Monday, April 30, 2007
April 27, 2007
-- As Arab presidents, emirs, and kings lined up alongside the United Nations secretary-general and the Pakistani, Malaysian, and Turkish heads of state in last month's Arab League summit in Riyadh, one key player was missing at the highest level: Iran. Its nominal head of state, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had not been invited. In his place, the relatively weak foreign minister, Manoucher Mottaki, attended on behalf of the Islamic Republic.
On the surface, this fits the caricature narrative that has emerged in policy and media circles on both sides of the Atlantic and across the Mediterranean: Saudi Arabia, the bulwark of Sunni Islam, is caught in a battle for regional hegemony -with sectarian overtones - against Iran, the bulwark of Shiite Islam.
This analysis, however, fails to capture the growing and diverse range of diplomatic contacts between Riyadh and Tehran in the last few months, the insistent and loud anti-sectarian statements made by top leaders on both sides, and the evolving Saudi-Iranian relationship over the past decade. It also fails to capture the strategic philosophy of the Islamic Republic and the personal thinking of King Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz.
Though Saudi Arabia and Iran are natural competitors for influence in the Muslim world, both sides have been at pains to lower the rhetoric and avoid an escalation in tensions brought about by the Iraq and Lebanon wars, differences over Palestine and Afghanistan, and rising sectarian divisions in the region.
Ahmadinejad may not have attended the Arab League summit, but he visited Riyadh to meet with King Abdullah just a few weeks earlier in a meeting that was the culmination of a flurry of diplomatic activity between Riyadh and Tehran. Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's national security chief, has become a frequent visitor to Tehran, and his counterpart, Ali Larijani, a regular traveler to Riyadh. There have also been a series of unpublicized private visits, according to informed sources, that may have even included Javad Zarif, Iran's ambassador to the UN, who has flown from New York to Riyadh for talks, and the sons of former president Rafsanjani, who are passing on messages in Riyadh from their still-powerful father.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
This from the London Sunday Times, sent to us by our friend Glenmore Trenear Harvey, a former MI 5 agent who lives in London.
The Times quotes a British intelligence report that the attack will be aided by Iranian supporters of al-Qaeda.
The possible attack was compared with "Hiroshima and Nagasaki" and an informant said it would "shake the Roman empire."
The threat is “deadly and enduring” said Scotland Yard’s Peter Clark, commander of the UK’s counter terrorism force. He told Bloomberg News that the Brits have arrested over 1,000 al-Qaeda connected hard-core radical Muslims since 9/11 and about 100 of them are still awaiting trial.
Clark described al-Qaeda in Britain as “incredibly resilient.”
Senior al-Qaeda operatives have been in recent contact with British supporters and they have talked about "a huge explosion," says British sources.
Up to 150 British Muslims are believed to have traveled to Iraq to fight Americans as part of what al-Qaeda calls its own "foreign legion," according to British intelligence sources.
The recent secret report was prepared by "Jay Tac" -- the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre -- which is at MI5's London headquarters. The London Times says its editors have read a copy.
Al-Qaeda is not yet believed to have acquired a nuclear weapon, though Osama Bin Laden has personally tried. But a number of al-Qaeda plots involving "dirty bombs," conventional explosives surrounding radioactive material, have so far been foiled.
Posted by Richard Carlson at 04:35 PM
Friday, April 27, 2007
I am Iraqi and to me the possible consequences of this vote are terrifying. Just as we began to see signs of progress in my country the democrats come and say ‘well, it’s not worth it, so it’s time to leave’.
Evidently to them my life and the lives of twenty five million Iraqis are not worth trying for and they shouldn’t expect us to be grateful for this.
For four years everybody made mistakes; the administration made mistakes and admitted them and my people and leaders made mistakes as well and we regret them.
But now we have a fresh start; a new strategy with new ideas and tactics reached after studying previous mistakes and designed to reverse the setbacks we witnessed in the course of this war.
This strategy although its tools are not fully deployed yet is showing promising signs of progress.
General Petraeus said yesterday that things will get tougher before they get easier in Iraq and this is the kind of fact-based realistic assessment of the situation which politicians should listen to when they discuss the war thousands of miles away.
We must give this effort the chance it deserves and provide all the support and constructive critique, not the ‘war is lost’ empty rhetoric.
Continue reading here...
Democrat debate 'victory for Iraqi insurgents'
Terrorists say anti-war statements moment of glory for global 'resistance movements'
Posted: April 27, 2007
1:24 p.m. Eastern
By Aaron Klein
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
TEL AVIV – Democratic presidential hopefuls flashing their anti-war credentials last night at a national debate by stating they would immediately withdraw from Iraq, encouraged Palestinian terrorist leaders here, who labeled the debate a victory for Iraqi insurgents and "resistance movements" throughout the world.
The debate was widely covered today by the Palestinian and pan-Arab media.
"We see Hillary (Clinton) and other candidates are competing on who will withdraw from Iraq and who is guilty of supporting the Iraqi invasion. This is a moment of glory for the revolutionary movements in the Arab world in general and for the Iraqi resistance movement specifically," said Abu Jihad, one of the overall leaders of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror organization.
I think democrats will do good if they will withdraw as soon as they are in power," he said.
Abu Jihad said he believes if elected to the White House, the Democrats will immediately order a withdrawal from Iraq. He warned if a retreat is not carried out, the U.S. will likely be attacked on the home front.
"The (Democrat) debate showed that like in Vietnam the American people needed these thousands of soldiers killed to see that invading other people will always result in a failure. ... I think the Democrats will win and apply an immediate withdrawal, but if they don't (withdraw), the revolutionary movements in Iraq will intensify attacks, and I think you should prepare for another big attack in the U.S."
Abu Nasser Aziz, the deputy commander of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the northern West Bank, told WND last night's Democrat primary debate proved "the invasion of Iraq was judged by Allah to be a failure. America needs to stop letting its foreign policy be dictated by the Zionists and the Zionist lobby. The Democrats understand this point and want to prevent this scenario."
Abu Aziz said it was "very good" there are "voices like Hillary and others who are now attacking the Iraq invasion."
"I think the more Americans receive the bodies of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the more the conservatives in the U.S. will be sentenced to be thrown in the garbage," he said.
Abu Muhammad, a leader of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group in northern West Bank city of Telkerem, said he believes both the Democrats and Republicans are controlled by Israel but said he thinks the Democrats are better for his group's interests.
"They will keep supporting Israel, but, yes, I think the Democrats are preferred and have a bigger chance of withdrawing from Iraq and making deals with Iran and Syria."
Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades took joint responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the past two years. Both terrorist groups regularly carry out shootings and rocket attacks against Jewish civilian population centers.
At the televised primary debate last night, Democrat presidential hopefuls heaped criticism on President Bush's Iraq war policy.
"The first day, I would get us out of Iraq by diplomacy," said New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, one of eight rivals on the debate stage.
"If this president does not get us out of Iraq, when I am president, I will," pledged Sen. Clinton.
"We are one signature away from ending this war," declared Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
He said if Bush won't change his mind about vetoing a bill requiring troop withdrawal, Democrats need to work on rounding up enough Republican votes to override him.
In addition to Obama and Clinton, Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Chris Dodd of Connecticut also cast votes in favor of Iraqi withdrawal legislation.
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who together with Clinton and others voted to authorize the Iraq war, apologized for his earlier support and said he wanted to see a withdrawal.
In November, WND conducted a series of exclusive interviews in which prominent Middle East terrorist leaders said they hoped Americans would sweep the Democrats into power because of the party's position on withdrawing from Iraq.
The terrorists told WND an electoral win for the Democrats would prove to them Americans are "tired." They rejected statements from some prominent Democrats in the U.S. that a withdrawal from Iraq would end the insurgency, explaining an evacuation would prove resistance works and would compel jihadists to continue fighting until America is destroyed.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
"We face formidable challenges, but I'm not afraid of them. I'm prepared for them," said the four-term Arizona senator, ex-Navy pilot and former Vietnam captive.
In a speech in the first-in-the-nation primary state, McCain stressed the wisdom he's acquired over time rather than the decades themselves as he sought to make the case that he's the most qualified to succeed President Bush amid challenges at home and abroad.
"I'm not the youngest candidate. But I am the most experienced," said the 70-year-old who could be the oldest first-term president, drawing cheers. "I know how to fight and how to make peace. I know who I am and what I want to do."
Friday, April 20, 2007
Ron Roberts, an 81 year old war veteran, is the latest victim of NHS manslaughter.
Ron and his wife Olive, 79, were forced to choose which one of them would go blind when both were diagnosed with the same degenerative eye condition last year. As any man would, Ron chose blindness for himself. A campaign led to the NHS relenting and agreeing to treat both. If only the campaign had failed. While in the Bath Royal Hospital, Ron contracted the ‘superbug’ Clostridium Difficile and pneumonia. He was left on a trolley for 24 hours and spent six days in a unit meant for short stays only. He died soon after being found abandoned in his own faeces.
But let’s not worry, for the primary care trust says that there will be an investigation. Truly, working for the state means never having to take responsibility for your actions. It cannot be repeated often enough that the state is not your friend. It will only be made to answer to we, the people, when we make it so. I hope that Ron Roberts family seeks justice and sees those who effectively killed him made to answer for his death with their imprisonment. I cannot agree more with Richard Littlejohn’s view (in today’s Daily Mail, no link) that:
Everyone involved, from the Health Secretary Patricia downwards, through the directors of the hospital care trust, to the hospital managers, doctors, nurses and porters on the ward, should be arrested and charged with corporate manslaughter at the very least.
Posted on Friday, April 20, 2007 at 06:14PM by Pete Moore
Thursday, April 19, 2007
in what has to be the biggest scumbag move in the history of modern civilization. The scumbag DEMOCRAT COMMUNIST PARTY after weeks of refusing to authorize money needed for food and bullets. The Democrats have declared that our ARMY HAS LOST.
The United States Military the greatest military to take up arms in the history of man, that has fought for 4 years achieving the greatist success in military history. Losing less people than were lost in hours in any other war have just been SHIT ON by the Socialist DEMOCRATS.
The Democrats that believe that if they bring our troops home and steal the profits of not just corporate America but out of your and my pockets. Using their stolen money to give Illegals and deadbeat Americans who refuse to get a job HEALTH CARE, that the Millions of Islamic Animals that have sworn to KILL EVERY LAST ONE OF US (after they kill the JEWS) will just leave us alone.
It does not matter to these Socialist Scum that 1000s of Americans have been killed by these Islamic animals, or that these same Islamic animals killed thousands in a single strike in the heart of their favorite city.
All the Democrats care about is what they think THEY CAN GAIN BY MORE DEAD SOLDIERS. These assholes that are now cutting off needed bullets and food to the men and woman of this country that have VOLUNTEERD to defend us. Just declared that TERROR HAS WON!
Iraq war is 'lost': US Democrat leader
Apr 19 02:45 PM US/Eastern
The war in Iraq "is lost" and a US troop surge is failing to bring peace to the country, the leader of the Democratic majority in the US Congress, Harry Reid, said Thursday.
"I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week," Reid told journalists.
Reid said he had delivered the same message to US President George W. Bush on Wednesday, when the US president met with senior lawmakers to discuss how to end a standoff over an emergency war funding bill.
"I know I was the odd guy out at the White House, but I told him at least what he needed to hear ... I believe the war at this stage can only be won diplomatically, politically and economically."
Congress is seeking to tie funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a timetable to withdraw US troops from Iraq next year, but Bush has vowed to veto any such bill and no breakthrough was reported from the White House talks.
Bush on Thursday was addressing an Ohio town hall meeting and defending the war on terror launched in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"It is the most solemn duty of our country, is to protect our country from harm," Bush told the invited audience in Tipp, Ohio.
"A lesson learned was that -- at least in my opinion -- that in order to protect us, we must aggressively pursue the enemy and defeat them elsewhere so that we do not have to face them here."
But Reid drew a parallel with former US president Lyndon Johnson who decided to deploy more troops in Vietnam some 40 years ago when 24,000 US troops had already been killed.
"Johnson did not want a war loss on his watch, so he surged in Vietnam. After the surge was over, we added 34,000 to the 24,000 who died in Vietnam," Reid said.
The comments came a day after bombers killed more than 200 people in a slew of car bombings in Baghdad, dealing a savage blow to the US security plan which aims to deploy an extra 30,000 troops in the country to quell sectarian unrest.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates fly into Iraq Thursday on an unannounced visit for talks with top US military commanders there.
He met with General David Petraeus, chief of coalition forces in Iraq, his deputy Lieutenant Colonel Ray Odierno and Admiral William Fallon, chief of US forces in the Middle East.
By Dana Milbank
Thursday, April 19, 2007; A02
Everywhere Fred Thompson goes these days, he seems to be followed by inflated expectations.
Those waiting outside the Capitol Hill Club yesterday for the not-quite-yet presidential candidate to arrive counted 35 House Republicans entering the building to meet with him. One participant, Rep. Walter Jones (N.C.), reported that there were 40 in the room. Another, Rep. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), upped the figure to "45 to 50." Then the organizer, Rep. Zach Wamp (Tenn.) came out. "I think the number was 53," he said. "Between 50 and 60."
However hyped their numbers, the conservative lawmakers who came to hear the actor cum senator cum actor were of one voice when they spoke of Thompson as a possible white knight. To hear them tell it, the current crop of Republican presidential candidates has left them variably famished, parched and suffocating.
"People are hungry for leadership," said Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.).
"People are thirsting for a candidate that checks all the boxes," Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) reported after meeting Thompson.
"It was a breath of fresh air in the room today," added Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.).
So is Thompson running?
"He will if people let him know they're hungry enough," answered a positively ravenous Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.).
It doesn't take an Arthur Branch -- that's the district attorney Thompson plays on "Law & Order," for pop-culture illiterates -- to discern that the hunger pangs say less about Thompson than about demoralized conservatives and their distaste for the others in the Republican presidential field.
"Clearly, Republicans are not convinced by any candidate yet," McHenry confided. "You have 45 to 50 members of Congress that show up for someone who's not even in the race. I think that's a significant statement about the field."
Jones was even more blunt. "I'm looking for somebody who can excite America after seven failed years of George Bush," he said. And Wamp said plainly that "people are looking for an alternative and they're looking for more stature."
It's been a difficult few weeks for the GOP field. Mitt Romney misfired by describing himself as a "lifelong hunter" when, in fact, he never had a license and only occasionally took shots at "varmints." John McCain has self-destructed over his championing of the Iraq war. Rudy Giuliani has had more Bernard Kerik problems. And Tommy Thompson, a new entrant, quickly disqualified himself by telling a Jewish group this week that making money is "part of the Jewish tradition."
Among potential top-tier candidates, that leaves Newt Gingrich (who has more baggage than a bellhop) and Fred Thompson. And even some Thompson admirers have doubts about how energetic a candidate he would be; he was lackadaisical as a senator, and he has disclosed that he has been treated for lymphoma.
Then there's the small matter of what his political views are. In public yesterday, he spoke a grand total of 69 words, the substance of which was that he had come to "see some of my old friends and make some new friends and tell them what was on my mind and listen to see what was on their minds."
Thompson was only slightly more forthcoming in the private meeting. Where is he, for example, on Iraq? "He didn't talk too much about the war," Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) reported.
"He wants to put forward solutions that he thinks we need," recounted Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).
And what might those solutions be?
"He didn't get specific," Capito answered.
But specifics can wait. For now, what's important is Thompson's mellifluous voice.
"Not everybody watches his show, but certainly you hear that voice and you know you've heard it," Capito said. "It's almost like James Earl Jones."
And don't forget his distinguished looks.
"The word 'presidential' was used," recounted Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), who offered to raise money for candidate Thompson. "The American people have seen him act in that role."
Actually, Thompson looked old and sallow as he faced the cameras for a few seconds before hopping into a waiting GMC Envoy. But his hour-long meeting was well staged. Five television cameras rolled and a mob of 50 journalists and tourists watched his arrival and departure, crushing tulips and pansies outside the Capitol Hill Club.
Not everybody had the hunger for Thompson, of course. "I already ate," explained Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) as he passed the Thompson gathering for a meeting next door.
But Thompson has appetites, too. And his performance on Capitol Hill yesterday made clear that, whatever his intentions, he wants people to think he is going to run.
"He thinks the man and times are lining up," Wamp reported after the session. "The man who came to see us today is preparing to run for president."
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
by LAWRENCE GOODWYN (or what politics looks like when you eat Mushrooms)
[from the April 30, 2007 issue]
of The Nation
(Get a load of the wording alone used by this Pompous Socialist)
Intransigence and myopia. The flowering of these habits within the GOP is driving the Democratic Party to clarity. And the potential for serious consequences is real. It is not enough to suggest that a big Democratic win is possible in 2008. Something far more strategic is at work: large-scale party realignment with historic implications. (notice the almost drooling glee you can picture on this wackos face as he ponders his delusion)
None of this seems apparent, of course. Indeed, for a number of hopeful partisans, such a possibility seems beyond reason itself. Politics is assumed to be modulated through the inherited customs of the two major parties. Complacency and sloganeering are settled habits among Republicans. Clarity, on the other hand, can scarcely be called an ingrained cultural habit among Democrats. In the face of corporate saber-rattling, a fair degree of communal Democratic wilting is highly probable. This traditional analysis, while time-tested and even accurate as far as it goes, is leading to inside-the-Beltway conclusions that are superficial and obsolete. (ah but his razorsharp gaze catches the subtle nuances that the unwashed could never grasp)
Actually, very strong countervailing pressures are at work. But Americans are no longer well instructed about how to see them. (no the MSM refuses to print anything but their political spin, rather than FACTS that the individual can arrive at their own conclusions) Real life contains two elements of democratic politics that are rarely discussed in tandem--engaged popular aspiration (unidentified people out there in America) (us the unwashed) and cooperating elites (identifiable in Washington) (yes the all knowing politicians). Such a range of citizens is not routinely analyzed together because, politically, they are not assumed to be together. Instead, people find the nominal institutions of democracy, such as the US Congress, limping along in a decayed condition, insufficiently independent of lobbyists. (controlling capitalists) The outlying population is also found limping, assumed to be insufficiently informed to act with relevance. (in his mind maybe) Since everyone is affected by the surrounding culture in which they have been raised and to which they remain attached, the same decayed condition besets the reporters who cover it, the scholars who brood over it, the consultants who try to make a living handling it and the politicians who seek passable footing through it. (in what group does the writer imagine himself?) To find some footing for ourselves, we need to catch the connections on those rare occasions when popular and elite modes of politics function at the same time and have serious ideas in concert. It does not happen often in history. But it happens. When it does, expectation can begin to replace resignation. (that is some of the most unreal bullshit ever put in print he's painting his own delusional view of a manifest destiny. The outside narrater imagining he is witnessing a mordern day realignment of minds of the unwashed and the powerful)
It is, in fact, beginning to happen now. Activity among people "out there" surfaced soon after the 2006 elections, first as a new way to think about political possibility--verified by the arrival in Congress of new majority leaders and new committee chairs; (ahh the onslaught of the commie liberal elite, we're all in awe) verified yet again by the weak GOP sidestep, early on, of any Senate debate on Iraq and, not least, through the investigative horizons richly confirmed by the perjury trial of Scooter Libby. (what was confirmed other than the sight of a man being burned in a witch hunt where no crime was ever committed) Apart from this, in climes far from comfortable lobbyists, activists have organized petitions for local environmental laws even as people in midsize towns stepped up pressure for living-wage ordinances as benchmarks for all city workers. (has anyone else witnessed this?) Indeed, agitation for a revived push for an Equal Rights Amendment, visible at local levels soon after the November election and at state levels in December, has now gathered momentum in both the House and Senate. (name me one person that has brought up the ERA) This kind of politics is not about the next election; it is about people coming up for air and getting something done that has a chance to get done. Nor is this effort a magic bullet to dispatch globalization. It is not instant and it does not begin large-scale but emerges from the interaction of popular aspirations and cooperating elites. It is out there in America now--much more vividly than before the November elections. It will be expanding. (take another hit of what ever you're smoking)
There are stages here, reciprocal sequences. Unfamiliar rhythms are apparent in the attentive but very reserved popular responses to the bevy of presidential aspirants. Popular input is also visible on the ground in Iraq, on the floor of the House of Representatives and in the interplay of the two. (and where has that interplay taken place? in the president of Syrias office) It is no accident that the first officeholder to speak publicly about the resentment American troops in Iraq feel toward the crowds of contractors harvesting profit from the war is Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha. (who is also under investigation for war profiteering with some of those contractors) A savvy old hand from a working-class region hurt by globalization, (try hurt by Unions and Enviromentalist wackos) Murtha does not fit the liberal-conservative mold that frames Beltway insiderism. An ex-Marine, Murtha saw for himself the conjunction of soldier competence and discontent on his most recent trip to Baghdad. His Democratic colleagues in the House will follow his lead in finding an expeditious way out of Iraq-- (surrendor) as they began to do soon after he first publicly announced his opposition to Bush's policy. Like Murtha, the boots on the ground in Iraq are responding to the reality they see around them. (yes they see the Dems pulling the money for bullets and armor) What soldiers are telling the latest visitors reveals how desperate things are. Talking to a reporter for the McClatchy newspapers, a 19-year-old private explains, "We can go get into a firefight and empty our ammo, but it doesn't accomplish much. This isn't our war--we're just in the middle." An officer's take: "To be honest, it's going to be like this for a long time to come, no matter what we do." (oh bullshit)
The Iraq disaster undermines the Republicans but will not in itself bring party realignment. Rather, the energizing momentum is economic-- (yeah stock market records and alomost zero unemployment) and it is driven by abiding public anxiety here in America. Ahead in Washington are the sharpest kinds of party divisions over domestic policy. The signals are everywhere. The new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, began by mobilizing all 233 Democrats to co-sponsor the minimum-wage bill. (which is still in committee) On their first opportunity to decamp, eighty-two Republicans did so. The final tally--an early harbinger of the realigned future--was 315 to 116. After redistricting in response to the 2010 census, it does not seem out of line to envision something approaching a Democratic margin of 275 to 160. The path to these numbers travels through Social Security, the issue that, as Bush has already experienced, remains the third rail of American politics. (due to disinformation from the press and the Dems living in denile that it's bankrupt) Debate before the 2008 election should produce the first of many win-win options for the Democrats: Either enough GOP senators defect to protect themselves as well as Social Security, or they don't defect and boost their own vulnerability at the polls. Of forty-nine GOP-held Senate seats, twenty-one are up for grabs.
Beyond Social Security lies a decisive second issue: healthcare. (socialized medicine that has failed in every country that its been tried in) A tangible start has already begun with the bill to end one of the greatest boondoggles in legislative history--the GOP ban on the government's right to negotiate prices with drug companies. It passed the House 255 to 170. With the drug lobby weighing in, Democratic partisans were pleased to see that all the no votes were cast by Republicans. More suggestive is the fact that a score of others broke ranks to support the Democrats--a move that reflects less an alteration of ideology than anxiety about surviving 2008. (ask anyone that has been forbidden by the VA the choice of medications because of this type of system if they think its a good idea) This will be a dicey time because by then Americans will know how much of their own family budgets and the nation's Treasury the Republican Party has brazenly transferred to pharmaceutical firms. Already put away in the House bank is the most important labor bill in a generation: the Employee Free Choice Act, designed to end the corporate reign of threats and job firings routinely visited upon all those trying to get a union at their workplace. The bill passed 241 to 185. (less than 10% of americans want or choose to work for a union, this bill would allow rocco and guido to know who voted against them and where they live. Thats not putting preasure on anyone is it)
Meanwhile, the government has essentially been outsourced to corporate America. In a convenient bit of tidiness, most auditing tasks have been outsourced as well. Hired contractors guard the US Treasury by casting glances over ledgers provided by other contractors. This way of running the country carries arrogance to public levels never before seen. Meanwhile, the Libby verdict ground into the national psyche the entire structure of "lying America into war"--a venture that changed the way the world feels about Americans as a people. What more will surface by, say, June 2008? By November? Much fuel for realignment lurks here. (more delusions)
A comparative framework for the impending Democratic sweep can be found in the time in American history that most vividly corresponds to the present--a moment that materialized right after another Democratic breakthrough, seventy-seven years ago.
The time is 1930. Democrats have just found themselves in control of the House under conditions they did not create and could not have imagined even two years earlier. They have essentially been bystanders at the instant of their ascendancy. The decisive political fact is that something fundamental has gone terribly awry. The disaster has come upon the nation with great speed, the consequences have gotten more severe with every passing day and the President is doing nothing in response. Instead he makes pious speeches that depress people because they do not address reality. A testy minority has long seen him as a complacent man nursing a penchant for pomposity. To them, his posture comes across as disdain for the suffering of millions, not to mention the mounting anxiety of almost everybody else. He has begun to be hated by many people and is no longer trusted by most. The disaster that generates all this is called the Great Depression. The President who does not act but speaks in slogans is named Herbert Hoover. Though the Civil War had conferred great prestige on the Republican Party, suddenly, after many decades, grave peril looms. (Bush ain't Hoover and the economy is stronger than any time in history)
The relationship between then and now is compelling. Every time Hoover extolled the curative powers of the free market, every time he wrapped himself in the red, white and blue of American prosperity, he verified the emptiness of his leadership. The American people had to endure a one-two punch: a self-undermining President, leaking support while trying to defend his immobility, and a docile party confined by its dazed need to be loyal to him. It took a while to play out publicly, but eventually the rhythm of an immobilized President and a party of straight men brought home to the population the depth of the trap they were in. But right after their breakthrough, Democrats could not by themselves drive home to a needy electorate the initiatives many hoped to enact. They did not yet have the aid of a cooperating President. Just as Iraq undermines George Bush in 2007, Hoover's inability to deal with reality in 1931 and '32 was seen by voters for what it was: clear failure. The result in 1932 made the breakthrough in 1930 seem petty. The House became Democratic, 310 to 117; and the Senate, 60 to 35. (he's comparing an economic collapse to defending ourselves from enemy attacks)
Nevertheless, these numbers did not mean what they seemed--a landslide victory that ushered in the New Deal that followed. Herbert Hoover was out and Franklin Roosevelt was in, yet what "followed" for three more years was neither Social Security nor the Wagner Act but rather intense struggles at workplaces across the country. Striking for union recognition, workers mounted almost 4,000 job actions in 1933 and '34, most visibly a failed general strike of 200,000 that spread through Southern textile country and a second, more successful general strike on the San Francisco waterfront. Support for collective bargaining was strong in both Houses of Congress, but FDR, focused as he was on agriculture, blocked it. Finally, in the summer of 1935, after one of the anchors of New Deal legislation, the National Industrial Recovery Act, was declared unconstitutional, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Wagner Act, 63 to 12. FDR finally got on board just before the bill soared through the House and became law--along with Social Security. (and we started our internal battle between communism and capitalism)
The GOP response to all this remained grounded in the belief that the New Deal was destructive and socialist. (it was and still is) The party's most vivid voice was a redbaiting, occasionally anti-Semitic lobby calling itself the Liberty League. But in the same way that the evening news from Iraq mocks the rigidity of Bush talk today, such hysteria about socialism could not substitute for reality in 1933 and '34 any more than Hoover talk could in 1931 and '32. Never at any point in the 1930s did the GOP develop a rhetorical match for Roosevelt. His fireside chats on nationwide radio became the most dramatic and effective connection between the American people and their President ever forged, before or since. "Taxes shall be levied according to the ability to pay," he said. "That is the only American principle." He effectively ridiculed the Republican Party as the home to "economic royalists" who, despite having "two perfectly good legs...never learned to walk forward." (and therefore communism took root in the US)
For generations still to come, American historians will doubtless be comparing the period 1930-36 to that of 2006-12 as years of high political-economic crisis for capitalism. One crisis stemmed from a worldwide depression, triggered by the American depression of 1929, the other by an ambitious scheme of globalization benefiting the financial sectors of every country in the world advanced enough to have a financial sector. It also severely harmed workers in all the advanced democracies, placing their labor movements under unbearable pressure--and none more so than in America. The most important achievement of the Democratic Party in the earlier period rested on the vital educational function it served on an absolutely essential subject: the role of demand in facilitating a healthy economy. Though later scholars would label the Wagner Act "labor's Magna Carta," it was, in fact, the nation's economy that was set temporarily on the path to liberation (socialism) --even if it took another decade or so for some of the nation's classical economists to begin to consider that the long-term welfare of the economy and the growth of organized labor were essentially linked. (even deeper bullshit)
In the wake of the realignment of 1932, Congressional Democrats found themselves on this issue, the analysis of demand, hemmed in at square one--not only with journalists and other opinion-makers but with their own President. Both FDR and Congress could share in the achievement of Social Security. But the Wagner Act belonged to Congress alone--and to the American people who backed their representatives. Today, with the Wagner Act long since gutted, globalization is well along the path of rotting the fabric of the economy from below. (what economic reports is this shuck reading?)
It will take a sensible and dedicated President and a sensible and strong Congress to set a more democratic course for the realigned politics that is coming. But the table has been set for both. Relentless Congressional inquiries have begun--and are unstoppable-- (let the witch hunts begin) because the initial target is a regime whose capacity for sustained deceit and wholesale incompetence has reached a broad plateau of ethical corruption (you mean like Diane Fienstien and Harry Reid) that is without precedent in American history. Bush lied the country into a foreign quagmire that destroyed the goodwill toward the country of populations residing on every continent. He politicized and humiliated his own Justice Department, falsely accusing honorable men and women of incompetence. (LOL) To protect his closest adviser, he betrayed lesser advisers, weakening the country's rule of law.In power-grabbing acts of centralization, through the grossly mistitled Patriot Act, he has repeatedly shown contempt for the Bill of Rights. Through acts that were legal but grotesquely undemocratic in philosophy, he destroyed the structure of the balanced budget he inherited, (the budget was NEVER balanced) undermining long-term demand and hastening the economic downturn that has begun. (where?) He has proved his indifference to the fate of one of America's great cities because of his indifference to most of the people who lived in it. He has degraded the nation. Though our plate of dismay and despair is full, we have more to learn, and Congress, with Karl Rove's blood everywhere, will see that we learn it. (this writer needs a straight jacket)
The citizenry as a whole has been pushed far back by the authoritarianism of the Bush/Cheney team and the greed it has inspired, particularly in finance and corporate medicine. The country, including the media at large, has a distance to travel to get up to speed for the revelations to come. (yes the purifying light of communism will save us all)
Finally, though American life in 2007 does not resemble the numbing degradation of the Depression years, something else is eating its way through the fabric of the commonwealth--a reality we don't yet possess the political language to describe with poise. Woven deeply into the shared experience of Americans is a sense of people actually "getting somewhere," of being able through hard work to "move up in the world" and, when disaster occurs, to get a second job to hold family catastrophe at bay. (due to giving 51% of our earnings to the government in taxes) Over time, generations of parents have passed on a belief in the nation's democratic experiment, a concept at once American and biblical--originally set down with romantic seventeenth-century flair as "a city upon a hill." It accounts for the peculiarly American sense of the possibility of dignity for everyone. It is this very sense of what we should be as a people that stokes modern anxiety, activated as it now is by downsizings across the country. Initially surfacing privately, inside families, it is now a part of life, a social blemish that has turned into a hardened scar as highly skilled mechanics in dozens of occupations become unemployed and women have no option but to become family breadwinners. These anomalies are driven by the very industrial facts people once believed they had under control. At a time when the value of the minimum wage has sunk by 20 percent in a single decade, the enormous leap in wealth by the top 1 percent fails to console the rest of us. We all have proof there is (currently) no promise of a city on a hill. In 2007, the quality most visible at the top of the hill is greed. (greed for spending as much of our money as the politicians can steal)
This sober reality explains why Americans are giving themselves permission, once again, to think broadly about democratic possibility. Though most people work for businesses, they have learned to be skeptical when the boss tells them what is good for the nation. The suffocating consistency of the Bush Administration's lies has expanded this skepticism exponentially. But in a corporate culture where conservative arrogance has been rubbed in people's faces at work and in politics, it takes a while for citizens to allow themselves to stand up.
To assist them, a measure of Democratic Party clarity would be very helpful. Since GOP incumbents cannot campaign effectively in 2008 by dealing seriously with issues that now bear down on the American people, much of Republican electioneering will consist of TV attacks on the character of their opponents. Democratic defenses will depend on the power of the agenda they have advanced. (they have yet to advance an agenda other than retreat in the face of the enemy) In 2004 the many-sided John Kerry was Swift-Boated into history's dustbin, (where he belongs) while two years later in Tennessee, there appeared a Democratic candidate who managed to take the lead in a tight Senate race. He was a nice fellow, though prone to straddling issues of substance. Indeed, it is not too much to say that the bigger the issue, the wider his straddle. Detecting opportunity, GOP consultants served up a casually dressed Caucasian lass who, in a racist TV ad, coyly used the Democratic candidate's first name--as if to court him and degrade him all at once. The GOP aspirant, a man of modest talent, managed to pull out a narrow win in a Democratic year. When Democrats learn how to be clear on central issues, (try any issue) this kind of ignoble foolishness will no longer succeed. Party realignment will then happen and the country can start to work on its very real problems.
And not until then. (this is the most drug hazed delusion I've seen in print in a very long time. I hope you didn't pee yourself laughing. They only thing realigned is the Domocrats to complete domination by the extreme leftists like the author of this article)
All comments in red belong to the Troll
By: Y. Mansharof
On April 10, 2007, after several postponements, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered his long-promised message "that will gladden all Muslims" at Iran's Nuclear Day festivities.  During the day's main rally, held at the nuclear facility at Natanz, Ahmadinejad said that Iran was now manufacturing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale. 
At this stage, senior Iranian nuclear program officials are not saying exactly how many centrifuges are operating at Natanz, apparently out of fear of a possible military attack by the West.  At the same time, both senior officials and the Iranian media are stressing the importance of this accomplishment, and that it marks the point of no return in Iran's nuclearization process.
With this announcement, the Iranian regime is apparently trying to achieve two aims. The first is to announce its nuclear progress despite U.N. sanctions and international pressure, and thus to deter a possible attack on its nuclear facilities. The second is to reduce domestic criticism following the increase in Western pressures and sanctions. 
The following are excerpts from Ahmadinejad's April 10 speech and from statements by other senior Iranian officials, as well as from the Iranian press, on the issue.
Ahmadinejad: Iran Now Producing Nuclear Fuel on an Industrial Scale
"I declare today, in all pride, that from this day, Iran is among the countries producing nuclear fuel on an [industrial] scale... Today, Iran's enemies are embarrassed by Iran's progress in various areas... According to a pre-set program, the Iranian government is determined to produce at least 20,000 megawatts of nuclear electricity according to a specific timetable... We warmly shake the hands of all governments interested in holding talks with us and in cooperating with us in this area.
"I [address] the governments that have so far refused to come to terms with today's reality and with the Iranian people's right [to develop nuclear technology], and demand that they stop acting aggressively, illogically, hostilely, and in violation [of the law] towards Iran. [They had better] know that every member of the Iranian people stands fast behind its leaders, out of knowledge, faith, and absolute unity, and [that the Iranian people] will defend its right to the end... The [Western countries] should know that the path of the progress of the Iranian people is irreversible... They must pay attention, and do nothing to cause this brave and great people to reconsider the way it deals with them. [Western countries] have tried this [hostile] approach several times, and have seen that this [Iranian] people is capable of [reconsidering its approach towards them]..." 
Larijani: We Are Rapidly Advancing Towards 54,000 Centrifuges
In an interview with the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is identified with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani, who is in charge of Iran's nuclear dossier, confirmed that UF6 gas had been injected into centrifuges installed in the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. He said, "[The Western countries] must in any event accept a nuclear Iran... We are moving vigorously along the path of obtaining... 54,000 centrifuges... The sanctions against us [UNSC Resolution 1747] have had no effect, and will have no effect, on our movement towards this goal [in the future]..." 
Larijani also noted that the purpose of the nuclear program could change. He said, "We are not interested in such a thing taking place, but when we encounter the ill temper and exaggerations of [the West,] we are pressured by the Majlis, and could make different decisions." 
With regard to the number of centrifuges at Natanz, Larijani said, "The number of centrifuges doesn't matter. But we have a work output of 3,000 centrifuges. This level and above is considered industrial..." 
Aghazadeh: We Are Aiming to Operate 50,000 Centrifuges
Iranian Atomic Energy Organization director Gholam Reza Aghazadeh also refused to indicate the precise number of centrifuges operating in Natanz. He said, "Iran's program is not to install and operate only 3,000 centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment facilities, but 50,000... We planned and invested for [the installation of] 50,000 centrifuges. The infrastructure that has been established - including equipment for air filtering, electricity, a new air supply, and everything required for this industry - was for 50,000 centrifuges... I intentionally did not indicate any number [in my speech at the Natanz celebrations]... because I wanted no misunderstandings in the foreign media, [and I did not want] them to think that Iran's [nuclear program] included [only] 3,000 centrifuges...
"[The situation is] quite the opposite. As we enter the industrial stage, the installation of the centrifuges will be carried out on an ongoing basis, until all 50,000 [centrifuges] are installed... Our declaration that we have entered the stage [of producing nuclear fuel] on an industrial [scale means] that there is no turning back." 
At the Natanz celebrations, Aghazadeh stressed that "despite the commitments we have received from [various] countries, no expert or [external] company has stood by us... but despite these challenges, obstacles, and problems, Iran was determined to realize, by means of its creative young people, its nuclear program - which includes peaceful purposes, with the first priority being to produce a nuclear fuel cycle as supreme science in nuclear technology... and in the past year our young scientists have managed to produce 270 tons of UF6.
"Not long ago, [producing] this important substance was far from the imagination of our country's nuclear researchers and scientists. But finally, we managed to attain [enrichment of] uranium, at [a level of] 3.5% to 5%... Now, as we enter mass production of centrifuges and begin to produce [nuclear fuel] on an industrial [scale], we are taking one more step towards the flowering of Iran..." 
Aghazadeh also pointed out, "Now that Iran has entered into production of nuclear fuel on an industrial [scale], there will be no limit on the production of nuclear fuel in Iran... This is the accomplishment of some 3,000 expert scientists and the best of the forces that worked in the past year night and day at the Natanz facility." 
Kayhan Editor: Only One More Step to Nuclear Fuel Production
In an April 10 lecture on the current state of Iran's nuclear dossier to students and lecturers at Babol University for the Medical Sciences in Mazandaran, Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the Kayhan daily which is close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said, "A country that has attained the knowledge and technology of uranium enrichment is only one step away from producing nuclear weapons. This [additional] step is not a scientific or a technical step, but a matter of political decision. But Iran announced several times that it would never produce nuclear weapons..." Shariatmadari added that Iran had decided to install at least 60,000 centrifuges. 
Kayhan: "The West Must Expect a Shock from Iran at Any Moment"
In an April 10, 2007 editorial headlined "Strategy of Ambiguity," Kayhan noted that since Iran had reached the point of no return in its nuclear program, it could shape its nuclear program in accordance with its political aspirations. The paper said that Iran was now acting far from the eyes of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and that this will enable it to surprise the West - which should at any moment expect an earthshaking announcement from Iran. The following are the main points of the editorial:
"Yesterday, Iran crossed the nuclear point of no return. Now it is for all practical purposes a nuclear state, and in light of this reality, its name should carry a different weight [than in the past] in any kind of regional or super-regional security balance... From now on, Iran is freed from technical limitations, and can choose the goals of its nuclear program.
"We will see in which [direction] Iran's political aspiration will incline. If Iran is subjected to threats, and others want to act [against it] illegally, the direction its desire will take is clear. If it is treated without rules and laws - which is what is actually happening - Iran will have a different aspiration [than it has today]... What is important is that Iran now has the backing it needs in order to choose any direction it wants.
"The event yesterday at Natanz sent a crystal-clear message to the West: the path you are following is mistaken... Iran is following two paths: one, the path of rapid progress in its technical work, and two, the gradual reduction of the IAEA's access to its nuclear facilities...
"Under the current threatening and unjust conditions, Iran has decided to employ a strategy of ambiguity. Since Iran's nuclear dossier was illegally returned to the U.N. Security Council, the eyes of the IAEA - the intelligence agency of the West - are finding it more difficult every day [to monitor Iran's activities]. When [the IAEA] reported on [Iran's nuclear dossier] to the Security Council last winter, Iran announced that it would no longer be implementing the Additional Protocol. A few months later, when sanctions resolution 1737 was issued, Iran began to install 3,000 centrifuges at Natanz... When sanctions resolution 1747 was passed, Iran further reduced IAEA access [to its nuclear facilities] by stopping the implementation of the agreements connected to the 'Safeguards Agreement.'
"Now, when less than 15 days of the two-month extension given to Iran under 1747 remain, Iran celebrates its entrance into the club of the [countries] producing nuclear fuel on an industrial [scale]. The path is completely clear... From now on, Westerners must expect a shock from Iran at any moment. It is true that our hands are tied in the Security Council, and that we have no great ability to restrain their [i.e. the West's] aggression. But the Westerners must not forget that Iran's hands are completely free in its nuclear facilities, and that any sanctions resolution in New York... accelerates our technological progress at Natanz. The new surprise has begun...
"According to [Iran's] obligations under the agreement [with the IAEA], it is required to inform the IAEA only 180 days before bringing nuclear material into its facilities. That is, Iran... can patiently plan and build the facilities it wants, and inform the IAEA [only] when the work is finished. True, under the 'Safeguards Agreement,' (known as Section 3.1), any country that recognizes [the agreement] must inform the IAEA about its nuclear facilities as soon as it begins construction (not [180 days] before the facility begins operation). But Iran - which implemented this agreement since May 2003 - announced following sanctions resolution 1747 that it would stop [abiding by Section 3.1]... This is precisely the strategy of ambiguity." 
In another editorial, published April 11, 2007 and headlined "Duel with an Unloaded Gun," Kayhan said, "Now America has expended all the bullets in its clip. Now, it is Iran that will decide, in the face of the shocked world, on the 'news' and the 'event' with which it will strike the superpowers at their weak points and their Achilles heel. Iran still has great wisdom in its clip - and each bullet of wisdom prepares the ground for new opportunities, and makes Iran's hands more skilled... America is now dealing with the deadly hail of Iran's wisdom..." 
Resalat: Iran Has Become an Influential Force on a Global Scale
An article published April 11, 2007 by the conservative daily Resalat stressed that Iran's entrance into the club of countries producing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale had been attained by relying solely on domestic capabilities. It also stated that the West was helpless in the face of this achievement, and that whether it continued to object to Iran's nuclearization or recognized its right to do so, Iran had won. The following are the main points of the article:
"On the day of the nuclear celebrations, Iran took another [significant] step on the path to the country's progress and flowering. With the beginning of the production of nuclear fuel on an industrial [scale], Iran has joined the limited group of countries that [possess this capability]. When it declared that it was producing nuclear fuel on an industrial [scale], Iran reached the point of no return of nuclear technology, and today we are recognized as an influential power in the regional and world balance.
"The phenomenal progress of Iran's scientists in producing nuclear fuel and in injecting [UF6] gas into 3,000 centrifuges is significant... because no foreign country or organization helped Iran in the slightest, and because Iran's nuclear technology is completely domestic...
"Now, in light of their progress, which brings pride to the sons of the Iranian people, the powers of arrogance [i.e. the West, headed by the U.S.] stand before two paths: Either they continue on the path of their hostility towards Iran - and if they do, they will make the Iranian people determined to conquer the highest peaks of science - or they officially recognize the legal right of the Iranian people, and stop being stubborn. In either case, victory will be with the great Iranian people... Our experience with the difficulties raised by Russia in operating the Bushehr nuclear reactor, and its failure to send nuclear fuel to this reactor, have proven that others cannot be trusted..." 
Tehran Times Editor: Recognize Iran's Nuclear Rights - Or "The World Will Again Witness the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons"
In an article in the Iranian daily Tehran Times, which is identified with Iran's Foreign Ministry, Pervez Ismaili, who is also the editor-in-chief of the conservative Iranian news agency Mehr, stated that the West must recognize Iran's nuclear rights, because Iran had reached the point of no return in its nuclear program. The following are the main points of the article, in the original English:
"...What happened in Iran on Monday provides a great opportunity for the international community. In the current situation, particularly since the 1990s, all nuclear tensions are focused on the idea that there is only a short distance between attaining the expertise required for gaining access to the complete nuclear fuel cycle to produce nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes and using that ability to produce nuclear weapons…
"However, the West's severe reaction to Iran's transparent nuclear measures will certainly encourage developing countries to limit transparency or even to establish secret underground installations and eventually withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in order to maintain their national interests… If the international community fails to resolve the current crisis as soon as possible by accepting Iran's model, the world will again witness the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the near future, regardless of the outcome of the confrontation with Iran…" 
* Y. Mansharof is a research fellow at MEMRI.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Apr 16 04:56 PM US/Eastern
By FREDERIC J. FROMMER
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The mother of a Marine who tried to kill himself after two tours of duty in Iraq was arrested Monday while protesting the war outside the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Tina Richards of Salem, Ore., was charged with disorderly conduct, said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman. Schneider said Richards would be issued a citation and released.
Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, D-Calif., said Richards was with a group of 15 to 20 protesters when she was arrested in the hallway outside the speaker's office.
Gael Murphy, a spokesman for Codepink, an anti-war group that helped organize the protest at Pelosi's office, said Richards was arrested after chanting anti-war statements.
"I have been trying to meet with Speaker Pelosi since November because she needs to listen to the moms and other women affected by the war," Richards said in a statement.
Hammill said Richards' request for a meeting with Pelosi is pending. "She's met repeatedly with staff, and we've passed her concerns to the speaker," he said.
Last month, Richards confronted Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, in her effort to persuade lawmakers to cut off funding for the war. That exchange was videotaped and played widely on YouTube.
"You can't end the war if you vote against the supplemental. It's time these idiot liberals understand that," Obey told her during the exchange. He later apologized.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Does this sound like the time to give up and let these forces take over the country?
Krauthammer also agrees with the points I make in my latest column that it simply not true that last election was a call by voters for America to accept defeat in Iraq. Read the whole piece here.
Sun. 15 Apr 2007
PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) - The U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said Saturday that Iranian authorities have prevented one of its journalists from leaving the country.
Parnaz Azima, who is based in Prague where she works for Radio Farda - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Persian service operated jointly with the Voice of America radio broadcaster - arrived in the capital, Tehran, on Jan. 25 to visit a sick relative, the broadcaster said in an e-mailed statement.
On arrival, authorities seized her Iranian passport and have failed to return it to her, it said. It was not clear what the reason was. The statement said Azima was once asked to cooperate with Iran's intelligence services, which she refused.
Azima has dual Iranian and U.S. citizenship, the radio said.
"I call on the Iranian authorities to return Ms. Azima's passport and to allow her to leave Iran without further delay," said Jeffrey Gedmin, the broadcaster's president. "There is no reason to prevent this talented journalist from returning to her professional duties immediately.''
The broadcaster is a private, nonprofit corporation that receives funding from the U.S. government. It was established in 1949 to spread pro-Western news and promote democratic values and institutions in countries behind the Iron Curtain.
The station moved its headquarters to Prague from Munich, Germany, in 1995, after the collapse of communism.
It has broadcast in 28 languages to 20 countries, including Iran and Iraq since 1998, and Afghanistan from 2002.
In the past, Iran put diplomatic and trade pressure on the Czech government to end Radio Farda's programming, the U.S. Ambassador to Prague, Richard Graber,said recently.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
(Note: Remarks delivered yesterday by Vice President Dick Cheney to the Heritage Foundation in Chicago, IL.)
The American people spoke in the mid-term elections, the 110th Congress has arrived in Washington, D.C., and for the first time since 1995 the Democratic Party now controls both the House and the Senate. It was, in retrospect, a narrow victory. A shift of only 3,600 votes would have kept the Senate in Republican hands, and a shift of fewer than 100,000 votes would have maintained Republican control of the House of Representatives.
This weekend marks the 100th day of this Congress, and it's not too soon to assess the direction in which the new majority is attempting to move the country. The Democrats, as all of us remember, came in with high expectations, many pledges to bring change, and a promise of something new. What we've seen, however, is not really that new -- in fact, it's kind of familiar to those of us who've been around a while and can remember the early 1970s.
Thirty-five years ago, the standard-bearer for the Democrats, of course, was Senator George McGovern, who campaigned on a far-left platform of heavy taxation, a greatly expanded role for government in the daily lives of Americans, and a major retreat from America's commitments in the Cold War. Senator McGovern was, and is, an honest and a straightforward man. He said what he believed and he told people where he stood. And on Election Day, Senator McGovern lost every state but one, and collected just over 3 percent of the electoral vote.
That was the last time the national Democratic Party took a hard left turn. But in 2007, it looks like history is repeating itself. Today, on some of the most critical issues facing the country, the new Democratic majority resembles nothing so much as that old Party of the early 1970s.
On taxes, the Democratic leadership has made clear its opposition to the Bush tax cuts that have fueled this economy and helped to create nearly 8 million new jobs. The budget passed by the House assumes that all of the Bush tax reductions will be swept from the books within just a few years. The result would be a staggering tax increase on the middle class, on families and small businesses, and a return of the federal death tax from zero back up to a confiscatory 55 percent. This would constitute the largest tax increase in American history.
On the spending side of the ledger, it's enough, I think, to offer this example: Last month, in response to President Bush's request for an emergency war supplemental, the House and Senate tacked on billions of dollars to cover items on their wish list -- from fighting crickets to spinach subsidies. Even though it's still early in the session, when it comes to the appetite for tax dollars, the new Congress has already earned a place in the big-spending hall of fame.
But the Democrats' return to old patterns is most dramatic, and most consequential, in the field of national security. This will be the focus of my remarks today. In the early 1970s, the far left wing turned the Democratic Party away from the confident Cold War stance of President Truman, President Kennedy, and Senator Scoop Jackson. The result, as we know, was not merely defeat at the polls, but the beginning of a long period in which the American people largely declined to trust the Democratic Party in matters of national security. In fact, that period ended only when the Cold War itself came to an end, during the administration of former President Gerald Bush -- George Bush.
Today, as the United States faces a new kind of enemy and a new kind of war, the far left is again taking hold of the Democratic Party's agenda. The prevailing mindset, combined with a series of ill-considered actions in the House and Senate over the last several months, causes me to wonder whether today's Democratic leaders fully appreciate the nature of the danger this country faces in the war on terror -- a war that was declared against us by jihadists, a war in which the United States went on offense after 9/11, a war whose central front, in the opinion and actions of the enemy, is Iraq.
An early sign of unseriousness was the comment by Howard Dean, now the party chairman, that the capture of Saddam Hussein did nothing to make America safer. He made that statement several years ago while running for president, and a number of his fellow Democrats sharply criticized him. Yet now we hear almost daily the claim that the fight in Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror. Opponents of our military action there have called Iraq a diversion from the real conflict, a distraction from the business of fighting and defeating Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network. We hear this over and over again, not as an argument, but as an assertion meant to close off argument.
Yet the evidence is flatly to the contrary. And the critics conveniently disregard the words of bin Laden himself. "The most ¼ serious issue today for the whole world," he said, "is this third world war¼ [that is] raging in [Iraq]." He calls it "a war of destiny between infidelity and Islam." He said, "The whole world is watching this war," and that it will end in "victory and glory or misery and humiliation." And in words directed at the American people, bin Laden declares, "The war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever."
This leader of al-Qaeda has referred to Baghdad as the capital of the caliphate. He has also said, "Success in Baghdad will be success for the United States. Failure in Iraq is the failure of the United States. Their defeat in Iraq will mean defeat in all their wars."
Obviously, the terrorists have no illusion about the importance of the struggle in Iraq. They have not called it a distraction or a diversion from their war against the United States. They know it is a vital front in that war, and it's where they have chosen to make a stand. Our Marines are fighting al Qaeda terrorists in Anbar province. U.S. and Iraqi forces recently killed al Qaeda terrorists in Baghdad, who were responsible for numerous bomb attacks. Iraq's relevance to the war on terror simply could not be more plain. Here at home, that makes one thing, above all, very clear: If you support the war on terror, then it only makes sense to support it where the terrorists are fighting us. (Applause.)
The Democratic leadership has assured us that, in any event, they support the troops in the field. They did vote to confirm General Dave Petraeus unanimously in the United States Senate -- and for good reason. General Petraeus is one of the finest military officers of his generation, an expert in counterinsurgency, a leader committed to victory, and with a strategy to achieve it.
The senators knew something else about General Petraeus. They knew he had told the Armed Services Committee that he could not do his job without reinforcements. Yet within days of his confirmation a large group of senators tried to pass a resolution opposing those very reinforcements, thereby undermining the General's mission. Over in the House of Representatives, such a resolution actually passed on the floor. As President Bush said, this may be the first time in history that a Congress "voted to send a new commander into battle and then voted to oppose the plan he said was necessary to win that battle."
In the weeks since that vote, the actions of the Democratic leadership have moved from the merely inconsistent to the irresponsible. It's now been 67 days since the President submitted the emergency supplemental request. As most Americans know by now, the House of Representatives has voted to provide the funding, but also to require that we cut the number of troops below the level that our commanders in Iraq say is necessary for victory, and further require that American forces begin withdrawing from Iraq according to a set timetable, and be gone next year regardless of circumstances on the ground.
Not before that vote had the Democrats ever managed to find enough members of the House to support a planned retreat from Iraq. So how did they manage to pass it this time? They did it by horse-trading -- by adding in all that pork-barrel spending we've heard about. And when they had the votes they needed, they stopped adding the pork, and they held the vote.
Such an outcome raises more than a little concern about the future of fiscal discipline on Capitol Hill. The implications for national security are equally obvious, and far more critical to the future of the country. An editorial by The Washington Post aptly termed the House bill an "unconditional retreat ". The legislation that passed in the Senate is no better, and that bill, also, calls for the withdrawal of American troops according to a pre-set timetable determined by members of Congress.
So this is where things stand today. The Democratic Congress has approved appropriations for a war, and attached detailed provisions for the timing and the movement of American troops. It is unacceptable, of course, from an institutional standpoint. Under the Constitution, Congress has the purse strings and the power to confirm officers. But military operations are to be directed by the President of the United States, period. (Applause.) By the wisdom of the framers, that power rests in the hands of one Commander-in-Chief, not 535 commanders-in-chief on Capitol Hill.
I might add that we don't need 535 secretaries of state, either. (Laughter and applause.) It didn't help matters when the Speaker of the House showed up in Damascus for a sit-down with Syrian president Bashar Assad. Here again, we have an instance of the new congressional leadership making a bad move and sending mixed signals about the policies and the intentions of the United States.
It is strange enough that the Speaker should do anything to anything to undermine America's careful, and successful, multilateral effort to isolate the Syrian regime. But at least one member of the Speaker's delegation saw the trip in even grander terms. He said the delegation was offering, quote, "an alternative Democratic foreign policy." Once again, we must return to a basic constitutional principle. No member of Congress, Democrat or Republican, has any business jetting around the world with a diplomatic agenda contrary to that of the President and the Secretary of State. It is for the executive branch, not the Congress, to conduct the foreign policy of the United States of America. (Applause.)
In America, above all, the Democrats -- excuse me, in Iraq, above all, the Democrats' attempt to micromanage our commanders is an unwise and perilous endeavor. It is impossible to argue that an unconditional timetable for retreat could serve the security interests of the United States or our friends in the region. Instead, it sends a message to our enemies that the calendar is their friend, that all they have to do is wait us out -- wait for the date certain, and then claim victory the day after.
This notion of a timetable for withdrawal has been specifically rejected by virtually every mainstream analysis. The report of the Baker-Hamilton commission recommended against it. The National Intelligence Estimate produced by the intelligence community said a rapid withdrawal would be ill-advised. Our military commanders believe a rigid timetable is not a good strategy. It does, perhaps, appeal to the folks at MoveOn.org.
Recently the National Commander of the American Legion said, "You cannot support the troops if you want them to cut and run. ¼ It's time for the President to veto this surrender bill and for Congress to pass a serious war-funding bill, which would provide the money without the micromanagement." (Applause.) Standing here today, I can assure the American Legion, and the VFW, and all the veterans organizations, and all the men and women serving at this very hour, that the President of the United States will, indeed, veto this irresponsible legislation. (Applause.)
Rarely in history has an elected branch of government engaged in so pointless an exercise as Congress is now doing. And yet the exercise continues. Three days ago the President invited the Democratic leaders to meet with him next week to discuss the supplemental. The majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, at first declined to do so. When Nancy Pelosi flies nearly 6,000 miles to meet with the president of Syria, but Harry Reid hesitates to drive a mile and half to meet with the President of the United States, there's a serious problem in the leadership of the Democratic Party.
Senator Reid has threatened that if the President vetoes the timetable legislation, he will send up Senator Russ Feingold's bill to de-fund Iraqi operations altogether. Yet only last November, Senator Reid said there would be no cutoff of funds for the military in Iraq. So in less than six months' time, Senator Reid has gone from pledging full funding for the military, and then full funding, but with a timetable, and then a cutoff of funding. Three positions in five months, on the most important foreign policy question facing our country and our troops.
Senator Reid, of course, was one of the many Democrats who voted for the use of force in Iraq. They are entitled, if they want now, to oppose this war. Yet Americans are entitled to question whether the endlessly shifting positions that he and others are taking are reflections of principle, or of partisanship and blind opposition to the President.
In their move to the left, many leading Democrats have turned not just against the military operation in Iraq, but against its supporters, as well. I think of the case of Senator Joe Lieberman. I've known Joe since I was secretary of defense, and we debated each other when he was Al Gore's running mate in 2000. I've run for office eight times in my career, and I have to say that Joe is the toughest opponent I've ever faced, and also the one I've most admired.
Joe and I see many issues differently. He's a center-left Democrat, and he has been throughout his career. Yet last year Joe was targeted for political extinction by his fellow Democrats. Al Gore himself, who famously endorsed Howard Dean in 2004, refused to help his former running mate, Joe Lieberman, on grounds that he doesn't get involved in primaries. Senator Lieberman's Connecticut colleague and best friend in the Senate, Chris Dodd, campaigned against him. In a tough political fight, Joe Lieberman was abandoned simply because of his firm stand on the war -- a stand he has consistently held regardless of whether the news was good or bad, or whether snapshot polls agreed or disagreed with him.
Not surprisingly, Joe Lieberman was re-elected, winning more votes than the Democratic and Republican candidates combined. The campaign against him was the political equivalent of street theater, and the voters of Connecticut showed little interest. It is tempting, I suppose, to view the current situation on Capitol Hill in the same way -- as mere posturing by a liberal element that has no chance of prevailing. But it's far more serious than that. We're talking about a congressional majority with real power and a liberal agenda that, if followed, would have serious consequences for the country.
In light of recent events, it's worth asking how things would be different if the current Democratic leadership had controlled Congress during the last five years. Would we have the terrorist surveillance program? Or the Patriot Act? Or military commissions to try unlawful combatants? All these measures have been essential to protecting the American people against enemies who are absolutely determined to cause another 9/11, or something far worse. And it's an open question, I think, whether the current Democratic leadership would have put these protections in place.
They've even created controversy over the words we use to describe the challenges now facing America. According to news accounts, one committee in the House has decided to stop using the phrase, "Global War on Terrorism." I'm left to wonder -- which part of that phrase is the problem? Do they deny the struggle is global, after the enemy has declared the ambition of building a totalitarian empire that stretches from Europe around to Indonesia? Do they deny this is a war, in which one side will win and the other will lose? Do they deny that it's terror that we're fighting, with unlawful combatants who wear no uniform, who reject the rules of warfare, and who target the innocent for indiscriminate slaughter?
That's the nature of the fight we're in. We can't wish it away, or define it away. In Iraq, while extremists are trying to stir an endless cycle of violence, where al Qaeda is operating and trying to open new fronts, where an elected government is going about the hard work of political reconciliation, the United States has interests at stake, and promises to keep.
The ultimate solution in that country will be a political solution, but reconciliation cannot be reached in an atmosphere of violence and instability. So we are there, alongside Iraqi forces, to bring security to Baghdad. Together our forces have carried out thousands of patrols. We have set up joint security stations and combat posts in the capital city, we've seized hundreds of weapons caches, found and cleared hundreds of improvised explosive devices, detained suspected killers and bomb makers, and found and destroyed car bomb factories.
Our new strategy in Iraq is still in its early stages of implementation. Roughly half of the reinforcements have arrived, and as General Petraeus has said , it'll be a while before we can fully assess how well it's working. But there's one thing the American people already know: The men and women we've sent to carry out this mission are brave and decent. They and their families represent the best in the American character, and we are proud of each and every one of them. (Applause.)
The good men and women serving in the war on terror, on every front, are staring evil in the face. Some of them will not make it home. They can never be sure what the next day will bring. But they're giving it all they have, and we owe them the same. Both political parties, both elected branches, both houses of Congress need to unite and back up our military 100 percent, leaving no uncertainty about whether this country supports them and what they're doing. (Applause.) They deserve this support so they can finish the job and get it done right, and return home to an America made safer by their courage.
The United States is keeping its commitments, and persevering despite difficulty, because we understand the consequences of getting out before the job is done. History provides its own lessons, and none perhaps is better than the example of Afghanistan in the 1980s. During those years, Afghanistan was a major front in the Cold War. The strategic significance was clear to all, and the United States was heavily engaged in the area, supporting the Mujahedin against the Soviets. But when the Soviet Union collapsed, everybody walked away from Afghanistan. From that point on, extremist factions began to vie for power. Civil war broke out. By the end of the 1990s, the Taliban had an iron grip on the country, and was hosting Osama bin Laden and the training camps for terrorists that led directly to the attacks of September 11th, 2001.
The consequences of walking away from Afghanistan were severe, but perhaps hard to foresee prior to 9/11. But no one could plead ignorance of the potential consequences of walking away from Iraq now, withdrawing coalition forces before Iraqis could defend themselves. Moderates would be crushed. Shiite extremists backed by Iran could be in an all-out war with Sunni extremists led by al Qaeda and remnants of the old Saddam Hussein regime.
As this battle unfolded, Sunni governments might feel compelled to back Sunni extremists in order to counter growing Iranian influence, widening the conflict into a regional war. If Sunni extremists prevailed, al Qaeda and its allies could recreate the safe haven they lost in Afghanistan, except now with the oil wealth to pursue weapons of mass destruction and they could underwrite their own designs, including against our friends in the region. If Iran's allies prevailed, the regime in Teheran's own designs for the Middle East would be advanced, and the threat to our friends in the region would only be magnified.
We must consider, as well, just what a precipitous withdrawal would mean to our efforts in the war on terror, and to our interests in the broader Middle East. Having tasted victory in Iraq, jihadists would look about for new missions. Many would head for Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban. Others would set out for capitals across the Middle East, spreading more discord as they eliminate dissenters and work to undermine moderate governments, in what the terrorist Zawahiri has called a "jihad wave." Still others would find their targets and victims in other countries on other continents.
What would it say to the world if we left high and dry those millions of people who have counted on the United States to keep its commitments? And what would it say to leaders like President Karzai in Afghanistan and President Musharraf in Pakistan, who risk their lives every day as fearless allies in the war on terror? Critics enjoy pointing out mistakes through the perceptive power of hindsight. But the biggest mistake of all can be seen in advance: A sudden withdrawal of our Coalition would dissipate much of the effort that's gone into fighting the global war on terror, and result in chaos and mounting danger. And for the sake of our own security, we will not stand by and let it happen. (Applause.)
This nation has chosen a better course. Instead of allowing problems to simmer, instead of allowing threats to gather thousands of miles away and assume they won't find us at home, we've decided to face our challenges squarely. We offer a vision of freedom, justice, and self government as a superior alternative to ideologies of violence, anger, and resentment. We believe, and we know, that free institutions and human liberty provide the best long-term hope of progress for nations, and peace for the world.
The course we have chosen is not an easy one for America. But it will be far easier on the conscience of America when we see it through, sparing millions from suffering, and leaving behind a free and democratic Iraq. Although the current political environment in our country carries echoes of the hard left in the early '70s, America will not again play out those old scenes of abandonment, and retreat, and regret. Thirty-five years is time enough to have learned the lessons of that sad era. When the United States turns away from our friends, only tragedy can follow, and the lives and hopes of millions are lost forever.
Ladies and gentlemen: not this time. Not on our watch. (Applause.) This cause is bigger than the quarrels of party and the agendas of politicians. At this hour in our history, it is the cause of America -- and the best among us are fighting and sacrificing for its success. And if we in Washington, all of us, can only see our way clear to work together, then the outcome is not in doubt. We will press on in this mission, and we will turn events towards victory.
Thank you very much.
Friday, April 13, 2007
CAMDEN, New Jersey (Reuters) - New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was heavily sedated and breathing with the help of a ventilator on Friday after an accident while en route to a meeting with fired radio host Don Imus and the Rutgers women's basketball team.
Corzine, who was a passenger in the front of a police sport utility vehicle when it swerved to avoid another car, was not wearing a seat belt as mandated by state law.