor as an adviser.

19. Setting up an internet-accessible repository, or library, of information on the pertinent war crimes, so that persons will have ready access to all relevant information. The repository, or library, should be cross indexed by subject matter, and should include briefs, articles, books, memos, speeches, etc. -- anything that sheds light on what was done.

20. Considering what, if anything, can be done to overcome the current ineptitude, failure and sometimes even deliberate hiding of facts by the corporate mass media, and to consider how the web might be used to accomplish this.

Vincent Bugliosi, former Los Angeles county prosecutor, extensively explained the legal reasoning under which Bush can be prosecuted for murder once he is no longer president. Bugliosi added that “No Federal, state or local statute says there is any person who can't be prosecuted for murder."

Bugliosi said that, of the 2,700 district and county attorneys having the power to prosecute, "There should be one prosecutor bold enough to say 'No man is above the law'. I am looking for that courageous prosecutor and I am not going to be satisfied until I see George W. Bush in an American courtroom prosecuted for murder."

Bugliosi said the evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq was overwhelming. "There are over 100 books” providing facts to underpin“ bringing Bush to prosecution for the deaths of 4,000 American soldiers under false pretenses," Bugliosi said.

Philippe Sands, director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals at University College , London , discussed violations of law such as torture. He said that "Under the Convention Against Torture, any person who has tortured anywhere in the world can be arrested in the United Kingdom " if they enter that country.

Political scientist Christopher Pyle of Mt. Holyoke College , S. Hadley, Mass. , spoke for many Conference attendees when he said, “The evidence is overwhelming. The torture, kidnapping, and degradation of suspected terrorists was part of a deliberate policy, hatched and concealed at the highest levels of the Bush administration.” Pyle said the nation does not need any “truth commission” that will offer immunity to suspects who confess their crimes because “if there is no threat of punishment, and therefore no prospect of plea bargains, why would underlings admit anything?”

Any attempt by President Bush to pre-pardon himself or any of his aides involved in war crimes and torture would be “an obstruction of justice,” said Pyle.

He suggested one approach could be to appoint “a non-partisan prosecutor with considerable independence,” much as Attorney General Elliot Richardson did when he chose Archibald Cox to lead the Watergate team. “A special prosecutor could be chosen by the next attorney general from among any number of distinguished Republican attorneys.”

Professor Amy Bartholomew of Carleton University , Ottawa , told the conference that the Bush administration was attempting to replace the Nuremberg Principles adopted after World War Two with “a global and transnational state of exception” under which the U.S. can invade countries with impunity.

Peter Weiss of the Center For Constitutional Rights pointed out that there is no need for any new legislation to outlaw aggressive war, since “It is already outlawed by Article 2 of the United States Charter.”

Dean Velvel summarized the conference proceedings by saying, “In a nutshell, this conference was about giving continued life to the Nuremberg principles, which our country itself established, instead of allowing guilty members of the Bush Administration to destroy those principles wholesale by committing aggressive war and torture with impunity.”

(For additional information contact Sherwood Ross,

(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.

So, What's Up With McCain and The POWs/MIAs of Vietnam

I've had a gut-hunch for a long time that there is much more to McCain's Vietnam stories than meets the eye, or less depending on how one looks at it. Old John has ridden the POW whine train to a successful political career, helped along by his decision to dump his crippled wife to marry a very wealthy heiress.

Now, he has found himself a new beauty queen he hopes will help get him into the White House. It will be sad, indeed, if the McCain myth takes a deadly blow because McCain was as big a liar back then as he is now.

McCain and the POW Cover-up

By Sydney H. Schanberg

This article appeared in the October 6, 2008 edition of The Nation.

September 17, 2008

Research support provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute; a longer version of this article is available at

John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero people would logically imagine to be a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.

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Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain's role in it, even as McCain has made his military service and POW history the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War have also turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn't talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.

The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a Special Forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington and even sworn testimony by two defense secretaries that "men were left behind." This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number--probably hundreds--of the US prisoners held in Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain.

The Pentagon had been withholding significant information from POW families for years. What's more, the Pentagon's POW/MIA operation had been publicly shamed by internal whistleblowers and POW families for holding back documents as part of a policy of "debunking" POW intelligence even when the information was obviously credible. The pressure from the families and Vietnam veterans finally produced the creation, in late 1991, of a Senate "Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs." The chair was John Kerry, but McCain, as a POW, was its most pivotal member. In the end, the committee became part of the debunking machine.

Included in the evidence that McCain and his government allies suppressed or tried to discredit is a transcript of a senior North Vietnamese general's briefing of the Hanoi Politburo, discovered in Soviet archives by an American scholar in the 1990s. The briefing took place only four months before the 1973 peace accords. The general, Tran Van Quang, told the Politburo members that Hanoi was holding 1,205 American prisoners but would keep many of them at war's end as leverage to ensure getting reparations from Washington.

Throughout the Paris negotiations, the North Vietnamese tied the prisoner issue tightly to the issue of reparations. Finally, in a February 1, 1973, formal letter to Hanoi's premier, Pham Van Dong, Nixon pledged $3.25 billion in "postwar reconstruction" aid. The North Vietnamese, though, remained skeptical about the reparations promise being honored (it never was). Hanoi thus held back prisoners--just as it had done when the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and withdrew their forces from Vietnam. France later paid ransoms for prisoners and brought them home.

Two defense secretaries who served during the Vietnam War testified to the Senate POW committee in September 1992 that prisoners were not returned. James Schlesinger and Melvin Laird, secretaries of defense under Nixon, said in a public session and under oath that they based their conclusions on strong intelligence data--letters, eyewitness reports, even direct radio contacts. Under questioning, Schlesinger chose his words carefully, understanding clearly the volatility of the issue: "I think that as of now that I can come to no other conclusion...some were left behind."

Furthermore, over the years, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) received more than 1,600 firsthand reports of sightings of live American prisoners and nearly 14,000 secondhand accounts. Many witnesses interrogated by CIA or Pentagon intelligence agents were deemed "credible" in the agents' reports. Some of the witnesses were given lie-detector tests and passed. Sources provided me with copies of these witness reports. Yet the DIA, after reviewing them all, concluded that they "do not constitute evidence" that men were still alive.

There is also evidence that in the first months of Reagan's presidency, the White House received a ransom proposal for a number of POWs being held by Hanoi. The offer, which was passed to Washington from an official of a third country, was apparently discussed at a meeting in the Roosevelt Room attended by Reagan, Vice President George H.W. Bush, CIA director William Casey and National Security Adviser Richard Allen. Allen confirmed the offer in sworn testimony to the Senate POW committee on June 23, 1992.

Allen was allowed to testify behind closed doors, and no information was released. But a San Diego Union-Tribune reporter, Robert Caldwell, obtained the portion of the testimony relating to the ransom offer and wrote about it. The ransom request was for $4 billion, Allen testified. He said he told Reagan that "it would be worth the president going along and let's have the negotiation." When his testimony appeared in the Union-Tribune, Allen quickly wrote a letter to the panel, this time not under oath, recanting the ransom story, saying his memory had played tricks on him.

But the story didn't end there. A Treasury agent on Secret Service duty in the White House, John Syphrit, came forward to say he had overheard part of the ransom conversation in the Roosevelt Room in 1981. The Senate POW committee voted not to subpoena him to testify.

On November 11, 1992, Dolores Alfond, sister of missing airman Capt. Victor Apodaca and chair of the National Alliance of Families, an organization of relatives of POW/MIAs, testified at one of the Senate committee's public hearings. She asked for information about data the government had gathered from electronic devices used in a classified program known as PAVE SPIKE.

The devices were primarily motion sensors, dropped by air, designed to pick up enemy troop movements. But they also had rescue capabilities. Someone on the ground--a downed airman or a prisoner on a labor gang--could manually enter data into the sensor, which were regularly collected electronically by US planes flying overhead. Alfond stated, without any challenge from the committee, that in 1974, a year after the supposedly complete return of prisoners, the gathered data showed that a person or people had manually entered into the sensors--as US pilots had been trained to do--"no less than 20 authenticator numbers that corresponded exactly to the classified authenticator numbers of 20 US POW/MIAs who were lost in Laos." Alfond added, says the transcript: "This PAVE SPIKE intelligence is seamless, but the committee has not discussed it or released what it knows about PAVE SPIKE."

McCain, whose POW status made him the committee's most powerful member, attended that hearing specifically to confront Alfond because of her criticism of the panel's work. He bellowed and berated her for quite a while. His face turning anger-pink, he accused her of "denigrating" his "patriotism." The bullying had its effect--she began to cry.

After a pause Alfond recovered and tried to respond to his scorching tirade, but McCain simply turned and stormed out of the room. The PAVE SPIKE file has never been declassified. We still don't know anything about those 20 POWs.

The committee's final report, issued in January 1993, began with a forty-three-page executive summary--the only section that drew the mainstream press's attention. It said that only "a small number" of POWs could have been left behind in 1973. But the document's remaining 1,180 pages were quite different. Sprinkled throughout are findings that contradict and disprove the conclusions of the whitewashed summary. This insertion of critical evidence that committee leaders had downplayed and dismissed was the work of a committee staff that had opposed and finally rebelled against the cover-up.

Pages 207-209 of the report, for example, contain major revelations of what were either massive intelligence failures or bad intentions. These pages say that until the committee brought up the subject in 1992, no branch of the intelligence community that dealt with analysis of satellite and lower-altitude photos had ever been informed of the distress signals US forces were trained to use in Vietnam--nor had they ever been tasked to look for such signals from possible prisoners on the ground.

In a personal briefing in 1992, high-level CIA officials told me privately that as it became more and more difficult for either government to admit that it knew from the start about the unacknowledged prisoners, those prisoners became not only useless as bargaining chips but also a risk to Hanoi's desire to be accepted into the international community. The CIA officials said their intelligence indicated strongly that the remaining men--those who had not died from illness or hard labor or torture--were eventually executed. My own research has convinced me that it is not likely that more than a few--if any--are alive in captivity today. (That CIA briefing was conducted "off the record," but because the evidence from my reporting since then has brought me to the same conclusion, I felt there was no longer any point in not writing about the meeting.)

For many reasons, including the absence of a constituency for the missing men other than their families and some veterans' groups, very few Americans are aware of McCain's role not only in keeping the subject out of public view but in denying the existence of abandoned POWs. That is because McCain has hardly been alone in this hide-the-scandal campaign. The Arizona senator has actually been following the lead of every White House since Richard Nixon's and thus of every CIA director, Pentagon chief and National Security Adviser, among many others (including Dick Cheney, who was George H.W. Bush's defense secretary).

An early and critical attempt by McCain to conceal evidence involved 1990 legislation called the Truth bill, which started in the House. A brief and simple document, the bill would have compelled complete transparency about prisoners and missing men. Its core sentence said that the "head of each department or agency which holds or receives any records and information, including reports, which have been correlated or possibly correlated to United States personnel listed as prisoner of war or missing in action from World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam conflict, shall make available to the public all such records held or received by that department or agency."

Bitterly opposed by the Pentagon (and thus by McCain), the bill went nowhere. Reintroduced the following year, it again disappeared. But a few months later a new measure, the McCain bill, suddenly appeared. It created a bureaucratic maze from which only a fraction of the documents could emerge--only the records that revealed no POW secrets. The McCain bill became law in 1991 and remains so today.

McCain was also instrumental in amending the Missing Service Personnel Act, which was strengthened in 1995 by POW advocates to include criminal penalties against "any government official who knowingly and willfully withholds from the file of a missing person any information relating to the disappearance or whereabouts and status of a missing person." A year later, in a closed House-Senate conference on an unrelated military bill, McCain, at the behest of the Pentagon, attached a crippling amendment to the act, stripping out its only enforcement teeth, the criminal penalties, and reducing the obligations of commanders in the field to speedily search for missing men and report the incidents to the Pentagon.

McCain argued that keeping the criminal penalties would have made it impossible for the Pentagon to find staffers willing to work on POW/MIA matters. That's an odd argument to make. Were staffers only "willing to work" if they were allowed to conceal POW records? By eviscerating the law, McCain gave his stamp of approval to the government policy of debunking the existence of live POWs.

McCain has insisted again and again that all the evidence has been woven together by unscrupulous deceivers to create an insidious and unpatriotic myth. He calls it the work of the "bizarre rantings of the MIA hobbyists." He has regularly vilified those who keep trying to pry out classified documents as "hoaxers," "charlatans," "conspiracy theorists" and "dime-store Rambos." Family members who have personally pressed McCain to end the secrecy have been treated to his legendary temper. In 1996 he roughly pushed aside a group of POW family members who had waited outside a hearing room to appeal to him, including a mother in a wheelchair.

The only explanation McCain has ever offered for his leadership on legislation that seals POW information is that he believes the release of such information would only stir up fresh grief for the families of those who were never accounted for in Vietnam. Of the scores of POW families I've met over the years, only a few have said they want the books closed without knowing what happened to their men. All the rest say that not knowing is exactly what grieves them.

It's not clear whether the taped confession McCain gave to his captors to avoid further torture has played a role in his postwar behavior. That confession was played endlessly over the prison loudspeaker system at Hoa Lo--to try to break down other prisoners--and was broadcast over Hanoi's state radio. Reportedly, he confessed to being a war criminal who had bombed a school and other civilian targets. The Pentagon has copies of the confessions but will not release them. Also, no outsider I know of has ever seen a non-redacted copy of McCain's debriefing when he returned from captivity, which is classified but can be made public by McCain.

(That McCain will release anything he isn't forced to release is highly unlikely)

In his bestselling 1999 autobiography, Faith of My Fathers, McCain says he felt bad throughout his captivity because he knew he was being treated more leniently than his fellow POWs, owing to his propaganda value (his high-ranking father, Rear Adm. John S. McCain II, was then the commander of US forces in the Pacific). Also in this memoir, McCain expresses guilt at having broken under torture and given the confession. "I felt faithless and couldn't control my despair," he writes, revealing that he made two "feeble" attempts at suicide. Tellingly, he says he lived in "dread" that his father would find out about the confession. "I still wince," he writes, "when I recall wondering if my father had heard of my disgrace."

McCain still didn't know the answer when his father died in 1981. He got his answer eighteen years later. In his 1999 memoir, the senator writes, "I only recently learned that the tape...had been broadcast outside the prison and had come to the attention of my father."

Does this hint at explanations for McCain's efforts to bury information about prisoners or other disturbing pieces of the Vietnam War? Does he suppress POW information because its surfacing rekindles his feelings of shame? On this subject, all I have are questions. But even without answers to what may be hidden in the recesses of someone's mind, one thing about the POW story is clear: if American prisoners were dishonored by being written off and left to die, that's something the American public ought to know about.

About Sydney H. Schanberg

Sydney H. Schanberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, has since 1959 been a reporter and columnist for the New York Times, Newsday and the Village Voice. He has reported extensively on the POW story. more...

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

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

Are Conservatives Turning On McCain/Palin?

or Palin/McCain, whichever is operative this week?

David Brooks writes in the New York Times that Sarah Palin is unqualified:

In the current Weekly Standard, Steven Hayward argues that
the nation's founders wanted uncertified citizens to hold the highest
offices in the land. They did not believe in a separate class of
professional executives. They wanted rough and rooted people like

I would have more sympathy for this view if I hadn't just lived
through the last eight years. For if the Bush administration was
anything, it was the anti-establishment attitude put into executive

And the problem with this attitude is that, especially in his first
term, it made Bush inept at governance. It turns out that governance,
the creation and execution of policy, is hard. It requires acquired
skills. Most of all, it requires prudence.


Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a
corrupt establishment, she'd be your woman. But the constructive act of
governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national
issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like
President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with
brashness and excessive decisiveness.

Ross Douthat agrees at the Atlantic:

Now that we've seen the entirety of the Palin-Gibson
tete-a-tete, I concur with Rich Lowry and Rod Dreher. The most that can
be said in her defense is that she kept her cool and avoided any brutal
gaffes; other than that, she seemed about an inch deep on every issue
outside her comfort zone. Yes, the questions were tougher than the ones
that a Tim Kaine or Tim Pawlenty probably would have been handed, but
they were all questions that a vice-presidential nominee needs to be
able to answer. And there's no way to look at her performance as
anything save supporting evidence for the non-hysterical critique of
her candidacy - that it's just too much, too soon - and a splash of
cold water for those of us with high hopes for her future on the
national stage.

And in the Washington Post, Richard Cohen goes off on McCain, seizing on the Palin pick as a sign of how far gone the candidate is:

McCain has turned ugly. His dishonesty would be
unacceptable in any politician, but McCain has always set his own bar
higher than most. He has contempt for most of his colleagues for that
very reason: They lie. He tells the truth. He internalizes the code of
the McCains -- his grandfather, his father: both admirals of the
shining sea. He serves his country differently, that's all -- but just
as honorably. No more, though.


His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his
political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the country
-- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for.
Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly unprepared to
become president. McCain knows that. He means to win, which is all
right; he means to win at all costs, which is not.


Are Americans really smart enough to take on the mantle of democracy.

One does have to wonder.....

Robert C. Koehler: Goo-Goo America; Republicans declare all-out war on democracy 9/20

Friday, September 19, 2008

By 2 to 1, Americans blame Goopers For Economic Crisis

By Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- By a 2-to-1 ratio, Americans blame Republicans over Democrats for the financial crisis that has swept across the country the past few weeks, a new national poll suggests.

Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters during a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Monday.

Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters during a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Monday.

That may be contributing to better poll numbers for Sen. Barack Obama against Sen. John McCain in the race for the White House.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey out Monday afternoon, 47 percent of registered voters questioned said Republicans are more responsible for the problems currently facing financial institutions and the stock market; only 24 percent said Democrats are more responsible.

Twenty percent blame both parties equally and 8 percent say neither party is to blame.

The poll also indicates more Americans think Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, would do a better job handling an economic crisis than McCain, the Republican presidential nominee. Video Watch Obama blast McCain on the economy »

Forty-nine percent of those questioned said Obama, D-Illinois, would display good judgment in an economic crisis, six points higher than McCain, R-Arizona.

And Obama has a 10-point lead over McCain when it comes to who respondents think would better handle the economy overall.

These numbers seem to be affecting the battle for the presidency. Fifty-one percent of registered voters now say they will back Obama, five points ahead of McCain, at 46 percent.

McCain and Obama were tied at 48 percent apiece in the previous CNN/Opinion Research survey conducted September 5-7.

Obama's advantage, while growing, is still within the poll's sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Where did Obama make his gains?

"In two core McCain constituencies: men, who now narrowly favor Obama, and seniors, who have also flipped from McCain to Obama," said Bill Schneider, a CNN senior political analyst.

When including people most likely to vote, the results are pretty much the same. Among likely voters, Obama has a four-point lead, 51 percent to 47 percent. Video Watch McCain blast Obama for not having a plan »

A CNN Poll of Polls calculated Monday also shows Obama leading McCain -- 49 percent to 44 percent.

"The economy has always been considered John McCain's Achilles' heel, and the CNN Poll of Polls started to show an Obama edge in the middle of last week -- just as the financial crisis began to hit home for many Americans," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director.

The poll also expands to include third-party candidates. When included in the results, independent Ralph Nader has the support of 4 percent of those polled, with Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney each at 1 percent. Also, Obama has the backing of 48 percent of likely voters, three points ahead of McCain's 45 percent.

A couple of other factors in the survey appear to contribute to Obama's slight rise and McCain's slight drop in the polls. Fifty-three percent of those questioned say McCain, if elected, will mostly carry out the policies of President Bush, who remains extremely unpopular with most Americans. Bush's disapproval rating is up three points from the previous CNN/Opinion Research poll. Video Watch Obama's ad tying McCain to Bush »

The survey also indicates Obama has recaptured the "change" factor. Just after the Republican convention, Obama's lead had shrunk to eight points when voters were asked which candidate would be more likely to bring change. His lead is up to 14 points in the new poll.

The margin of error on that question is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Another factor could be McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Thirty-five percent of those questioned have an unfavorable opinion of her, up 8 points from a previous survey. And two-thirds believe she and her husband should testify in the Alaska investigation into the firing of a state official.

"Change has always been Obama's strong suit, but McCain and Palin clearly made inroads into that issue during the GOP convention," Holland said. "Palin, in particular, was seen as an agent of change when she made her first appearance on the national stage. That may be changing now."

The poll also sheds more light on how Americans feel about the financial crisis. Twenty-two percent said they are "frightened" by the crisis, while two-thirds said they are "concerned." Eleven percent said they are "not worried."

Most Americans think the programs to deal with the financial crisis currently being worked on by Congress and the Bush administration will be unfair to U.S. taxpayers, but they think those programs will help the economy.

Six in 10 think the federal government should step in and address the financial crisis, and 37 percent say the government should stay out. But when it comes to last week's bailouts, support slips to 55 percent. Given concerns about how future programs will affect taxpayers, it's conceivable that public support for the new government plans could be even lower.

The survey comes out just four days before McCain and Obama face off in the first of three presidential debates. Will the debates make a difference? Probably, since the poll finds that 14 percent of Americans say they haven't made up their minds yet.

The first debate, scheduled for Friday in Oxford, Mississippi, will focus on foreign policy, a topic that may play into what some registered voters see as a strength for McCain. The poll finds 54 percent of them believe McCain would display better judgment in an international crisis; 42 percent believe Obama would.

The margin of error on that question is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Conducted Friday through Sunday, the CNN/Opinion Research poll questioned 1020 Americans including 909 registered voters and 697 likely voters

(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.

Talking Back To Barack

Espanola, New Mexico - Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama promised fresh ideas Thursday to calm America's financial meltdown and help struggling families avoid mortgage foreclosure, saying "this is not a time for fear, it's not a time for panic."

Nope, not time to panic, mainly because panicking usually does more harm than good and who the hell has the energy to panic in the first place. These last 7 years have worn me to a damn frazzle. I couldn't muster up the energy to panic if my pants were on fire.

Obama also heaped criticism and sarcasm on Republican rival John McCain and mocked his promise to fire the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission if elected."I think that's all fine and good but here's what I think," Obama said. "In the next 47 days you can fire the whole trickle-down, on-your-own, look-the-other way crowd in Washington who has led us down this disastrous path.

Barack, I have a few years on you. I'm sort of at that age when knowledge and history (both studied about and lived) begin to all come together and one begins seeing everything from a new perspective; a perspective that only comes with having lived, at least, a half century. So, please allow me to advise you on a really quite simple fact of history. Of course, life is never quite so simple. That's why we can't usually see ourselves brazenly repeating the same dreadful mistakes over and over again.

If you step back a bit, you will see (as you probably already do) that the one constant, at least in my lifetime, has been the never-ending struggle between Capitalism and Communism. That's what it is always about, in the final analysis. Other countries deal with the eternal struggle with various forms of compromise.

Not us.

The Right-wing honestly believes that all social programs, unless they are run by some religious group, no matter how bizarre, untrained or out-right dangerous they are, are a result of "obvious" communist creep. Even policies that would be considered "socialist' by most people are viral, totalitarian, communism to the citizens of Wingnuttia. It's free market capitalism or nothing.

So, what the hell does "free-market capitalism" mean, anyhow? Does anyone know? Whatever it is, it doesn't appear to be working for most folks. I do know that when capitalist society disintergrates, as it will when left completely unregulated, it becomes authoritarian fascist, indeed, no matter the image it wishes to maintain.

"Don't just get rid of one guy. Get rid of this administration," he said. "Get rid of this philosophy. Get rid of the do-nothing approach to our economic problem and put somebody in there who's going to fight for you."

Does the American electorate know what they want or need for that matter? I hate to say this as a member of that electorate, but I don't believe that the American voter has a clue what she or he wants to be fought for; Mom and apple pie? Some other American myth?

I can only hope that Americans recognize this period in time for what it is; a second chance, as a nation.

Obama came up with yet another way to poke fun at McCain for his comment Monday that the fundamentals of the economy were strong. "This comment was so out of touch that even George Bush's White House couldn't agree with it when they were asked about it. They had to distance themselves from John McCain."

President Bush has used the same language many times but his press secretary would not repeat the line Wednesday in the face of historic financial turbulence.

With the economy rocketing to the front of the campaign agenda, Obama said he would unveil new proposals Friday in Florida. Senior members of his economic team were flying to Miami to meet with Obama before his announcement.

Obama also had telephone discussions Thursday about the financial markets with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Fed chief Paul Volcker and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.

Summers and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin were among those expected in Florida for Friday's meeting. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett and former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill were to participate by telephone, along with O'Neill and others.

Obama's stop in northern New Mexico's Rio Arriba County was aimed at energizing the Hispanic vote, which is crucial for his hopes of carrying this state. New Mexico voted for George W. Bush in 2004 but Democrat John Kerry got 65 percent of the vote in Rio Arriba. The county is about 73 percent Hispanic and 12 percent Native American, according to the 2000 Census.

Gov. Bill Richardson, warming up the crowd in a community plaza, said the Hispanic vote in tossup states Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada "is going to decide this election." Obama visited each of those states, along with California, on his Western swing and then was heading to Florida for two days of campaigning. He ended the day at an Albuquerque fundraiser that hosts said raised more than $1.7 million.

I like Bill Richardson, but I wish people would stop making this kind of comment. No one group wins an election. It is usually the independents ( a very amorphous bunch to say the least) who decide elections, but no identifiable group decides an election alone. It seems to me to be pandering to ethnic egos, probably not the healthiest action one could take to help heal our nation's wounds.

Saying that McCain strongly advocated deregulation and then changed his mind, Obama said: "We can't afford to lurch back and forth between positions depending on the latest news of the day when dealing with an economic crisis.

McCain's not lurching back and forth on policy. We all know what his policy is going to be, if he is elected; more of the same. Finish breaking the federal government and get rid of everything that communist, FDR, did "to" this country. Until then, he will say whatever he has to say, no matter if it's true or not. What's worse, he will continue to repeat the same lies whether they are debunked or not. The McCain's are no better than the Bushies. Actually, I believe that they are even worse. Most people will stop lying once they are caught red-tongued, so to speak, but not this crowd. They are more Cheney-esque. They just keep on telling the same made-up B.S., no matter that 99% of the rest of the world believes they've lost all touch with reality

"We need some clear and steady leadership and that's why I was ahead of the curve in calling for regulation," he said. "And that's why I'm calling on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to use their emergency authorities to maintain the flow of credit, to support the availability of mortgages and to ensure that our financial system is well capitalized."

In response, McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said: "When Barack Obama came to Washington, he chose to strengthen his ties to spiraling lenders like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their jet-set CEOs, not make change. The American people cannot afford leadership that puts a higher premium on campaign contributions than protecting hardworking Americans."

(Tucker Bonds is almost a bigga idiot as Tucker Carlson)

A Senator is not a leader. He isn't the president. He moves in the circles of the congress, consensus and such.

Briefly outlining his proposals, he said he would call for a Homeowner and Financial Support Act "that would establish a more stable and permanent solution than the daily improvisations that have characterized policy making over the past year."

I would feel better if someone would tell the truth about the "ownership society." What one owns, he/she is owned by.

Bush's ownership society is not the American dream, it is the American nightmare.

He said his measures would provide capital to the financial system, insure liquidity to allow the financial markets to function and "get serious about helping struggling families to restructure their mortgages on affordable terms so they can stay in their homes."

The new proposals were intended to demonstrate that Obama is the candidate who would bring change, not just promise it, and that he has the ideas to prove it.

"Everywhere you look," he said, "the economic news is troubling. But here's the thing for so many of you here in northern New Mexico and for so many Americans -- this isn't really news at all. Because you've been going through hardships for a lot longer than Wall Street has."

This be the truth and no one can doubt it, except the super-wealthy

"Here's what I also know," Obama said. "This is not a time for fear, it's not a time for panic. This is a time for resolve and it is a time for leadership."

McCain's campaign released a new television ad Thursday that says among those advising Obama on housing policy is Franklin Raines, the former Fannie Mae chief executive. The government recently took control of the mortgage giant to help stabilize the housing market.

Obama's campaign released a statement from Raines, who says he is not an Obama adviser. The campaign also released a response ad that turns the spotlight on McCain's "fundamentally wrong" economic advisers.

Are there really people out there who are so freakin' stupid that they can't 'guess who is on the side of ordinary American?

(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.

A Bad Week For Market Capitalism

Does AIG Spell the end for strict Capitalisism; or as it was know in biblical times: Worship of the Golden Calf.

by Edmund Ross

With a single act the concept of "conservatism" as espoused by centuries of free market capitalists is washed away. The heart and soul of the ideology; small government, low taxes, and free markets; has been exposed as nothing but a fair weather ideology, something that works when things go well and fails when circumstances do not. The U.S. government bailout of Insurance Giant AIG demonstrates the failure of the conservative ideology and exposes its proponents as frauds.

"We're in trouble, save us" was the call that came out from insurance giant AIG after its high risk gamble produced a downside it could not cope with. That AIG asked for the government nationalization of itself is only a little surprising since the alternative was bankruptcy. That the rest of the "free market" proponents are sighing with relief is the truly amazing story.

First; the only institution with the ability to save the insurance giant is big government, the same big government the proponents hate.

Second; AIG's failure is not related to tax policy, government regulation, trade tariffs, or any of the other principles the proponents hold up as the reasons business struggle to prosper. AIG's failure is because it played in markets it thought it understood, but didn't. AIG's failure is failure of businessmen doing business poorly.

Third; the calls for nationalization of the insurance giant demonstrates the hypocrisy of those same people who want government to get out of the way of business and economics. All of a sudden they need this government to save them. They need all that tax revenue they hate collecting to bail out a major player whose collapse could endanger the entire financial system. If there wasn't a big government ready to play an active role there might not be much of a financial system left.

When a conservative think tank such as the Heritage Foundation or CATO Institute calls for free trade and less government, AIG is the three letter response that destroys the myth they are perpetuating. When the small government ideologues such as Steve Forbes make their case for the evils of government, AIG is the three letter response. When an individual asks for government assistance because he is either unfortunate, reckless, lazy, or simply unlucky, AIG is the response. When "push came to shove" the free market conservatives blinked and with that blink an entire ideology came crumbling down. The age of the welfare state is back and the welfare the state is protecting belongs to the very people that hate the concept.

(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, September 18, 2008

Suspicions Continue In Anthrax Case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the of Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday he does not believe that Dr. Bruce Ivins acted alone in the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks. Sen. Patrick Leahy was one of the targets of the lethal anthrax-laced letters that killed five and sickened 17 in fall 2001.

At a hearing in front of his committee, the Vermont Democrat told FBI Director Robert Mueller that he thinks other people must have been involved.

Leahy did not say why he believed Ivins had help and he also cast doubt that the Army scientist was the attacker in the first place.

"If he is the one who sent the letter, I do not believe in any way, shape or manner that he is the only person involved in this attack on Congress and the American people. I do not believe that at all," Leahy said.

He added: "I believe there are others involved, either as accessories before or accessories after the fact. I believe that there are others out there, I believe there are others who could be charged with murder. I just want you to know how I feel about it, as one of the people who was aimed at in the attack."

Mueller did not directly contradict Leahy, saying "I understand that concern."

Still, Mueller maintained the Justice Department's view that Ivins was the mastermind and sole attacker.

"In the investigation to date, we have looked at every lead and followed every lead to determine whether anybody else was involved, and we will continue to do so," Mueller told Leahy. "And even if the case does become closed, if we receive additional evidence, indicating the participation of any additional person, we certainly would pursue that."

The Justice Department and FBI have yet to close the case on the "Amerithrax" investigation after declaring Ivins its only suspect last month. Ivins killed himself in July after learning that prosecutors were preparing to indict him.

Republicans shared Leahy's doubts surrounding the case.

Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the top GOP member of the panel, said he had problems with some of the evidence against Ivins that has been made public. In a testy exchange with Mueller, he also demanded to have a say in selecting scientists who will be performing an independent review of the DNA fingerprinting analysis of the anthrax that lies at the heart of the government's case.

The review by the National Academy of Sciences will be made up of private scientists who did not assist the FBI in the investigation, and could take up to 18 months to complete. Mueller said he would consider allowing the Judiciary Committee to suggest scientists, but noted that the NAS and Justice Department likely would have to agree to it.

"What's there to consider, Director Mueller?" Specter said. "We'd like to have the authority to name some people there to be sure of its objectivity. We're not interlopers here. This is an oversight matter. What's there to consider?"

Mueller said "to the extent that the rules of the science allow that to happen, I have no objection to that request."

"Well, that's not far enough," Specter snapped.

NAS spokesman William Kearney said the organization would "welcome input on potential committee members" from Congress, federal agencies, scientific community and the general public. Still, all suggestions must be approved by the NAS president, Kearney said.

Sitting in the front row of the audience at the Senate hearing was Dr. Steven Hatfill, another Army scientist who for years was wrongly accused of orchestrating the attacks. The Justice Department in June settled a $5.8 million lawsuit with Hatfill, who claimed his privacy rights were violated by officials speaking with reporters about the case.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a longtime skeptic of the anthrax investigation, grilled Mueller on how the FBI could have focused on Hatfill for years when investigators as early as 2002 had lab records showing Ivins was conducting late-night research in the days immediately before the deadly letters were mailed.

"Shouldn't the FBI apologize to Dr. Hatfill?" Grassley asked. "Please explain how chasing an innocent man for four years was not a mistake, as you said it was not a mistake."

Mueller said the FBI investigators acted appropriately throughout the case — based on the information they had at any given time.

Hatfill, smiling, left the hearing after Grassley's questions.

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

The yield on 3-month U.S. Treasuries....Way Down

Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:00pm EDT

NEW YORK, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The yield on 3-month U.S. Treasury bills sell to 0.02 percent early afternoon New York trade on Wednesday amid investors' panicked scramble into the safe haven of ultra short-dated government securities, traders said.

The 3-month U.S. Treasury bill yield "last traded at 0.02 percent as an actual trade and may have traded negative earlier today," said Sean Murphy, Treasuries trader at RBC Capital Markets in New York, shortly after 12:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT).

The last time the 3-month U.S. T-bill yield was at or below zero was in January 1940, said Bryan Taylor, chief economist with Global Financial Data in Los Angeles.

Murphy cited "a flight to quality into the Treasury bill market." "People are just panicking and they just want their principal," he said.

Andrew Brenner, analyst at MF Global Inc, said the 3-month bill traded at 0.02 percent.

"Probably there's disappointment in the Fed's decision (to hold interest rates unchanged) yesterday and what's transpiring is that banks are just pulling back and not lending and not being able to get the funding they need," Murphy said.

(Reporting by John Parry; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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

The Keating 5 , Rage and John McCain

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Keating Five and John McCain: Poor Judgment, Uncontrolled Rage, Indecision, and Wimpy Behavior

The Savings and Loan Scandal of the late 1980’s resulted in the failure of 747 savings and loan associations, costing over $160 billion. The federal government ended up bailing out the saving and loan associations to the tune of $120 billion (Over $1.3 billion went to Neil Bush’s S&L, George W.’s brother). Most economists believe that the crisis led to the recession of 1990-91.
Five US Senators were involved in an influence-peddling scandal, improperly trying to steer regulators away from Charles Keating’s troubled Lincoln Savings and Loan. John McCain was one of the Keating Five.

McCain’s involvement is vitally important as our nation struggles with the current financial crisis because it testifies to his lack of judgment and his inability to make decisions in a time of crisis. The US Senate investigation that followed the scandal cited McCain’s “poor judgment.” McCain agreed with that assessment.

What was his poor judgment?

· Meeting with regulators with the clear intention of steering them away from investigating Keating.

· Accepting $112,000 in political contributions from Keating and associates.

· Getting into business with Keating. Cindy and her father invested $359,100 in a shopping center scheme with Keating.

· Taking nine trips, including 3 to the Bahamas, on Keating’s dime. McCain brought his family and babysitter on these trips.

The Arizona Republic ran a series on its home state senior senator in March of 2007. The following are excerpts from the portion of the series on McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five scandal.

The whole story can be read here:

· "McCain's a wimp," Keating replied, according to the book Trust Me, by Michael Binstein and Charles Bowden. "We'll go talk to him." Keating had other business on Capitol Hill and did not reach McCain's office until 1:30. A DeConcini staffer already had told McCain about the "wimp" insult. When he arrived, Keating presented McCain with a laundry list of demands for the regulators.

· In an interview with The Republic, Black said the meeting was a show of force by Keating, who wanted the senators to pressure the regulators into dropping their case against Lincoln. The thrift was in trouble for violating "direct investment" rules, which prohibited S&Ls from taking large ownership positions in various ventures. "The Senate is a really small club, like the cliche goes," Black said. "And you really did have one-twentieth of the Senate in one room, called by one guy, who was the biggest crook in the S&L debacle." Black said the senators could have accomplished their goal "if they had simply had us show up and see this incredible room and said, 'Hi. Charles Keating asked us to meet with you. 'Bye.'"McCain previously had refused DeConcini's request to meet with the Lincoln auditors themselves. In Worth the Fighting For, McCain wrote that he remained "a little troubled" at the prospect, "but since the chairman of the bank board didn't seem to have a problem with the idea, maybe a discussion with the regulators wouldn't be as problematic as I had earlier thought."McCain concedes that he failed to sense that Gray and the thrift examiners felt threatened by the senators' meddling.

· According to nearly verbatim notes taken by Black, McCain started the second meeting with a careful comment. "One of our jobs as elected officials is to help constituents in a proper fashion," McCain said. "ACC (American Continental Corp.) is a big employer and important to the local economy. I wouldn't want any special favors for them. . . . "I don't want any part of our conversation to be improper." Black said the comment had the opposite effect for the regulators. It made them nervous about what might really be going on. "McCain was the weirdest," Black said. "They were all different in their own way. McCain was always Hamlet . . . wringing his hands about what to do."

· As the investigation dragged through 1988, McCain dodged the hardest blows. Most landed on DeConcini, who had arranged the meetings and had other close ties to Keating, including $50 million in loans from Keating to DeConcini's aides. But McCain made a critical error. He had adopted the blanket defense that Keating was a constituent and that he had every right to ask his senators for help. In attending the meetings, McCain said, he simply wanted to make sure that Keating was treated like any other constituent. Keating was no ordinary constituent to McCain. On Oct. 8, 1989, The Arizona Republic revealed that McCain's wife and her father had invested $359,100 in a Keating shopping center in April 1986, a year before McCain met with the regulators. The paper also reported that the McCains, sometimes accompanied by their daughter and baby-sitter, had made at least nine trips at Keating's expense, sometimes aboard the American Continental jet. Three of the trips were made during vacations to Keating's opulent Bahamas retreat at Cat Cay. McCain also did not pay Keating for some of the trips until years after they were taken, after he learned that Keating was in trouble over Lincoln. Total cost: $13,433. When the story broke, McCain did nothing to help himself. "You're a liar," McCain said when a Republic reporter asked him about the business relationship between his wife and Keating. "That's the spouse's involvement, you idiot," McCain said later in the same conversation. "You do understand English, don't you?" He also belittled reporters when they asked about his wife's ties to Keating. "It's up to you to find that out, kids." The paper ran the story. In his 2002 book, McCain confesses to "ridiculously immature behavior" during that particular interview and adds that The Republic reporters' "persistence in questioning me about the matter provoked me to rage."

· In the book, DeConcini reiterates his allegation that McCain leaked to the media "sensitive information" about certain closed proceedings in order to hurt DeConcini, Riegle and Cranston. It's a fairly serious charge. The Boston Globe revisited the Keating Five leaks in 2000. The story paraphrased a congressional investigator, Clark B. Hall, as personally concluding that "McCain was one of the principal leakers." The newspaper also reported that McCain, under oath, had denied involvement with the leaks. McCain owns up to his mistake this way: "I was judged eventually, after three years, of using, quote, poor judgment, and I agree with that assessment."

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