Saturday, June 14, 2008

Barack Obama and John McCain

  Obama doesn't stand for anything as far as " the issues " go, while McCain is the man with a plan? That's what the media would have you believe according to diarist  Stroszek at DailyKos.

Where Obama's web site boasts a 12 page document on the subject of energy independence alone, McCain simply offers three short paragraphs that outline a vague perspective:

John McCain Will Help Americans Hurting From High Gasoline And Food Costs. Americans need relief right now from high gas prices. John McCain will act immediately to reduce the pain of high gas prices.

John McCain Believes We Should Institute A Summer Gas Tax Holiday. Hard-working American families are suffering from higher gasoline prices. John McCain calls on Congress to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

John McCain Will Stop Filling The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) To Reduce Demand. International demand for oil is bolstered by federal purchases for the SPR. There is no reason to fill it when oil is so expensive; the overall SPR is of adequate size, and when it places further upward pressure on prices.

What about other economic issues? Obama's site offers a 48 page PDF dedicated to issues concerning the middle class. He also has separate sections that focus specifically on fiscal responsibility,  poverty, rural development, urban policy, and transportion.

McCain offers a little over 2,000 words, about the length of a short answer essay for Poli-Sci 101.

How about education? Obama has a 15 page document on PreK-to-12 education and a separate document on college affordability.

McCain has a page that consists of a few general statements of principle with no specific proposals beyond extending what George W. Bush has already done.

What about Iraq, allegedly McCain's big issue? He has a page, and again, it's mostly just a restatement of his ideological perspective. One of his proposals is, in fact, to "level with the American people." OK John, then level, but don't expect us to accept things like this:

More progress is necessary. The government must improve its ability to serve all Iraqis. A key test for the Iraqi government will be finding jobs in the security services and the civilian sector for the "Sons of Iraq" who have risked so much to battle terrorists.

Iraq will conduct two landmark elections in the near future – one for provincial governments in late 2008 and the other for the national government in 2009. John McCain believes we should welcome a larger United Nations role in supporting the elections. The key condition for successful elections is for American troops to continue to work with brave Iraqis to allow the voting to take place in relative freedom and security. Iraqis need to know that the U.S. will not abandon them, but will continue to press their politicians to show the necessary leadership to help develop their country.

Obama, of course, supports gradual redeployment coupled with implementation of the Biden plan to federalize Iraq. His is an entirely new approach to the problem. McCain's "plan" can be summed up by Bush's 2004 mantra: "Stay the course."

In all the other sections, from Health Care to Veterans Issues, McCain doesn't fare much better. On substance, Obama clearly has him beat, so if there's an "empty suit" in this race, anyone with internet access would have to conclude that it's John McCain.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The House Passes Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act With Veto Proof Majority

  This will make Bush come out kicking and screaming and holding his breathe until someone takes this bill away! Luckily, for those workers who can't find a job because of our great booming economy under Bush, this bill is going nowhere but into the books.

  The Gavel

The House has just passed the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act, H.R. 5749, by a veto-proof margin of 274-137 after Republicans blocked the legislation yesterday. The legislation will immediately provide up to 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits in every state to workers exhausting the 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits, providing much-needed relief to 3.8 million unemployed workers to assist them with rapidly rising gas and food costs, while they continue to struggle to find work in the slowing economy.

  A veto proof majority. What a concept!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Obama Beats McCain In Polling Match-ups: Still Has More Work To Do

  This from MSNBC

       In the head-to-head matchup, Obama leads McCain among African Americans (83-7 percent), Hispanics (62-28), women (52-33), Catholics (47-40), independents (41-36) and even blue-collar workers (47-42). Obama is also ahead among those who said they voted for Clinton in the Democratic primaries (61-19).

  That's a pretty damned good showing for Barack Obama over that old, live in the past, John McCain. It is noted though that Obama still has a few important areas to improve in, mainly white men who favor McCain ( 55-35 ), and white suburban women which McCain has the lead by 44-38 percent. Those will continue to be two tough areas for Barack Obama.

              However, Obama has a seven-point advantage (46-39) among all white women. How important is that lead? Newhouse explains that Republican candidates always expect to win white men by a substantial margin, but it is white women that usually decide the race. “If a Republican wins among white women, we usually win that election,” he says, noting that George W. Bush carried that group in 2000 and 2004.

  So what do the voters say that they want?

           In the survey, 54 percent say that they’re looking for a new president who would bring greater changes to current policies, even if that person is less experienced and tested. By contrast, 42 percent say they’d rather have a more experienced and tested person become president, even if that means fewer changes to current policies.

Moreover, 59 percent say it's more important to have a president who will focus on progress and moving America forward, versus 37 percent who would rather the president protect what has made America great.

“Voters are not convinced that McCain represents the change they want and that he’ll be all that different from Bush.” Indeed, according to the poll, 48 percent say it’s likely that Obama will be real change to the country. Just 21 percent say that of McCain.

   And last but not least, this bit of info.

     Fifty-four percent of the respondents in the poll — no matter whom they are voting for — believe that Obama will win in November. Only 30 percent think McCain will win.

  McCain has his work cut out for him along with Obama. The difference is, McCain is climbing up a very steep hill and it gets rockier for him every time that he opens his mouth. Keep up the good work, John-Boy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Feingold And Dodd Send Letter To Dem Leaders Concerning FISA Compromise


June 10, 2008

Dear Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Chairman Leahy, Chairman Conyers, Chairman Rockefeller and Chairman Reyes,

As you work to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, we urge you to include key protections to safeguard the privacy of law-abiding Americans, and not to include provisions that would grant retroactive immunity to companies that allegedly cooperated in the President’s illegal warrantless wiretapping program.

With respect to immunity, we are particularly concerned about a proposal recently made by Senator Bond, and want to make clear that his proposal is just as unacceptable as the immunity provision in the Senate bill, which we vigorously opposed. As we understand it, the proposal would authorize secret proceedings in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to evaluate the companies’ immunity claims, but the court’s role would be limited to evaluating precisely the same question laid out in the Senate bill: whether a company received “a written request or directive from the Attorney General or the head of an element of the intelligence community … indicating that the activity was authorized by the President and determined to be lawful.”

Information declassified in the committee report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the FISA Amendments Act, S. 2248, confirms that the companies received exactly these materials:

The Committee can say, however, that beginning soon after September 11, 2001, the Executive branch provided written requests or directives to U.S. electronic communication service providers to obtain their assistance with communications intelligence activities that had been authorized by the President.

… The letters were provided to electronic communication service providers at regular intervals. All of the letters stated that the activities had been authorized by the President. All of the letters also stated that the activities had been determined to be lawful by the Attorney General, except for one letter that covered a period of less than sixty days. That letter, which like all the others stated that the activities had been authorized by the President, stated that the activities had been determined to be lawful by the Counsel to the President.

In other words, under the Bond proposal, the result of the FISA Court’s evaluation would be predetermined. Regardless of how much information it is permitted to review, what standard of review is employed, how open the proceedings are, and what role the plaintiffs’ lawyers are permitted to play, the FISA Court would be required to grant immunity. To agree to such a proposal would not represent a reasonable compromise.

As we have explained repeatedly in the past, existing law already immunizes telephone companies that respond in good faith to a government request, as long as that request meets certain clearly spelled-out statutory requirements. This carefully designed provision protects both the companies and the privacy of innocent Americans. It gives clear guidance to companies on what government requests it should comply with and what requests it should reject because the requirements of the law are not met. The courts should be permitted to apply this longstanding provision in the pending cases to determine whether the companies that allegedly participated in the program should be granted immunity.

We also urge you to correct the significant flaws in the FISA provisions of the Senate bill, some of which were addressed in the House version. The Senate bill authorizes widespread surveillance involving innocent Americans and does not provide adequate checks and balances to protect their rights. First, it permits the government to come up with its own procedures for deciding who is a target of surveillance, and provides no meaningful consequences if the FISA Court later determines the government’s procedures are not even reasonably designed to wiretap foreigners. Second, even if the government is wiretapping foreigners outside the U.S., those foreigners need not be terrorists, suspected of any wrongdoing, or even be of any specific intelligence interest. That means the government could legally collect all communications between Americans here at home and the rest of the world. Third, the Senate version of the bill failed to prohibit the practice of reverse targeting – namely, wiretapping a person overseas when what the government is really interested in is an American here at home with whom the foreigner is communicating. Fourth, the Senate version of the bill failed to include meaningful privacy protections for the Americans whose communications will be collected in vast new quantities. We strongly believe that these problems should be corrected as the legislation moves forward.

Thank you for your consideration of these concerns. As this legislation moves forward, please know that we will strongly oppose any legislation that includes a grant of unjustified retroactive immunity and that does not adequately protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans.


Senator Russell D. Feingold
Christopher J. Dodd

Monday, June 09, 2008

Hard Core Neo-con John McBush, McCain


Article II Powers

Holtz-Eakin further cited Article II powers of the Constitution in explaining how McCain would act as President, suggesting that McCain -- like Bush -- would exercise virtually unlimited executive powers for the duration of the indefinite "war on terror."

McCain also has announced that he would appoint Supreme Court justices like Samuel Alito and John Roberts who -- along with Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas -- represent four votes in favor of reinterpreting the Constitution to grant the President the broad powers claimed by Bush and McCain.

If a President McCain gets to replace one of the five other justices with another Alito or Roberts, the new court majority could, in effect, rewrite the rules of the American Republic to declare the imperial presidency "constitutional."

If that happens, the American people would no longer possess "unalienable rights," as promised by the Founders and enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The President would possess what the neocons call "plenary" -- or total -- power.

John McCain may criticize President Bush on the edges of neoconservative policies, such as failing to prosecute the Iraq War more aggressively, and he may differ with Bush on the efficacy of torture, given McCain's own mistreatment as a Vietnam prisoner of war.

But there should be no doubt that a McCain victory would give the neocons another four-year lease on the White House. And, after those four years, there might be no feasible way back for the great American Republic.     Entire Article

  I hope that you read that very carefully. If not, go back and read it again, very slowly. This is what the country that you and I love will have to face if John McCain makes it into the White House. We cannot have that happen. I for one, love my freedoms, few that I now have, and you probably do also.

   If John McCain, as President, gets the chance to appoint someone to the Supreme Court, then we will all be fucked for a very, very long time. If I had wanted to live under a dictator, I would have moved to Cuba, or Russia, or China or one of the other " controlling " countries on this planet.

  All of the crap that you hear concerning the Protect America Act, FISA, and Homeland Security Department are not in place to protect you or I from a terrorist threat, they are in place to keep track of us.

   The only terrorist that you and I should be mighty concerned with, are the ones in the Republican Party as they are the terrorist!

  Now, read the entire article from above and get educated on McCain and the neo-cons. CONS indeed!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Fugitive Saudi Gets Pentagon Contract

  If this doesn't take the cake! Leave it to the Bush Crime Syndicate to give a contract to an individual who is wanted by the F.B.I.


Gretchen Peters reports that the Pentagon has awarded an international fugitive, shadowy Saudi financier Gaith Pharaon, an $80 million contract to supply jet fuel in Afghanistan (h/t Ron Beasley). Pharaon is a fugitive from the FBI as well as the subject of investigations by France and Italy.

The contract to supply jet fuel to American bases in Afghanistan was awarded to the Attock Refinery Ltd, a Pakistani-based refinery owned by Gaith Pharaon. Pharaon is wanted in connection with his alleged role at the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), and the CenTrust savings and loan scandal, which cost US tax payers $1.7 billion.

The Saudi businessman was also named in a 2002 French parliamentary report as having links to informal money transfer networks called hawala, known to be used by traders and terrorists, including Al Qaeda.

Interestingly, Pharaon was also an investor in President George W. Bush's first business venture, Arbusto Energy.    More

  This creep was a fellow classmate of George's back at Harvard and his speacialty would seem to be banking scandals, remember BCCI and CenTrust?

    This bum is going to supply fuel to our pilots in Afghanistan. More of the Republicans support for our troops, I guess.