Thursday, July 31, 2008

McCain, Big Oil and Record Profits.

HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest profit from operations ever by any U.S. corporation.

TPJ: Is it any wonder that John McCain received large donations from the oil and gas industry after changing his position from opposing offshore drilling to supporting it?
Campaign contributions from oil industry executives to Sen. John McCain rose dramatically in the last half of June, after the senator from Arizona made a high-profile split with environmentalists and reversed his position on the federal ban on offshore drilling.

Oil and gas industry executives and employees donated $1.1 million to McCain last month - three-quarters of which came after his June 16 speech calling for an end to the ban - compared with $116,000 in March, $283,000 in April and $208,000 in May.

TPJ: Yet McCain said this last month about the oil industry, "I am very angry, frankly, at the oil companies not only because of the obscene profits they've made but at their failure to invest in alternate energy to help us eliminate our dependence on foreign oil."

So is McCain more interested in us or big oil's money given that the oil companies aren't using all of the land where they already have leases, that many analysts say there isn't that much oil offshore and that it will take close to a decade to reach you? I think it's clear that he is playing off our ingrained American desire for quick fixes and immediate satisfaction. He dazzles the possibility of extending our laziness with promises that if only the mean Democrats let us drill we'd find unlimited amounts of oil offshore which is a total pander and lie. It's the classic Republican tactic of getting us to vote their way out of fear of having to change our habits and lifestyle which ends up benefiting big oil, big business more than us. God forbid if we have to sacrifice in order to find a long term solution for the future!!

To go off topic a bit, I find it fascinating that the Republicans are the ones who say that Democrats are irresponsible because they want to use targeted tax hikes (for the rich) to help balance our budget and pay as we go just like we have to do with our personal budgets. When their solution to pay for things is to borrow money and therefore have to rely on foreign governments for our financial solubility. Governments that don't exactly have our best interests in mind. So McCain and his buddies rightly fight to keep America free from terrorism and conquest but fail to fight to keep America economically free.

There are many ways to conquer a country and using our economy and greed against us by taking on our debt is an easy way to bring us to our knees, without having to fire a shot. We would do well to read, "The Art of War" as the Chinese sure do since that historic text was written by one of their own centuries ago so they have had time to perfect it and if you haven't read that book you should because it shows exactly how to take down an enemy is ways that they wouldn't expect. Then again most Americans can't be bothered with books and history which is partly why we are failing as a country right now.

But let's get back on point. The fact of the matter is that oil is running out, the its byproducts are destroying our fragile planet which will increasingly create problems for our grandkids health and safety and yet the Republicans claim to be the ones out to protect families and the life of every being? And their other "big idea" solution for becoming energy independent is nuclear energy. Hey idiots, nuclear energy isn't a new idea. Plus, it hasn't been pursued in decades because we still haven't figured out how to do it safely and what to do with the extremely hazardous waste that can destroy not only lives but the planet for future generations (families). Yeah, great idea there geniuses. I want to know where McCain plans on putting all that waste, Yucca Mountain in Nevada? I'm sure the good people down there would love that.

Shockingly often I see flatbed trucks hauling those nondescript gray containers without any labels except small, black nuclear signs on them while driving on our main interstate highway here in Colorado. Apparently John McCain and his ilk remember nothing of Chernobyl. I think it should be mandatory for school kids to watch documentaries on Chernobyl like they do on the holocaust in middle-school and high-school. And of course in college. You could easily work it into the curriculum in a World Civilization history class.

But back to the issue at hand between McCain and oil, he slams Obama for his decision to not take public funding for his campaign alone but to rather take money from mostly small donors like you and I. However, then McCain takes millions from the oil industry?!! Who would you rather vote for, someone who is beholden to us average folks funding his campaign (Obama) or the other, (McCain) who is beholden to oil companies? I think the answer is clear don't you?

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Is Obama Arrogant or Just Confident? Plus McCain Flips on Taxes.

Well the GOP slime machine has been working overtime lately trying to paint Obama as arrogant and acting like he's already president. Which they leveled after his overseas trip because he showed that indeed he did look like he could be the Commander-in-Chief. He passed the Commander-in-Chief test. He looked presidential which was what many claimed he couldn't appear because he was "too inexperienced" and now that he did they are saying he's being presumptuous!! So which is it? Is he presidential or is he not presidential? Once again he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't which betrays the desperate motives of the McCain campaign that they have to embrace these kind of tactics.

So a few days ago the McCain campaign said that Obama was acting arrogantly like he was already president because he told supporters that he has a good chance of winning!! There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance. What is he supposed to say? No we don't have a chance and you shouldn't give me anymore money because I'm dropping out of the race??? Keep dreaming McStain. He's leading the race, what else is he going to say? It's such a silly charge that it nearly doesn't deserve space on this blog except that there are many who might believe this bullshit. So I'm posting about this in hopes of showing at least on person the absurdity and desperate nature of this kind of snipping.

Now today this quote emerges from Obama:

From CBS News' Steve Chaggaris:
A quote in today's Washington Post has Barack Obama's opponents salivating at the prospect of using it against him while Democrats are insisting it's taken completely out of context.

While speaking to a closed door meeting with House Democrats yesterday, the Post quoted him as saying, "This is the moment . . . that the world is waiting for... I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."

The Republican National Committee sent around the quote first thing this morning as part of its "Audacity Watch," where they've been hitting Obama for acting presidential before he's even elected.

A House Democratic staffer, however, tells CBS News that this quote is taken way out of context.

"The Post left out the important first half of the sentence," the staffer said, adding that the quote was more like, "It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol...”

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who was in the room, pointed out to Fox News that the line was taken completely out of context.

"It was not about him," Clyburn said.
TPJ: Even if he did only say that he has become the, "symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions" it wouldn't bother me. Because every presidential candidate becomes the representative of their supporters hopes and dreams and in Obama's case it's hope that he'll return America to its greatness and respected position in the world that existed before Bush.

McCain Flips on Social Security taxes and McCain camp contradicts their own candidate:

But in an interview with The National Review McCain was quite forceful in opposing tax increases:

National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru
: If you could get the Democrats to agree, or at least to come to the table on entitlements or on tax simplification, are those circumstances under which you'd be willing to accept a tax increase?


Sen. McCain: No; no.

Ponnuru: No circumstances?

Sen. McCain: No. None. None.

And few days ago though he said that social security taxes are a disgrace:
Then yesterday he flips back again, In Nevada, McCain handed the microphone to a little girl, who asked, "If you are president will you raise our taxes?"

"No," McCain answered. "And that's one of the big differences between myself and Senator Obama, as you know."


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plans for the Bush Library.

TPJ: Some of you might have seen this going around already but if you haven't read it do, it's hilarious. I added the ones that are in bold:

The George W Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages. You'll want to be the first at your corporation to make a contribution to this great man's legacy.

So far, the library will include:

The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still underwater.

The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you can't remember anything.


The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.


The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room (which no one has been able to find).


The Iraq War Room. After you complete your first tour, they make you to go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth tours.


The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.


The "Economy Room" which is in the toilet.

The National Debt room which is huge and has no ceiling.

The "Tax Cut" Room with entry only to the wealthy.

The Environmental Conservation and Global Warming Reversal greenhouse, still empty but it's really hot.

To highlight the President's accomplishments, the museum will have electron microscopes to help you locate them.


The Dick Cheney Room - In an undisclosed location, but reports are if you find it, it contains a unique shooting gallery.


The Men’s Room - Where you can meet a Republican Senator.


This library will be unconventional in that it will have only one book, "My Pet Goat."


Plans also include: The K-Street Project Gift Shop - where you can buy a large tax break if you are in the oil business or really, any big business. As well as buy an election.


The 'Decider Room' complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.


The Terri Schiavo Medical Center where you're medical decisions will be made by Bush himself.

The Donald Rumsfeld Security Guard Room where they shoot first and ask questions later.


The No Child Left Behind day care room where art isn't taught.


The Rev. James Dobson Chapel where bibles are used as weapons instead of read.

The entertainment wing, always stocked with plenty of cocaine and booze.

Last, but not least, there will also be an entire floor devoted to a 7/8 scale model of the President’s ego.

Call in advance for large group tours but know that your call will be monitored.

Even though the library is only partly done, Bush has already called it "Mission Accomplished."

Admission: Republicans – free; Democrats -- $1000 or 3 Euros.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

McCain Rips Obama for not Visiting Wounded Troops.

John McCain has a new TV ad out in three swing states blasting Barack Obama for not visiting wounded soldiers while in Germany.

But the spot is drawing incoming fire from both sides of the aisle.

On CBS's "Face the Nation," Hagel (Republican Senator Chuck Hagel who accompanied Obama) agreed with Obama that since his campaign was funding his visit to Germany "it would have been inappropriate for him and certainly he would have been criticized by the McCain people and the press" for him to visit the military hospital, saying he would have been "accused of using our wounded men and women as props for his campaign."

Hagel added that he was also troubled by McCain's remarks that Obama "would rather lose a war in order to win a campaign."

"I think John is treading on some very thin ground here when he impugns motives and when we start to get into, 'You're less patriotic than me. I’m more patriotic,' ” Hagel said.

Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor said Obama and McCain both believed that troops should be honored and noted that Obama had visited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan last week and had made numerous trips to Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center. ''Senator McCain knows full well that Senator Obama strongly supports and honors our troops, which is what makes this attack so disingenuous. This politicization of our soldiers is exactly what Senator Obama sought to avoid,'' Vietor said.

TPJ: Obama did, however, get a chance to speak with many of them by phone. This kind of attack smacks of serious desperation on the part of the McCain camp and is wildly inappropriate, especially for a war veteran. McCain seems only interested at this point in whining and low blow attacks instead of talking about the issues that matter most to Americans. I think that this is because that most Americans don't agree with him on many of the important issues but especially the economy, Iraq and health care. He's desperate and when Republicans like him are desperate they turn to Rovian slime ball tactics.

Hey John boy!! If you're such a defender of the troops as you claim and that Obama isn't then why didn't you vote for the new G.I. bill adding to the benefits received by our brave soldiers when Barack did?

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Friday, July 25, 2008

The Surge Isn't Exactly a Success.

John McCain slipped up in an interview with Kelly O'Donnell by acknowledging that the surge was in large part political. In other words to give the Iraqi government time to establish a functioning government, they have not. The quote comes at the 19 minute and 46 seconds mark:

The surge is a strategy, its political, its military, its troops, its hold. It's really clear and hold as opposed to the strategy we were employing before.

Pentagon chiefs think that there is no purely military solution for Iraq and that, without major progress on the political and economic fronts, the U.S. intervention is simply buying time, the sources said.

TPJ: And yet John McCain is trying to tell us all that the surge was a success because we reduced the violence, (which is of course a good thing) with the help of Sunni militants turning on al-Qaeda but it is only one of the three major goals that were established as needed in the surge strategy. The political front hasn't changed much nor on the economic and reconstruction front so that time we bought has been squandered. But back to the security front while violence is down, less than 10 percent of Iraqi security forces "were at the highest readiness level."

The other point that I want to address is McCain talking about clearing and holding. This is a known military strategy but the word "hold" doesn't exactly give much hope for leaving Iraq which plays right into his "100 years in Iraq" comment. McCain keeps telling us that troops are coming home with the "success" of the surge yet we still have more troops there then before the surge. His "hold" comments also indicate a desire for permanent bases, an idea that the Iraqi government does not like one bit.

The following news snippets indicate the level progress of political success during the surge in Iraq:

8.31.07: BAGHDAD, IRAQ -- The Iraqi federal government has been under increasing fire for appearing unable to work together on key issues, or to make progress in securing and governing its own country. Called “non-functional” by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) the Shi’a led administration has been hamstrung by its own attempts at unilateral policymaking, as well as by a minority party which has refused to accept its new, post-Saddam status. Below: December 2007:
  • The rationale for the surge was to provide an opportunity for political agreements to be negotiated among Iraqis, but political progress has been stalled and has not matched the security improvements.
  • A political settlement is essential for sustaining the security gains and for longer-term stability. Despite the declaration of a national reconciliation plan by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in June 2006, by the fall of 2007 only limited progress had been made toward reconciling the differences between the political groups and forging a national agenda.
TPJ: So without political gains, the longer our troops have to stay to buy more time for Iraqi politicians continue to squabble. So if political gains are essential to sustaining the security gains and long-term stability then that means a President McCain would keep our troops in Iraq indefinitely. In other words, an open ended commitment--no end in sight. Basically to play on an American saying, we've lead the horse to the water but it's not drinking. The exact saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."
July 24, 2008 BAGHDAD — Iraq’s president vetoed legislation on provincial elections on Wednesday, sending it back to lawmakers for revisions as political leaders continued to try to strike a deal that would allow the vote to be held this year as planned. Provincial elections are seen as central to political progress in Iraq, but their timing was thrown into doubt on Tuesday when Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the parliamentary vote on the legislation, insisting that it be rewritten. Iraqi Kurds have opposed the legislation because it contains an article on the multiethnic northern city of Kirkuk that they do not accept.
July 24, 2008: The announcement was a setback for both the Bush administration and the government of Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister, which hailed a preliminary election law passed earlier this year as evidence of political progress in Iraq. Disagreements over the polling have instead highlighted the sectarian fissures dividing the nation.
As for the economic arena, crude oil production is below U.S. goals, even though it has "improved for short periods," the GAO report said. Goals for water service are "close to being reached," but the daily electricity supply "met only slightly more than half of demand in early July 2008."

It also noted that Iraq "spent only 24 percent of the $27 billion it budgeted for its reconstruction efforts between 2005 and 2007."

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

McCain's Holocaust Comment. Plus, McCain Whines About Obama Coverage.

John McCain is becoming quite unhinged of late, his famous ill temper showing itself more and more but especially with his holocaust comment in regards to Obama's visit to the Israeli Holocaust museum. Barack signed a page in the guest book there saying many things but he's being slammed by McWhiner for writing, "never again." The grumpy old man's campaign said this about it:

The McCain campaign implied on Wednesday that Barack Obama's commitment to preventing a future genocide was not sincere, attacking the Democratic candidate during his appearance at the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem.

In an early morning press release, entitled "Obama on Genocide," McCain aide Tucker Bounds emailed reporters a quote from Obama's appearance in which the Illinois Democrat reiterated the cry "never again." He followed that quote with one taken a year ago from an interview that the Senator gave with the Associated Press in which he said that genocide or humanitarian crises were not a prerequisite for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq (a statement he has since walked back)

"Well, look, if that's the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces," said Obama, "then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now."

The message was fairly explicit: Obama's commitment to stopping future Holocausts is in doubt. Asked for clarification, McCain aide Michael Goldfarb responded:

"Today he says 'never again.' A year ago stopping genocide wasn't a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces in Iraq. Doesn't that strike you as inconsistent?"

TPJ: McCain also made the charge that Obama would rather lose the war in Iraq to win the presidential campaign. It is shameful to make the outrageous claim that a sitting senator would be willing do such a thing. Obama's Iraq position has been the same since before he decided to run for president. If McCain is going to make this kind of attack which is one step away from accusing Obama of treason then he must tell us what "winning" the war in Iraq means and how will we know when it is won? You know the right-wingers are desperate when they start in on the patriotism bullshit. But I digress.

McCain should know better than to make the wild charge that a President Obama would sit idly by while a Nazi like holocaust unfolded. While I mourn every death in Iraq, it isn't even barely comparable to what the Jewish people had to go through in the Holocaust. Hitler was invading sovereign country after sovereign country and deporting their Jewish populations to death camps all over Nazi occupied Europe in what are now 35 countries.

For the Iraqi situation to be comparable there would have to be a figure like Ahmadinejad in Iran invading Sunni dominated country one after the other exporting the Sunni populations to death camps by the millions. Not to mention invading Israel and killing off the Jews. And he honestly thinks that Obama would stand idly by and let that happen??? Jews alone counted for 6 million of those killed, a number that does not include homosexuals, the disabled and the mentally ill. If you factor in all those groups the number killed is about 9 million.

And if McCain is so concerned about genocide then why isn't he talking about invading Sudan, Congo, Burma (Myanmar), Tibet, Zimbabwe, North Korea and Equatorial Guinea (The U.S. has "friendly" relations with E.G. because our oil companies are making a bundle of cash there. According to some sources the U.S. is the biggest investor in E.G., all the while the government is killing people left and right). John McCain must be pressured to either say that he would invade all of these countries and end the genocides or back off his blustering, insulting rhetoric with the Obama genocide comments. And as I've said here before, the number of countries that are run by Saddam Hussein style dictators who on the edge of full blown genocides is even higher than the number of countries currently experiencing genocide. Is McCain going to go after all of them because much of the world is being ruled by dictators.

As horrible as it is to see these terrible crimes against humanity the United States can not be in the role of invading every country that has either a dictator and/or is experiencing the genocide. I'd love to be able to do that and make all the suffering go away but we don't have the soldiers, money and other resources to do so. Besides, even if we did have the troops, invading all of these countries would leave us very vulnerable at home to terrorism. McCain needs to be realistic but he's not and wants to apparently start even more wars. Why not!! Let's have half a dozen wars going at once, eh John boy? What a brain stem this guys is. I'm mean really.

In other news, McCain and his people are still bitching about the news coverage that Obama is receiving during his trip abroad and yet they were the ones who wanted him to go on the trip in the first place!! Idiots, fucking idiots. McCain's economic adviser called us a "nation of whiners," well the McCain campaign is a "campaign of whiners." How about dem apples!! Plus, now they are whining that Obama is acting like he is already president. Well you McCainiacs, he's just being presidential, you know passing the "Commander-in-Chief" test. He's being the Commander-in-Chief that you claim he's not and now you're whining because he called your bluff, went to Iraq, Afghanistan and Europe and it has been a smashing success. Listen carefully, can you hear that sound? It's the sound of the McCain campaign imploding.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

John McCain Confused on Sunni Awakening and the Surge.

During an interview with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), CBS Evening News host Katie Couric noted that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) said recently that “there might have been improved security [in Iraq] even without the surge” and asked McCain, “What’s your response to that?”

After first calling Obama’s claim “a false depiction of what actually happened,” McCain proceeded to falsely claim that the surge “began the Anbar awakening“:

McCAIN: I don’t know how you respond to something that is such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that’s just a matter of history.

But in a puzzling move, the CBS Evening News did not actually televise McCain’s false claim tonight. As MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reported, “CBS curiously, to say the least, left it on the edit room floor. It aired Katie Couric’s question, but in response, it inserted part of McCain’s answer to another question instead.”

CBS’s full interview with McCain (with video) appears online. CNN aired the portion that CBS edited out. Watch it:

In fact, the Sunni revolt against Al-Qaida in Iraq’s Anbar province — commonly referred to as “The Awakening” — “began” long before Bush even announced his “surge” policy in January 2007. As the New York Times noted in April 2007:
The turnabout began last September [2006], when a federation of tribes in the Ramadi area came together as the Anbar Salvation Council to oppose the fundamentalist militants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.
But also, President Bush himself noted this fact in a speech to the Naval War College in June, 2007:
Last September [2006], Anbar was all over the news. It was held up as an example of America’s failure in Iraq. The papers cited a leaked intelligence report that was pessimistic about our prospects there. […]

About the same time some folks were writing off Anbar, our troops were methodically clearing Anbar’s capital city of Ramadi of terrorists, and winning the trust of the local population. In parallel with these efforts, a group of tribal sheiks launched a movement called “The Awakening” — and began cooperating with American and Iraqi forces.
Spencer Ackerman notes that the colonel McCain cited is “now a one-star general” and had explained the “Awakening” to a reporter in September 2006 “before it even had a name.” “For McCain to say that the Anbar Awakening is the product of the surge is either a lie or professional malpractice,” added Ackerman.

TPJ: There is one major reason for the "Sunni Awakening." Sunni Sheiks were tired of being used and bullied by their former allies, al-Qaeda and saw the need to stand up to them or risk being pushed aside and dominated. They initially saw al-Qaeda as friends to their cause but soon regretted that decision once al-Qaeda began operating outside the interests of the Sunni.

So if the Sunni hadn't made that key decision to turn on al-Qaeda then they would still be fighting us no matter how many troops we poured into Iraq. The surge enjoyed a nice bit of luck because of the Sunni Awakening development. Therefore to assert that the surge was the only reason that violence is down is disingenuous.

And for McCain to say that the surge was a success isn't exactly true because the whole point of the surge was to give the political leaders the time and space to get their act together and they still have not. So yes the violence is down, partly because of the surge but probably more thanks to the Sunni Awakening. An awakening that established itself before the surge.

Meanwhile the McCain campaign is complaining that Obama's trip abroad is getting more press. However, with yet another Iraq gaffe/confusion they should be thankful that they haven't received more criticism from the media on this Sunni Awakening misstep.

UPDATE: The McCain camp just released a statement saying that he was right in what he said during the CBS interview. Blind stubbornness in the face of cold hard facts and dates, yep, he really is just like Bush.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Obama in Iraq as Iraqi Prime Minister Says he Likes Barack's Plans to Leave Iraq. Plus Obama Playing Basketball in Kuwait Video.

Iraqi government spokesperson, Ali al-Dabbagh stated today that Iraq was hopeful that U.S. troops could leave by 2010 which is more inline with Obama's plan than McCain's.

That timeframe falls within the 16-month withdrawal plan proposed by Obama, who arrived in Iraq earlier in the day as part of a congressional fact-finding team.

Once again this shows that McCain does not have the right judgment and vision for the future of Iraq and the war on terror.

TPJ: Meanwhile as reporters speak of the danger of Obama making a gaffe during his overseas trip, McCain made another disturbing geography gaffe on the American ABC News program, "Good Morning America.

"Asked by Diane Sawyer whether the "the situation in Afghanistan in precarious and urgent," McCain responded: "I think it's serious. . . . It's a serious situation, but there's a lot of things we need to do. We have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border."

McCain once again shows terrible judgment and understanding of a region that is the hot spot of foreign affairs right now. Hey John, you're not even close. It goes (from left to right) Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and then Pakistan. He probably believes the no longer existent Czechoslovakia (which McCain has referred to more than once over the years and recent months) is in there somewhere too. What a dolt.

Imagine a President McCain ordering a major bombing offensive in Afghanistan but said Iraq instead!! We can't take a risk on a guy like McCain who doesn't seem to even know the basics of current world geography. It's scary when an average American with a minor degree in world geography as I have, having more understanding of that subject than one of the two current presidential candidates!! This is the exact kind of ignorance that Bush showed us and we can't afford another Bush.

Meanwhile Obama was greeted with a standing ovation in Kuwait before sinking a 3 point basketball shot:
I think it's great that not only did Obama meet with top Iraqi leaders but that he also met with the troops and didn't simply just talk with them but also entertained them with a little razzle-dazzle hoop shootin.' It looked like Obama enjoyed it as much as the soldiers!! I bet the McCain campaign is kicking themselves in the arse for goading Obama into this world tour. They should know that one needs to be careful of what they wish.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Iraqi PM Maliki Supports Obama's Withdrawal Plan.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports US presidential candidate Barack Obama's plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq within 16 months. When asked in and interview with SPIEGEL when he thinks US troops should leave Iraq, Maliki responded "as soon as possible, as far as we are concerned." He then continued: "US presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."

TPJ: OH SNAP!! How much more endorsement of Obama's plan do people need now? It doesn't get much clearer than this. I don't think that you can get a bigger endorsement of Obama's plan than Maliki folks. Finally, I leave with this great perspective from Ezra Klein:
To really understand the importance of Maliki's , comments you need to consider their opposite. Imagine if Maliki had walked in front of the cameras and said, "at this stage, a timetable for withdrawal is unrealistic, and we hope our American friends will not bow to domestic political pressures and be hasty in leaving Iraq just as the country improves." It would be a transformative moment in this election. John McCain would talk of nothing else. The cable shows would talk of nothing else. Magazines would run thousands of covers about "0bama's Iraq Problem." - Ezra Klein
TPJ: And it is transformative. Once again Obama is proven to show excellent judgment and executive skills at making difficult decisions. He was right on not going into Iraq and now he is right in leaving according to his time table with some minor adjustments if needed as Maliki stated. Obama has won the day I think on this issue, game. set. match. The MSM (mainstream media) hasn't been covering it much today. Unbelievable. So get the word out.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Bush is Raising the White Flag of Surrender. Plus, McCain on Obama's Iraq Trip. And a Shocking Story in Iraq.

By STEVEN LEE MYERS and GRAHAM BOWLEY
Published: July 19, 2008

The United States and Iraq have agreed to set a “general time horizon” for the “further reduction of U.S. combat forces in Iraq” following the improvement in security conditions in the country, the White House said Friday.

James: What an appeaser, eh? He's waving the white flag of surrender. At least that's what they've constantly told us when we anti-war folks called over and over for withdrawals. How is "W" going to break this one to "100 years in Iraq" McCain? At this point it doesn't even seem that Bush agrees with McCain that we need to stay until the (nebulous) job is done.

Meanwhile John McCain keeps hitting Barack Obama on giving a policy speech before going over to the Middle-East on his up-coming trip. However, I have a question. Did McCain go over to Iraq to see how the situation was on the ground before making policy speeches about the evils of Iraq and voting for the invasion of Iraq?

And speaking of Iraq, did you know that troops not only have to fear insurgents but also the electricity at their bases:
Among the seemingly innumerable scandal-worthy stories which have so marked the war in Iraq is one growing tragedy which has been largely ignored: shoddy electrical work by U.S. contractors at military bases leading to numerous electrical fires, troops receiving painful shocks, and even death by electrocution.

On July 1, New York Times Investigative Reporter James Risen, author of the 2006 book "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," took up the subject. According to Risen, General David Petraeus stated to Congress that 13 Americans had been electrocuted since the invasion of Iraq: 12 soldiers and one contractor.

Since the invasion, over 283 electrical fires on US bases have been reported, along with two deaths in 2006 at a base in Tikrit, the death of Sgt. Maseth, and innumerable painful shocks dealt to Americans.

A log of complaints compiled early in 2008 found soldiers living in just one Baghdad building complex were complaining of painful electrical shocks 'on an almost daily basis.'

In other news: He's baaaaaaacccccckkkkk!!! Phil "you're all a nation of whiners" Gramm is back on the campaign but the McCain camp say that he's not a surrogate but just an "adviser." The Gramm affair is just another blunder/gaffe/misstep that the MSM has given him a pass on.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

John McCain and "The Surge" Numbers in Iraq show that Yet Again He's Out of Touch.

I'm sure most of you know about this one but I can't keep up with all of John McCain's gaffes. McCain keeps telling us that he is the one who understands the world best, not Barack Obama. In reality, Sen. John McCain has attacked Sen. Barack Obama for not traveling to Iraq to see the "facts on the ground." But a recent statement by McCain about troop levels has his opponents raising questions about his own knowledge.

In comments to reporters on Thursday, McCain asserted that "I can tell you that it is succeeding. I can look you in the eye and tell you it's succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels.

In fact, as the Obama campaign was quick to point out, the troop level in Iraq is at about 155,000 right now, well above the 130,000 that would mark a return to pre-surge levels. The goal, according to a transcript of a news briefing with Joint Staff director for operations Lt. Gen. Carter Ham at the end of February, is to reduce troop levels to 140,000 -- still above the pre-surge levels.

TPJ: The surge has helped bring down violence but not just because of increasing troop numbers. There are several other factors that aren't often talked about, first we are basically bribing Sunni tribes to not fights us. That's a terrible, short term solution to make things overall in Iraq seem peachy. What happens when like right now, we are running out of money to continue the war/occupation? When the money runs out, the shooting and bombing will recommence, bribes only work as long as the money keeps rolling in. So what's our solution going to be? Pass off the policy of bribes to the Iraqi government where bribing and corruption is rampant? What a nice democratic value that we've encouraged, eh?

The other factor is that many of the neighborhoods in Iraqi cities have been ethnically cleansed to the point where many cities are either Shia or Sunni but not much of a mix of the two. This is troubling because while the violence is down in these areas it doesn't solve the greater tension that is still within these ethnic groups. The violence is down now in-large part because these ethnic groups are now separated into their own enclaves. And in order to have a functioning, non-violent society/country there has to be a cohesion of it's different religious and ethnic groups.

We can not force that cohesion, our military can't solve the cultural differences let alone the political cluster fuck that's happening in Iraq and has been since we invaded.

So again, the surge might have helped but the important question is since the surge wasn't supposed to be permanent nor a tactic that could end the war, "What is next?" At best we've fought to a stand-still, we're maintaining a statue quo of sorts but we need to go much further if we hope to win the war. But If you believe the Republicans then you'd think that the surge ended the war. And in fact a few days ago McBush said that he knows how to win wars. And I asked the question, "What war has he lead to victory?" Seeing the surge succeed on certain levels isn't the equivalent of winning a war. I pointed out how McCain and many Bush Republicans have become so obsessed with this war that we couldn't bring troops out when the violence was rampant and yet now that violence is down, we still can't leave?!!

McBush keeps saying that we will win this war and yet can't tell us exactly how that will happen despite now being there for going on 6 years!! So I guess the staying in Iraq for 100 years comment by McCain is indeed what he is planning on. Even with his "clarification" of those comments we can't sustain. Remember how he said we'd start those 100 years starting when people stopped dying (which is quite the open-ended statement)? And even then we would just mostly stay in our bases? Well that's out the window now with national-security adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie saying they will refuse any permanent American bases. So much for listening to the people on the ground, like the President of Iraq!! We've turned Iraq into our own country where we are basically ignoring the will and concerns of the people. We've turned it into our Pentagon's wet dream, a never-ending military scenario where we can test new weapons and train soldiers in a real combat situation.

Meanwhile, just this morning McCain told a crowd in Missouri that he won't raise your taxes. I guess he didn't learn from Daddy Bush with his infamous, "No new taxes" pledge. I just don't see how we can continue to pay for a war that is bleeding our treasury, fix our depressing economy and still not raise taxes on some??? John McCain should call his "Straight Talk Express" bus the "Out of touch Express."

He also said that we have "succeeded in Iraq" and then seconds later said, "we are succeeding in Iraq." Huh? Which one is it because one sounds like we've won the war and the other that we're still trying to win the war.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

McCain Doesn't Know How to Use a Computer.

How can anyone believe that John McCain would be the best candidate to lead us into the future, a new century when he can't even use the greatest invention in centuries, the computer.

Hilarious that he has a website and probably doesn't even know how to find it on the "internets" as Bush famously referred to it. We're in the information age now not the bronze age. Maybe if he did use a computer then he'd know that Czechoslovakia is two countries--the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Seeing how John McCain doesn't know how to use a computer I think that he would quickly be outsourced if he was one of us lowly "whiner" worker bees. Especially seeing how people like McCain and Bush keep telling us that we need retraining at community colleges to compete in the global economy.

Yes this isn't the most important issue but it does fit into the larger narrative that McCain is out of touch with most Americans and the future that we face. It shows a lack of intellectual curiosity which was one of the problems with Bush. We need a leader that is comfortable and familiar with the latest technology. Hopefully at least he isn't still using the abacus.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What War Has McCain Won? Maybe the Czechoslovakia War?

John McCain said today that he knows how to win wars.

I want to know what war has McCain won? Not only has he never led America in victory of a war but he doesn't even have the judgment to know when to fight a war and when to avoid one. He was one of the cheerleaders of the Iraq war in the first place. Obama had the judgment to be against it.

Plus, McCain has been more than once recently been talking about a country that doesn't exist and hasn't for about 15 years, Czechoslovakia. The former Soviet bloc country of course broke up into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I would expect a senior senator and supposed foreign policy expert to know this. First he repeatedly mixed up the Sunni and Shia while visiting Iraq and now this?

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Nine Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Underlines Obama's Logical Afghanistan Policy in Relation to Iraq.

KABUL, AfghanistanTaliban insurgents carried out a bold assault on a remote base near the border with Pakistan on Sunday, NATO reported, and a senior American military official said nine American soldiers were killed. The attack, the worst against Americans in Afghanistan in three years, illustrated the growing threat of Taliban militants and their associates, who in recent months have made Afghanistan a far deadlier war zone for American-led forces than Iraq.

TPJ: This is why Barack Obama has been saying for some time that we need to pull soldiers out of Iraq and redeploy at least two combat brigades into Afghanistan which is the real central front on terrorism. There are many U.S. officials who seem to agree with Obama's assessment, "U.S. officials have said they need at least three more brigades in Afghanistan _ or more than 10,000 troops." Finally everyone is coming around to what Barack has been saying for years now. Plus, Obama's position looks all the more responsible and wise when you hear from the Iraqi government that they want us gone from their country and want to take responsibility.

And seeing how violence is down in Iraq then that is even more reason to shore up our forces in Afghanistan. In addition, Barack's insistence on diplomacy shows excellent judgment because Pakistan right now isn't doing too much to prevent al-Qaeda and the Taliban from maintaining save havens there. So we need some serious diplomacy with them. We need to follow Obama's policies in order to quell this violence and severely disrupt their ability to regroup.

Obama clearly understands that Pakistan is a much more dangerous threat than Iran seeing how Pakistan already has nuclear missiles, an unstable government and growing numbers of militants. These militants are biding their time until they can launch an attack on the Pakistani government to take over control of the country but especially the nuclear weapons. We need Obama's judgment that was right on not invading Iraq and is right now in redeploying at least two brigades to Afghanistan to quell the violence and resurrection of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

What is John McClueless's policy on Afghanistan, it's called Iraq. His tunnel vision can't see anything else besides Iraq. He doesn't see how our Afghanistan policy has been damaged by our being bogged down in Iraq going on 6 years now. He said the following on the American t.v. show, "The View" in April of this year, 2008:

MCCAIN: But Afghanistan is not in trouble because of our diversion to Iraq.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Psychologist Phil Gramm Refuses to Apologize for "Whiner" Remarks.

(Phil Gramm doing his bes version of "Talk to the hand.")

This is day two of the Phil Gramm "You're all just a bunch of whiners" fiasco and today I want to know how much of McCain's economic policy has been written by Gramm given his senior role on his economic team. And I want to know whether Gramm is going to be kicked off the team and if not, why not? And will he continue to write policy for McCain?

If McCain wants to show that only he speaks for himself when it comes to the economy and his policy ideas then he needs to ditch Gramm. I don't think saying that Gramm doesn't speak for him is going far enough. The larger issue here is that it adds to the narrative that John McCain is clueless in regards to the economy and underlines the criticism that he's out of touch with average Americans.

To make matters worse, Gramm is refusing to apologize for his remarks which just underlines his arrogance and disrespect for middle class workers who have been the backbone of the American economy for ages. He has either forgotten or doesn't give a shit that average Americans are the ones who do the grunt work in these mega-corporations run by people like Gramm.

If it wasn't for us worker bees, greedy rich bastards like Gramm wouldn't have the money that they do. Gramm calls us whiners after being one of the people putting us in this position with his UBS policies. Gramm pushed through a historic banking deregulation bill that decimated Depression-era firewalls between commercial banks, investment banks, insurance companies, and securities firms." The financial maneuvers enabled by Gramm's legislative measures would become "the heart of the subprime meltdown." More recently, it was revealed that Gramm was "being paid by a Swiss bank to lobby Congress about the U.S. mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain about his economic policy.

He's biting the hand that feeds him and we're tired of being talked down too while we continue to line their pockets. I'm ready to bite back. We're not whining Phil, we're screaming out in anger and fury.

Gramm is trying to say that his remarks about whiners were meant for the politicians but he clearly said a nation of whiners which is clearly includes all of us Americans, especially us lowly serfs. Meanwhile today the Dow Jones is down 200-250 points but I guess that's a figment of my imagniation eh Phil? I guess I need to up my meds so that I'm dumb, drooling and stupid so that you can keep stealing from us and then blame us for being whiners when we call you on your bullshit.

In poll news, Barack is leading McCain 48% to McCain's 40%. In addition, the McCain campaign Obama is actually ahead of McCain in his home state of Arizona by three points. And while the 3 points is within the margin of error, McCain should be way ahead in his own backyard. His state shouldn't even be in play.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

McCain's Economic Advisor: Americans are Whining about the Economy.

(Phil Gramm looking clueless on the left)

John McCain's national campaign co-chair and top economic adviser, former Senator Phil Gramm says that the bad economy is basically all in our heads and that we need to stop "whining":

"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession," he said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices.

"We have sort of become a nation of whiners," he said. "You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline" despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

"We've never been more dominant; we've never had more natural advantages than we have today," he said. "We have benefited greatly" from the globalization of the economy in the last 30 years.

TPJ: Wow, not only does John McCain know nothing of the economy and needs to learn more, of his own admission but he doesn't even know how to pick an adviser who knows what they're talking about!! Whiners??? Call it what you want Phil but when I can barely pay my rent, pay for gas to get to work at a job that pays less than jobs like it did in the past and my parents are at risk of losing their entire retirement investments then yeah, I get a pretty pissed off.

We've never been more dominant? Maybe for you fat cats up in your ivory towers who make 400 million dollar salaries and million dollar Christmas bonuses but for us lowly serfs we're not feeling very dominant. Of course you'd say that we've benefited greatly from the global economy in the last 30 years. You and your other rich knuckle head friends have doubled your incomes (Does UBS ring a bell Phil?) while we lose our jobs and double the numbers in the line at the unemployment office. The only people that are benefiting from shipping jobs overseas are corporate, cigar chompers like Gramm.

If the economy is so good then why doesn't Phil give us some of HIS money since he's doing so well. Apparently McCain said that Gramm doesn't speak for him but he must have some influence on McCain if he's his top economic adviser!!

I know that I am prone to hallucinations when I'm not on my meds but I'm pretty sure that the $4 a gallon gas prices on the signs aren't just "mental." Last time I checked it's real money that's hemorrhaging out of my wallet at the pump and at the grocery store.

Then you have Carly Fiorina who is another economic adviser to John McCain and she played a huge role in driving Hewlett-Packard into the ground. My father had to quit H.P. after 30 years of employment because Carla was "streamlining" the company. After all those years he was simply asked to pick up his things and was walked out of the plant.

Well, that streamlining ended up shutting down the plant in my town where a large portion of the city was employed. Thanks Carly!! And where did they ship most of the operations from that plant? You guessed it--India. :/

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hey John, Iraq Wants Us Gone.

Iraq wants us to leave their country or set a time table to withdrawal. Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq had this to say, "The current trend is to reach an agreement on a memorandum of understanding either for the departure of the forces or a memorandum of understanding to put a time table on their withdrawal. In all cases the basis for any agreement with be respect for the full sovereignty of Iraq."

Then we have this recent statement from Iraqi National Security Adviser Nasar al-Rubaie, "There should not be any permanent bases in Iraq unless these bases are under Iraqi control. We would not accept any memorandum of understanding [the U.S.] side that has no obvious and specific dates for the foreign troops' withdrawal from Iraq."

TPJ: And chew on this one for a bit, during the 4/22/2004 Council on Foreign Relations CFR Chair Peter Peterson asked McCain, "What would or should we do if, in the post-June 30th period, a so called sovereign Iraqi government asks us to leave, even if we are unhappy about the security situation there? I understand it's a hypothetical but it's at least possible."

McCain:
Well, if that scenario evolves, then I think it's obvious that we would have to leave because--if it was an elected government (TPJ: Which it is) of Iraq--and we've been asked to leave other places in the world. If it were and extremist government, then I think we would have other challenges, (TPJ: And It's not an extremist government for the most part) but I don't see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people.
TPJ: And yet we all know full well that currently John McBush wants us to stay in Iraq decades or for 100 years with the eventual goal of turning Iraq into a place like South Korea, Germany and Japan where we are there with permanent bases. "If [the U.S. troop surge is] working, Senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?" To that, McCain responded, "No, but that's not too important. What's important is the casualties in Iraq. Americans are in South Korea, Americans are in Japan, American troops are in Germany. That's all fine."

TPJ: It's a circle jerk coming from the Republicans because their policy is that when things are going bad we must stay and when things are going great we still have to stay. Huh? Such tortured logic. So John, doesn't staying after these above statements from top Iraqi leaders make us full blown occupiers? I say yes and actually I think we've been occupiers for some time over there.

Obama has the right plan to start bringing troops out immediately but be as careful and responsible leaving as we were careless and irresponsible as we invaded Iraq. Yet he's wise to reiterate that as the President he has the right and will reserve that right to adjust the troop withdrawal if need be. Now that's a responsible position. He's the candidate that listens to the Iraqis and respects their sovereignty and agrees with them that it's time we leave. Staying in Iraq despite the people wanting us to leave is disrespectful and arrogant that we know more than the Iraqis about their own country!!! It's exact same mentality that got us into this mess.

Meanwhile Afghanistan is heating up with a 60% increase in civilian violence. So our troops in Iraq are badly needed over there to increase our presence on the Pakistan border to aid in the defeat of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. John McCain doesn't get it that we're in the wrong place and they don't want us there any longer but Afghanistan DOES want us in their country and that is exactly where we should be.

So now we have the American public wanting us to leave, Barack Obama wants us to leave and now the Iraqis want us to leave. It's three against one John Boy.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A President Obama Would Ease Bankruptcy Laws.

By Caren Bohan

ATLANTA, July 8 (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday will propose overhauling U.S. bankruptcy laws to ease their impact on people unable to pay their bills because of medical expenses or military service. "I'll reform our bankruptcy laws to give Americans who find themselves trapped in debt a second chance," Obama will say in prepared remarks for a town hall in Powder Springs, Georgia, which is outside of Atlanta. "While Americans should pay what they owe and we should be fair to those creditors who were fair to their borrowers, we also have to do more for the struggling families who need help most," he added.

TPJ: This would be a huge help to the average American who we know plays a huge part in running our economy through consumer spending/confidence. The Bush/McCain/Republican bankruptcy restriction law was basically written by the credit card companies and other big business blood suckers.

It's a vicious downward spiral because nearly half of all bankruptcy declarations are due to health problems, costs that could be absorbed through a national health care plan. We nearly had to declare bankruptcy because of my mental illness restricting me from working.

However because we don't have a comprehensive system (thanks for the Bush/McCain and the n Republicans) people can't pay their bills and thus have to declare bankruptcy. Then with the bankruptcy laws being more stringent people don't have the extra money to put back into the economy.

It's a great bill to give the credit card companies more money but is hurting the average American who is just trying to get by and maybe have a little extra money to pay for collage and build up a retirement safety net. But because of some of the costs that they have to absorb with this new, restrictive bill supported by McCain, folks don't have that extra money anymore. It's yet another Bush policy that McCain gladly supported. So of course he's Bush 2.0!! McCain doesn't know the plight of the average American.

He doesn't seem to get it that many Americans have to scrounge to find money to pay their rent or pay for medicine thanks to not being able to declare bankruptcy as easily to help them recover from devastating medical bills. He's too busy living the good life in one of his alleged 8 mansions and flying around in his wife's private jet I guess. Let them eat cake eh Johnny?

More on this bill from Obama:
And if we’re going to crack down on bankruptcy abuse, we should make it clear that we intend to hold the wealthy and the powerful accountable too.

As it is now, this bill makes it easier for a company like Enron who just bilked their employees out of their life savings to declare bankruptcy than for the employees themselves. In my own state, we even had a mining company by the name of Horizon declare bankruptcy and then refuse to pay its employees the health benefits it owed them.

The Mine Workers involved had provided a total of 100,000 years of service and dedication and sacrifice to this company. They spent their lives working hard. They did their part. But Horizon didn’t do its part, and it was allowed to hide behind bankruptcy laws to leave these workers without the care they had earned.

Yet more information:
“John McCain has been part of the problem,” Obama said. “When he had the chance to help families avoid falling into debt, John McCain sided with the credit card companies. When he had the chance to protect teenagers and college students from deceptive credit card practices, he sided with the credit card companies. And when I fought against the credit card industry’s bankruptcy bill that made it harder for working families to climb out of debt, he supported it — and he even opposed exempting families who were only in bankruptcy because of medical expenses they couldn’t pay.”

One amendment offered by Kennedy would exempt debtors if their financial problems were caused by medical expenses. All 54 Republicans in the chamber, including McCain, voted against the measure, which was rejected 39-58. Obama joined 37 other Democrats and Vermont Independent James M. Jeffords in voting for it.
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Thursday, July 03, 2008

John McCain and Privatizing Social Security.

Good thing I'm wearing my flip-flops today!! I've been doing research on John McCain's position on social security in relation to privatization. He claims to be against privatization but he's supported the plan as late this past March. And even now in this election he is playing a word game by saying simply that if elected he would "modernize" the program. However he hasn't expanded on what "modernization" means.

He also told the Wall Street Journal this March (2008) that "as part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it - along the lines of what President Bush proposed."

McCain hit the road with President Bush in 2005 to sell the failed and flawed plan. 2005: McCain Campaigned for Bush Social Security Plan. "McCain has been especially supportive of his onetime rival, appearing with Bush at three events over the past two days in trying to prod Democrats into negotiations to include private accounts in a plan to revamp Social Security." [Washington Post, 3/23/05]

TPJ: Just imagine what a mess many Americans would be in if the Congress had passed the privatization of social security benefits. There would have been many who would have invested that money in the stock market as the Bush/McCain people suggested.

If that reform had passed we'd be in a much bigger economic mess than we already face--which is bad enough!! We'd have people who have already lost huge amounts of money in the stock market with not even their social security as a safety net.

Yep. Privatization of social security. Yet another failed Bush/McCain policy. How can we afford another four more years with McCain the Bush clone?

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

John McCain, Columbia and Charlie Black.

In recent days the "news" outlets have informed us that John McCain is going to the South American country of Columbia. He is going down there to show support for CAFTA, the Central American Free-Trade Agreement which is an odd choice simply given that our economy is in shambles and free trade being not so popular. Americans have seen that unbridled free trade has only taken away jobs.

That all being said, here's something that most in the "mainstream media" aren't willing to cover--a top McCain adviser and uber-lobbyist Charlie Black has lobbying ties to the country of (you guessed it) Columbia!!
"Since 1998, the lobbying firm headed until recently by Charlie Black, one of Mr. McCain’s closest confidants, has earned more than $1.8 million representing the Occidental Petroleum Corporation, the leading foreign producer of gas and oil in Colombia. The lobbying firm, BKSH & Associates, has also represented Colombian textile and apparel manufacturers and a former foreign minister and presidential candidate who is also a prominent businesswoman.”

“According to official filings, Mr. Black, who resigned as chairman of BKSH in March, lobbied Congress, the State Department and the White House on Occidental’s behalf regarding ‘general energy issues’ and ‘general trade issues’ involving Colombia. His list of activities also included winning ‘foreign assistance for Colombia’ and efforts to block an economic embargo against the country, which has a questionable human rights record."
TPJ: "General trade issues?" Sounds like code for CAFTA to me. So ask yourself, "What does lobbying for Columbia do for Americans?" Not much given the previous trade agreements under Bush and Clinton.

Second post below this one.

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The Wes Clark, John McCain Military Service Debate. Plus McCain Embraces Swift Boat Vets.

I've been saying what General Clark (I highly urge clicking that link under General Clark's name and reading the article) said on Sunday for some time. Just because someone has served in the military doesn't mean that they understand and know how to command the entire military.

Why is it that we as Democrats are so afraid of debating military issues with Republican candidates who have served in the armed forces? This isn't an issue of questioning McCain's patriotism as some are misinterpreting Clark's criticism as being.

Of course I honor McCain's service and believe him to be a hero for being tortured on behalf of his country. However, I don't believe that because of his service we can't discuss it in relation to qualifications to be Commander-in-Chief. If it is fair game to question Obama's lack of service as the Republicans are doing on a regular basis then it's fair to take a closer look at McCain's service record.

True Barack doesn't have the experience of being a general but neither does McCain and without that high level experience in the military it's a stretch to say that you can run the military as if you were a general. Yes he led a large Navy squadron but it was in peace time which amounts to exercises and running war games. That's not the same kind or pressure and judgment needed of leading a squadron in war time. It's not unlike studying archeology in school but you don't really know what it's like in the field until you get out there.

And General Clark should know seeing how he successfully over-saw the Balkan conflict and also served in Vietnam and was wounded four times. Apparently it's not o.k. to say that both men (McCain and Obama) will rely upon military advisers and the joint chiefs of staff to make important military decisions but it's true.

John McCain wouldn't make such decisions on his own and if we are catching that vibe that he would in what he's saying during this general campaign then we have to assume that he'd be just like Bush in that regard. The title "maverick" might be good in some respects but not when it comes to military decisions. Do we want more Bush "cowboy Commander-in-Chief?" I sure don't so I'll still be keeping a close eye on this issue.

If we were talking about business experience would we give a candidate a pass because he/she mentioned that they worked at a lower to mid-level job in a massive corporation where there are hundreds of thousands of employees? Of course not so how is this military service any different? It seems to me that if we are going to make a big deal in presidential campaigns about military service then it should cut both ways.

Clearly McCain isn't an expert on military affairs as he voted for the war in Iraq that Obama opposed. So who showed better foresight and judgment on the most important military decision in a generation if not a century? Barack Obama. So I'm not going to cede the military judgment ground to John McCain just yet.

TPJ: Plus, McCain is now taking money and support from the infamous "Swift Boat Veterans" who notably lied about Senator and previous Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's war record. At the time McCain came to the defense of Kerry criticizing the "Swift Boat" attacks.
The irony of it all is that McCain publicly deplored the Swift Boat ads back in 2004, saying they were reminiscent of the smear campaigns launched against him during his initial White House run in 2000.

"It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me," said the Senator.

Not willing to let the irony go unnoticed, Kerry lashed out at McCain, on Monday, for using the same smear merchant he once decried.

"Colonel Day's comments today only further highlight the McCain campaign's disregard for a new kind of politics," said Kerry. "John McCain condemned these kinds of attacks in 2004 when he called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth 'dishonest and dishonorable.' and now he's getting in bed with that slime. So Johnny, no one can question your military service but it's o.k. to embrace the swifties who will criticize Obama's lack of military experience?
TPJ: Now McCain is getting in bed with these slime balls. Apparently he's taken $70,000 from them. So Johnny, it's not o.k. for people to scrutinize the extent of your service in relation to qualifications to be president. However, it's o.k. to bring on the swifties to your campaign who's modus operandi is to sucker punch people and flat out lie? By John McCain bringing on the swifties to his campaign we can count on that kind of double standard to continue. Yep, it appears that the "Straight Talk Express" is still in the slow lane but is now going in reverse.

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