Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Catfight Continues

Who thought the Democratic presidential contest would include a spat on whether or not to invite Kim Jong Il to the White House? After Senator Barack Obama promised to meet directly with the anti-American leaders of Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba during his first year as president (should he be elected) without setting any preconditions, Senator Hillary Clinton and her surrogates blasted him for being naive in the ways of foreign policy. As I noted in postings below, I, too, thought his answer lacked the necessary sophistication. An Obama adviser told me, "Of course, it was a mistake, but Hillary has overreacted." Indeed he forces of Hillary have tried to exploit that misstep, and a catfight has ensued.

In this battle between Clinton and Obama, both sides are right. Look at how ABC News depicted the slam-fest:

In interviews with Iowa's Quad City Times Tuesday, both candidates took shots at one another. "I thought that was irresponsible and, frankly, naive to say that he [Sen. Obama] would commit to meeting with Chavez and Castro and others within the first year," Clinton said. "Sen. Obama gave an answer which I think he's regretting today."

Countered Obama: "If anything is irresponsible and naive, it was authorizing George Bush to send 160,000 young American men and women into Iraq -- apparently without knowing how they were going to get out."

Which of these arguments is misguided? Neither. Obama should not have committed to such meetings, and Clinton was wrong to have voted for legislation that allowed Bush to invade Iraq. Certainly, a debate slip-up is not as consequential as okaying a disastrous war. What's unfortunate for Obama (politically) is that he's going on the offensive against Clinton regarding her war vote in order to defend himself for committing an error during the debate. If he's serious about critiquing Clinton's judgment (as evidenced by her war vote), then he should have argued this case earlier. His next best option is to argue it more extensively and vigorously in the months ahead.

I'm not saying this would be a winning formula for Obama. John Kerry also voted for the Iraq war legislation, and though most Democrats in 2004 favored Howard Dean's anti-war stance, the Democrats elected Kerry their nominee and supported him in the general election. But Obama needs to show he's different from Clinton in significant ways. If he believes the war vote is a key distinction (he opposed the Iraq war but was not yet in the Senate), he should focus on that and not on who's coming to dinner at the White House.

I KNEW HENRY KISSINGER, AND SHE'S NO.... Meanwhile, back at my homebase of The Nation, John Nichols used the Clinton-Obama tussle to attack Clinton for being...a clone of Henry Kissinger. I'm no Clinton fan. But Nichols was engaging in historical revisionism regarding an event only three days old. He wrote:

In Monday's night's YouTube debate, candidates were asked it they would be willing to meet "with leaders of Syria, Iran, Venezuela during their first term," Obama immediately responded that, yes, he would be willing to do so. He explained that "the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous."

Clinton disagreed in the debate and now her camp is declaring that, "There is a clear difference between the two approaches these candidates are taking: Senator Obama has committed to presidential-level meetings with some of the world's worst dictators without precondition during his first year in office."

....The senator is showing true self when she dismisses the value of presidential engagement with the leaders of foreign lands.

Clinton is playing politics this week. But in a broader sense she is aligning herself with a secretive and anti-democratic approach to global affairs that steers the United States out of the global community while telling the American people that foreign policy is the domain only of shadowy Kissingers.

All Clinton said at the debate--and afterward--is that diplomacy would have to precede any presidential meetings with the thuggish leaders of these states and that she would not commit to such top-level talks without this preliminary work. How does that translate into being "shadowy," "secretive," or "anti-democratic"? I'm all for kicking her for the Iraq war vote. But let's have a fair--and accurate--fight

Posted by David Corn at July 26, 2007 10:50 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Wow, seems like a catfight from within a flea circus.

I thought your take on what Obama said was a little over extrapolated, John’s take on HRC was not more or less inaccurate. Of course neither candidate would move forward without input from aides and advisors and the “secrecy” would have more to do with the content not the character of the meetings. Open channels are important.

This issue (if of any importance) is a silly distraction.

Much bigger fish to fry and many miles to go before the neocons steal the next election.

If the WH is wiretapping their enemies you can bet the political enemies are included. There will be no significant changes in the dictatorial nature of our neo-government from democracy, no real change no matter who is shining the seat in the oval office.



capt said...

Still wondering what HRC did for the little people (the employees) during her 6 years on the board of Walmart?

Did she ever mention better wages or healthcare? Did she know about the obvious labor abuses?

Maybe some smart and savvy reporter will approach the Walmart Board member issue so we can know if HRC is sincere?


capt said...

DJIA down 366.

OUCH - Will the problems pass or are we seeing more trouble ahead.


Gerald said...

Is the stockmarket going down so Bush can commence another war? Remember at the start of the Iraq war the financial stations were saying that WAR IS GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY! So, I guess that we must have another war!!!!!

Let me share with you my birthday card's words from our youngest son!

A Poem for Your Birthday

“All About Farts”

A fart can be quiet, a fart can be loud, Some leave a powerful, poisonous cloud…

A fart can be short, or a fart can be long, Some farts have been known to sound just like a song…

A fart can create a most curious medley, A fart can be harmless, or silent, but deadly…

A fart might not smell, while others are vile, A fart may pass quickly, or linger awhile…

A fart can occur in a number of places, And leave everyone with strange looks on their faces…

From wide-open prairie, to small elevators, A fart will find all of us sooner or later…

But not all farts are bad, this is simply not true – We mustn’t forget…

Dear sweet old farts like YOU!

Happy Birthday

Love, Bob

Our home is into fart humor!!!

Gerald said...

23 days to absolute tyranny

Gerald said...

Never Give a Life or Take a Life for a Lie

Gerald said...

Impeach Bush to Stop War Lies, Deaths

Gerald said...

And in Washington we had this Bush, and it is implausible to have anyone who is this dumb running anything, smirking at his country. He sure doesn't mind copying those people. On his PBS television show the other night, Bill Moyers said he was amazed at Sara Taylor of the White House staff saying that she didn't have to talk to a congressional committee because George Bush had ordered her not to. "I took an oath to uphold the president," she said.

That president had been in charge of a government that kidnapped, tortured, lied, intercepted mail and calls, all in the name of opposing people who are willing to kill themselves right in front of you. You have to get rid of a government like this. Ask anybody in Rosedale, where Le Ron Wilson wanted to live his young life. His grave speaks out that this is an impeachable offense.


Gerald said...

Bush's Martial Law Plan Is Shocking

Gerald said...

Bush Re-Authorizes Martial Law Provisions

Gerald said...

In other words the new directive excludes Congress altogether from governance in a state of emergency.

capt said...



(and many more)


David B. Benson said...

Very good article about fare-free public transit.


capt said...

Angst, Alienation and Martial Law: Roasting Marshmallows on the American Reichstag Fire to Come

In this summer of angst and grim foreboding about what further assaults against common sense and common decency the Bush Administration might inflict upon the people of the world, how many times during the day do those of us -- still possessed of mind, heart and conscience -- take pause, hoping we've seen the worst of it, then, fearing we haven't yet, attempt to push down the dread rising within us, so that we might simply make it through the day and be able to rest at night? Accordingly, those who have been paying attention are aware that the outward mechanisms of martial law are in place. We shudder knowing that Bush has issued an executive decree that grants him dictatorial power in the event of some nebulously defined national emergency. In addition, the knowledge nettles us that a vast network of internment camps bristle across the length of the U.S., standing at wait for those who might raise objections to the fascistic fury unloosed by the American empire's version of the Reichstag fire.

Moreover, a closer look would reveal that the inner processes by which an individual begins the act of acceptance of authoritarian excess -- the mixture of chronic passivity, boredom, low grade anxiety and unfocused rage inherent in the citizens/consumers of the corporate state that primes an individual for fascism -- have been in place for quite some time within the psyches of the American populace, both elites and hoi polloi alike. Although, don't look for torch-lit processions thronging the nation's streets and boulevards; rather, look for a Nuremberg Rally of couch-bound brownshirts. Instead of ogling the serried ranks of jut-jawed, SS soldiers, a contemporary Leni Riefenstahl would be forced to film chubby clusters of double-chinned consumers, saluting the new order with their TV remotes. In the contemporary United States, the elation induced by the immersion of one's individual will to the mindless intoxication of the mob might only be possible, if Bush seized dictatorial control of the state while simultaneously sending out to all citizens gift certificates to Ikea.

After the catastrophes spawned by the rise of European fascism in the 1930s, a number of brilliant, original thinkers (including Hannah Arendt, Roberto Freire, Wilhelm Reich, and R. D. Laing) set out to study the phenomenon in order to learn how future calamities might be prevented. Although the methodologies and conclusions of these thinkers varied, each noted that alienation and dehumanization festered at the core of the death urge of fascism.

Nowadays, in contrast, the elites of the corporate media have proven themselves useless in this regard, believing, as they do, they constitute the thin line between the rabble at large (me and you) and the chaos begot by freedom. At present, mega-churches attract alienated suburbanites. Right wing talk show hosts misdirect their listeners alienation towards so-called illegal "aliens" and exploit their audience's sense of powerlessness (created by the rigged system of corporate capitalism) against elitist liberals (who themselves, ironically, benefit from the present system and who only want to change it to the degree that their own privilege will not be affected. In other words, not at all).


Gerald said...

capt, thank you for the comment!

We are in a grave constitutional crisis

capt said...

"Too many Americans have twisted the sensible right to pursue happiness into the delusion that we are entitled to a guarantee of happiness. If we don't get exactly what we want, we assume someone must be violating our rights. We're no longer willing to write off some of life's disappointments to simple bad luck." -- Susan Jacoby: -(1945-) American author


"The government of the absolute majority is but the government of the strongest interests; and when not effectively checked, is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised. [To read the Constitution is to realize that] no free system was ever farther removed from the principle that the absolute majority, without check or limitation, ought to govern."- -- John C. Calhoun - (1782-1850) American statesman

"No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words 'no' and 'not' employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights." -- Rev. Edmund A. Opitz
(1914-2006) American minister, author

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

David B. Benson said...

Gerald --- Happy birthday!

Keep on posting...

Gerald said...


Bush Line Distorts Iran's Real Interest in Iraq

by Gareth Porter
As US and Iranian diplomats met in Baghdad Tuesday for a second round of talks on Iraq, the domestic US political climate appears decidedly more supportive of an aggressive US posture toward Iran than just a few months ago, reflecting the apparent triumph of the George W. Bush administration's narrative on Iran's role in Iraq.

That new narrative threatens to obscure the bigger picture of Iranian policy toward Iraq, widely recognized by regional specialists. Iran's strategic interests in Iraq are far more compatible with those of the United States than those of the Sunni regimes in the region with which the United States has aligned itself.

Contrary to the official narrative, Iranian support for Shi'ites is not aimed at destabilizing the country but does serve a rational Iranian desire to maximize its alliances with Iraqi Shi'ite factions, in the view of specialists on Iranian policy and on the security of the Persian Gulf region.

Symptomatic of the toughening attitude in Congress toward Iran was the 97-0 vote in the Senate last week for a resolution drafted by its leading proponent of war against Iran, Sen. Joe Lieberman, stating that "the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces by a foreign government or its agents is an intolerable act of hostility against the United States." The resolution demanded that the government of Iran "take immediate action" to end all forms of support it is providing to Iraqi militias and insurgents.

That vote followed several months of intensive administration propaganda charging that Iran is arming Shi'ite militias in Iraq, and characterizing Iranian financial support and training for Shi'ite militias as an aggressive effort to target US troops and to destabilize Iraq.

But this administration line ignores the fact that Iran's primary ties in Iraq have always been with those groups who have supported the Nouri al Maliki government, including the SCIRI and Dawa parties and their paramilitary arm, the Badr Corps, rather than with anti-government militias. That indicates that Iran's fundamental interest is to see the government stabilize the situation in the country, according to Prof. Mohsen Milani of Florida International University, a specialist on Iran's national security policies.

Milani argues that Iran's interests are more closely aligned with those of the United States than any other state in the region. "I can't think of two other countries in the region who want the Iraqi government to succeed," says Milani.

He believes the Iranians are so upset with the efforts by the Saudis to undermine the Shi'ite-dominated government that they may try to use the talks with the United States on the security of Iraq to introduce intelligence they have gathered on Saudi support for al-Qaeda and Sunni insurgents.

Trita Parsi, author of a new book on Iranian-Israeli security relations, agrees that Iran's support for the Maliki government stands in contrast to the attitude of the leading US Sunni ally in Middle East, Saudi Arabia. "Look at what the Saudis are calling the Maliki government – a puppet government," he observes. "You're not hearing that from Iran."

Dr. James A. Russell, a lecturer in National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School and a specialist on security affairs in the Gulf region, agrees that the two countries do indeed share common strategic interests in Iraq, at least in terms of rational, realist definitions of strategic interest.

The problem, Russell says, is that the history of the relationship and domestic political constituencies pose serious obstacles to realizing those common interests. Two such obstacles are "the very powerful political constituency for attacking Iran" and support for Israel, says Russell.

James Dobbins, former US ambassador to Afghanistan and director of the Rand Corporation's International Security and Defense Policy Center, agrees that Iran is not trying to destabilize Iraq. "They have been supportive of the government and hope it prevails," he says. As for the chief source of instability in Iraq, the Sunni-Shi'ite conflict, Dobbins notes that "Iranians don't see anything to be gained by Sunni-Shi'ite conflict in Iraq."

Contrary to the impression conveyed by the Bush administration, Iran's ties to Shi'ite militias do not represent a new development. They have been a constant in Iranian policy since the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime opened the way for Shi'ite militias to return from Iran in 2003.

In August 2005 a Time magazine story reported that Iranians were providing support to what were then called "Shi'ite insurgents" but quoted Western diplomats as saying that they "appear to be acting defensively rather than offensively." Those sources noted that the Iranian assistance to Shi'ite militias was "dwarfed by the amount of money and materiel flowing in from Iraq's Arab neighbors to Sunni insurgents."

Iran specialists and regional analysts agree that Iran's ties with militias who attack US and British forces as well as government targets is essentially a way of ensuring that Iran will be on good terms with any future regime in Baghdad. "They're trying to hedge their bets," says Dobbins, "because they're not sure who's going to prevail."

Russell agrees that Iranian support for militias is not aimed at to destabilizing Iraq but to establish good relations with every Shi'ite faction. "This is a logical step to protect their interests," he says.

The US military presence is an obvious point of US-Iranian contention over Iraq. Iran has shown a relatively high level of tolerance for the US occupation in the past but has grown increasingly critical of that presence over the past year. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in May, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki charged that the US military presence was a cause of instability rather than a solution for it.

"We believe that sooner or later they have to decide to withdraw their troops from Iraq because that is the cause for the continuation of terrorist activities," he said.

The changing Iranian posture toward the US presence may reflect the relative weakening of the al-Maliki government and the emergence of the fiercely nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr as a major political force. Sadr has brought the demand for a timetable for US withdrawal to the center of his political strategy in recent months.

Given the uncertain political future of the country and the growing demand by Shi'ite militias – including those which have been affiliated with Sadr's Mahdi Army – for support for armed activities against the occupation, Iran probably felt that it had little choice but to respond positively.

Although the spokesman for US command recently suggested that Iran has been supporting "rogue elements" fighting against coalition forces, last November US intelligence officials confirmed that Mahdi Army units were being trained by Iranian ally Hezbollah in Lebanon with Sadr's knowledge.

But Iran may also share the interest of the al-Maliki government in having continued US support for the development of Shi'ite security forces. "Tehran is not necessarily in favor of a complete pullout," says Russell.

The actual degree of convergence between US and Iranian interests on Iraq could still be a factor in the bilateral talks on the subject, despite the determination of the still powerful Vice President Dick Cheney to make sure they fail.

Gerald said...

DBB, Thank you for the comment! I plan to keep on posting but I only wish that my posts were happy posts and not the grave possibility of a Bush and Nazi cabal takeover of my country.

Gerald said...

But Bush's administration line ignores the fact that Iran's primary ties in Iraq have always been with those groups who have supported the Nouri al Maliki government, including the SCIRI and Dawa parties and their paramilitary arm, the Badr Corps, rather than with anti-government militias. That indicates that Iran's fundamental interest is to see the government stabilize the situation in the country, according to Prof. Mohsen Milani of Florida International University, a specialist on Iran's national security policies.

Milani argues that Iran's interests are more closely aligned with those of the United States than any other state in the region. "I can't think of two other countries in the region who want the Iraqi government to succeed," says Milani.

He believes the Iranians are so upset with the efforts by the Saudis to undermine the Shi'ite-dominated government that they may try to use the talks with the United States on the security of Iraq to introduce intelligence they have gathered on Saudi support for al-Qaeda and Sunni insurgents.



Gerald said...

We should befriend Iran

Gerald said...

Bush's Speechwriter Wants to a Attack Syria

Gerald said...

When the same is not the same

Gerald said...

The problem with Nazi Americans is their air of superiority. Nazi Americans look upon themselves as good, holy, and saintly people.

What is most notable about Nazi Americans is their hypocrisy. Nazi America is a country where the vast majority of the population are hypocrites.

Gerald said...

Reich-wing Media

Please read this article!!!!!

Gerald said...

Our Children as Collateral Damage

Gerald said...

Praying for a Terrorist Strike

Gerald said...

People like Santorum and Milligan (and Dana Rohrabacher, the stupidest consequential public figure not named Bush or Hannity) ache for disaster. They pant after it with vulgar, undisguised lust. They are tremulous with unconsummated desire for validation in the form of dead Americans and ruined cities.

capt said...

PBS Tonight - Palast on 'NOW': 'The fix is in' for 2008

Tonight (Friday July 27): Catch Greg Palast on PBS' top current affairs program.

'NOW' furthers the story Palast first busted open for Britain's BBC Newsnight, the scheme to attack voters of color - the 'Blue' ones.

For Bill Moyers' capable successor, David Brancaccio, Palast lays out the latest evidence never before televised.

8:30pm Eastern (on New York Thirteen). Check local listings.


Surely a DO NOT MISS!


capt said...

After Pat’s Birthday

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman


*****end of clip*****

They burned Pat’s journal and uniform after he was murdered. Seems curious - why the journal and what had he written? We will never know.


capt said...

New Thread