Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Palin...trades for power & status....

From truthout.org :

Cynthia Boaz
Welcome to Gilead, Governor Palin


Cynthia Boaz, Truthout:

"Governor and Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin is the Gileadian 'Aunt' manifested. Her sudden emergence onto the American political scene, accompanied by a burst of enthusiasm on the part of many American women, is a surreal example of life imitating art. Much of Palin's rhetoric, tactics and personal philosophy seem to be taken directly from the Auntie training manual.

By accepting the position on the GOP ticket despite her astonishing lack of qualifications, Palin signaled that she was prepared to be used - on the basis of her sex alone - in exchange for the promise of status and power."

*Use link above to continue reading...


Weekly papers hit by banking disaster...going under...

From Levine Breaking News:


The alternative newspaper chain that publishes the dominant weeklies in Chicago, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Tampa filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy this morning, sending shock waves through newsrooms around the country. But anyone who's followed the consolidation of this industry shouldn't have been surprised in the least.

Virtually all the nation's major-market alternative weeklies are now part of highly-leveraged chains, and must fork over huge interest payments to bankers and venture capital outfits before spending a dime on operations.

These bankers, of course, are the very institutions melting down before our eyes, with no bottom in sight. When the dust eventually settles, the entire print industry -- battered already by the challenges of the Internet and rising manufacturing costs -- will need to refigure its business models. We can only hope they'll remember that expansion through leveraging can be not just risky but lethal.


Monday, September 29, 2008

CA SecState Bowen wants open source....

From ABC News via truthout.org:

Counting Every Vote


Erica Naone, ABC News: "California's secretary of state, Debra Bowen, believes that open-source software should be used in elections involving electronic voting machines, to protect against error and fraud.

Bowen has a history of pushing for greater transparency and accountability in election technology. After taking office in November 2006, she commissioned a top-to-bottom review of e-voting systems, including detailed analyses of source code, documentation, security, and usability."

*Use link above to continue reading...


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Unlimited renewable energy via Google...worldwide...

From Google :

The philanthropic non-profit organization sponsored by Google has financed revolutionary research into geothermal energy.

This is renewable energy that works 24 hours a day; it can generate electricity when the wind does not blow and the Sun does not shine. With enough research, it may be cost competitive with coal.


*Use link above to watch video...


San Diego better terrorist target than Pentagon....

From www.blogofsandiego.com :

The Navy's strategic use of civilians?
by Pat Flannery

John Q. Public was not allowed to record this "public" meeting, according to Captain Matt Brown, Commander, Navy Region Southwest PAO (Public Affairs Office). Watch a (cut short) video of this "public" meeting.Opposite is a picture of Captain Brown's face as he gave this particular John Q. Public, me, the "heave-ho", the old "you're outta here".

As you can see, the Captain was not amused. I guess "public" means something a little different to the Navy.

But why??An August 20, 2008 article in the Union-Tribune may provide a clue. Admiral Hering, Commander of the Navy's Southwest Region, may have accidentally let the cat out of the bag in a U-T interview regarding the Navy's economic impact on the San Diego region. This may be the dirty little secret the Navy does not want the civilians of San Diego to know:

"Hering said the new administration building, which is slated to become the Navy's center for logistics for the global war on terror, will result in a $2.7 billion impact on the San Diego community and an infusion of 22,000 jobs."

The Navy Broadway Complex is to become the Navy's center for logistics for the global war on terror! That means that San Diego's waterfront will become Bin Laden's number one target. The primary objective of every terrorist in the world will be to destroy the Navy Broadway Complex, whose known mission is to kill every last one of them. Even the Pentagon will be a secondary target to this San Diego facility.


*Use link above to continue reading...


Sen. Feinstein has her say on bailout...

From Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA):

Thank you for your letter expressing concern about Congress' consideration of a plan to meet our Nation's credit crisis with financial help from the Federal Government. This is a difficult situation for which there are no perfect solutions, and I would like to share my thoughts and concerns about this issue with you.

On September 19, 2008, Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson, Jr. announced a legislative proposal to use $700 billion to purchase illiquid mortgage-related assets from ailing financial institutions. Secretary Paulson's three-page proposal was a non-starter, and without critical changes it has no chance of approval from Congress.

This proposal would have given a blank check to an economic czar who would have been empowered to spend it without administrative oversight, legal requirements, or legislative review. Decisions made by the Treasury Secretary would be non-reviewable by any court, agency, or Congress. The proposal also lacked a requirement for regular reports to Congress on the status of the program. This was simply untenable.

Since this announcement, my offices have received thousands of comments from Californians like you concerned about how this action will affect them. Yet, I believe prudent action must be taken. The bill should include the following principles: a phase-in of funding; oversight, accountability and transparency; a mechanism allowing the Secretary of the Treasury to modify mortgages to prevent additional foreclosures; and a precise cap on executive compensation.

The current credit crisis affects all Americans. If action is not taken to stem the crisis, Americans risk losing their homes, jobs, personal savings, life insurance and more. Banks will cease to lend to businesses and homeowners, and credit will be increasingly difficult to come by for average Americans. I strongly believe that the consequences of failing to act now would be greater than not acting at all.

Attached please find a statement I recently made on the floor of the Senate expressing my feelings on this issue. Please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind as this situation unfolds.

Once again, thank you for writing. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

Floor Statement on the Economic
Rescue Proposal
September 26, 2008

"Mr. President, to date I have received from Californians more than 50,000 calls and letters, the great bulk of them in opposition to any form of meeting this crisis with financial help from the Federal Government. I wanted to come to the floor to very simply state how I see this and some of the principles that I hope will be forthcoming in this draft. Before I do so, I wish to pay particular commendation to Senator Dodd, Senator Schumer, Senator Bennett, and others who have been working so hard on this issue. I have tried to keep in touch -- I am not a negotiator; I am not on the committee -- but California is the biggest State, the largest economic engine, and people are really concerned.

We face the most significant economic crisis in 75 years right now. Swift and comprehensive action is crucial to the overall health of our economy. None of us wants to be in this position, and there are no good options here. Nobody likes the idea of spending massive sums of Government money to rescue major corporations from their bad financial decisions. But no one also should be fooled into thinking this problem only belongs to the banks and that it is a good idea to let them fail. The pain felt by Wall Street one day is felt there, and then 2,3,4 weeks down the pike, it is felt on Main Street.

The turbulence in our financial sector has already resulted in thousands of layoffs in the banking and finance sectors, and that number will skyrocket if there is a full collapse. The shock waves of failure will extend far beyond the banking and finance sectors. A shrinking pool of credit would affect the home loans, credit card limits, auto loans, and insurance policies of average Americans. I am receiving calls from people who tell me they want to buy a house, but they can't get the credit or the mortgage to do so. Why? Because that market of credit is drying up more rapidly one day after the other. It would have a major impact on State and local governments which would lose tens of millions of dollars, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

Hurricane Ike shut down refineries on the gulf coast 2 weeks ago, and now, today, people are waiting hours in lines for gasoline in the South. Similarly, the collapse of the financial sector would have severe consequences for Americans all across the economic spectrum: for the person who owns the grocery store, the laundry, the bank, the insurance company. Then, if the worst happens, layoffs. And even more than that, somebody shows up for work and finds their business has closed because the owner of that business can't get credit to buy the goods he hopes to sell that week or that month. Wages and employment rates have already fallen even as the cost of basic necessities has skyrocketed. Our Nation is facing the highest unemployment rate in 5 years, at 6.1 percent. Over 605,000 jobs have been lost nationwide this year. My own State of California, a state of 38 million people, has the third highest unemployment rate in the Nation at 7.7 percent. That is 1.4 million people out of work today. One and a half million people -- that is bigger than some States. We have 1.5 million people out of work, and one-half million have had their unemployment insurance expire and have nothing today.

Congress is faced with a situation where we have to act and we have to do two things. We have to provide some reform in the system of regulation and oversight that is supposed to protect our economy. We also have to find a permanent and effective solution to keep liquidity and credit functioning so that markets can recover and make profit. The situation, I believe, is grave, and timely, prudent action is needed.

Just last night, the sixth largest bank in America -- Washington Mutual-- was seized by government regulators and most of its assets will be sold to JPMorgan Chase. This follows on the heels of bankruptcies and takeovers of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. If nothing is done, the crisis will continue to spread and one by one the dominos will fall.

Now, this isn't just about Wall Street. Because we are this credit society, the financial troubles facing major economic institutions will ricochet throughout this Nation and affect everyone. So I believe the need for action is clear. But that doesn't mean Congress should simply be a rubberstamp for an unprecedented and unbridled program.

My constituents by the thousands have made their views clear. I believe they are responding to the original 3-page proposal by the Secretary of the Treasury. It is clear by now that that 3-page proposal is a nonstarter. It is dead on arrival and that is good. Secretary Paulson's proposal asked Congress to write a $700 billion check to an economic czar who would have been empowered to spend it without any administrative oversight, legal requirements, or legislative review. Decisions made by the Treasury Secretary would be nonreviewable by any court or agency, and the fate of our entire economy would be committed to the sole discretion of one man alone -- the man we know today, and the man whom we don't know after January.

Additionally, the lack of governance or oversight in this plan was matched by the lack of a requirement for regular reports to Congress. This proposal stipulated that the economic czar, newly created, would report to Congress after the first three months with reports once every 6 months after that. This was untenable. Six months is an eternity when you are spending billions a week. The Treasury Secretary asked Congress to approve this massive program without delay or interference. It is hard to think of any other time in our history when Congress has been asked for so much money and so much power to be concentrated in the hands of one person. It is a nonstarter.

Yesterday, shortly before we met for the Democratic Policy Committee lunch, we were told there had been a bipartisan agreement on principles of a possible solution, and many of us rejoiced. We know that our Members, both Republican and Democrat, have been working hard to try to produce something that was positive. Then, all of a sudden, it changed. One Presidential candidate parachuted into town which proved to be enormously destructive to the process. Now, negotiations are back on the table, and as I say, we have just received a draft bill of certain principles.

I would like to outline quickly those principles that I think are important. First is a phase-in. No one wants to put $700 billion immediately at the discretion of one person or even a group of a very few people, no matter how bright, how skilled, how informed they might be on banking or finance principles. The funding should come in phases and Congress should have the opportunity to make its voice heard if the program isn't working or needs to be adjusted.

The second point: Oversight, accountability, and governance. The Treasury Secretary should not and must not have unbridled authority to determine winners and losers, essentially choosing which struggling financial institution will survive and which will not. The original plan placed all authority in the hands of this one man, and this is why I say it was DOA -- dead on arrival -- at the Congress. We must assure that controls are in place to watch taxpayer dollars and make sure they are well-spent fixing the problem, and that oversight by a governance committee and the Banking Committees are strong, and that they give the best opportunity for the American people to recover their investment and, yes, even eventually make a profit from that investment. That can be done and it has been done in the past.

I believe that frequent reporting to Congress is critical. Transparency, sunlight on this, is critical. So Congress should receive regular, timely briefings, perhaps weekly for the first quarter, on a program of this magnitude. A proposal should mandate frequent reporting and the public should be ensured of transparency to the maximum extent possible.

I also believe that within the first quarter -- and this, to me, is key -- a comprehensive legislative proposal for reform must be put forward. We must reform those speculative practices that impact price function of markets. We must deal with the unregulated practices that have furthered this crisis. Look. I represent a State that was cost $40 billion in the Enron episode during 1999 and 2000 by speculation, by manipulation, and by fraud. There still is inadequate regulation of energy commodities sold on the futures market. And that is just one point in all of this. We must prevent these things from happening. The only way to do it is to improve the transparency of all markets. No hidden deals. Swaps, in my view, should be ended. The London loophole should be ended.

We have to outline rules for increasing regulation of the mortgage-backed securities market, along with comprehensive oversight of the mortgage industry and lending practices for both prime and subprime lending.

Senator Martinez of Florida and I had a part in the earlier housing bill, which included our legislation entitled the SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act. We found that the market was rife with fraud. We found there was one company that hired hairdressers and others who sold mortgages in their spare time. We found there were unscrupulous mortgage brokers out there unlicensed, preying upon people, walking off with tens of thousands of dollars of cash. This has to end. It has to be controlled. It has to be regulated.

So I believe the crisis of 2008 stems from the failure of Federal regulators to rein in this Wild West mentality of those Wall Street executives who led those firms and who thought that nothing was out of bounds. Every quick scheme was worth the time, and worth a try. Congress cannot ignore this as the root cause of the crisis. It was inherent in the subprime marketplace, and it has now spread to the prime mortgage marketplace.

It is also critical that accurate assessments of the value of these illiquid mortgage-related assets be performed to limit the taxpayers' exposure to risk and structure purchases to ensure the greatest possible return on investment.

Taxpayer money must be shielded at all costs from risk to the greatest extent possible.

Reciprocity is not a bad concept if you can carry it out. The Government must not simply act as a repository for risky investments that have gone bad. An economic rescue effort that serves taxpayers well must allow them to benefit from the potential profits of rescued entities. So a model -- and it may well be in these new principles -- must be developed to ensure the taxpayers are not only the first paid back but have an opportunity to share in future profits through warrants and/or stocks.

As to executive compensation limits, simply put, Californians are frosted by the absence of controls on executive compensation. Virtually all of the 50,000 phone calls and letters mentioned this one way or another. There must be limits. I am told that the reason the Treasury Secretary does not want limits on executive compensation is because he believes that an executive then will not bring his company in to partake in any program that is set up. Here is my response to that: We can put that executive on his boat, take that boat out in the ocean, and set it on fire. If that is how he feels, that is what should happen, or his company doesn't come in. But to say that the Federal Government is going to be responsible for tens of millions of dollars of executive salaries, golden parachutes, whether they are a matter of contract right or not, is not acceptable to the average person whose taxpayer dollars are used in this bailout. That is just fact.

The one proposal that was made by one of the Presidential candidates that I agree with is that there should be a limit of $400,000 on executive compensation. If they don't like it, too bad, don't participate in the program. As I have talked with people on Wall Street and otherwise, they don't believe it is true that an executive, if his pay is tailored down, will not bring a company in that needs help. I hope that is true. I believe there should be precise limits set on executive pay.

Finally, as to tangible benefits for Main Street in the form of mortgage relief, there have been more than 500,000 foreclosures in my home State of California so far this year. In the second quarter of this year, foreclosures were up 300 percent over the second quarter of 2007. More than 800,000 are predicted before this year is over.

I have a city in California where one out of every 25 homes is in foreclosure. This is new housing in subdivisions. As you look at it, you will see garage doors kicked in. You will see houses vandalized. You will see the grass and grounds dry. You will see the street sprinkled with "For Sale" signs, and nobody buys because the market has become so depressed.

This crisis has roots in the subprime housing boom that went bust, and it would be unconscionable for us to simply bailout Wall Street while leaving these homeowners to fend for themselves.

Everything I have been told, and I have talked to people in this business, here is what they tell me: It is more cost-effective to renegotiate a subprime loan and keep a family in a house than it is to foreclose and run the risks of what happens to that home on a depressed market as credit is drying up, as vandals loot it, as landscaping dries up, as more homes in the area become foreclosed upon; the way to go is to renegotiate these mortgages with the exiting homeowner wherever possible. I feel very strongly that should be the case.

I don't know what I or any of us will do if we authorize this kind of expenditure and we find down the pike in my State that the rest of the year, 800,000 to 1 million Americans are being thrown out of their homes despite this form of rescue effort. Think of what it means, Mr. President, in your State. You vote for this, any other Senator votes for it, and these foreclosures continue to take place and individual families continue to be thrown out of their homes. It is not a tenable situation.

I hope, if anybody is listening at all, that in the negotiating team, they will make a real effort to mandate in some way that subprime foreclosures be renegotiated, that families, wherever possible, who have an ability to pay, have that ability to pay met with a renegotiated loan. I have done this now in cases with families who were taken advantage of. We called the CEO of the bank, and the bank has seen that the loan was renegotiated, in one case in Los Angeles down to 2 percent. That is better than foreclosing and running the uncertainty of the sale of the asset in a very depressed housing market.

These are my thoughts. Again, it is easy to come to the floor and give your thoughts. It is much more difficult to sit at that negotiating table.

I once again thank those Senators on both sides of the aisle who really understand the nature of this crisis -- that it isn't only Wall Street, that it does involve Main Street, and if there is a serious crash, it will hurt tens of millions of Americans, many of them in irreparable ways. So we must do what we must do, and we must do it prudently and carefully.
I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of quorum."

Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the Nation are available at my website http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/. You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list at http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ENewsletterSignup.Signup.


Paraguay's Prez (Bush has 90,000 acres there) brushes off Palin,...

From The Washington Note via Information Clearing House:

President of Paraguay Turns Down Meeting with Sarah Palin

I'm not kidding.

Paraguay President Fernando Lugo, while attending both the United Nations General Assembly meetings and the Clinton Global Initiative, shared with friends over dinner some of the other meetings he had been having in New York.

He met this head of state. . .and that head of state. . .and so on. . .
. . .but then the room went silent and then broke into subdued laughter when he confided that he was approached about meeting with GOP Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

President Lugo turned the meeting down.

With all due respect to Paraguay and its great citizens, something is really wrong when the Paraguayan President won't even hang with Palin.

But note to world leaders, PLEASE start meeting with her.

Otherwise, she'll never get any credible international experience.

-- Steve Clemons


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may lose seat...

From Political Wire:

Bluegrass Poll: McConnell in Trouble in Kentucky

A new Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll finds Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in a dead heat with challenger Bruce Lunsford (D), 41% to 41%, among likely voters.

However, McConnell does inch ahead 45% to 44% "when undecided likely voters who were leaning toward a candidate were included into the poll results."

Knocking off McConnell would dramatically help Democrats in reaching 60 seats in the U.S. Senate.

Said Larry Sabato: "If Lunsford is actually doing this well, its got to be because the public is so upset by the economic meltdown and may be blaming the legislative leaders. If this is true, Democrats may win a lot more seats in both the House and the Senate than people are predicting."

September 27, 2008


Palin? Commander in Chief? ....not hardly....

From Ashland Daily Tidings:

September 16, 2008
President Sarah Palin: Commander in Chief
By Beth F. Coye
Guest Opinion

Senator McCain constantly describes himself as a military man who always places "Country First." Unfortunately, his first big decision as a presidential nominee puts "risky decision-making first" and "country second."

As a woman who served my country as a naval officer for 21 years and taught American Government and International Relations at several universities, I am astonished by John McCain's vice presidential choice, Governor Sarah Palin. Palin, who governs .2 percent of the U.S. population, has neither foreign policy experience nor knowledge of international leaders and countries.

Let's put McCain's decision in a military context: Captain John McCain, a retired naval officer, understands our military personnel system. Would he thrust someone who is the commanding officer of a small shore-based unit and who has no seagoing experience into the position of executive officer of a Navy carrier, or Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs? These top military jobs directly compare with one of the two highest offices in our political system.

The military's personnel system never allows a Navy lieutenant to fill an admiral's billet or an Army/Air Force/Marine captain to fill a general's billet. Our political system, however, permits presidential nominees to select anyone they want as a running mate ? whether or not the person has the requisite skill sets or experience.

Let us remind ourselves that, in the tradition of U.S. civil-military relations, the Constitution names the president as commander in chief. I find it unthinkable that someone with Sarah Palin's minimal resume might someday be president or acting president and be called upon to approve or disapprove recommendations by our most senior military officers (e.g., the Unified Commanders or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs). Sarah Palin has likely rarely read an NIE (National Intelligence Estimate)!

I have worked hard since the late '60s for the rights of women in the U.S. military and in America, and I believe Sarah Palin's nomination insults women who have fought for equality and fairness in job opportunities. This action also disrespects senior, qualified Republican women who were passed over by Senator McCain in favor of an unqualified, junior woman.

The Palin choice ? an act of reverse sex discrimination ? patently represents exploitation of women for political purposes. In this regard, that Sarah Palin herself chooses to accept the offer mystifies me and many others. Does she not realize that she is ill-prepared for the office and is being used by the Republican Party?

Captain McCain demeans and diminishes the offices of the vice president and president by selecting such an unqualified person. His decision demonstrates a certain cynicism and flippancy toward the highest offices in the United States of America. At this point in American history, our nation requires a president who can reassure the people in America ? and the world ? that he intends to return to responsible leadership. Does any objective person feel reassured?

The personnel safety nets for precluding disasters in assignments in both the military and corporate worlds are finely-honed systems with highly qualified individuals making thoughtful decisions and assignments.

What are the equivalent safety nets for our elected leaders? There are four: 1) elected officials, 2) major political parties, 3) the Fourth Estate (media), and 4) the electorate.

John McCain's vice presidential selection, Sarah Palin, has slipped through the first two personnel safety nets for elected high officials. It's now up to the media and electorate to act as powerful safety nets.

In sum, Sarah Palin's selection literally tests the strengths and stability of our American political system.

*Note: Commander Beth F. Coye (Retired U.S. Navy) served in three intelligence jobs and is a former commanding officer. She is a graduate of Wellesley College, the American University School of International Service and the School of Naval Warfare (Naval War College). Coye taught Political Science and International Relations at the Naval War College and several undergraduate colleges. She co-authored "My Navy Too," published in 1998. She resides in Ashland.



Not even McCain would want these people....

via email....

Drunk Hicks Talk Politics - FileCabi.net


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama's Foreign Policy Stance....

From Stratfor:

9/24/2008 © 2008 Stratfor 2
Obama’s Foreign Policy Stance

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a four-part report by Stratfor founder and Chief Intelligence Officer George Friedman on the U.S. presidential debate on foreign policy, to be held Sept. 26. Stratfor is a private, non-partisan intelligence service with no preference for one candidate over the other. We are interested in analyzing and forecasting the geopolitical impact of the election and, with this series, seek to answer two questions: What is the geopolitical landscape that will confront the next president, and what foreign policy proposals would a President McCain or a President Obama bring to bear? For media interviews, email PR@stratfor.com or call 512-744-4309.
By George Friedman

Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate for president. His advisers in foreign policy are generally Democrats. Together they carry with them an institutional memory of the Democratic Party’s approach to foreign policy, and are an expression of the complexity and divisions of that approach. Like the their Republican counterparts, in many ways they are going to be severely constrained as to what they can do both by the nature of the global landscape and American resources. But to some extent, they will also be constrained and defined by the tradition they come from. Understanding that tradition and Obama’s place is useful in understanding what an Obama presidency would look like in foreign affairs.

The most striking thing about the Democratic tradition is that it presided over the beginnings of the three great conflicts that defined the 20th century: Woodrow Wilson and World War I, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and World War II, and Harry S. Truman and the Cold War. (At this level of analysis, we will treat the episodes of the Cold War such as Korea, Vietnam or Grenada as simply subsets of one conflict.) This is most emphatically not to say that had Republicans won the presidency in 1916, 1940 or 1948, U.S. involvement in those wars could have been avoided.
Patterns in Democratic Foreign Policy

But it does give us a framework for considering persistent patterns of Democratic foreign policy. When we look at the conflicts, four things become apparent.

First, in all three conflicts, Democrats postponed the initiation of direct combat as long as possible. In only one, World War I, did Wilson decide to join the war without prior direct attack. Roosevelt maneuvered near war but did not enter the war until after Pearl Harbor. Truman also maneuvered near war but did not get into direct combat until after the North Korean invasion of South Korea. Indeed, even Wilson chose to go to war to protect free passage on the Atlantic. More important, he sought to prevent Germany from defeating the Russians and the Anglo-French alliance and to stop the subsequent German domination of Europe, which appeared possible. In other words, the Democratic approach to war was reactive. All three presidents reacted to events on the surface, while trying to shape them underneath the surface.

Second, all three wars were built around coalitions. The foundation of the three wars was that other nations were at risk and that the United States used a predisposition to resist (Germany in the first two wars, the Soviet Union in the last) as a framework for involvement. The United States under Democrats did not involve itself in war unilaterally. At the same time, the United States under Democrats made certain that the major burdens were shared by allies. Millions died in World War I, but the United States suffered 100,000 dead.


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From No on Prop 8:

Undecided? - What is Proposition 8 ?
The Constitution of the State of California affirms that the right to marry is one of the basic rights of every person- just like the right to free speech and to believe in any religion, or not. Proposition 8 is an attempt to take away the right of one group, same sex couples, to a civil marriage. It would change the Constitution and ban the right to marry for this one singled out group.

Is it right to single out one group and take away a right that everyone else enjoys? Is it even in keeping with the American way? Remember, not too long ago, some tried to prohibit inter-racial marriage. And again, some tried to bar people with mental disabilities from the right to marry! We’re not talking about Nazi Germany. We’re talking about right here in America. Fortunately, our Constitution said it was not right to bar any group from the inherent rights open to all human beings. The Constitution was right. We are all Americans. We are all human beings. Vote "NO" ON PROP 8

Is it fair? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." How would you feel if someone said you could not marry the one you loved? Look at that person in your life and say " I love you but others say you can not be my life partner in marriage." Look at those around you- your brothers, sisters, family, friends, co-workers and neighbors- and say to them, "You cannot marry because you don’t love the person I want you to love." Is that fair? You know the answer. Vote " NO" ON PROP 8

Is Proposition 8 in defense of marriage? Some claim this Constitutional change is to protect marriage. But, let’s look at the facts:
1)The biggest threat today to marriage is not a question of same sex relationship but infidelity. More than half of all marriages in the United States result in divorce. What happened to the concept that marriage is supposed to embody, COMMITMENT?
2)Some raise the problem of promiscuity in today’s society. This problem is a fact in both mainstream and alternative lifestyles. Why discourage those who want to commit from forming strong, monogamous and responsible relationships? "NO" ON 8

Does "No on 8" threaten the rights of religious leaders? No. Our Constitution provides for the separation of Church and State. Legal right to marry applies only to Civil marriage. The Constitution affirms that ministers, priests and religious leaders cannot be required to perform marriages in violation of their churches’ beliefs. In America, one does not even have to belong to a church to be married. And, no church can tell everyone that it’s way is the only American way. This is not Iran under the Ayatollah in decades past. Vote " NO" ON PROP 8

Does "No on 8"threaten the family? Absolutely not. First, it is important to define "family" since almost half of American children are from broken families. "Family" is a unit with a mother and father with children; a single parent providing for children; a couple supporting each other through life; younger people caring for their parents; extended families. Same sex couples are in all these situations. Responsible marriage stabilizes and protects the family. VOTE "NO ON PROPOSITION 8"


New selection of up-coming books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Filmmaker Shandi Mitchell's UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY, about an immigrant family making their way in a new world where small and often innocent acts have enormous and catastrophic consequences, to Claire Wachtel and Jonathan Burnham at Harper, at auction, by Sally Harding of The Cooke Agency on behalf of Suzanne Brandreth (US). Rights previously sold to Nicole Winstanley at Penguin Canada and to Arzu Tahsin at Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK.

Soviet and counter-terrorism analyst and speechwriter for George Tenet Susan Hasler's INTELLIGENCE, in which four CIA colleagues scramble to prevent an imminent attack, to Thomas Dunne of Thomas Dunne Books, by Liza Dawson of Liza Dawson Associates (NA).Foreign: Chandler CrawfordFilm: Steve Fisher at APA


Short story writer Russel McLean's THE GOOD SON and LOST SISTER, the first two novels in a Scottish-set crime series pitched as in the vein of Ted Lewis's GET CARTER, to John Schoenfelder at Thomas Dunne Books, in a nice deal, by Allan Guthrie of Jenny Brown Associates (NA).

Lou Berney's TRUST ME, a fast, humorous caper following two con artists caught up in a plot to sell religious artifacts when they're not trying to con each other, to Peggy Hageman at William Morrow, in a nice deal, for publication in early 2010, by Richard Parks at the Richard Parks Agency (NA).


Michael Koryta's THE LOST RIVER, a thriller with a supernatural twist, in which a filmmaker hired to document a wealthy man's hidden past unleashes the buried secrets of a town that was once America's most luxurious resort, to Michael Pietsch at Little, Brown, for three books, for publication in 2010, by David Hale Smith of DHS Literary (world).


THE LOVE OF STONES author Tobias Hill's THE HIDDEN, about archaeology and secrets, history and extremism, and set in contemporary and ancient Sparta, to Claire Wachtel at Harper Perennial, for publication in 2009, by Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency, on behalf of Victoria Hobbs at A.M. Heath. UK rights are with Faber.Translation: ila@ila-agency.co.uk

Ben Hewitt's THE TOWN THAT FOOD SAVED: How One Rural Community Found Vitality in Local Food, telling how over the past three years, the small farming community of Hardwick, Vermont developed a unique local food system, reinventing its economy and self-image in the process and now becoming a model for other communities, to Colin Dickerman at Rodale, by Joanna Stampfel and Peter Rubie at Fine Print Literary Management (world).

Lee Gutkind's THE TORAH HUNTER, following Rabbi Menachem Youlus, who not only writes and repairs torahs but also is on a quest to save lost or missing ones throughout the world despite the dangers he encounters from neo-Nazis and the like, to Amy Cherry at Norton, by Andrew Blauner at Blauner Books Literary Agency (world).


OUT OF THE POCKET author William D. Konigsberg's humorous sports-and-cards novel about a 15-year-old boy who struggles between being the son his dad wants to be and being himself, again to Sarah Shumway at Dutton, by Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).


Author and historian William Kuhn's look at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's publishing career, and the nearly 100 books she acquired and edited between 1975 and 1994 ("Her books were a way of revealing the experiences, recollections, and passions of a lifetime; in the end she told her own story -- her journey as a wife, a mother, aesthete, armchair intellectual and unwilling celebrity -- through the medium of other people's books"), also drawing on archival material and interviews with her authors, collaborators and friends from the 1980s and 1990s, to Nan Talese at Nan A. Talese, for publication in 2011, by David Kuhn at Kuhn Projects (no relation) (world).

Hughes: The Private Diaries, Letters, and Memos author Richard Hack's THE DUCHESS OF DEATH, a biography of Agatha Christie drawing from more than 5,000 previously unpublished letters, notes, and documents, to Michael Viner and Henrietta Tiefenthaler at Phoenix (World).


Author of The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order (recently named one of the 75 most influential people for the 21st century by Esquire) Parag Khanna's HOW TO RUN THE WORLD, on the future of diplomacy, providing the roadmap for global leadership to manage mounting rivalries and urgent challenges such as poverty and climate change, to Will Murphy at Random House, for publication in 2010, by Jennifer Joel at ICM (world).


Graphic artist Matthew Sutter and illustrator Kevin Cornell's THE SUPEREST, based on the website thesuperest.com, an illustrated book of colorful superheroes, where each hero's dominant (often quirky and humorous) power serves to supplant his nemesis, although the same power acts as his Achilles heel when battling the successive superhero, to Mike Shohl at Kensington, by Brandi Bowles at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency (World).

Newsweek senior writer Lorraine Ali's memoir of her life as an Iraqi-American, her rediscovery of her Iraqi family, and a portrayal of their lives before and after the American invasion of Iraq, to David Patterson at Holt, by Daniel Greenberg at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency
(world). claire.mckinney@hholt.com

Tennis star Serena Williams' inspirational memoir, to Karen Kosztolnyik at Grand Central, for publication in fall 2009, by Suzanne Gluck at William Morris Agency (NA).


Monday, September 22, 2008

Al Qaeda's methods frowned upon...by Islam...

From Secrecy News:


Al Qaeda is "imploding," a State Department counterterrorism official told the Associated Press last week, as a result of growing opposition in theMuslim world. The implication that al Qaeda's demise may be imminent is almost certainly incorrect.

But what is true is that "a severe intellectual conflict has emerged" within the jihadist movement, said Kamal Habib, a former official of the Egyptian Jihad Organization (Al Arab, September 14).

Over the past year, al Qaeda has been publicly criticized by several of its own former supporters and ideological leaders, most notably Sayyid Imam Al-Sharif, also known as Dr. Fadl, who once saved the life of Usama bin Laden.

"Sayyid Imam is viewed as the greatest and most important authority for all of the jihadist salafist groups," said Kamal Habib. So when Sayyid Imam declared in a November 2007 book that killing non-combatant civilians, including Christians and Jews, is prohibited and that Al Qaeda's conduct of jihad against the west was illegitimate, it produced an ideological earthquake within Islamist ranks.

"Fadl's arguments undermined the entire intellectual framework of jihadist warfare," wrote Lawrence Wright in an illuminating article in The NewYorker (June 2, 2008).


"Al Qaeda senior leaders in 2008 have devoted nearly half their airtime to defending the group's legitimacy," observed National Intelligence Officer Ted Gistaro in an August 12 speech. "This defensive tone ... reflects concern over allegations by militant leaders and religious scholars that al Qaeda and its affiliates have violated the Islamic laws of war, particularly in Iraq and North Africa."

One of the major al Qaeda responses came in a book by bin Laden deputy Ayman al Zawahiri called "The Exoneration." The book is an attempt to defend the legitimacy of al Qaeda's tactics, including the killing of civilians, against the critiques of Sayyid Imam and other Islamic figures.

"Those who claim that killing innocent persons is absolutely forbidden are in a position of accusing the prophet, may God's peace and prayers be upon him, his companions, and the generation following them that they were killers of innocent persons, as they see it," wrote Zawahiri. He noted that the prophet authorized the use of catapults, which do not discriminate between innocent and guilty, and he also killed all the males of a Jewish tribe "and made no distinction between one person and another."

"The Exoneration," which was published in January 2008, was translated a few months later by the DNI Open Source Center. The translation has not been approved for public release, but a copy was obtained by SecrecyNews.


"Zawahiri's strategic thinking and understanding of asymmetrical warfare and revolutionary violence is heavily indebted to vanguardism, a Leninist theory of revolution which posits that a small, revolutionary elite uses violence to rouse the people to fight against the government," according to a contractor analysis performed for the Department of Defense and obtained by Secrecy News.

"The potential problem with Zawahiri's application of the theory ofvanguardism... is that terrorism usually diminishes the support of both the government as well as the terrorist organization," as appears to be the case today.

See "Zawahiri Tries to Clear Name, Explain Strategy," TransnationalSecurity Issues Report, prepared for the Department of Defense by theInternational Research Center, April 21, 2008:


"Is Al Qaeda going to dissipate as a result of the criticism from its former mentors and allies? Despite the recent internal criticism, probably not in the short term," said analyst Peter Bergen at a July 30 congressional hearing."However, encoded in the DNA of apocalyptic jihadist groups like Al Qaeda are the seeds of their own long-term destruction: Their victims are often Muslim civilians; they don't offer a positive vision of the future; they keep expanding their list of enemies, including any Muslim who doesn't precisely share their world view; and they seem incapable of becoming politically successful movements because their ideology prevents them from making the real-world compromises that would allow them to engage in genuine politics," Mr. Bergen said.



Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obama: "ruthless pragmitism"....

From The New York Times:

I recently spoke to many of Obama’s former students and asked them to speculate about how the teacher they saw manage a classroom might try to manage a country. Some students thought Obama’s teaching offers a more accurate glimpse of his potential presidency than the oft-cited statistic that he holds the most liberal voting record in the Senate. “I don’t think that there is a ‘teacher Obama’ and ‘politician Obama,’ ” said David Bird, who works at Reed Smith in Pittsburgh. “He came across as very practical and down to earth. I think that reflects who he is as a person and his experience organizing and in the legislature.” Dan Johnson-Weinberger, who lobbies for progressive causes in Illinois, agreed that his former professor isn’t likely to emerge as an ideological liberal if he indeed makes it to the White House. “Based on what I saw in the classroom, my guess is an Obama administration could be summarized in two words,” he said. “Ruthless pragmatism.”


*Use link above to continue reading...


America has gone mad....

From Information Clearing House:

Living In Sarah Palin's America

By David Michael Green

In January of 2003, John Le Carre wrote that, "America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: Worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War." He was surely right then. Except that what once looked like a period now seems like an epoch.


*Use link above to continue reading...


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Paulson's terms...

Take note of Paulson's demands:

*Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

He's talking about being the sole decision maker of $7 BILLION of our money. Just who the hell does he think he is? US Dictator?


McCain: Do health ins as we did banking....

From Buzz Flash:

.McCain Exposed on Wall Street Debacle: "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation." Uh, McCain wrote that.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Sen Barbara Boxer on Cuba...

From Sen Barbara Boxer (D-CA):

Thank you for contacting me regarding United States policy toward Cuba . I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your comments.

As you may know, Cuba was ravaged by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which struck the island within days of each other in late August and early September 2008. The hurricanes destroyed infrastructure, agriculture, and tens of thousands of homes. Although the Cuban people face dire humanitarian need, the Bush Administration has offered only $100,000 in aid to nongovernmental organizations in the wake of these storms. The United States trade embargo with Cuba has only complicated the situation, making it difficult for relatives and organizations to deliver much needed humanitarian aid.

That is why I support an emergency lifting of the embargo's restrictions on family travel and remittances for a period of 60 to 90 days so that Cuban Americans may visit their relatives in Cuba and send money and care packages to family members on the island.

Since the United States first imposed economic sanctions on Cuba in 1960, our policy has vacillated between loosening and tightening sanctions. Given the current uncertainty regarding Cuba's political future, I believe that the best way to help bring positive changes to Cuba in the long term is to allow more contact between the American people and the Cuban people.

I am proud to co-sponsor S.721, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act. I feel that Congress must act to rescind travel barriers between the United States and Cuba and ease U.S. sanctions that close off potential markets to American farmers and manufacturers while doing little to promote democracy in Cuba .

Thank you again for writing to me about this important issue.
Barbara Boxer
United States Senator
Please visit my website at http://boxer.senate.gov


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dipsy argues over the internet...Dem vs Repub...

From KRTaylorxyz@aol.com :

Does it pay to argue over, even with friends, over the internet? Common knowledge has it that it doesn’t, but the biggest issues, of government big and small are settled by argument. Why not the rest of us?

In any case, regardless of the ramifications, I argue and as strongly as I can about the issues that will determine the future of our world, our nation, and ourselves. I cannot see how any citizen can pass over this opportunity to have his voice heard, especially to someone who disagrees with him.

For about twenty years an old Navy shipmate has been forwarding me every vicious claim against any liberal politician or candidate for office. I answer most. The last one was a back breaker though, so I sent him this.

Alas, what I feared would happen came true. In spite of a plethora of evidence damning the current Republican standard bearer you have found an excuse to jump on board, as you have for at least two decades.

You surely recognized what was done by the Republicans over the past sixteen years, even though each outrageous act was justified by one of your an inane statements that the “other guys” did the same.

No they didn’t! One of them got a blow job and lied about it. That was an individual and many of his own party chastised him for it. The Republican party spent an entire eight years trying to thwart the will of the people, ruin the president and his presidency then giggle about it – all with the enthusiastic approval of you and your cohorts.

Bill Clinton (you may remember, he’s the president who could talk without a prompter) said, his aid, Erskin Bowles, asked Newt Gingrich why they actually impeached the president. Newt’s answer, “Because we could.”

I hate to point this out to a guy with such nifty grades, but that was utterly irresponsible and extremely dangerous. We may not have seen all the ramifications of it yet. Perhaps the saddest thing is that you gleefully went along with such an outrage. At least the messages you forwarded me did. Do you read them or just giggle and send them on while harming the country you served so long?

Now we’re at it again. The Republicans again have a candidate who has done everything possible to become president. At least I thought he had. I can give you a hundred reasons why he is just as bad for the country as the man he would replace, but let’s try to keep our focus on Palin.

Let’s start with her selection, the last outrage cooked up by this disingenuous fop, McCain.

He chose a running mate who’s views on social issues parallel the laws of the Catholic Church which were laws in Massachusetts and Connecticut in the 1940s and 50s. For example it was forbidden for a doctor even to discuss birth control with a patient. The sale of birth control devices was of course forbidden. Abortion was pretty much forbidden nationwide in those days, but the new extreme right, including Palin, would extend it to stem cells and morning after pills.

She is considered off limits by McCain for personal interviews. What other candidate, anywhere, has been so considered?

She denies global warming, a favorite mantra of the right wing of the party and it’s enthusiastic backers, big oil companies. Believe me, and I’ve held many meetings on it, the science is in, and it’s real, and it’s dire. A personal friend, a member of the National Academy of Science, did some of the early experiments on the connection between CO2 in the atmosphere and earth warming. It has been replicated many times and every time the answer is there.

It is getting warmer. Oceans are rising and will continue to rise. It has the effect of warm weather causing more warm weather, thus we will spin out of control before long. Our grandchildren will curse us for leaving behind such a mess, those who survive.

And the above is not my opinion. Nor is it the opinion of just a scientist here and there. It’s not the opinion of an “effete left wing wimp.” It is the consensus of the members of the National Academy of Science, the most prestigious science organization on the planet.

When I argued this point with you once, you answered, “I choose to believe it isn’t bad.”

How nice! How religious! Choose what you want to believe!

And you are joined by Palin.

She also has said it is god’s will that we’re fighting and dying in Iraq

Where did we hear that before?

One last point. This note isn’t something forwarded from the paper or some propaganda machine. I wrote it myself in less than half an hour. I even put in some typos for your amusement.

Dipsey Dumpster

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Unlike McCain, David Brooks gets it....

From The New York Times:

Op-Ed Columnist
Why Experience Matters

Published: September 15, 2008

Philosophical debates arise at the oddest times, and in the heat of this election season, one is now rising in Republican ranks. The narrow question is this: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be vice president? Most conservatives say yes, on the grounds that something that feels so good could not possibly be wrong. But a few commentators, like George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum and Ross Douthat demur, suggesting in different ways that she is unready.


*Use link above to continue reading...


Katie Couric vs Sarah Palin...coming....

From Levine Breaking News:

Katie Couric, following in the footsteps of grumpy Charlie Gibson, will get the second big interview with Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The CBS anchor will travel with the Alaskan hockey mom next week.

*If Katie does as well with Palin as The View did with McCain, this is gonna be worth watching....


Monday, September 15, 2008

McCain's right...He doesn't understand economics...

From The Progress Report:


Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has spent much of his general election campaign for president trying to distance himself from President Bush's failed policies -- even though the policies he has outlined and would pursue as president mirror those of the last eight years.

McCain's strategy so far has been to make the public forget he is offering Bush's policies. During the Republican National Convention earlier this month, McCain and his fellow conservatives seemingly refused to acknowledge that the current administration even exists: Bush's name was mentioned once while Vice President Dick Cheney's name was not mentioned at all.

Convention speakers also ignored many key issues that face Americans today, such as health care, environment, and the economy. Yet at times, McCain's surrogates will let the truth slip out.

In June, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) admitted that McCain's economic policies would "absolutely" be an "enhancement" of Bush's. He's right. McCain's economic policies are rooted in the same supply-side economic theories that give huge tax cuts to the rich and the most profitable corporations, which will ultimately expand the already ballooning federal deficit.

Indeed, as New York Times columnist and Princeton University economics professor Paul Krugman noted, McCain's economic proposals are "Bush made permanent" and "would leave the federal government with far too little revenue to cover its expenses.


If elected president, McCain plans to double down on Bush's corporate and individual tax cuts. His plan calls for reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, a plan that would save corporations $175 billion per year, with $45 billion going to America's 200 largest companies as identified by Fortune Magazine. The five largest U.S. oil companies would save a grand total of $3.8 billion per year.

The wealthiest Americans would also cash in. McCain's tax plan will increase after-tax income of the richest 3.4 percent by more than twice the average for all households -- and offer no benefit to the poorest taxpayers and minimal savings for the middle class.

At the same time, McCain has not offered any specifics on how he would pay for these massive cuts. In fact, McCain's plan would produce the highest federal deficit in 25 years. After inheriting Bush's $407 billion deficit, yearly deficits under McCain would increase sharply, beginning with at least $505 billion in FY2009.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

BushCo's private/secret army..180,000 in Iraq...

From Tom Dispatch:

Approximately one out of every five war dollars spent on the war went private. That's not so surprising, as James Risen of the New York Times reported, since private contractors now outnumber the 146,000 U.S. troops in that country. At 180,000, they represent, as Risen writes, "a second, private army, larger than the United States military force, and one whose roles and missions and even casualties among its work force have largely been hidden from public view."

Moreover, as modest drawdowns of U.S. troops occur, American taxpayer dollars going to private contractors in Iraq, especially private security contractors, are actually on the rise. Part of the charm of privatizing war, of course, is that you can also privatize information about it, so we really have little idea just how many armed, Blackwater-style mercenaries there are in that country (though the number may rise into the tens of thousands). No less curious, amid all the talk of drawdowns and withdrawals, you seldom see any serious discussion of those hired guns in the mainstream. When withdrawal does come, who withdraws them? Who decides that? Who knows?

In the meantime, let Frida Berrigan take you past the obvious Blackwater issues and into the deeper quagmire of the massive privatization of the American military. It's an issue whose time should long ago have arrived, but don't hold your breath till the media discussion and debate begins.

Military Industrial Complex 2.0Cubicle Mercenaries, Subcontracting Warriors, and Other Phenomena of a Privatizing Pentagon
By Frida Berrigan

Seven years into George W. Bush's Global War on Terror, the Pentagon is embroiled in two big wars, a potentially explosive war of words with Tehran, and numerous smaller conflicts - and it is leaning ever more heavily on private military contractors to get by.

Once upon a time, soldiers did more than pick up a gun. They picked up trash. They cut hair and delivered mail. They fixed airplanes and inflated truck tires.
Click here to read more of this dispatch.


Anti-Palin blogger in Anchorage, Alaska says....

Take note: Here is a woman blogger in Anchorage, Alaska who does good posts on what is going on there. She's just posted...with pics...the Anti-Palin rally:



As for the Biden-Palin debate.....

I notice that commenters are getting on Obama for only paying attention to McCain and more or less ignoring Palin in his speeches, as is Biden at this point. Thing is, Obama is running against McCain for Prez, not Palin for VP, so better to not give her any more high level attention than she's getting. I think that's smart. Then when she and Biden debate, Biden can deal with her.

Meanwhile Biden watches and waits and gathers ammunition straight from her big mouth and past. :))) And you notice that the media is giving Biden zero attention. You'd think he doesn't exist for them. Fine. He's the spider spinning his web and waiting for the Palin fly.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama backs former SEAL Lt Com. Mike Lumpkin....

From media@LumpkinforCongress :

We are in the home s-t-r-e-t-c-h, charging toward our historic victory in November. The daily buzz in our campaign offices can only be described as electric! Over the last two months, our campaign team has expanded to six fulltime staff and almost 300 volunteers and last week alone the GO TEAM trained over 60 new precinct leaders to get our message out.

As you know, we have been running a non-traditional campaign from day one. Our ground game is on fire and we have already personally contacted several thousand of the crossover voters we need for victory! Between fundraising calls, house parties, and public speaking events, I have been personally calling Republicans and winning them over one-by-one. Our "war room" map is so filled with pins indicating voter contact, it is starting to look like a porcupine!

Since beginning our journey last September, over 60 enthusiastic supporters have opened their homes for fundraisers, inviting their friends, family and neighbors to meet me and join our TEAM. The kindness, warmth and patriotic sincerity continue to be both humbling and inspiring.
As if that weren't enough, our momentum continues to grow even further. In the last few weeks, General Wesley Clark, Senator Bob Kerrey, and Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton have joined Senators John Kerry, Max Cleland, Jim Webb and Congressmen Michael Capuano, Patrick Kennedy, Gene Taylor, Patrick Murphy and Joe Sestak in endorsing my candidacy! In fact, Senator Clinton and Senator Kerrey have graciously offered to hold a fundraiser in New York City to support our campaign!

Last month at the Democratic Convention in Denver, I was invited to speak at the Veterans for Obama Forum and for the Veterans Alliance for Security and Democracy.

Senator Obama also included me in the Next Generation Veterans Group to be honored on stage in support of better care and benefits for our returning veterans. The Obama Foreign Policy Team also asked me to help them develop a cogent plan for Afghanistan. I was honored to be part of his team and to continue to provide ongoing advice and feedback.

Just this week, Senator Obama's Chief of Staff made personal calls to Rahm Emanuel at the DCCC to encourage support of my candidacy. I am grateful that Senator Obama recognizes the need to have someone with my expertise and background in Congress to be certain we have the real facts before we commit our sons and daughters to combat in the future and to ensure they have the proper equipment when we do. I look forward to more good news from Senator Obama in the near future!

Defeating another 30 years of another Duncan Hunter is more than just politics. The very essence of our campaign has nothing to do with what's "Right" or "Left" - it's about doing what's "Right or Wrong" for America. During Congressman Hunter's 28-year reign, he proved his loyalty to earmarks for campaign contribution kickbacks. Now, he has cashed in these earmark favors, this time to the tune of $128,000 to his son's campaign coffers. It appears Duncan Junior is already an active participant in the Favor Factory before there has even been an election. His own party doesn't even have room for him and his defense of earmarks. McCain calls Hunter's earmarks "the gateway to corruption" and has promised to "name them and shame them." That is why we this week we challenged McCain and Palin to make good on their commitment and publicly name, shame and disavow Hunter.

As Barack so properly stated in his nomination acceptance speech, "Enough!" Americans must have Representatives who understand service and are willing to put themselves second and the security of our economy, healthcare, jobs, energy, environment and education first! That is my solemn promise - but I need your help.

Please send whatever amount you can in the envelope enclosed as soon as possible or sign on to http://www.lumpkinforcongress.com/ and contribute online right now. It takes $1 to reach a new crossover voter and we need to reach 11,000 to win. Please help us by sponsoring communication to 25, 50, 100, up to 2300 crossover voters today!
Victory 2008!


Because Franken won?

From The Star Tribune via truthout.org:

Feds to Unplug Medical Subsidy


Kevin Diaz, The Star Tribune: "The Bush administration plans to drop Medicaid coverage for 18,000 low-income parents in Minnesota, a move that has stunned state officials who say they didn't see it coming."


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blackwater keeps on keeping on...regardless...

From Karen Pomer via email:

Citizens Protest Blackwater Mercenary Training Centers in California, North Carolina, Illinois and Idaho.
SAN DIEGO, CA (Sept. 11)

Activists in California, North Carolina, Illinois, and Idaho, opposing Blackwater mercenary training operations in their states, will protest Blackwater and commemorate the first anniversary of "Baghdad's Bloody Sunday," a shooting spree carried out by Blackwater in Baghdad's Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007 where 17 innocent civilians were cut down by Blackwater gunfire without provocation.

The Protests will occur in four separate locations, where Blackwater has expanded their operation past training and extensive operations in Iraq to set up mercenary training centers.

In California, the rally will also protest against Blackwater's new foothold on the West Coast, only blocks from the Cal-Mex border in Otay Mesa, California. Blackwater opened the facility under clouds of subterfuge and obvious circumvention of local laws, finally using temporary restraining order issued by Federal Judge, a President Bush Sr. appointee, to muscle their way into the facility and avoid public hearings, environmental review and traditional public scrutiny.

In Illinois, Blackwater just expanded their training facility by adding a shooting range, dodging public scrutiny.


Do Americans want a theocracy more than a Democracy?

From truthout.org:

Marjorie Cohn
A Palin Theocracy


Marjorie Cohn, Truthout:

"John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate has invigorated a lackluster campaign. The media can't stop talking about her. Given McCain's age and state of health (his medical file was nearly 1,200 pages long), Palin would indeed be a heartbeat away from becoming president. But what would a Palin administration really look like?"

*Use link above to continue reading...


More on Palin..her kids' school....

From a writer friend via email:

A friend of mom's, also in her 80s, has a son whose children attend the same school as Sarah Palin's and their advice: No Way! They have had to deal with her trying to railroad the curriculum of the school into creationism, control the books assigned in literature classes, etc.


Anybody else know about these preperations?

Comment on Daily Kos:

Posted on Daily Koz:
I have a bandmate who works on military equipment with a top level security clearance who swears that the equipment is staged and ready for an October "incident" in Iran. Not sure if it's completely accurate, but he's been in the biz for 30 years, and they've been prepping helicopters and such for Iran for 2 months.

by Conquistador17 on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 12:14:00 PM PDT


Palin's biography among new books coming....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


ANT FARM and FREE RANGE CHICKENS author and SNL writer Simon Rich's first novel, ELLIOT ALLAGASH, a coming-of-age comedy about "obscene wealth, megalomania and vengeance," to Jonathan Jao at Random House, by Daniel Greenberg at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency (world English).UK rights: ctisne@randomhouse.comTranslation: efisher@levinegreenberg.com

Andrea Busfield's debut novel A MILLION WALLS, the story of a young boy growing up in post-Taliban Kabul, to Helen Atsma at Holt, for publication in winter 2010, as a trade paperback original, by Charlie Campbell at Ed Victor Ltd. (NA).


James Rollins's next four thrillers, to Lyssa Keusch at Morrow, for publication in Winter 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, by Russell Galen at Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency (NA).


Sherry Jones's THE JEWEL OF MEDINA, to Margot Atwell at Beaufort Books, for a very small advance ("we'll earn our advance back in about two minutes," Kern says) for publication in mid-October 2008, plus a sequel, by Natasaha Kern at Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

Michael Calce with Craig Silverman's MAFIABOY, to James Jayo of Arcade, for publication in Summer 2009, by Lisa Rundle of Penguin Canada (US).

James W. Nichol's TRANSGRESSION, about a young woman persecuted in WWII France as a "horizontal collaborator" whose past haunts her in America, to Jeanette Perez at Harper, for publication in fall 2009, by Beverley Slopen at Beverley Slopen Literary Agency (US).


Novelist Joe Hilley's SARAH PALIN: A New Kind of Leader, exploring themes from her career in politics, her life as a hockey mom, and her strongly-held Christian faith, explaining how they influence her new style of leadership and align with our changing economy in the information age, to Zondervan, for publication on October 10, 2008.


Megan McKinney's DYNASTY: The Fascinating Story of a Great Newspaper Empire, about the single family that simultaneously owned the Chicago Tribune, forerunner of the Washington Post, New York Daily News, and Newsday -- personal drama (sex, suicides, enormous wealth, secret treacheries) blended with social history of American newspapering during its most powerful era, to Gail Winston of Harper, by Agnes Birnbaum of Bleecker Street Associates (NA).


Politico writer and TheRoot.com cultural columnist Helena Andrews's BITCH IS THE NEW BLACK, a biting look at the generation of young, successful black women, including the author, who have grown up to find the Cosby dream elusive and Cliff Huxtables few and far between, to Serena Jones at Collins, in a pre-empt, by Howard Yoon at Gail Ross Literary Agency (World).


McCain is nothing without Palin....HAH!!!

From Levine Breaking News:

In a break with tradition, Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin could spend more time together on the campaign trail than apart, a senior campaign aide said Wednesday.

"It is under serious consideration that they will spend more time together than not and more time than is traditional," the aide told reporters aboard Palin's campaign plane during a refueling stop in Montana en route to Alaska. "There's just a huge amount of enthusiasm."


Monday, September 08, 2008

SFs have to both hit the targets & speak the languages..

From Secrecy News:


The increasing demands placed on U.S. special operations forces have created new challenges for training and retention that were described at a congressional hearing last year.

"Recruiting since 9/11 has not been a problem for Special Operations Forces," said Gen. Bryan D. Brown, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. "Every seat in every school is full to start the course."

But only "about 23 percent graduate from the course," said Gen. Brown."They fail the course for all kinds of reasons, one of them being their inability to pass the [foreign] language portion."

"And so if you can hit a target at 600 meters, that is great, but unless you can speak a language that we ask you to learn, you are still not going to graduate and wear a Special Forces tab."

Background on the status of Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps special operations forces was presented in the January 2007 hearing volume that was published last month along with detailed answers to questions for the record.

See "Current Manning, Equipping and Readiness Challenges Facing Special Operations Forces," hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, January 31, 2007:



Sunday, September 07, 2008

Losing more Ohio votes....

From truthout.org :

Nearly 600,000 Voters Subject to Possible Caging in Ohio


David Rosenfeld, Miller-McCune: "How many voter-registration mass mailers are 'returned to sender' in the run-up to Election Day may determine how many Ohio residents are eligible to vote."

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W unloading property for move to Paraguay?

From the LA Times:

They have blogs...and one of them, Countdown to Crawford, is tracking Bush's last days as prez. Today's blog....

Bush's first Texas home for sale

The Countdown to Crawford blog reports that the Midland, Texas, home once owned by George W. and Laura Bush is for sale, listed for $239,000. Three bedrooms, two baths, 2,406 square feet. "

An enterprising Realtor in Midland, Texas, has come up with a new way to advertise a listing in West Texas."She's letting prospective customers know that the property for sale was the first home of Laura and George Bush, where the couple started their married life together. Listed for $239,900, the home at 1405 W. Golf Course Road has 2,406 square feet and was built in 1976, one year before the Bushes moved in.

"With light, airy spaces and a mostly concrete back patio ('low maintenance yard' is how Realtor Ruth Young puts it), the home is where the couple had their daughters (1981) and the future president ran for Congress, and lost, in 1978. It still boasts Laura Bush's original drapes, and offers buyers a chance to cook on Laura Bush's original cooktop stove."


Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Short Selection of Unusual Books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Nana Ekua-Brew Hammond's POWDER NECKLACE, a coming-of-age novel about a girl who was forced to move from London to Ghana at the age of nine to "give her mum a break" who returns to London after five years only to learn that even at home she can still feel like an outsider, to Malaika Adero at Atria, by Elizabeth Jote at Objective Entertainment (world).


A.W. Hill's NOWHERE-LAND, in which an L.A. cult investigator tracks a kidnapping victim across the globe and into a network of assassins using an alternate reality game to recruit its young footsoldiers, to Charlie Winton at Counterpoint, for publication in June 2009, by Kimberley Cameron at Reece Halsey North (world).

Iowa Workshop teaching-writing fellow Nic Brown's FLOODMARKERS, a collection of humorous linked short stories that all take place the day of Hurricane Hugo's arrival in the quirky small town of Lystra, NC, and DOUBLES, a love story about a recently retired tennis professional trying to get his game back, both on the court and off, to Jack Shoemaker at Counterpoint, by Nathaniel Jacks of Inkwell Management (world English).


Debut author Rachel Hawkins' paranormal YA trilogy starting with DEMONGLASS, about a sixteen-year-old witch shipped off to a boarding school for witches, shapeshifters, and faeries, where the traumas of mortal high school are nothing compared to the goings on at "Freak High," for publication in winter 2010, to Jennifer Besser at Hyperion, at auction, in a three-book deal, by Holly Root at Waxman Literary Agency (NA).


Duke University basketball coaching legend and US men's Olympic basketball coach Mike (Coach K) Krzyzewski's book on basketball and on management techniques, about the leadership skills that he used to unify a diverse group of NBA superstars and win the gold medal in Beijing, co-written with his daughter, Jamie K. Spatola, to Rick Wolff at Business Plus, for publication in Spring 2009, by sports agent David Falk.


MFA grad married to Weezer bassist Scott Shriner, Jillian Lauren's memoir SOME GIRLS, a coming-of-age story about identity, adoption, and the two years she spent in the harem of Prince Jefri of Brunei, and her debut novel, PRETTY, which chronicles a young woman's last 72 hours in a state-sponsored beauty school, to Signe Pike at Plume, for publication as a trade paperback original in winter 2010, by Alexandra Machinist at Linda Chester Literary Agency (NA).

Screenwriter Amy Ferris's 3:00 A.M.: Musings from a Middle of the Night Life Crisis, about everything from the author's Jewish mother (the one with a crush on Jesus Christ), to ex-boyfriends, to posh vacation destinations she'll never go to, will resonate for anyone who has lain awake in the wee hours and wondered how their basement (and their head) got so ridiculously cluttered, to Krista Lyons-Gould at Seal Press, by Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (NA).


Newspaper editor on Palin, et al....

From Levine Breaking News:


I ran LA Weekly for nearly 20 years, until 2002, giving me more executive experience than all the Presidential candidates put together. During those years the paper's politics were proudly liberal/progressive -- even, many would say, "far left." We offered an alternative to the "on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand" coverage from the mainstream media.There were things we believed in, and our choice of stories reflected that, though we took as much pride as anyone in getting our facts right.

What concerns me most in the midst of the Palin psychosis is that the corporate media will cave to the McCain campaign's vicious attacks and, by THEIR choice of questions and stories, let the Republicans off the hook, just like they did for Bush and the Iraq war. (You know we've reached a new level of absurdity when the McCain camp starts canceling appearances to punish CNN because that network took a few minutes out from bloviating to allow Campbell Brown to practice a little Journalism 101.)

This is a crucial moment, and we have to be all over the networks, dailies and cable channels, insisting they do their job by investigating legitimate stories and asking tough questions. When you see an anchor or reporter going easy on a candidate -- any candidate -- shoot off an email.

And as long as we're holding their feet to the fire, would it be too much to hope for the occasional follow-up question?


Monday, September 01, 2008

Politicians CYA....

From truthout.org :


David Bacon: Did a Mississippi Raid Protect Rightwing Politicians?


David Bacon reports for Truthout from Laurel, Mississippi: "On August 25, immigration agents swooped down on Howard Industries, a Mississippi electrical equipment factory, taking 481 workers to a privately-run detention center in Jena, Louisiana.

A hundred and six women were also arrested at the plant, and released wearing electronic monitoring devices on their ankles if they had children, or without them if they were pregnant. Eight workers were taken to Federal court in Hattiesburg, where they were charged with aggravated identity theft."

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