Wednesday, January 30, 2008

John McCain's Democrat's nightmare video

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rezko or Alsammare in that picture with Blagojevich and Auchi?

ABC linked to Middle East Online for a series of photos of Nadhmi Auchi with Blagojevich and Emil Jones.

ABC claims the man to Blagojevich's right is Rezko,
A Middle East Web site shows a photograph of what it described as Auchi visiting Illinois government officials in April 2004, with Rezko visible on the right of the photo.

He doesn't look like Rezko to me and instead looks like Aiham Alsammarae shown here in photo I downloaded from the NYT: Escaped Minister Says He Fled Iraqi Jail ‘the Chicago Way’

Alsammarae would have been Iraq's Minister of Electricitiy at the time of this photo in April 2004 so I'm not sure he would have been in country for this event. But it sure doesn't look like Tony Rezko in the photo as ABC is saying here.

Rich originally linked the ABC photo here.

Another Auchi Blagojevich photo op from GMH's website.

xp Illinoize

Durbin's Morgenthaler endorsement

An email from her campaign,
New Endorsements With just one week to go before Illinois voters head to the polls, United States Senator Dick Durbin has endorsed Jill Morgenthaler for Congress in Illinois ’ 6th District.

Senator Durbin said:

“ Jill Morgenthaler is a mom and a patriot who served her country for 30 years in the armed forces with tours in Iraq, Bosnia, Germany and Korea .

"Over the last few years, running Illinois ’ homeland security department, Jill’s made our state safer with innovation and a can-do attitude.

Jill’s combination of commonsense Illinois values and homeland security experience make her just the right person to represent the 6th district. I lend her my support in the Democratic primary, and I look forward to helping her win in November.”

Jill has also been endorsed by the Pioneer Press, Daily Herald, Sun Times, and the Chicago Tribune.
How Durbin and Morganthaler square their words will be something Roskam should ask.

Colonel Morganthaler,
Figen shared with me what it was like to spend 7 months under Iraqi occupation. As she told me the horrors of living in Kuwait under the occupation, I realized that if we had not had the first war, Saddam may have been impossible to stop with the oil under his total control. The men who did terrible things to the Kuwaitis, especially the Kuwaiti women are very similar to the men we are fighting. As people get upset about Abu Ghraib, one thing that should never be forgotten: these are men who have murdered Americans and would continue to murder Americans if given the opportunity.

Sen Durbin, (PDF file)
When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here -- I almost hesitate to put them in the record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold....

On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.
I'd like to know if those abused at Abu Garib murdered Americans as Morganther said, if she believes they would continue, and if so, does she think Durbin ought never forget?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lauzen: "When we go for an ice cream cone..."

Chicago Argus on the Lauzen Oberweis debate at Aurora University, Also here...
His attempt to use humor in taking a pot shot at GOP primary opponent Jim Oberweis gave us a chuckle. Lauzen was seriously trying to contrast the experience he gained in 15 years serving in the Illinois Senate, compared to Oberweis, who runs a dairy and chain of ice cream parlors – but has never held elective office.

Or, as Lauzen so “eloquently” put it while motioning with his right hand to Oberweis, “When we go for an ice cream cone, we go to someone with experience in doing it.”
Also, a post on Illinois's fractured Democratic Party in Chicago as the obstacle to getting anything accomplished,
Anytime a Republican legislator negotiated some sort of deal or compromise with a Democrat, he automatically picked up all of the Democrat’s enemies.

In the world of Chicago politics, enemies don’t just vote against you. They go out of their way to round up others to vote against you. Then, they try to make you suffer for your arrogance in trying to get something past them in the first place.

“It’s never a problem with the actual issue at hand, it’s always a personal slight with those guys,” the Republican said. “Somebody did something to insult someone or steal a girl away back when the two of them were working their way through law school at night, so they’re enemies for life.

“It’s just so much easier, less of a hassle, to not bother with the other side and try to do it ourselves,” he told me.
If the GOP can elect a mayor in NYC, I don't understand why they concede Chicago without a vote. Democrat's dominance there is devastating the state. The whole bizarre culture just spills over and breaks Illinois to a halt.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

An email from Tammy Duckworth

An email from Duckworth for Morganthaler. The quiet campaign in the 6th CD.
Dear Friend,

As you may have heard, I have decided not to run for Congress in 2008. I love working on behalf of the Veterans of Illinois and believe we are making a lot of progress. It is work I am committed to and I want to see it through.

But I wanted to take a moment to tell you about someone who is running for Congress, who I believe deserves our full support: my friend, Jill Morgenthaler.

Jill just stepped down from her position as Illinois ' homeland security adviser. She spent two years on the job, working with local, state, and federal authorities to keep all of us in Illinois safe. She did a remarkable job.

She's also a retired Colonel, a thirty year army Veteran, who has first hand experience in some of the most complex and dangerous regions of the world. She'll be the leader we need to help get our foreign policy back on track. When making decisions about Iraq and about other complex foreign policy issues facing our nation, Jill will ensure that sound judgment trumps partisan politics.

She's also a wife, a mother, and a 16 year resident of Des Plaines . Both of her kids went to local public schools. Jill knows that we need to take some of the financial pressure off of families in the 6th Congressional District.

She'll do it by working together with anyone—Democrat or Republican—who understands that we need to reign in runaway federal spending to lower taxes, make health care more affordable, end our dependence on foreign oil, secure our borders and keep our families safe.

I really believe in Jill and I can personally attest to what a great leader she is.

Please join me in continuing the fight we proudly waged in 2006 by giving Jill Morgenthaler the same friendship and support that you shared with me.

A contribution today of $50, $75 or $100 would go a long way toward helping Jill meet her fund raising goals for the February 5th primary and toward helping her retire Peter Roskam in 2008.

You can make your contribution securely online or mail it to Jill Morgenthaler for Congress 190 N. Swift Road Addison, IL 60101. It will really make a difference.

Thank you and God Bless,

Tammy Duckworth

Friday, January 11, 2008

Michael Totten: The Bravery of Iraqis

Malik Abdul Ghanem
Asa’ad Hussein Ali
Abdul-Hamza Abdul-Hassan Rissan

Michael Totten on The Bravery of Iraqis. via Reformed Chicks Blogging
...what of those three who threw themselves on a suicide bomber? They are hardly less brave than American soldiers. They are arguably as brave as the Americans who sacked the Al Qaeda hijackers on United Airlines Flight 93 over Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, and sacrificed themselves so that others could live.

These Iraqis deserve recognition, and they deserved to be recognized by their names. Yet I could not find their names cited in any media articles. All three of their names generate zero hits using Google at the time of this writing. I had to contact Baghdad myself to find out who they were. Lieutenant Colonel James Hutton was kind enough to pass their names on.

Gin Mills and Smoke

I stopped at a long established, neighborhood shot-and-a-beer joint in the tri-cities area yesterday. I've had a beer there over the years late afternoons when locals would be dropping in after work. It used to be thick with smoke, and crowded enough by five thirty you'd likely stand.

Yesterday stools abounded and air clean and fresh. The barmaid said day-time business had tanked and she expected they'd fold by March if things didn't turn around.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Yesterday's WaPo Editorial: See No Good. Why do the Democratic candidates refuse to acknowledge progress in Iraq?

In full from yesterday's Washington Post.
AT SATURDAY'S New Hampshire debate, Democratic candidates were confronted with a question that they have been ducking for some time: Can they concede that the "surge" of U.S. troops in Iraq has worked? All of them vehemently opposed the troop increase when President Bush proposed it a year ago; both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama introduced legislation to reverse it. Now it's indisputable that the surge has drastically reduced violence. Attacks have fallen by more than 60 percent, al-Qaeda has been dealt a major blow, and the threat of sectarian civil war that seemed imminent a year ago has receded. The monthly total of U.S. fatalities in December was the second-lowest of the war.

A reasonable response to these facts might involve an acknowledgment of the remarkable military progress, coupled with a reminder that the final goal of the surge set out by President Bush -- political accords among Iraq's competing factions -- has not been reached. (That happens to be our reaction to a campaign that we greeted with skepticism a year ago.) It also would involve a willingness by the candidates to reconsider their long-standing plans to carry out a rapid withdrawal of remaining U.S. forces in Iraq as soon as they become president -- a step that would almost certainly reverse the progress that has been made.

What Ms. Clinton, Mr. Obama, John Edwards and Bill Richardson instead offered was an exclusive focus on the Iraqi political failures -- coupled with a blizzard of assertions about the war that were at best unfounded and in several cases simply false. Mr. Obama led the way, claiming that Sunni tribes in Anbar province joined forces with U.S. troops against al-Qaeda in response to the Democratic victory in the 2006 elections -- a far-fetched assertion for which he offered no evidence.

Mr. Obama acknowledged some reduction of violence, but said he had predicted that adding troops would have that effect. In fact, on Jan. 8, 2007, he said that in the absence of political progress, "I don't think 15,000 or 20,000 more troops is going to make a difference in Iraq and in Baghdad." He also said he saw "no evidence that additional American troops would change the behavior of Iraqi sectarian politicians and make them start reining in violence by members of their religious groups." Ms. Clinton, for her part, refused to retract a statement she made in September, when she said it would require "a suspension of disbelief" to believe that the surge was working.

Even more disturbing was the refusal of the Democrats to adjust their policies to the changed situation. Ms. Clinton said she didn't "see any reason why [U.S. troops] should remain beyond, you know, today" and outlined a withdrawal plan premised on a defeat comparable to Vietnam ("We have to figure out what we're going to do with the 100,000-plus American civilians who are there" and "all the Iraqis who sided with us. . . . Are we going to leave them?"). Mr. Obama stuck to his plan for "a phased redeployment"; if his scheme of a year ago had been followed, almost all American troops would be out by this March.

Ms. Clinton made one strong point: Even the relatively low number of "23 Americans dying in December is . . . unacceptable" if there is no clear prospect of eventual success. So far, the Bush administration has been slow and feckless in pressing for the national political accords it says are required for a winning outcome. If these are unachievable in the near term, the administration owes the country a revised strategy. But any U.S. policy ought to be aimed at consolidating the gains of the past year and ensuring that neither al-Qaeda nor sectarian war make a comeback. So far, the Democratic candidates have refused even to consider that challenge.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Powers on Obama's Foreign Policy

Video from Oct on Obama's website. The final comment at the end of the first one in response to Rose's question about invading Pakistan was curious. She called it standing US policy to invade Pakistan if there is credible information about Bin Laden.

Her responses on lumping overlooked the varied approaches to dealing with some of the spokes on the axis of evil: Afganistan, Libya, North Korea, Iraq, and Iran.

Obama - Samantha Power on the residual force to keep in Iraq

Thanks to Corvus Blog who repeats a few of Power's points, just so you don't miss them.

The point Power's really should elaborate more on is Obama's position Bush and Maliki's agreement. I haven't seen much from any Democrat on that.

Carol Marin on Obama, Rezko, and slums

NBC's story and also Obama's response to the Sun Times,

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Obama on universal health care for Illinois

Obama's Iowa victory speech per the Daily Herald,
"I'll be a president who finally makes health care affordable and available to every single American, the same way I expanded health care in Illinois, by bringing Democrats and Republicans together to get the job done," the Chicago Democrat said Thursday.

But Illinois doesn't have universal health care.
And a classic from Sen Righter,
Still, Obama's quote raised eyebrows given the lingering tension over the direction of health care policy in Illinois, although few lawmakers were willing to go on the record with any criticism.

One former colleague willing to talk was state Sen. Dale Righter, a Mattoon Republican, who thought Obama stretched the truth.

"He didn't put together universal health care in Illinois," Righter said. "The best evidence of that is that we don't have universal health care in Illinois."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Block Time and Flow Time

Some links I want to keep handy:

by Paul Davies
Scientific American, September 2002
And what if science were able to explain away the flow of time? Perhaps we would no longer fret about the future or grieve for the past. Worries about death might become as irrelevant as worries about birth. Expectation and nostalgia might cease to be part of human vocabulary. Above all, the sense of urgency that attaches to so much of human activity might evaporate. No longer would we be slaves to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's entreaty to "act, act in the living present," for the past, present and future would literally be things of the past.
Newsflash: Time May Not Exist
Not to mention the question of which way it goes...
by Tim Folger
“It’s quite mysterious why we have such an obvious arrow of time,” says Seth Lloyd, a quantum mechanical engineer at MIT. (When I ask him what time it is, he answers, “Beats me. Are we done?”) “The usual explanation of this is that in order to specify what happens to a system, you not only have to specify the physical laws, but you have to specify some initial or final condition.”
Hugh Price's Times Arrow and Archimedes Point

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Blagojevich: 2008 a good year for bloggers

Gov scoffs at probes, media: 'They like to sell newspapers',
In a Dec. 21 government filing in the case of indicted ex-Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko, "Public Official A" is alleged to have told Stuart Levine -- an indicted former member of two state panels who is pleading guilty to corruption charges -- "You stick with us, and you will do very well for yourself."
Stick your blog like a cheap suit to Blagojevich, Rezko, Levine, and Kelly and it seems your sitemeter will do well too.

Some National Democrat is going to ask the Gov to go (Durbin maybe?), because this story will spread and fester all over the country.

xp Illinoize

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Harold Meyerson: Parties Trading Places

Harold Meyerson on the Parties Trading Places,
Barack Obama and John Edwards are just now having at it, and each is touching distinct themes in the final appeals to Iowa voters. Obama seems more in the tradition of the early-20th-century progressives, middle-class reformers who sought to clean up politics to restore a functioning democracy. Edwards is more in the tradition of the early-20th-century populists, railing at the monied interests that really ran the country.
He's right, and worse, besides an old tradition, they offer old ideas.

I think what Meyerson sees as factionalism among the GOP is really a conservative party hammering out a conservatism for this century.

I'm guessing that hammering out ends up seeing what Meyerson sees,
McCain's problem may be that he's too good for the Republicans this year. On two of the defining moral issues of our time -- whether America should torture its enemies and how America should treat the 12 million undocumented immigrants already among us -- he has consistently exhibited decency and common sense that shouldn't be in the least bit notable but which stand out given the demagogic savagery that his rival Republican candidates have championed. McCain would hardly be a slam-dunk if he won the GOP nomination -- he'd still have to explain why he thinks the Iraq war was a good idea and why our forces should stay there indefinitely -- but he'd certainly be the strongest candidate the GOP could select. [my emphasis]
...with that last thought sealing the deal.

Live Blogging McCain and New Hampshire next Sat

Brad Marston live blogging McCain next Sat,
I will be Webcasting/Blogging LIVE from the Spin Room at the ABC News/Facebook/WMUR sponsored debate from St. Anselms College in Manchester NH on Saturday, January 5th starting at 6pm.

From 6pm to 7pm I will have pre-nalysis of the Republican Candidates Debate which starts at 7pm and the Denocratic Candidates Debate which starts at approximately 8:45pm.

From 10:15 to midnight I will have post debate analysis, interviews with senior campaign staffers and even a candidate or two.

The best part is, it is set up as a LIVE CHAT in REAL TIME so YOU can be part of the action and analysis!

I will have streaming audio/video from the Spin Room from 6pm until Midnight.

The Link to the webchat is here. Or you can simply come back to AzaMatteroFact on Saturday, January 5th and click on the Userplane live chat in the upper right hand corner. Sign up or enter as a guest.

This chat/blog/webcast will be THE place to be for the upcoming debate that will launch some candidates towards Michigan, South Carolina and Super Duper Tuesday.
HT to Pat H