“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."

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Pakistan Rethinking "War on Terror" Strategy.

In a speech outlining the government's policies, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani emphasized social and political reforms to address the causes of militancy.

Pakistan rethinks US policy on militants

By Barbara Plett
BBC News, Islamabad
The new prime minister says the fight against terrorism is his top priority
There is a buzz of excitement in the wood-panelled assembly hall of Pakistan's parliament.

After eight years of military rule, the new legislators feel empowered by an enormous popular mandate.

And they are ready to tackle unpopular policies, especially Pakistan's participation in what is called the War on Terror.

"We've gone through enough problems because of following different agendas of different countries - we need to follow our own agenda," said one parliamentarian from the governing coalition, speaking to a crush of reporters outside.
"Pakistan must get out of America's fatal embrace," said another.

Out of the loop

Comments like these alarm the Americans, because Pakistan is crucial to their Afghan policy.

Since 9/11 they have relied on President Pervez Musharraf and the army for cooperation against al-Qaeda and the Taleban, in exchange for billions of dollars.
Until now parliament was out of the loop.

"No one in this country knows what General Musharraf has agreed with the Americans or anyone else!" says Ahsan Iqbal, a minister in the new cabinet.

The president apparently agreed to an increase in US air strikes in the Taleban strongholds near the Afghan border.

Militants killed almost a thousand people in suicide attacks last year
These have killed around 50 people this year, including militants.

Like everyone else, Mr Iqbal read about the tacit understanding in the newspaper.
Such heavy handed tactics "give a cause for these militants to fight for", he says, "so therefore I think whatever strategy we work out, the sovereignty of Pakistan must be respected and we should not give more fuel to these militants".


Pakistanis believe a deadly bombing campaign in the country is the price they are paying for missile strikes and large scale army operations against the militants.
Nearly a thousand people were killed in suicide attacks last year.

And massive injections of American aid have made little difference to their security.

"The general perception in Pakistan is that the deal over the War on Terror was favourable only to one party and unfavourable to Pakistan," says Aseff Ahmad Ali, a member of the governing Pakistan Peoples' Party and a former foreign minister.

"The Americans give us a billion dollars a year for the War on Terror. But where has the money gone? We don't know, maybe to the army.

"But we do know there's been no trickle-down effect - there is neither internal (security) nor food security nor development.

"To the common man the US-Pakistan deal looks absolutely awful. It has to be renegotiated."


In a speech outlining the government's policies, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani emphasized social and political reforms to address the causes of militancy.

He also said the government would negotiate with those who laid down their arms.
Some of his coalition partners go further, like the Pashtun Awami National Party (ANP), which has gained power in the North West Frontier Province near the Afghan border.

"This problem is not going to be solved by my going to talk to the tribal elders only," the provincial chief minister, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, told the Dawn newspaper.

"Unless we somehow approach the one who has taken up arms, or is involved in suicide bombing or has gone to the other extreme, and reach an understanding with him, the problem would not be solved."

'Clear and present danger'

This is a long term solution, but does America have the patience to wait? The head of its Central Intelligence Agency is sounding very impatient.

"The situation on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border presents a clear and present danger to... the West in general and the United States in particular," Michael Hayden said during a recent interview on NBC television.

"It's very clear to us that al-Qaeda has been able for the past 18 months or so to establish a safe haven along the border area that they have not enjoyed before.
"Operationally, we are turning every effort to capture or kill that leadership from the top to the bottom."

Tanvir Ahmed Khan, a former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan argues that "the Americans have leverage (in Pakistan), but not the same degree as before".
"There would be a restive parliament. There is no strong opinion in parliament for reversing the policy, but there is a strong opinion for moderating it, for a better mix between military and diplomatic measures."

Military wary

But will Pakistan's powerful army agree?

President Musharraf's attempts at peace deals only strengthened the militants and put the military on the back-foot, says retired General Shujaat Ali Khan. The military would be wary of going down the same path again.

"There may be an (initial) agreement on the part of the militants, to sort of pull back their punches", he says, "but during this two or three month period there is a danger that they may regroup.

"And if the armed force is withdrawn, there may be a resurgence, and they'll strike again."

Many here also believe that peace inside Pakistan will be difficult, as long as American and Nato troops remain in Afghanistan.

On Sunday the Pakistan Taleban Movement (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) responded to the government's overtures.

It said it was ready to end attacks inside Pakistan if the authorities showed flexibility, but the 'jihad' against America would continue in Afghanistan.
"Our war is with America", local Taleban leader Maulvi Faqir Muhammed told a rally. "Whenever Pakistan will work for American interests as its ally, we will oppose it."


  1. I can't wait to see how this works out.

  2. Ron Paul is looking a lot better these days.

    It's too bad we trashed him.

  3. Just as many are thinking "We should get out of Dodge" vis a vis Iraq so too will they reach the same conclusion regarding Afghanistan because, at its root, the same dynamic is at play and military force is not the right tool to get the job done.

  4. I am just about ready to chuck it in on Iraq and all the 'stans. NATO too, for that matter.

    Close the bases, bring the troops home and bask in the love and adoration of the world.

    Love, Peace, Happiness


  5. Ash:

    I still would like to know what you think would happen if we withdraw. How do you see a post US middle-east and south Asia?

    I am not being snarky, I just want to know.

  6. Personally, I think Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are going to descend into the medieval world of Islam.

  7. JPOST:
    US and Russia to sign strategic document
    A document outlining a plan for strategic relations between Russia and the United States will be signed this weekend, reported Reuters Tuesday.
    According to a Kremlin source, "experts are working on a joint document, which will become a road map of our cooperation during a transitional period and for the medium term."
    Reuters reported that Russian President Vladmir Putin and US President George W. Bush will meet at Putin's Black Sea residence on Sunday. No further details were reported.

    I hope they come to an agreement of cooperation on eradicating the Islamers.

  8. It depends on what you mean by a US free Middle east. There is a large difference, in my opinion anyway, between withdrawing the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and the region being US free. We will still retain a large amount of influence. Money does equate to power to a certain extent as does the ability to strike, militarily, by choice.

    If we simply turned tail and left Iraq I think there is a good chance that the elected government of Iraq would fall and a civil war could ensue leading to a larger regional war. This may also occur if we stay. How we withdraw could play a role in what follows afterward but that is where the debate and discussion should turn. Announcing that we will withdraw and convening local, regional and international talks toward finding a solution upon our withdrawal might yield some fruit. If an Iraqi ceasefire could be negotiated and regional forces/UN forces induced to supervise it a civil war and a regional war might be averted. As in all peacekeeping mission there must be a peace to keep.

    Iran may very well consolidate their control in Iraq but it would come at a price, probably a similar price we are currently playing. Hence the notion 'let them cuddle the tar baby'.

    In short, planning for withdrawal, and withdrawing, would most likely yield better outcomes then staying put. Staying put is not yielding satisfactory outcomes so it is time to debate and execute withdrawal.

  9. "...descend into the medieval world of Islam."

    The place is already Islamic. These are people and what forms their Islamism is to take should be up to them. We can respond as it relates to US but they need to find a way to deal with it. Saddam hated Islamists, Sharia Law. Turkey has a long history of resisting Islamic law and Iran has become a theocracy - many believe we had a lot to do with them ending up in such a nasty way (support of the Shah ect.). Iran without an external enemy in US might find it much harder to suppress the dissent of the young. Our actions do have an effect, not always the ones we desire.

  10. Another Crusade?

    Should We Fight for South Ossetia?
    by Patrick J. Buchanan
    Posted: 04/01/2008

    In echo of Warren Harding's "A Return to Normalcy" speech of 1920, George Bush last week declared, "Normalcy is returning back to Iraq."

    The term seemed a mite ironic. For, as Bush spoke, Iraqis were dying in the hundreds in the bloodiest fighting in months in Basra, the Shia militias of Moqtada al Sadr were engaging Iraqi and U.S. troops in Sadr City, and mortar shells were dropping into the Green Zone.

    One begins to understand why Gen. Petraeus wants a "pause" in the pullout of U.S. forces, and why Bush agrees. This will leave more U.S. troops in Iraq on Inauguration Day 2009, than on Election Day 2006, when the country voted the Democrats into power to bring a swift end to the war.

    A day before Bush went to the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, to speak of normalcy returning to Iraq, he was led down into "the Tank," a secure room at the Pentagon, to be briefed on the crisis facing the U.S. Army and Marine Corps because of the constant redeployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    As The Associated Press' Robert Burns reported, the Joint Chiefs "laid out their concerns about the health of the U.S. force." First among them is "that U.S. forces are being worn thin, compromising the Pentagon's ability to handle crises elsewhere in the world. ... The U.S. has about 31,000 troops in Afghanistan and 156,000 in Iraq."

    "Five plus years in Iraq," the generals and admirals told Bush, "could create severe, long-term problems, particularly for the Army and Marine Corps."

    In short, the two long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are wearing down U.S. ground forces of fewer than 700,000, one in every six of them women, to such an extent U.S. commanders called Bush and Dick Cheney to a secret meeting to awaken them to the strategic and morale crisis.

    This is serious business. With the Taliban revived and the violence in Iraq rising toward pre-surge levels, the Joint Chiefs are telling the commander in chief that the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are worn out.

    Crunch time is coming. And what is President Bush doing?

    He is flying to Bucharest, Romania, to persuade Europe to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which means a U.S. commitment to treat any Russian attack on Kiev or Tbilisi like an attack on Kansas or Texas.

    Article V of the NATO treaty declares that "an armed attack against one or more (allies) shall be considered an attack against them all." Added language makes clear that the commitment to assist an ally is not unconditional. Rather, each signatory will assist the ally under attack with "such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force."

    Yet, it was understood during the Cold War that if a NATO ally like Norway, West Germany or Turkey, which bordered on the Soviet Union or Warsaw Pact, were attacked, America would come to its defense.

    Can any sane man believe the United States should go to war with a nuclear-armed Russia over Stalin's birthplace, Georgia?

    Two provinces of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, have seceded, with the backing of Russia. And there are 10 million Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east of that country, and Moscow and Kiev are at odds over which is sovereign on the Crimean Peninsula.

    To bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO would put America in the middle of these quarrels. We could be dragged into a confrontation with Russia over Abkhazia, or South Ossetia, or who owns Sebastopol. To bring these ex-republics of the Soviet Union into NATO would be an affront to Moscow not unlike 19th century Britain bringing the Confederate state of South Carolina under the protection of the British Empire.

    How would Lincoln's Union have reacted to that?

    With a weary army and no NATO ally willing to fight beside us, how could we defend Georgia if Tbilisi, once in NATO, defied Moscow and invaded Abkhazia and South Ossetia -- and Russia bombed the Georgian army and capital? Would we declare war? Would we send the 82nd Airborne into the Pankisi Gorge?

    Fortunately, Germany is prepared to veto any Bush attempt to put Ukraine or Georgia on a fast track into NATO. But President Bush is no longer the problem. John McCain is.

    As Anatol Lieven writes in the Financial Times, McCain supports a restoration of Georgian rule over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine. He wants to throw Russia out of the G-8 -- and talks flippantly of bombing Iran.

    Says McCain, "I would institute a policy called 'rogue state rollback.' I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically elected governments."

    Wonderful. A Second Crusade for Global Democracy. But with the Joint Chiefs warning of a war-weary Army and Marine Corps, who will fight all the new wars the neocons and their new champion have in store for us?

  11. Washington has many more interests in common with Moscow than it does with Islamers from Caucasia. It's too bad that cold competition still dominates in the 2 capitals.

  12. That is the core of the arguement against the fifty years experience that McCain brings to the table.

    It is experience from a different era, from different types of threats, with different responses.

    Mr McCain cannot adapt to the present conflict requirements, his esperience will not allow it.

  13. The Islamers played Washington and Moscow for far too long. It's time to turn the table. Perhaps McCain will come to realize this.

  14. Just let me sleep. I don't want to hear about it any more.

    Alexis said...
    Even if our electorate is well informed, there is a portion of it that wants to go back to sleep. Some people are tired and they want to dream. So they take sleeping pills.

    Insomniacs who take Ambien or other sleep medications are known to get into automobile accidents they later do not remember.

    The Ambien Effect could become a problem for our ship of state. Imagine an electorate, or a portion of our electorate, that is asleep. Yet, even though these voters are not awake, they can still vote, and they vote for the political candidate whose calming effect mimics the effects of Ambien. Then, just as sleep drivers get into car crashes, the sleep voter runs our ship of state into an iceberg. And then, after the accident, the voter won’t remember anything.

    Let’s hope there aren’t many voters taking sedative-hypnotic medication on the evening of November 3.

    4/01/2008 09:33:00 AM

  15. That was a good joke about the elephant, Ash. Hanging there to be grabbed like ripe fruit, so darned obvious. You think that elephant was following an outline, was there trickery involved? It's hard to see how an elephant could draw a figure, with a flower too. And then deuce's flower picture following. Sitting here still amzed by it.

  16. It is remarkable Bobal - we and the animals are closer then many think.

  17. ...and your point about the representational nature of the painting is a very good one. Hard to believe but the camera was handheld and there were only a few edits. Maybe the beast was trained and it didn't understand what it drew, even then, pretty remarkable.

  18. Feds To Move On Border Fence Hard to believe, maybe it's true.

    That's what I wonder, could the elephant have any understanding of what he drew, or just trained to do a meaningless trick he had memorized?

  19. Elephant Intelligence

    Maybe we ought to ask the elephants what to do in the Middle East?

  20. I would like to have watched the elephant handler carefully as the elephant painted.

  21. Oh, I get it!

    All this talk around here this morning of turning Afghanistan back over to bin Laden, and letting a nuclear armed Iran run the Middle East--why, hell, it's April Fool's Day!

  22. Oh My, the Bush legacy - Every day is April Fools Day.

  23. Even though it's Fool's Day, Mugabe may be on his way out in Zimbabwe.

    Not sure I'd really want to be the guy that had to pick up those pieces. What a job ahead, if Mugabe is gone.

  24. oh Bobal, why are you such a defeatist?? Your "urning Afghanistan back over to bin Laden, and letting a nuclear armed Iran run the Middle East-" crack is just that, defeatist. Simply because we withdraw our troops in no way means that bin Laden will run Afghanistan or Iran will develop a nuklar weapon unimpeded.

  25. Mom and the Icewomen
    Did her dad lock her in the refrigerated storeroom, 'Rat?
    Laura and the Bush twins sure look like happier folk

  26. Right out of the Marley crew.

    Power that be, back in the day.
    Passed on and did not leave an active heir. But he was a real cowboy, Kemper was.

    Right on the Mexican frontier, back in Prohibition days.
    Dillinger was arrested in Douglas, AZ. Same town Pancho Villa raided.

    The 9-11 of its' day.
    Pershing marched the length and breadth of Mexico, never caught old Pancho, Lefty was another matter, of course.

  27. Keep 'em barefoot, pregnant and down on the block, doug.

    The Policies have obtained the intended Texican goal. Created a 90% Democratic voting bloc. Impoverished and marginalized them, at the same time.

    With no blame falling to the benafactors.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. The story of Kemper Marley, John McCain's chief benafactor, now deceaced. But the stories are all the more interesting, because of it.

    Kemper Marley was a living legend, here. Walked amongst us mere mortals, on occassion.
    True to his word, but crooked as a twig. A man not to be trifiled with.

  30. True to his word, but crooked as a twig. A man not to be trifled with.
    :) A man not to be pruned.

    Keep 'em barefoot, pregnant and down on the block, doug.

    Women graduate at a much higher rate than men, 73.6 percent to 66.0percent.

  31. Ahhh...
    and there's the rub, bob.

    The women are better educated, more apt to leave the fathers behind.
    So the fathers fall further behind.

    The targeted sub-culture pulverized.
    Ask Bill Cosby,

  32. Warned repeatedly that he was surrounded by spies both French and English, the imperturbable Franklin declared he had no worry, since he had nothing to hide.

    "I have long observed," wrote Ben Franklin, "one be concerned in no affairs that I should blush to have made in public, and to do nothing but what spies may see...If I was sure that my valet was a spy, as probably he is, I think I should not discharge him for that, if in other respects I liked him."

    Of the Americans around Franklin in Paris, the closest and most trusted was Dr. Edward Bancroft. Bancroft was employed as the secretary for the commission....But what neither Franklin nor Adams was ever to know was that Bancroft, too, was a British spy, his 'emouluments' from the Crown amounting to 500 pounds a year. Anything of importance that transpired within the American commission, or between Franklin and the French Foreign Minister, all instructions received from Congress, any confidences shared, where known by the British cabinet in London within days.


    from 'John Adams'

    Ol' Ben seems to have enjoyed himself in Paris, and would have enjoyed himself more, but for his aging. The frogs all seemed to love him, but where his desire was strong, his flesh was weakening.

  33. So McCain backstory...

    In 1948 fifty two employees of Kemper Marley's Arizona liquor monopoly, UNITED LIQUOR, went to prison on federal liquor violations, including Jim Hensley, the father-in-law of Senator John McCain. Hensley was the General Manager of UNITED LIQUOR. On the basis of this, some people might feel UNITED LIQUOR could be described as organized crime. The slick attorney who kept Marley out of this trial and out of prison and sent McCain's father-in-law to prison in his place was William Rendquist ----once the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court! Al Lizanitz worked for 25 years as Kemper Marley's PR man.

    It was the judgement of this court that Jim Hensley would be prohibited from working in the liquor industry from then on. Of course such judgments meant nothing to Marley. After Jim Hensley got out of prison, Marley arranged a BUDWIESER distributorship for Hensley which is now in the hands of Senator John McCain and reported to be worth $200 million.

    According to intelligence sources of the Phoenix police, who prepared a background profile of Kemper Marley the week following the Bolles murder, Marley was at one time directly connected to the remnants of the old Al Capone mob, operating the TRANSAMERICA WIRE SERVICE. This betting service was originally established in 1941 for Capone's heirs by Gus Greenbaum. Greenbaum was a Phoenix socialite seen at all the society balls in Phoenix, usually in the company of the Barry Goldwaters and Harry Rosenzweigs. In 1958 Greenbaum and his wife were found dead in their bed ---- their throats cut. This inaugurated a series of grisly gangland-style slayings.

    When Marley died, July 1990, he owned 5 square miles of Carefree --- the highest priced real estate in Arizona. The smallest lot in this most exclusive township is zoned for one acre. By some coincidence the Tax Accessors made the same mistake evaluating Marley's properties as he did on Charlie Keating's properties. This oversight was saving Marley a million dollars a year. Of course the official investigation showed no wrongdoing in either case.

    For the last 40 years Marley bankrolled Harry Rosenzweig who doled out Marley's great wealth to a slate of Republican candidates who were almost universally successful in obtaining high political office. Marley was able to control the Democratic party as well. Every congressman and every senator in Arizona currently owes his position to the Marley machine.

    Dennis DeConcini was facing a tough reelection in 1990, seeing as how he was nailed creaming off a cool $5 million with his family on an Arizona land deal dependent on the Senator's inside senatorial knowledge. The last thing in the world the Republicans wanted was to loose DeConcini's seniority. Before any other Republicans could announce, the party hierarchy formally announced their support for the weakest candidate that one could imagine. The opponent, Keith DeGreen, had ties to the Republican Party that were so weak he had not even voted in the last 2 elections.

    At one point Marley served as Chairman of the Board of the VALLEY NATIONAL BANK. When Bugsy Siegel, on instructions from Meyer Lansky, built the FLAMINGO CLUB, Las Vegas's first casino, the money was borrowed from the VALLEY NATIONAL BANK. Involvements in narcotics trafficking on the part of VALLEY NATIONAL BANK are hinted in the ARIZONA PROJECT.

    Al Lizanetz, who served as Kemper's public relations man for 25 years, is one of the richest sources for background on the liquor magnate. The Bolles murder was part of a package deal that was to include a hit on Lizanetz. According to Lizanetz, the Marley machine placed the highest priority on placing lawyers in all the key state and municipal positions. Former Attorney General Bob Corbin, who accepted a $55,000 campaign contribution from Charles Keating in a race where he was unopposed, worked for Marley (in the insurance industry) in the 50s as did the preceding 2 AGs.

    Marley placed his people in the top positions of the Department of Public Safety. The county prosecutor was also key to him. Lizanetz claims that Marley recruited Eugene Pullium to come to Phoenix to start the ARIZONA REPUBLIC/PHOENIX GAZZETT, the monopoly newspaper here which has succeeded in covering up these matters. Pullium then started the PHOENIX 40 a group of the largest business interests who virtually run the state. Eugene Pullium is the grandfather of Dan Quayle. The ARIZONA REPUBLIC/PHOENIX GAZZETT together with the INDIANAPOLIS STAR are reported to be worth $5 billion. Lizanetz claims that Ned Warren, responsible for half a billion dollars of land fraud in Arizona, was another agent of Kemper Marley.

    Marley's mentor was Sam Bronfman, the progenitor of the SEAGRAMS empire. When Bronfman visited Marley in Arizona he came in the company of Al Capone. Lizanetz claims that Jack Ruby, assassin of Lee Harvey Oswald, was also on the Bronfman payroll.


    A case in point was the scandal surrounding the sale of the BIG BOQUEUS RANCH to the Navajo nation. This matter was so stinky it called for the diligence of both Mike Hawkins and Melvin Mcdonald. It so happened that back in Washington D.C. Dennis DeConcini and John McCain were getting heat from their colleagues about all the swindles of the indian lands. As a matter of fact McCain and DeConcini were leading the charge of these swindlers. Keating's acquisition of his Estrella property, in a round about way, involved a swindle of indian lands.

    ... McCain and DeConcini, got themselves appointed co-chairman of a senate investigative committee to delve into these crimes against the indians. Enter McDonald and Hawkins.

    The BIG BOQUEUS RANCH was purchased in the morning by developers Bud Brown and his partner for $19 million and sold that afternoon for $27 million to Tribal Chief Peter McDonald on behalf of the Navajo nation. Bud Brown and his partner made a quick $8 million. In order to explore this corruption, McCain and DeConcini granted immunity to Bud Brown and his partner so that they could give testimony about the $10,000 and the BMW that they gave as a bribe to the corrupt indian chief. Meanwhile the ARIZONA REPUBLIC repeatedly hammered the indian chief day after day while not mentioning Bud Brown. The indian chief was removed from office. The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Tom Fitzpatric, in a Feb. 15, 1989 NEW TIMES article called this "the best real estate deal between white men and red men since the purchase of Manhattan."

  34. Ted Turner has evidently reached that age where final things stand out in importance---

    Ted Turner Comments on Religion

    Ted Turner said Tuesday he regrets his past condemnation of religion, as he announced a $200 million campaign with Lutherans and Methodists to fight malaria in Africa.

    Here are a few of the CNN founder's past comments on religion:


    -"What are you? A bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for Fox." - to CNN employees who had ashes smudged on their foreheads for Ash Wednesday in 2001.


    -Asked in a 1999 public appearance what he would say if he met Pope John Paul II, Turner showed the audience his foot and responded, "Ever seen a Polish mine detector?" He said John Paul should "get with it - welcome to the 20th century."


    -In 1989, he called Christianity "a religion for losers," adding, "I don't want anybody to die for me. I've had a few drinks and a few girlfriends and if that's gonna put me in hell, well, then so be it."

    -"I regret anything I said about religion that was negative." - in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press.

    If Ted is pulling an April Fools joke, it's in really poor taste.

  35. jeez, what a story.

    Turner at least seems to be recognizing that you can't take it with you.

    There really isn't anyone to vote for. Maybe I'll vote third party too.

  36. That Roberta McCain looks in great shape for 96 years. Body by Bud?

  37. We ought to apologize to the Russians for those Stinger missiles:)
    Seriously, like Mat said, we ought to team up with them against the islamoids.

    I'm hearing AlGoreInc. has hired AlSharptonInc. as a 'global warming consultant'! Along with PatRobertsonInc., too!

  38. He is a handsome, blond, young pilot - and he's not your typical baddie.


    Manfred von Richthofen, who shot down 80 British, Canadian and Australian pilots during World War I, is played by the dashing German actor, Matthias Schweighoefer.


    The young pilot, known as "the Red Baron", who painted his plane red, falls in love with a nurse, played by the British actress Lena Headey.

    Challenging Taboo

  39. McCain offers Hewitt job as Press Secretary.
    Hewitt arguing FOR Amnesty?

  40. McCain and Letterman Trade Insults on ‘Late Show’
    By Michael Cooper

    WASHINGTON – Well, it was not officially part of his biographical campaign swing, but Senator John McCain flew to New York Tuesday for a return appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman,’’ where he formally announced that he was running for president last year.
    Homer, had he lived to become a Letterman fan, might have found that the show violated the principle of the guest-host relationship. It began with Mr. Letterman, in his monologue, making some of his trademark McCain-looks-like-a-cranky-old-man jokes.
    “He looks like the guy at the hardware store who makes the keys,’’ he said, according to a transcript provided by CBS. “He looks like the guy who can’t stop talking about how well his tomatoes are doing. He looks like the guy who goes into town for turpentine. He looks like the guy who always has wiry hair growing out of new places. He looks like the guy who points out the spots they missed at the car wash.’’
    Then Mr. McCain walked out on stage.
    “Hi, Letterman,’’ he said. “You think that stuff’s pretty funny, don’t you?”
    Then Mr. McCain unleashed a slew of his own you-look-like-a-guy jokes at Mr. Letterman.

    “Well, you look like a guy whose laptop would be seized by the authorities,’’ Mr. McCain said. “You look like a guy caught smuggling reptiles in his pants.’’
    Mr. Letterman interjected: “Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.’’
    Mr. McCain continued: “You look like the guy who the neighbors later say, ‘He mostly kept to himself.’ You look like the night manager of a creepy motel.’’
    “Well, that’s what I need,’’ Mr. Letterman said.
    Then Mr. McCain delivers the coup de grace: “And you look like the guy who enjoys getting into a hot tub and watching his swim trunks inflate.’’

  41. Obama disputed the notion that his backers are behind a drive to get Clinton to drop out.

    "You know we had one supporter, Pat Leahy, say something and they've been, you know, working that pretty hard for the last week now," Obama told Pittsburgh radio station KDKA. "I've said for the last three days that I think that Senator Clinton should stay in the race as long as she wants.

    She has every right to compete and I'm looking forward to competing against her."

    Clinton is Rocky

  42. An Iraq war veteran at the town hall asked the senator's opinion of a recent decision by the Pentagon to award a a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract to a consortium led by Airbus, located in Europe, over a bid led by U.S.-based Boeing.

    Obama said he had concerns about the deal but an investigation was warranted to find out more.

    "I don't mind the Pentagon procuring from other countries but when you've got such an enormous contract for such a vital piece of our U.S. military arsenal, it strikes me that we should have identified a U.S. company that could do it," he said, though he added that he might conclude the decision was justified if it turns out Airbus' bid was 10-15 percent better than Boeing's.

    Obama vs. McCain

  43. Barack Obama and The Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law

    The resume that is attached to the questionnaire alerted me to the fact that Senator Obama included on his resume his service on the board of the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.
    I don't know when he joined the Board, but here's a sampling of the cases the CLCCCR handled in the years 1990 to 1996 --
    and these are just the ones on the organization's website:

    - Hewitt

  44. Looking through those cases it occurs to me some may have some merit, and it also occurs to me there's no better place to live than a small town.

  45. Rev. Wright Apologizes to Rich, White 'Jesus Killers'
    by Scott Ott for ScrappleFace · 93 Comments
    (2008-03-21) — The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, today attempted to quell the furor over his racially-charged preaching by apologizing to “rich, white people”, whom he had blamed for killing Jesus, and noting that “if Jesus was a poor, black man, then so was his betrayer, Judas Iscariot, as well as the poor, black Jewish mob that called on the rich, white Roman governor to have Jesus crucified.”

    “Like my spiritual nephew, Barack Obama, I’m all about getting past racism and division,” said the Rev. Wright at a Good Friday church service in Chicago. “I used to preach smack on the rich, white Jesus killers, but this week I realized that his followers were from the same ethnic group he was. So were his enemies in the mob at Jerusalem shouting ‘Crucify him!’”

    “If there’s anything that can bring blacks and whites together at Easter,” said Rev. Wright, “perhaps it’s waking up to the fact that we all done crucified Jesus, and we did it without regard to the color of his skin or the size of his bank account.”

    The retired preacher also expressed regret for calling on God to “damn America”, adding that, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

    “In other words,” he added. “We don’t need to call on God to damn us. Our actions, thoughts and words have done an excellent job of that already. When we sing ‘God Bless America’, we ain’t bragging. We’re praying. And the good news at Easter is that God the Father sent Jesus the Son to save people without regard to money or color…Yes, perhaps even to save some racist preachers.”