Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Message from Obama: Regarding McCain's Latest Tactic

A few hours ago John McCain, the same man who just months ago promised to run a "respectful campaign," said he is "proud" of his latest attack ad.

That's the one attacking your enthusiasm, comparing me to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, and making false claims about my energy plan.

Now, we're facing some serious challenges in this country -- our economy is struggling, energy costs are skyrocketing, and families don't have health care.

Given the seriousness of these issues, you'd think we'd be having a serious debate. But instead, John McCain is running an expensive, negative campaign against us. Each day brings a desperate new set of attacks.

And they're not just attacking me. They're attacking you.

They're mocking the desire of millions of Americans to step up and take ownership of the political process.

They're trying to convince you that your enthusiasm won't amount to anything -- that the people you persuade, the phone calls you make, the donations you give, the doors you knock on are all an illusion. They believe that in this election the same old smears and negative attacks will prevail again.

They're wrong.

Show the strength of our movement for change.

Thank you,


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Gulf Report:

Purpose of Mideast Negotiations Is To Help McCain

According to a press release sent out by Time, this Friday's edition of the magazine will reportedly include a article that describes how Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is deeply involved in an effort to "clean up [President] Bush's foreign policy legacy."

But one newspaper in the Persian Gulf believes the negotiations are tailored for the benefit of John McCain during the fall election season. In a Thursday editorial entitled "Negotiations for the Sake of Rice," the UAE's Al-Khaleej writes that leaders in the United States, Israel and the Palestinian Territories all know that no breakthroughs can be expected in President Bush's last few months in office.

"But since the attention is focused on helping the Republican candidate John McCain in the presidential election in November, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will increase her pressures in an attempt to change some positions and facts, and sign a document - a mere document - that would be regarded as an accomplishment," the paper claims, adding that the negotiations are "pointless." (Huff Post)

Beware of Manipulation !

OBAMA 2008 !!!!

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Beware of Weak Polls !
Just Another Tool of Media Manipulation
To Make Race Seem Tighter

As Obama generates thousands of well-wishers worldwide including the astounding 200,000 plus in Berlin, while McCain hangs out in grocery stores and German weinershnitzels in Columbus, Ohio, the media has joined in unison to attempt to make the presidential race seem super-tight between the candidates. Maybe this is because most of the media is GOP controlled or maybe just a desire to make the race more interesting a contest in hopes of garnering better ratings. They know that it would be pretty boring to viewers if they all stated 'McCain Is Toast'!

Whatever the true reason, we took a look at the great pollsters that all of the media love to refer to as their incredible sources....that is Quinnipiac University and Rasmussen Polls (Reports)

First thought is....'Quin who?'. Yes, Quinnipiac University, located in Connecticut has been chosen by the media as the number one pollsters which prove that Obama is ahead by only 3 points. (which everyone who hears this knows that can't be true. Republicans don't even like McCain). From Quin's own website we learned: "Student interviewers use a computer-assisted telephone interviewing system to collect data from statewide and national residents. For a typical public opinion survey, a randomly selected sample of about 1,000 registered voters age 18 and over is interviewed over five or six days. The polls are conducted at the Polling Institute on West Woods Road, close to the main campus".

Now, that's interesting because we learn that these are college kids doing these 'polls' randomly polling around 1000 people (out of 126 million plus registered voters nationwide) via landline telephones, an item rarely used by the young voters of today. All I can say is, I give these kids credit for trying to learn polling procedures, but I definitely don't see this to be a worthy enough method for MSM to use as the 'pollsters of truth'.

Secondly, there's the Rassmussen Polls, owned by Scott Rasmussen. I found it interesting that this polling source kind of popped up out of nowhere since I had never heard of them before this season's campaign. So I did a quick search on Scott and learned that he, like Quin uses land-line telephone surveys as their method of polling. But what is even more interesting is Scott's background, which was not in data surveys, statistical gathering or even polling at all.

Scott Rasmussen's history, as found on Wikipedia, states: "...Rasmussen was exposed to the broadcasting business through his father, Bill Rasmussen, who was a broadcaster for the New England Whalers. In 1979, Scott and Bill Rasmussen founded ESPN, the cable sports network" That's kind of interesting. So Scott's background is in television production and programming. Verrrry interesting. And didn't ABC Television buy ESPN. Hmmmm.

Another point to these great 'polls' that should be considered is that they don't even use real people as the callers ! Their automated system uses a computer generated 'voice' to 'talk' to the randomly selected people to be polled. Studies have shown that only 1 out of 3 people who receive computer voiced calls will actually participate, meaning every 2 out of 3 just hang up. And the media calls this 'accurate polling'? (Fox even calls it 'breaking news' at times...that's funny)

In other words, these so-called polls are not only extremely weak but are far from reliable. They're simply being used as another manipulation tool by the media. Heck.....if it's that easy...I'm thinking about starting my own polling company. If Scott can do it.....why can't I. Also, beware of the NBC/WSJ polls. NBC is owned by G.E., which owns Raytheon, one of the largest defense contractors in the world (makes bombs, tanks, etc.) and Wall Street Jounal is now owned by Rupert Murdoch....yes the same guy that owns FOX News. Interesting that they're working together.Hmmmm.

p.s. Let's REALLY prove these great pollsters wrong by getting everyone you know registered to vote...and VOTE....for the entire world's #1 choice...

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Dedicated To Truth !

Visit: Blacks4Barack OFFICIAL SITE
A Multi-Racial, Net/Grassroots Org...
Together, We WILL Make A Difference !

Thursday, July 24, 2008



"A World that Stands as One"
July 24th, 2008
Berlin, Germany

Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.
I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.
I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father - my grandfather - was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning - his dream - required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.
That is why I'm here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.
Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.
On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.
This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.
The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.
And that's when the airlift began - when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.
The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.
But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city's mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. "There is only one possibility," he said. "For us to stand together united until this battle is won...The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty...People of the world, look at Berlin!"
People of the world - look at Berlin!
Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.
Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.
Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.
People of the world - look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.
Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril. When you, the German people, tore down that wall - a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope - walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.
The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers - dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.
The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.
As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.
Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all.
In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we're honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.
In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe's role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth - that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.
Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more - not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.
That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.
The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.
We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.
So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.
That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations - and all nations - must summon that spirit anew.
This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.
This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO's first mission beyond Europe's borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.
This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.
This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century - in this city of all cities - we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.
This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.
This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.
This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations - including my own - will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.
And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust - not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.
Now the world will watch and remember what we do here - what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?
Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words "never again" in Darfur?
Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?
People of Berlin - people of the world - this is our moment. This is our time.
I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.
But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived - at great cost and great sacrifice - to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom - indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us - what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America's shores - is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.
These are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people - everywhere - became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation - our generation - must make our mark on the world.
People of Berlin - and people of the world - the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.
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Largest Crowd of Campaign !

Before the largest crowd of his campaign, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama on Thursday summoned Europeans and Americans together to "defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it" as surely as they conquered communism a generation ago.
"The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand," Obama said, speaking not far from where the Berlin Wall once divided the city.
"The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand," he said.
Obama said he was speaking as a citizen, not as a president, but the evening was awash in politics. His remarks inevitably invited comparison to historic speeches in the same city by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, and he borrowed rhetoric from his own appeals to campaign audiences in the likes of Berlin, N.H., when he addressed a crowd in one of the great cities of Europe.
"People of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment. This is our time," he said.
Time For Leadership...TIME FOR OBAMA !
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Looks Like A Bit Of 'Tit-for-Tat'
Notice drugs in Cindy's hand....pretty realistic !
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SPIEGEL spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki about his approval of Barack Obama's withdrawal plans and what he hopes from US President Bush in his last months in office.

NOTE from B4B: After hearing that Maliki agreed with Obama's plan to vacate U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months, the Bush Regime released statements that Maliki's remarks had been mis-interpretted. This was proven to be false by the complete written transcript of Maliki's interview below:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Prime Minister, the war and its consequences have cost more than 100,000 lives and caused great suffering in your country. Saddam Hussein and his regime are now part of the past. Was all of this worth the price?

Maliki: The casualties have been and continue to be enormous. But anyone who was familiar with the dictator's nature and his intentions knows what could have been in store for us instead of this war. Saddam waged wars against Iran and Kuwait, and against Iraqis in the north and south of his own country, wars in which hundreds of thousands died. And he was capable of instigating even more wars. Yes, the casualties are great, but I see our struggle as an enormous effort to avoid other such wars in the future.

SPIEGEL: Germany was opposed to the war. German Economics Minister Michael Glos was in Baghdad the week before last, Daimler AG plans to build trucks in Iraq, and you will travel to Berlin this week. Has everything been smoothed out between Germany and Iraq?

Maliki: We want closer relations, and it is my impression that the Germans -- the government, the people and German companies -- want the same thing. Our task is to rebuild a country, and the Germans are famous for effective and efficient work. We have great confidence in them and want to involve them in the development of our country.

SPIEGEL: And there is truly no resentment against a country that opposed the war in 2003?Maliki: We do not judge our partners on the basis of whether or not they were militarily involved in toppling Saddam. The decisions back then corresponded to the national will of the countries, and we respect that.

SPIEGEL: What exactly do you expect from the Germans and from German companies?Maliki: We want to get to know them, and we want to know what they want -- and the things they fear when thinking about Iraq. We have to start over again in many areas, including oil production, the development of the power grid and all industries. There is much to be done.

SPIEGEL: What do you expect from the Germans, politically and militarily? The Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) occasionally trains Iraqi security forces -- but only in neighboring countries.

Maliki: What matters most to us is that we develop resilient political relationships and work together economically. Our security forces are steadily improving, partly as a result of German efforts. We will be pleased to turn to the Germans to equip our police and military; and should there be new training programs with the German Bundeswehr, we will be happy to accept their help. However, we would clearly prefer that the training take place in Iraq in the future. Overall, I believe that we are gradually becoming self-sufficient.

SPIEGEL: Three weeks ago, your government filed a civil lawsuit in New York against companies that allegedly paid bribes to officials in the Saddam regime. The defendants include three German companies: Daimler and Braun Melsungen and a number of Siemens affiliates. How is this compatible with your overtures to German industry?

Maliki: We are in negotiations with Siemens for the construction of power plants, which shows just how serious we are. Whether the suit you mention succeeds will be for the courts to decide. Under no circumstances will the consequence be that we no longer wish to work with the companies in question.

SPIEGEL: Large parts of Iraq's assets abroad remain frozen -- and inaccessible to creditors. Now, victims of the Saddam dictatorship want that money to go towards reparations. What will happen to this money when the UN Security Council mandate for Iraq expires at the end of this year?

Maliki: We have hired several international law firms to deal with these assets. At the moment, they are protected by UN resolutions, American law and the personal commitment of President George W. Bush -- and we want this protection to remain in place after the end of UN mandate on Iraq. We consider the claims being lodged against this money to be unjustified. Iraq cannot be punished for crimes that were committed by the dictator. This is very important to us, and a key aspect of our negotiations over the future status of US troops in Iraq.

SPIEGEL: Germany, after World War II, was also liberated from a tyrant by a US-led coalition. That was 63 years ago, and today there are still American military bases and soldiers in Germany. How do you feel about this model?

MALIKI: Iraq can learn from Germany's experiences, but the situation is not truly comparable. Back then Germany waged a war that changed the world. Today, we in Iraq want to establish a timeframe for the withdrawal of international troops -- and it should be short. At the same time, we would like to see the establishment of a long-term strategic treaty with the United States, which would govern the basic aspects of our economic and cultural relations. However, I wish to re-emphasize that our security agreement should remain in effect in the short term.

SPIEGEL: How short-term? Are you hoping for a new agreement before the end of the Bush administration?

Maliki: So far the Americans have had trouble agreeing to a concrete timetable for withdrawal, because they feel it would appear tantamount to an admission of defeat. But that isn't the case at all. If we come to an agreement, it is not evidence of a defeat, but of a victory, of a severe blow we have inflicted on al-Qaida and the militias. The American lead negotiators realize this now, and that's why I expect to see an agreement taking shape even before the end of President Bush's term in office. With these negotiations, we will start the whole thing over again, on a clearer, better basis, because the first proposals were unacceptable to us.

SPIEGEL: Immunity for the US troops is apparently the central issue.

Maliki: It is a fundamental problem for us that it should not be possible, in my country, to prosecute offences or crimes committed by US soldiers against our population. But other issues are no less important: How much longer will these soldiers remain in our country? How much authority do they have? Who controls how many, soldiers enter and leave the country and where they do so?

SPIEGEL: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the US troops will finally leave Iraq?
Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we're concerned. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.

SPIEGEL: Is this an endorsement for the US presidential election in November? Does Obama, who has no military background, ultimately have a better understanding of Iraq than war hero John McCain?

Maliki: Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of US troops in Iraq would cause problems. Of course, this is by no means an election endorsement. Who they choose as their president is the Americans' business. But it's the business of Iraqis to say what they want. And that's where the people and the government are in general agreement: The tenure of the coalition troops in Iraq should be limited.

SPIEGEL: In your opinion, which factor has contributed most to bringing calm to the situation in the country?

Maliki: There are many factors, but I see them in the following order. First, there is the political rapprochement we have managed to achieve in central Iraq. This has enabled us, above all, to pull the plug on al-Qaida. Second, there is the progress being made by our security forces. Third, there is the deep sense of abhorrence with which the population has reacted to the atrocities of al-Qaida and the militias. Finally, of course, there is the economic recovery.

SPIEGEL: Critics have accused you of striking harshly against the Mahdi army of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, while going easy on his rival Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim's Badr militia.

Maliki: That's not true. We proceed just as firmly against anyone who breaks the law. Just a few days ago, we had an incident with a group associated with the Badr people. The army moved in immediately and arrested them all. No one was spared. The punishment is based purely on the nature of the crime, not on the identity of the criminal.

SPIEGEL: In southern Iraq, where you come from, you have been compared with Saddam Hussein when it comes to harshness.

Maliki: That's the sort of thing that people say who don't understand how urgently Iraq needs stability -- or these people prefer instability. We don't want to spread fear and terror in Iraq. We have, for example, given the militias several deadlines to hand over their weapons. Their resistance was tremendous, so we had to oppose them with tremendous force of our own.

SPIEGEL: What role do you envision for your chief rival, Muqtada al-Sadr? Can there ever be national reconciliation in Iraq without his participation?

Maliki: You can only reconcile with someone who wants to reconcile. His Excellency Muqtada al-Sadr can be a political partner, especially if, to that end, he draws on the great spiritual legacy he has inherited from his ancestors. He has understood that his following was eventually infiltrated by criminal elements, by men from the former regime, al-Qaida people and others. The fact that he is now in the process of systematically separating himself from these elements makes him even stronger as a political partner. As a politician, I might add, not as a militia leader.

SPIEGEL: You spent part of your exile in Iran, and you have visited the country several times since you took office. Can you explain to us what the leaders in Tehran are up to? Are they building a nuclear bomb? Do you see this as a serious threat?

Maliki: I have not been made privy to the details of the Iranian nuclear program. Iranian representatives assure us, however, that this program serves peaceful purposes. Even if Tehran wanted to develop a nuclear weapon, it would take a very long time, simply from a technical standpoint. It is obvious that our region is far too fragile for even a single country to possess nuclear weapons, because it will always be an incentive for other countries to also build their own.

SPIEGEL: Exactly 50 years ago, the monarchy in Iraq was overthrown and a republic established. But we didn't see any celebration of this event at all. What does that day mean for the history of Iraq?

Maliki: There may have been people who celebrated. But certainly not all Iraqis. On July 14, 1958, and era came to an end, but what came afterwards didn't live up to our expectations and hopes. What came were decades of military putsches and the dictatorship. We are still dealing with the aftermath today.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Prime Minister, your job is probably one of the most dangerous a politician can have. How do you cope with this, and what do you do to make it bearable?

Maliki: I lead a very simple life -- one that is shaped by external forces, which is apparently what fate has determined for us Iraqis. In that regard, the past few decades of dictatorship have not changed all that much. What keeps me going? The constant exertion of my job -- and the successes we are now having. It means a lot to me to see how much closer we are today to a democratic Iraq, one that respects human rights, than we were only a few months ago.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
Interview conducted by Mathias Müller von Blumencron and Bernard Zand in Baghdad
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Monday, July 21, 2008


Al-Maliki: U.S. Troops Should Leave Iraq ASAP

BERLIN - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says U.S. troops should leave Iraq "as soon as possible," according to a magazine report, and he called presidential candidate Barack Obama's suggestion of 16 months "the right timeframe for a withdrawal."
In an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel magazine released Saturday, al-Maliki said he was not seeking to endorse Obama. The Illinois senator and likely Democratic nominee has pledged to withdraw combat troops from Iraq within 16 months if he is elected.
"That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," al-Maliki was quoted as saying. "Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of U.S. troops in Iraq would cause problems."
Asked when U.S. forces would leave Iraq, he responded, "As soon as possible, as far a we're concerned."
In Iraq on Saturday, Sadiq al-Rikabi, an adviser to al-Maliki, declined to discuss the prime minister's published remarks, but he said Iraqi officials do not intend to be "part of the electoral campaign in the United States."
"We will deal with any administration that comes to power," he said. Obama's Republican presidential rival, John McCain, has supported Bush administration policy opposing a set timetable for taking troops out of Iraq.
"Barack Obama advocates an unconditional withdrawal that ignores the facts on the ground and the advice of our top military commanders," McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann said Saturday. "John McCain believes withdrawal must be based on conditions on the ground.
"Prime Minister Maliki has repeatedly affirmed the same view, and did so again today. Timing is not as important as whether we leave with victory and honor, which is of no apparent concern to Barack Obama," Scheunemann said in a statement. Just days ago McCain told reporters on his campaign bus that Maliki "has exceeded a lot of the expectations."
"I think that much to the surprise of some Maliki has proved to be a more effective leader," McCain said Tuesday in New Mexico. The national security adviser to the Obama campaign, Susan Rice, said the senator welcomed al-Maliki's comments.
"This presents an important opportunity to transition to Iraqi responsibility, while restoring our military and increasing our commitment to finish the fight in Afghanistan," Rice said in a statement Saturday.
Obama arrived on his first visit to Afghanistan on Saturday, less than four months before the general election. He also is expected to stop later in Iraq. McCain has criticized Obama for his lack of experience in the region.
The Arizona senator has suggested he would pursue an Iraq strategy "that's working" ? a reference to the troop buildup credited for sharply reducing violence in the country.
Al-Maliki is scheduled to visit Germany next week for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and business leaders amid a renewed German push in helping to rebuild Iraq. Berlin had opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
4124 American Troops DEAD !
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Obama Unveils New Ride !
CHICAGO---In a newly painted 757--with the Obama sunrise logo on the tail and "Change we can believe in" painted on the sides--the Middle East and Europe bound Obama campaign press plane was poised to lift off Sunday evening from Midway Airport to meet up with presumptive presidential Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) after he finishes visits to Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq.
Looking VERY Presidential !
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Benny Morris Justifies
Israel's Coming Attack on Iran

NOTE From B4B: We keep trying to warn you folks, be prepared. Interesting piece by David Bromwich:

On Friday July 18 the New York Times published an op-ed by the Israeli historian Benny Morris. It is entitled "Using Bombs to Stave Off War." Morris chose this American venue to announce that Israel would "almost surely" attack Iran some time in the next few months. And he indicated that America would be well advised to support the attack.

The reputation of Benny Morris is founded on unquestioned scholarly achievement and a far more dubious political stance. As one of Israel's "new historians," he recovered the record of harassment, murder, and expulsion of the Palestinians in the war of independence -- a finding that largely discredits the Israeli myth that the inhabitants fled from their own timidity, or because they were told to flee by Arab governments.

But speaking as an Israeli citizen, more recently, Morris has declared his view that the mistake of Ben-Gurion and the leadership of 1948 was that they did not carry the expulsion of the Palestinians all the way. Morris sees Israel in 2008 as a state under perpetual siege and the focus of a clash of civilizations; he sees Palestinians -- and to a degree, all Arabs; and Iranians, too -- as a species of animals not yet inducted into full humanity. Thus in a well-known interviewwith Ari Shavit, published in Haaretz on January 5, 2004, Morris described the Israeli problem with the Palestinians:

"Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another."
In the years since Benny Morris spoke those words, the construction of the Israeli wall in the West Bank, and the blockade of Gaza by land, sea, and air have created the cage he believed was necessary.

Now, writing from Israel for the American newspaper of record, Morris offers his advice concerning the proper treatment of Iran and Iranians. Since Iran is five years from being able to make a nuclear bomb (Morris says one-to-four years), Israel is compelled to bomb Iran "in the next four to seven months."

One may notice that the Israeli attack goes on a much faster schedule than the Iranian pace of research and discovery. Why the haste for destruction? Could it have something to do with the American presidential election of 2008 (which comes at Morris's four-month lower limit), or something to do with the inauguration of a new president in 2009 (thirty days before his upper limit of seven months)? Morris does not say. He writes, he says, because people need to realize that the success of Israel's coming "conventional assault" on Iran will be good for Israel, for the United States, and even for Iran. If, on the other hand, this conventional assault fails, Israel will some day launch a nuclear attack; and that will be less good.

The choice, Morris concludes, lies with the rest of the world, and especially with the United States. If Iran does not submit rapidly to the next round of international pressure, the world had better support Israel and hope for the success of its first aerial assault against Iran.
Morris confesses, or implies, one reservation. It would better if the United States could launch the attack. But, being realistic, he remarks the lack of enthusiasm among Americans "for wars in the Islamic lands."

"Which leaves," says Morris, "only Israel."
There is an irritant driving this article, a motive more deeply lodged than Morris is willing to avow. For he suspects Israel alone cannot do the job well enough. So having first dismissed the U.S. and the American public as faint-hearted and unequipped for "wars in Islamic lands," and having then come half way to ask again, Morris at last accuses the United States. If we do not soon intervene, and attack Iran as he counsels, the result will be further nuclear progress by Iran. This will be terminated eventually with a nuclear attack by Israel against Iran.
A nuclear attack on a nation of seventy million people (a great many of them innocent of the desire to wipe Israel off the map) is morally indefensible. How can Morris defend it? He can because he knows -- not believes but metaphysically knows -- that the moment that Iran comes into possession of its first weapon, the leaders of Iran will commit national suicide in order to obtain the pleasure of destroying Israel.

Morris alludes to his ulterior knowledge in two sentences so full of blandness, abstract jargon, and bureaucratic euphemism that their meaning is not initially clear; but if one reads with care, one sees that the message is never in doubt:

"Given the fundamentalist, self-sacrificing mindset of the mullahs who run Iran, Israel knows that deterrence may not work as well as it did with the comparatively rational men who ran the Kremlin and the White House during the cold war. They are likely to use any bomb they build."
Iran will use a nuclear bomb, Morris is sure, as soon as it has one, even knowing that to do so means the destruction of Iran. The Mullahs will do it because that is the kind of people they are.
Here then is the way around the charge that Israel, in attacking Iran some time before March 2009, will be committing a crime.

By Morris's logic the attack by Israel will be an act of self-defense. Indeed, it will be preemptive -- hardly more than common sense -- given the knowledge that Benny Morris possesses of the "fundamentalist, self-sacrificing" nature of the leaders of Iran. No evidence for his intuition is ever offered -- evidence from (say) the history of Iranian foreign policy over the past fifty years, or 200; evidence founded on actions rather than words. What if Iran's words since 1979 have been wilder than its deeds? What if Israel's actions since 2002 have been wilder than its words (wilder, even, than Benny Morris's words of 2004)? These findings could not possibly touch the argument. Morris writes as a man in possession of a racial and religious knowledge that is superior to evidence.

Of course, he hopes that Israel will not be forced to go all the way (though he has deplored Ben-Gurion's failure to go all the way with expulsion of the Palestinians). He imagines most Iranians would prefer not to see "Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland." Morris has thus given the readers of the New York Times a vision of a hellish future, but then atoned for the extravagance by suggesting that, if things fall out so, it will be the fault of Iran and the United States. Israel will have done the best it could with a monstrous and implacable enemy and a reluctant ally.
All circumstances taken together, this New York Times op-ed by Benny Morris is at once the most overt and the most peculiar intervention we Americans have witnessed thus far, by an Israeli attempting to influence U.S. policy in the Middle East.

The article is weakly founded on partial facts and conjectural truths. It passes without transition from mock-prudential calculations to a tyrannical threat to destroy a civilization for the good of the world. Yet, though unpersuasive, it acquires significance when published between a recent visit to the U.S. by the Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and the current visit by the defense minister Ehud Barak. Morris's article is meant to be read in the context of such recent assurances as Olmert's, for example, that President Bush "understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, andintends to act on that matter before the end of his term in the White House."

But let us return for a last look at Benny Morris.
No person into whose mind had entered the idea that an Iranian may be a human being--and that there are millions of innocent Iranians -- could have generated with such casual facility the image of Iran as a "nuclear wasteland." Yet this was the image of Iran that the Israeli Benny Morris decided to conjure up for American readers in the New York Times.
In the Haaretz interview of January 5, 2004, the following exchange occurred between the interviewer Ari Shavit and Benny Morris:
"Would you describe yourself as an apocalyptic person?"

"The whole Zionist project is apocalyptic. It exists within hostile surroundings and in a certain sense its existence is unreasonable. It wasn't reasonable for it to succeed in 1881 and it wasn't reasonable for it to succeed in 1948 and it's not reasonable that it will succeed now. Nevertheless, it has come this far. In a certain way it is miraculous. I live the events of 1948, and 1948 projects itself on what could happen here. Yes, I think of Armageddon. It's possible. Within the next 20 years there could be an atomic war here."

This apocalyptic danger Morris may conceive himself to have put off a few more years by writing an editorial on behalf of Israel's coming attack. But whether the attack on Iran comes sooner or later, whether it is executed by Israel or the U.S. or both, and whether carried out with conventional or nuclear weapons, Morris has no doubt of one thing. It will have served the "apocalyptic" vision of the "whole Zionist project," and it will coincide with the highest values ofhumanity properly defined. (end article)

NOTE from B4B: Be prepared Warriors. The Bush Regime (with the aide of Israel) plans to frighten Americans toward voting for McCain in hopes of continuing the Military-Industrial Complex. Gear-Up...Be prepared...Refuse to be manipulated.

Time For Judgement....TIME FOR OBAMA !

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Obama Meets With Afghan President Karzai

(AP) Fisnik Abrashi

KABUL, Afghanistan — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged steadfast aid to Afghanistan in talks with its Western-backed leader Sunday and vowed to pursue the war on terror "with vigor" if he is elected, an Afghan official said.On the second day of an international tour designed to burnish his foreign policy credentials, Obama and other U.S. senators held two hours of talks with President Hamid Karzai at his palace in the Afghan capital.

Obama has chided Karzai for not doing more to build confidence in the Afghan government, whose grip remains weak after the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.U.S. Embassy spokesman Mark Stroh said the senators had discussed issues including the painstaking rebuilding of the country's government and economy, the security situation and corruption with Karzai.The Afghan presidency said Obama's message was positive."Sen. Obama conveyed ... that he is committed to supporting Afghanistan and to continue the war against terrorism with vigor," said Humayun Hamidzada, Karzai's spokesman.

Both Democrats and Republicans "are friends of Afghanistan and no matter who wins the U.S. elections, Afghanistan will have a very strong partner in the United States," Hamidzada said.Obama has made Afghanistan a centerpiece of his proposed strategy for dealing with terrorism threats.

OBAMA 2008 !

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

PHOTO 1: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) meets with troops in Kuwait, in this frame grab taken on July 18, 2008 and released on July 19. After leaving Kuwait, Obama met the commander of U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan Saturday to talk about the war he says is not getting enough attention from the Bush administration.
PHOTO 2: In this photo released Saturday, July 19, 2008, by the the U.S. Army, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., shakes hands with service members at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Friday, July 18, 2008, during a Congressional Delegation visit.
PHOTO 3: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Friday, July 18, during a Congressional Delegation visit.
PHOTO 4: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., poses with SPC Lakeisha Willingham, 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), after a shoot-around game of basketball at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. (The media is showing the 3-point shot Obama made.)
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New Hampshire To Accept FREE Oil From Chavez !

Norma Love

CONCORD, N.H. — Two years ago, New Hampshire refused to accept heating oil from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the pro-Castro U.S. critic who once called President Bush "the devil." But with fuel prices rising, well, free oil is free oil.

With the state's blessing, New Hampshire residents will be receiving some of the fuel this winter.
New Hampshire becomes the last state in the Northeast to embrace the offer.
"A lot of people have said, `We need help and we value any help we can get,'" said Amy Ignatius, director of New Hampshire's office of energy and planning.

The oil giveaway will be managed by Citizens Energy, a nonprofit organization set up by former Massachusetts Rep. Joseph Kennedy to help the poor stay warm. But the state energy office plans to help Citizens publicize the aid and sign up fuel-oil dealers.

It is just the latest example of how rising oil prices have brought about an attitude adjustment in the U.S. Over the past few weeks, for instance, pressure has been growing in Washington and around the country to lift the federal ban on offshore drilling.
Back in 2006, when Chavez began offering free oil to Americans from Venezuela's government-controlled Citgo, New Hampshire's energy office contacted the Venezuelan Embassy about working out a deal.

But the idea galled some New Hampshire Republicans, including Sen. John Sununu, who called it a "disgrace" and an attempt at grandstanding by Chavez, and Democratic Gov. John Lynch squelched the effort.

Note from B4B: Sure could use some of that free oil here in Ohio !

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McCain 'Accidentally' Leaks Details of

Obamas Secret Trip To Iraq
Reuters reports that McCain shared details of Obama's trip to Iraq at a fundraiser:

NOTE from B4B: Just as I thought. Weeks ago, when I first started hearing McCain prompting Obama to go over to Iraq, my very first thought was....this could be a set-up. Now I don't know if it's because I have been following the corruption of the Bush Regime for the past number of years or because I've just watched The Godfather 1-2 and 3 in a row....whatever the case.....I smell a rat. I hate to say it, but I would not put it past this bunch of organized thugs personified to try to get Obama out of the country, as in over in Iraq, and then set him up for danger. I mean, can we really trust BlackWater to protect him. And now, McCain is even spelling out Obama's secret Iraq itinerary ! PATHETIC. So now, since Reuters and Huffington Post have already started spilling the itinerary beans, it's up to all 'O' Warriors to further spread this story so that it is so well known that Obama cancels the Iraq leg of his trip. Here is the article as appeared on Huff Post:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Friday that his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, is likely to be in Iraq over the weekend.
The Obama campaign has tried to cloak the Illinois senator's trip in some measure of secrecy for security reasons. The White House, State Department and Pentagon do not announce senior officials' visits to Iraq in advance.

"I believe that either today or tomorrow -- and I'm not privy to his schedule -- Sen. Obama will be landing in Iraq with some other senators" who make up a congressional delegation, McCain told a campaign fund-raising luncheon.

Josh Marshall points out that there's something very wrong with this:
The Reuters piece hints at it. But if Obama is going to be in Iraq this weekend, this is a major breach on McCain's part. As a knowledgeable insider notes ...
"If it is true that Obama is going to Iraq this weekend, it is a very serious mistake for McCain to have disclosed it publically. Even for run-of-the-mill CODELs the military gives guidance like,

"Please strongly discourage Congressional offices from issuing press releases prior to their trips which mention their intent to travel to the AOR and/or the dates of that travel or their scheduled meetings. Such releases are a serious compromise to OPSEC." If Obama is going to Iraq this weekend, I can not begin to imagine how much this is complicating the security planning for the trip."

It's known that Obama is leaving on his foreign trip this weekend and the Journal OpEd page this morning said that Obama could arrive in Iraq "as early as this weekend." And with a slew of reporters in tow, it's not exactly highly classified information. But there is a reason definite information about these sorts of trips aren't released in advance.

Hypothetically, maybe McCain was just guessing. But even so it would still be a serious lapse of judgment on his part.

In fact, McCain was furious when the press reported on his son serving in Iraq -- he feared the coverage would make him a target.
NOTE from B4B: We added the word 'accidentally' to the Huff title because we just know that McCain wouldn't do something this foolish on purpose.....right? But if he can't handle proper procedures for the security of one man, how will he handle securing our country. Finally, imagine the media uproar if this had been reversed.

See MORE from DailyKos
or article: "Obama's Aides Furious At McCain For Blabbing" New York Daily News


UPDATE: To those who prayed for Obama's safe journey....Prayer Works!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Finally....The TRUTH About Off-Shore Drilling

From Michael Schwartz

Dean Baker of Truthout recently published a wonderful article about McCain's plan for oil drilling off the Florida coast.

Baker makes three very important points about this plan.
First, there is simply not enough oil there to make any kind of difference in terms of the energy crisis: "The Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects that if we go the drilling route, we could hit peak production of 200,000 barrels a day by 2030." This is a trivial quantity, amounting to about 0.2% of the world's production at that time, and about 1% of the U.S. consumption right now. It would increase domestic production by less than 3%. So offshore drilling would do nothing at all to reduce the price of oil or to "reduce dependency on foreign oil," to invoke everyone's favorite slogan.

Second, Baker makes the point that the media has severely distorted the debate between McCain and Obama:
"The media have portrayed the disagreement between Senators Obama and McCain as to whether to allow drilling in the currently protected offshore areas as a question of values. Senator Obama values the environment, while Senator McCain wants to bring down energy prices and promote economic growth."

This portrayal of the debate is a complete misrepresentation, since "McCain's plan will have no measurable impact on the price of oil or on economic growth. In other words, Senator McCain is willing to jeopardize the environment in these protected areas for nothing."
Finally, Baker makes this telling point, that there are easy-to-execute conservation measures that would do far more to reduce the oil crunch:

"There are alternatives to drilling for oil in environmentally sensitive areas that can produce real results. Conservation is the most obvious.... Suppose we raised average fuel efficiency to 40 MPG by 2030; this would save us more than 5 million barrels of oil per day, 25 times as much as we would get from Senator McCain's offshore drilling. Since many cars sold today already get more than 40 MPG, this is hardly an unrealistic target. Wherever we set our targets, the simple arithmetic shows that it is far easier to have an impact on oil markets through conservation than drilling in environmentally sensitive areas."

Baker did not, however, ask this question: Why would McCain advocate such a plan, instead of the straightforward conservation measures that are much better?

There are two answers to this question.

First, though McCain's plan for off shore drilling will not ease the energy crisis, it is a dandy piece of patronage for the oil industry. Halliburton and other oil service companies will get huge contracts to drill there, while the big distributors (Exxon and the gang) will be able to make very nice profits from extracting and selling the 200,000 barrels per day. (Profits from this amount of oil could easily exceed three billion dollars per year). The fact that taxpayers will foot the bill for government support of the project (including guarding the platforms, protecting them from weather, etc) and then pay the environmental price of its impact is of no never mind to McCain, since he can depend on the media to portray these expenses as the price we pay for alleviating the oil crisis.

Second, McCain does not want to impose 40 mpg on auto manufacturers because this would cut into their profitability by forcing them to develop hybrid and alternate fuel automobiles. These are expensive and problematic projects that the manufacturers know would cut into their already fragile profits. McCain, for his part, does not want to make the already struggling auto manufactuers "take one for the team." The same goes for all the other conservation measures (like cogeneration, which would reduce manufacturing profits, or insulation, which would reduce housing contractor profits).

The big point is this. During the energy crisis, Washington is conducting "politics as usual": exploiting public alarm to enact destructive policies that are profitable to a key corporate clients, and avoiding constructive policies that would probably reduce the profits of key corporate clients.

What can we learn from all this? One lesson is that policies relating to the big problems facing our country turn out to be deeply entangled with the loyalty of government officials to the short term profits of the biggest corporations. Another lesson is that government officials can depend on the media to help them "justify" their service to industries by concealing the real impact of their policies.

Time 4 Judgement....TIME 4 OBAMA !

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