Saturday, May 31, 2008

Want a friend in Illinois buy a dog


Geez Obama bails out on his Church and Pastor, Durbin bails on Blagojevich... what profiles in courage our Senators.

An Illinois GOP Press Release... and he holds up George Ryan?
Senator says he has been troubled by Blagojevich allies currently facing legal battles


By David Mendell
Chicago Tribune reporter
May 30, 2008

Illinois' senior Democratic senator said Friday he had a much better working relationship with former Republican Gov. George Ryan than Democratic successor Rod Blagojevich.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, during a wide-ranging interview with the Tribune editorial board, also said he was "troubled" by some of Blagojevich's early appointments. Some of those appointees, Durbin noted, played prominent roles at the public corruption trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a former top fundraiser for Blagojevich.

"You may assume—and it's natural that you would —that there's a closer working relationship with the governor and senator than there actually is. There isn't much," Durbin said, adding he's talked privately with Blagojevich only a handful of times since Blagojevich took office in 2003.

Durbin said he was particularly troubled by the appointment of Republican fundraiser Stuart Levine, who later pleaded guilty in a political corruption case. Durbin, who is running for re-election this fall, said he has never been close to Levine, though he acknowledged Levine gave $1,000 to his campaign fund in 2000.

"What's happened here was fairly obvious to a lot of us on the outside," Durbin said of the federal investigations of the Blagojevich administration.

Asked whether he should have registered his unease to Blagojevich about appointees like Levine, Durbin said, "When it comes to dealing with the state and all of the decisions involved in it, there's just so much I can do, to be honest with you."

Durbin's comments came as Steve Sauerberg, the senator's GOP challenger, has sought to link the senator to the beleaguered Blagojevich. "Dick Durbin's statement about his limited contacts with the governor is either an opportunistic lie or—if it's true—represents a total abdication of responsibility on behalf of the senior senator from Illinois," Sauerberg said in a statement.

As for how Ryan compares to Blagojevich, Durbin said he regularly received phone calls from Ryan as late as midnight to discuss public business. That never happens with Blagojevich, he said.

Ban Ki-moon: Iraq 'stepping back from abyss'

From the BBC via Iraq Pundit,
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has praised progress in Iraq at a UN forum in Sweden on the situation in the country.

Mr Ban said Iraq was "stepping back from the abyss that we feared most" but warned the situation "remains fragile".

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki called for debt cancellation, mainly from Arab nations.

Nearly 100 countries are taking part in the forum, which is aimed at supporting Iraq's efforts to restore stability and

rebuild a functioning economy.
Also, Eye Iraqi on Our Arab Friends and Maliki's call for debt cancellation at the conference.

Clinton, McCain, Obama joint statement on Darfur

Over here but reprinted below via Harry's Place.
As we campaign for President of the United States over the next several months, we expect there to be significant focus on the many differences between us. After all, elections are about choices in a free society. We have had a spirited contest so far and fully expect a robust debate about issues foreign and domestic right up to Election Day.

As we engage in this process, we are fully aware that friend and foe around the globe are watching and sometimes reacting based on their own analysis of the latest developments in the campaign.

It is with this awareness that we are taking the uncommon step of issuing a joint statement about an issue.

After more than five years of genocide, the Sudanese government and its proxies continue to commit atrocities against civilians in Darfur. This is unacceptable to the American people and to the world community.

We deplore all violence against the people of Darfur. There can be no doubt that the Sudanese government is chiefly responsible for the violence and is able to end it. We condemn the Sudanese government’s consistent efforts to undermine peace and security, including its repeated attacks against its own people and the multiple barriers it has put up to the swift and effective deployment of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force. We further condemn the Sudanese government’s refusal to adhere to the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the conflict in southern Sudan.

Today, we wish to make clear to the Sudanese government that on this moral issue of tremendous importance, there is no divide between us. We stand united and demand that the genocide and violence in Darfur be brought to an end and that the CPA be fully implemented. Even as we campaign for the presidency, we will use our standing as Senators to press for the steps needed to ensure that the United States honors, in practice and in deed, its commitment to the cause of peace and protection of Darfur’s innocent citizenry. We will continue to keep a close watch on events in Sudan and speak out for its marginalized peoples. It would be a huge mistake for the Khartoum regime to think that it will benefit by running out the clock on the Bush Administration. If peace and security for the people of Sudan are not in place when one of us is inaugurated as President on January 20, 2009, we pledge that the next Administration will pursue these goals with unstinting resolve.

Aswat al-Iraq's Nizar al-Radi's last column: Innocents as they fall down; we follow

Over at VOI...

Father Pfleger: Prophetic Powerful Pulpiteer (P-Cubed Part 2)

Pfleger links:

Ed Lasky: Father Pfleger's Support for Farrakhan. Lasky links the Illinois Hate Crimes commission's Sister Muhammad story. These are the progressives indifferent to Farrakhan's claim the streets of Jerusalem would have to be washed in blood because Israel allowed a Gay Pride parade.

Ace of Spades links more video.

Malkin's Men of Bad Faith post. Also check What’s stopping Obama from going to Iran now?

Rev. Pfleger - a prince of a guy

Obama earmarked money for Pfleger

...and money is the bottom line with these guys.

Update: Durbin per the Trib,
Sen. Dick Durbin, an Obama mentor, condemned Pfleger's words in a meeting with Tribune editors and reporters and said they were not helpful in trying to discuss race nationwide.

"I like Mike. He's my friend," Durbin said. "But he went overboard."
More like Pfleger was pushed overboard for not gettng the message to tone down the party-line 'cause Pflegers been preaching like this for years.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Marathon Pundit on Rezko, Obama, and Alexi Giannoulias

I liberally clipped from a Marathon Pundit post.
Here's a juicy golden nugget:

An interesting footnote, the allegedly rubber Rezko checks were drawn on Chicago's Broadway Bank. At the time those checks bounced, the vice president of the bank, Alexei Giannoulias was running his ultimately successful campaign for Illinois state treasurer.

Time for some dot-connecting, albeit of the cronyism kind. Giannoulias ran against a candidate slated by the state party in the 2006 Democratic Primary treasurer's race. Barack Obama, who once said "I don't want to be the kingmaker," went against his party and endorsed the then 29 year-old political novice for state treasurer. Rock-star Obama appeared in a Giannoulias television commercial, which was enough to give the banker a resounding primary victory. He defeated his Republican opponent in the general election, even though the state Democratic Party refused to endorse him.

While an officer his family-owned Broadway Bank, Giannoulias approved two multi-million dollar loans to convicted mobster Michael "Jaws" Giorango. Convicted of what? Bookmaking and running a prostitution ring.

Giannoulias has not been accused of wrongdoing in regards to his business dealings with "Jaws." And he can hardly be blamed for Rezko's bounced checks--other customers of the bank have written NSF checks to be sure--but it's interesting of all the banks in Chicago, Rezko chose Broadway Bank. And Obama chose to cross powerful Michael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House and Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, by endorsing Giannoulias over the slated candidate.Coincidences?

Well, as I've remarked before, Chicago is the land of coincidences.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rezko Watch on Rezko's Las Vegas debts

Questions six through nine from Rezko Watch's latest post on the latest Rezko indictment for $800,000 in unpaid gaming debts.

Six just stood out for me because all of these unanswered questions about Obama and this tangle with the middle-east sure seems to set him up for blackmail.

You play with this crowd and they get a hook into you then you're sunk.
6. A RezkoWatch commenter states that the Bellagio has the reputation of "better detectives than Heaven. What do they have on Rezko and friends?"

7. During this same time that Rezko was making his gambling trips to Las Vegas, Daniel Mahru and Daniel Frawley, his business partners in Companion Security, the security company that was to train Iraqi security guards in Illinois for the proposed power plant in Chamchamal in Northern Iraq, were negotiating with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Seamus Ahern, Sen. Obama's aide in his Moline, Illinois, office. Is it possible that Mahru and Frawley were also joining Rezko on his Las Vegas trips?

8. This raises the question as to whether Sen. Obama, who is well-known for being a poker player, accompanied Rezko on any of his Las Vegas gambling junkets, as well? Where was Sen. Obama on the dates in question?

9. Rezko's gambling activities in Las Vegas also bring up the little matter that Rezko had been under investigation since sometime in 2004 (which he admitted in teh January 16, 2007, ex parte) and had made approximately twenty trips to the Middle East between October 2004 and October 2006. Is there any connection between his trips to Chicago, Las Vegas and the Middle East?

Barack, Rich, and Rod

Check out Rich Miller's caption contest.















Also, the Next Jeremiah Wright over at the Chicago Reader.
How long before the national
media
and Republican
strategists
start openly
wondering
if a guy who's allied
with this city's mayor--with
his long list
of achievements
and rhetorical
flair
--is indeed a "hack
Chicago-style Daley politician
"?

Father Pfleger: Prophetic Powerful Pulpiteer

Chicago's P-cubed at his finest.

HT Rezko Watch: Klein: Hillary believed she'd win 'cause she's white'. In Trinity sermon, Obama spiritual adviser says Clinton thought 'black man stealing my show'

Robert Creamer crunching numbers for Obama

Progressives for Obama post Creamer arguing why the math supports an Obama victory in Nov....
The people at the website www.fivethirtyeight.com have created a statistical model to predict the odds that a candidate will win each state in the general election. The model is based on a regression analysis of recent polling and sixteen additional political and demographic factors. It assigns a likely vote spread and the numerical odds that a particular candidate will win the state. The model updates its findings regularly based on recent polling data from the state.
And the model supports an Obama victory. If anyone knows games with numbers, it's gotta be Creamer....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Obama, McCain and the Germans and Obama's isoloation from Europe

More from Ralf Beste's Obamamania Infects Germany. Strange to read Obama has cut himself off from Europeans when Obama talks about the importance of dialogue so much.
McCain is not an unknown quantity in Germany, either. As a dyed in the wool trans-Atlanticist, he regularly participates in the annual Munich Security Conference. The senator has a reputation there for his sharp attacks against German politicians -- his fits of rage are feared and his political positions are known because of the numerous debates he has taken part in.

Obama, though, is less known. The best even the most dialled-in US experts in Berlin have managed is a handshake with the senator. He routinely denies requests from members of the German parliament to visit with him in Washington. Most of the information they have on Obama comes either from YouTube films or the papers. "Obama has no relationship with Europe whatsoever," said Hans-Ulrich Klose, the foreign policy spokesman for the center-left Social Democrats.

Obama on the Baghdad Stroll topped off with a Brewski

The picture from Der Spiegel's Ralf Beste writing Obamamania Infects Germany

Berlin political circles -- both liberal and conservative -- are fawning over US presidential candidate Barack Obama. Many in Germany see him as a cross between John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., but expectations may be exaggerated.
Obama ought to think twice about rejecting the Baghdad stroll.

Obama's Burton via Hot Air,

John McCain’s proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don’t need any more ‘Mission Accomplished’ banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq’s leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge. The American people don’t want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer.
The IZ is good place as any for that real debate, and it would be easier for the Iraqi people --who had no say in our coming to Iraq-- to voice their feelings on when we should leave.

I'm betting Obama would be surprised to find his charm infects Iraqis just as it does Germans. Surprising Obama doesn't have more confidence in himself.

Then off to Ramstein for a beer among friends after Baghdad's heat.

Obama's call for an audit on Blackwater (what about Alsammarae?)

Talk about a memorial day speech Obama never should have made. Here is from the Q and A afterwords via Power Line,
QUESTION: What would you do with Blackwater?

OBAMA: I am not a believer in private contractors as a mechanism for serving our -- this United States.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, I, in fact, actually currently have legislation that I introduced that would do a full audit on Blackwater.

(APPLAUSE)

And they need to be held accountable for some of the actions that have already been taken.
How about an accounting on Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki's allegation Blackwater helped spring convicted Iraqi Minister of Electricity Ahyam Alsammarae out of the IZ the Chicago Way?

No need to wait for after the election either. Senators Drogan and Whitehouse want to start the hearings. Tell them to start Senator Obama. Alsammarae's story a great beginning for the audit.

Then ask how the heck Blackwater chose Illinois for a campus? Some Illinois Democrats seemed awfully keen on selling the State to security firms for training.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Evelyn Pringle on Obama's Iraq connections

Just excellent stuff on Obama's connections to Alsammarae and corruption in Iraq reconstruction. Thankyou Evelyn and B Merry over at Rezko Watch.

Also part two on operations board games. The Illinois Combine's* long arm reaching out for Obama.

* Kass turned to former Illinois U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald for wisdom:

"What do you call that Illinois political class that's not committed to any party, they simply want to make money off the taxpayers?" Fitzgerald said. "You know what to call them."

What?

"The Illinois Combine," Fitzgerald said. "The bipartisan Illinois political combine. And all these guys being mentioned, they're part of it."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sistani to Hayder Al-Khoei: Politics is no good, politics killed your father and it is going to kill you

Hayder Al-Khoei writes Sistani Becomes Militant after the flurry of Fatwas.
Sistani constantly dodges in and out of politics (somewhat reluctantly) because he feels forced to act in the best interest of Iraq (e.g calls for elections). Sistani absolutely loathes politics, in London, when he asked me what I plan on studying I said "Politics", he shock his head in dismay and said "Politics is no good, politics killed your father and it is going to kill you".
...but read the whole link.

Previous post: Gateway Pundit: Busted!!... Iraqi Press Denies AP Report On Ayatollah Sistani

Update: Is Sistani Promoting Attacks on Coalition Forces? by Bill Roggio and ditto on this: With special thanks to IraqSlogger's Eason Jordan for making the full article viewable to non-subscribers.

A state that arrests, detains and flogs workers should not be in the ILO!


When the Communists have it right.
To all labour organisations around the world

The ninety-seventh annual conference of the ILO will be held between May 28 and June 13, 2008. Every year this conference hosts a delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Beside the Islamic Republic, the ILO also recognises Workers’ House and Islamic Workers’ Councils – i.e. organisations made by the regime against workers - as “workers’ organisations from Iran”.

The International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran strongly protests against the participation of the Islamic Republic in the annual conference of the ILO and calls for the expulsion of this regime from the ILO.

Unfortunately, it has been argued that the attendance of the Islamic Republic and its Workers’ House at the annual conferences of the ILO is conducive to dialogue and to pressuring the Islamic Republic to recognise and respect the minimum rights of workers. However, this approach has plainly proved itself wrong. The Islamic Republic continues to arrest and imprison worker activists. It has not recognised any of the basic worker rights such as freedom of association, collective bargaining and the right to strike. Moreover, it has shamelessly added flogging to its techniques of repressing workers. Workers in Iran are right in condemning the ILO for its continued recognition of the Islamic Republic and its delegations.

In the past year alone, hundreds of trade unions around the world called for the release of two Iranian labour leaders, Mansoor Ossanlou and Mahmoud Salehi, and for respect for worker rights in Iran. However, the Islamic Republic has simply ignored these calls. Indeed, as documented by numerous human rights organisations, the atrocities of the regime in Iran against workers and all sections of the people have only intensified. The Islamic regime’s continued membership in organisations such as the ILO has thus become totally indefensible.

Our committee values highly the tremendous solidarity shown by labour organisations throughout the world with workers in Iran. We also believe that a decisive step towards supporting the struggle of the workers in Iran is the isolation of the Islamic Republic on an international scale and its expulsion, together with its Workers’ House, from the ILO. A state that arrests, detains and flogs workers should not be in the ILO! We request all labour organisations around the world to exercise their influence to expel the Islamic Republic of Iran from the ILO.

International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran

Shahla Daneshfar, Coordinator
Bahram Soroush, Public Relations

Blogging on Blago Blog: When it comes to hypocrisy…Obama has had good instructors

Blogging on Blago Blog... what a great name for a blog and what a wealth of goofy stuff to blog about... it just makes one so sorry to be a citizen of Illinois. The latest on hypocrisy,
As John McCain tours the country talking about cutting taxes on the hardworking people of the United States including providing relief at gas pumps by asking Congress to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax, Barack Obama is once again proving he truly is a product of the Chicago Machine way of doing business by voting for a temporary elimination of the Illinois state gas tax as a state senator but now believes it’s a “bad idea.”

A good sign that someone comes from the Chicago Machine way of doing business is: you oppose tax increases as a candidate (or at some other time prior to running for higher office) and then once you are elected refuse to enact tax reform (i.e. lower taxes) or (their favorite) increase taxes on your constituents sighting all the “vital services” that otherwise would need to be cut.

In many walks of life this is also called hypocrisy.
I'll add this site to the Blog roll.

HT Liberty Pundit

DFAC rules

Goof up... you don't eat.


Bomb Dogs at BIAP and the IZ


Homeward

From MNF-I's website. Surprizing how well one can sleep in a C130.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. John Costello, front left, and 1st Lt. Ruben Ramos, front right, take a power nap in the back of a C-130 Hercules 13 after departing an air base in Iraq, May 13, 2008. The Soldiers are returning home after a 14-month deployment. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael O'Connor.

Long War Journal: Iraqi Army dismantles Mahdi Army caches in Sadr City

Roggio with the latest on Sadr City.
US Army Major Carter Price meets with Brigadier General Sameed, the commander of the 22nd Battalion, 6th Iraqi Army Division, at the Office of the Martyr Sadr in the Shula neighborhood of northern Gazaliyah in Baghdad on May 15, 2008. The Office of the Martyr Sadr build was taken over by the Iraqi army after the MAhdi Army used it to conduct and direct attacks. (US Army photo / Specialist Charles W. Gill)
Also, Iraq Pundit's Sadr City's Real Story

I worked with a kid who commuted from Sadr City to the IZ and back home each day through the worst of the fighting. A very brave guy.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Senators Drogan and Whitehouse: please ask Minister Alsammarae to come speak before Congress

Senators Drogan and Whitehouse write a letter to Treasury saying our tax dollars might be in the hands of militias because of Iraqi corruption and here in Chicago we have the former Iraqi Minister of Electricity: Alsammarae --convicted by Iraqi courts for swindling Iraq of millions-- putting up his house and condos as bond for Tony Rezko? The Tony Rezko who helped Senator Obama purchase his home.

Can't the Senators just call Alsammarae to the Hill to tell Americans and Iraqis what he knows? It's gotta be plenty including was PM Maliki correct saying Blackwater, with a campus in Illinois, sprung Alsammarae from jail the Chicago way?

All it takes is a hearing Senators. One of the convicted players, a guy now on the lam from Iraqi justice, is sheltered right here in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Iraqi courts are doing their job weeding out the corrupt. It doesn't look like our Congress is doing theirs.

Update: Rezko Watch picks up the story and B Merry does a great job filling in all the back ground on a complicated story. Thanks much!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gateway Pundit: Busted!!... Iraqi Press Denies AP Report On Ayatollah Sistani

Gateway Pundit and Nibras Kazimi writing Red Herring Fatwas
So what happens if the western media can’t spin or sensationalize events in Iraq when not much is happening? Why, they make it up!

The Associated Press put out a wire report yesterday hinting that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is about to declare jihad against the Americans. Whhhhhaaaaaat???
Plenty of links debunking the AP, but here is one from BG noted by Gateway Pundit at Iraq Slogger.

Peoples Cube on the Decemberists opening the Obama Portland Ralley (and Jay Schaffner from Progressives for Obama)

Below from the Cubists at The Peoples Blog,
The Decemberists, a rock band, played for Premier Obama before the Portland Rally, which drew 800,000 patriotic Soviet Amerikkkans. Here is the song they play before their concerts!


I remember when Jay Schaffner from Progressives for Obama headed up the Young Workers Liberation League (the old Young Communist League) on Chicago's West Side. They had a storefront on Central Avenue just south of Madison. He later split from the Party to join the Committees of Correspondence and that earned him this cite by Gus Hall in a letter to the South African Communist Party,
The CoC and its spokespersons have been among the most vocal in declaring that the CPUSA is defunct or at best irrelevant, at times outdoing even the right wing. In fact they began spreading this lie even before they finally quit, taking their crusade against the Party and its leadership to the bourgeois media, spreading crude, anti- Communist lies. One of the most absurd examples - but representative in its viciousness and the fact that it was written by an ex-Party leader - is the letter by Jay Schaffner (a CoC leader) to his parents, also former Party members. In this widely circulated letter, which has been posted for public access on the computer network, Schaffner wrote, "I can only be thankful that we did not have socialism in the United States I if we did the mockery of the socialist principle would have been on a par with that of Pol Pot in Kampuchea. Needless to say, with these bastards [the CPUSA leadership] in power, your son would have long been dead, and probably also my children and wife, and you too, my parents." Absurd, yes, but about on the level of the McCarthyite ravings of the 1950s; of the Reagans and Bothas of this world, and most definitely intended to do damage.
I've never been able to track down that letter Jay wrote his folks and have always wondered why Jay though he and his family would not have survived a Communist America. What would have sent them to the mass grave?

Now the Soviet Union is kitsch opening Obama rallies for kids who remember nothing. They need to read the Black Book of Communism and some of the stories of the millions, including plenty of Communists as Jay knows, who did not survive the horror. Then maybe that realize how creepy this band opening for Obama sounds..

Obama and his mentor Emil Jones


Rich writes,
There are only so many messages a candidate can use at once, but tying Obama to his “political godfather,” who is pushing another legislative pay raise yet regularly borrows money interest free from his campaign fund, and to a horrifically unpopular and scandal-plagued governor who might wind up in the Senate might be a fun theme to develop.
Illinois offers so much on Obama and sleaze, it's just hard to keep up with it all. Photo is State Senator Emil Jones with Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi during Auchi's visit to Illinois. Photos Auchi felt a need to scrub from his websites.

Obama Gaffes

Jack Wheeler recounts some of the classics including below.



And from Krauthammer today,
Having lashed himself to the ridiculous, unprecedented promise of unconditional presidential negotiations -- and then having compounded the problem by elevating it to a principle -- Obama keeps trying to explain. On Sunday, he declared in Pendleton, Ore., that by Soviet standards Iran and others "don't pose a serious threat to us." (On the contrary. Islamic Iran is dangerously apocalyptic. Soviet Russia was not.) The next day in Billings, Mont.: "I've made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave."

That's the very next day, mind you. Such rhetorical flailing has done more than create an intellectual mess. It has given rise to a new political phenomenon: the metastatic gaffe. The one begets another, begets another, begets ...


Update: Also Lynn Sweet from a year ago. We have long experience with 'em in Chiago.

Verbal assaults directed at uniformed [military] personnel

Via Michael Yon, also Austin Bey
Washington D.C.

Dept of Transportation Federal Transit Administration sends:

Recently, there have been local incidents in which military personnel have been verbally assaulted while commuting on the Metro. Uniformed members have been approached by individuals expressing themselves as anti-government, shouting anti-war sentiments, and using racial slurs against minorities.

In one instance, a member was followed onto the platform by an individual who continued to berate her as she exited the
metro station. Thus far, these incidents have occurred in the vicinity of the Reagan National Airport and Eisenhower Ave metro stations on the yellow line, however, military members should be vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times while in mass transit.

Should you be approached by any individuals expressing anti-government/anti-war sentiments, or any other types of direct verbal assault, immediately notify your local police jurisdiction. If riding metro, exit the train at the next stop, distance yourself from the individual, and notify the Metro Transit Police Department.

For this and any other suspicious activity, NGB personnel are also asked to notify the Pentagon Command Center at (703)697-1001, and the NGB Antiterrorism/Force Protection Officer, MSgt Cyril Charity, at (703)607-2396 or (571)239-1109 (after duty hours).


Here are a few friendly reminders of personal protective measures that can help you to stay safe:

-If possible, do not commute in uniform (military members) -Do not display DoD building passes, "hot cards", or personal identification in open view outside of the workplace -Do not discuss specifics about your occupation to outside solicitors

-Always try to remain in well lit, well populated train cars if traveling via metro -Be vigilant at all times!

V/R,

National Operations Center

AFL-CIO: Believe it or not, a majority of union members like John McCain right now



HT WS Blog Dean writes,
This video is rather lengthy, but you don't need to watch the whole thing. The interesting portion is about 45 seconds in:

"Believe it or not, a majority of union members like John McCain right now."
The vangurad knows better. Good luck educating the masses.

Progressives for Obama: It's About War and Peace, Not Simply Race and Gender (and Scuds towards TelAviv)

On the left is a picture I took in Saddam's Palace of a mural of scuds headed towards Israel. It was the room Saddam used for receptions and he would sit in front of it receiving guests.

It's now used by the Special IG for Iraqi Audits. I took the picture the week before Easter. A SIGIR auditor died a week later in a Rocket Barrage on the Green Zone.

I posted these over at Prairie State Blue (the folks who switched to a flowers logo from an anarchist bomging picture) and they deleted the post and seemed to have banned me. I can no longer log in and post diaries.

Progressives for Obama get the idea though. The election is about rockets and war and peace. The P for O have the solutions all tangled, but they understand the real issue and I share their disgust that it's not talked about more.
The decisive issue in this election is about war and peace, between Barack Obama's proposed diplomacy with Iran to end the war in Iraq, and the hawkish stance of his two rivals, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, who favor an escalating the tensions with Tehran even to the point of war.

The mainstream media, and some of the blogosphere, continue to miss the danger of an escalated war as they blog and dabble over race, gender and numbers of pledged delegates. The antiwar movement and most Democrats have been fairly silent about these differences as well.
Steve Chapman did write about war yesterday in Mythmaking for the Next War. I wrote him yesterday and sent him a copy of the picture.

I wrote a tyrant doesn't need a big arsenal these days; or a soviet size Army or Air Force. A few nukes and a delivery system is enough. When dictators advertise --as Saddam did with his murals-- and has the where-with-all financially to make good, we should take him seriously.

War and Peace, Aggression and Survival, are the most important issues. The P for O crowd nailed that just right.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mosel and Operation Umm al-Rabi’ayn

Talisman Gate on MSM Lying Low in Mosul
...the Iraqi Army’s operation in Mosul is basically being ignored. In a sense, reporters are also lying low for fear that their false narratives would unravel.

They can’t even get its name right; they’re still calling it ‘Operation Lion’s Roar’. That’s so last week, for now we’re in the midst of ‘Operation Umm al-Rabi’ayn’. Considering that this operation is led and orchestrated by Iraqis, I think it’s high time that we keep the Arabic name for it. ‘Umm al-Rabi’ayn’ is one of the sobriquets by which Mosul is known meaning ‘Mother of the Two Springs’ since the city experiences a second spring-like season in the fall.

Radical cleric Sadr snubs Iraq peace overtures

Via AFP and also Long War Journal with the latest on the Iraqi Army in Sadr City... news you won't read in MSM.
...Obeidi said that Iraqi Shiite MPs travelled to Iran for talks with Sadr, in the first acknowledgement that the cleric was in Iran. It was unclear however if Sadr was in Tehran or the holy Iranian city of Qom.

Speaking Thursday after an hour-long meeting with British Premier Gordon Brown in London, Petraeus said there was widespread concern about Iranian backing for attacks against the coalition in Iraq, despite Iran's denials.

The Shia-led Iraqi government "has very rightly" sent a delegation to try to end clashes between coalition troops and fighters loyal to Sadr who have been "armed, trained and equipped" by Iran, he said.

"The important focus has to be on the way ahead and Iran truly wanting its neighbour to the west... a fellow Shia-led government, to succeed, so there can be a constructive relationship," Petraeus said.

"I think it's very important to recognise that the Sadr trend, as a political movement, has every reason to be engaged in the political spectrum, in the political arena, in Iraq.

"It represents an important constituency in the citzenry of Iraq."

Hastert bailing out Blagojevich

Hastert retired. He should stay at the farm.

Democrats gave us the mess in Springfield and it's their job to fix it. Not his.
Conceding that many state lawmakers just don't trust Gov. Rod Blagojevich, two former congressmen Tuesday unveiled a $31 billion public-works package to be paid for by leasing part of the lottery, giving Chicago a casino and allowing slot machines at horse-racing tracks.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a suburban Republican, and former U.S. Rep. Glenn Poshard, a Downstate Democrat, delivered the Blagojevich-backed plan to lawmakers, who immediately greeted its chances with skepticism as they try to finish a state budget in the next 10 days.
Considering the skepticism people in the 14th gave Hastert's endorsement of Oberweis, I don't see what trust Hastert is going to bring to any budget.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Obama on Change, Hope, and kicking points to U of C Hospital

Talk about old politics:
Senator Barack Obama on Thursday released a list of $740 million in earmarked spending requests that he had made over the last three years, and his campaign challenged Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to do the same

The list included $1 million for a hospital where Mr. Obama’s wife works....
A six figure salary for directing external affairs indeed. From McCain's Columbus speech on a McCain first term,
After exercising my veto several times in my first year in office, Congress has not sent me an appropriations bill containing earmarks for the last three years. A top to bottom review of every federal bureaucracy has yielded great reductions in government spending by identifying programs that serve no important purpose; and instigating far reaching reforms of procurement and operating policies that have for too long extravagantly wasted money for no better purpose than to increase federal payrolls.
Who's the real progressive here? The candidate who asks the opponent to show their earmark achievements, or the one saying he'll veto earmarks?

Hitchens on McCain's Question Time

A quote but read the whole thing. Hitch gives a history of the suggestion.
This is a reformist proposal with quite a long and interesting pedigree, and it speaks well, I think, of the man proposing it. In Gore Vidal's Lincoln, the president is described sternly rejecting a request from the other side of the aisle that he make regular visits to Capitol Hill to report on the progress of the war. It was perhaps not the most propitious time for the embattled and divided United States to embrace the British system, and for a while the idea lapsed. Rep. Estes Kefauver, D-Tenn., revived the scheme in the mid-1940s, and when Walter Mondale was a Democratic senator in the mid-'70s, he also put forward the idea of a regular parliamentary-style grilling of the chief executive. (Picture this happening to Richard Nixon, let alone to Gerald Ford.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Migranes and Musings on Obama: Hallow Man

Tough stuff from the left.
Obamarama has come full circle as Barack's own private chickens are now coming home to roost: Alice Palmer is campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Indiana. Remember Alice Palmer? She was Barack's political mentor before he kicked her to the curb in '95, and then took her seat in the Illinois state senate, not by making his case to the voters, but by using tried-and-true hardball political tactics to knock her--and all his other rivals--off the ballot.

[***]

Barack Obama has built his appeal on the claim that he's different from the usual political player. How ironic, then, as recent events have shown, that he may be the biggest player of the them all. All of his campaign's problems have been there from the beginning. There have been no surprises. But to deal with them before his campaign got off the ground was to admit to the duplicity that has made Barack all things to all people. He played Alice Palmer to gain entry into Southside Chicago political circles, and for her blessing. He played Jeremiah Wright and Trinity church to establish bourgeois nationalist street cred. He played Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn for their white liberal, lapsed '60's radical, Hyde Park intellectual bona fides. By insisting that his faith was central to his politics he played his white, Christian supporters, for whom he figured one church would be as good as another.

He waltzed with all of them but had no intention of taking any of them down the aisle.
A powerful blog from some folks who've had impact.

Migranes and Musings: speaking truth to the bamboozled Left

Migranes and Musings channeling Adolph Reed's Obama No in The Progressive.
I’ve never been an Obama supporter. I’ve known him since the very beginning of his political career, which was his campaign for the seat in my state senate district in Chicago. He struck me then as a vacuous opportunist, a good performer with an ear for how to make white liberals like him. I argued at the time that his fundamental political center of gravity, beneath an empty rhetoric of hope and change and new directions, is neoliberal.
And I voted for him because I thought he was a neoliberal, but count me now with M & M and Reed. Bamboozled once but now I've been saved.

It just took a few of those speeches about being a Dad to turn me. I want a new Bridge accross the Fox River Senator Obama. Forget telling me how to be a Dad and you don't have to be a black male to resent the Fatherhood lectures. Reed writes,
His political repertoire has always included the repugnant stratagem of using connection with black audiences in exactly the same way Bill Clinton did—i.e., getting props both for emoting with the black crowd and talking through them to affirm a victim-blaming “tough love” message that focuses on alleged behavioral pathologies in poor black communities. Because he’s able to claim racial insider standing, he actually goes beyond Clinton and rehearses the scurrilous and ridiculous sort of narrative Bill Cosby has made infamous.
A good post and a good column by leftists not about to be bamboozled.

Migranes and Musings was the first to write of Bill Ayers role in starting Obama's political career and it looks like it's that one blog post that started the melt down,
Obama’s style of being all things to all people threatens to melt under the inescapable spotlight of a national campaign against a Republican. It’s like what brings on the downfall of really successful con artists: They get themselves onto a stage that’s so big that they can’t hide their contradictions anymore, and everyone finds out about the different stories they’ve told different people. And Obama’s belonging to Wright’s church in the first place was quite likely part of establishing a South Side bourgeois nationalist street cred because his political base was with Hyde Park/University of Chicago liberals and the foundation world.

Ron Grossman: Family ties proved Ayers' point

Grossman writes a good column on Ayer's clout. What a sorry guy to have start ones political career.
A funny thing happened to Bill Ayers in the years between his first headline-grabbing activities and his cameo role in the 2008 presidential campaign. He became a pillar of the very establishment he had once conspired to bring down.

When questions were first raised about Barack Obama's relationship with Ayers, including their serving together on the board of a charitable foundation, Chicago's elite rallied behind Ayers.
via CDO

Malcom X on Newspapers

If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. -- Malcolm X

Arlene Jones quote of the day on her blog.

Arlene Jones: Who will replace our AGING ELECTED OFFICIALS?????

Jones writes,
I just finished reading Bobby Rush's PRESS RELEASE wherein he states that he has no intentions of giving up his seat. But in a 'shades of HAROLD WASHINGTON' moment, my mind immediately went to who will replace our aging elected officials?

Does Bobby have a 'RIGHT-HAND man or woman' who could step in and fill his seat? What about Danny Davis?

What other aging politician needs to be letting their constituents know who should take over for a "just in case" moment?
Instead of designating the RIGHT-HAND man or woman like Hastert tried with Oberweis, how about just having normal elections, when they're supposed to happen, and not the anointing we're prone to in Illinois?

Remarks By John McCain in Columbus, Ohio

This is a pretty remarkable speech.
Next January, the political leadership of the United States will change significantly. It is important that the candidates who seek to lead the country after the Bush Administration define their objectives and what they plan to achieve not with vague language but with clarity.
And he does... this is a manifesto for the campaign.

Update: Also here: The First Term.

JFK and Khruschev: Then, Mr. Chairman, there will be a war. It will be a cold, long winter

A long clip frm an excellent post by Dean Barett.
Barack Obama continued to display his surprisingly flimsy grasp of American history yesterday. “This whole notion of not talking to people,” began the longtime community organizer. “It didn't hold in the '60s, it didn't hold in the '70s ... When Kennedy met with (Soviet leader Nikita) Khrushchev, we were on the brink of nuclear war."

There’s only one problem with this analysis – Khrushchev and Kennedy met in the first months of Kennedy’s term. The Cuban Missile Crisis didn’t happen until 16 months later. Furthermore, if we really want to dig into the history, many historians believe that the Vienna Summit between the two leaders did much to trigger the Cuban Missile Crisis. Khrushchev, relying on the Bay of Pigs fiasco and what he later saw at Vienna, determined that his American counterpart was a weak sister who could be bullied.

Since Obama obviously knows nothing about the Vienna Summit, he surely doesn’t know that in some circles it’s viewed as a cautionary tale regarding the inherent risks of diplomacy with malevolent regimes (or “talking to people” as Obama prefers to think of such activities). Besides, Kennedy at Vienna was quite frankly a much tougher and more hard-headed leader than one can imagine Obama being. At one point, Kennedy responded to Khrushchev’s blustering by declaring, “Then, Mr. Chairman, there will be a war. It will be a cold, long winter.”


Picture via Hugh Hewitt.

End the War

From the first of the Sun Times coming stories on the weekend of April 18 to the 20th.
TV weathermen predicted Friday would be the start of a glorious weekend — perfect for throwing open upstairs windows and barbecuing in the backyard.

Angry people with scores to settle, though, had other ideas. The flurry of bullets they unleashed during a deadly 59 hours, from 12:50 p.m. on April 18 to 11:25 p.m. on April 20, sent beat cops scurrying to a blur of calls of “shots fired.”

In all, 40 people were shot. Seven died. Seven children were shot, five of them out after curfew. And by Monday, a national media spotlight focused on the blood spilled in the streets of Chicago.
A few weeks earlier, I was having some email exchanges with the NYT's James Glanz about his Alley Theory of Iraq: that Iraqi's were reacting just as Glanz's fellow Chicagoans would if Iraqi troops were patrolling Chicago's allys.

I thought better analogy was to our mobs and gangs as forces equivelent to the Sadrists occupying our neighborhoods, and everyone hunkered in their bungalows and two flats praying for an Iraqi Army like the one that cleaned out Basra to drive out the thugs.

It's going to take more than M-4's for Chicago cops to drive out the hoodlums. It's going to take strategy. We need a General Petreaus.

The Farm Bill

Guess we need to read papers from either coast to read any sense about the pork for farmers. Heck of a bill when my Caputo's has to have a big poster explaining the price of pasta is going up because of ethanol subsidies.

From an Editorial in Foster's Daily Democrat in Vermont.
Let's hear no more from Democrats that they're on the side of the poor and opposed to big business. The farm bill passed by Congress loaded $40 billion onto nutrition programs for the poor to the benefit of America's wealthy farmers.

The country's corporate farmers won the backing of Senate Republicans from the farm states as well as the Democratic majority this week. Meanwhile, the majority party, working to widen its margin in the upper chamber is trying to paint President Bush and GOP members of Congress as being insensitive to the needs of America's underclass.

Sen. John Sununu reaffirmed his support for our country's poor and lower middle class last week in saying he continues to support the nutrition programs in the bill, but added, “good programs should never be held hostage to wasteful government spending.”

We don't have to remind the people of the Seacoast and Lakes Regions of New Hampshire and southern Maine of the soaring cost of food. They see it each day they go to the market.

Democrats running for election and re-election to Congress are trying to get consumers to swallow the meal that they are the ones who are trying to reduce food prices. How, by tossing subsidies at corn growers who sell their crops for the manufacture of ethanol, increasing the cost of what is sold in stores and what is grown for animal feed?
Also Boston Herald: Farm bill a major win for old politics and San Jose's The Mercury News: During boom in crop prices, lawmakers harvest subsidies.
With food prices soaring, it takes some gall to force Americans to pay billions of dollars to millionaire agribusinesses. Yet that's what the latest farm bill would do.
Gall indeed....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Aswat Aliraq: Pelosi meets Maliki, expresses support of govt.

Now, if only Sen Obama would travel to Bhagdad and voice the same support! Via Aswat Aliraq,
Baghdad, May 17, (VOI) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi met on Saturday in Baghdad Iraq’s PM Nouri al-Maliki, and expressed support of his government according to a press release by Maliki’s office.

“Nancy Pelosi expressed her country’s support of the Iraqi government with regards to the efforts taken to attain security and stability in Iraq, to reach the national reconciliation, to impose law, and to establish economic and construction projects,” Maliki’s office said in a release received by Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq- (VOI).

For his part, al-Maliki, according to the statement, stressed that the measures taken by the government to hunt down “terrorists and outlaws has for the first time received full support from all political forces and parties in addition to tribes and clerics.”

Since the last week of March 2008, Iraqi forces have been engaged in uninterrupted clashes with the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militiamen in Basra and Baghdad’s Sadr city and in clashes with Sunni extremists and al-Qaeda fighters in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

“The battles have made our forces more capable to receive the security file and take the initiative, a matter which will lead to lessening the burden on the Multi-National Forces,” the statement quoted Maliki as saying.

Pelosi arrived Saturday on an unexpected visit to Baghdad, the second of its kind in five months.

Pelosi’s visit comes only two days after the Democrats-dominated-U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2009.
SK/SR


Update: bg comments over at Gateway Pundit,

lol.. couldn't help but crack up reading this..

Pelosi Gets Quiet Reaction in Iraq

excerpt:

[Pelosi is something of a nonentity to average Iraqis. If they know who she is at all, she is generally seen as an antiwar caricature figure, someone whose views on U.S. troop withdrawals are widely considered unrealistic. Pelosi has said she wants to see most U.S. troops withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the 2008, a time frame virtually no Iraqi political leader sees as feasible. Not even Mahdi Army militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr, the fiercest advocate of a U.S. withdrawal on the scene, has called for such a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces. Rather, Sadr contends that the Americans should simply announce a reasonable timetable for the departure of U.S. forces.

The lack of popularity of Pelosi's views was evident in the fact that her first day on the ground Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not make an effort to see her. Maliki is currently in the northern city of Mosul overseeing a crackdown on insurgent networks there. But the city has been largely quiet in recent days, and there was no obvious pressing reason for the prime minister to skip Pelosi's arrival.]

of course they try to make her look good via tossing in a little Rice to spice her up, but they fail miserably [Earth to TIME (CNN) the "look over there, not over here" spin tactic just doesn't work anymore, but please don't tell Obama].. :D

==

Obama gets loopy over Pashto

Jack Kelly: Is Obama Ready for Prime Time?
But exhaustion can't explain what Sen. Obama said in Cape Girardeau, Missouri May 13. Sen. Obama blamed a shortage of interpreters in Afghanistan on the war in Iraq: "We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then it is harder for us to use them in Afghanistan," he said.

"The vast majority of military translators in both war zones are drawn from the local population," noted David Wright and Sunlen Miller of ABC News. "Naturally they speak the local language. In Iraq, that's Arabic or Kurdish. In Afghanistan, it's any of a half dozen other languages, including Pashtu, Dari and Farsi."

Agricultural specialists are needed in Afghanistan to help the locals develop crops other than opium poppies, Sen. Obama said. "But if we're sending them to Baghdad, they're not in Afghanistan," he added.

"Iraq has many problems, but encouraging farmers to grow food instead of opium isn't one of them," noted Mr. Wright and Ms. Miller.
He's a fragile candidate. He's going to tank. I'm still sticking with Gore-Obama as the eventual ticket.

Obama blames Fox News, e-mail for likely loss in Kentucky

Obama must think Democratic Primary Voters in Kentucky awfully stupid. From McClatchy...
He acknowledged that he’s trying to “reverse a lot of misconceptions” about his background. He is a Christian, although some e-mail chains have said he is a Muslim.

“Part of it is because there have been these e-mails that have been sent out very systematically, presumably by various political opponents, although I don’t know who,” he said. “And there are a lot of voters who get their news from Fox News. Fox has been pumping up rumors about my religious beliefs or my patriotism or what have you since the beginning of the campaign.”

The smart response Obama could have made on appeasement.

Hot Air nails it on Obama and Appeasement,
Obama and his surrogates drew those connections themselves. Instead of acknowledging the historical truth of appeasement’s failures, they chose to argue with it. Obama could have taken the smart route and embraced it to explain how he understands the lessons of appeasement, which is why his talks with Iran would not result in it. Instead, he got volcanically defensive, which suggests that even Obama sees the parallels between his everything’s-on-the-table approach and the Chamberlain diplomacy which resulted in dismantling Czechoslovakia.
Newt explains too...



More from Dan Curry over at Reverse Spin,
Yesterday, Obama curiously “owned” President Bush’s appeasement comments when they weren’t even directed at him. This is a bad public relations strategy—taking ownership of a negative attribute—unless you have a national press corps providing complete cover for you, which of course is the case.

Voices of Iraq: Pelosi arrives in Baghdad

From Aswat Aliraq,
Baghdad, May 17, (VOI)- U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Baghdad on Saturday for talks with U.S. and Iraqi officials, a source from Iraqi PM’s office said.

“Pelosi is to meet Iraqi Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq- (VOI).

Pelosi’s visit comes only two days after the Democrats-dominated-U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution as to pulling out U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2009. Pelosi, the first woman speaker of the House, had visited Iraq on 26 January 2008.
SK
Curious what she'll say about this.... she ought to ask Maliki for a little more info about Blackwater springing Alsammarae out of the IZ the Chicago way.

McCain and a real Change: “Question Time” Between President and Congress

Tom Roeser on McCain’s Columbus, Ohio Speech,

...and this strikes me, the amateur historian as powerfully significant—his pledge to further democratize and make more transparent the presidency with these words: “I will ask Congress to grant me the privilege of coming before both Houses to take questions and address criticism, much the same as the prime minister of Great Britain appears regularly before the House of Commons.”

By all odds, this is the most important innovation since Woodrow Wilson made the decision to revive the tradition, begun by George Washington, to personally appear before a joint session of Congress for the State of the Union. It is a brilliant innovation that will change the nature of the presidency enormously and for the better. It shows an amplification of the communication powers of the presidency. William Howard Taft was the first president to initiate questions from the press which were submitted in writing and to which he responded in writing. Franklin Roosevelt met with the press privately in conferences for off-the-record briefing purposes only where his words were not directly reported. Dwight Eisenhower enlarged this to meet with the media including television on a filmed delay basis which presented the president for the first time explaining his views to the media. John Kennedy enlarged this to hold live televised news conferences for the first time.

Now in the most significant enlargement of democracy since the presidency began, McCain would meet with a joint session of Congress and answer questions in parliamentary form—a magnificent and luminous sharing of his views with Americans. Frankly, it is something few previous presidents would have found the guts to try. Reagan was a master of communications but no one ever insinuated that he had an encyclopedic mind on the intricacies of government that Question Time would necessitate. Franklin Roosevelt was a Machiavellian master of timing and strategy but stayed as far away from immediate performances like debates as was possible.

Friday, May 16, 2008

McCain, Obama and Borah's Ghost

Grow up in a Taft-Republican home and Senator Borah's not such a bad guy. Obama sure sounds like he's channeling Borah today. I've heard the voice many times growing up.

Quotes from McCain's blogger brief over at The Blog: McCain Calls Iran a "Terrorist Nation". McCain said,
If Senator Obama wants to sit down across the table with the leader of a nation that calls Israel a stinking corpse--what is it that he wants to talk about with him?
and..
Meaningful negotiations could take place if they stop sponsoring terrorist organizations…those are the preconditions for sitting down with the Iranians.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Did Bush Slam Obama in Knesset Speech?



Count me one of the people clapping.

Obama on talks with Ahmadinejad



I bet I've been closer to Ahmadinejad then either Obama or Clinton.

I was walking back to work past Prime Minister Maliki's compound in the IZ and was stopped by Ahmadiejad's convey driving in for the visit with Maliki.

I would have taken a picture but my battle-buddy said it was not a good idea to point anything at the convey as Ahmadiejad's folks were cocked-and-loaded.

They did have a window rolled down and waved at us as they drove into Maliki's compound. A few weeks later we started taking incoming Iranian made Rockets from Sadr City.

So much for talks.

Carl Davidson on Obama: a high-road industrial policy capitalist and 'soft power' multipolar globalist

From a comment from Carl Davidson on Obama that deserves a post of it's own.

I thought Barack just deep down a Chicago Pol who learned his craft at the feet of Emil Jones, but you may be right here carl.. I just need to google some of these words to be sure.
I'm a pragmatist not only in philosophy, but also politics. Of those remaining, Obama is the best option, so I signed on to 'Progressives for Obama' and our web project

http://progressivesforobama.blogspot.com

We don't claim Obama is a leftist or even a consistent progressive. He's really a high-road industrial policy capitalist and 'soft power' multipolar globalist, while Hillary is a garden variety corporate liberal capitalist and globalist and McCain is an unreconstructed neoliberal capitalist and US hegemonist.

Truth be told, Obama is the best candidate for productive capital (as opposed to speculative) and does the least harm to the working class. That how he can unite the left, progressives and moderates vs the right in a new majority coalition.
I'll get back to you Carl but how about an ongoing you vs me blog debate through the election?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Daily Kos: Eulogy before the Inevitability of Self-Destruction: The Decline and Death of Israel

It speaks for itself.

Jill Morgenthaler and Daniel Frawley’s Companion Security in Iraq

Morgenthaler's site tells us,
In both Iraq and Afghanistan, I believe Congress must do a better job overseeing how US money is spent. The war in Iraq is costing American taxpayers trillions of dollars. Big money non-compete defense contracts are being consummated behind closed doors for the benefit of wealthy friends of the Bush Administration with little regard to need or budget considerations. At a time of fiscal uncertainty, I will go to Congress committed to ensuring that all taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.
Morgenthaler might want to start by explaining how deeply she was involved in Alsammarae and Frawley's plans for Iraq Reconstruction funds.
Alsammarae, who lives in the Chicago area and was a college classmate of Rezko, is a dual U.S.-Iraqi citizen. He left his post as Iraq's electricity minister in May 2005, about a month after Companion got the contract. Alsammarae was accused of financial corruption by Iraqi authorities and jailed in Iraq last year before escaping and returning here.

Companion's contract called for it to fly 150 Iraqis to the United States for police-type training. Among the subjects: how to shoot AK-47 rifles.

As Frawley sought to revive the contract in spring 2006, Blagojevich's chief of staff, John Harris, directed the state's homeland security adviser, Jill Morgenthaler, to find "a military site for the training of Iraqi police forces,'' Morgenthaler wrote in an April 26, 2006, e-mail. She wrote the letter in June 2006 offering the Savanna site.
Alsammarae knows, Frawely knows, Iraqi Politicians know... it's about time Morgenthaler told the people of Illinois what she knows about all of this.

And then, does she know anything about how Blackwater got their site in Illinois?

NYT's James Glanz's "Alley Effect" in Basra and Sadr City

From a Glanz column a few weeks ago on the fighting in Basra and Sadr City. Glanz dreams of himself as a translator for Iraqis occupying Chicago guiding them down an ally on the southside.
Here is what happens in the dream: Because I know a little Arabic, I somehow find myself a translator for the invaders, even as some of my Chicago buddies are in the alleys plotting against my employers. And each night when I walk home along my beloved Dearborn Street under the rusty elevated tracks and past the White Hen grocery store, I wonder what the guys poring over maps in their armored vehicles plan to accomplish against a few million South Siders fighting in their own alleys. That’s usually when I wake up.
Glanz finds the Iraqi's cause hopeless because they don't know Chicago and can't hope to defeat the Iraqi occupier.

I was working in the Green Zone during at the time and emailed Glanz telling him he had it all wrong, and coming from Chicago he should know.
Geez Glanz...I'm from Chicago and in Baghdad now like you. These guys are thugs. Just like the thugs we have back in Chicago except stronger. Sadr is in Iran too, he's hardly sticking around. He's letting Maliki weed out an "army" he can't control himself. Just like a cynical Chicago mob boss might too. There are some brave Iraqi's over here. They deserve our help. How about giving them some credit!
Glanz responded,
Sadr as a mob boss is an interesting thought -- but a lot of what you're saying doesn't have much to do with my job as a reporter. And you're making some sweeping statements without reading all the things I've written about Iraqis in four years. A common mistake readers make is to read two or three pieces by a writer and then make wide judgments about what that writer is about. I've written, what, hundreds of pieces on Iraq?
I admit I haven't read the whole Glanz corpus, but I think he got Basra and now it looks Sadr City wrong. We're not invading Sadr City or Basra. We're helping Maliki establish security and rule-of-law. A good many Chicagoans would appreciate the same security and rule-of-law at home too.

Maliki, Basra, and "Cavelry Charge"

Reihan Salam on Calvery Charge in Basra,
Even the most diehard Iraq hawks want to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq and lean more heavily on Iraqi Security Forces to do the hard work of defeating insurgents and sectarian militias. Which is why recent developments in Basra have been so encouraging. At first, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's decision to confront Moqtada al-Sadr's Iranian-backed militas looked like a major strategic misstep. Now it appears to have transformed Iraqi politics, potentially paving the way for real reconciliation between Sunni and Shia.
Bush was right,
President Bush says the Iraqi government's crackdown on Shiite militants in Basra is "a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq."

"The decision to move troops, Iraqi troops, into Basra talks about Prime Minister Maliki's leadership," Bush tells reporters during a joint appearance with Australian premier Kevin Rudd.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Aaron Klein writes "There is no Hamas 'smear'"

Good column and why this is so,
There is indeed a pattern here, but not one these obviously liberal bloggers would dare recognize – terrorists favor having Democrats in power over Republicans.

As I've detailed in my recently released book, "Schmoozing with Terrorists," jihadists believe liberals' general Mideast policies of withdrawal from Iraq, dialogue with Iran and Syria and ceasefires and negotiations with terror-sponsors will bring them victory. They will support any party that advocates policies they think will advance their interests.

Some ask why I am the only one reporting these things. That's more a question for the rest of the news media that seem to be asleep at the wheel. Perhaps I'm the only reporter who thinks it is important to understand what our enemies think, how they operate and just who they want to see in the White House.
It's about as simple as that. Why some asleep at the wheel is a mystery.

Obama, Rezko and Syrian Gangsters

Bruce Walker on why Clintion still hangs in there. She's betting on a jury in Chicago to convict Rezko.
The jury will begin to deliberate in mid-May, and a conviction of Rezko (or a deal cut by Rezko) could easily spread to a wider web of suspects. Obama himself is probably not implicated, but given the sleazy corruption of Blagojevich and Illinois Democrat politics – remembering that not too long ago Obama was an Illinois state senator – it is far from unthinkable that bad things could come out about the ethics of Obama.

This would add another big problem for him in terms of electibility. Being surrounded by America-haters would turn off blue collar voters – Reagan Democrats – but being surrounded by old style Chicago political mobsters would reduce his cachet among white collar Leftist elitists. Will Obama be forced, during June, to explain that he was not really in bed with gangsters – gangsters from nice countries like Syria, no less?
The question I wonder about is what does Syrian intelligence services have on all of this? What does Iraqi intelligence have on Alsammarae and Auchi? What does any intel service know that we don't?

Alsammarae posts his house as bond for Rezko and interpol drops its warrent for him. Waxman's committee refuses to ask if Blackwater helped Alsammarae escape the Green Zone. Someone knows the answers and I bet it's the spys. That the rest of us don't is a bad thing.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Progressives for Obama: Getting Out of Iraq

Good discussion between Phyllis Bennis and Tom Hayden on Obama's stand (or fuzziness) on standing down from Iraq. Hayden writes,
While Obama's position on Iraq is better than Clinton's and of course McCain's, our statement says it remains a key point of difference progressives still have with him. His 2002 anti-war speech, his 16 month combat troop withdrawal plan, his refusal to support Bush on Iran's Revolutionary Guard, all are in his favor. His repeated stump statements that he will "end the war in 2009" is building a climate of great expectations, and all these gestures are in response to a public antiwar mood that the anti-war movement has helped to build.

However, Obama remains stuck in the outdated Baker-Hamilton mode of withdrawing combat troops, shifting the US mission to counterinsurgency, and leaving an unspecified number of advisers/trainers/counter-terrorism units behind in the conflict. The anti-war movement must demand a full withdrawal, and the media must ask tougher questions of the candidates on these issues. We all are opposed to a "peace plan" that turns Iraq into another Central America or Afghanistan.

We also should oppose Obama's plans to transfer two divisions of combat troops from the quagmire of Iraq to the quagmire of Afghanistan, and his endorsement of attacking al -Qaeda in Pakistan if there is "actionable intelligence."
Obama's going to find it tough straddling withdrawal from Iraq and build up in Afghanistan and the Progressives are calling Obama out on it.

It would be as though McGovern had called for a Vietnam pull-out coupled with a build up in Cambodia. Which, oddly enough McGovern did a few years later and a few years too late in response to the Khmer Rouge's slaughter.
"Do we sit on the sidelines and watch a population slaughtered, or do we marshal military force and put an end to it?" -- Senator George McGovern, August 21, 1978
From the American Thinker on Learning from George McGovern and Earl Browder.

Progressives for Obama's Carl Davidson on Fidel Castro

Progressives for Obama's Carl Davidson writes,
[Note from CarlD: This is a down-to-earth report on the closing on an era. Fidel has been the leader of Cuba for my entire political life, and the very first demonstration I went to was a 'Hands Off Cuba' vigil of twelve of us at Penn State during the Cuba missile crisis.

Later, representing SDS, I had a chance to meet with Fidel. At the Cultural Congress of Havana in 1968, Dave Dellinger, Tom Hayden and I were whisked away to a safe house, were we sat up with Fidel late into the night, discussing everything under the sun. He wanted to know our opinion of McGovern, Dellinger wanted to know about Che and Regis Debray, Hayden and I asked to start what became the Veceremos Brigade, and Fidel bugged me to explain 'hippies' to him, and I tried my best.

He is a remarkable man, with a photographic memory, wide knowledge and keen insights. Cuba will change after him, though, as brother Raul is already looking into the socialist market economy in China and Vietnam, but will undoubtedly make any reforms 'in the Cuban way.' We should all wish Fidel and Cuba well, and double our voices against the blockcade.]

Syria Comment: Hizbullah Proves it Does Not Want a Tehran on the Mediterranean

Joshua's weird take on how Hizbullah made a point. This is a real stretch.

Tariq Alhomayed on Hezbollah: The Defeat of Victory

Alhomayed on the box Iran's put Nasrallah just to flex Iran's muscles for losing Sadr City:
Hezbollah’s occupation of Beirut is a real predicament for Nasrallah and those behind him since the party has limited options; it can either withdraw, in which case it would lose the false sanctity of its weapons, or continue the occupation and declare the establishment of the Hezbollah state and in that case it would invalidate the diversity and composition of Lebanon, destroy the Taif Accords and turn Lebanon upside down. Through this it would enter a confrontation with the international community, the cost of which will be paid by the party’s supporters.

First and foremost, for as long as Nasrallah’s heavily armed men remain in Sunni regions, this is enough to ensure that the Sunni monster would be unleashed, as previously mentioned. In that case, Nasrallah would be committing a crime against the Shia in the same way that he has against the Lebanese by dragging them into a dirty war with disastrous consequences.

Hezbollah has come to be an elephant in the room. The only options available to it involve destruction, withdrawal or swallowing poison and the reason for this is the conceit of power and ideological blindness in collaborating with Iran.

The Radical Roots of Barack Obama.

Dan Curry links the Rolling Stones story “The Radical Roots of Barack Obama” later renamed "Destiny's Child".

I liked Radical better.

Rolling Stone writes,
And there is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a sprawling, profane bear of a preacher, a kind of black ministerial institution, with his own radio shows and guest preaching gigs across the country. Wright takes the pulpit here one Sunday and solemnly, sonorously declares that he will recite ten essential facts about the United States. “Fact number one: We’ve got more black men in prison than there are in college,” he intones. “Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run!” There is thumping applause; Wright has a cadence and power that make Obama sound like John Kerry. Now the reverend begins to preach. “We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional KILLERS. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. . . . We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. . . . We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means!” The crowd whoops and amens as Wright builds to his climax: “And. And. And! GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS SHIT!”

Progressives for Obama and those anti-war Jews with the wrong line on Palastine

Some excerpts from Carl Davidson of Progressives for Obama discussing the roles of anti-war Jews in the Peace movement in Davidson's blog Keep on Trucking.

The old way,
'The same old way' is something like this:

All the hard left and anti-imperialists call a meeting--one person, one vote, no matter what they represent size-wise or constituency-wise. They then decide the slogans, theme and key elements of the day. They may also decide who they want to keep away, such as 'capitalists' or elected officials who won't sign a pledge or antiwar Jews with wrong line on Palestine (take your pick), then set up an outreach committee to make visits and calls to get other people to come to the party and help put up the additional trimmings, besides what's already done.

This produces a few more names, but the demo still ends up basically the same old militant minority.--sometimes large, sometimes smaller.

Don't get me wrong. I'll do this any day over doing nothing.
Now Carl's New Way and what not to do,
One thing I wouldn't expect to be entertained seriously though, are silly notions that politicians not signing a pledge, or antiwar Jews with the wrong line regarding peace in the Middle East, be told they're not welcome and to go off and do their own thing elsewhere.

As I said, to produce something different, I'm open to trying something different. But I've made it a point to listen not only to those who took part in our earlier efforts, but also to those who didn't, to those who weren't in the room, so to speak, but want this war over now nonetheless.

If you have better ideas, I'm all ears.
Those anti-war jews ought to consider how long they'll be welcome if Progressives for Obama get to be shot-callers in a Obama administration.

Carl Davidson: Obama as triangulator par excellence

There is the Obama you read, the Obama you hear, and the Obama who votes. Carl Davidson wasn't fooled by the multiple Obamas back in Jan 2007 when he wrote,
I'm from Chicago, too, and known Obama from the time he came to the New Party to get our endorsement for his first race ever. I've been in his home, and as an IL legislator, he's helped or community technology movement a number of times. He said all the right things to the ACORN and New Party folks, and we endorsed him, but I noticed too, that he seemed to measure every answer to questions put to him several tmes before coming out with it.

He spoke at our first antiwar rally. He spent most of his speech detailing all the wars in history he supported, then finally made a distinction between just wars and 'dumb' wars, and going into Iraq, which was still six months down the road then, was a 'dumb war,' and he flatly opposed it. Good, that put him on our side, and some of usorganized a fundraiser for him for his Senate race. But a friend of mine, and also an Obama campaigner, at that first rally, nudged me and asked, 'Who was that speech for? Certainly not this crowd.' Now we know.

After he visited Iraq when the war was on, he turned. Now we had to set aside whether it was right or wrong to invade, now we had to find the 'smart' path to victory, not Bush's 'dumb' path. Also, in dealing with Iran, we had to leave on the table bombing their nuclear sites. For this, a lot of the local antiwar activists started calling him 'Barack 'Obomb 'em'. He wasn't listening much to us anymore, but to folks much higher up in the DLC orbit. He had bigger plans.

To be fair, I read a recent speech he gave to laid-off workers from a plant closing out in Galesburg, IL, around globalization, corporate responsibility, the safety net, the third wave, and so on. It was very good. Save for not mentioning the war, I probably couldn't written a better one myself.

Giving the current crisis and developments in Congress, he may move back to our side on the war, and get as far as, say, Murtha's position. But right now he's not in the 'Out Now' camp, not as good as Murtha, and a triangulator par excellence. I've watched him do it up close. The press and his publicists put him in our camp, but if you look at his speeches and votes since his trip to Iraq, I think you'll find he has a way to go. Our peace groups here are sending a bunch of us to visit him soon, and get on his case. Perhaps he's still a work in progress, as Jesse Jackson says, but he still has a way to go to get back in my good graces, and those of many more of us here also.
Now Carl heads up Progressives for Obama.
Davidson muses about how he could not support John Kerry for president in 2004 because he was not progressive enough. But he is stoked for Obama.
Obama must have said something to Carl at that meeting with Carl's group. Given the multiple sides for Barack, it would be nice if Carl would explain the flip from Obomb 'em to Obama.

Rob Malley: another friend of Obama under the bus

From The Sun Times,
Rob Malley, a Middle East policy adviser to likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, resigned after news surfaced that he had been meeting with Hamas -- something Obama pledged he himself would never do.
Instead of turning his back on past friends and supporters, I wish Obama would quit the deception. I'm tired of what he pulled with Ali Abunimah over at Electronic Intifada. It's time for Obama to stand by his friends.
"The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.

"As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, 'Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race.' I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.' He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy [and said:] 'Keep up the good work!'"
Now is the time for Obama to be up front with us.