Monday, June 30, 2008

Beware Of Black
GOP Obama Haters

The National Black Republican Association has launched the most personalized attacks of the presidential campaign to date, accusing Barack Obama of being an "arrogant elitist," and raising his connections to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko.

In three radio spots that the organization modestly claims are "eye-opening," the NBRA goes where its GOP counterparts have not: throwing the kitchen sink at Obama -- including racial references -- in hopes that something sticks. "Racist Democrats declared they would vote for a 'yellow dog' before a Republican because the Republican Party was the party for blacks," one ad states. "Racist Democrats will not vote for Obama, a black man."

In another 60-second spot entitled "Arrogant Obama," the narrator states:
"Bitter is what Obama called blacks and whites who love God. Racist is what Obama called his white grandmother who raised him and made sacrifices so Obama could get a good education and become a millionaire. Obama's friends are terrorist Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright who said innocent Americans deserved to die on September 11th. Obama is an arrogant elitist who turned his back on poor blacks and his own country."

From another spot, entitled "Radical Obama":
"Look beyond Barack Obama's skin color and soaring rhetoric and you will see an arrogant, elitist millionaire whose voting record is the most liberal in Congress. Look at the people around Obama, and you will understand that Obama lacks the judgment to be our next president. Obama's mentor for 20-years was Rev. Jeremiah Wright who said innocent Americans deserved to die on September 11th. Obama's 20-year friend and bagman was Tony Rezko who was recently convicted of fraud."

The ads, according to an NBRA press release, will air on radio stations in battleground states. But what kind of affect they'll have (or seriousness with which they'll be regarded) is in serious doubt.
For starters, the NBRA is targeting African Americans -- a constituency deeply committed to Obama -- with hopes of getting 25 percent of the black vote. That, objectively, would be a minor miracle for the GOP, which is staring at massive losses among the constituency. Secondly, there is no word yet as to the extent of the group's ad buy, and calls to find out went unreturned.
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Obama Supporters Adobting Middle
Name "Hussein" As Their Own

Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on “Emily Hussein Nordling,” her entry now reads.
With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name.
The result is a group of unlikely-sounding Husseins: Jewish and Catholic, Hispanic and Asian and Italian-American, from Jaime Hussein Alvarez of Washington, D.C., to Kelly Hussein Crowley of Norman, Okla., to Sarah Beth Hussein Frumkin of Chicago.
Jeff Strabone of Brooklyn now signs credit card receipts with his newly assumed middle name, while Dan O’Maley of Washington, D.C., jiggered his e-mail account so his name would appear as “D. Hussein O’Maley.” Alex Enderle made the switch online along with several other Obama volunteers from Columbus, Ohio, and now friends greet him that way in person, too.
Mr. Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim. Hussein is a family name inherited from a Kenyan father he barely knew, who was born a Muslim and died an atheist. But the name has become a political liability. Some critics on cable television talk shows dwell on it, while others, on blogs or in e-mail messages, use it to falsely assert that Mr. Obama is a Muslim or, more fantastically, a terrorist.
“I am sick of Republicans pronouncing Barack Obama’s name like it was some sort of cuss word,” Mr. Strabone wrote in a manifesto titled “We Are All Hussein” that he posted on his own blog and on
So like the residents of Billings, Mont., who reacted to a series of anti-Semitic incidents in 1993 with a townwide display of menorahs in their front windows, these supporters are brandishing the name themselves.
“My name is such a vanilla, white-girl American name,” said Ashley Holmes of Indianapolis, who changed her name online “to show how little meaning ‘Hussein’ really has.”
The movement is hardly a mass one, and it has taken place mostly online, the digital equivalent of wearing a button with a clever, attention-getting message. A search revealed hundreds of participants across the country, along with a YouTube video and bumper stickers promoting the idea. Legally changing names is too much hassle, participants say, so they use “Hussein” on Facebook and in blog posts and comments on sites like, and, the campaign’s networking site.
New Husseins began to crop up online as far back as last fall. But more joined up in February after a conservative radio host, Bill Cunningham, used Mr. Obama’s middle name three times and disparaged him while introducing Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, at a campaign rally. (Mr. McCain repudiated Mr. Cunningham’s comments).
The practice has been proliferating ever since. In interviews, several Obama supporters said they dreamed up the idea on their own, with no input from the campaign and little knowledge that others shared their thought.
Some said they were inspired by movies, including “Spartacus,” the 1960 epic about a Roman slave whose peers protect him by calling out “I am Spartacus!” to Roman soldiers, and “In and Out,” a 1997 comedy about a gay high school teacher whose students protest his firing by proclaiming that they are all gay as well.
“It’s one of those things that just takes off, because everybody got it right away,” said Stephanie Miller, a left-leaning comedian who blurted out the idea one day during a broadcast of her syndicated radio talk show and repeated it on CNN.
Ms. Miller and her fellow new Husseins are embracing the traditionally Muslim name even as the Obama campaign shies away from Muslim associations. Campaign workers ushered two women in head scarves out of a camera’s range at a rally this month in Detroit. (The campaign has apologized.) Aides canceled a December appearance on behalf of Mr. Obama by Representative Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim congressman.
Mr. Obama may be more enthusiastic, judging from his response at a Chicago fund-raiser two weeks ago. When he saw that Richard Fizdale, a longtime contributor, wore “Hussein” on his name tag, Mr. Obama broke into a huge grin, Mr. Fizdale said.
“The theory was, we’re all Hussein,” Mr. Obama said to the crowd later, explaining Mr. Fizdale’s gesture.
Some Obama supporters say they were moved to action because of what their own friends, neighbors and relatives were saying about their candidate. Mark Elrod, a political science professor at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., is organizing students and friends to declare their Husseinhood on Facebook on Aug. 4, Mr. Obama’s birthday.
Ms. Nordling changed her name after volunteering for Mr. Obama before the Kentucky primary.
“People would not listen to what you were saying on the phone or on their doorstep because they thought he was Muslim,” she said.
Ms. Nordling’s uncle liked the idea so much that he joined the same Facebook group that she had. But when her father saw her new online moniker, he was incredulous.
“He actually thought I was going to convert to Islam,” Ms. Nordling said.
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Bill Clinton Says Obama Must
'Kiss My A**' For His Support
From Huff Post
Bill Clinton is so bitter about Barack Obama's victory over his wife Hillary that he has told friends the Democratic nominee will have to beg for his wholehearted support.
Mr Obama is expected to speak to Mr Clinton for the first time since he won the nomination in the next few days, but campaign insiders say that the former president's future campaign role is a "sticking point" in peace talks with Mrs Clinton's aides.
The Telegraph has learned that the former president's rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence.
A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could "kiss my ass" in return for his support.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's My Party...
I'll Cry If I Want To

Article By Thomas B. Edsall
"What does Bill Clinton want?"
Barack Obama quickly determined what Hillary Clinton wants in the aftermath of defeat: a major role in the general election campaign, a star turn at the convention, help with her debt, and Obama's support for elected officials who backed her. The big-time holdout turns out to be her husband.

Bill is more complex. He wants respect, absolution and love.
The former president and Obama have not talked, and, by all accounts, the man of the Clinton household remains hurt and resentful. Associates provide a variety of explanations for the Bill Clinton dilemma, none of them mutually exclusive.
Some say Bill Clinton not only wants Obama to reach out to him, but to also promise to lift the cloud of alleged racism -- an accusation that continues to eat at the man once dubbed the nation's "first black president." Clinton, these folks suggest, wants Obama to publicly exonerate him of the charge that he played the race card in the primaries.

Beyond that, some associates say, Bill Clinton wants Obama to reach out to him as a mentor, a guide who can lead Obama through the labyrinth of a tough presidential election. "Bill wants to be honored, to return to the role of Democratic elder statesman, and get rid of this image of him as a pol willing to do anything to win," said one associate.

"He is still bruised from the trail, really hurt about the racist charges leveled against him, and convinced the Obama campaign fomented it," said another source familiar with the former president's attitude. "What he would really like is for Obama to apologize, but on one level he knows that is never going to happen," a third source said.

Another source, in contrast, downgraded the idea that Bill Clinton wants to be personally attended to by Obama. Instead, the source said, "POTUS wants first and foremost that his wife is treated with the respect that she has earned. Secondly, while he does not expect Obama to run for a Clinton third term, he would hope that Obama does not continue to implicitly criticize his eight years in office as he did during the primaries."

Finally, a person close to both Clintons contended that the current impasse between Obama and Bill Clinton "is not a big problem. All Obama has to do is ask, it's his name on the ballot." Once that hurdle is crossed, this friend of the former president and first lady said, "Bill Clinton will end up seducing Obama. Clinton likes to deal with people who have not necessarily treated him well," noting that Clinton and Newt Gingrich had a productive relationship until Gingrich began pressing for impeachment.

The accusation that Bill Clinton pointedly sought to downgrade Obama's success and to aggressively define him as a "black" candidate gained momentum on January 26, 2008 when the former president seemed to dismiss Obama's victory in South Carolina: "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in '84 and '88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here."

Clinton has not been hesitant to make his feelings about these charges known far and wide.
"I think that they [the Obama campaign] played the race card on me," Clinton told Philadelphia radio station WHYY on April 22. "We now know, from memos from the campaign, that they planned to do it along."

On June 2, Clinton told Huffington Post Off The Bus Reporter Mayhill Fowler:
"They had all these people standing up in this church cheering, calling Hillary a white racist, and he [Obama] didn't do anything about it. The first day he said 'Ah, ah, ah well.' Because that's what they do-- he gets other people to slime her."
During the campaign, Obama, in turn, complained a number of times about Bill Clinton's tactics and comments

"You know the former president, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling," Obama said on January 21. "He continues to make statements that are not supported by the facts....This has become a habit, and one of the things that we're gonna have to do is to directly confront Bill Clinton when he's making statements that are not factually accurate."

Now that he is the nominee, however, Obama has become more generous towards Bill.
"If the question is, do I want Bill Clinton campaigning for us, for the ticket, leading into November, the answer is absolutely yes. I want him involved. He is a brilliant politician. He was an outstanding president. And so, I want his help, not only in campaigning, but also in governing. And I'm confident that I'll get that help," Obama declared on June 25.

While Obama awaits a response from Mr. Clinton, blogger Marc Ambinder has been conducting an on-line poll asking whether 1) Obama should bend over backwards to make sure Bill Clinton campaigns for him in the fall 2) Obama should ignore Bill Clinton entirely or 3) Obama should ask Bill Clinton politely, but if Clinton says no, Obama should ignore him.
With a total of 2,292 votes cast, answer number 3 - "ask politely, if 'no,' ignore Clinton" - was decisively ahead with 1,765 votes, or 77 percent of Ambinder's responses; answers 1 and 2 drew 10% (240 votes) and 13% (287 votes) respectively.
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Hillary Catches Obamamania...
Hits Campaign Trail for OBAMA !

UNITY, N.H. — Rivals turned allies, Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton made a display of unity Friday in a hamlet named for it, their first joint public appearance since the divisive Democratic primary race ended.
"To anyone who voted for me and is now considering not voting or voting for Senator (John) McCain, I strongly urge you to reconsider," said Clinton, the loser in a marathon Democratic nomination fight, as she implored her supporters to join with Obama's "to create an unstoppable force for change we can all believe in."

In turn, Obama praised both Clinton and her husband, former President Clinton, as allies and pillars of the Democratic Party. "We need them. We need them badly," Obama said. "Not just my campaign, but the American people need their service and their vision and their wisdom in the months and years to come because that's how we're going to bring about unity in the Democratic Party. And that's how we're going to bring about unity in America."
Moments earlier, the two snaked their way through some 6,000 people who gathered in a wide-open field and overflowed some bleacher seats in this town of 1,700.
This was a carefully chosen venue in a key general election battleground state: Unity awarded exactly 107 votes to each candidate in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary in January. Obama clinched the nomination June 3 and Clinton suspended her campaign four days later.
Friday's joint appearance capped a turbulent Democratic primary season and tense post-race transition as the two went from foes to friends _ at least publicly. This was the most visible event in a series of gestures the two senators have made over the past week to heal the hard feelings _ between themselves as well as among their backers. Both were mindful of the need for the entire Democratic Party to swing behind Obama as he faces McCain, the Republican nominee-in-waiting, in the general election.

At a private appearance with Obama in Washington on Thursday, Clinton encouraged her top fundraisers to help Obama. She went one step further on Friday: Both Clintons, Hillary and Bill, made the maximum $2,300 donation to Obama's campaign Friday in an online transaction, aides said.
In New Hampshire, Clinton and Obama took the stage together.
"Unity is not only a beautiful place as we can see, it's a wonderful feeling, isn't it? And I know when we start here in this field in Unity, we'll end on the steps of the Capitol when Barack Obama takes the oath of office as our next president," Clinton said from a podium as Obama sat next to her on a stool, coatless with his white shirt sleeves rolled up. She wore a powder blue pantsuit; he wore a light blue tie.

Wasting little time pressing Obama's case, Clinton noted that McCain and the GOP probably hoped she wouldn't join forces with Obama.
"But I've got news for them: We are one party; we are one America, and we are not going to rest until we take back our country and put it once again on the path to peace, prosperity and progress in the 21st century," Clinton said to cheers.
Echoing Obama's pitch, Clinton said McCain offered nothing more than a continuation of President Bush's policies.
"In the end, Senator McCain and President Bush are like two sides of the same coin, and it doesn't amount to a whole lot of change," Clinton said. "If you think we need a new course, a new agenda, then vote for Barack Obama and you will get the change that you need and deserve."
Obama heaped praise on Clinton when it was his turn to speak.
"For 16 months, Sen. Clinton and I have shared the stage as rivals for the nomination, but today I could not be happier and more honored and more moved that we're sharing this stage as allies to bring about the fundamental changes that this country so desperately needs," Obama said. "Hillary and I may have started with separate goals in this campaign, but we made history together."

Obama is seeking to become the country's first black president; Clinton had sought to become the first woman to win the White House.
"I've admired her as a leader, I've learned from her as a candidate. She rocks. She rocks. That's the point I'm trying to make," Obama added, responding to cheers from the crowd. "I know firsthand how good she is, how tough she is, how passionate she is, how committed she is the causes that brought all of us here today."
Each needs the other now.
Obama needed the former first lady to give her voters and donors a clear signal that she doesn't consider it a betrayal for them to shift their loyalty his way; she did that this week. Clinton won convincingly among several voter groups during the primaries, including working class voters and older women _ groups that McCain has actively courted since she left the race.
Clinton, for her part, needs the Illinois senator's help in paying down $10 million of her campaign debt, and Obama has asked his supporters to help retire her debt. And she certainly doesn't want Obama to lose and have some of his supporters blame her.
She also wants assurance she will be treated respectfully as a top surrogate on the campaign trail and at the Democratic convention later this summer. Some of Clinton's supporters want her name placed in nomination for a roll call vote at the Denver convention, an effort she hasn't formally discouraged.

Campaigning in Youngstown, Ohio, McCain told reporters he understood the Democrats' effort to unite, but he also believes he is making inroads in attracting disgruntled Democrats. He noted a woman at a town-hall style meeting Thursday in Cincinnati who wore a "Hillary" hat as she asked him a question.
"Obviously, I have to get Republican votes, independent votes and the old and new Reagan Democrats," McCain said Friday after touring a General Motors car factory in Lordstown, Ohio.
Associated Press Writer Beth Fouhy contributed to this story.

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Pastor Who Wed Jenna Bush
(Black Man)
Starts Pro-Obama Site !
James Dobson Doesn't Speak For Me

By Krissah Williams

The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, leader of the largest Methodist congregation in the country, launched a website yesterday titled "James Dobson Does Not Speak For Me." The site is a jab at Dobson, a stalwart of the religious right who this week called Sen. Barack Obama's interpretation of the Bible in a 2006 speech distorted "to fit [Obama's] own world view, his own confused theology."
Caldwell's site launched a day after Dobson's Focus on the Family radio program aired a harsh assessment of Obama's speech on faith and public policy and encourages readers to sign a statement declaring that Dobson does not represent them.
"I think it's a crime and a shame that Senator Obama has had to explain the fact that he's a Christian," Caldwell said in a recent interview. "Criticize his politics. Criticize his stance on whatever, but don't question his faith. Never in the history of American politics has someone said that he is a Christian and someone came back to say, 'No you're not.'"
If Rev. Caldwell's name sounds familiar, it may be because he is the same Rev. Caldwell who introduced President Bush at the 2000 Republican National Convention and last month officiated at Jenna Bush's wedding ceremony at the presidential ranch in Crawford. This election Caldwell is firmly in the Obama camp and doggedly trying to help the campaign bring other pastors and parishioners along.
Caldwell's site encourages readers to sign this statement:
James Dobson doesn't speak for me.
He doesn't speak for me when he uses religion as a wedge to divide;
He doesn't speak for me when he speaks as the final arbiter on the meaning of the Bible;
...What does speak for me is David's psalm celebrating how good and pleasant it is when we come together in unity;
Micah speaks for me in reminding us that the Lord requires us to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him;
...These words speak for me. But when James Dobson attacks Barack Obama, James Dobson doesn't speak for me.
The site also provides a side-by-side transcript of Obama's Call to Renewal speech and Dobson's critique.
Caldwell is not an official surrogate for the Obama campaign, but has for months participated on a weekly Friday morning prayer call with members of Obama's staff and other Christian ministers who dial in from across the county.
Caldwell, who oversees the 14,000-member Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, said he personally prayed with Obama before the Texas primary and talks regularly with Joshua DuBois and Paul Monteiro, the young staffers overseeing the campaign's religious outreach.
The campaign has indicated recently that it will aggressively pursue religious voters, and Obama met with 30 evangelical leaders earlier this month, including the Bishop T.D. Jakes and the Rev. Franklin Graham (son of the Rev. Billy Graham), for an off the record Q & A session. And the campaign is reportedly working on a broad outreach to young evangelicals that it calls "The Joshua Generation."
CBN reporter and blogger David Brody, who has been following the role of faith in the campaign closely, has suggested that Obama will struggle to win over many traditional Evangelicals but has a shot with younger Christians. "Clearly there are differences between Obama's more progressive views of Christianity and the conservative viewpoint. It's important to remember that while Obama will attract some conservative Evangelicals, Obama's main goal is to win over moderate Evangelicals," Brody wrote on his blog. "Also young conservative Evangelicals seem more open to Obama's 'Christian' message of caring for the poor, fighting genocide, healthcare for all, and climate change. They also like the fact that he is reaching out to try and find common ground with conservative faith voters."
For his part, Caldwell, who still considers Bush a personal friend, said he sees similarities between the President and Obama that may appeal to religious voters.
"They are both loyal to their God. They are very loyal to their country. They are very loyal to their wives and their families," Caldwell said. "They are great husbands and great dads. Both of them have a clear understanding of the role that the families play in the community."
Will that be enough for Obama to siphon off some of the heavily Republican evangelical vote, which went overwhelmingly to Bush in 2000 and 2004? If Dobson is any indication, skeptics remain.
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Unite for Change
Saturday, June 28th
Over 3000 Obama Events !

From Obama Headquarters:
One year ago, our grassroots supporters organized a nationwide canvass in more than 1,000 cities to introduce their neighbors to Barack Obama.This weekend, Obama supporters will be opening their homes to people in their communities for Unite for Change meetings -- in over 3,000 homes, in all 50 states. The goal is to come together -- as Democrats who supported other candidates in the primary, as well as Independents and even Republicans -- to unite behind common values and build a volunteer organization in cities and towns across the country.

It doesn't matter if you've been with us since the beginning or if you're just tuning into the process now, our goal is to reach out to anyone who is tired of the politics of the past and looking for new solutions to the challenges we're facing. All you need to do is show up on Saturday -- and maybe bring a friend or two.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Michelle Obama Site
To Monitor Smears & Attacks!
Michelle Obama Watch

A new site has been put together to monitor any and all attacks on Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama Watch is very well put together and invites all visitors to contribute any attacks seen or heard against Michelle. The following is from their About page:

Michelle Obama Watch will become a repository of all of the criticism, praise, and general chicanery thrown at Michelle Obama between now and November. If Barack wins… well we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but for right now, we are looking at a 5 month obligation. If it has anything to do with Michelle, it will be on Michelle Obama Watch.

Origin of the Site
From WAOD, June 4 2008
This whole infamous tape stuff is just a sliver of what Michelle Obama is going to face in the media. So because I predict getting a flurry of emails from now until November, I am going to be proactive and start a separate Michelle Obama blog to track every article, blog post, youtube clip that pops up and provide you an opportunity to respond. Because if the past is any indicator, the campaign has no problem with her being turned into a verbal punching bag, I DO! IF you want to volunteer and want to post updates on the blog, send an email to the gmail account in the right sidebar. Its going to be a LONG hot SUMMER!
Whether you support her husband or not. Let’s be clear, any and every Black woman that walks in her footsteps can expect the same treatment so we might as well pull a Gandolf, draw a line in the stand and yell “THOU SHALL NOT PASS!” WAOD
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Obama Asks Only His TOP
Donors To Help Hillary
Not Regular folks' donations of
$10, $25, $100, etc.

Barack Obama asked his finance committee this afternoon to help Senator Hillary Clinton retire her debt. On a conference call that lasted about 45 minutes Obama made a personal plea to his top donors, telling them he considered it a personal imperative now that Democrats are all “one big family,” a donor who was on the call recounted to TIME. The Illinois senator praised the historic campaign run by Clinton. “You could tell these two folks have come together because, quite frankly, they are the only two people who knew what it was like,” the donor said. No amount was mentioned on the call, though Clinton has an estimated $11.4 million in personal debts to the campaign and more than $10 million in outstanding vendor debts.*

Obama Finance Committee Chairwoman Penny Pritzker ended the call by noting that this kind of coming together as a party is the beauty of democracy. For many donors a few weeks ago it would have been hard to imagine helping Clinton essentially finance her final months of campaigning against Obama. But, in a testament to how far Democrats have come in uniting their party since Clinton suspended her campaign June 7, none of the four questions asked at the end of the call were acrimonious. Tomorrow evening Obama is expected to hold a meeting with Clinton’s top fundraisers in Washington.

Update: One of the questions asked on the call was about Hillary's debt. It was made clear that Obama is only asking his top donors to help with her vendor debts, not her personal debt to her campaign. Also, some have mistakenly stated that Obama wants all contributors to help toward Hillary's debt which is incorrect. Average donations of regular (internet) contributors will only be used for the Obama Campaign, not the Clinton debt.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dr. Dobson Has Just
Handed Obama Victory !
(aka The Old-School Religious Right Is ALL WRONG !)

Article by Frank Schaeffer

Senator Obama just took another giant step toward winning the presidency. Actually, someone who considers himself a sworn enemy of Senator Obama took the step for him. Dr. Dobson of the Focus On the Family radio program (and evangelical media empire) has aired a program in which he attacks Senator Obama, the Senator's theology and his credentials as a Christian. With enemies like this Senator Obama doesn't need friends.

No, I'm not talking about Dobson energizing liberal Democrats. I'm talking about Dobson energizing his fellow evangelicals to vote for Senator Obama.
I first met Dobson when I was on his program back in the early eighties. At that time I too was an evangelical right wing agitator. I describe my encounter with Dobson and my journey from the heart of the Republican/evangelical right to sanity in my book CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back. In the bad old days Dobson gave away 150,000 copies of a shrill bestseller evangelical screed of mine called A Time For Anger. (There was a lot more money in the God business than working as a legitimate author let me tell you! If any of my novels made the kind of money my evangelical books did I'd be set! ) Along with my late evangelical leader father Francis Schaeffer, like Dobson we were busy welding the evangelicals and the Republican Party into what amounted to a new party of soft theocracy. I changed my mind and got out in the mid eighties. But I have plenty of friends still in the evangelical movement, and they say unequivocally that Dobson's time has passed.

Dobson is one of the Evangelical religious right old guard. He's to the right what Nader is to the left. Like the late Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others Dobson has alienated as many evangelicals -- let alone moderate Christians -- as he's inspired. In fact, ever since he tried to get Richard Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) fired last year Dobson has found himself painted into a reactionary corner. Many evangelicals still fear him and so won't denounce his posturing power-plays but they also despise him.

Cizik is the future of evangelicalism. Dobson is the past. Cizik is a strong environmentalist advocate on the issue of global warming. Dobson tried to get the board of the National Association of Evangelicals to fire Cizik because of that fact. Dobson said that Cizik's environmental beliefs ran counter to what Dobson thought was in George Bush's best interests. He also said that the environment distracts from the favorite issues Dobson raises most of his funds on: abortion and gay bashing. But Dobson failed. The board of the NAE rejected Dobson's power play, for the same reason many evangelicals will reject his telling them how to vote this year. Dobson also failed in stopping John McCain (who failed to kiss Dobson's ass sufficiently) from becoming the Republican nominee.

If you're one of many Americans who thinks that the war in Iraq was a mistake or believe that the Republicans have run the economy into the ground or think that perhaps the chaos George Bush unleashed in our foreign affairs has something to do with the price of gas at the pump... then you have Dr. Dobson to thank -- personally. No one worked harder to get Bush elected then reelected. Dobson delivered his millions of dupes. But now many of them see through him and like most Americans, are appalled by Bush. Nevertheless Dobson has -- for eight years -- been George W. Bush's personal shill. In return Dobson has had ego-stoking "access" to the White House, or rather to the lackeys in the White House laughing at him but charged with stroking Dobson and the other pompous asses masquerading as religious leaders.

But the new generation of evangelicals is sick of being labeled as backward rednecks because of their association with fossils like Dobson. There are many evangelicals like Cizik too who are not all about homophobia, nationalism, war-without-end and American exceptionalism or the Republican Party. Like Cizik they believe that the America has a responsibility to do something about global warming, poverty, AIDS, human trafficking and other issues. They see through Dobson and the other so-called pro-life leaders, who have actually done nothing to reduce abortion. In fact Dobson has increased abortions because of his "abstinence only" crusade.
As a result of his power grabs and bullying of other evangelicals, not to mention his telling people how to vote and pointing them to the failed W, Dobson & Co. have zero credibility with a growing number of otherwise conservative evangelicals who happen--this year--to be looking favorably at Senator Obama's holistic Christian-based world view. Unlike Dobson they like Obama's theology just fine.

All that was missing to put the frosting on the Obama cake was for Dobson to attack him. For Obama to win all he needs to do is peel off a chunk of heretofore solid evangelical Republican votes. Dobson just handed Obama those votes.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Clinton, Obama to
campaign together
The Denver Post

CHICAGO — Democrat Barack Obama's campaign announced Friday that he will campaign with former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton this week, a step toward unifying a fractured Democratic Party.
Obama's campaign said in a brief e-mail that the two senators and former opponents will campaign together for the first time Friday and more details would be forthcoming.
A day earlier, Obama and Clinton also plan to meet in Washington with some of her top contributors in an effort to calm donors who remain frustrated with Obama's presidential campaign. The former first lady will introduce Obama to her financial backers.
Clinton, a New York senator and former first lady, suspended her campaign for the Democratic nomination this month after Obama, an Illinois senator, secured enough delegates to clinch the nomination.
Obama's campaign disclosed the joint appearance — but offered few details. The Associated Press

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Monday, June 23, 2008

McCain Advisor: Another Attack On America Would Be 'Big Advantage' For McCain !

Fortune Magazine is running a profile on John McCain titled, "The evolution of John McCain." McCain's chief advisor, Charlie Black, is interviewed in the piece. Below is a choice quote from Black on why he thinks another terrorist attack on US soil would help McCain win the presidency.
On national security McCain wins. We saw how that might play out early in the campaign, when one good scare, one timely reminder of the chaos lurking in the world, probably saved McCain in New Hampshire, a state he had to win to save his candidacy - this according to McCain's chief strategist, Charlie Black. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an "unfortunate event," says Black. "But his knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us." As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. "Certainly it would be a big advantage to him," says Black.
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Bush Controlled Media Keeping
Iraq War Out of the News

Published: June 23, 2008

Getting a story on the evening news isn’t easy for any correspondent. And for reporters in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is especially hard, according to Lara Logan, the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News. So she has devised a solution when she is talking to the network.

Lara Logan told Jon Stewart recently that war news is hard to get onto TV.
“Generally what I say is, ‘I’m holding the armor-piercing R.P.G.,’ ” she said last week in an appearance on “The Daily Show,” referring to the initials for rocket-propelled grenade. “ ‘It’s aimed at the bureau chief, and if you don’t put my story on the air, I’m going to pull the trigger.’ ”
Ms. Logan let a sly just-kidding smile sneak through as she spoke, but her point was serious. Five years into the war in Iraq and nearly seven years into the war in Afghanistan, getting news of the conflicts onto television is harder than ever.
“If I were to watch the news that you hear here in the United States, I would just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts,” Ms. Logan said.

According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been “massively scaled back this year.” Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The “CBS Evening News” has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC’s “World News” and 74 minutes on “NBC Nightly News.” (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)
CBS News no longer stations a single full-time correspondent in Iraq, where some 150,000 United States troops are deployed.

Paul Friedman, a senior vice president at CBS News, said the news division does not get reports from Iraq on television “with enough frequency to justify keeping a very, very large bureau in Baghdad.” He said CBS correspondents can “get in there very quickly when a story merits it.”
In a telephone interview last week, Ms. Logan said the CBS News bureau in Baghdad was “drastically downsized” in the spring. The network now keeps a producer in the country, making it less of a bureau and more of an office.

Interviews with executives and correspondents at television news networks suggested that while the CBS cutbacks are the most extensive to date in Baghdad, many journalists shared varying levels of frustration about placing war stories onto newscasts. “I’ve never met a journalist who hasn’t been frustrated about getting his or her stories on the air,” said Terry McCarthy, an ABC News correspondent in Baghdad.

By telephone from Baghdad, Mr. McCarthy said he was not as busy as he was a year ago. A decline in the relative amount of violence “is taking the urgency out” of some of the coverage, he said. Still, he gets on ABC’s “World News” and other programs with stories, including one on Friday about American gains in northern Iraq.

Anita McNaught, a correspondent for the Fox News Channel, agreed. “The violence itself is not the story anymore,” she said. She counted eight reports she had filed since arriving in Baghdad six weeks ago, noting that cable news channels like Fox News and CNN have considerably more time to fill with news than the networks. CNN and Fox each have two fulltime correspondents in Iraq.

Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, who splits his time between Iraq and other countries, said he found his producers “very receptive to stories about Iraq.” He and other journalists noted that the heated presidential primary campaign put other news stories on the back burner earlier this year.

Ms. Logan said she begged for months to be embedded with a group of Navy Seals, and when she came back with the story, a CBS producer said to her, “One guy in uniform looks like any other guy in a uniform.” In the follow-up phone interview, Ms. Logan said the producer no longer worked at CBS. And in both interviews, she emphasized that many journalists at CBS News are pushing for war coverage, specifically citing Jeff Fager, the executive producer of “60 Minutes.” CBS News won a Peabody Award last week for a “60 Minutes” report about a Marine charged in the killings at Haditha.
On “The Daily Show,” Ms. Logan echoed the comments of other journalists when she said that many Americans seem uninterested in the wars now. Mr. McCarthy said that when he is in the United States, bringing up Baghdad at a dinner party “is like a conversation killer.”

Coverage of the war in Afghanistan has increased slightly this year, with 46 minutes of total coverage year-to-date compared with 83 minutes for all of 2007. NBC has spent 25 minutes covering Afghanistan, partly because the anchor Brian Williams visited the country earlier in the month. Through Wednesday, when an ABC correspondent was in the middle of a prolonged visit to the country, ABC had spent 13 minutes covering Afghanistan. CBS has spent eight minutes covering Afghanistan so far this year.

Both Ms. Logan and Mr. McCarthy noted that more coalition soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in May than in Iraq. No American television network has a full-time correspondent in Afghanistan, although CNN recently said it would open a bureau in Kabul.
“It’s terrible,” Ms. Logan said in the telephone interview. She called it a financial decision. “We can’t afford to maintain operations in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time,” she said. “It’s so expensive and the security risks are so great that it’s prohibitive.”

Mr. Friedman said coverage of Iraq is enormously expensive, mostly due to the security risks. He said meetings with other television networks about sharing the costs of coverage have faltered for logistical reasons.

Journalists at all three American television networks with evening newscasts expressed worries that their news organizations would withdraw from the Iraqi capital after the November presidential election. They spoke only on the condition of anonymity in order to avoid offending their employers.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

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Kristol: Bush Might Bomb Iran
If He ‘Thinks Senator Obama’s
Going To Win’

On Fox News Sunday this morning, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said that President Bush is more likely to attack Iran if he believes Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is going to be elected.
However, “if the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out,” Kristol said, reinforcing the fact that McCain is offering a third Bush term on Iran.
“I do wonder with Senator Obama, if President Bush thinks Senator Obama’s going to win, does he somehow think — does he worry that Obama won’t follow through on that policy,” Kristol added. Host Chris Wallace then asked if Kristol was suggesting that Bush might “launch a military strike” before or after the election:
WALLACE: So, you’re suggesting that he might in fact, if Obama’s going to win the election, either before or after the election, launch a military strike?
KRISTOL: I don’t know. I mean, I think he would worry about it. On the other hand, you can’t — it’s hard to make foreign policy based on guesses of election results. I think Israel is worried though. I mean, what is, what signal goes to Ahmadinejad if Obama wins on a platform of unconditional negotiations and with an obvious reluctance to even talk about using military force.
Kristol also suggested that Obama’s election would tempt Saudi Arabia and Egypt to think, “maybe we can use nuclear weapons.”
Kristol’s belief that Bush might attack Iran before leaving office is not new. In April, he told Bill Bennett that it wasn’t “out of the question” that Bush would consider such a strike because “people are overdoing how much of a lame duck the president is.”
The claim that Obama’s potential election could force Bush’s hand also isn’t new. Earlier this month, far-right pseudo scholar Daniel Pipes told National Review Online that “President Bush will do something” if the Democratic nominee won. “Should it be Mr. McCain that wins, he’ll punt,” said Pipes.
Both Kristol and Pipes apparently agree with President Bush’s claim in March that McCain’s “not going to change” his foreign policy.

NOTE: Keep in mind that William Kystol (yes the pundit on Fox News) is the designer of the PNAC Plan to attack Iraq, Iran and Syria written in 1992. The signers of the Plan all ended up on the Bush Cabinet !

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Gov't Gives 32,000 Veterans
Experimental Drug Linked To Suicide
Keeps Deadly Side-Effect Secret !

ABC News/Washington Times Investigation Leads To Action

June 19, 2008

Responding to an ABC News/Washington Times investigation, the Veterans Administration plans to inform 32,000 veterans that they are using a drug linked to suicide or violent behavior.

The investigation revealed that the VA waited three months to notify veterans in a VA experiment of the possible side effects from the anti-smoking drug Chantix.
All of the veterans enrolled in the Chantix study suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and had been recruited, with monthly $30 payments, for a behavioral study with the drug.
Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake told Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson Thursday that he was personally sending new warning letters to the 940 veterans in the study and some 31,000 other veterans who have been prescribed Chantix by the VA.
"Our first responsibility is to our veterans," said Peake, who said he has asked VA doctors to review "the communications process" involving all VA studies using veterans who are suffering from PTSD. Some 400,000 veterans are being treated for PTSD.

The Bush White House had initially defended the VA's handling of the Chantix experiment.
"The VA is doing everything they can to be mindful of the safety of these veterans in all their programs and try to help them." said Deputy White House Press Secretary Tony Fratto at a briefing on Tuesday after the ABC News report aired.

"This is the Veterans Administration, under wonderful leadership by Secretary Peake, who is interested in the health and safety of these veterans that are under his care, and every other member of that VA system is the same," said Fratto.
In contrast, Secretary Peake said he "wished" the VA had not taken so long to warn veterans being used in the Chantix test.

One of the veterans in the Chantix study, James Elliott, of suburban Washington, suffered a mental breakdown and near-lethal confrontation with police which he blames on Chantix.
VA doctors say there is no evidence Chantix was responsible.
Elliott's incident with police occurred in February, after the VA knew of the possible risks, but before it had notified veterans.

Elliott said the failure of the VA to inform him of Chantix's possible side effect made him feel like "a guinea pig, lab rat, disposable hero."
"It hurts me to have anyone think we would treat our veterans as lab rats," Peake said.
Peake also revealed that there had been 26 "severe adverse effects" in the Chantix test group of veterans, including three cases of contemplated suicide.

Chantix has been linked to at least 40 suicides and 400 attempted suicides in the population at large, according to the FDA which published its first alert Nov. 20, 2007.
The FDA issued a second warning, and there was an alert from the drug's maker, Pfizer, before the VA finally began to warn veterans in the study on Feb. 29, 2008.
But even then, the VA omitted the word "suicide" from the cover letter sent to veterans.
Secretary Peake said the new VA warning letter he is sending will specify that suicide is one of the possible side-effects of Chantix.

"I have no problem putting suicide in there, myself," said Peake.
He said the VA would not hesitate to stop the study if needed, as some in Congress have demanded.
"We're not enrolling new people in this study," he said, but there are no plans to stop the current project.

"Chantix is an FDA-approved drug," Peake said, "and we're trying to find the best way to support smoking cessation."
But Peake said there was no evidence to suggest the study should be stopped.

NOTE: Remember when Rev. Jeremiah Wright talked about how our government gives Americans experimental drugs like guinea's just another case ! WHERE'S THE MEDIA ON THIS !!!!!

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Obama apologizes to
Muslim women;
apology accepted

Sen. Barack Obama today called the two Muslim women who were barred from sitting behind him at his Detroit rally to apologize, one of the women and two other sources said.
"Sen. Obama called himself and he apologized to each of us," one of the women, lawyer Hebba Aref, told me just now.
Aref, who had suggested that an appropriate fix might be seating her behind Obama at some future event, said she'd also discussed that possibility with his staff.
Aref and Shimaa Abdelfadeel had been barred from sitting behind Obama on Monday by volunteers concerned that they would appear on camera with him while wearing headscarves.
UPDATE: Aref and Abdelfadeel email over a statement:

At the rally for Senator Obama in Detroit on Monday, June 16, two volunteers denied us seating behind the stage the Senator would soon take. The volunteers informed us that we were not allowed to sit in that area due to the hijab, the headscarf that each of us was wearing.This incident was unfortunate and extremely disappointing. Senator Obama has called us each to personally convey his deepest apologies and acknowledge that this was inexcusable. We both immensely appreciate the Senator's phone call and his commitment to remedy this issue. We commend him for displaying qualities befitting an effective President. We acknowledge that this injustice has been taken seriously and that Senator Obama does not tolerate discrimination against Arabs, Muslims or any community. We are assured that he and his staff are committed to upholding the principles of justice for all peoples and bringing about change we can believe in. The infringement on our rights occurred and has been addressed; now we are ready to move forward. We will continue to support Senator Obama in his campaign and wish him the best as the race continues.
UPDATE: Obama puts out a statement through his Senate office:

I reached out to Ms. Aref and Ms. Abdelfadeel this afternoon. I spoke with Ms. Abdelfadeel, and expressed my deepest apologies for the incident that occurred with volunteers at the event in Detroit. The actions of these volunteers were unacceptable and in no way reflect any policy of my campaign. I take deepest offense to and will continue to fight against discrimination against people of any religious group or background. Our campaign is about bringing people together, and I'm grateful that Ms. Abdelfadeel accepted our apology and I hope Ms. Aref and any who were offended accept my apology as well.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Iraq War WAS For The Oil !

New York Times

Published: June 19, 2008

BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.
The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.

There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

Sensitive to the appearance that they were profiting from the war and already under pressure because of record high oil prices, senior officials of two of the companies, speaking only on the condition that they not be identified, said they were helping Iraq rebuild its decrepit oil industry.
For an industry being frozen out of new ventures in the world’s dominant oil-producing countries, from Russia to Venezuela, Iraq offers a rare and prized opportunity.
While enriched by $140 per barrel oil, the oil majors are also struggling to replace their reserves as ever more of the world’s oil patch becomes off limits. Governments in countries like Bolivia and Venezuela are nationalizing their oil industries or seeking a larger share of the record profits for their national budgets. Russia and Kazakhstan have forced the major companies to renegotiate contracts.

The Iraqi government’s stated goal in inviting back the major companies is to increase oil production by half a million barrels per day by attracting modern technology and expertise to oil fields now desperately short of both. The revenue would be used for reconstruction, although the Iraqi government has had trouble spending the oil revenues it now has, in part because of bureaucratic inefficiency.

For the American government, increasing output in Iraq, as elsewhere, serves the foreign policy goal of increasing oil production globally to alleviate the exceptionally tight supply that is a cause of soaring prices.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry, through a spokesman, said the no-bid contracts were a stop-gap measure to bring modern skills into the fields while the oil law was pending in Parliament.
It said the companies had been chosen because they had been advising the ministry without charge for two years before being awarded the contracts, and because these companies had the needed technology.
A Shell spokeswoman hinted at the kind of work the companies might be engaged in. “We can confirm that we have submitted a conceptual proposal to the Iraqi authorities to minimize current and future gas flaring in the south through gas gathering and utilization,” said the spokeswoman, Marnie Funk. “The contents of the proposal are confidential.”
While small, the deals hold great promise for the companies.

“The bigger prize everybody is waiting for is development of the giant new fields,” Leila Benali, an authority on Middle East oil at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said in a telephone interview from the firm’s Paris office. The current contracts, she said, are a “foothold” in Iraq for companies striving for these longer-term deals.

Any Western oil official who comes to Iraq would require heavy security, exposing the companies to all the same logistical nightmares that have hampered previous attempts, often undertaken at huge cost, to rebuild Iraq’s oil infrastructure.

And work in the deserts and swamps that contain much of Iraq’s oil reserves would be virtually impossible unless carried out solely by Iraqi subcontractors, who would likely be threatened by insurgents for cooperating with Western companies.

Yet at today’s oil prices, there is no shortage of companies coveting a contract in Iraq. It is not only one of the few countries where oil reserves are up for grabs, but also one of the few that is viewed within the industry as having considerable potential to rapidly increase production.
David Fyfe, a Middle East analyst at the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based group that monitors oil production for the developed countries, said he believed that Iraq’s output could increase to about 3 million barrels a day from its current 2.5 million, though it would probably take longer than the six months the Oil Ministry estimated.

Mr. Fyfe’s organization estimated that repair work on existing fields could bring Iraq’s output up to roughly four million barrels per day within several years. After new fields are tapped, Iraq is expected to reach a plateau of about six million barrels per day, Mr. Fyfe said, which could suppress current world oil prices.

The contracts, the two oil company officials said, are a continuation of work the companies had been conducting here to assist the Oil Ministry under two-year-old memorandums of understanding. The companies provided free advice and training to the Iraqis. This relationship with the ministry, said company officials and an American diplomat, was a reason the contracts were not opened to competitive bidding.

A total of 46 companies, including the leading oil companies of China, India and Russia, had memorandums of understanding with the Oil Ministry, yet were not awarded contracts.
The no-bid deals are structured as service contracts. The companies will be paid for their work, rather than offered a license to the oil deposits. As such, they do not require the passage of an oil law setting out terms for competitive bidding. The legislation has been stalled by disputes among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties over revenue sharing and other conditions.
The first oil contracts for the majors in Iraq are exceptional for the oil industry.

They include a provision that could allow the companies to reap large profits at today’s prices: the ministry and companies are negotiating payment in oil rather than cash.
“These are not actually service contracts,” Ms. Benali said. “They were designed to circumvent the legislative stalemate” and bring Western companies with experience managing large projects into Iraq before the passage of the oil law.

A clause in the draft contracts would allow the companies to match bids from competing companies to retain the work once it is opened to bidding, according to the Iraq country manager for a major oil company who did not consent to be cited publicly discussing the terms.
Assem Jihad, the Oil Ministry spokesman, said the ministry chose companies it was comfortable working with under the charitable memorandum of understanding agreements, and for their technical prowess. “Because of that, they got the priority,” he said.
In all cases but one, the same company that had provided free advice to the ministry for work on a specific field was offered the technical support contract for that field, one of the companies’ officials said.

The exception is the West Qurna field in southern Iraq, outside Basra. There, the Russian company Lukoil, which claims a Hussein-era contract for the field, had been providing free training to Iraqi engineers, but a consortium of Chevron and Total, a French company, was offered the contract. A spokesman for Lukoil declined to comment.
Charles Ries, the chief economic official in the American Embassy in Baghdad, described the no-bid contracts as a bridging mechanism to bring modern technology into the fields before the oil law was passed, and as an extension of the earlier work without charge.

To be sure, these are not the first foreign oil contracts in Iraq, and all have proved contentious.
The Kurdistan regional government, which in many respects functions as an independent entity in northern Iraq, has concluded a number of deals. Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, for example, signed a production-sharing agreement with the regional government last fall, though its legality is questioned by the central Iraqi government. The technical support agreements, however, are the first commercial work by the major oil companies in Iraq.

The impact, experts say, could be remarkable increases in Iraqi oil output.
While the current contracts are unrelated to the companies’ previous work in Iraq, in a twist of corporate history for some of the world’s largest companies, all four oil majors that had lost their concessions in Iraq are now back.
But a spokesman for Exxon said the company’s approach to Iraq was no different from its work elsewhere.

“Consistent with our longstanding, global business strategy, ExxonMobil would pursue business opportunities as they arise in Iraq, just as we would in other countries in which we are permitted to operate,” the spokesman, Len D’Eramo, said in an e-mailed statement.
But the company is clearly aware of the history. In an interview with Newsweek last fall, the former chief executive of Exxon, Lee Raymond, praised Iraq’s potential as an oil-producing country and added that Exxon was in a position to know. “There is an enormous amount of oil in Iraq,” Mr. Raymond said. “We were part of the consortium, the four companies that were there when Saddam Hussein threw us out, and we basically had the whole country.”

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Crazy Obama Accuser
Larry Sinclair Arrested
At National Press Club

Seth Colter Walls
The Huffington Post

UPDATE: Reason's David Weigel reports, and Politico's Ben Smith confirms, that Sinclair was arrested by Washington, D.C. police after the press conference.

It is not often that a political reporter can claim to have witnessed the single most stupefying event on any single day, what with the diversity of inanity on display from coast to coast in an election year. But today, I feel confident laying claim to that dubious distinction, for I attended Larry Sinclair's Wednesday press conference at the National Press Club.

The event began less than auspiciously for Mr. Sinclair -- who has gained Internet notoriety by spreading wild accusations regarding gay sex, drugs and possible murder committed by Barack Obama -- as National Press Club staff took pains to remove the association's logo from behind the podium where Sinclair was set to speak. (Politico's Ben Smith today detailed Sinclair's "27-year criminal record, with a specialty in crimes involving deceit.")

Of course, the club had made clear for some time that it should not be viewed as endorsing Mr. Sinclair's claims simply for having agreed to host his mind-numbingly preposterous litany -- heavens, no! All that could be said for the institution was that it was happy to rent out its space to anyone who might be willing to pay in order to switch on the microphone.
And pay Sinclair did -- for the venue and its microphone, as well as for a kilted lawyer (with a suspended license) named Montgomery Blair Sibley, who informed those assembled that his preferences in dress were arrived at as a way to secure comfort for his unusually large sexual organs. "I don't know why men wear pants," he said with a poker face. "It's a function of male genitalia. If you're size normal or smaller, you're probably comfortable with [pants]. ... Those at the other end of the spectrum find them quite confining."
"I asked him to wear a suit and tie," Mr. Sinclair said ruefully. Then, he admitted to suffering from a brain tumor.

Only slightly less mystifying were the several dozen assembled journalists who seemed to grant Mr. Sinclair some modicum of respect with their questions. They cross-examined his statement regarding his supposed meetings with the Illinois Democrat with a vigor and small-bore attention to detail that prosecutors reserve strictly for witnesses who are sane. Imagine if you were to encounter someone who had lit himself on fire, and then proceeded to ask which brand of gasoline he favored.

And so the inquiries came, most of which Mr. Sinclair easily batted back with the exhortation to investigate his claims more vigorously. As for the evidence he provided, it amounted to a few phone numbers -- registered under different names and in different states -- that Mr. Sinclair claimed he used to call, variously, a limousine driver, the deceased choir director of Trinity United Church of Christ, and others. Clearly, it is now the duty of the mobile phone companies to open up these records to court scrutiny. (Forgive me for not reprinting any of the "evidence" in full here. Should you care to see it, Sinclair promised a version would be made public on his website, one free of the several errors which vexed him during his public statement today.)
"I expect you to ask me questions," Sinclair told the reporters. "I expect you to do your job, and actually find facts as opposed to looking at DailyKos or FireDogLake or Huffington Post or all of these pro-Obama sites."

When a questioner asked Mr. Sinclair whether he would permit review of his mental health records "for more than 30 minutes" -- in a lame attempt to riff on the restrictions imposed by John McCain's campaign -- Sinclair mumbled for a few moments, unaware of the reference.
When he was clued in, Mr. Sinclair shrugged and said: "You can see where my head is today."
To borrow a phrase: yes, we can.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama: Bin Laden Still
FREE Because Of GOP !

WASHINGTON — A defiant Barack Obama said Tuesday he would take no lectures from Republicans on which candidate would keep the U.S. safer, a sharp rebuke to John McCain's aides who said the Democrat had a naive, Sept. 10 mind-set toward terrorism.
"These are the same guys who helped to engineer the distraction of the war in Iraq at a time when we could have pinned down the people who actually committed 9/11," the presumed nominee told reporters aboard his campaign plane. "This is the same kind of fear-mongering that got us into Iraq ... and it's exactly that failed foreign policy I want to reverse."
The rival camps engaged in a war of words Tuesday that echoed the 2004 presidential campaign in which President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other Republicans argued that Democratic nominee John Kerry was soft on terror, a claim that resonated with voters and helped propel Bush to re-election. Democrats complained that the GOP was using the politics of fear.
The Republican argument proved less effective in 2006 when then Bush adviser Karl Rove said the Democrats had a pre-Sept. 11 view of the world and Republicans had a post-Sept. 11 terror attacks perspective. In November of that year, Democrats captured enough congressional seats to seize control of the House and Senate.
On his campaign plane, Obama told reporters that Osama bin Laden is still at large in part because President Bush's strategy toward fighting terror has not succeeded.
At issue were comments Obama made in an interview with ABC News Monday in which he spoke approvingly of the successful prosecution and imprisonment of those responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Obama was asked how he could be sure the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policies are not crucial to protecting U.S. citizens.
Obama said the government can crack down on terrorists "within the constraints of our Constitution." He mentioned the indefinite detention of Guantanamo Bay detainees, contrasting their treatment with the prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.
"And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo," Obama said. "What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks _ for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center _ we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.
"And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, 'Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims. ...
"We could have done the exact same thing, but done it in a way that was consistent with our laws," Obama said.
Obama agreed with the Supreme Court ruling last week that detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have a constitutional right to challenge their indefinite imprisonment in U.S. civilian courts. McCain derided the ruling as "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country."
McCain aides criticized Obama for talking about using the criminal justice system to prosecute terrorists.
"Senator Obama is a perfect manifestation a September 10th mind-set ... He does not understand the nature of the enemies we face," McCain national security director Randy Scheunemann told reporters on a conference call.
Former CIA director James Woolsey, who is advising the McCain campaign, concurred, saying Obama has "an extremely dangerous and extremely naive approach toward terrorism ... and toward dealing with prisoners captured overseas who have been engaged in terrorist attacks against the United States."
The Obama campaign countered with its own conference call in which Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Richard Clarke, a counterterrorism official in Republican and Democratic administrations, argued the McCain campaign was emulating Rove.
"I'm a little disgusted by the attempts of some of my friends on the McCain campaign to use the same old, tired tactics ... to drive a wedge between Americans for partisan advantage and to frankly frighten Americans," Clarke said.
Kerry accused McCain of "defending a policy that is indefensible" by siding with Bush's policies, particularly with respect to the Iraq war.
Obama said Republicans could be counted on to do "what they've done every election cycle, which is to use terrorism as club to make the American people afraid to win elections." He said he didn't think it would work this time.
Beth Fouhy reported from New York.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Why McCain Won't Release
His Military Files
Because He Was A Privileged

Article by Jeffrey Klein
Some of the unreleased pages in McCain's Navy file may not reflect well upon his qualifications for the presidency. From day one in the Navy, McCain screwed-up again and again, only to be forgiven because his father and grandfather were four-star admirals. McCain's sense of entitlement to privileged treatment bears an eerie resemblance to George W. Bush's.
Despite graduating in the bottom 1 percent of his Annapolis class, McCain was offered the most sought-after Navy assignment -- to become an aircraft carrier pilot. According to military historian John Karaagac, "'the Airdales,' the air wing of the Navy, acted and still do, as if unrivaled atop the naval pyramid. They acted as if they owned, not only the Navy, but the entire swath of blue water on the earth's surface." The most accomplished midshipmen compete furiously for the few carrier pilot openings. After four abysmal academic years at Annapolis distinguished only by his misdeeds and malfeasance, no one with a record resembling McCain's would have been offered such a prized career path. The justification for this and subsequent plum assignments should be documented in McCain's naval file.
McCain's file should also include records and analytic reviews of McCain's subsequent sub-par performances. Here are a few cited in two highly favorable biographies, both titled John McCain, one by Robert Timberg and the other by John Karaagac.
"[A]fter a European fling with the tobacco heiress, John McCain reported to flight school at Pensacola in August 1958.... [H]is performance was below par, at best good enough to get by. He liked flying, but didn't love it. What he loved was the kick-the-tire, start-the-fire, scarf-in-the-wind life of a naval aviator. ...One Saturday morning, as McCain was practicing landings, his engine quit and his plane plunged into Corpus Christi. Knocked unconscious by the impact, he came to as the plane settled to the bottom....McCain was an adequate pilot, but he had no patience for studying dry aviation manuals.... His professional growth, though reasonably steady, had its troubled moments. Flying too low over the Iberian Peninsula, he took out some power lines, which led to a spate of newspaper stories in which he was predictably identified as the son of an admiral.... [In 1965] he flew a trainer solo to Philadelphia for the Army-Navy game. Flying by way of Norfolk, he had just begun his descent over unpopulated tidal terrain when the engine died. 'I've got a flameout,' he radioed. He went through the standard relight procedures three times. At one thousand feet he ejected, landing on the deserted beach moments before the plane slammed into a clump of trees."
Adds Karaagac:
"In his memoir, everything becomes a kind of game of adolescent brinksmanship, how much can one press the limits of the acceptable and elude the powers that be....The [fighter jocks'] ethos of exaggerated, almost aggressive sociability becomes an end in itself and an excuse for license. There is a tendency for people, not simply to believe their own mythology but, indeed, to exaggerate it.... Fighter jocks, like politicians around their campaign contributions, often press the limits of the acceptable. It is a type of mild corruption that takes place in a highly privileged atmosphere, where restraints are loosened and excuses made....McCain gives some hint in his memoirs about where he stood in the hierarchy among carrier flyers. Instead of the sleek and newer Phantoms and Crusaders, McCain flew the dependable Douglas A-4 Skyhawk in an attack, not a fighter squadron. He was thus on the lower end of the flying totem pole."
The genius of McCain's mythmaking is his perceived humility amid perpetual defiance. Having been a rebel without cause, and often a rebel without consequences, McCain apparently was not surprised when his Vietnamese captors went relatively easy on him compared to his fellow POWs. The Vietnamese military secretly and frequently filmed the American POWs to learn their propensities. Col. Pham Van Hoa of the Vietnamese People's Army Film Department was in charge of the filming. Asked recently for his dominant impression of McCain, the now-retired Van Hoa said that McCain "seemed superior to other prisoners." How so? "Superior in attitude towards them."
But when Mark Salter, McCain's closest aide and co-author, was asked by the Arizona New Times about the first McCain memoir, Faith of My Fathers, that he was then working on, Salter said "the book will showcase a humble McCain. When I worked on this book with him, he just kept saying, 'Other guys had it a lot worse. I think they took it easier on me because of who my dad was. . . . When they tied me in ropes, they'd roll my sleeve up to give it a little padding between the rope and my bicep, you know, little things I noticed. The only really hard time I had was when I didn't go home, and then it only lasted a week, and sometimes I felt braver, I felt I could get away with more.'"
Is McCain now getting away with more by hiding his official history and by having his national security adviser inflate McCain's resume with a bogus promotion to admiral humbly declined? If so, McCain may be attempting to hide why the Navy was in fact slow to promote McCain upwards despite his suffering as a POW and his distinguished naval heritage.
One possible reason: After McCain had returned from Vietnam as a war hero and was physically rehabilitated; McCain was urged by his medical caretakers and military colleagues never to fly again. But McCain insisted on going up. He piloted an ultra-light, single propeller plane -- and crashed another time. His fifth loss of a plane has vanished from public records, but should be a subject of discussion in his Navy file. It wouldn't be surprising if his naval superiors worried that McCain was just too defiant, too reckless and too crash prone.
Regardless, McCain owes it to the country to release his complete naval records so that American voters can see his documented history and make an informed decision.
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