Monday, August 25, 2008

Lobbyists would steal America given the chance

Quote: ‘The Only Whores I Know Are Lobbyists’
-David Paterson (Governor of New York)


"As one of the leading critics of Washington's quid pro quo culture, John McCain has not just denounced the influence lobbyists have over policy and the legislators who make it......Yet, McCain's offices have been part of the revolving door culture. Mother Jones conducted a review of lobbying disclosure forms and publicly available information at OpenSecrets.org and Legistorm.com. The records show that since the Keating Five scandal, which by McCain's own account turned the Arizona senator into a crusader for reform, at least 20 McCain staffers—working for McCain's personal Senate office or for one of the committees he has chaired—either came to McCain's employ from a lobby shop or joined one after leaving the congressional payroll." -Mother Jones


McCain’s Billion Dollar Lobbyists
"According to a new analysis by Campaign Money Watch, an officially nonpartisan but left-leaning campaign finance watchdog group, lobbyists with ties to Sen. John McCain’s campaign have taken in nearly $1 billion from U.S. customers in the last 10 years. From the Campaign Money Watch press release:
On the campaign trail, McCain regularly vows to end the influence of special interests in Washington. However, his own campaign has frequently come under fire for its ties to lobbyists. The Washington Post today reports that a lobbying firm by headed Randy Scheunemann, a senior foreign-policy adviser to the McCain campaign, was working on behalf of the Georgian government while Scheunemann advised McCain on matters related to the former Soviet republic — raising questions about McCain’s aggressive posturing during the country’s current conflict with Russia.
In May, the campaign instituted new rules prohibiting current registered lobbyists from working directly for the campaign — prompting five high-level campaign advisers to resign. Last week, Campaign Money Watch launched a Website that tracks the fund-raising of 40 lobbyists — and their clients — in McCain’s orbit. These new numbers suggest McCain’s efforts to reduce the presence and influence of lobbyists in his campaign may have been mostly cosmetic."


"FOX portrays Cindy McCain as victim of "attack" ad, compares to Michelle Obama smears
E.D. Hill, who should be banned on FOX from even mentioning Michelle Obama, compared the disgraceful comments made about Mrs. O ("terrorist fist jab," forming a "lynching party," impugning her patriotism...) to a two-second clip of Cindy McCain inserted in a Florida Democratic Party anti-McCain commercial.
Hill reported that John McCain called the inclusion of his wife in the video "outrageous" and said that Obama should understand - he has said attacks on his wife are infuriating. In the FOX video you'll see McCain Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker accusing Democrats of hypocrisy for these supposed "attacks" on Cindy Hensley McCain.
You don't need to watch the whole FOX video; they change the subject. Then watch the actual ad -which we must note was not shown, because it would blow the whole "attack" and "hypocrisy" accusations - and see what a molehill they are trying to turn into a mountain; you might just laugh out loud at the absurdity." -Chrish

"The unemployment rate stands at 5.7% and we have lost 463,000 jobs since the first of the year. And so is inflation. It’s accelerating at a faster rate than it has in 17 years. Gas prices are up 34% in the last year. Oil was around $26 a barrel when President Bush was inaugurated… it touched $147 a few weeks ago. More than 1 million homes are now in foreclosure.
Here are some national comparisons between today and where things were 8 years ago: Americans’ wages have actually gone down since the last recession ended. And we are spending 14.1% of our disposable income on debt; that’s higher than it was in 2001.
Americans are pretty glum about the future, too. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index stood at almost 85% in 2001; now it’s just below 52%.
Also, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll finds 75% of those surveyed think the economy is in bad shape; that’s compared to just 43% who felt that way a year ago.
So as the conventions get under way and the campaign for the White House heats up — voters have a lot to think about." -The Cafferty File
The most dangerous country in the world, Pakistan, has had a collapse of it's multi party alliance that has governed the country since the resignation of Musharraf. The danger is that Pakistan a nuclear power with Taliban supporters in the government and Al Qaeda in the tribal areas is a country ripe for terrorists to gain power and direct policy. The country has at best a caotic political system and dangerous radical and fringe groups. The country remains a tinderbox.


Recommended Book:

Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values
"Rigorous, honest, devastating; I couldn't put it down." -- Vanessa Redgrave
"Gripping, furious and very serious indeed". -- John le Carré
"Sands has written a page-turning investigation into one of the darkest mysteries in American history: how a country that has led the world on human rights came to embrace a policy of barbaric abuse. One by one, he corners the suspects and sifts the clues, shedding new light at each step along the way." -- Jane Mayer, staff writer, The New Yorker Magazine "Philippe Sands has uncovered the proper assignment of responsibility for torture and cruel and unusual punishment administered by the U.S. in the so-called Global War on Terror. Read this book to learn who made these decisions. More importantly, read it to learn how under George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney America abandoned its strongest pillar of power--its own integrity." --Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell "A remorseless, shocking, forensic narrative, Torture Team leads us from Rumsfeld's office in the Pentagon, via a score of eager-to-please lawyers and bureaucrats, and shows us the brutal consequences for one detainee. The parallel with Nazi Germany's descent into immorality is impossible to escape. This may well be the most important book to emerge since 9/11."-- Robert Harris, journalist and bestselling author of Pompeii, Imperium and The Ghost "Sands's...book put[s] "the torture team" - the group of more than a half dozen Bush Administration lawyers who gave the green light for the introduction of torture - into sharp focus." - Scott Horton, Harper's Magazine "Torture Team, Sands’s book...may well be the best bit of contemporary investigative journalism you will read: it is right up there with Woodward and Bernstein, a tour de force of relentlessly dogged pursuit, of interviews with guilty men acquired against all the odds, a beautifully told and humane narrative that follows a paper trail and nails the truth." -- The Sunday Times (London) “Philippe Sands uses extensive interviews and documents to portray with painstaking accuracy what occurred in the White House – and that it did so because lawyers at the highest levels of government enabled it to happen…Torture Team’s purpose is not solely to ascribe blame, however, though it does so with clarity and precision. Sands’ other goal is to consider redress for these crimes.” – The Financial Times
"No wonder the former Rumsfeld capo, Douglas Feith, is trying to discredit a damaging interview he gave to the British lawyer Philippe Sands for another recent and essential book on what happened, Torture Team." -- Frank Rich, The New York Times


CONSERVATIVE COUNTERPOINT


Little Rhetoric Riding Hood
"Barack Obama has made his economic thinking excruciatingly clear, so it also is clear that his running mate should be Rumpelstiltskin. He spun straw into gold, a skill an Obama administration will need to fulfill its fairy-tale promises.
Obama recently said that he would "require that 10 percent of our energy comes from renewable sources by the end of my first term — more than double what we have now." Note the verb "require" and the adjective "renewable."
By 2012 he would "require" the economy's huge energy sector to — here things become comic — supply half as much energy from renewable sources as already is being supplied by just one
potentially renewable source. About 20 percent of America's energy comes from nuclear energy
produced using fuel rods, which, when spent, can be reprocessed into fresh fuel." jewishworldreview -Geroge F. Will


Democrats are nervous "I flew into the airport here on Sunday and the pilot could barely land because of the fog of bad advice. Democrats are nervous because Barack Obama’s polling lead has evaporated. And when Democrats are nervous, all the Santa Monica Machiavellis emerge from their fund-raisers offering words of wisdom. And the subtext of the advice being offered this year is that Barack Obama should really be someone else.
Some sages are saying that Obama needs to get specific. He needs to lay out concrete plans and legislative agendas. Apparently, having nominated Obama, they really want a replay of the Dukakis campaign.
Others say he needs to describe his experience in government better, to make Americans comfortable with him as chief executive. Apparently, having nominated Obama, they want him to run as Chris Dodd.
Still others say he needs to be a scrappy class warrior defending the middle class against the depredations of the rich overlords with their multiple homes. Apparently, for these people it wasn’t enough that they got to live through Al Gore’s “people versus the powerful” campaign just once. They want to relive the joy again and again." -DAVID BROOKS

SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT


At Conference on the Risks to Earth, The participants were not particularly optimistic
This ancient hilltop town, rife with Roman, Greek, Norman and other influences, is hosting a very modern gathering: a conference on global risks like cyberterrorism, climate change, nuclear weapons and the world’s lagging energy supply.

Dr. Antonino Zichichi, a physicist, ran a conference in Sicily to discuss global risks like cyberterrorism and climate change.
RelatedVisit the Dot Earth blog for more on the Erice meeting, including a video interview with Harvard's Richard Wilson. More than 120 scientists, engineers, analysts and economists from 30 countries were hunkered down here for the 40th annual conference on “planetary emergencies.” The term was coined by Dr. Antonino Zichichi, a native son and a theoretical physicist who has made Erice a hub for experts to discuss persistent, and potentially catastrophic, global challenges.
The participants were not particularly optimistic. They presented data showing that the boom in biofuels was depleting Southeast Asian rain forests, that “bot herders” — computer hackers for hire — were hijacking millions of computers, and that the lack of progress over handling nuclear waste was both hampering the revival of nuclear energy and adding to terrorism risks.
The meetings, which end Sunday, were sponsored by the Erice-based Ettore Majorana Foundation and Center for Scientific Culture and by the World Federation of Scientists in Geneva. Both organizations are led by Dr. Zichichi with what the physicist Dr. Richard L. Garwin, a longtime Erice conference participant and expert on nuclear weapons, affectionately called “imperious” zeal.
Dr. Zichichi, 78, controls every aspect of the sessions, including the seating in the seminars and the wine selections at the nightly dinners.
His goal is to foster what he calls “a science without secrets and without borders,” mixing disciplines and cultures, and to laud veterans and emerging talents in hopes of propelling breakthroughs.
He said past successes included focusing attention on the need to reduce nuclear stockpiles and developing the first detailed analysis of flood risks along the Yellow River in China.
The threat of cyberattacks was also a focus of this year’s meeting. In a session on information security, Hamadoun I. Touré, the secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, warned that pervasive computer use, while offering the prospect of a global “knowledge society,” also made billions of individuals into potential superpowers.
“Every single brain on earth is equal and can trigger an attack,” he said.
-By ANDREW C. REVKIN, Published: August 23, 2008 ERICE, Sicily


BUSH AND CHENEY MUST BE IMPEACHED!


Marine Cpl. Anthony G. Mihalo, Died: August 14, 2008 23, of Naperville, Ill.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died Aug. 14 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Also killed was Lance Cpl. Juan Lopez-Castaneda.








Marine Lance Cpl. Travis M. Stottlemyer, Died: August 17, 2008 20, of Hatfield, Pa.; assigned to the 3rd Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Company, Marine Corps Security Forces, Norfolk, Va.; died Aug. 17 in Manama, Bahrain, as a result of a non-hostile incident.










Army Pfc. Jonathon L. Luscher, Died: August 17, 2008 20, of Scranton, Pa.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Scranton, Pa.; died Aug. 17 at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained in a non-combat-related incident.










Army Staff Sgt. Kristopher D. Rodgers, Died: August 16, 2008 29, of Sturgis, Mich.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Aug. 16 in Korengal, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.



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