“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Has McCain Outsmarted Obama?

"A fox is a wolf who sends flowers."
                                      -Ruth Brown
February 17, 2008
Obama's No-Win On Financing
By Reid Wilson
Real Clear Politics

A year ago, at the beginning of his bid to secure the clean-up-Washington mantle, Barack Obama made a pact with John McCain that, if the two were to be their party's nominees, each would accept public financing for the general election. That agreement sounded far-fetched: At the time, McCain was in the middle of his high-profile free-fall in the polls, while Obama trailed Hillary Clinton by wide margins in virtually every poll.

Now, McCain is virtually the nominee-in-waiting. By his campaign's count, he has already surpassed the necessary threshold of delegates needed to win the GOP convention in St. Paul. Obama, too, is close to winning his side. He has Clinton against a wall; she needs wins in key states of Ohio and Texas in order to keep her campaign afloat. The scenario that the two candidates who most talk about reforming Washington will actually face each other in November looks more than possible, it looks probable.

Obama's own success has forced him to make a choice that opens him to attack either way. Both of his opponents, smelling potential weakness, are already hammering him, pushing him to make the choice that would give McCain a much better position from which to win the presidency.

After raising $32 million in January and about $100 million in 2007, Obama proved he can build a campaign warchest unlike any the American electorate has seen before. If he continued to raise the amount he achieved in January, Obama would have raised an additional $300 million this year, more than $100 million above John Kerry's spending in 2004. There is reason to assume that, once Obama clinches the nomination, his pace would actually pick up.

McCain, on the other hand, has never been seen as a strong fundraiser. He fell far short of his $100 million goal for 2007, raising just $40 million and ending the year with $1.5 million more in debt than he had in the bank. While his fundraising, as the nominee, will ramp up, it is reasonable to assume that, both because of McCain's slow pace and Obama's success, the Democratic candidate would have a giant financing edge over the Republican.

So McCain has something fairly significant vested in making sure both candidates stick to public financing. If they don't, Obama would be able to outspend him by leaps and bounds. If they do, McCain has a level playing field. In fact, given that the Republican National Committee has consistently outraised the Democratic National Committee, McCain would even be at something of an advantage, as the RNC could outspend its Democratic counterparts to better define the young senator.

McCain has spent much of the last several days lambasting Obama's waffling on the promise. As Democrats have done to him in recent weeks, so McCain has begun targeting Obama with verbal shots, offering a preview of the general election to come, should they face off. "I expect Senator Obama to keep his word to the American people as well. This is all about a commitment that we made to the American people," McCain said in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Clinton, on the other hand, made no such financing promise. Instead, she has based much of her campaign on the notion that she is the more electable candidate, and were she to face McCain, she would revel in her ability to outpace the Republican in fundraising. Her argument against Obama on public financing will likely be two-fold, and the first stage is already well underway.

"Last year, Senator Obama pledged to take public financing in the general election if the Republican nominee agreed to do so as well," Clinton communications ace Howard Wolfson said in a statement today, ahead of a conference call focused on the same issue. "Unfortunately, he broke that pledge this week. It now appears that Senator Obama made a promise to the American people that he is not keeping."

But the call for Obama to keep his word is a thinly-veiled trap. Should he do so, Clinton's electability argument will take on a new sense of purpose. If Obama is the nominee, she should argue, he will offer Republicans an opportunity to win. If she is the nominee, she can make the case to primary voters, she will show Republicans no mercy, making her the more electable candidate.

Obama faces two choices: First, he can take public financing, save some face now and open himself to new, stronger attacks on his electability from Clinton while providing McCain an even playing field. Second, he can back out and take a few weeks of assault from McCain and Clinton for going back on his word.

While financing a campaign is an issue few voters care about, choosing the second scenario could potentially cost him votes in a primary election. Choosing the first could risk the general election itself by giving McCain a chance Obama doesn't have to provide. The question cynics in his campaign have to answer: Do they really want to change the way politics works, or do they really want to win? The answer to that question will determine their choice on public financing.

Then again, if they decide they would rather change politics and increase their chances of losing in November, some Democrats, in February, March and April, could decide they would really rather just win.


  1. Michael Kinsley in Time mag:


    What a brilliant bluff the Republicans have been acting out these past couple of years! It's like the elaborate hoax in the movie The Sting. They had us convinced that their nominating process was some version of the Salem witch trials, testing the candidates for any sign of heresy and hanging or drowning the ones who flunked. Then they choose the very guy many Republicans most suspect of being a witch. If you doubt that the whole thing was staged, just consider who the runner-up was. How could a party truly dedicated to self-destruction through ideological purity end up with the choice of McCain or Romney?

    If the Democrats nominate Hillary, both parties will have chosen candidates who are intensely loathed by more than a few of their own members. But the parallel stops there. McCain is widely admired among Democrats, and many Democratic Hillary haters will be happy to vote for him. By contrast, there is no constituency for Hillary among Republicans who can't stand McCain. Nor, for that matter, will many of them vote for Barack Obama.

    If it's Hillary, people's growing dislike of Bush, his horrible war, his crumbling economy, his tiresome smirk, will help McCain. Even though McCain is the candidate of the President's party and even though he is the biggest supporter of the Iraq war outside of the Administration, McCain is the one who will seem like a new broom that sweeps clean. Hillary, meanwhile, has been transformed by the Washington press corps in the past few weeks from the first woman with a serious chance of becoming President into a two-headed monster always referred to as "the Clintons."

    I cannot believe that a man as fine and decent as McCain would want to become President by the underhanded tactic of accepting the nomination of a party that loves him only for his appeal to the opposition. If McCain were half the principled gentleman he pretends to be, he would drop out now in favor of Rush Limbaugh. Now there's a Republican you can sink your teeth into.

  2. "If McCain were half the principled gentleman he pretends to be, he would drop out now in favor of Rush Limbaugh. Now there's a Republican you can sink your teeth into."

    Rush Limbaugh wouldn't know a conservative if one sunk his teeth into HIM. Mitt Romney? A mere man-crush about as conservative as the earlier man-crush, GWB himself. My God, jackasses like Limbaugh and Hannity and Levin drooled at the prospect of a liberal-as-the-day-is-long Lieberman party switch and would have wasted no time before hanging his portrait in their Hallowed Hall of Phony Baloney Conservatism. Right next to Giuliani, no doubt.

    I don't need a pure conservative (and this I can claim in common with the above) nor even an obedient Republican. One tight-fisted geezer will do for now. And if it burns Saint Sowell's britches because of such transgressions as McCain-Feingold, I would only remind him who signed the motherfucker into law.

  3. I see Obama is the candidate of choice in Europe. That ought to do him in.

  4. I said before that Obama would be regarded as a rock star on the Continent. So, unfortunately, was Clinton in 92. Adored the man; despised the country.

  5. If Obama abandons Public funding, it'll do him no harm with his base.

    Not in the long term.

    It may outrage McCain, even Feingold, maybe. But no one else would care.

    For the "good of the country" he can abandon the pledge. Which he can consider, after further study, to be a mistake, limiting the power of the people. His contributors being just that, normal folk. Not PACs and lobbiests. McCain-Feingold and public funding just another step on the road to serfdom.
    Obama plays it as the "freedom" card.

    McCain playing to yesterday's concerns, Obama marching into the future, boldly. Not afraid to admit an error, unlike Bush/Cheney/McCain.

    Age & Treachery Vs Youth & Skill

    That's what the election could come down to. Seniors v Youth in the first round of the Generational War that's been forecast for a while. Or just another normal go-round?

    Hinges of PA, the election of '08.

    The rest is just media mubbling for those attuned.

  6. Obama could claim to have resolved campaign funding. good point DR>

  7. Clinton aide accuses Obama of plagiarism

    Wow. The Clintons are really nuts. With all of their corruption and baggage, it blows me away that they are stomping up and down and fingerpointing over this.

    Obama the Promised Son will dismiss this in a way that will highlight the Clintons' pettiness and hypocrisy while point the drooling, fainting, hungry masses to Change.

    All aboard the Change Express. Plagiarism? Let's Move On. Slumlord buddies? Let's Move On. Racist church? Let's Move On. Coke-snorting? Let's Move On.

    How delicious the irony. Obama the Organizer smacking the Clintons in the head with their own two-by-four.

  8. So, does McJaws have what it takes to energize his liberal base?

  9. George H.W. and Barbara have now endorsed Mr McCain. Agreeing to disagree on details, but bound by common principles.

    The moderate Republicans are coming together. To maintain their control of the GOP. The "conservatives" out in the cold, alone. Perhaps in control of Mississippi, that bastion of economic growth and beacon for the country to emulate.
    Casinos on the river banks, now heading inland, all in the name of safety.

    The core of finance reform, is accountability and transparency. Small donors, expressing themselves through their dollar donations, the core of free speach, protected by the 1st Amendment.

    What conservative can support limiting those political freedoms and their excercise?
    Especially when it betrays principle for some momentary tactical advantage.

    Obama can play that card against both Clinton and McCain. A man of the people, financed by their small donations. Unbundled coming through the internet. Nickels and dimes.

    No Rangers, Hillary Heros , Chinese monks nor businessmen.

  10. "Obama can play that card against both Clinton and McCain. A man of the people, financed by their small donations. Unbundled coming through the internet. Nickels and dimes."

    BS. If he's the people's support why does he need their money? All this is, is a more decentralized fraud scheme.

  11. Free speech does not mean monopoly of the airwaves.

  12. ..if he's ^got the people's support.."

  13. Kosovo Was Then, This Is Now... [Victor Davis Hanson]
    Quite apart from the undeniable merits of independence, in political terms Kosovo 2008 is not quite Kosovo of 1998. Let us count the post-9/11 ways:

    1. The rise of radical Islam, especially in Europe, has made Western publics edgy about Muslim-identified states, especially inside Europe.

    2. Russia is no longer a basket case, but rearming, aggressive, overflowing with petro-dollars, and eager to use oil — and more — as a weapon.

    3. Milosevic is long dead.

    4. For six years there has been a steady anti-American drumbeat in Europe and caricatures of the use of “preemption” and “unilateralism”; Euros have so turned off Americans that there is no support for reintervention to solve a “European” problem that should of course, if it worsens, be adjudicated at the Hague and other European Utopian agencies.

    5. This was a Clinton thing, and predated George W. Bush. The current tension reminds us of our forgotten American Balkan presence, that seems to have been necessary for the past decade — and without a treaty no less! And did we ever ask Congress to bomb over there, or did we go to the sacrosanct U.N.? Suddenly there are few liberal Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi talking points to be heard on Kosovo.

    6. After Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no likelihood that Americans want a third war, especially for Kosovo. Can you imagine the EU begging the Texan, twangy Halliburtonite, bible-thumping George Bush to please do something now!? I imagine right now President Bush is getting a different sort of phone call from his European friends, “Yo George?”

    7. Yet given NATO’s dismal performance in Afghanistan, it has little fides in the Balkans, and the American attitude might be ‘you didn’t want to fight much for Afghanistan, so why should we for Kosovo?’

    8. There is some EU support, especially in Eastern Europe and among Orthodox and Greek-speaking communities, for Serbia. Perhaps unfaddish and most un-European, but support nonetheless.

    Where does all this leave us? It might be a fine and noble thing for the Kosovars to have their own state like the rest of the regions of the former Yugoslavia. But let us pray that neither Serbia nor Russia calls the Western bluff about guaranteeing Kosovar autonomy, because in the present climate it really would be, well, a big fat bluff.

  14. Obama could be guilty of bumping off Princess Di, and many of his supporters wouldn't care.

  15. Diana had told him she kept a wooden box and if anything happened to her, the contents should be made public, he said. But it had not been kept safe by Diana's butler Paul Burrell, or her sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale.

    Am improperly vetted butler is a dangerous thing.

  16. Text of joint resolution on Kosovo
    Introduced in the Senate April 20 by Sen. McCain

    April 20, 1999
    Web posted at: 12:53 p.m. EDT (1653 GMT)

    Concerning the Deployment of United States Armed Forces to the Kosovo region in Yugoslavia.

    Whereas the United States and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are conducting large-scale military operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro);

    Whereas the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) has refused to comply with NATO demands that it withdraw its military, paramilitary and security forces from the province of Kosovo, allow the return of ethnic Albanians to their homes, and permit the establishment of a NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo: now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the President of the United States is authorized to use all necessary force and other means, in concert with United States allies, to accomplish United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization objectives in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).

  17. Resolution 1244 (1999)
    Adopted by the Security Council at its 4011th meeting,
    on 10 June 1999

    The Security Council,

    Bearing in mind the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security,

    Recalling its resolutions 1160 (1998) of 31 March 1998, 1199 (1998) of 23 September 1998, 1203 (1998) of 24 October 1998 and 1239 (1999) of 14 May 1999,

    Regretting that there has not been full compliance with the requirements of these resolutions,

    Determined to resolve the grave humanitarian situation in Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and to provide for the safe and free return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes,

    Condemning all acts of violence against the Kosovo population as well as all terrorist acts by any party,

    Recalling the statement made by the Secretary-General on 9 April 1999, expressing concern at the humanitarian tragedy taking place in Kosovo,

    Reaffirming the right of all refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes in safety,

    Recalling the jurisdiction and the mandate of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia,

    Welcoming the general principles on a political solution to the Kosovo crisis adopted on 6 May 1999 (S/1999/516, annex 1 to this resolution) and welcoming also the acceptance by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of the principles set forth in points 1 to 9 of the paper presented in Belgrade on 2 June 1999 (S/1999/649, annex 2 to this resolution), and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's agreement to that paper,

    Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and annex 2,

    Reaffirming the call in previous resolutions for substantial autonomy and meaningful self-administration for Kosovo,

    Determining that the situation in the region continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,

    Determined to ensure the safety and security of international personnel and the implementation by all concerned of their responsibilities under the present resolution, and acting for these purposes under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

    1. Decides that a political solution to the Kosovo crisis shall be based on the general principles in annex 1 and as further elaborated in the principles and other required elements in annex 2;

    2. Welcomes the acceptance by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of the principles and other required elements referred to in paragraph 1 above, and demands the full cooperation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in their rapid implementation;

    3. Demands in particular that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia put an immediate and verifiable end to violence and repression in Kosovo, and begin and complete verifiable phased withdrawal from Kosovo of all military, police and paramilitary forces according to a rapid timetable, with which the deployment of the international security presence in Kosovo will be synchronized;

    4. Confirms that after the withdrawal an agreed number of Yugoslav and Serb military and police personnel will be permitted to return to Kosovo to perform the functions in accordance with annex 2;

    5. Decides on the deployment in Kosovo, under United Nations auspices, of international civil and security presences, with appropriate equipment and personnel as required, and welcomes the agreement of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to such presences;

    6. Requests the Secretary-General to appoint, in consultation with the Security Council, a Special Representative to control the implementation of the international civil presence, and further requests the Secretary-General to instruct his Special Representative to coordinate closely with the international security presence to ensure that both presences operate towards the same goals and in a mutually supportive manner;

    7. Authorizes Member States and relevant international organizations to establish the international security presence in Kosovo as set out in point 4 of annex 2 with all necessary means to fulfil its responsibilities under paragraph 9 below;

    8. Affirms the need for the rapid early deployment of effective international civil and security presences to Kosovo, and demands that the parties cooperate fully in their deployment;

    etcetera, etcetera, etcetera

  18. And maybe VDH really believes the Serbs will now go to war against the army-less ethnic Albanians (making NATO the speed
    bump) but though they're morally in the right, they've got a better deal going at it in other ways. Which they will.

  19. Resolution 1244 (1999)
    Adopted by the Security Council at its 4011th meeting,
    on 10 June 1999

    Two days later the Russians rolled into Pristina. As part of KFOR.

  20. You still do not understand US politics, mat.

    The people speak with their money, their donations going to the worthiest causes. That Obama has tapped into the motherlode of small donors, by-passing the PACs and Parties, makes him all the more their representitive.

    Whether it is BS or not, is unimportant. People are voting with their pocketbooks, that's the way it is, in the US.
    A market driven system, much to the chagrin of the socialists. Of which McCain is one of the foremost. His entire life spent in Government, except for a short stint as a gigolo.

    You, mat, are always one for governmental mandates as well, knowing what is best for others, in countries not your own. While both your countries wallow in the shadow of ours, the US a society that you historicly misunderstand the motivations and direction of.

    Claiming electoral fixes and buerocratic corruption where there is none to be diserned by knowledgable observers.
    But wishing to further empower those elected and the buerocrats with ever more power and influence, in the hopes of your fulfilling your dreams.

  21. US Ambassador Zalway Khalilzad asked Serbian President Boris Tadic as both attended a special session of the UN Security Council to look at the future of the Balkan region.

    'The United States wishes to work with you as you are pursuing a path to the European Union,' Khalilzad said.

    Tadic had no reaction as he listened impassively to the translation from Khalilzad's English. He was told by the US ambassador that President George W Bush on Monday recognized Kosovo as an independent and sovereign state.

    US Extends Hand to Serbia

  22. The Muslims are supported by the US. President Bush proving once again that there is no "Clash of Civilizations", no "War on Islam".

    Further proof, that for the US, "Islam is not the problem".

    That's the tasting of this particular pudding. Proof positive.

    The US, in Kosovo, following mats' advice, fracturing historic countries into tribal entities. If it goes well in Kosovo, perhaps Turkey will be next.

    Or Iraq, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.
    But not likely in any of those cases.

    The Pakistani elections are ongoing, today. A new day will dawn there, as well.

    It's time to placate the Wahabbists, the core of Team43s' policy formulations, for the past six years, the US continuing on course, full speed ahead!

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. "The people speak with their money.."


    How about speaking with their vote?

    Gee, what a novel idea, you say. Anyway, there's nothing particularly clever here. All you're doing is introducing a TOR anonymity scheme to politics.

  25. CALLS to change the “vocabulary of terrorismâ€‌, stress the importance of education, share the security concerns and build strong transnational organisations, were made at the end of the fifth US-Islamic World Forum yesterday.
    Making the closing remarks at the three-day annual dialogue forum, Carlos Pascual, vice-president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, highlighted some of the hotly-debated arguments and suggestions that were put forward by the scores of attendees from across the US and Islamic World.

    The event was organised by the Saban Center at Brookings, Doha and the Permanent Committee for Organising Conferences at the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    “Terrorism is not Islam.

    Muslims were the first victims of what we should call â€کviolent extremism’. This vocabulary, most have realised, needs to be changed, since it drives the drivers of terrorism to further commit their crimes,â€‌ said Pascual.

    Vocabulary of Terrorism

  26. "You, mat, are always one for governmental mandates as well, knowing what is best for others.."

    I know enough to know that US politics is corrupt to the core. I know enough to know that every last one of them is a scoundrel, without exception.

  27. Celebrate Presidents' Day by personally defining what an American president ought to be. When those characteristics are defined, vow to vote for the person who best represents those traits.

    The next president should make a lasting influence on U.S. politics, foreign affairs and the nation's economy. The person should be able to give one more reason for Americans to pay homage to Presidents' Day next year.

    Happy Birthday, George Washington. As the Father of this country, may your legacy live on.

    American Presidency

  28. The Muslims are supported by the US. President Bush proving once again that there is no "Clash of Civilizations", no "War on Islam".

    - Rat

    You are absolutely right. And there never was.

    "The people speak with their money, their donations going to the worthiest causes."

    As it should be. Once again, you are correct.

    "A market driven system, much to the chagrin of the socialists. Of which McCain is one of the foremost. His entire life spent in Government, except for a short stint as a gigolo."

    Are we now defining a socialist as one who spent his entire life in government service? I certainly hope not. Amigo.

    so·cial·ism /ˈsoʊʃəˌlɪzəm/
    1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
    2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
    3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

    (Gigolo? Oh, for crying out loud.)

  29. I wonder if Giuliani's *five years* in private practice saved him from being a socialist?

  30. Certainly she knew the risks of returning from exile. “I would have done anything to spare my children the same pain that I had undergone — and still feel — at my father’s death,” she writes.

    “But this was actually one thing I couldn’t do; I couldn’t retreat from the party and the platform that I had given so much of my life to.”

    Her platform, laid out in this volume as democracy in Pakistan and a vision of reconciliation between the Muslim world and the West, was an optimistic one in which globalization promotes tolerance, not resentment, and in which “modernization and extremism are contradictory and mutually exclusive.” It was a platform deeply shaken by her own untimely death.

    House of Bhutto

  31. "The people speak with their money, their donations going to the worthiest causes."

    Again, it is not their money. And it is not going to the worthiest causes. Eventually, with the ever inflated price of politics, what you'll end up with is the guillotine for the privileged class.

  32. Trish sounding more and more like we in the Bush Cheerleading Team @ BC did for a year or two.

    The First Amendment, Respect for Real National Borders and a sane immigration policy no big deal.

    Importing vast numbers of illiterates, criminals, and occasional Jihadis part of accepted dogma of what is good for America.
    United States be damned.

  33. We got a government. We got an income tax. We are socialist now. It's just a question of more, or less. The sentiments of Robert Frost.

    Not to mention all the other taxes, state, and local.

  34. If we are contacted by the aliens, the first question I'd ask, after the meaning of it all, is about their government, and the tax system, if they have those things.

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. But going back and picking up on the principles in the Bill of Rights is not going back to ancient times. What is ancient, which we've had before, that is the inflationary system.

    It has been known for thousands of years how that debased currency. But also, tyranny is what is ancient.

    And now we're getting total control of our lives and loss of our privacy and loss of our freedoms and loss of our economic benefits.

    Ron Paul

  37. Di Was Bumped Tabloids Scream

    Missing Wooden Box

    Conspiracy At Highest Levels


    Last Updated: Monday, 18 February 2008, 21:14 GMT

    Diana murdered, Al Fayed claims

    Mr Al Fayed said Princes Philip and Charles plotted together

    Al Fayed points finger
    Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed were murdered, Dodi's father Mohamed Al Fayed has told the inquest into their deaths in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
    Harrods owner Mr Al Fayed claimed former prime minister Tony Blair, MI5, MI6 and the British ambassador to France were all part of the conspiracy.

    And he said Princess Diana "knew Prince Philip and Prince Charles were trying to get rid of her".

    He also said Diana had told him she was pregnant, and the couple were engaged.

    "I am the only person they told," he said.

    'Crocodile wife'

    Asked by Ian Burnett QC, counsel to the inquest, if he stood by his claim that Diana and Dodi were "murdered by the British security services on the orders of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh", Mr Al Fayed replied: "Yes."

    He also pinpointed alleged security forces in the ambulance crew, the then British Ambassador to France Sir Michael Jay and the princess's brother-in-law Sir Robert Fellowes as all being involved in the plot.

    And he said Prince Charles was complicit, hoping to make way so he could marry his "crocodile wife" Camilla Parker Bowles.

    My belief (they) were murdered was confirmed when I learned Lord Condon and Lord Stevens did not show the coroner the note

    Mohamed Al Fayed

    Al Fayed's 'moment' in court

    The Harrods boss also raised concerns about a note written by Diana's divorce lawyer, Lord Mishcon, after an October 1995 meeting. It outlined her fears there was a plot to kill her in a car crash.

    The police agreed to hand it to the coroner only after Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell, produced a note from the princess making similar allegations in the Daily Mirror in October 2003. By that time, Sir John Stevens led the Met.

    Mr Al Fayed said this delay confirmed his "belief that my son and Princess Diana were murdered".

    In his evidence, Mr Al Fayed branded Prince Philip a "Nazi" and a "racist" and said: "It's time to send him back to Germany from where he comes."

    "You want to know his original name - it ends with Frankenstein," he added.

    Wooden box

    Mr Al Fayed read out a statement detailing his main concerns about the crash, and the points he felt the inquest should address.

    Diana had told him she kept a wooden box and if anything happened to her, the contents should be made public, he said. But it had not been kept safe by Diana's butler Paul Burrell, or her sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale.

    He also said blood samples apparently taken from driver Henri Paul - who was also killed in the crash - did not belong to the Frenchman.

    She knew Prince Philip and Prince Charles were trying to get rid of her

    Mohamed Al Fayed

    Claims point-by-point
    Profile of the Harrods boss

    Mr Al Fayed felt the murder was likely to have been carried out by photographer James Andanson, who has since died, on the orders of the security services.

    He also said bodyguard Trevor Rees - the only survivor of the Paris crash - was "turned against" him by MI6, as were his colleagues Kes Wingfield and Ben Murrell.

    During his evidence, Mr Al Fayed held up a copy of Monday's Sun newspaper, which claims Paul Burrell said he had not told the whole truth to the inquest.

    He said of Mr Burrell: "He's been sitting here in the witness box talking about baloney things. It's important to bring him back."

    'Dignity in death'

    Lord Justice Scott Baker later told the court: "This is something that's certainly being investigated."

    The coroner said he had called for the Sun's tape and would want to know the circumstances under which it was obtained.

    Richard Horwell QC for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner put it to Mr Al Fayed that he had denied Diana "dignity in death" by raising the question of her pregnancy.

    The barrister added that "witness after witness" had been asked about her method of contraception and her menstrual cycle, "and the evidence shows she could not have been pregnant".

    Mr Al Fayed replied: "All the witnesses who have been saying this are part of the cover-up and have been told what to say."

    The Harrods owner broke down when asked about the moment he was told Dodi was dead.

    He said someone from security told him, but when asked if he remembered a call from Ritz hotel president Frank Klein, he answered: "It's difficult. I'd like to know why you are asking me things like that."

    Mr Klein has told the inquest he telephoned Mr Al Fayed to break the news and he replied: "This is not an accident."

  38. I'd be circumspect to a degree Trish, a little bit ago you were, to my ear, arguing for ideological purity, damning the pragmatism of the "moral majority," and saying "to hell with the Republican Party" in general.

  39. I'll be interested to see if Mr. Larry Sinclair takes, and passes, the $100,000 lie detector challenge.
    If he does, and passes, and it's a reputable lie dectector firm, I'd be inclined to believe the guy.

  40. "…for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

    Telling quote from Ms. Obama.

    Many leftists love America not because of what it is or what its done, but because of how they hope to shape it and make it. It isn't patriotism, it's narcisism.

  41. The U.S. Treasury Department may pay the FEC-certified amounts beginning in January 2008. Treasury Department regulations require that funds for the convention and general election grants be set aside before any matching fund payments are made.

    Information provided by the Treasury Department shows the balance in the fund as of November 30, 2007 was $166,233,140 and the Commission has estimated that no funds will be available for matching payments in January 2008. As deposits are made from tax returns in the early months of 2008, matching fund payments will be made from those deposits until all certified amounts have been paid.

    Based on historical patterns, the FEC estimates that funds may not be available to disburse before March 2008.

    Matching Funds

  42. I'd be circumspect to a degree Trish, a little bit ago you were, to my ear, arguing for ideological purity, damning the pragmatism of the "moral majority," and saying "to hell with the Republican Party" in general.

    Mon Feb 18, 07:38:00 PM EST

    There was nothing "pragmatic" about the Moral Majority. Nor "conservative" in the Hayek/Mises/Friedman sense.

    I quite frankly am extremely tired of a pervasively poisonous and rabidly divisive political atmosphere that I regret just such a focus on ideological purity has helped to bring about. I can elaborate, but I think that's about the bottom line, cutler.

  43. And we've long since passed from the outskirts of ideological purity to a dumbed-down, stripped-out issue- purity, rendering the consequences all the more depressing.

  44. Not much news on Pakistan's election. Mushy's judges haven't yet had time to mess with the vote, I'd quess.

  45. Lunar eclipse saved Columbus. Question: who were the interpreters?

    The Moon will turn an eerie shade of red for people in the western hemisphere late Wednesday and early Thursday, recreating the eclipse that saved Christopher Columbus more than five centuries ago.
    In a lunar eclipse, the Sun, Earth and Moon are directly aligned and the Moon swings into the cone of shadow cast by the Earth.

    But the Moon does not become invisible, as there is still residual light that is deflected towards it by our atmosphere. Most of this refracted light is in the red part of the spectrum and as a result the Moon, seen from Earth, turns a coppery, orange or even brownish hue.

    Lunar eclipses have long been associated with superstitions and signs of ill omen, especially in battle.

    The defeat of the Persian king Darius III by Alexander the Great in the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC was foretold by soothsayers when the Moon turned blood-red a few days earlier.

    And an eclipse is credited with saving the life of Christopher Columbus and his crew in 1504.

    Stranded on the coast of Jamaica, the explorers were running out of food and faced with increasingly hostile local inhabitants who were refusing to provide them with any more supplies.

    Columbus, looking at an astronomical almanac compiled by a German mathematician, realised that a total eclipse of the Moon would occur on February 29, 1504.

    He called the native leaders and warned them if they did not cooperate, he would make the Moon disappear from the sky the following night.

    The warning, of course, came true, prompting the terrified people to beg Columbus to restore the Moon -- which he did, in return for as much food as his men needed. He and the crew were rescued on June 29, 1504.

  46. RE: Mrs. Obama's quote.

    Truth hurts.

    Pol Pot wanted to "unite" Cambodia too.

    ...[switching gears]...

    Obama's Global Poverty Act

    Bush said the US was to end all tyranny in the world.

    Obama says the US to end all poverty in the world.

    I sure wish we could have presidents without messiah complexes.

    Feeding their egos is getting expensive.

  47. At the Government College for Women, Shahrah-e-Liaquat, MQM PS candidate Muqeem Alam asked the law-enforcement agencies and election commission officials to disallow journalists from entering, which resulted in a heated exchange between the candidate and election commission officials.

    The polling in this college started late due to the late arrival of polling agents. Only MQM polling agents were present in the college and the election material was not brought till late in the morning.

    The DJ government Science College presented a similar situation. Polling at these two centres was slow, as people avoided coming out, ostensibly due to the tense situation that had been prevailing since Sunday night.

    Polls Fever in Lyari

  48. It makes me sick that Obama is even considered to be a serious candidate. If his and her leftists credentials do not ignite the indignation and action of the so-called conservative right, nothing will.

    It is a fool's dream to expect a sudden shift to the right after four years of an Obama presidency. Petulance and pedantry will be rewarded with a structural shift to the left and be so deeply implanted by the bureaucracy and the courts, that no future Reagan mythical charchter will be able to right it.

  49. mat tells US that monies that people contribute to their political causes are not really theirs to give. As the people themselves are property of the State, one assumes is his point.

    The fascist/communist concept. Everything belongs to the State. Loaned to the people, but title never transfered.

    Not the way we do it here, which is why he is an alien. Why Israel depends upon US for its' continued existence. As the Israelis are leaving their promised land faster than they are immigrating there. The last million or so immigrants, not even real Jews, not racially pure, but economic refugees from Eastern Europe.

    If Government is looked upon as the solution, the viewer is at least a Socialist, trish. Those that have spent a lifetime in Government, look first to Government for the solution.

    Mr McCain has spent a lifetime looking to Government as the soltion to the challenges facing the US. Rudy is younger, so those five years are a large percentage of his adult life. In NYCity Rudy used a multitude of means to change the course that City was upon. But, yes, he had a strong Socialist core to his governing techniques.

    The Presidents that have not spent a life in Government are few and far between, their record now seen through the fog of time, which has removed the sharp edges, at least.

    Obamas' and Ron Pauls' technique, raising money through the internet, from small donors will make the old line campaign finance reforms, old. Todays problems not answered by yesterdays solutions

    mat rejects that people can vote with their pocket books, while he has voted with his feet, abandoning Israel to a government he has stated is made up of corrupt criminals, while he lives under the US security blanket, in Canada.

    A true patriot, indeed.

    The US will choose the leadership it deserves, come November. Neither of the frontrunners light my fire, but there is definately a choice in proposed courses between the two.

    Anyone living in a battleground State will have a true choice to make. One that will effect the future of the US, to be sure.

    Whether the candidates are pure of heart or not.

  50. Look at bobal flippin' the jab:

    Obama could be guilty of bumping off Princess Di, and many of his supporters wouldn't care.

    If we are contacted by the aliens, the first question I'd ask, after the meaning of it all, is about their government, and the tax system, if they have those things.

    Love it!

  51. There is no "conservative" right that matters, duece.

    Where do they hold sway, out side of Mississippi?

    Not in any population center of the US. Not in any major State.

    They had not a single prospective candidate in the field during the Primaries that polled in double digits.
    Duncan Hunter, Ton Trancedo,
    1%ers, like outlaw bikers.

    Mr Thompson, started strong, but faded fast. No support from the conservatives, not because he was off message, but because there are no conservatives to rally.

    Mr Huckabee, running a religious revival, more so than a political campaign. His organization church based, and polling around 20% overall.

    Mr Romney not winning a single State that he had not lived in.

    Rudy, whom I thought could be a viable candidate for the GOP, not a social conservative, is perhaps a fiscal one, but not even viable in the GOP primaries, let alone a national election.

  52. I believe it was Sam that pointed out that there are 20,000,000 single mothers who make up a Democratic voting block (if they vote). That was a group that did not exist in the fifties and sixties. It is a result of a structural cultural change.

    That is not going to get undone because of existing changes in law that were forged by the civil rights era and expanding governmental programs and transfer payments.

    That expanding pool was in no way diminished by team 43. It is poised for another expansion.

    It will obviously reach an unsustainable point and cause an unpredictable upheaval at some time in the future, unless of course economic history is turned on its head.

    I think you are correct Rat. The conservatives seem to be a choir without a church.

  53. McCain won, that's where the core of the GOP is.
    Along with the Bush family.

    Bush41 on board.
    43 will be, soon enough.

    While Billary is melting down, saying Obama plagerized the speech of quotes from the Declaration and FDR. First used by the current Mass. Governor, Obama is using a similar deleivery of old lines that stir the patriotic fervor.

    "We hold these truths to be self evident

    Nothing to fear, but fear itself

    Just words. Just hope"

    Not real plagerism, to quote the Declaration or FDR.

    Were the "Bush Tax Cuts" really "Conservative"? Hannity says so, but many would disagree. Seems to me that without spending caps, they were a liberals dream.
    More compassionate than conservative.

    What is the "conservative" baseline?

  54. There has been an obvious up-tick in security at the airports the last few weeks. it seems it is spreading:

    "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Amtrak passengers will be subjected to random screening of their carry-on bags as part of a new security initiative that will include armed officers and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling platforms and trains, an Amtrak spokeswoman said Monday.

    Details of the new effort, which were first reported by The Associated Press, will be announced Tuesday, the spokeswoman, Tracey Connell, said.

    Unlike airlines, Amtrak has had few visible changes to security since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but in recent years trains have been the targets of terrorism.

    In 2004, bombings of commuter trains in Madrid, Spain, killed 191 people. A series of bombings in London in 2005, most of them on subway trains, killed 52 people. And security experts have long pointed out the vulnerabilities associated with rail travel and the difficulty in securing trains.

    Amtrak chief executive Alex Kummant told AP the new measures are not a response to a "new or different specific threat," but rather, he said, "just the correct step to take."

  55. If Government is looked upon as the solution, the viewer is at least a Socialist, trish. Those that have spent a lifetime in Government, look first to Government for the solution.

    - Rat

    This is far from my experience. But my corner of the government is undoubtedly a bit different.

    Additionally, insofar as looking at the government as a solution, there is a vital distinction to be made between government solutions and legitimate government responsibilities. Those responsibilities have unfortunately become warped and confused in the growth of government itself.

  56. In Ohio, Obama emphasized a populist economic message in seeking support at a rally in Youngstown as well as while touring an aerospace and military contractor in Niles. He criticized the nation's trade policies, including Clinton's past support of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was implemented during her husband's presidency.

    "If you believe in change, we can reverse that," Obama said. "I believe in capitalism.

    I believe in the free market. But there is something wrong with CEOs making more in 10 minutes than ordinary workers are making in an entire year."

    Credit for Speeches

  57. Headlines in the paper here last week said sports stadiums and trains terror targets.

  58. 'Cancerous Israel to vanish soon'

    "The cancerous growth Israel will soon disappear," Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Muhammad Ali Jafari wrote to Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the FARS news agency reported Monday.

    Jafari: If attacked, Iran will target US Forces in neighboring countries

    In a letter of condolence following last week's assassination of Hizbullah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh, Jafari said: "I am convinced that with every passing day Hizbullah's might is increasing and in the near future, we will witness the disappearance of this cancerous growth Israel by means of the Hizbullah fighters' radiation [therapy]."

    That seems clear enough, does it not? And brings to mind Elijah's post of yesterday that spoke of the up arming going on.

  59. "There was nothing "pragmatic" about the Moral Majority. Nor "conservative" in the Hayek/Mises/Friedman sense."

    And there's an argument to be made that there's nothing "pragmatic" or "conservative" about McCain. Particularly in the Hayek/Mises/Friedman sense.

    "I quite frankly am extremely tired of a pervasively poisonous and rabidly divisive political atmosphere that I regret just such a focus on ideological purity has helped to bring about. I can elaborate, but I think that's about the bottom line, cutler."

    And I think a focus on ideological purity had very little to do with said atmosphere.

  60. “The regional and global developments have increased the necessity to enhance Iran-Japan ties twofold,” the Iranian president said in his message to Yasuo Fukuda on Monday.

    President Ahmadinejad noted that historical relations between the two countries have always been based on friendship and cooperation.

    “Tehran welcomes the development of ties with Tokyo in different fields,” the Fars News Agency quoted him as saying.

    Ties Necessary

  61. By the way, that's a beautiful fox. One critter we don't seem to have many of around here.

  62. "Particularly in the Hayek/Mises/Friedman sense."

    A free trader who favors government spending limits. Gee, cutler, lemme think...

  63. "And I think a focus on ideological purity had very little to do with said atmosphere."

    To what would you attribute it?

  64. The primary Governmental responsibility is securing the country, physically securing it.

    In this matter, the Federals have failed, without question. 12 to 20 million illegal resident aliens proof enough of that.

    While the Government expands its' authority and power in areas where it has no real Constitutional mandate. This done more by "conservatives" of late than by the "liberals".

    The Government continues to grow, unabated by any of the GOP in power. The GOP, like Mr McCain in the forefront of Governmental expansion. Mr Bush, Cheney, DeLay, et al, front and center in Governmental expansion. During the past six years of GOP governence, matched only by Federal expansion under LBJ & Nixon.

    The "conservatives", not very. At least not ideologically. Not strict constructionist constitutionalists by any means.

  65. If ideological purity was driving things, Bush never would have even been elected or reelected, or detested to such an extent by the Democrats.

    From my vantage point McCain's a clear national greatness conservative. The kind who loves Teddy Roosevelt. It's no surprise the Weekly Standard loves him. He isn't a libertarian or small government republican. "Spending limits" will subside to the latest high profile big "problem" or necessary "reform" that comes along.

    I'll support him as better than the opposition (probably by far), but he isn't a small government conversative anymore than Bush was.

  66. Nice fella, Sam. Most of the illegals in Idaho are in the south of the state. Further up north here there is not so much for them to do. We have a big air base at Mountain Home.

  67. We had foxes back at home, bob. In the little woods back of our house. Our neighbor fed them. We fed the squirrels, woodpeckers, blue jays, doves, chipmunks and whatever else came around at dawn.

    Miss that living in the city.

  68. *conservative, for the non-dyslexic

  69. "Party purity," extreme partisanship, has a better claim to being responsible for the atmosphere, imo.

  70. And I don't think that atmosphere's going away anytime soon. No way.

  71. I'd agree with that, cutler.

    Partisianship, not policy differences, is what is driving the process.

  72. The primary Governmental responsibility is securing the country, physically securing it.

    - Rat

    And liberty and property. Making the courts and police also a matter of legitimate responsibility. So yes, that is the entire reason for the monopoly on the use of force and the extent of that legitimate responsibility.

    And you are right, the government has failed in that responsibility.

  73. "Spending limits" will subside to the latest high profile big "problem" or necessary "reform" that comes along.

    - cutler

    Hell. You could say that of any Republican who gets the WH. But I don't think that'll be the case this time around, cutler.

    And in this sense and others, I think he'll be a *better* president than Bush has been. Setting the bar low. But there you have it.

  74. I don't know why we don't have foxes here. There may be some, but scarce. Plenty of mice around. Lots of coyotes, and they must eat pretty much the same as foxes. Lots of woodlots. I don't get it. All sorts of birds. I talked to a guy today that told me three elk had been shot out by my farm. Said the guys got arrested too. We've had a big herd roaming around in the neighborhood the last few years. Blasted them from the car, from the road, he said.

  75. "Party purity," extreme partisanship, has a better claim to being responsible for the atmosphere, imo.

    Mon Feb 18, 11:15:00 PM EST

    I agree.

  76. I think he'll be better than Bush too, provided, of course, he doesn't die and give us Huckabee or some schmuck.

    But I'd still like to label him what he is, so hopefully we'll have better choices next time. And keep the road open for the eventual great libertarian counter-revolution that comes sometime around 2040 (let me have some hope).

  77. In this sense, he can be likened to Ronald Reagan, who flunked all of the traditional tests of electability in 1980—he was one of the most ideologically extreme candidates ever nominated, he was ignorant of some basic policy details, and he was nearly 70 years old—but whose style, presence and wit connected with the masses and overrode all of those concerns. The term "Reagan Democrat" was born and he won in such an intimidating landslide that his political foes essentially let him enact whatever reforms he wanted for his first few months in office.

    Hillary Clinton, by contrast, calls to mind Walter Mondale, who in 1984 combated Reagan's sunny vision with what Newsweek described as "a gigantic To-Do List, a leaden compendium of programs heaped one on another … as if he intended to crush his audiences in specifics."

    Democrats have enjoyed simultaneous control of the White House and both houses of Congress for a grand total of two years since Jimmy Carter was voted out. Now, presented with a candidate who is inspiring record turnout and demonstrating broad appeal in some of the most Republican parts of the country, you'd think the excesses of a relatively small percentage his supporters would be the least of their concerns.

    Support is Real

  78. I'd like to say that I don't think Obama could possibly actually really get elected President, but then in the back of my mind is I don't know, I can't imagine it, but I don't know.

  79. We had (have) deer in the woods, too.
    We put out dried apples for them that we bring back from Connecticut. Some jackass a few years ago shot a few and left them to rot.

    Just for shits and giggles. It was sad.

  80. He won't take that campaign cash, if he's the nominee, I'd bet on that.

  81. Maybe the coyotes got all the foxes.

  82. These guys were at least gutting them out, when the sheriff drove up.

    Actually, I've wondered about that Sam. Drive the competition out. You might be right.

    I always laugh. We had a German Shepard girl, kind of young, but full size. Rambuncteous. She took out after a young coyote, and he turned around, and really really snarled. That was enough for her. Tail between the legs and outta there:)

    Get some coyotes together, they can take down a deer, and it's not pretty to watch.

  83. Mr. Bloomberg’s chances of winning in November are put at a distant 60-1. He must also contend with a hex that seems to have been cast on City Hall.

    Mr. Giuliani’s flameout is the latest example. No New York mayor has won higher office since John T. Hoffman was elected New York governor in 1868.

    Even the Chicago Cubs, nearly a full century since their last World Series triumph, have not labored under as enduring a curse.

    No NY'er in WH

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  85. Got a friend here who's got dogs. His neighbors also. He tells this story how his and his neighbors dogs go out hunting kangaroo at night. Neighbors dog never came home one night. Went out looking for it and found it near the house with his guts ripped open. Still alive whimpering. Kangaroo got him pretty good. Collected him up and took him to the vet. Vet managed to get him re-stuffed and fixed him up. As soon as he was all healed up the 1st thing he did was go out hunting kangaroo again. 2nd time he wasn't so lucky. Stupid dog.

  86. If the Federal power fails to protect the people, do not the people take it upon themselves?
    Is that not an inalienable right?
    To defend ones home and hearth, the markets and streets, from murder and mayhem?

    Mon Feb 18, 11:58:00 PM EST

    God bless the 2nd Amendment, no matter how unfortunately worded.

    (And don't get me started on the whole fundamentally confusing idea of a Bill of Rights.)

  87. But most of his mushy sentiments come without any pedigree. Just at the Founders Day dinner, Obama proclaimed that:

    * "Change does not happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up."

    * "We take refuge in cynicism and think it's wisdom."

    * "I did not get into this race to tear anybody down, I got into this race to lift this country up."


    Obama preaches each of these koans with gospel authority; each is ultimately meaningless. All of them are parts of Obama's stock speech, but the Founders Day event also featured a new addition meant to counter the Clinton charge that it takes more than just words to be president.

    War of Words

  88. Do I want to *see* a Habu solution to our domestic difficulties? Fuck no.

  89. Bob

    I have some rather well fed fox around here. I have a few bird feeders that attract squirrels. The squirrels get too comfortable and have found various ways to get into the attic. I have solved the problem with a free fire zone within 20 meters of the house. A squirrel down in the afternoon is never there the next morning. I only do that in the winter months, but the fox hang around and eat the new ground hog pups, which pleases my neighbors who cut across the back with their horses.

  90. This comment has been removed by the author.

  91. All I've got is bugs, unfortunately.

  92. Confusion over the missing voter rolls also incensed some of Musharraf's backers at the station. Khanja Muhammad Khursid Alam shook his head in disgust as he watched an election worker struggle to find another voter's name.

    "They are untrained people. They don't know how to work in polling stations.

    People come out and want to vote," said Alam, a polling representative and member of Musharraf's party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q.

    Rebuking Musharraf

  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

  94. Did you ever read George Tenet's Presidential Medal of Freedom cite, elijah? I didn't. Probably an oversight on my part.

  95. "mat tells US that monies that people contribute to their political causes are not really theirs to give. As the people themselves are property of the State, one assumes is his point.. The fascist/communist concept. Everything belongs to the State. Loaned to the people, but title never transfered."


    That's not what I said. What I said is that the money given is not their money. All you're doing is decentralizing the money distribution. The source for the funds remains the same, big money. It's not very hard to envision big money funneling money to a Church for example, and have these funds distributed through the members of that church. Basically, what MoveOn is all about. The net result is that you've priced out the ordinary citizen out of the political process.

    What you need is to lower the price of admission, not raise it.

  96. Good stories. I like all sorts of animals. I have a skunk here, that I've been feeding. He's so fat now he can hardly walk, and he expects to be fed, almost.