about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.
Hagel’s unwillingness to endorse McCain is generally perceived to be a result of their ongoing disagreements over the Iraq war.
But he told me that the gulf between them is much deeper: “In good conscience, I could not enthusiastically—honestly—go out
and endorse him and support him when we so fundamentally disagree on the future course of our foreign policy and our role in
Hagel, citing McCain’s repeated calls for Russia to be expelled from the Group of Eight, the association of major industrial
democracies, said, “You’re not going to isolate Russia—that’s completely crazy!” He told me that McCain’s approach to Russia
was one of the reasons that he could not endorse him.
McCain has often spoken about his desire to create a League of Democracies. Discussing Iran during the first Presidential debate,
he said, “Let’s be clear and let’s have some straight talk. The Russians are preventing significant action in the United Nations
Security Council. I have proposed a League of Democracies, a group . . . of countries that share common interests, common
values, common ideals. They also control a lot of the world’s economic power. We could impose significant, meaningful, painful
sanctions on the Iranians.” He concluded, “So I am convinced that together we can, with the French, with the British, with the
Germans and other countries—democracies around the world—we can affect Iranian behavior.”
Critics have suggested that McCain’s League of Democracies could diminish the role of the United Nations. When I mentioned this
to Hagel, he said, “What is the point of the United Nations? The whole point, as anyone who has taken any history knows, was to
bring all nations of the world together in some kind of imperfect body, a forum that allows all governments of the world,
regardless of what kinds of government, to work through their problems—versus attacking each other and going to war. Now, in
John’s League of Democracies, does that mean Saudi Arabia is out? Does that mean our friend King Abdullah in Jordan is out? It
would be only democracies. Well, we’ve got a lot of allies and relationships that are pretty important to us, and to our interests,
who would be out of that club. And the way John would probably see China and Russia, they wouldn’t be in it, either. So it would
be an interesting Book-of-the-Month Club.
“But in order to solve problems you’ve got to have all the players at the table,” Hagel went on, his voice rising. “How are you
going to fix the problems in Pakistan, Afghanistan—the problems we’ve got with poverty, proliferation, terrorism, wars—when
the largest segments of society in the world today are not at the table?” He paused, then added, more calmly, “The United
Nations, as I’ve said many times, is imperfect. We’ve got NATO, multilateral institutions, multilateral-development banks, the
World Trade Organization—all have flaws, that’s true. But if you didn’t have them what would you have? A world completely out
of control, with no structure, no order, no boundaries.”
McCain has said that an American victory in Iraq will enable the country to become “our stable, democratic ally” against Iran. But
Hagel argues that McCain overlooks the reality of Iraq’s relationship with Iran. “We bluster, we threaten, we say we’re not going to
engage [Iran],” Hagel said. “Yet our ally, the elected sovereign government of Iraq, is talking to Iran every day. Maliki”—Nouri al-
Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister—“and most of the Shia government were exiled in Iran. So we’ve got Ahmadinejad”—the President
of Iran—“in and out of Baghdad, Maliki in and out of Tehran: that’s going on without our even acknowledging it.” Hagel added
that this collaboration should be encouraged, for the sake of stability in Iraq.
“Whether we like it or not, there will be no peace or stability in the Middle East without Iran’s participation,” Hagel said. In early
October, he prevented action on a bill, which had passed in the House, proposing economic sanctions against Iran. Hagel has
long criticized unilateral sanctions as ineffective and counterproductive. (Howard Berman, the chairman of the House Foreign
Affairs Committee and the legislation’s sponsor, told me that he supports unconditional engagement with the Iranians but favors
a twofold approach: “You increase the pressure on them, and you offer to engage with them.” He added that although he shares
Hagel’s negative appraisal of the Bush Administration’s unilateralism, he thinks that Hagel opposes this kind of action “too
The notion of “winning” in Iraq is a “failed way of thinking,” Hagel said. “If we frame this as win or lose, we’ll be there forever.” He
added that this logic is equally flawed with respect to Afghanistan. “I agree with Obama that we’re going to have to put several
more brigades in there,” he told me. “But there is no military solution, so we have to be very careful that somehow we don’t just
ricochet out of Iraq into Afghanistan, with another hundred-and-fifty-thousand-troop buildup.” According to Hagel, confronting
the problems of Afghanistan requires an understanding of its internal politics, its narcotics trade, and its endemic corruption, as
well as a regional diplomatic approach, involving Pakistan, India, and Iran.
McCain “thinks we just need more military,” Hagel said. “I’ve talked to John about this many times. I’ve said, ‘John, we’re limited.
We’re doing tremendous damage to our Army and Marines, we can’t sustain this.’ ”
Hagel may be the only senior Republican elected official who has publicly criticized McCain’s choice of Governor Sarah Palin as
his running mate. “I don’t believe she’s qualified to be President of the United States,” Hagel told me. “The first judgment a
potential President makes is who their running mate is—and I don’t think John made a very good selection.” He scoffed at
McCain’s attempts to portray her as an experienced politician. “To try to make the excuse that she looks out her window and sees
Russia—and that she’s commander of the Alaska National Guard.” He added, “There is no question that this candidate is arguably
the thinnest-résumé candidate for Vice-President in the history of America.” Hagel’s criticisms have prompted protests from
Republicans, including Senator Orrin Hatch, of Utah, who said in an e-mail statement to me, “Senator Hagel knows that decades
of foreign-policy experience in the Senate did not stop countless Democrats and some Republicans from declaring the surge a
failure before it started and recommending instead a disastrous policy of withdrawal and retreat in Iraq.”
For Hagel, almost as disturbing as Palin’s lack of experience is her willingness—in disparaging remarks about Joe Biden’s long
Senate career, for example—to belittle the notion that experience is important. “There’s no question, she knows her market,”
Hagel said. “She knows her audience, and she’s going right after them. And I’ll tell you why that’s dangerous. It’s dangerous
because you don’t want to define down the standards in any institution, ever, in life. You want to always strive to define
standards up. If you start defining standards down—‘Well, I don’t have a big education, I don’t have experience’—yes, there’s a
point to be made that not all the smartest people come out of Yale or Harvard. But to intentionally define down in some kind of
wild populism, that those things don’t count in a complicated, dangerous world—that’s dangerous in itself.
“There was a political party in this country called the Know-Nothings,” he continued. “And we’re getting on the fringe of that,
with these one-issue voters—pro-choice or pro-life. Important issue, I know that. But, my goodness. The world is blowing up
everywhere, and I just don’t think that is a responsible way to see the world, on that one issue.
[SOURCE:Connie Bruck | New Yorker | 3 November
Watch this guy very closely. He always gets great publicity.
I think the election booths are going to be swamped on election day. Barack inspires the people to vote. And now that the
internet has made him accessible, everyone really has access. Nowadays even 60-ish years old people are sufficiently functional
on the use of internet as an alternative news distributor. This is much different from even 10 years ago.
I recently saw an ad on the atrios blog, "Who would Cheat first?" --- Which political candidate would cheat first on their wife? --
And i'm like, are you kidding me man? Have we metamorphosed backwards in time?
Pssssst. Barack might sleep with some young 20-ish year old hottie before McCain since McCain is 72 years old.
But don't worry Sarah Palin will be waiting in the wings. And she'd be more than happy to distinguish the "real, pro " America
from its antithesis, the "fake, anti" America. (Uh? Mrs. Palin. What does that have to do with positions and reasoned exchange
about issues of public and foreign policy?) What the hell is "real" vs. "fake" America, anyway ?
Even in my wildest moments of consternation, I have always believed there were three kinds of people. This dates back to the
age of twenty when I was still in college at Tulane University. Here is a quote from a journal at the time, September 1990
There are three kinds of people. The evil, the duped, and the tormented. The evil know exactly what they're doing and don't give
a damn. The duped are just ignorant tools manipulated by symbols and appeal to patriotism. The tormented live in between,
tacking the middle road between cynicism and oblivion, knowing truly what is evil, and all the more, knowing sadly those whom
art duped. Most importantly however, it is the tormented, and the tormented alone who see the paths of both transitions, the
path to evil as well as the path to oblivion, beyond which there is no return without a paradigm shift of consciousness.
September 1990 -- wow that was back in the middle of the Herbert Walker Bush presidency. I was in college during the first
gulf war, and when the invasion of Panama called "getting Manual Norriega" occurred.
I was in college from August 1987 until I graduated in May 1992, which spans the time from the Iran-Contra scandal, through
the 1987 stock collapse, and the economic restructuring recession that followed off and on until 1995. The
history will eventually reveal the first Bush administration on par with the second.
Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 11h 3m 1s
Looking for fault
This piece in the New York Times is an incredible work of legitimate journalism, not just because I agree with what the
says, but because the author representing all perspectives possible of the issue, and also give relevant non-mischaracterized
historical knowledge to enhance the readers knowledge. If only there were more Edmund L. Andrews hired by the newspapers
“You had the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. You were advised to
do so by many others,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, chairman of the committee. “Do you feel that your
ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?”
Mr. Greenspan conceded: “Yes, I’ve found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I’ve been very distressed by
On a day that brought more bad news about rising home foreclosures and slumping employment, Mr. Greenspan refused to
accept blame for the crisis but acknowledged that his belief in deregulation had been shaken.
He noted that the immense and largely unregulated business of spreading financial risk widely, through the use of exotic
financial instruments called derivatives, had gotten out of control and had added to the havoc of today’s crisis. As far back as
1994, Mr. Greenspan staunchly and successfully opposed tougher regulation on derivatives.
But on Thursday, he agreed that the multitrillion-dollar market for credit default swaps, instruments originally created to insure
bond investors against the risk of default, needed to be restrained.
“This modern risk-management paradigm held sway for decades,” he said. “The whole intellectual edifice, however, collapsed in
the summer of last year.”
Mr. Waxman noted that the Fed chairman had been one of the nation’s leading voices for deregulation, displaying past
statements in which Mr. Greenspan had argued that government regulators were no better than markets at imposing discipline.
“Were you wrong?” Mr. Waxman asked.
“Partially,” the former Fed chairman reluctantly answered, before trying to parse his concession as thinly as possible.
“This crisis,” he told lawmakers, “has turned out to be much broader than anything I could have imagined. It has morphed from
one gripped by liquidity restraints to one in which fears of insolvency are now paramount.”
Many Republican lawmakers on the oversight committee tried to blame the mortgage meltdown on the unchecked growth of
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant government-sponsored mortgage-finance companies that were placed in a government
conservatorship last month. Republicans have argued that Democratic lawmakers blocked measures to reform the companies.
But Mr. Greenspan, who was first appointed by President Ronald Reagan, placed far more blame on the Wall Street companies that
bundled subprime mortgages into pools and sold them as mortgage-backed securities. Global demand for the securities was so
high, he said, that Wall Street companies pressured lenders to lower their standards and produce more “paper.”
“The evidence strongly suggests that without the excess demand from securitizers, subprime mortgage originations (undeniably
the original source of the crisis) would have been far smaller and defaults accordingly far lower,” he said.
[SOURCE:EDMUND L. ANDREWS | New York Times | 23
Notice how the Republicans immediately try to blame the other guy. This is their typical partisan tactic. Quickly frame the event
in a way that enables your group of thugs to mischaracterize the event in such a way that they try to place blame on the
opposition group, regardless of the truth.
Fact: Fannie and Freddie were both driven by Republican appointments from the Dubya Bush administration. The "Democrats"
didn't block "measures to reform the companies", and even if they did, Freddie and Fannie only added to the crisis by becoming
engineered by the Republican appointees to shield the lowering of debt standards engineered by the financiers to produce more
"paper" so they could sell it.
Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 18h 19m 41s
$150,000 for Palin's wardrobe
That's right. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the VP candidate of the party that preaches fiscal responsibility.
campaign finance reports confirmed that the Republican National Committee spent $75,062 at Neiman Marcus and $49,425 at Saks
Fifth Avenue in September for Ms. Palin and her family.
Makes the John Edwards $400 haircuts look like loose change.
Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 18h 13m 12s
Conservatives and Republicans who will vote for Obama
Sunday, 19 October 2008 at 9h 52m 17s
Retired General Colin Powell speaks
I have to say that Colin Powell has earned some respect for the way he has handled himself since his 2005 retirement. He has
admitted shame for the UN moment when he lied to the world using doctored evidence he knew was "crap" (his own words).
Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 10h 14m 34s
In favor of High Speed Trains
In favor of Raising bonds for constructing 200 mph high speed rail trains up and down the state.
“Sadly, much opposition has come from people who say they like the idea of 220-mph trains zipping up and down the state, but
don't think we can afford it right now, in a time of budget disaster and economic crisis.
“That sounds prudent, even reasonable, but it ignores an important fact of American history: Many of our most important public
works projects have come in times of deep economic distress -- and they have been crucial elements in our recovery in those
“Recall the Great Depression, when voters in the Bay Area passed bonds to build the Golden Gate and Bay bridges -- projects
that lightened the impact of the Depression on that region and were critical to the postwar economic boom. Shasta Dam was
built during the Depression, and remains a linchpin of the state's water system.”
The closing paragraph of the editorial is a powerful, stirring statement that deserves to be quoted in full:
“The high-speed rail project is immense, and that can be daunting. The current economic situation is likely to get worse before it
gets better. In the past, Californians have risen to such challenges with vision and determination. Voting "yes" on Proposition 1A
is a declaration that we still possess those qualities, and have not surrendered them to a timid faith in a status quo that is no
[SOURCE: | Fresno Bee editorial | 18 October 2008]
Wow, imagine being in Los Angeles by taking a 4 hour train, or up to Crescent City or Eureka or Lake Tahoo. San Franciscan's
would load up their bicycles and make the trip Friday evening at 4pm and be there by 8pm. Rental car services would easily
increase. Places connected to the various trains would see an influx of tourist visitation, and people who can ride the train will be
able to move quickly across the state, reducing the traffic on the highways and interstates.
I can see this train easily reducing
interstate traffic by 10%, but urban traffic probably won't be reduced unless inter-city urban public transit gets a boost.
Most people who live in suburbia or in any sprawled out urban area would use an efficient, rapid, inexpensive
transit system. The only way to do that is to make the transit lines separated from automobile traffic. That's why the various
subways and metro lines in the world work. You can't have a transit system that relies upon buses on the streets.
This should be a Federal project. There are many cities across the United States that would benefit from having rapid transit.
Houston and Miami and Memphis and Raleigh and Cleveland and Milwaukee and upstate New York, and so on. Interconnecting
various cities into a central complex could rival the interstate railroad system that was built in the 1860's. Road congestion
everywhere would be reduced and local economies would be enhanced because promoting trains promotes foot traffic which
enables people to be closer to their surroundings than they would be when surrounded by their metal comfort zones driving to a
destination. Such transportation also reduces the transportation load costs of various small businesses and economic
The purpose of government is to do for the nation what no one individual or group of individuals will not, or cannot do. We can't
expect the private sector to suddenly have keen insight and raise the enormous amount of sums necessary to create this huge
infrastructure. The slim profit margins and the scale of the investment proscribes the limitations of private capital. Private firms
can't raise 800 billion to 2 trillion dollars for a project that has a 20 year horizon and a zero profit for the first 10 years. Who is
going to pay the insurance premiums and the interest costs for rolling over (refinancing) that amount of money for the time that
the construction takes. We are talking 40 billion dollars with a 5% yearly interest rate. Even if the system manages 100 million
by the 5th year of operation, dividing 40 billion by 100 million is $400 per rider, without including the expenses that have to be
covered as well like salaries for the employees, the electric creation costs, and the other expenses. At $400 per rider, the
competition with airplanes is too real for private capital to make this investment without larger interest rate assurrance, which
adds further costs to the interest load on the system.
This is why public investment by the government is the only way this project can be created. Only government can use the
nation's currency as collateral for the funds that will get invested while the project is in the start up phase. The costs of financing
the enormous sums of investment money do not have to get passed on to the riders of the system, thus enabling more ridership
to occur because the cost of admission can be maintained cheaply.
All you have to do is look at Iraq if you want to see the proof. Outsourcing to the private sector the enormous investments in
pursuit of government policy cannot coordinate anything but self-serving drives to make money.
Which is fine for small scale, localized, specialized projects, but on anything that requires large coordination across time and
space, by using different industries and resources, only the government can be effective, because a private firm will always have
to be concerned with earning profits for the investors in the firm, and will thus be confronted with making decisions that are not
in the best interest of the overall project. The need to make profits to incentivize investors is
inseparable from the operations of any private capital venture.
With a government investment program however, taxes are used to pay the interest on the bonds that are owned by investors.
Taxes are not coming from a revenue stream by a private firm who is trying to price its commodity in order to pay financing costs
and yield profits to investors. This would be like giving ATT the right to assess a 1% tax on all citizens in say Los Angeles in
order to offer you a monthly wireless phone service that they are going to also charge you $30 a month to use. Private firms
don't have taxing authority, and so their revenue stream is more fragile than a public bond. For this reason, Bonds are considered
very safe investments, and investors world-wide buy them because they are guaranteed a return on their investment.
Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 9h 8m 50s
Peggy Noonan eviscerates Palin
Peggy Noonan is Ronald Reagan's ex-speech writer. She has since that time become a "political consultant" for big East
Newspapers : like the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.
Mind you that I am no fan of Peggy Noonan. She is a snake with a forked tongue, but like every snake, she will occasionally use a
little truth to sweeten the other 60% of the time she slants it.
The myth that is Sarah Palin in the minds of the true believers will come crashing down because actual conservatives are
stepping away from the pack of mindless wolves that have stolen the Republican party.
...we have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the
equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person
of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven
weeks I've listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or Reaganite—a spender, to speak briefly, whose political
decisions seem untethered to a political philosophy, and whose foreign policy is shaped by a certain emotionalism, or a
conservative whose principles are rooted in philosophy, and whose foreign policy leans more toward what might be called
romantic realism, and that is speak truth, know America, be America, move diplomatically, respect public opinion, and move
within an awareness and appreciation of reality.
But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just . . . says things.
Her supporters accuse her critics of snobbery: Maybe she's not a big "egghead" but she has brilliant instincts and inner
toughness. But what instincts? "I'm Joe Six-Pack"? She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation—"palling around
with terrorists." If the Ayers case is a serious issue, treat it seriously. She is not as thoughtful or persuasive as Joe the Plumber,
who in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made. In
the past two weeks she has spent her time throwing out tinny lines to crowds she doesn't, really, understand. This is not a leader,
this is a follower, and she follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and broken-hearted thing whose pain she
cannot, actually, imagine. She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn't seem to understand the
implications of her own thoughts.
No news conferences? Interviews now only with friendly journalists? You can't be president or vice president and govern in that
style, as a sequestered figure. This has been Mr. Bush's style the past few years, and see where it got us. You must address
America in its entirety, not as a sliver or a series of slivers but as a full and whole entity, a great nation trying to hold together.
When you don't, when you play only to your little piece, you contribute to its fracturing.
In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It's no good, not for
conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his judgment and idealism.
I gather this week from conservative publications that those whose thoughts lead them to criticism in this area are to be
shunned, and accused of the lowest motives. In one now-famous case, Christopher Buckley was shooed from the great magazine
his father invented. In all this, the conservative intelligentsia are doing what they have done for five years. They bitterly attacked
those who came to stand against the Bush administration. This was destructive. If they had stood for conservative principle and
the full expression of views, instead of attempting to silence those who opposed mere party, their movement, and the party,
would be in a better, and healthier, position
Noonan | Wall Street Journal | 17 October 2008]