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Guest Commentary (4198)

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 04:42

John McCain in Crisis

by Burt Hall

John McCain's response to 9/11 showed Americans all they should need to know about his "crisis management" abilities and foreign policy judgment. Early on, McCain embraced false intelligence and advocated blaming Saddam for al Qaeda's actions. 

Soon after the 9/11 catastrophe, McCain announced that Iraq would be the "second phase" of the war on terror -- adding that it might even be the source of our anthrax attacks. In December 2001, McCain joined a few Senators in a letter to the White House saying Saddam had to be removed from power because there was "no doubt" that he intended to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and its allies. In January 2002, aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, McCain told sailors and airmen: "Next up, Baghdad!" He repeated these thoughts on CNN.

by Bill Berkowitz

Although the California-based PAC is coming to the end of its less-than-magical and less-than-mystical bus 'Tour' -- which drew tens of people to rallies -- it is running hundreds of thousands of dollars of television ads in battleground states smearing Obama.

Our Country Deserves Better PAC is in its final stages of motoring about the country in a bus plastered with photos of Sen. John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and the words "Stop Obama Tour," emblazoned on it. Armed with a portfolio of pro-McCain television advertisements, the Tour -- a 6,000 mile pro-McCain/Palin bus tour with rallies in 40 cities -- is still in search of a receptive audience. Strangely enough, Our Country camped out in Michigan during a recent three-day period, a state the McCain campaign abandoned earlier this month. The Detroit Free Press reported that the group was "trying to whip up enthusiasm for the Republican ticket." At a stopover in Troy, Michigan, the Tour apparently whipped up a crowd of about 50 people!

by Bill Gallagher

The USS McCain is way off course, the captain is strategically scattered, tactically inept, and his crew of misfits is desperately trying to keep the sinking campaign ship afloat. They'll do anything to survive.

Watching them drowning in these final days of the presidential campaign provides steady waves of mirth, pity, and gratitude that the America people are rejecting these scurvy swabbies.

The McCain campaign looks like a cross between Captain Queeg and his crew on the USS Caine, the film based on Herman Wouk's fine novel, "The Caine Mutiny," and the deck hands from McHale's Navy, the zany television series from the 1960s.

McCain's wacky crew includes frauds, liars, manipulators, paranoids, fear mongers, grog soaked right-wing pundits, and a vice presidential candidate who calls herself a hockey mom while dressing like a polo mom.

Sunday, 26 October 2008 22:20

David Morse: Can Georgia Do Right?

by David Morse

Is the legal system of the state of Georgia up to the task -- when the task is to rectify the flawed trial of a black man accused of killing a white police officer?

The world is waiting to see if justice can prevail.

Fortunately, on Friday, October 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Georgia's 11th Circuit issued a stay of execution that narrowly prevented accused cop killer Troy Davis from being put to death by lethal injection the following Monday.

This is the third stay of execution in a case that has attracted worldwide interest. Troy Anthony Davis is charged with the 1989 murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Davis has been in prison for 19 years, most of that time on death row.

Circumstances surrounding officer MacPhail's death are murky. The violence erupted in a dimly lit parking lot late at night when someone in a group of men opened fire with a .38 caliber pistol.

That "someone," according to the lawyer prosecuting the case, was Troy Davis. But Davis, who was 20 at the time, was very likely framed.

Friday, 24 October 2008 09:34

Michael Winship: For Whom the Bailout Tolls

by Michael Winship

During the Stock Market Crash in 1929, that curtain raising overture to the Great Depression, stories abounded of Wall Street brokers rushing to their office windows and leaping to their deaths. But according to the late John Kenneth Galbraith and other economic historians, those accounts of suicide were, by and large, fairy tales. Perhaps they were more dark-hearted, wishful thinking than reality -- revenge fantasies on the part of those whose real life savings had been wiped out by ravenous speculators.

Nonetheless, the myth of those fatal plunges, like so many urban legends, is hard to shake. With more than a drop of cold blood, some have asked why, during this current fiscal crisis, we haven't seen similar tragedies in the ranks of high finance.

A close look at the recent government bailouts may explain why. The fat cats at the top had nothing to worry their pretty little whiskers about. Not only have most of their businesses been saved, for now at least, but also they've already been pretty successful at protecting their high rolling lifestyles, and finding bailout loopholes that allow them to keep hauling in the big bucks.

by Bill Berkowitz

RightChange.com's 'advertisements that focus on taxes contain mostly half-truths or outright lies,' says a senior economist at the non-partisan Tax Foundation.

They are successful pharmaceutical company executives, and both have schools of pharmacy at prominent universities named after them. Between them, they have given nearly $4 million to a new North Carolina-based 527 group that is sponsoring ads attacking Sen. Barack Obama's tax policies. The ads are being run by RightChange.com, an organization that has been chiefly funded by Fred Eshleman, CEO of PPD (Pharmaceutical Product Development, Inc.), a North Carolina-based pharmaceutical research firm, and Ernest Mario, chairman of PPD and also chairman, founder, and chief executive officer of the Palo Alto, California-based Capnia, Inc.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008 03:17

Senator Bernie Sanders: Now Is The Time

by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

These are frightening and unusual times. The world of finance and the overall economy are both in perilous condition. Almost every day a new crisis erupts. The stock market has plunged dramatically, and is more volatile, than at any time in memory. Loans between banks have dried up. Major financial houses have either failed or merged. Government bailout follows government bailout.

Just how deep the financial crisis is can be seen from this paradox: the Bush Administration, the most wild and irresponsible defender of right-wing economic ideology and free markets in our nation's history, now has to muster one initiative after another to intervene in the financial markets. It is even in the process of nationalizing banks.

by Naomi Wolf

The following is the spin of military spokespeople in response to questions about the deployment of the First Brigade on US soil for the first time in over 200 years.  

The Army Times initially reported that the First Brigade would handle domestic crowd control and subduing 'unruly individuals' and that they had 'lethal and nonlethal technologies' to do so. Then it issued a correction declaring that the 'nonlethal' package was not for domestic crowd control. Then after a hue and cry was raised by many citizens, Northern Command (NorthCom) offered a wholesale revision of their mission – and the mainstream media is eating it up. Here is an excerpt from the articled linked to in the previous sentence: 

by Michael Winship

ACORN and election fraud. Hang on. As soon as I can get the alligator that crawled out of my toilet back into the New York City sewers where it belongs, I can turn my attention to this very important topic.

You see, the ACORN "election fraud" story is one of those urban legends, like fake moon landings and alligators in the sewers, and it appears three or four weeks before every recent national election with the regularity of the swallows returning to Capistrano.

First, the basics: ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is an activist group working with low and moderate income families that, among many other things, registers voters. To do this, they hire people to go around signing up the unregistered, killing two birds with one stone -- giving employment to people who need it (some with criminal records) and providing the opportunity to vote to members of minority communities whose voices all too often go unheard.

by Bill Gallagher

"We declare this race well and truly over and congratulate all those who backed Obama."  
Paddy Power, Ireland's biggest bookmaker, Oct. 16.

While John McCain keeps rolling gutter balls and his Slime Talk Express derails any decency and honor his campaign once claimed to represent, the Irish, as they often demonstrate, are way ahead of the game.

Paddy Power, the Dublin-based bookmaker told Reuters news service he made the "unprecedented decision" to pay on the bets he's taken so far on the U.S. presidential race.

Power said he's already taken more than 10,000 bets with the trend of "one-way-traffic" for Obama and the odds now shortened to 1-9, meaning a better must slap down 9 euros to make a 1 euro profit. Power made his payout decision last Thursday after watching Obama's performance in the debate at Hofstra University.

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