Thursday, July 31, 2008

Michelangelo's David is returning to Italy

...after a two year visit to the United States.

His Proud Sponsors were:
LSB: This is the first email joke I've received that I have posted, but it was simply too good to pass up. Enjoy the break from the political news. (P.S. "Alleged sponsors" - don't sue me!)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Week In John McCain's Shoes — His $520 Ferragamo Loafers, That Is

Isabel Wilkinson, HuffingtonPost.com: This summer John McCain is traveling in style. He has worn a pair of $520 black leather Ferragamo shoes on every recent campaign stop — from a news conference with the Dalai Lama to a supermarket visit in Bethlehem, PA. The Calfskin loafers, with silver-tone "Gancini" buckles, are imported from Italy.
In response to Barack Obama's foreign tour, McCain spent much of his energy last week emphasizing his focus on domestic issues. What better way to show his American pride than to tour the country in Italian leather?
Christopher Hayes, The Nation:
If I were a right-wing blogger, and I found out that Barack Obama was wearing Ferragamo loafers that cost $520, I would spend about 50% of my waking hours making sure everyone knew this. I would mock him for being an out-of-touch elitist and make jokes like, "If you think that's a lot, you should see how much his purse costs " I would send the link to Drudge and wait for Instapundit to pick it up, and then watch gleefully as Fox News ran segments about how Barack Obama's $500
loafers vitiate his entire economic platform. But of course, I'm not a right-wing blogger. And the $520 shoes belong to John McCain. And frankly, I don't think how much his shoes cost matters one whit for how he'd govern the country.
LSB: Sorry, Christopher, I believe you are wrong. As we've seen with McCain's deceitful ads in the past week, the Straight-Talk-Express jumped the track a while ago. The cost of his shoes doesn't matter for McCain, the private citizen; but as a candidate for the highest office in the land, I wonder how this "alleged" man of the people, who spends $520 on footware and fishes in the private lake on his property, is going to treat our tax dollars if elected.

Barack Hits Back: Ad Says McCain Taking Low Road

John Amato, Crooks and Liars: Here’s Barack Obama’s new ad that calls out McCain’s latest round of juvenile attack ads. It was Cindy McCain that said this - Political Base:
“What you’re going to see is a great debate. Which is what the American public deserves. None of this negative stuff, though. You won’t see it come out of our side at all.”– Cindy McCain, Today Show, May 8, 2008.
What happened, Cindy? This ad is simply moronic and smells of desperation... and it's not even August.

Hope: It Could Happen To You

Rachel Maddow: "There's a difference between being a veteran and supporting a veteran as a politician."

John Aravosis (DC), AmericaBlog.com: Olbermann and Maddow eviscerate McCain over his lack of support of vets and the troops. Olbermann details all the pro-troops legislation that McCain either opposed or refused to even show up for a vote. You really need to watch this, then send it to your friends. These are actual votes that McCain opposed, actual legislation that would have helped the troops, and he was against it. McCain likes to talk about how he's all about the troops, but he doesn't like to talk about the specifics of his record. Well the specifics are here (h/t Jed).


Who's Lying? John McCain or Andrea Mitchell?

John Aravosis (DC), AmericaBlog.com. From DKos:
From John McCain's appearance last night on Larry King Live, when asked about
Barack Obama's canceled visit to Landstuhl:
KING: Why do you think he didn't go?
MCCAIN: I have no idea except that I know that according to reports that he
wanted to bring media people and cameras and his campaign staffers...
That's not spin, that's a blatant, outright lie, and John McCain knows it's a lie. Here is what Andrea Mitchell had to say about the claim that Obama planned to bring cameras and the press:
MITCHELL: That literally is not true... Now the point is, Obama had no intention of bringing any cameras with him. I was there, I can vouch for that... he wasn't planning to bring an entourage...
So there you have it. John McCain outright lied in his new ad, and he's outright lying in continuing to promote the message of that ad. After Andrea Mitchell weighed in and said that she was there, there isn't any wiggle room anymore. The ad is a lie, McCain is lying. When do McCain's friends in the media plan on calling him out on this. Why has he decided to go so negative? Is he that desperate? Has he given up any notion of being a maverick? Why would John McCain outright lie and then continue to spread the lie? A real media would ask these questions, and they'd certainly be asking them if Barack Obama were the candidate to enter the gutter like McCain has.
From Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for TIME:
This front-page account in the Washington Post is absolutely consistent with what I know, based on my reporting, about Obama's cancelled visit to Landstuhl. So how many more times are the McCain campaign and the Republicans going to repeat what is a thoroughly baseless charge?
The problem for McCain, as I noted [above], is that if you're going to lie in an effort to defame your opponent, you'd better hope you don't get called on it. McCain and his staff and his surrogates have repeated this lie so many times, including airing a false TV commercial, that McCain can no longer blame it on a mis-speak or a staff screw-up. He said it himself. He approved a TV ad. McCain approved of a coordinated strategy to falsely slime Obama as un-American. That only works if the media is willing to play along. And clearly, now it isn't. McCain is going to have to go into major damage control on this one. But that may not be enough. The maverick has left the building. Whatever moron on McCain's staff came up with the bright idea to lie about Obama's patriotism, to use our troops as political props, is about to witness John McCain's fabled temper. Of course, in the end, McCain approved of this strategy and embraced it, so he has no one to blame but himself.
FactCheck.org: A McCain TV spot falsely insinuates that Obama canceled his visit because "the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras."

But it was a very tasteful strip joint where conservative family-values Republican Pete Sessions held his fundraisers

John Aravosis (DC), AmericaBlog.com: From MarketPlace we learn that family-values conservative GOP Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) has been holding fundraisers at a strip club in Vegas. Sessions was publicly livid over Janet Jackson's "liberal values" when she bared her covered boobs during the SuperBowl a few years back (Pete Sessions... scolded Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake for forcing "their liberal values upon the rest of the country" after their infamous 2004 Super Bowl halftime striptease). Sessions was less upset about the boobs shown at his fundraisers at a Vegas strip joint. Here is how Sessions described the affair to the media... It's priceless:
Sessions: That's right, we do a Las Vegas fundraiser every year and not only raise money, but see Las Vegas. It's a beautiful town.
Henn: Forty Deuce is a strip club.
Sessions: You know, I've never seen that. It is what I would call a burlesque show where there's a woman who comes out and has a dress on... Uh, she never get's naked. There's no nudity, there's no nudity in there.
This is how the club's owner, Ivan Kane, describes his brand of burlesque.
Ivan Kane: The key component would be to have girls who were dancers taking their clothes off, not just girls taking their clothes off.
Sessions spent more than $5,000 at Kane's club that night in March, according to federal disclosures. Those reports show Sessions spent another $2,100 on his hotel.
More photos from the strip joint here.
LSB: This toad, although not my asshole Congressman, is from my area. Republican = Hypocrite!

China & IOC lied - Internet access for media to be censored for Olympics

Chris in Paris, AmericaBlog.com: Congratulations to the IOC for allowing China to censor journalists from around the globe. In fact, Reuters says the International Olympic Committee actually cut the censorship deal with China. Wasn't this a key issue when the decision was made to give Beijing the Olympics? Beijing lied when they said they would provide uncensored internet access for foreign journalists and the IOC pretended as though China might live up to its promise. And how ridiculous is China, to think that they can even block real news stories from getting in or out?

On Tuesday, [foreign media in Beijing] were unable to access the website of Amnesty International as it released a report criticising China's human rights record.
Besides telling lies about this in order to win the Olympics, a block on foreign media is not likely to be effective and only draw even more attention to the issue.
Chinese officials say foreign journalists covering the Beijing Olympic Games will not have completely uncensored access to the internet.
A top spokesman said sites relating to spiritual movement Falun Gong would be blocked. Another said other unspecified sites would also be unavailable.
China enforces tough internet controls, but said when it bid for the Games that journalists would be free to report.
Journalists have complained they cannot access some news or human rights sites.
A senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member confirmed that while journalists would have free range to cover the Games, the IOC was aware some sites would be blocked.
Richard Blair, AllSpinZone.com: Sen. Sam Brownback is hopping mad that the Chinese government is requiring all international hotels in China to install internet monitoring software prior to the Olympics. Apparently, a few of the hotel chains have made a fuss.
Listen, it’s not like the Chinese government (unlike the American government) hasn’t been right up front about controlling use of the internet / world wide web within the borders of their country. In fact, back in 2005, China forced Yahoo! to give up email records on dissidents, and Google was forced to redesign their search engine software to make it easier for the Chinese government to spy and conduct oversight:
…However, some [U.S.] lawmakers at the hearing thought this argument dubious at best. Choices to operate in China have also led to Yahoo’s cooperation with Chinese authorities to arrest a dissident and Google’ redesign of its search engine to reflect Chinese censorship.
“U.S. technology companies today are engaged in a sickening cooperation decapitating the movements of Chinese dissidents,” human rights subcommittee chair Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said at the hearing. Smith will soon introduce the Global Online Freedom Act of 2006 that aims to “protect United States businesses from coercion to participate in repression by authoritarian foreign governments.” …
So, Sam Brownback is now carrying the anti-spy water for the hotel chains operating in China. As I said at the outset of this post, that’s quite laughable, coming from one of the strongest proponents of FISA, warrentless wiretapping, and internet surveillance. Glenn Greenwald has the details, but this stands out:
“These hotels are justifiably outraged by this order, which puts them in the awkward position of having to craft pop-up messages explaining to their customers that their Web history, communications, searches and key strokes are being spied on by the Chinese government,” Brownback said at a news conference…
At least you get a pop-up message in China. In the U.S., DHS just pops up at your door.

No funds to lend to 40,000 students

Beth Healy, Boston Globe:
The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority yesterday said it will not be able to provide student loans this fall for the first time in its 26-year history, leaving more than 40,000 families without an important source of tuition funds just weeks before college classes begin.
The nonprofit lending authority, which last school year provided $510 million in loans, said it has been unable to secure funding to provide private student loans due to the ongoing turmoil in the nation's credit markets. The agency had already disclosed in April that it would no longer offer federally backed student loans.
It is now contacting the tens of thousands of students to whom it has made loans in the past, urging them to seek other options.
"As a result of our problems and the continued dislocation of the capital markets, we have been unable to raise funds for the coming academic year," said Thomas M. Graf, the authority's executive director. ...
John Aravosis (DC), AmericaBlog.com: Democrats, the issue has been handed into your lap. What you do with it, or don't do with it, is your problem. This is the kind of issue the public is worried about. This is the real-world impact of the chaos the Republicans have wreaked in our economy. And ABC reports that this, not surprisingly, goes far beyond Texas.

RAND STUDY: War on Terrorism fundamentally flawed and doomed to fail

Robert Arena, AmericaBlog.com: Today's Washington Post covers what amounts to a near complete repudiation of the Bush administration "terrorism" policy since 9/11. The fact that the study is coming from the RAND Corporation (SourceWatch profile) is huge. RAND, while technically non-partisan, has a long history shaping a hawkish US strategic policy. (To get a flavor of just what type of organization RAND is, Donald Rumsfeld has sat on their Board of Trustees.)
The Bush administration's terrorism-fighting strategy has not significantly undermined al-Qaeda's capabilities, according to a major new study that argues the struggle against terrorism is better waged by law enforcement agencies than by armies.

The study by the nonpartisan Rand Corp. also contends that the administration committed a fundamental error in portraying the conflict with al-Qaeda as a "war on terrorism." The phrase falsely suggests that there can be a battlefield solution to terrorism, and symbolically conveys warrior status on terrorists, it said.

"Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors," authors Seth Jones and Martin Libicki write in "How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al-Qaeda," a 200-page volume released yesterday.

But the authors contend that al-Qaeda has sabotaged itself by creating ever greater numbers of enemies while not broadening its base of support. "Al-Qaeda's probability of success in actually overthrowing any government is close to zero," the report states. ...
The authors call for a strategy that includes a greater reliance on law enforcement and intelligence agencies in disrupting the group's networks and in arresting its leaders. They say that when military forces are needed, the emphasis should be on local troops, which understand the terrain and culture and tend to have greater
legitimacy.
In Muslim countries in particular, there should be a "light U.S. military footprint or none at all," the report contends.
"The U.S. military can play a critical role in building indigenous capacity," it said, "but should generally resist being drawn into combat operations in Muslim societies, since its presence is likely to increase terrorist
recruitment."
You might remember that back in 2000, the Republicans and George Bush criticized the Clinton administration for treating terrorism as a law enforcement problem instead of a military problem. RAND confirms the Clinton strategy as more effective.
Note that last item about the U.S. military taking little to no role on the ground in Muslim countries. This is exactly what opponents to the Iraq war tried to say ahead of the invasion.
Bottom line, the war on terror is the real fight - on the war in Iraq Barack Obama was right and John McCain was wrong. McCain's willingness to stay in Iraq "maybe one hundred" years shows his complete lack of understanding of the root cause of terrorism.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

David Letterman: “Can a case be made that George Bush’s administration is clearly guilty of war crimes?”

SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: Dave interviewed investigative journalist Jane Mayer Wednesday about her new book, The Dark Side, which chronicles the Bush administration’s use (and denial of use) of torture, and asks her a simple question that we all want to know the answer to.
During the Nuremberg trials Robert H. Jackson said:
“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
By that standard — you know, the internationally agreed upon one — I think the answer is clear.
UPDATE: (Nicole) Actually according to George W. Bush himself, he agrees: (h/t JR)
President Bush signed an executive order on Friday to expand sanctions against what he calls the “illegitimate” regime of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and his supporters.[..] “No regime should ignore the will of its own people and calls from the international community without consequences,” Bush said in a statement.
You heard him, Congress. Get to work.

Daily Show: Obama in Berlin vs. McCain in the supermarket

SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: Jon Stewart juxtaposes how the two candidates spent their Thursdays. [Click the pic for the vid.]
“But watching Senator Obama address a crowd of 200,000 in Germany while Senator McCain addresses a crowd of two in the frozen food section…”
That about sums it up.
LSB: This is laugh out loud funny!

McClellan: White House gave FOX commentators talking points

SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: This just in from the Department of the Obvious: Scott McClellan admits to Chris Matthews that the White House made a deliberate effort to use FOX News commentators like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly to disseminate White House talking points. [Click the pic for the vid.]
Matthews: “Did you see FOX television as a tool when you were in the White House? As a useful avenue to get your message out?”
McClellan: “I make a distinction between the journalists and the commentators. Certainly there were commentators and other, pundits at FOX News, that were useful to the White House.” […] That was something we at the White House, yes, were doing, getting them talkng points and making sure they knew where we were coming from.
Matthews: “So you were using these commentators as your spokespeople.”
McClellan: “Well, certainly.”
Straight from the source. Enough with the “fair and balanced” crap already.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Bright Idea from Andrew Dimbart

Sadly, No!: It seems like it was just yesterday that Andrew Breitbart [on the left] was over at the Moonie Times lamenting that the liberals in Hollywood were using their car keys to scratch the Beemers and Bugatis of Mel Gibson and all the other Hollywood conservatives who, for fear of further car damage, now stay locked up in their homes in Brentwood, occasionally calling Breitbart to detail another indignity visited on them by Hollywood liberals. Yards tee-pee’d. Invitations to gay weddings maliciously stuffed in their mailboxes. Gay teenagers driving by their homes and yelling “Breeder” at them.
Well, he’s baaaack. Today’s column from Breitbart at the Moonie Times proposes perhaps the dumbest idea since France parked its entire Navy in the Bay of Aboukir while Napoleon took a tour of the pyramids. That idea — are you ready? — is affirmative action for young Republicans in Hollywood.
Surely there’s an affirmative-action program that can put Republicans to work in the entertainment industry at ratios similar to our numbers in the general population.
I think that program is called Fox News.
Or how about a “Fairness Doctrine” that extends beyond talk radio to TV, film and music?
But, which, of course, wouldn’t apply to Fox, because it’s already fair and balanced enough.
If we encouraged our young to consider careers in the arts, … we’d have a new
generation of players pushing their scripts - and truth be told, their reality-show gimmicks - through the development process right now. The College Republicans, Young America’s Foundation and the Leadership Institute, not to mention countless alternative campus newspapers, all exude a rebel spirit that greatly resembles the motivations and enthusiasms of the liberal counterculture of the ’60s and ’70s.
Film and television scripts from College Republicans: imagine the excitement and box office success that these ventures would engender. Consider some of the possibilities:
  • What about a historical pageant about how manly men overcome an effeminate gay prince. You could even have the effeminate gay prince’s effeminate gay boyfriend defenestrated by the king! Two thumbs up! Oops. Been there, done that.
  • Or a television show about how all the Arabs are conspiring to blow us up with nukes. Been done. Twice in fact.
  • Or a made-for-TV movie about how 9-11 was all Clinton’s fault. That too?
Dimbart not only wants the CRs to write the new scripts for Hollywood, but he wants returning war vets to be hired for actors:
There are tons of low-level jobs that lead to greater opportunities for industrious young adults. Our armed forces coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq provide us with a source to replenish the Hollywood creative bloodstream, too. Soldiers should vie for leading roles - especially with all those Laguna Beach swimming-trunk-laden shows.
At least the soldiers who returned with all their limbs could vie for those swimming-trunk parts.

Obama in Europe: “People of Berlin. People of the world. This is our moment. This is our time.”

SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: Senator Obama delivered a soaring speech today in Berlin before an estimated crowd of over 200,000 in which he called for a renewed trans-Atlantic — indeed, trans-global — alliance to fight the common threats we all face. Appealing the ideals America was founded on and has tried to promote since it’s inception, Senator Obama stated that whether it’s terrorism and global warming, or genocide and disease, there is no problem we cannot overcome nor enemy we cannot defeat when we are united in common purpose.
“People of Berlin - and people of the world - the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.”
Watch the entire speech here. Read the transcript of the speech here.
UPDATE: It looks like US Foreign Service personnel were banned from the speech. And not by Senator Obama.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

With His Blog Kaboom, a Young Soldier Told of His War. Last Month, the Army Made Him Shut It Down.

washingtonpost.com: He was an unlikely warrior, this scrawny boy from Reno, Nev., the son of two lawyers, raised in the suburbs.
He had a way with words, this boy. When his Stryker unit deployed to Iraq last winter, he was a rookie platoon leader who had never seen combat. And like many other soldiers before him, he decided he'd chronicle the war on a blog. Intending to keep family and friends abreast of the follies and pitfalls of soldiering in a five-year-old war that now relies less on gunfire and more on diplomacy, this boy, under the pen name Lt. G, launched "Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal."
An indictment of the war it was not. Lt. G's dispatches -- at turns hilarious, maddening and terrifying -- provided raw and insightful snapshots of a conflict many Americans have lost interest in.
Word got around, and more and more readers closely followed the postings of 25-year-old Lt. Matthew Gallagher, with the site drawing tens of thousands of page views. By the time Kaboom went kaput last month -- Lt. G was ordered to take down his blog -- it had a following that would be the envy of many a small-town paper.
The blog's downfall was a May 28 posting that, in violation of military blogging rules, Gallagher failed to have vetted by a supervisor. (That the posting depicted an officer in the unit unflatteringly might have played a role. Gallagher declined a request to comment.)
The blogosphere, as it's wont to do, went berserk. ...
The content remains on an archive blog one of his friends created: http://kaboomwarjournalarchive.blogspot.com/. The old blog site is now controlled by City Girl, Gallagher's fiancee, who occasionally pens updates on the Gravediggers. (Full story)

An interactive guide to the White House's crimes and misdemeanors

AmericaBlog.com: Great new interactive guide to corruption in the Bush White House. From Slate. (You'll need to go the site and click the image to make it work.)

"John McCain's Neverending War"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Colbert Report: Barack Obama Snubs Fox News

Nicole Belle, Crooks and Liars: Stephen Colbert looks at the media maelstrom surrounding Barack Obama’s trip to the Middle East and how there is one particular media outlet who doesn’t seem to be involved. Hmmm… which one could it be? [Click the pic for the vid.]
COLBERT: You see, in recent months, McCain boxed Obama into a corner by saying it was important that Obama visit Iraq. Checkmate. No way out of that one. But now Obama is cheating, by visiting Iraq. The good news is there’s so much media attention, there’s always a possibility of a huge gaffe doing irreparable damage to his campaign. [..] Now I was not invited on this trip. But, that’s fine. But I am not the only one who was snubbed.
[video of FOX & Friends] DOOCY: Why are you not on Barack Obama’s airplane heading to the Middle East right now? WALLACE: Well, I called the Obama campaign several weeks ago and said that I’d like to go and my invitation has apparently been lost in the mail.[end video]
COLBERT: Well, maybe that’s what this is. Here you go. [holds up envelope] Oh my God, it’s Chris Wallace’s invitation to the Obama trip! They sent it to me by accident. This could be my ticket to cover Barack Obama’s historic trip! All I have to do is…oh…and then people might think I was Chris Wallace. [shudders] Just not worth the risk.
Kind of makes the whole narrative that Obama is playing to FOX News Channel viewership in the general election a lie, doesn’t it? I think that anytime we see Democrats treating FNC rightfully as the propaganda arm of the GOP–as Netroots Nation did last week–they deserve a little pat on their back.
Please send Obama a note of congratulations for his FOX snub here. That’s not weak on defense, Colbert, that’s a strong offense and one all Democrats should be emulating.

"Wall Street Got Drunk": 'Banned' Bush Video Surfaces

Greg Mitchell, HuffingtonPost.com: An ABC-TV outlet in Houston, and now the Houston Chronicle, have posted a video taken at a political fundraiser for Pete Olson, featuring George W. Bush last week -- capturing some embarrassing/revealing moments after, he noted, he had asked cameras to be turned off.
The first moments form the July 18 event find him speaking almost incoherently in admitting, for once, that his friends in big business had screwed up: "There's no question about it. Wall Street got drunk ---that's one of the reasons I asked you to turn off the TV cameras -- it got drunk and now it's got a hangover. The question is how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments."
Then, making light of the foreclosure crisis, he said: "And then we got a housing issue... not in Houston, and evidently not in Dallas, because Laura's over there trying to buy a house. [great laughter] I like Crawford but unfortunately after eight years of sacrifice, I am apparently no longer the decision maker."
No one is saying how ABC's Miya Shay got the video or how it emerged. (The YouTube version of the video is now axed, but it is easily viewed at ABC site here.)

CBS Covers Up McCain's False Iraq Assertion

HuffingtonPost.com: In an interview with CBS News' Katie Couric tonight, John McCain made the false assertion that the Surge brought about the so-called Anbar Awakening. Except, as MSNBC"s Keith Olbermann points out, the Surge was announced after the Awakening. Olbermann also explains that CBS News edited the gaffe out of the final interviewed that aired Tuesday night.
HuffPost blogger Ilan Goldenberg points out that this is not some minor gaffe, but a fundamental misunderstanding of the Iraq situation:
This is not controversial history. It is history that anyone trying out for Commander and Chief must understand when there are 150,000 American troops stationed in Iraq. It is an absolutely essential element to the story of the past two years. YOU CANNOT GET THIS WRONG. Moreover, what is most disturbing is that according to McCain's inaccurate version of history, military force came first and solved all of our problems. If that is the lesson he takes from the Anbar Awakening, I am afraid it is the lesson he will apply to every other crisis he faces including, for example, Iran.

Let’s ask Andrea

John Amato, Crooks and Liars: On Hardball today, Matthews talked about Obama’s excellent interaction with the military in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Politico’s Roger Simon, a Villager extraordinaire said that the middle east trip is going swimmingly so far. Andrea Mitchell did confirm that Maliki indeed backed Obama on his Iraq plans because he brought up Obama’s name by himself in his interview over the weekend earlier in the interview, but then she said a very odd thing about his “message management” as some footage of Obama played in the background on MSNBC. [Click the pic for the vid.]
Andrea: Let me say something about his message management. He didn’t have reporters with him. He didn’t have a press pool. He didn’t do a press conference while he was on the ground either on Afghanistan or Iraq. What you’re seeing is not reporters brought in, you’re seeing selected pictures taken by the military, questioned by the military and what some would call fake interviews because they’re not interviews with a journalist so there’s a real press issue here. Politically it’s smart as can be, but we’ve not seen a Presidential candidate do this in my recollection ever before.
McCain’s visit was not announced and he was believed to have been in the country for several hours before reporters were able to confirm his arrival. It was unclear ho he met with and no media opportunities or news conferences were planned.
Let’s Ask Andrea a question. Why wasn’t John McCain attacked for giving “fake interviews” during this trip up until he held a presser in Jordan?
...She was upset because she wasn’t “present” during these interviews. You mean you weren’t able to get a gotcha moment? When she says “what some would call” I guess she means herself. Will Andrea go on a limb and say every interview on FOX News is not legitimate when Cheney, Bush or McCain appear? How about when she joins O’Reilly? Or when someone is interviewed on a blog? The Daily Show has some very interesting interviews, does that not count? Is the military not capable of performing interviews? Where does she draw the line? Saying they are “fake interviews” really goes too far. I’ve emailed Obama’s campaign for a response.

Frank Rich Tears Apart McCain’s Economic Ignorance

SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: Frank Rich takes McCain to the woodshed in typical Rich style.
New York Times:
THE best thing to happen to John McCain was for the three network anchors to leave him in the dust this week while they chase Barack Obama on his global Lollapalooza tour. Were voters forced to actually focus on Mr. McCain’s response to our spiraling economic crisis at home, the prospect of his ascension to the Oval Office could set off a panic that would make the
IndyMac Bank bust in Pasadena look as merry as the Rose Bowl.
“In a time of war,” Mr. McCain said last week, “the commander in chief doesn’t get a learning curve.” Fair enough, but he imparted this wisdom in a speech that was almost a year behind Mr. Obama in recognizing Afghanistan as the central front in the war against Al Qaeda. Given that it took the deadliest Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul since 9/11 to get Mr. McCain’s attention, you have to wonder if even General Custer’s learning curve was faster than his.
Ouch.

John Amato’s virtual online magazine…OK, It’s a blog!

Silent Patriot, Crooks and Liars: The speculation before Senator Obama left for Iraq that he would possibly commit a presidential-bid-ending gaffe was deafening. So naturally the media was caught off guard when John McCain managed to beat Obama to the punch. [Click the pic for the vid.]
Stewart: Come on! This guy is a newbie! You can’t snag one faux pas, one misstep, a blunder, a boo boo, a brainfart? Something small…a geography mix-up?
McCain: It’s a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border.
Stewart: The Iraq-Pakistan border, otherwise known as… IRAN.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Red State Update: McCain Can't Work Internet

75 percent of Americans support gays serving openly in the military

ThinkProgress.org: A new Washington Post-ABC News poll released today shows 75 percent of Americans polled “said gay people who are open about their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military” — a dramatic rise from the 61 percent who supported the notion in 2001. Support has increased across party and ideological lines:
Support from Republicans has doubled over the past 15 years, from 32 to 64 percent. More than eight in 10 Democrats and more than three-quarters of independents now support the idea, as did nearly two-thirds of self-described conservatives.
Today is the 15th anniversary of the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy. At that time, a majority of all Americans — including 75 percent of conservatives — supported a ban on gays in the military.

McCain Aide Scheunemann Linked To Bush Library ‘Cash For Access’ Scandal

ThinkProgress.org: Earlier this month, the Sunday Times caught longtime Bush associate Stephen Payne on tape offering access to top Bush administration officials in exchange for “six-figure donations to the private library being set up to commemorate Bush’s presidency.” Payne, who is now being investigated by the Homeland Security Department and the House Oversight Committee, made the offer to Kazakh politician Yerzhan Dosmukhamedov, who is also known as Eric Dos.
The Times reported that Dos had previously worked with Payne to arrange a 2006 visit by Vice President Dick Cheney to Kazakhstan. Dos claims that in exchange for arranging Cheney’s trip, “a payment of $2m was passed, via a Kazakh oil and gas company, to Payne’s firm.” Payne denies that any such arrangement existed.
But the Times reports today that Payne may be lying about his business dealings and that the money may have been funneled through a sister company to Payne’s lobbying firm:
The Sunday Times, however, has discovered the existence of a channel through which funds from the Kazakh government could have been readily transferred.
A sister company to WSP, Worldwide Strategic Energy (WSE), of which Payne is also president, has a subsidiary, Caspian Alliance, which is the sole US representative for KMG.
The Times reports that a top adviser to Sen. John McCain, lobbyist Randy Scheunemann, has direct ties to the company that is alleged to have funneled the funds:
In a further link, Randy Scheunemann, chief foreign policy and national security adviser to John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, was listed in the WSE brochure as part of its executive team. Scheunemann and Associates, his lobbying firm, is reported as having represented the Caspian Alliance in 2005.
At the undercover meeting last week, Payne said Scheunemann had been “working with me on my payroll for five of the last eight years”. When confronted over the link to KMG, Payne declined to comment.
During his trip to Kazakhstan, Cheney ignored the country’s bad record on human rights and declared his “admiration for what has transpired here in Kazakhstan over the past 15 years.” Earlier this month, Payne told an undercover Times report that Cheney was more interested in what Kazakhstan “could do on energy” than “making them toe the line on human rights.”

General Petraeus: Al Qaida May Be Shifting Focus Back To Afghanistan From Iraq

Robert Burns, AP:
After intense U.S. assaults, al-Qaida may be considering shifting focus to its original home base in Afghanistan, where American casualties are running higher than in Iraq, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Saturday.
"We do think that there is some assessment ongoing as to the continued viability of al-Qaida's fight in Iraq," Gen. David Petraeus told The Associated Press in an interview at his office at the U.S. Embassy.
LSB: C.Y.A. ("cover your ass") big time! After years of false reports, only at the 11th hour before a new administration kicks in, does he change his tune about where al-Qaida may be. He's toast when the Obama administration takes over in January.

Elizabeth Edwards on The Colbert Report

Nicole Belle, Crooks and Liars: Elizabeth Edwards faces Stephen Colbert [click the pic for the vid] to stump for on behalf of the group Health Care for America Now! trying to raise the awareness of the campaign to bring affordable health care to all Americans.

Colbert: You’re talking about Universal Health Care?

Edwards: Universal, meaning everybody gets health care.

Colbert: Okay, but we already have a form of universal health care, it’s called prayer. Okay? Everybody can do it, and the Lord of the Universe hears all prayers, but sometimes the answer is, ‘I’m sorry, you’re not covered for that.’

Edwards: Right. A little too often it’s ‘you’re not covered for that.’ And unfortunately, there’s just too many Americans who currently prayer is their only form of health care.

Rachel Maddows Schools Noah Oppenheim

SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: Attention liberals and progressives: This is how you shut down Republican foreign policy talking points. During the “Face Off” segment on “Race for the White House” today, Rachel absolutely eviscerated every pre-packaged argument Noah Oppenheim had to offer about McCain’s supposed strong suit.
Here is just a small taste of the smackdown:
Maddow: “Noah, when it gets down to concrete issues, and when it gets down to making a judgment call, I think if people are looking at Bush and McCain in deciding to go after Osama bin Laden by invading and occupying for five years a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 — or — actually going after Osama bin Laden where he is, probably in Pakistan, I think people will probably go with the latter judgment.
Oppenheim: “Are you suggesting an invasion of Pakistan?”
Maddow: “He hasn’t said he would invade Pakistan. He said he would go after Osama bin Laden where he is instead of outsourcing the fight against al Qaeda to General Musharraf who happily took our billions of dollars worth military aid and then gave al Qaeda and the Taliban safe haven in the tribal regions. So go after bin Laden or fight Iraq? I’d take the former.”
Ouch. Remember when President Bush said this in his 2004 State of the Union address?:
“America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.”
The same people who defended President Bush and attacked Senator Kerry back then are now attacking Senator Obama for stating that, as President, his policy will be to pursue Osama bin Laden wherever he is, even if that means we have to go into Pakistan against Musharraf’s wishes. How is that possibly a controversial concept? Are these right-wingers really arguing that we need a “permission slip” in order to hunt down the man responsible for 3000+ Americans?
Thank the media gods for Rachel Maddow.

Send Karl Rove to Jail

Petition: We call on the the House Judiciary Committee to cite Rove with contempt for
failing to comply with a Congressional subpoena. Since Rove regards the
law with such contempt, it's high time the law and Congress hold him in contempt
as well. We demand the HJC let Rove know he can't decide which subpoenas
he obeys and which he ignores.
This sounds like a dream, doesn't it? Well, it's not. We have a unique opportunity right now to send Karl Rove to jail, but only if we take immediate action.
All we have to do is pressure the 40 members of the House Judiciary Committee, make them hold Rove in contempt and send him to jail. We've never had such a direct opportunity to hold Rove accountable. No, this is not enough punishment for his years and years of crimes, but it's a huge start, and will send a very clear message to the entire Bush administration.
UPDATE: Don Siegelman just challenged McCain to compel Rove to testify.
MORE: Marcy Wheeler explains the Karl Rove situation:

Oops! White House Accidentally E-Mails to Reporters Story That Maliki Supports Obama Iraq Withdrawal Plan

Jake Tapper, ABC News: The White House this afternoon accidentally sent to its extensive distribution list a Reuters story headlined "Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan - magazine."
The story relayed how Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told the German magazine Der Spiegel that "he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months … ‘U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes,'" the prime minister said.
The White House employee had intended to send the article to an internal distribution list, ABC News' Martha Raddatz reports, but hit the wrong button.
The misfire comes at an odd time for Bush foreign policy, at a time when Obama's campaign alleges the president is moving closer toward Obama's recommendations about international relations -- sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, discussing a "general time horizon" for U.S. troop withdrawal and launching talks with Iran.
LSB: Ouch! That's has to smack, when you base your legitimacy (and legacy) on your foreign policy expertise and then inadvertently tell your entire press list the opposite party’s candidate is pursuing the policy you SHOULD have been pursuing all along. Damn that’s gotta hurt, especially coming so close on the heals of Obama calling for talks with Iran, your administration declaring those remarks 'an appeasement', and then your State Department actually does sit down with the Iranians when it is shamed into it by their EU counterparts. (Video of Sec. Rice confirming the flip-flop.) It must suck being the Bush administration when you see how a real president would handle the situation.

Nancy Pelosi: “Two oil men in the White House” are responsible for high oil prices

SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: Who knew Nancy Pelosi was such a straight-shooter? [LSB: Click the pic for the vid.] When Wolf Blitzer tries to pin part of the blame for the current energy crisis on the Democratic Congress, Pelosi shoots back by saying her House did everything it could to institute a sensible energy policy, only to have “run into a brick wall” in the form of Senate Republicans — you know, the ones who broke the filibuster record for a full term last year.
“The price of oil is… is attributed to two oil men in the White House and their protectors in the United States Senate.”
While it might be easy (and typically accurate) to blame everything on President Bush and Vice President Cheney, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to lay the current crisis at the White House’s doorstep. Sure, there are some uncontrollable market forces at work, but both Cheney and Bush are oil patch guys; it would be the height of naivete to assume that they would have an energy policy that didn’t benefit Big Oil.
From Day One, Dick Cheney was plotting how to take over Iraq oil fields. Before the war, it was obvious to everyone that the invasion or Iraq, and the instability it would caused in the region, would only drive prices up further. For all the lip service President Bush pays to his commitment to renewable energy, the fact is spending has been on the stagnant since the mid-1990’s.
What we really need is a leader with the wisdom to acknowledge the magnitude of the problem and the courage to tackle it head on. “Green Screen” John McCain is clearly not that leader.

McCain declares ‘we have succeeded’ in Iraq

Steve Benen, Crooks and Liars: Here’s a video of an informal press conference McCain held in Michigan.
The audio is a little tough to hear, so to clarify, McCain insisted that “we have succeeded” in Iraq. In fact, he said it multiple times: “I am happy to stand in front of you to tell you that this strategy has succeeded. It has succeeded. It has succeeded.”
(It reminds me of the time Marge Simpson told Bart that Springfield is “a part of us all. A part of us all. A part of us all.” She then explained it would help him remember and believe the line if she repeated it this way.)
OK, McCain probably misspoke again. He must have meant that he thinks Bush’s strategy is “succeeding,” not has “succeeded,” right?
Wrong. He’s now referring to Bush’s Iraq policy in the past tense, as if the war is over.
McCain added on the campaign bus: “I repeat my statement that we have succeeded in Iraq — not we are succeeding — we have succeeded in Iraq.”
Gotcha. It’s over. We won. The policy worked — not is working, but worked. Good to know.
In a political context, McCain had a series of rhetorical options. He could say that we will succeed in Iraq, but Americans have grown impatient. He could say that we’re in the process of succeeding, but that’s not quite good enough, either. So, McCain just made up his mind — we’ve already succeeded. We may not know it, and this victory may be limited to McCain’s over-active imagination, but it happened. Just trust him and don’t ask any questions.
Can we get out of Iraq, then? Apparently not: “The success that we have achieved is still fragile and could be reversed.”
I have to say, I thought “success” was going to look a little more successful, but maybe that’s just me.
McCain, like Bush, considers this “mission accomplished.” I guess neither want to be taken especially seriously.
NOTE: In this same informal McCain press conference (7/17/08 Grand Haven, MI) McCain commented on the unannounced timing of a high-security trip by Barack Obama to Iraq, "saying he believed his Democratic rival was going this weekend."
... Obama said last month he would go to both Iraq and Afghanistan soon. But his campaign has given no dates, seeking to cloak the trip in a measure of secrecy for security reasons.
"I believe that either today or tomorrow -- and I'm not privy to his schedule -- Sen. Obama will be landing in Iraq with some other senators" who make up a congressional delegation, McCain said...
John Aravosis, AmericaBlog.com: There's a reason these trips aren't announced in advance. We don't want to give our enemies in Iraq a heads up on when to attack the coming American dignitaries. It's beyond indiscrete. It's obscene that McCain would leak something like this. Imagine the uproar if any Democrat ever leaked details of an upcoming trip to Iraq by Bush or Cheney or McCain or any of that crowd. There'd be hell to pay. Just more evidence that McCain is no longer the level-handed man that many once thought him.

Psychology: Will it pay YOUR bills?

Nicole Belle, Crooks and Liars: Phil Gramm is officially gone from the McCain campaign, but not without a little whining of his own:
Former senator Phil Gramm announced last night that he has stepped down as cochairman of John McCain’s presidential campaign to end the “distraction” caused by his remarks the nation was filled with “whiners” who complain about the economy.
“It is clear to me that Democrats want to attack me rather than debate Senator McCain on important economic issues facing the country,” Gramm said in a statement the McCain campaign issued. “That kind of distraction hurts not only Senator McCain’s ability to present concrete programs to deal with the country’s problems, it hurts the country.”
However, even if he is gone from the campaign, MoveOn PAC doesn’t want you to forget that Gramm’s policies live on in McCain’s economic platform.
McCain’s campaign co-chair Phil Gramm had to step down because of controversy over his comment that we were in the middle of a “mental recession.” But the truth is, John McCain threw Phil Gramm under the bus for saying, less artfully, what he himself has said repeatedly.

McCain’s crude Gorilla joke: 'It’s McCain Being Authentic'

Olbermann repeats McCain’s Gorilla/Rape joke. McCain’s camp says that he’s just being himself.
“This kind of stuff is an example of McCain being McCain.”
Blogger Comments:
  • If it were Obama telling such a joke back in 1986 (when he was in college and not a sitting member of the House of Representatives) he would be crucified.
  • Bottom line: yes, it was simply a crude joke… but it was also not funny in the least (when is RAPE ever funny?). Let’s not forget about McCain calling his WIFE a C-NT. And also made a joke about Janet Reno being Chelsea Clinton’s father. This man is a total mysogynist. You’ve got to wonder what he really says behind closed doors about Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and any other woman in a leadership role.
  • You would think that almost 8 years being embarrassed by Bush should be enough .
  • Gee, if Obama told this “joke,” do you think it would get a little bit of coverage? Maybe on O’Reilly, Fox and Friends, etc?
  • Whenever this sick old fuck gets cornered with something awful he’s said, he breaks out his best Ronald Reagan with the “I don’t recall” bullshit or he tells us to “move on”. And how many weeks did we spend on Obama’s “bitter” comments? This mean, stupid old fool is truly a worthless candidate.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dubya's Turn


HYPOCRISY ALERT: McCain, who had London fundraiser with British Lord, says Obama's trip overseas is political

Joe Sudbay (DC), AmericaBlog.com: Remember this?:
McCain is already on the verge of breaking U.S. campaign finance laws by busting the spending cap. He's been having trouble raising money in the U.S., too. But, this borders on the absurd:
Sen. John McCain plans at least one campaign event on his week-long congressional trip to Europe and the Middle East: a March 20 fundraiser in London. An invitation sent out by the campaign says the luncheon will be held at Spencer House, St. James's Place, "by kind permission of Lord Rothschild OM GBE and the Hon Nathaniel Rothschild." Tickets to the invitation-only event cost $1,000 to $2,300. Attire is listed as "lounge suits."
Given that, McCain's latest swipe at Obama is even more absurd:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Thursday he believes
Democrat Barack Obama's upcoming trip to Europe is tantamount to holding
political rallies abroad.
So, it was okay for McCain to hold political fundraisers abroad? McCain's a hypocrite. But, the traditional media loves him, so he gets away with it.

HYPOCRISY ALERT: McCain Attended Zero Afghanistan Hearings In Last Two Years

HuffingtonPost.com: ABC News reports that McCain has attended zero of his Senate committee's six hearings on Afghanistan in the last two years:
The McCain campaign criticism of Sen. Barack Obama's hearing record on Capitol Hill led us to put the shoe on the other foot.
It turns out that presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, has attended even fewer Afghanistan-related Senate hearings over the past two years than Obama's one. Which is a nice way of saying, McCain, R-Ariz., the top Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee, has attended zero of his committee's six hearings on Afghanistan over the last two years...
...The findings are surprising given the fact that the McCain campaign loudly criticized Obama this week for failing to schedule any hearings on Afghanistan in the last year and a half. Obama chairs the European Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has oversight of military operations in Afghanistan.
The American public believes the war in Afghanistan is far more essential to the war on terror than the war in Iraq: 51% believe the U.S. must win the war in Afghanistan to succeed in the war on terror, whereas only 34% feel the same about the Iraq war.

Monday, July 14, 2008

PFLAG Pissed Over McCain's Anti-Gay Adoption Comments

Joe.My.God.: From Sunday's New York Times interview with John McCain:
Question: President Bush believes that gay couples should not be permitted to adopt children. Do you agree with that?
Mr. McCain: I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no I don’t believe in gay adoption.
Q: Even if the alternative is the kid staying in an orphanage, or not having parents?
Mr. McCain: I encourage adoption and I encourage the opportunities for people to adopt children I encourage the process being less complicated so they can adopt as quickly as possible. And Cindy and I are proud of being adoptive parents.
Q: But your concern would be that the couple should a traditional couple?
Mr. McCain: Yes.
LSB: Even if someone in that traditional couple is a drug addict? (like Cindy McCain)
PFLAG responds:
“In a country where more than 125,000 children are waiting for foster parents, Senator McCain would deny loving homes to children who desperately need them simply because of an outdated prejudice about what a family may look like,” said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). “We are disappointed and saddened that a public leader who is himself an adoptive father would deny the children in America’s foster care system the opportunity to thrive as part of a welcoming family. Love makes a family, but short-sighted positions like Senator McCain’s can certainly tear families apart, too.”

Obama: My Plan for Iraq

Barack Obama's Op-Ed in The New York Times: The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.
The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.
In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.
But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.
The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009.
Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.
But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.
As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.
In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments. As I have often said, I would consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected. We would move them from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We would pursue a diplomatic offensive with every nation in the region on behalf of Iraq’s stability, and commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees.
Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.
As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.
In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.
It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

McCain Defends Czechoslovakia, A Non-Existent Country -- Again

Rachel Weiner, HuffingtonPost.com: At a press availability today, John McCain expressed concern about relations between Russia and a country that hasn't existed for quite some time. According to a rough pool report transcript, he said:
"I was concerned about a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days. One was reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia. Apparently that is in reaction to the Czech's agreement with us concerning missile defense, and again some of the Russian now announcement they are now retargeting new targets, something they abandoned at the end of the Cold War, is also a concern."
Czechoslovakia, of course, split into two separate countries in 1993.
It isn't the first time McCain has made this mistake, as TPM's Greg Sargent points out:
Around three months ago, McCain told Don Imus that he would "work closely with Czechoslovakia and Poland and other countries" to install the European Missile Defense System in Poland, according to the Democratic National Committee. (The slip-up was referenced elsewhere, too.)
And during a GOP debate in October 2007, McCain said: "The first thing I would do is make sure that we have a missile defense system in place in Czechoslovakia and Poland, and I don't care what his objections are to it."
There are more: in 1994, McCain suggested NATO be expanded to include Czechoslovakia. At a dinner in 1999, he "twice thanked the ambassador from 'Czechoslovakia' for his efforts," according to the Washington Post.
In fact, George Bush himself dinged McCain for this blunder back in the 2000 primary. Steve Clemons writes:
Second, before Republicans condemn Dems for being picky on this, let's not forget that in the 2000 campaign, when McCain also screwed up Czechoslovakia, it was none other than George W. Bush who said it deserved to be a campaign issue: "A guy gets up and quizzes me [on world leaders] ... but John McCain says something about the 'ambassador to Czechoslovakia.' Well, I know there is no Czechoslovakia [there's a Czech Republic and a Slovakia], but yet it didn't make the nightly national news."
This longstanding confusion persists despite McCain's numerous visits to both the Czech Republic and Slovakia (he described his 2001 meeting with Czech President Vaclav Havel as "an experience . . . I can tell my Grandchildren about.") In fact, the former U.S. ambassador to Slovakia endorsed McCain's candidacy for president. Maybe he should offer the candidate some geography lessons too.

Bush And Father Do Golf Fundraiser For McCain

Rachel Weiner, HuffingtonPost.com: George W. Bush famously claimed to have given up golf out of respect for soldiers in Iraq:
"I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in
chief playing golf," he said. "I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."
But this great sacrifice has taken the backseat to a more urgent concern -- raising money for John McCain:

If you're a high-flying Republican, and you can afford to take next Monday off to fly to Maine, have we got a treat for you.
On that day, former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush are hosting a high-dollar fundraiser for John McCain near their home in Kennebunkport.
According to a solicitation sent by the McCain camp, for the low, low price of $5,000, you can play a round of golf at Cape Arundel Golf Course, Bush's home course.
"Both President Bush and Governor Jeb Bush will be stopping by to greet the foursomes," the missive promises. "The course is reserved for this private group, and VIPs will be visiting during your round of golf. This event is a great way to end a weekend getaway, and we would be honored if you can attend."
LSB: I guess Bush doesn't feel he owes the families of the soldier lost in Iraq anything anymore. What a shithead!