Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Truth or Consequences

BocaGuy: Imagine ...

Op-Ed Columnist
The New York Times
May 28, 2008

Imagine for a minute, just a minute, that someone running for president was able to actually tell the truth, the real truth, to the American people about what would be the best — I mean really the best — energy policy for the long-term economic health and security of our country. I realize this is a fantasy, but play along with me for a minute. What would this mythical, totally imaginary, truth-telling candidate say?

For starters, he or she would explain that there is no short-term fix for gasoline prices. Prices are what they are as a result of rising global oil demand from India, China and a rapidly growing Middle East on top of our own increasing consumption, a shortage of “sweet” crude that is used for the diesel fuel that Europe is highly dependent upon and our own neglect of effective energy policy for 30 years.

Cynical ideas, like the McCain-Clinton summertime gas-tax holiday, would only make the problem worse, and reckless initiatives like the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep offer to subsidize gasoline for three years for people who buy its gas guzzlers are the moral equivalent of tobacco companies offering discounted cigarettes to teenagers.

I can’t say it better than my friend Tim Shriver, the chairman of Special Olympics, did in a Memorial Day essay in The Washington Post: “So Dodge wants to sell you a car you don’t really want to buy, that is not fuel-efficient, will further damage our environment, and will further subsidize oil states, some of which are on the other side of the wars we’re currently fighting. ... The planet be damned, the troops be forgotten, the economy be ignored: buy a Dodge.”

No, our mythical candidate would say the long-term answer is to go exactly the other way: guarantee people a high price of gasoline — forever.

This candidate would note that $4-a-gallon gasoline is really starting to impact driving behavior and buying behavior in way that $3-a-gallon gas did not. The first time we got such a strong price signal, after the 1973 oil shock, we responded as a country by demanding and producing more fuel-efficient cars. But as soon as oil prices started falling in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we let Detroit get us readdicted to gas guzzlers, and the price steadily crept back up to where it is today.

We must not make that mistake again. Therefore, what our mythical candidate would be proposing, argues the energy economist Philip Verleger Jr., is a “price floor” for gasoline: $4 a gallon for regular unleaded, which is still half the going rate in Europe today. Washington would declare that it would never let the price fall below that level. If it does, it would increase the federal gasoline tax on a monthly basis to make up the difference between the pump price and the market price.

To ease the burden on the less well-off, “anyone earning under $80,000 a year would be compensated with a reduction in the payroll taxes,” said Verleger. Or, he suggested, the government could use the gasoline tax to buy back gas guzzlers from the public and “crush them.”

But the message going forward to every car buyer and carmaker would be this: The price of gasoline is never going back down. Therefore, if you buy a big gas guzzler today, you are locking yourself into perpetually high gasoline bills. You are buying a pig that will eat you out of house and home. At the same time, if you, a manufacturer, continue building fleets of nonhybrid gas guzzlers, you are condemning yourself, your employees and shareholders to oblivion.

What a cruel thing for a candidate to say? I disagree. Every decade we look back and say: “If only we had done the right thing then, we would be in a different position today.”

But no politician dared to do so. When gasoline was $2 a gallon, the government never would have imposed a $2 tax. Now that it is $4 a gallon, the government should at least keep it there, since it is really having the right effect. ... ( more )

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Obama Connection

Op-Ed Columnist
The New York Times
May 26, 2008

It’s the networks, stupid.

More than any other factor, it has been Barack Obama’s grasp of the central place of Internet-driven social networking that has propelled his campaign for the Democratic nomination into a seemingly unassailable lead over Hillary Clinton. Her campaign has been so 20th-century. His has been of the century we’re in.

That’s not surprising. Obama spent only 10 years of his adult life in the split world of the cold war, double that in a post-Berlin Wall world of growing interconnectedness. MAC — mutually assured connectivity — has replaced the MAD — mutually assured destruction — of cold-war days.

For Clinton, born in 1947, that ratio is different. Her mental paradigm is division. When her husband last ran for president in 1996, the Internet was marginal. The thinking and people from that campaign have proved unable to fast-forward a dozen years. They’ve been left like deer blinded by the Webcam lights of the Obama juggernaut.

This cultural failure has been devastating for Clinton. As Joshua Green chronicles in an important piece in The Atlantic, Obama has used social networking and his user-friendly Web site to develop the money machine, and the youthful engagement, that has swept him forward.

Green notes, “Obama’s claim of 1,276,000 donors is so large that Clinton doesn’t bother to compete.” He gives some other Obama campaign numbers: 750,000 active volunteers and 8,000 affinity groups. In February, a month in which he raised $55 million ($45 million over the Internet), 94 percent of donations were of $200 or less, a number dwarfing small contributions to Clinton and John McCain.

Obama has been a classic Internet-start up, a movement spreading with viral intensity and propelled by some of Silicon Valley’s most creative minds. As with any online phenomenon, he has jumped national borders, stirring as much buzz in Berlin as he does back home.

He could not have achieved this without a sense of history, a conviction that the nature of the post-post-9/11 world — the one beyond war without end — is going to be determined by sociability and connectivity. In the globalized world of MySpace, LinkedIn and the rest, sociability is a force as strong as sovereignty.

I’ve searched in vain for a sense of this pivotal historical moment in Clinton. Her threat to “totally obliterate” Iran, her stomach-turning reference to the June 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy as a reason to stay in the race, her Bosnian fabrications, all reflect a view of history as something that’s there for political ends rather than as a source of inspiration or reflection.

It’s history as “Me, me, me.” That tends to be blinding.

Her most crippling blindness has been to networks, national and global, the threads that bind and have changed society. As David Singh Grewal writes in his excellent new book, “Network Power,” a core tension in the world is that: “Everything is being globalized except politics.”

... ( more )

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

Why do so many in the liberal media simply move on to another topic after stating that Bush took the nation to war based on a lie?

Vincent Bugliosi

Vanguard Press
May 24, 2008

The following is an excerpt from Vincent Bugliosi's new book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

With respect to the position I take about the crimes of George Bush, I want to state at the outset that my motivation is not political. Although I've been a longtime Democrat (primarily because, unless there is some very compelling reason to be otherwise, I am always for "the little guy"), my political orientation is not rigid. For instance, I supported John McCain's run for the presidency in 2000. More to the point, whether I'm giving a final summation to the jury or writing one of my true crime books, credibility has always meant everything to me. Therefore, my only master and my only mistress are the facts and objectivity. I have no others. This is why I can give you, the reader, a 100 percent guarantee that if a Democratic president had done what Bush did, I would be writing the same, identical piece you are about to read.

Perhaps the most amazing thing to me about the belief of many that George Bush lied to the American public in starting his war with Iraq is that the liberal columnists who have accused him of doing this merely make this point, and then go on to the next paragraph in their columns. Only very infrequently does a columnist add that because of it Bush should be impeached. If the charges are true, of course Bush should have been impeached, convicted, and removed from office. That's almost too self-evident to state. But he deserves much more than impeachment. I mean, in America, we apparently impeach presidents for having consensual sex outside of marriage and trying to cover it up. If we impeach presidents for that, then if the president takes the country to war on a lie where thousands of American soldiers die horrible, violent deaths and over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children, even babies are killed, the punishment obviously has to be much, much more severe. That's just common sense. If Bush were impeached, convicted in the Senate, and removed from office, he'd still be a free man, still be able to wake up in the morning with his cup of coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice and read the morning paper, still travel widely and lead a life of privilege, still belong to his country club and get standing ovations whenever he chose to speak to the Republican faithful. This, for being responsible for over 100,000 horrible deaths?* For anyone interested in true justice, impeachment alone would be a joke for what Bush did.

Let's look at the way some of the leading liberal lights (and, of course, the rest of the entire nation with the exception of those few recommending impeachment) have treated the issue of punishment for Bush's cardinal sins. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote about "the false selling of the Iraq War. We were railroaded into an unnecessary war." Fine, I agree. Now what? Krugman just goes on to the next paragraph. But if Bush falsely railroaded the nation into a war where over 100,000 people died, including 4,000 American soldiers, how can you go on to the next paragraph as if you had been writing that Bush spent the weekend at Camp David with his wife? For doing what Krugman believes Bush did, doesn't Bush have to be punished commensurately in some way? Are there no consequences for committing a crime of colossal proportions?

Al Franken, on the "David Letterman" show, said, "Bush lied to us to take us to war" and quickly went on to another subject, as if he was saying "Bush lied to us in his budget."

Sen. Edward Kennedy, condemning Bush, said that "Bush's distortions misled Congress in its war vote" and "No president of the United States should employ distortion of truth to take the nation to war." But, Senator Kennedy, if a president does this, as you believe Bush did, then what? Remember, Clinton was impeached for allegedly trying to cover up a consensual sexual affair. What do you recommend for Bush for being responsible for more than 100,000 deaths? Nothing? He shouldn't be held accountable for his actions? If one were to listen to you talk, that is the only conclusion one could come to. But why, Senator Kennedy, do you, like everyone else, want to give Bush this complete free ride?

The New York Times, in a June 17, 2004, editorial, said that in selling this nation on the war in Iraq, "the Bush administration convinced a substantial majority of Americans before the war that Saddam Hussein was somehow linked to 9/11 … inexcusably selling the false Iraq-Al Qaeda claim to Americans." But gentlemen, if this is so, then what? The New York Times didn't say, just going on, like everyone else, to the next paragraph, talking about something else.

In a Nov. 15, 2005, editorial, the New York Times said that "the president and his top advisers … did not allow the American people, or even Congress, to have the information necessary to make reasoned judgments of their own. It's obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans about Mr. Hussein's weapons and his terrorist connections." But if it's "obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans" in taking them to a war that tens of thousands of people have paid for with their lives, now what? No punishment? If not, under what theory? Again, you're just going to go on to the next paragraph? ... ( more )

© 2008 Independent Media Institute.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Missing In Action

BocaGuy: Let's pause an take the time to remember the American who have given their lives for our country.

Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Ali Frick, and Benjamin Armbruster
The Progress Report
American Progress Action Fund
May 23, 2008

On Monday, the nation will join its nearly 24 million veterans in remembering the American heroes who have lost their lives in war. Yesterday, the Senate honored U.S. troops by passing a 21st Century GI Bill, expanding educational benefits for veterans who joined the service after Sept. 11, 2001. "Congress today resolutely asserted that it is time for those of us who have been calling on these brave men and women to serve again and again to assist in providing a meaningful chance for a first-class future," said Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), who sponsored the legislation. Seventy-five senators voted to fund veterans yesterday, providing a veto-proof majority. Yet not only did Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) not vote for the bill, he didn't even show up to vote (the only other senators missing were Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-CA), for health reasons, and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who had to attend a funeral). In the past, McCain has promised to "do everything" in his power to look after the nation's military. But a look at his record on veterans issues shows that he has unfortunately favored conservative pandering instead.

A COMPREHENSIVE NEW GI BILL: Yesterday's vote on the 21st Century GI Bill was 75-22. The legislation garnered wide bipartisan support, including Republican cosponsors Sens. Chuck Hagel (NE) and John Warner (VA). Under the bill, members of the military who have served on active duty since 9/11 are eligible to receive education benefits equaling the highest tuition rate of the most expensive in-state public college or university, along with a monthly stipend for housing determined by geographical area. It would also "create a program in which the government would provide a dollar-for-dollar match to contributions from private educational institutions with higher tuition rates than those covered under the bill." Despite claims by McCain and the White House, Webb's bill would help the military's enlistment rate. The new GI bill "is projected to cost about $2.5 billion per year," roughly the cost of U.S. operations in Iraq for one week.

DASHING HOPES AND DREAMS: McCain, however, opposes these generous benefits for troops' education. He instead signed onto a watered-down, Bush administration-approved version offered by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). This legislation would exclude many servicemembers by reserving the most generous benefits for soldiers who have served at least 12 years. It would also shortchange National Guard and Reserve members, offering them fewer benefits. McCain likes to say that as a former soldier, he understands what is best for veterans. But his version of the GI Bill was opposed by the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and the American Legion. More than eight in 10 members of the American public also support a comprehensive GI Bill. Kristofer Goldsmith, who served in Sadr City and was stop-lossed after returning home, testified to Congress on May 15 that he had attempted suicide and was discharged. Because he couldn't serve a second term, he had to forfeit his "one hope and dream" to go to college under the GI Bill. "And currently there is a Senator in Congress currently running for president, who is fighting to kill our Webb GI bill," said Goldsmith. "And I'm one of the soldiers who will never get that money."

FAILING GRADES: McCain's record on supporting veterans is one of the worst in Congress. IAVA has given him a grade of a "D" for voting against veterans' priorities so often between 2000 and 2006. A scorecard of roll call votes compiled by the Disabled American Veterans found that McCain has voted for veterans funding bills only 20 percent of the time. For example, in May 2006, he voted against an amendment providing $20 billion to the Department of Veteran Affairs's (VA) medical facilities. In April 2006, he was one of just 13 senators to vote against providing $430 million to the VA for outpatient care "and treatment for veterans." McCain has railed against comprehensive universal health care and wants to give veterans the "freedom to choose to carry their V.A. dollars to a provider that gives them the timely care at high quality and in the best location." But as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman notes, "[T]he Veterans Health Administration is one of the few clear American success stories in the struggle to contain health care costs. ... [I]t's an integrated system -- a system that takes long-term responsibility for its clients' health -- to deliver an impressive combination of high-quality care and low costs." McCain's plan, however, would "privatize and, in effect, dismantle the V.A." In his narrow-sighted focus on eliminating earmarks, McCain may also cut funding for military housing.
Copyright 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Our Trip to Paradise

I'm back from 'Paradise' - Key West. We're blown away with the town.

Day One
We got to Key West about noon on Sunday and checked-in to the
Andrews Inn - great place to stay. We unpacked and went out exploring. We didn't have far to go because the Hemingway Estate borders the property. The tour was great and the cats - there were about 48 cats that are descents from his original cats. It was time for the 'Happy Hour' so we went back to the Andrews Inn. They have a champagne continental breakfast and full cocktail hour daily. We partied until it was time to go downtown to Mallory Square. Each night they have a big party to watch the sunset. There are lots of people, street performers & vendors.We enjoyed the sunset and went exploring the nightlife on Duval Street. We saw Captain Tony's , Sloppy Joe's and the Drunken Parrot ( just to name a few ).

We walked halfway up on Duval Street till we reached the
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe . We had to have a CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE and I had a MARGARITAVILLE GOLD MARGARITA. They were supposed have live entertainment but the performer had an emergency so there wasn't any ( a real bummer ).

Day Two
After a breakfast including champagne, we took a Trolley around Key West. It's a great way to get an overview of the island. We did one loop and then we got off at the wharf and had lunch at the
CONCH REPUBLIC SEAFOOD COMPANY . We then walk around a bit and had Key Lime Pie dipped in chocolate on a stick at Kermits . Then we went back to the Andrews Inn for "happy hour". For dinner we went to the El Seboary - Cuban restaurant. Then we went and watch the "Queen Mother" pageant in front LaTeDa's for awhile. The "Queen Mother" pageant is a beauty pageant for the local drag queens. It's just like Miss America except the contestants are all female impersonators! What a hoot.

Day Three
After breakfast we walked down Duval Street and poked around in the various shops, stores and art galleries. We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant next door to the Andrews Inn ( not a great restaurant). We hung out at the pool until "happy hour". The we went down to the Westin Resort at the harbor.
We took a ferry to Sunset Key and had dinner at Latitudes Beach Cafe.

We had a FANTASTIC meal:
  • Eileen had 'Nut and Berries' Martini and I had a 'Key Lime' Martini
  • appetizer - Sunset Key Shrimp
  • entree - Macadamia Nut Crusted Grouper
Menu The meal was incredible, the sunset spectacular and the night was memorable.

Day Four
After breakfast we walked down Duval. I came back early to hang by the pool. We had "Happy Hour" and then headed down to the wharf for a sunset champagne cruise on the Floridays.

The cruise was really great. It ended too soon.

Day Five
After having our last champagne breakfast, we packed our bags sadly said goodbye. We met so many warm & friendly people & experienced so many beautiful & fun things that we have memories to make us smile for many years to come.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gone to Margaritaville


I have gone for 5 days this coming week for trip to Key West. The trip is gift from my wife for my 60th birthday this year. So you all talk among yourselves until I return. I'll checking out Hemmingway Estate, Margaritville ,Captain Tonys and a couple of others places. I'll drink some margaritas and lay out in a hammock.

And watch the sun go down

Hear the sea roll in
I'll be thinking of you
And how it might have been
Hear the night bird cry
Watch the sunset down
Well I hope you understand
I just had to go back to the island

Jimmy Buffet
See ya when I came back.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Obama Sees Finish Line, Clinton Clings To Dwindling Support

The New York Times
May 8, 2008

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton struck a publicly defiant posture on Wednesday about continuing her presidential bid despite waning support from Democratic officials and donors. Some of her advisers acknowledged privately that they remained unsure about the future of her candidacy.

With the political world trained on Mrs. Clinton's financial and electoral viability, Senator Barack Obama moved closer to becoming the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party. Mr. Obama spent the day at home in Chicago, after increasing his delegate lead in Tuesday's primaries -- a result that led David Plouffe, a top Obama aide, to say on Wednesday, "We can see the finish line here." ... ( more )

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

NBC's Russert: Obama has the nomination

In the wake of the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, Tim Russert, moderator of "Meet the Press," tells TODAY's Matt Lauer that "we now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be and nobody is going to dispute it."

© 2008 Microsoft

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Ali Frick, and Benjamin Armbruster
Center for American Progreess Action Fund
May 6, 2008


Mickey Mouse Operation

With the help of the Defense Department, the Los Angeles-based company C3 is "developing the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, a massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum" and "is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland." More than that though, the Pentagon is also backing a $5 billion plan to create a "zone of influence" around the new $700 million U.S. embassy that will include luxury hotels, a shopping center, and condos in an effort to "transform" the Green Zone into a "centerpiece for Baghdad's future." This isn't the first time the Pentagon has turned to Disney for solutions. One year after the scandal erupted over the long-term treatment of soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Army introduced the "Service, Disney Style" program that is now required for all military and other government employees at the hospital in an effort to "revamp attitudes" and instill a sense that "poor service equals frustration." With violence escalating in Iraq, the Pentagon is again looking to the Disney model for a way out.

'ANYBODY EVER BEEN TO DISNEYLAND?': The Disneyland-style amusement park in the heart of Iraq will cost nearly $500 million. Llewellyn Werner, chairman of C3, said of the idea, "[T]he people need this kind of positive influence. It's going to have a huge psychological impact." But make no mistake, Werner also sees dollar signs. "I'm a businessman. I'm not here because I think you're nice people," Werner said, adding, "I wouldn't be doing this if I wasn't making money." Trying to sell the idea to Baghdad's skeptical deputy mayor, Werner explained the significance of waterpark lagoons: they're "very important to the sex appeal, the sizzle. Anybody ever been to Disneyland?" Werner's sentiment is shared by John March, executive vice president of the firm contracted to design the park. March recently downplayed any safety concerns associated with creating a massive entertainment complex in the heart of Baghdad. "Well, you live here in Southern California and there's drive-bys and everything else. So there's danger everywhere," he proclaimed. But Werner has an idea on how to bridge the sectarian divide in Baghdad: skateboarding. He said Iraqis will see the park as "an opportunity for their children regardless if they're Shia or Sunni." Speaking in deliberately slow English, Werner told the Iraqis, "One of the fastest growing sports in the world is skate…boarding." Indeed, the skateboarding park, part of the first phase, is set to open this summer.

DOWNTOWN KANSAS CITY?: President Bush has repeatedly said that the United States. has "no desire for permanent bases" in Iraq. But the Bush administration is seeking to leave its footprint on Iraq through other means. The "zone of influence" around the Baghdad embassy will "serve as a kind of high-end buffer for the compound." Navy Capt. Thomas Karnowski, the leader of the development plan, explained, "When you have $1 billion hanging out there and 1,000 employees lying around, you kind of want to know who your neighbors are. You want to influence what happens in your neighborhood over time." But the project's incentive appears to be lining the pockets of investors and allies rather than re-building Iraq’s economy, mirroring the cronyism of Saddam Hussein who "stocked the neighborhood with family and tribal allies, political loyalists and members of his elite Republican Guard." While Karnowski has said the project is "a done deal," it has also been dubbed "an improbable fantasy." Many U.S. embassy officials have called the plan "unrealistic." One State Department official added that Iraqis are unlikely to want the United States to "turn this area into downtown Kansas City."

'WE DO OUR OWN THING': The friction between the Departments of State and Defense on economic development in Iraq has been personified by one of the Pentagon's venture capital point men in Iraq: Paul Brinkley, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Business Transformation. Brinkley and State officials butted heads shortly after Brinkley arrived in Iraq because of his plan to rehabilitate and revamp shuttered, state-run enterprises in the hope that the jobs created would reduce violence. Despite two State Department commissioned studies by the CIA and Rand Corporation that found no correlation between unemployment and attacks on U.S. troops, Brinkley said of U.S. embassy officials in Baghdad, "We tend to not deal with them very often...we have our own mission, and we do our own thing." Speaking of Brinkley's plan, Bob Looney, an economics professor at the Postgraduate School said, "he's just wasting his time and our money," while another U.S. official has said Brinkley is a "well-intentioned guy on a fool's errand." Brinkley has also signed on to the Disney-style theme park in Baghdad, stating, "half the Iraqi population is under the age of 15. These kids really need something to do." Gen. David Petraeus is reportedly a "big supporter" of the project.

Copyright 2008

The price to purchase a vote is relatively inexpensive

pissed off patricia
Morning Martini
May 6, 2008

A possible upside to Senator Clinton and Senator McCain offering the American public a gas tax holiday is they are attempting to buy your vote for thirty dollars or so. With everything else being so expensive, it would appear that the price to purchase a vote is relatively inexpensive.

There are numerous downsides to the tax holiday. Besides encouraging more gasoline purchases, there may also be a desire by some to hoard gasoline in tanks or cans at home. The possible disasters there are obvious. Of course the fact that one hundred top economists say it’s not a good idea should be noted also.

But here’s the bottom line as far as I can see. Even if this was a fantastic idea, how in the hell would this get the approval of congress before the summer and what are the odds of the bill receiving a big fat veto from the president?

So if you and I know these things, wouldn’t you expect Senators Clinton and McCain know them as well? So are the senators being deceptive? Is anyone up for more deception these days? I don’t think so.

Copyright 2008 Morning Martini

Sunday, May 4, 2008

“Teflon John”

Copyright 2008 Crooks and Liars

The All-White Elephant in the Room

BocaGuy: Right on Brother Rich.

Frank Rich
Op-Ed Columnist
The New York Times
May 4, 2008

BORED by those endless replays of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright? If so, go directly to YouTube, search for “John Hagee Roman Church Hitler,” and be recharged by a fresh jolt of clerical jive.

What you’ll find is a white televangelist, the Rev. John Hagee, lecturing in front of an enormous diorama. Wielding a pointer, he pokes at the image of a woman with Pamela Anderson-sized breasts, her hand raising a golden chalice. The woman is “the Great Whore,” Mr. Hagee explains, and she is drinking “the blood of the Jewish people.” That’s because the Great Whore represents “the Roman Church,” which, in his view, has thirsted for Jewish blood throughout history, from the Crusades to the Holocaust.

Mr. Hagee is not a fringe kook but the pastor of a Texas megachurch. On Feb. 27, he stood with John McCain and endorsed him over the religious conservatives’ favorite, Mike Huckabee, who was then still in the race.

Are we really to believe that neither Mr. McCain nor his camp knew anything then about Mr. Hagee’s views? This particular YouTube video — far from the only one — was posted on Jan. 1, nearly two months before the Hagee-McCain press conference. Mr. Hagee appears on multiple religious networks, including twice daily on the largest, Trinity Broadcasting, which reaches 75 million homes. Any 12-year-old with a laptop could have vetted this preacher in 30 seconds, tops.

Since then, Mr. McCain has been shocked to learn that his clerical ally has made many other outrageous statements. Mr. Hagee, it’s true, did not blame the American government for concocting AIDS. But he did say that God created Hurricane Katrina to punish New Orleans for its sins, particularly a scheduled “homosexual parade there on the Monday that Katrina came.”

Mr. Hagee didn’t make that claim in obscure circumstances, either. He broadcast it on one of America’s most widely heard radio programs, “Fresh Air” on NPR, back in September 2006. He reaffirmed it in a radio interview less than two weeks ago. Only after a reporter asked Mr. McCain about this Katrina homily on April 24 did the candidate brand it as “nonsense” and the preacher retract it.

Mr. McCain says he does not endorse any of Mr. Hagee’s calumnies, any more than Barack Obama endorses Mr. Wright’s. But those who try to give Mr. McCain a pass for his embrace of a problematic preacher have a thin case. It boils down to this: Mr. McCain was not a parishioner for 20 years at Mr. Hagee’s church.

That defense implies, incorrectly, that Mr. McCain was a passive recipient of this bigot’s endorsement. In fact, by his own account, Mr. McCain sought out Mr. Hagee, who is perhaps best known for trying to drum up a pre-emptiveholy war” with Iran. (This preacher’s rantings may tell us more about Mr. McCain’s policy views than Mr. Wright’s tell us about Mr. Obama’s.) Even after Mr. Hagee’s Catholic bashing bubbled up in the mainstream media, Mr. McCain still did not reject and denounce him, as Mr. Obama did an unsolicited endorser, Louis Farrakhan, at the urging of Tim Russert and Hillary Clinton. Mr. McCain instead told George Stephanopoulos two Sundays ago that while he condemns any “anti-anything” remarks by Mr. Hagee, he is still “glad to have his endorsement.” ... ( more )

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Saturday, May 3, 2008

This is for all the American Jews who think John McCain would be "good for Israel"

Brilliant at Breakfast
May 3, 2008

Forget for a moment that McCain is running on "I will have a plan" and that you should just vote for him without knowing anything about what his "plans" are. What he said here, in saying this:

My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will - that will then prevent us - that will preventfrom having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East. that the ONLY reason for our involvement in the Middle East is oil. Just oil. Nothing about "protecting our strongest ally in that region", nothing about Israel. So tell all your elderly Jewish relatives who think that John McCain would somehow be better for Israel than that schvartze (sic) with the funny name to wake the hell up. And while you're at it, remind them that their current favorite, Sen. Clinton, is trying to emulate Sen. McCain every step of the way.

Israel is nothing but a political cudgel for these people. Ironically, even the apocalyptic lunatics like Hagee and Dobson are more "friends of Israel" than these people, because at least they NEED Israel for their dreams of being raptured home to Jesus can come true. For people like John McCain, who despite his protestations of Baptistry, is as secular a man as you're going to find in the Republican party, Israel need not outlive its political usefulness by even one second.

Copyright 2008 Brilliant at Breakfast