Archive for October, 2007

The Bush administration once imagined that its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq would be anchored by friendly neighbors, Turkey to the west and Pakistan to the east. Last week, as the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to deteriorate, the anchors themselves also came loose.

On Sunday, just days after the Turkish Parliament authorized an invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan, Kurdish guerrillas ambushed and killed 17 Turkish soldiers inside Turkey. In Karachi, Pakistan, a massive bomb nearly killed U.S.-backed Benazir Bhutto, who was supposed to help stabilize the country. The Bush administration’s entire Middle East policy is coming undone — if it even has a policy left, other than just sticking its fingers in the multiple, and multiplying, holes in the dike.

In Iraq, the Kurds of the north are the United States’ most reliable allies. In addition to the 5.5 million Kurds in Iraq, however, persons speaking dialects of Kurdish constitute around 11 million of neighboring Turkey’s 70 million citizens. There are another 4 million Kurds next door in Iran, and up to 2 million in Syria. All three of Iraq’s northern neighbors fear that Kurdish nationalism, which has been fostered by the U.S. occupation of Iraq, could tear them apart. Opposition to that nationalism could provide a platform for an alliance of Syria, Turkey and Iran — a nightmare for the Bush administration. Washington had hoped to isolate Syria, an ally of both Iran and of Hezbollah in Lebanon. That’s not how it is turning out.

Read the rest at Salon.com

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By Porter Stansberry

It gives me no pleasure to tell you about my dinner with Ann Coulter…

I was thrilled when a mutual friend invited me to join him, Doug Casey, and Ann for dinner in New Orleans. I thought, regardless of her rabid political views, surely Ann Coulter is an intelligent, curious, well-read person who has insight into the world…

Wrong. Dead wrong.

Ann Coulter is stunningly ignorant of the issues outside of constitutional law (she is a lawyer) and politics. Thus, in her view, politics is both the cause of all of our problems and the only possible solution.

Over dinner she reiterated her obnoxious opinion that the “experiment” with woman’s suffrage is the root cause of big government. Like a child playing with an Etch-a-Sketch, she points to a straight line, leading back through history. There, she says… big government started right there, in 1920. That’s when the 19th amendment was ratified, ergo that’s the cause of the whole problem. After that, according to Ann, it was all downhill.

Doug and I looked at each other curiously… But Ann, that same line, if you move it just a bit further, actually seems to start in 1913, when the Federal Reserve was created, the prohibition of income taxes was repealed and the Republic was put to rest through the direct election of senators. Don’t you think these changes to the Constitution and the policies they enabled – like FDR’s gold seizure and our resulting experiment with paper money – were far more significant than woman’s suffrage?

Ann Coulter had never heard of the gold standard. She didn’t believe us when we told her that in 1933 FDR seized all of the privately held bullion in the country, then devalued the dollar – probably the greatest financial crime in history. She didn’t even know it was illegal for citizens to own bullion up until 1974. Bretton Woods? Coulter thought we were talking about tennis rackets. She told me flatly “I don’t know anything about finance or economics.” Not even the basics, like how inflation affects prices or the key role paper money and progressive income taxes have played in building the welfare state. We might as well have been talking to a horse. Ann just looked at us, her long face turned sideways with incredulity.

Lacking anything intelligent to say, she decided to simply insult us. “I was a libertarian as a teenager, but I emerged from adolescence…”

Good one, Ann. What a zinger.

Regards,

Porter Stansberry

 

Yes – it’s true – you can watch him say it. (We had to get past our aversion to the smirk to even watch this interview!) Listen closely – it’s at the 3:52 mark on the video:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 — The head of the Federal Communications Commission has circulated an ambitious plan to relax the decades-old media ownership rules, including repealing a rule that forbids a company to own both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city.

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the commission, wants to repeal the rule in the next two months — a plan that, if successful, would be a big victory for some executives of media conglomerates.

Among them are Samuel Zell, the Chicago investor who is seeking to complete a buyout of the Tribune Company, and Rupert Murdoch, who has lobbied against the rule for years so that he can continue controlling both The New York Post and a Fox television station in New York.

The proposal appears to have the support of a majority of the five commission members, agency officials said, although it is not clear that Mr. Martin would proceed with a sweeping deregulatory approach on a vote of 3 to 2 — something his predecessor tried without success. In interviews on Wednesday, the agency’s two Democratic members raised questions about Mr. Martin’s approach.

Read the rest at NYTimes.com

Freedom Rider: Nancy Pelosi, Public Enemy Number One

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

From Black Agenda Report

“If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have ‘Impeach Bush’ across their chest, it’s the First Amendment.” – Nancy Pelosi

The Democratic Speaker of the House would like to arrest activists for loitering. Her Quisling like behavior has led protesters to her front door in San Francisco, but she has only herself to blame for the inconveniences she and her rich neighbors now suffer. The great unwashed masses have a right to assemble at her home, her office, or anywhere else they choose in order to exercise what is left of their right to speak freely. Her own words show her level of contempt for the democratic process.

It is clear that Nancy Pelosi’s reign as Speaker has been an absolute disaster for the Democratic party and for the entire nation. Her eagerness to cooperate with the Bush regime is matched only by her incompetence in leading Congress. Under her watch, Congress gave Alberto Gonzales, on his way to riding out of town on a rail, a significant victory by expanding FISA regulations to allow warrantless surveillance of American citizens.

frpelosiwbush.jpg

The story of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act debacle has been blamed on Bush. It is true that he once again lied about a terror threat, but it is not true that Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats were innocently stampeded. The Democrats had every intention of caving from the very beginning. Pelosi and the rest of the leadership promised the ACLU and other civil liberties groups that they wouldn’t pass a bill without first investigating the extent of White House law breaking and without consulting them first. They did no such thing. As an ACLU lobbyist put it, “They turned around and screwed us over – and the Constitution – all at once.”

Disappointment in the Democrats, pleas to “grow a spine” miss the point entirely. Pelosi and her clique have no interest in Democracy. They go through the flimsiest pretense of opposing Bush when they have no interest in doing so. Her goal is to preserve the status quo, not to overturn it.

Nancy Pelosi now has stated publicly what she thinks of us, the citizens of this country. We are an irritant to be tolerated, not people with rights that must be respected. Pelosi is an omen, a warning that acceptance of Democrat party actions is the first step on the road to political hell. It is a lesson that must be learned now, before President Hillary Clinton takes office.

The fix is definitely in for Clinton to win the Democratic party nomination. The Democratic candidates’ fundraising prowess versus Republicans is a sign that the big money political donors of both parties are all betting on the Democratic horse.

Clinton’s ascension to the throne now reserved for family dynasties should not be accepted as an absolute victory. The “middle of the road” after Bush is still right wing. Triangulation this time around means more war, New Orleans destroyed and deserted, and more dirty dealings in Congress.

Pelosi, Harry Reid and the rest of what passes for Congressional leadership have perfected their criminal enterprise. Every act of treachery is followed by lame excuses for inaction. The truly spineless ones, progressives wallowing in denial, foolishly whine, asking each other what is wrong when the answer stares them in the face. The Democratic party is complicit in killing democracy.

Activists must keep protesting at her house and working for her defeat in the 2008 congressional elections. They must also cease cooperating with her. The farce must end before it is too late. Pelosi, like Bush, has no loyalty to her constitutionally based responsibilities. She must no longer be treated as though she is a friend when she has proven herself to be an enemy.

Civil liberties groups and antiwar groups must stop meeting with Pelosi or her staff. They must finally realize that they can only play a role in movement politics. It is said that insanity is defined as repeating the same action over and over yet expecting a different result. Progressives have waged many righteous battles in the last seven years, but they are about to go down in history as insane actors in a badly written play.

Activists must begin making demands. They must demand impeachment, they must demand that New Orleans be rebuilt, they must demand no further funding for occupation in Iraq or for a new war in Iran. Pelosi and her co-conspirators must be called out as the back stabbers that they are. Only then will democracy have any chance of being restored.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com. Ms. Kimberley’ maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at freedomrider.blogspot.com. More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda Report archive page.

From EditorandPublisher.com

NEW YORK The Associated Press said today that it is suing online news distributor “Moreover” and its parent company VeriSign. The news cooperative is seeking to stop the companies from accessing and publishing AP material and infringing on copyrights and trademarks.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York today. AP sent the companies a cease-and-desist letter on September 11.

“The Associated Press spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year gathering and reporting the news, providing original coverage of vital breaking news that cannot be obtained anywhere else,” Tom Curley, president and CEO of the AP, said in a statement. “When someone uses our content without our permission, they are free riding on our newsgathering and our reporting of news from around the world.”

A spokesperson for VeriSign said the company could not comment on pending litigation.

AP is seeking unspecified damages and a permanent injunction against the companies.

“Moreover” claims that AP is a source for its major news coverage, according to AP. “This suit is about two companies that are willfully misappropriating and infringing upon AP’s proprietary news reports on a continuous basis, and are falsely associating themselves with AP, to operate and promote their fee-based and ad-supported services, which they promise will deliver real-time news in as fast as two minutes of publication,” Srinandan Kasi, AP vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

VeriSign, based in Mountain View, Calif., offers services that enable and protect billions of interactions every day across voice, video and data networks.

This has the potential to seriously affect the way you get your news. AP is obviously not in the business of disseminating the news, but rather in the business of business. 

There is a portion of the lawsuit that indicates they will are not just upset about the posting of entire stories or snips but also sites that post links.

We will continue to post as we always have until the judgment is handed down. If the ruling is in favor of AP, we will have to rethink how we post articles from them.

Interesting times, eh?

This post at The Existentialist Cowboy is too long to re-post here – but really needs to be read!! Take the time in your day to check it out.

From The Wall Street Journal online:

The third-quarter disclosure reports out today indicate that Rudy Giuliani’s campaign is actively returning checks in denominations that are tied to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with eight returned checks to individual donors for $9.11, and one returned contribution of $911.

Giuliani, who was New York mayor at the time of the attacks, took some heat last month when reports surfaced that a group of California supporters were hosting a “$9.11 for Rudy” fund-raiser. Critics and presidential opponents said the former mayor was capitalizing off the terrorist attacks, but his campaign stressed that there was no direct connection between the individual donors and the campaign’s fund-raising operation.

Patricia Arcaro, a retired Philadelphia-area attorney, said she sent a $9.11 check to Giuliani after hearing about the fund-raiser on the news. “I am a strong supporter of Rudy Giuliani and I immediately sat down and wrote a check to the campaign,” she said in an interview today. “I think it would have been a great grass-roots campaign effort.”

Arcaro said afterward she received a letter with a return check from the campaign that stated, “Unfortunately we must return your contribution. We do not solicit or collect financial support that is indicative of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.” It was signed by Giuliani campaign treasurer John Gross. [Interesting – since it looks to us that 9/11 and his role in it are the cornerstone of his campaign.]

Arcaro was undeterred. “I turned around and sent a substantially larger check for $910,” she said. “I said, ‘Ok, fine I’ll do it that way.’”

Denny Gilbert of Ohio offered a similar take, noting that he heard about the $9.11 fund-raiser on the news. “That’s what prompted me to send it,” Gilbert said today. “I didn’t ask for it back.” Gilbert said he was aware of the criticisms about using 9/11 as a fund-raising tool. “I know there was some objecting to it, and I thought ‘Well, that’s b—s—.” Gilbert had not contributed to Giuliani’s campaign before, but he said he will likely send him another check for a sum that isn’t $9.11.

We wonder whether they would have returned a check for $911,000!? 

Say “When” started as a site for people who have had enough of George Bush. We are finding now that we are becoming tired of ALL politicians. In a quest to put out information about the candidates in the 2008 presidential campaign, Democrap and Repuglican, we will be posting interesting tidbits about those who desire the position of the next “leader of the free world.” (From where we sit…it’s looking less and less free on a daily basis.) 

A little history lesson: If you don’t know the answer, make your best guess. Answer all the questions before looking at the answers at the end of this short test.

1) “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”

A. Karl Marx

B. Adolph Hitler

C. Joseph Stalin

D. None of the above

2) “It’s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few…and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity.”

A. Lenin

B. Mussolini

C. Idi Amin

D. None of the Above

3) “(We)…can’t just let business as usual go on, and that means something has to be taken away from some people.”

A. Nikita Khrushev

B. Josef Goebbels

C. Boris Yeltsin

D. None of the above

4) “We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own…in order to create this common ground.”

A. Mao Tse Dung

B. Hugo Chavez

C. Kim Jong Il

D. None of the above

5) “I certainly think the free-market has failed.”

A. Karl Marx

B. Lenin

C. Molotov

D. None of the above

6) “I think it’s time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in (the) entire economy that they are being watched.”

A. Pinochet

B. Milosevic

C. Saddam Hussein

D. None of the above

Answers:

(1) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton

6/29/2004

(2) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton

5/29/2007

(3) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007

(4) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007

(5) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007

(6) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 9/2/2005