Saturday, March 29, 2008


Iraqi police in Basra shed their uniforms, kept their rifles and switched sides

James Hider, Times


March 28, 2008

Abu Iman barely flinched when the Iraqi Government ordered his unit of special police to move against al-Mahdi Army fighters in Basra.

His response, while swift, was not what British and US military trainers who have spent the past five years schooling the Iraqi security forces would have hoped for. He and 15 of his comrades took off their uniforms, kept their government-issued rifles and went over to the other side without a second thought.

Such turncoats are the thread that could unravel the British Army�s policy in southern Iraq. The military hoped that local forces would be able to combat extremists and allow the Army to withdraw gradually from the battle-scarred and untamed oil city that has fallen under the sway of Islamic fundamentalists, oil smugglers and petty tribal warlords. But if the British taught the police to shoot straight, they failed to instil a sense of unwavering loyalty to the State.

"We know the outcome of the fighting in advance because we already defeated the British in the streets of Basra and forced them to withdraw to their base," Abu Iman told The Times.

"If we go back a bit, everyone remembers the fight with the US in Najaf and the damage and defeat we inflicted on them. Do you think the Iraqi Army is better than those armies? We are right and the Government is wrong. [Nouri al] Maliki [the Iraqi Prime Minister] is driving his Government into the ground."

The reason for his apparent switch of sides was simple: the 36-year-old was already a member of the al-Mahdi Army which, like other militias, has massively infiltrated the British-trained police force in the southern oil city. He claimed that hundreds of others from the 16,000-strong force have also defected to the rebels� ranks.Abu Iman joined the new Iraqi police force after the invasion, joining the Mugawil, a special police unit infamous for brutality, kidnapping and sectarian murders.

"We already heard two weeks ago that we were going to attack the Mahdi Army, so we were ready," he said. "I decided to take off my uniform and join my brothers and friends in the Mahdi Army. All these years, we were like a scream in the face of the dictator and the occupation." He said: "I joined the police because I believed we have to protect Basra and save it with our own hands. You can see we were the first fighters to take on Sadd-am and his regime, the best example being the Shabaniya uprising."

Abu Iman said that the fighting raging in Basra yesterday was intense because the al-Mahdi Army was operating on its own turf. He was confident that the Shia militia would prevail because its cause was just.

"The Iraqi Army is already defeated from within. They come to Basra with fear in their hearts, knowing they have to fight their brothers, the sons of Iraq, because of an order from Bush and his friends in the Iraq Government. For this reason, all of the battles are going in the Mahdi Army�s favour."

Major-General Abdelaziz Moham-med Jassim, the director of operations at the Ministry of Defence, played down reports of defections in the Basra police force. "The problem of one policeman doesn�t make up for the whole of the force," he said.

In recent months Major-General Abdul Jalil Khalaf, Basra�s police chief, has tried to shake up the force and drive out militia infiltrators, who have wrought havoc in the past, often turning police stations into torture cells in which factions settled vendettas and power struggles with murder and abuse. But he only narrowly escaped an assassination attempt yesterday when a suicide car bomb attack in Basra killed three of his policemen. A local tribal leader said the police directorate building was later gutted by fire.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Worried Yet? Saudis Prepare for "Sudden Nuclear Hazards" After Cheney Visit

I. One Tick Closer to Midnight
Last Friday, Dick Cheney was in Saudi Arabia for high-level meetings with the Saudi king and his ministers. On Saturday, it was revealed that the Saudi Shura Council -- the elite group that implements the decisions of the autocratic inner circle -- is preparing "national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts' warnings of possible attacks on Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactors," one of the kingdom's leading newspapers, Okaz, reports. The German-based dpa news service relayed the paper's story.

Simple prudence -- or ominous timing? We noted here last week that an American attack on Iran was far more likely -- and more imminent -- than most people suspect. We pointed to the mountain of evidence for this case gathered by scholar William R. Polk, one of the top aides to John Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to other indicators of impending war. The story by Okaz -- which would not have appeared in the tightly controlled dictatorship without approval from the top -- is yet another, very weighty piece of evidence laid in the scales toward a new, horrendous conflict.

We don't know what the Saudis told Cheney in private -- or even more to the point, what he told them. But the release of this story now, just after his departure, would seem to be a clear indication that the Saudis have good reason to fear a looming attack on Iran's nuclear sites and are actively preparing for it.

II. A Nuclear Epiphany in Iran?
And they certainly should be bracing themselves. A U.S. attack on Iran will come suddenly, and if it is indeed aimed at destroying Iran's nuclear capabilities -- a "threat" being talked up again with new urgency by both Cheney and Bush lately -- it has the potential for unimaginable consequences. As we noted here in a previous piece:

Twelve hours. One circuit of the sun from horizon to horizon, one course of the moon from dusk to dawn. What was once a natural measurement for the daily round of human life is now a doom-laden interval between the voicing of an autocrat's brutal whim and the infliction of mass annihilation halfway around the world.

Twelve hours is the maximum time necessary for American bombers to gear up and launch an unprovoked sneak attack – a Pearl Harbor in reverse – against Iran, the Washington Post reports….And when this attack comes – either as a stand-alone "knock-out blow" or else as the precursor to a full-scale, regime-changing invasion, like the earlier aggression in Iraq – there will be no warning, no declaration of war, no hearings, no public debate. The already issued orders governing the operation put the decision solely in the hands of the president: he picks up the phone, he says, "Go" – and in twelve hours' time, up to a million Iranians could be dead.

This potential death toll is not pacifist hyperbole; it comes from a National Academy of Sciences study sponsored by the Pentagon itself, as The Progressive reports. (Although Bush's military brass like to peddle the public lie that "we don't do body counts" of the enemy, in reality, like all good businessmen they keep precise accounts of their production outputs: i.e., corpses.) The Pentagon's NAS study calibrated the kill-rate from "bunker-busting" tactical nukes used to take out underground facilities – such as those which house much of Iran's nuclear power program.

Another simulation by scientists, using Pentagon-devised software, was even more specific, measuring the aftermath of a "limited" nuclear attack on the main Iranian underground site in Esfahan, the magazine reports. This small expansion of the Pentagon franchise would result in stellar production figures: three million people killed by radiation in just two weeks, and 35 million people exposed to dangerous levels of cancer-causing radiation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Bush has about 50 nuclear "earth-penetrating weapons" at his disposal, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Nor is the idea of a nuclear strike on Iran mere "liberal paranoia." Bush himself pointedly refused to take the nuclear option "off the table" this week. But what's more, Bush has made the use of nuclear weapons a centerpiece of his "National Security Strategy of the United States," issued last month, The Progressive notes. While reaffirming the criminal principle of "pre-emptive" attacks on perceived enemies which may or may not be threatening America with weapons they may or may not possess, Bush declared that "safe, credible and reliable nuclear forces continue to play a critical role" in the "offensive strike systems" that are now a key part of America's "deterrence."

In the depraved jargon of atomic warmongering, a "credible" nuclear force is one that can and will be used in the course of ordinary military operations. It is no longer to be regarded as a sacred taboo. This has long been the dream of the Pentagon's "nuclear priesthood" and its acolytes, going back to the days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For decades, a strong faction within the American power structure has been afflicted with a perverted craving to unleash these weapons once more. An almost sexual frustration can be discerned in their laments as time and again, in crisis after crisis, their counsels for "going nuclear" were rejected – often at the very last moment. To justify their aberrant desire, they have relentlessly demonized an ever-changing array of "enemies," painting each one as an imminent, overwhelming threat, led by "madmen" in thrall to pure evil, impervious to reason, fit only for destruction. Evidence for the "threat" is invariably exaggerated, manipulated, even manufactured; this ritual cycle has been enacted over and over, leading to many wars – but never to that ultimate, orgasmic release.

Now this paranoid sect has at last seized the commanding heights of American power....

And they have found a most eager disciple in the peevish dullard strutting in the Oval Office. Under their sinister tutelage, Bush has eviscerated 40 years' worth of arms control treaties; officially "normalized" the use of nuclear weapons, even against non-nuclear states; rewarded outlaw proliferators like India, Israel and Pakistan; and is now destroying the last and most effective restraint on the spread of nuclear weapons: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The treaty guarantees its signatories – such as Iran – the right to establish nuclear power programs in exchange for rigorous international inspections. But Bush has arbitrarily decided that Iran – whose nuclear program undergone perhaps the most extensive inspection process in history – must end its lawful activities. Why? Because the country is led by "madmen" in thrall to pure evil, impervious to reason, who one day may or may not threaten America with weapons they may or may not have.

So the NPT is dead. As with the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Constitution, it now means only what Bush says it means. Force of arms, not rule of law, is the new world order. The attack on Iran is coming….

The nuclear sectarians have waited decades for this moment. Such a chance may never come again. Will they let it pass, when with just a word, in just twelve hours, they can see their god rising in a pillar of fire over Persia?

Thursday, March 27, 2008


JTF - Jews Against Obama
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  • Obama and Clinton Tied Among Crazy Jewish Democrats
    What is it with these liberal Jews? No doubt they would vote for
  • Yassir Arafat as long as
  • he had a “D” next to his name. This is unbelievable! Even as
  • conservatives continue to
  • paint Barack Obama as being surrounded by anti-Israel advisers,
  • a new poll shows the
  • Illinois senator and Hillary Rodham Clinton [...]
  • Chaim Ben Pesach on Obama’s Pastor
    This video is just under ten minutes long.
  • Obama Senior Advisor Merrill McPeak On Israel
    Via American Spectator This guy is also hostile to Israel Well,
  • it is likely that Obama will
  • soon be having to retract Merrill McPeak. McPeak, who was
  • arrested last year for driving
  • under the influence, apparently has a problem controlling more
  • than his thirst for
  • fermented beverages. He also has a penchant for bashing Israel
  • or, more [...]
  • Who Is Obama Senior Obama Advisor Merrill McPeak?
    He’s a retired Air Force general turned Democrat, who among
  • other things thinks it’s
  • George W. Bush’s fault that Iran doesn’t like us. In the view of
  • McPeak, the most senior
  • retired officer to back Obama’s presidential run, Iran’s behavior
  • is a reaction to Bush’s
  • tough talk. “Iran is a big enemy of al Qaeda,” [...]
  • Even More From Obama’s Church
    Via Sweetness & Light Open Letter to Oprah Dear Oprah, I am so
  • glad that you will be
  • visiting my country, Palestine. I wish if I could be there to greet
  • you. Certainly, despite
  • the genocide and ethnic cleansing they face every hour of the day,
  • my people will be
  • there. They will be happy to see you [...]
  • Obama’s Church Reprinted Hamas Manifesto
    Hat tip: Cyberella Aside from being a cesspool of black racism and
  • America hatred, B.
  • HUSSEIN Obama’s church also acted as a pimp and press agent for
  • Hamas. In the
  • July 22, 2007 issue of their newsletter, they published a screed by
  • Hamas terrorist
  • Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy of the political bureau of Hamas.
  • Here’s some [...]
  • How America Is Being Fooled By Barack Hussein Obama
    Via Sons of Apes And Pigs I am Usama K. Dakdok, President of
  • The Straight Way of
  • Grace Ministry. I am invited by churches all over America to speak
  • about ISLAM and
  • its threat to America and the West. I have had concerns about
  • Senator Obama,s honesty
  • regarding his so called Christian faith. I called [...]
  • Former Jewish Ambassador Defends Obama’s Relationship With His Pastor
    I just don’ understand what it is with these liberal Jews. They would
  • vote for Yasser Arafat
  • or Al Sharpton as long as there was a “D” next to their names. They
  • insist on equating left
  • wing “social justice” with Judaism. One such example is former
  • American Ambassadorto
  • Israel Daniel Kurtzer Daniel [...]
  • Past Wright’s Israel Hating Sermon
    Hat tip: Avideditor
  • More Gems From Pastor Race Pimp Wright
    Here’s what Obama’s beloved pastor had to say at a sermon given
  • at Howard University
  • in 2006. “We’ve got more black men in prison than there are in
  • college,” he began. “Racism
  • is alive and well. Racism is how this country was founded and how
  • this country is still run.
  • No black man will [...]
  • Didn’t He Ever Hear of a Drill?
    Man Installing Satellite TV Shoots, Kills Wife SEDALIA, Mo. —
  • Officials are trying to
  • determine whether to file charges against a man who fatally shot
  • his wife while trying to
  • install a satellite television system in their home. Patsy D. Long, 34,
  • of Deep Water, was
  • pronounced dead early Saturday evening after being shot in
  • the chest [...]
  • Supreme Court Bitch Slaps Whore-hey Bushito
    To their credit, the Supreme Court has ruled that President Bush
  • cannot force the state
  • of Texas to comply with the ruling of the International Court of
  • Justice, and that illegal
  • alien Jose Medellin can be executed for the rape and murder of
  • two teenage girls. Medellin
  • was 18 when he participated in the June [...]
  • Best Friend
    Who’s your best friend? Without a doubt, it’s your dog, not your
  • spouse. If you don’t believe
  • it, just try this experiment. Put your dog and your spouse in the
  • trunk of the car for an hour.
  • When you open the trunk, which one is really happy to see you!
  • Tougher Knife Control Laws Needed
    1 Dead, 7 Hurt in Japan Attack TOKYO (AP) — One person was
  • stabbed to death and at least
  • seven others were hurt by a man who went on a knifing spree Sunday
  • at a shopping mall in
  • eastern Japan, police said. Chaos broke out after the attacks at
  • the crowded mall, with the
  • sirens of several [...]
  • On Obama’s Scapegoating His Grandmother
    First off, in his lame speech of Tuesday, Obama basically said he
  • wasn’t going to disown his
  • hateful wacko pastor, whom he compared to his grandmother, for
  • privately expressing fear
  • of a black man. Also this week, Obama referred to this same
  • grandmother as a “typical
  • white person.” What is it with liberals who [...]
  • Obama On The L.A. Riots And Hurricane Katrina
    Lawrence Auster of View From The Right has a link to a video of
  • Barack Obama speaking
  • to a group of black ministers. The video is over thirty minutes long,
  • but it’s worth listening to.
  • You will see Obama justifying the L.A. riots and all the looting after
  • Hurricane Katrina.
  • And you [...]
  • Update On The Brooklyn Madrassa Founder
    A while back, I posted about the Kalil Gibran madrassa that opened
  • in Brooklyn, and the
  • outrage that ensued as a result. The school’s founder Debbie
  • Almontaser got into some hot
  • water over intifada t-shirts, which she described as “shaking off
  • oppression.” Anyway,
  • Almontaser was replaced, then she sued a few months later. [...]
  • Ex Governor Spitzer Approached By Playgirl
    They want him to pose nude in their magazine. Playgirl wrote to
  • Spitzer: “Your political
  • career is sadly over. Couldn’t you use a little rent money?
  • Playgirl needs you naked, now.”
  • “Seriously,” the magazine’s website announced, “get in touch
  • with us. We’re readyto make
  • you a very attractive offer,” The Sun reported. Personally,
  • I don’t [...]
  • Obama’s Church And Pastor Also Shilled For Hamas
    Aside from being a cesspool of black racism and America hatred,
  • B. HUSSEIN Obama’s
  • church also acted as a pimp and press agent for Hamas. In the
  • July 22, 2007 issue of their
  • newsletter, they published a screed by Hamas terrorist Mousa
  • Abu Marzook, deputy of the
  • political bureau of Hamas. Here’s some background on [...]
  • I’m Glad I Don’t Do Sun
    Via Alarming News Since I don’t want to look like a prune with
  • age spots when I get older,
  • I avoid suntanning. But I’ve just discovered another good reason
  • continue being pale.
  • TORONTO, March 17 (UPI) — Canadian sociologists have
  • determined many men prefer pale, “innocent-looking” women,
  • women overall prefer dark, brooding [...]

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


17 US soldiers captured by Mahdi Army in Basra (not confirmed yet)
By: Seele on: 25.03.2008 [23:53 ] (1695 reads)

Article image

Hell now loose in southern Iraq ?

17 US soldiers said captured by Mahdi army but news still pending for confirmation

Tuesday, March 25, 2008



ו חֶרֶב לַיהוָה מָלְאָה דָם, הֻדַּשְׁנָה מֵחֵלֶב, מִדַּם כָּרִים וְעַתּוּדִים, מֵחֵלֶב כִּלְיוֹת אֵילִים: כִּי זֶבַח לַיהוָה בְּבָצְרָה, וְטֶבַח גָּדוֹל בְּאֶרֶץ אֱדוֹם. 6 The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams; for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.

Basra battles rage and spread in Iraq

A U.S. Marine from Combat Logistics Company 117, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, rigs a rope from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to a CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter in al-Asad, Iraq on March 18, 2006. (UPI)
A massive Iraqi security and military operation launched in the southern port city of Basra on Tuesday against the Shiite al-Mahdi Army militia has escalated into fierce battles as fighting began to spread throughout the entire country, amid rising violence and threats for a nationwide civil revolt.

Heavy fighting raged in Basra after thousands of Iraqi troops raided the oil-rich city in an offensive the Baghdad government said was aimed at disarming militias and restoring the rule of law.

At least four people were reported killed, while unconfirmed medical estimates put the toll at 27 killed and 60 others injured, many of them civilians caught in the cross-fire.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was in an undisclosed military base in Basra personally supervising the offensive, which the authorities insist was not aimed at any particular group, but clearly targeting maverick Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr's movement and its Mahdi Army.

British military officials said Western aircraft were patrolling the skies above Basra to assist Iraqi forces if needed, but that British forces were not taking part in the operation.

Since the British forces returned control of Basra to the Iraqis in December and moved to the city airport, the province's residents have complained of rising crime as armed Shiite groups struggle for political and economic control in this oil hub, the source of most of Iraq's revenues.

The government - also led by the Shiites - says the Iraqi military offensive, which began a day after imposing an indefinite nigh-time curfew, was to restore order and sweep out the "criminals and gangs terrorizing the citizens."

Maliki, who on Monday dismissed the two top security officials in Basra, said from the city that the government "will restore security, stability and enforce the rule of law."

Officials say the troops were cracking down on "all those who point their guns at the state," but Sadr's followers say the offensive, dubbed "Charge of the Knights," was politically-motivated and aimed specifically at them for their stances against the U.S. occupation.

The Sadrists say if the operation was just a security one, they would fully cooperate with the government's attempt to restore order, adding that while they don't seek a confrontation with the authorities, the people had the right to defend themselves when they are being attacked.

Moqtada Sadr last month renewed a six-month ceasefire, but recently told his supporters they were free to defend themselves against attacks.

The U.S. forces and the Iraqi government have attributed the Mahdi militia's truce to a reduction in violence, but a recent surge in attacks on American and Iraqi troops have been blamed on "renegade elements" from within the Sadrists. They say they are targeting these elements, which they claim are linked to Iran that it repeatedly denies.

Despite the government's insistence that the Basra operation was not specifically targeting any political groups, the Sadrists see it as a continuation of a crackdown in recent weeks against its members in other provinces.

That's why Sadr issued a statement from the holy city of Najaf on Tuesday, calling on Iraqis to launch nationwide protests, strikes and civil disobedience if the government does not meet demands to end the crackdown on the movement he leads.

As fighting spread across Basra, hundreds of people marched through the streets of Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad protesting the arrests of its leaders and supporters.

The Sadrist movement had already called for civil disobedience after the authorities began raiding its offices in different parts of the country, and government officials accused the group of forcing people to abide by a general strike at gunpoint.

Mahdi Army spokesmen denied its members had forcefully prevented civilians from going about their daily lives, saying these charges were attempts to undermine the civil disobedience program.

The armed confrontation with the Sadrists and its militant wing quickly spread in other areas of the country, including Sadr City in the suburbs of Baghdad, where the Mahdi Army declared it had taken control of Iraqi army checkpoints. Residents reportedly stocked up on food and water supplies in the district in anticipation of more fighting to come.

In an attempt to contain other Sadrist strongholds in the wake of the operation in Basra, the government imposed curfews in the southern Shiite cities of Kut, Samawa and Nasiriyah.

Iraqi critics say they expect the Basra offensive to backfire at the government, which some accuse of being used as a U.S. proxy to fight the thorn in the occupying forces' side: Sadr and his followers, who apparently enjoy widespread grassroots support, especially from the impoverished Shiites who make up the majority of this community, said to be ready to revolt.

The critics suggest the Americans were seeking an internal Iraqi battle to refocus the anti-occupation resistance against the Iraqi authority, after the U.S. troop death toll since the March 2003 invasion reached 4,000 this week.

But they warn the fighting, whether led by the Iraqi or U.S. forces, would intensify the insurgency and again raise the level of violence in this war-torn country.

Monday, March 24, 2008




Barak: Israel’s army and intelligence poised for instant response to Hizballah attack

March 24, 2008, 1:42 PM (GMT+02:00)

First publication of recent Imad Mughniyeh photo surveying Israel from Syrian Mt. Hermon

First publication of recent Imad Mughniyeh photo surveying Israel from Syrian Mt. Hermon

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak decided to place the armed forces on guard in view of indications that Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah may seriously intend making good on his threat of “open war” against Israel, whom he accuses of the Feb. 12 killing of Imad Mughniyeh.

Barak said Monday, March 24, Hizballah’s revenge threats are not to be taken lightly: “We must all be vigilant in the near future. But we’ll overcome that too.”

The Israeli Air Force, according to our sources, has prepared two command and control airplanes which are capable of transporting command centers and special forces from place to place and reacting to terrorist attacks far from Israel.

The Magen David Adom service nationwide has placed on standby double its usual complement of ambulances and medical teams.

According to our military sources, Barak latest directives Monday, March 24, signify his change of mind about the prospect of a Hizballah revenge attack. The earlier presumption that the Lebanese terrorists would hold their fire up until the Arab League summit convening in Damascus on March 29-30 has been abandoned to meet fast-moving events across Israel’s northern border.

1. Syria last week pushed the fighting strength of Palestinian terrorist groups under its shared control with Iran – an estimated 3,000-strong – across the border into the Lebanese Beqaa Valley.

It was initially supposed that these groups had been removed from their Damascus bases to get them out of the way of the Arab summit. But they have since been observed taking up battle positions and the delivery of large quantities of brand new weapons and ammunition.

2. Syria has also speeded up its arms shipments to Hizballah - notably, as DEBKAfile revealed two days ago, anti-aircraft weapons.

3. Apparently for back-up, Syria has massed armored divisions along its Lebanese border.

Israel’s military chiefs now read these moves as meaning that Hizballah, the new Palestinian deployment and the Syrian back-up forces are set to launch a military strike against targets in Israel and bracing for Israeli retaliation.

Israel’s defense chiefs do not count out Hizballah embarking on a number of coordinated terrorist operations over several hours or even days, synchronized with cross-border attacks on targets inside Israel.

The terrorist strikes may well be large-scale, multiple-casualty and directed at an overseas Israeli or Jewish target. The head of the terror center in the prime minister’s office referred incautiously last week to Hizballah’s hopes of Israel having to fly home “40 or 50 coffins,” a goal which Israel is determined to prevent - hence the Air Force’s command and control planes on the ready for rapid take-off to the scene of an attack. They are fitted out and manned for a wide range of contingencies, including rescue operations on foreign soil, requiring the local government’s approval.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Art by David Dees -,,,,,,Dees Archive
The Most Format & Content-Plagiarized Site On The Net

Story behind the story: The Clinton myth
Text Size:
Hillary Clinton
Clinton's campaign rests increasingly on a game of make-believe.
Photo: AP

One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.

Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.

As it happens, many people inside Clinton’s campaign live right here on Earth. One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.

In other words: The notion of the Democratic contest being a dramatic cliffhanger is a game of make-believe.

Story Behind the Story

Why news gets covered the way it does

Politico’s top editors draw on their experience at the nation's largest news organizations to pull back the curtain on coverage decisions and the media mindset.

The real question is why so many people are playing. The answer has more to do with media psychology than with practical politics.

Journalists have become partners with the Clinton campaign in pretending that the contest is closer than it really is. Most coverage breathlessly portrays the race as a down-to-the-wire sprint between two well-matched candidates, one only slightly better situated than the other to win in August at the national convention in Denver.

One reason is fear of embarrassment. In its zeal to avoid predictive reporting of the sort that embarrassed journalists in New Hampshire, the media — including Politico — have tended to avoid zeroing in on the tough math Clinton faces.

Avoiding predictions based on polls even before voters cast their ballots is wise policy. But that's not the same as drawing sober and well-grounded conclusions about the current state of a race after millions of voters have registered their preferences.

The antidote to last winter's flawed predictions is not to promote a misleading narrative based on the desired but unlikely story line of one candidate.

There are other forces also working to preserve the notion of a contest that is still up for grabs.

One important, if subliminal, reason is self-interest. Reporters and editors love a close race — it’s more fun and it’s good for business.

The media are also enamored of the almost mystical ability of the Clintons to work their way out of tight jams, as they have done for 16 years at the national level. That explains why some reporters are inclined to believe the Clinton campaign when it talks about how she’s going to win on the third ballot at the Democratic National Convention in August.

That’s certainly possible — and, to be clear, we’d love to see the race last that long — but it’s folly to write about this as if it is likely.

It’s also hard to overstate the role the talented Clinton camp plays in shaping the campaign narrative, first by subtly lowering the bar for the performance necessary to remain in the race, and then by keeping the focus on Obama’s relationships with a political fixer and a controversial pastor in Illinois.


Friday, March 21, 2008


« Islamic Jihad members in the West Bank demonstrate against Israel, March 14.
(Saif Dahlah/AFP/Getty Images)

West Bank: “Hezbollah Is Coming”

March 21, 2008 | From
The presence of the Iran-sponsored terrorist group in the West Bank is a harbinger of future conflict.

Both Israeli and Palestinian security officials say Hezbollah has been operating behind the scenes in the West Bank since 2000, pumping millions of dollars into militant groups for attacks against Israel.

Citing security officials, the International Herald Tribune reported recently that the Iran-sponsored terrorist organization is working directly with leaders of Palestinian terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

One Al Alqsa leader in Nablus said his group used to receive $8,000 a month to buy weapons and ammunition. Hezbollah stopped making payments when Al Aqsa men accepted an amnesty offer from Israel, but Israel says Al Aqsa terrorists are still in contact with Hezbollah.

Apparently Hezbollah’s presence inside the Palestinian territories has burgeoned since the recent assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a notorious terrorist poster child and the mastermind responsible for numerous attacks and kidnappings around the world.

Last week, during the funeral of Mohammed Shehadeh and three other Islamic Jihad terrorists killed by Israel, mourners chanted “Hezbollah is coming.” In another sign of their sympathy for Hezbollah, Shehadeh’s family wrapped his body in a Hezbollah flag.

Shehadeh was the head of Islamic Jihad in Bethlehem and was involved in several terrorist attacks against Israel in the past, including a car bombing that killed two civilians in Jerusalem. Although never an official member of Hezbollah, he identified with the Lebanese terrorists and became a Shiite Muslim to show his support of the group. He took orders from Islamic Jihad leadership in Syria, which also backs Hezbollah.

According to Haaretz, Shehadeh’s son did not deny his family received a call from Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s office after his father’s death in which they were offered financial assistance.

Hezbollah links are becoming more apparent in east Jerusalem as well. A Hezbollah flag briefly accompanied Hamas banners in east Jerusalem at the house of the Palestinian terrorist responsible for shooting eight Israeli students in the city two weeks ago.

Palestinian officials say the man was a member of the Free Men of Galilee Brigade, a group they say is a front for Hezbollah. According to Palestinian security official Maj. Gen. Raji al-Nijmi, “This name [Free Men of Galilee Brigade] is a lie, it’s just Hezbollah playing politics.”

Hezbollah gained popularity among Palestinians when the guerilla force caused Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000, and it soared even higher after it defeated Israel in the Second Lebanon War. But you can be sure that if Hezbollah is supporting and influencing terrorist groups in the Palestinian territories, Iran is behind it. For Tehran, using Palestinian militants is an ideal means of interfering and attacking Israel without attracting international attention to itself—and while simultaneously diverting attention away from its nuclear program. Iran is spreading its influence all around Israel’s borders; Israel is quickly becoming completely surrounded by Iranian proxies.

To the north, Israel faces a Hezbollah prepared for war with a renewed rocket arsenal that promises to do major damage to Israel’s home front in any future conflict. To the south, Israel is still dealing with Iranian-backed Hamas, whose attacks against Israel have become steadily more deadly since its hostile takeover in Gaza.

Right now, the only thing stopping Iranian-backed Hezbollah from openly operating in the West Bank is the Israel Defense Forces. If Hezbollah succeeds and expands Iran’s influence in the West Bank, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will become more volatile than it has ever been before.

Watch for Iran to continue to spread its tentacles throughout the Middle East in a bid to become the regional power. To learn how this relates to Bible prophecy, read The King of the South.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Collapse Of American Power
By Paul Craig Roberts
In his famous book, The Collapse of British Power (1972), Correlli Barnett reports that in the opening days of World War II Great Britain only had enough gold and foreign exchange to finance war expenditures for a few months. The British turned to the Americans to finance their ability to wage war. Barnett writes that this dependency signaled the end of British power.
From their inception, America's 21st century wars against Afghanistan and Iraq have been red ink wars financed by foreigners, principally the Chinese and Japanese, who purchase the US Treasury bonds that the US government issues to finance its red ink budgets.
The Bush administration forecasts a $410 billion federal budget deficit for this year, an indication that, as the US saving rate is approximately zero, the US is not only dependent on foreigners to finance its wars but also dependent on foreigners to finance part of the US government's domestic expenditures.
Foreign borrowing is paying US government salaries--perhaps that of the President himself--or funding the expenditures of the various cabinet departments. Financially, the US is not an independent country.
The Bush administration's $410 billion deficit forecast is based on the unrealistic assumption of 2.7% GDP growth in 2008, whereas in actual fact the US economy has fallen into a recession that could be severe. There will be no 2.7% growth, and the actual deficit will be substantially larger than $410 billion.
Just as the government's budget is in disarray, so is the US dollar which continues to decline in value in relation to other currencies. The dollar is under pressure not only from budget deficits, but also from very large trade deficits and from inflation expectations resulting from the Federal Reserve's effort to stabilize the very troubled financial system with large injections of liquidity.
A troubled currency and financial system and large budget and trade deficits do not present an attractive face to creditors. Yet Washington in its hubris seems to believe that the US can forever rely on the Chinese, Japanese and Saudis to finance America's life beyond its means. Imagine the shock when the day arrives that a US Treasury auction of new debt instruments is not fully subscribed.
The US has squandered $500 billion dollars on a war that serves no American purpose. Moreover, the $500 billion is only the out-of-pocket costs. It does not include the replacement cost of the destroyed equipment, the future costs of care for veterans, the cost of the interests on the loans that have financed the war, or the lost US GDP from diverting scarce resources to war. Experts who are not part of the government's spin machine estimate the cost of the Iraq war to be as much as $3 trillion.
The Republican candidate for President said he would be content to continue the war for 100 years. With what resources? When America's creditors consider our behavior they see total fiscal irresponsibility. They see a deluded country that acts as if it is a privilege for foreigners to lend to it, and a deluded country that believes that foreigners will continue to accumulate US debt until the end of time.
The fact of the matter is that the US is bankrupt. David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the US and head of the Government Accountability Office, in his December 17, 2007, report to the US Congress on the financial statements of the US government noted that "the federal government did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting (including safeguarding assets)
and compliance with significant laws and regulations as of September 30, 2007." In everyday language, the US government cannot pass an audit.
Moreover, the GAO report pointed out that the accrued liabilities of the federal government "totaled approximately $53 trillion as of September 30, 2007." No funds have been set aside against this mind boggling liability.
Just so the reader understands, $53 trillion is $53,000 billion.
Frustrated by speaking to deaf ears, Walker recently resigned as head of the Government Accountability Office.
As of March 17, 2008, one Swiss franc is worth more than $1 dollar. In 1970, the exchange rate was 4.2 Swiss francs to the dollar. In 1970, $1 purchased 360 Japanese yen. Today $1 dollar purchases less than 100 yen.
If you were a creditor, would you want to hold debt in a currency that has such a poor record against the currency of a small island country that was nuked and defeated in WW II, or against a small landlocked European country that clings to its independence and is not a member of the EU?
Would you want to hold the debt of a country whose imports exceed its industrial production? According to the latest US statistics as reported in the February 28 issue of Manufacturing and Technology News, in 2007 imports were 14 percent of US GDP and US manufacturing comprised 12% of US GDP. A country whose imports exceed its industrial production cannot close its trade deficit by exporting more.
The dollar has even collapsed in value against the euro, the currency of a make-believe country that does not exist: the European Union. France, Germany, Italy, England and the other members of the EU still exist as sovereign nations. England even retains its own currency. Yet the euro hits new highs daily against the dollar.
Noam Chomsky recently wrote that America thinks that it owns the world. That is definitely the view of the neoconized Bush administration. But the fact of the matter is that the US owes the world. The US "superpower" cannot even finance its own domestic operations, much less its gratuitous wars except via the kindness of foreigners to lend it money that cannot be repaid.
The US will never repay the loans. The American economy has been devastated by offshoring, by foreign competition, and by the importation of foreigners on work visas, while it holds to a free trade ideology that benefits corporate fat cats and shareholders at the expense of American labor. The dollar is failing in its role as reserve currency and will soon be abandoned.
When the dollar ceases to be the reserve currency, the US will no longer be able to pay its bills by borrowing more from foreigners.
I sometimes wonder if the bankrupt "superpower" will be able to scrape together the resources to bring home the troops stationed in its hundreds of bases overseas, or whether they will just be abandoned.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Good News or Bad? Local Gun Shop Jammed w/ Buyers

Wanted to share something I thought was relevant to recent discussions here on the economy.

My wife and I visited our local Gun shop over the weekend to purchase a hand gun for her. You couldn't believe how many people were in this store buying fireamrs! I shop regularly at this store for cheap ammunition to shoot at the range, so I am familiar with the traffic. This place was jammed. You could hardly get around each other at the counters and down the aisles. The tension was thick. People seemed tense. I was hyped up on coffee and feeling honery so I loudly proclaimed, "Everyone here must be worried about the Economy and riots in the streets!" I thought I was going to get kicked out. But everyone sighed in agreement; some even clapping their hands. I believe people are finally getting worried.

The title of my post asks the question, "is this a good thing or a bad thing?"

Everytime I have tried to talk to these types of people (shooting advocates; gun range people etc.), I can never seem to get past the Patriotic bullshit -- i.e., we must support our government; our government is our savior.

I am very glad that Americans own guns. I think this is the only thing that will save us. However.......I also worry that most Americans are so fooled, that those guns could be turned on people like me for suggesting that someone else is to blame for all of this mess. A particular range I shoot at has a paper target you can purchase with Osama as the target. This is the most popular target to shoot at!

I live in the South and I will tell you that I have not found one single person who doesn't believe in the propaganda. That is very troubling to me. My hope is to find others close with a like mind so that we can support one another. I really believe that at some point, we will all need to start reaching out and finding others with like minds, not just on the internet, but those who live near us. I have resisted this because it is so hard to trust anyone these days. But I do believe that the only way we will make it through all of this, is by sticking together.

I hope that my situation is not the norm. I hope that all of you are finding communities of like minded people. There is strength in numbers and 'they' seem to have the numbers right now.

I fear the worst; I plan for the worst, and hope for the best.

I would be interested to hear what others are experiencing around them. Sincerely.



Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Ahmadinejad in Baghdad’s Green Zone

DEBKAfile Special Report

March 4, 2008, 1:18 PM (GMT+02:00)

During his 2-day visit to Baghdad, March 2-3, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Iraqi hosts did a good job of ignoring the ubiquitous US military presence in Iraq - except for the Iranian president’s ritual anti-American blast. His welcome by Iraqi president, the Kurdish Jalal Talabani, and Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki was played up as a bilateral event. Contact between the visitors’ retinue and the US military was nil.

Yet in Tehran, DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report, the president’s excursion into US-occupied territory was counted as a step forward in its seven-month old secret Saudi-mediated dialogue with Washington.

This dialogue has advanced in give-and-take steps on a broad set of issues.

The most prominent is Iran’s nuclear program. The third round of UN Security Council sanctions imposed Monday, March 3, banning trade with Iran did not really bother Tehran. The penalties were predicted and anticipated. Iran’s rulers can live with a motion which they see as the Bush administration’s parting shot in the dispute over the uranium enrichment issue. Not surprisingly Israel was not satisfied.

But mostly they are looking ahead to the next US president and their objective is clear: the cementing of the incumbent White House position on the North Korean nuclear weapons status as a convention which its next tenant will apply to Iran. This in rough terms means accepting a Tehran guarantee to freeze its uranium enrichment process, its nuclear bomb program and nuclear-capable ballistic missile project, without demanding their dismantlement.

This outline would be deemed in Tehran a positive basis for a nuclear deal with Washington. Iran’s supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hinted broadly at its acceptability when he chose Feb. 26, the day the New York Philharmonic Orchestra played in Pyongyang, for some pointed nuclear remarks.

What does the Bush administration expect from Tehran?

According to our Washington sources, George W. Bush is keen to hand his successor a relatively stable Iraq where the violence spiral sustains its downward curve. The US president accordingly stopped direct US military action against pro-Iranian Shiite “special groups,” in the expectation that Tehran will use its influence to keep Iraq on a relatively even keel for the remainder of his term in office.

The quid pro quo runs like this: Tehran is bidding for an understanding with Washington on its nuclear program, while the US is after Iran’s help to preserve the status quo in Iraq.

Iran has two powerful resources for delivering the goods:

1. An extensive clandestine intelligence and military infrastructure across Iraq that will obey Tehran’s orders to pull in its horns.

2. Tehran’s hand on the spigot of the flow of weapons, money and extra-powerful roadside bombs to the different anti-US insurgent groups.

DEBKAfile’s military sources in Iraq report that this flow has been slowed at times but never allowed to dry up. Up until the fall of 2007, pro-Iranian groups received a sufficiency of war materiel to mount attacks on US forces. Today, it is down to a trickle, just enough for the Revolutionary Guards to keep their hand in with those militias.

The third key issue dominating the US-Iranian dialogue is southern Iraq and its oil. This is also pivotal for Iran’s bilateral relations with Iraq.

Ahmadinejad’s hosts in Baghdad have to live with the realization that their guest has more clout with the Shiites of southern Iraq than the Maliki government.

Tehran’s dominance of southern Iraq has three focii:

The shrine-cities of Karbala and Najef and the oil port of Basra. Iran and the radical Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr at the head of his Mehdi Army militia divide control of these three cities between them.

If the central government wants any say in southern Iraq, it must stay on good terms with both its rival masters.

During his last visit to Tehran at the end of last year, prime minister al-Maliki signed an agreement to lay a pipeline taking Iraqi oil to Iranian refineries in Abadan. This was a bid to link southern Iraq’s oil to the Iranian oil fields and installations on the eastern bank of the Shatt al-Arb opposite Basra. The Americans, who control and defend the southern oil fields, let the agreement go through, although they are in competition against Iran in Central Asia and Turkey. The Bush administration is reconciled to including southern Iraq and its oil fields in the overall package of Iraq understandings with Tehran.

This package the White House is willing to hand over to the next president as long as the status quo is preserved in that part of Iraq too.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Thursday, March 06, 2008

If Hillary Gets To Claim Michigan And Florida, Denver Will Burn

Update @ 9:39pm CT: i've posted a response here

cross-posted at goodCRIMETHINK

I chose an inflammatory headline because flames may be called for. Forgive me if I'm late to the party. I didn't check out Hillary's Ohio victory speech until just now. She said something extraordinary...

You all know that if we want a Democratic president, we need a Democratic nominee who can win the battleground states just like Ohio. And that is what we've done. We've won Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, Arkansas, California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. And today, we won Rhode Island, and thanks to all my friends and supporters there.

Hillary Clinton has lost her damn mind. I'm gonna leave Florida alone for now. But just to be clear, in Michigan, SHE WAS THE ONLY CANDIDATE ON THE BALLOT!!

How do you claim victory? How? How? How? Who did you defeat?

And why is this not the big headline? It's one thing to dis voters by telling them they don't count or by intimidating them (in places like Nevada), but I'll be damned if I let this person run around like some petty dictator.

There is no excuse for this, and those who support Senator Clinton also support thug politics. Why not just deploy people with AK-47s and machetes to "canvass" neighborhoods and "campaign" for you Hillary? Why the pretense of commercials and debates?

I'm gonna say this much. If she gets to claim those delegates as-is, it's over. If its thug politics you want, then that's cool, just let me know, because I can bring out the thug. You want to destroy my candidate with dirty politics? Fine. You want to hide behind "35 years of experience," go ahead.

But you do not get to fuck with my vote. Ya hear me!? YOU DO NOT.

I will do all in my power to bring hell to your campaign and hell to the Democratic Party, and if there's one thing I've learned in this political season, it's that I have power. We all have power, much more than those who wield power regularly want us to know. THERE ARE MILLIONS OF US. MILLIONS. There are only a few of them.

A Message For Those Pushing Fear Of The Alternative

For those of you out there supporting Senator Clinton, you need to look at yourself in the mirror and ask what your soul is worth. For if you don't call her on this, you are complicit in an act of treachery. Many of us think that Senator Clinton's transgressions of racial politicking are enough to disqualify her from receiving our support, but I'm not even gonna go there. I'm just talking about democracy and rules and fairness.

If you fail to stand up for democratic principles, then you are against democracy, and you are my enemy. Tell your candidate to back off. She agreed to the rules and now wants to change them. Tell her to back off. She is making a mistake.

Many Clinton people have said here and elsewhere that we must ultimately support her if she's the nominee because the alternative, John 100-Years-War McCain, is unacceptable, because the Supreme Court is in jeopardy, because blah blah blah.

First of all, the only way she can be the nominee is to thwart the democratic process through some underhanded means.

Second, how dare you take me for such a fool? How dare you threaten me? Yes, threaten. Such tactics don't work on me, and the fact that they work on you says you can be bought at a cheap price. Don't come at me with lame ass appeals and scare tactics about the Supreme Court and how bad McCain would be. You cannot scare me into voting for a person who has shown such a lack of principle.

I'm gonna be real clear on this:

I ain't afraid of John McCain! We just survived eight years of George W. Bush

I ain't afraid of John McCain! My mother went to too many meetings, walked in too many marches, took over too many radio stations for me to vote out of fear.

I ain't afraid of John McCain! My grandmother wasn't the first black clerk at the Supreme Court, and her father did not teach himself to read just so I could vote out of fear.

I ain't afraid of John McCain! Do you hear me?? My people did not build this country with their backs spilling blood, did not have their families systematically destroyed, their language stamped out, their identities stolen en masse so that I might be here today and vote out of fear.

I am not afraid of John McCain or what the Republicans might do because millions of my ancestors lay at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean right now, and they did not die for me to cave so easily. Nothing John McCain could do as president would justify me turning my backs on my ancestors or my principles. We will survive. We have always survived.

You think we're in for hard times if we don't support Hillary? You don't know hard times.

We have a choice, and now is the time to stand up. If we sit by and let this go down as if we had no choice in the matter, then we might as well do away with ballots and courts and rights, get a barcode stamped on our necks and a chip inserted into our hands, and simply bow down.

Don't ever come at me and try to blackmail me into voting out of fear.

Citigroup's Job Cuts Could Total More Than 30,000

By Charlie Gasparino, CNBC On Air Editor | 04 Mar 2008 | 02:34 PM ET
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Citigroup's job cuts could reach 30,000 or more over the next year and a half because of increasing writedowns from subprime-related debt, CNBC has learned.

Mark Lennihan / AP

The layoffs would exceed the previously reported 24,000 job cuts that had been expected at the banking giant.

Chief Executive Vikram S. Pandit is currently conducting a massive cost review and could cut as much as 10 percent of the bank's workforce of 370,000, according to people familiar with the situation.

In the past, Citigroup

Citigroup Inc

21.23 0.06 +0.28%

[C 21.23 0.06 (+0.28%) ] would lay off people and then hire them back as consultants. But with more bad-debt writedowns looming, Pandit wants to make the cuts permanent, sources say.

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