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Talk is Cheap, Even with Enemies, and By the Way, Rivals Aren't Enemies

By Dave Lindorff

What the hell is Barack Obama talking about?

He says that America should be talking with leaders in Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Korea, Syria. Fine. But he calls this “talking with our enemies.”

What enemies?

Let’s get something straight. Enemies are people who are fighting against you, who are trying to destroy you. Is Cuba fighting against America? Is Iran fighting against America? Is Venezuela fighting against America? Syria? China? No. These countries may be rivals, but they are not enemies.

The closest we come to having an actual enemy in today’s world is North Korea, where we are technically still in some kind of truce following a hot war, but of course that war itself has been over for half a frigging century, and nobody has been killing anyone on the Korean Peninsula in decades.

Foreclosures in Military Towns Surge at Four Times U.S. Rate

By Kathleen M. Howley

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Jeffrey VerSteegh, who repairs F-16 jets for the 132nd Fighter Wing, departed Des Moines, Iowa, in April for his third tour in Iraq. The father of four may lose his home when he returns.

The four-bedroom farmhouse he and his wife, Kathleen, own near the Iowa State Fairgrounds went into default in December after their monthly mortgage costs doubled to $1,100. Kathleen missed work because of breast cancer and they struggled to keep up the house payment, falling behind on other bills. Their bankruptcy was approved by the court a week after VerSteegh left for Iraq.

In the midst of the worst surge in mortgage defaults in seven decades, foreclosures in U.S. towns where soldiers live are increasing at a pace almost four times the national average, according to data compiled by research firm RealtyTrac Inc. in Irvine, California. As military families like the VerSteeghs signed up for the initial lower rates and easier terms of subprime mortgages, the number of people taking out Veterans Administration loans fell to the lowest in at least 12 years.

``We've never faced a situation like this, not in the Vietnam War, World War II, or the Korean War, where so many military are in danger of losing their homes,'' said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, a Washington-based advocacy group started in 2002 by Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans. ``No one asked them for their credit score when we asked them to fight for us.''

Why Puerto Rico's Democratic Primary Won't Matter

By Dave Lindorff

There are a number of reasons why the Puerto Rican Democratic primary election set for this coming Sunday won’t matter, in terms of Hillary Clinton’s failed bid for the party’s nomination.

The main one is that she’s not going to get the big vote that she has been predicting.

Clinton, trailing Obama by about 400,000 votes nationwide with only three primaries to go, is fantasizing that she will win the lion’s share of one million Puerto Rican votes, which would put her in the lead for the nomination in terms of the popular vote, though not in the delegate count.

The Case For Mental Health Screening Of Candidates And Electeds

by Linda Milazzo

In 1972, after graduating from New York's Queens College, I took the New York State teaching exam. My degrees were in Theater and Speech Communications so I took the exam to teach speech. It was a particularly difficult test since it combined both art and science. The surprisingly good news - after five years of "thespianing," partying and cramming, I passed the written and oral exams. The embarrassingly bad news - I failed MY APPLICATION!

My downfall was one simple question: Have you ever used drugs? The application had separate boxes for a simple YES and a simple NO. I simply checked YES!!

You see, having gone to school during the drug crazed 60s and 70s, I was convinced my assessors wouldn’t believe my “No” since my wild-hippy-artist-look defined me. Thus I did as any young idealist would – I told the truth – well, the partial truth. I admitted to smoking marijuana, and left it at that. My assessment team was NOT pleased! The reward for my honesty was a series of urine tests and a follow-up oral exam, during which I was ultimately forced to lie. I committed to living completely drug free for the rest of my natural life.

Rice's Lies About Torture

By Dave Lindorff

Is anyone surprised that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that the Bush/Cheney administration’s authorization of torture of captives has been consistently legal and in compliance with all treaties the US has signed, including the Geneva Conventions?

After all, she was at the meetings in the White House in 2001 at which various acts of torture, ranging from waterboarding to exposure to extreme heat and cold, to enforced long periods in stress positions, and to treatments which have not been disclosed (no doubt because they are so outrageous and offensive to common decency) were imagined, proposed and approved for use-—meetings that were manifestly criminal in nature and in violation of international and US law.

For His Treatment of Children in the 'War on Terror' Bush is a War Criminal

By Dave Lindorff

Surely nothing that President Bush has done in his two wretched terms of office—not the invasion and destruction of Iraq, not the overturning of the five-centuries-old tradition of habeas corpus, not his authorization and encouragement of torture, not his campaign of domestic spying—nothing, can compare in its ugliness to his approval, as commander in chief, of the imprisoning of over 2500 children.

Big John McCain and the Scary Iran Threat

By Dave Lindorff

Mighty war hero John McCain has a troublesome perceptual problem. He sees things as being bigger than they really are.

When he was flying fighter-bombers over North Vietnam, he, like many in the military, imagined that he was fighting against a mighty foe (world communism, I suppose). What he was really doing was dropping bombs on a peasant country that was essentially still in the 19th or even, in much of the countryside, the 18th Century. It was also only a sixth of the size of the US. But John McCain bravely battled against this pipsqueak enemy, dropping his bombs until some of those peasant soldiers shot him down and captured him.

Politicians, Kids and an Audacious Hope

By Dave Lindorff

I remember back in 1970, when I was a student and anti-war activist in Connecticut, watching an ad on TV for Lowell Weicker, who was running for US Senate. The ad was very powerful: It showed Weicker playing in the yard with his son, who looked like he was maybe 10 or 12. Weicker was saying that when his son was a tot, the US was fighting in Vietnam, and he didn’t want us to be fighting there when his son reached draft age.

I voted for Weicker, a Republican who went on to win a Senate seat where he played a key role in helping to bring an end to the Nixon presidency.

As it happens, the Vietnam War ended five years later, when Weicker’s son was probably 17. He didn’t get drafted, but I remain struck by the fact that we could, back then, even contemplate the idea of being at war for so long.

Will An Adult Finally Prevail?!

by Linda Milazzo

Yes, I know. John McCain was a prisoner of war and he survived to tell his tale. It's fortunate he survived and I commend him for his service, but as President he won’t prevail. He’s dangerous. He’s delusional. And he lacks the emotional stability and maturity for the job. Yes, he lacks the MATURITY for the job! He’s another privileged son of another privileged family who believes he’s entitled to the job. Well, he’s NOT!!

True, McCain suffered greatly as a POW, but to his good fortune when he did arrive home he was cloaked in his celebrity, provided every resource, and protected by his family – a decidedly different scenario from the isolation and lack of services lesser known vets are forced to endure. Their fates often result in homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, and an inability to secure adequate medical and mental-health services for years - even decades. Not so for John McCain.

John McCain, the Admiral’s son, may have been a hero in war, but he'd been a self-indulgent party-boy long before he served - and a self-indulgent POWER-boy once he got back home. In truth, the moral high ground that Senator McCain feigns to tread has veered again and again from its path. His post Vietnam affair with current wife Cindy resulted in a divorce from his first wife and a cushy marriage to an heiress [Cindy], whose well-connected father not only employed McCain, but introduced him to Arizona’s elite - which included such notables as Charles Keating, Jr., the convicted mastermind of Lincoln Savings and Loan that bilked 21,000 mostly elderly victims out of their life savings, and from whom Senator John McCain took money and gratuities.

Want Cheaper Gas and Oil? End the Damned Wars!

Americans are in a panic over rising gas and heating oil prices, and with reason. For months, the price of a barrel of crude oil has been rising steadily, hitting a record $127 yesterday.

Analysts keep getting trotted out on TV and in print, attributing the dramatic price rise to everything from “peak oil”—the idea that producing countries have reached their peak of productive capacity, and that the only direction for oil supplies looking forward is down, while demand continues to rise—to increasing demand in China and India, to supply bottlenecks, to specific news events, like a pipeline break in Nigeria, or a closed refinery in California.

McCain: U.S. Troops Home by 2013

ABC News’ Bret Hovell Reports: Sen. John McCain delivered a speech from the not-so-distant future Thursday morning, chronicling what he hopes his first term in the White House will look like, most notably, U.S. troops home from Iraq by 2013.

“By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom,” McCain said in Columbus, Ohio.

“The Iraq War has been won,” McCain said. “Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension.”

The style of the speech – in which the presumptive Republican nominee listed the things he hopes to have accomplished at the end of his first term – reads like his current stump speech, but with verbs in the past tense.

Got a Question About Voting? Here's Your Chance - But Act Fast! And Listen Up Tonight Via Net!

Uncounted's David Earnhardt on Voice of the Voters

* Wednesday, May 14, 8:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM PT, Voice of the Voters

The New Media (and Clinton) Story Line: Democrats Need to Worry about Obama

By Dave Lindorff

Before the West Virginia primary vote on Tuesday, it was a foregone conclusion that Hillary Clinton would sweep the state, perhaps by over 70 percent. In the event, she came close to that, with 68 percent of the vote. Now that the vote has happened, Clinton and a corporate media anxious to spin out the ratings-boosting contest as long as possible, are arguing that Obama is in trouble.

It is true that twenty percent of those voting for Clinton in this almost lily-white, low-income, low-education state said they voted for her on the basis of race, which is to say they wouldn't vote for a black man. Theirs was a vote Clinton has actively pursued. Forty percent of her backers said they would not vote for Obama in the general election if he were the Democratic candidate.

Hillary Clinton, John McCain and the "Stupid" Vote

By Dave Lindorff

I want to be clear here from the start: there is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. Stupidity is a lack of intelligence. But even here, there are subsets. Some ignorance results from a lack of access to knowledge, while some is the result of a laziness or unwillingness to learn. Some stupidity is the result of some genetic or nutritional deficiency or perhaps of some abuse or lack of care or attention during early childhood, while some is the result of mental laziness or a willful desire not to think.

Will the Windy City's Council Follow the Lead of Harpswell, Maine?

The motto of the state of Maine is "I lead" or "I direct." Will Chicago's City Council follow the lead of Harpswell, Maine, in voting opposition to war with Iran?

This article below ran the same day as the town of Harpswell, Maine voted overwhelmingly "to call for peace with Iran by submittng a resolution to Maine Representatives in Congress to:

1. Prohibit the us of funds to cary out any military actions against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization.
2. Ensure US relations with Iran are consistent with international law.
3. Encourage talks without preconditions between the US and Iran n nuclear issues and the ending of violence in Iraq."

Hopefully Chicago and Harpswell will inspire people in other municipalities to push for similar expressions of opposition to the administration's drumbeat for a widened and vastly more disastrous war in the Middle East. When the people lead, the politicians will follow.

This Friday 5/16 at Harvard: Restoring America After Bush

A panel discussion at the Harvard Law School to examine how to restore America after the Bush presidency will be held this Friday, May 16, 2008, from 1-5 PM in the Ames Courtroom at Austin Hall, Harvard Law School, 1563 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138. Map.

  • Andy Bacevich, Professor of History and International Relations, Boston University
  • Louis Fisher, Specialist in constitutional law at the Law Library of the Library of Congress
  • Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute
  • Fritz A. O. Schwarz, Jr., Senior Counsel,Brennan Center for Justice, New York University Law School
  • Detlev F. Vagts, Bemis Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School
  • Sheldon Whitehouse, US Senate, D-RI, Select Committee on Intelligence and Judiciary Committee

Quest 1 for conference

AP: Number of Disabled Veterans Rising

AP IMPACT: Number of disabled veterans rising
By JENNIFER C. KERR | JS Online

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Increasing numbers of U.S. troops have left the military with damaged bodies and minds, an ever-larger pool of disabled veterans that will cost the nation billions for decades to come - even as the total population of America's vets shrinks.

Despite the decline in total vets - as soldiers from World War II and Korea die - the government expects to be spending $59 billion a year to compensate injured warriors in 25 years, up from today's $29 billion, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press. And the Veterans Affairs Department concedes the bill could be much higher.

Why?

The Democratic Presidential Race: A View from Pennsylvania

By Dave Lindorff

The results in Tuesday’s twin primaries—Barack Obama by 14 percent in North Carolina and Hillary Clinton by 2 percent in Indiana—confirmed that Clinton is finished as a contender. Barack Obama will be the Democratic candidate for president this fall.

Clinton, the private-schooled, Wellesley and Yale-educated millionaire lawyer from Chicago, who first tried to present herself as a White House veteran, and then, in recent weeks, as a NASCAR mom on Food Stamps, and who in Pennsylvania resorted to cheap race-baiting and red-baiting in an effort to derail her opponent, has failed. Barack Obama, another private-schooled Harvard and Yale-educated lawyer, but one who actually did have to work his way up the economic ladder, won decisively in North Carolina, even drawing a significant number of working-class white voters in a state where white voters have not traditionally voted for candidates with dark skin.

McCain’s Noble Cause

It took nearly three years, and it came from a Presidential wannabe rather than President Bush, but Cindy Sheehan finally got an answer to her question: “What is the noble cause?” It’s oil.

Senator McCain, speaking at a campaign stop, said, “I will have an energy policy …which will eliminate our dependency on oil from the Middle East that will then prevent us… from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.” The Senator subsequently attempted to cover up his Freudian slip (or “senior moment”) by claiming that he was referring to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, not the current conflict. Sorry, Senator, but that cat’s just not going back.

The Bush Family's Bad Latin Real Estate Investment

By Dave Lindorff

Back in late 2006, it was widely reported in the Latin American media that President Bush, or perhaps his old man, had bought a 100,000-acre farm in a remote area of Paraguay.

What struck people at the time was the choice of country. Paraguay, of course, has gained a certain Club Med status among the world's villains and criminal elements as the place to go when the law's on your tail. The country, ruled for six decades by the dictatorial and fascist Colorado Party of Gen. Alfredo Stroesser, an almost cartoon charicature of a Latin American dictator, has no extradition treaty with any nation.

The Convenient "Suicide" Of The DC Madam

by Linda Milazzo

I don't like to speculate - but the reported suicide of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam," is difficult for me to fathom. The suspicion I hold that the "suicide" of this 52 year old seemingly vibrant woman, who could reveal the identities of the powerful Washingtonians who used her "escort" services, may not have been a suicide at all, causes me sadness - over the tragic death of Palfrey herself, and over my distrust of the powerful who have proven time and again that they will do anything to protect their fortunes and their "good" names.

According to the HuffingtonPost, (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/01/dc-madam-dead-in-apparent_n_996...), Palfrey had spoken out on suicide in the past when she reflected on the death of one of her former escorts, University of Maryland Professor, Brandy Britton. Palfrey said of Britton's suicide:

American and Israeli War Crimes: Same Atrocities, Different Responses

By Dave Lindorff

In the last few days, both the Israeli military and the US military have fired missiles into homes, in an effort to target what they said were terrorists, in the process killing many innocent civilians.

But what a contrast we see in both the reporting on these events, and in the response within the two countries!

Veterans' Group Blasts Bush on Transport, Housing SNAFUS

Veterans For Peace:

‘Mission Accomplished!’ Who does Bush think he’s kidding,” ask vets?

On the fifth anniversary of President Bush announcing “Mission Accomplished,” a national veterans’ organization today blasted the administration’s treatment of soldiers returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Citing recently-revealed snafus where civilian airlines have stranded troops in the Mideast for more than a week beyond their scheduled return dates, and dangerous housing conditions on at least one stateside Army base, the two top officers of Veterans For Peace said such treatment makes a mockery of the Bush administration’s “support the troops” rhetoric.

“‘Mission Accomplished!’ Who does Bush think he’s kidding?” VFP President Elliott Adams asked angrily. “Five years after he commandeered an aircraft carrier for a stunt announcing the end of combat operations in Iraq, our troops are still getting killed and apparently we can’t even fly them back home on schedule or house them properly when they do get home.”

Chicagoans Set to See Special One-Night Screening of "Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections" Tomorrow, Tuesday, 7 PM

David Earnhardt travels to Chicago tomorrow night to present, along with the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project and Progressive Democrats of America, a special one night only screening of UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections. Sponsored by WCPT 820AM - Chicago's Progressive Talk Radio also feature a post-film Q&A with David and Tribune Media columnist, Bob Koehler.

Uncounted in Chicago
Tuesday, April 29, 2008, 7:00 PM
Landmark's Century Centre Cinema (Map)
2828 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL
$10.00 General Admission

Invasion of the Pumpheads!

By Dave Lindorff

Is America at the mercy of an invasion of the pumpheads?

The bizarre behavior of Bill Clinton during this campaign season, which has seen this once smooth-talking and politically uber-sophisticated campaigner repeatedly stick a foot in his mouth and undermine his wife’s struggling campaign, raises the issue of whether he is suffering from postperfusion syndrome—a now recognized cognitive impairment common in patients who have undergone heart bypass surgery.

Torture Me!

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

ACTION CALL: WTF? Our Heroes Welcomed Home (Grab Your Barf Bag)

Have we no shame?

Please call and demand that our heroes be treated with the common decency, dignity, honor and respect that they have earned.

The Clock is Ticking for A US Attack on Iran

By Dave Lindorff

I admit to feeling a little like the weatherman who keeps saying it's going to rain, and who eventually is proven correct. I feel certain that the Bush/Cheney regime is going to launch a disastrous attack on Iran, but have made several calls, which have been proved wrong, beginning back in October 2006, when I wrote that it looked like several aircraft carrier battle groups were being put in position for the assault, but then it was called off.

Now it looks like the attack is coming soon.

Pelosi HEARTS Bush!

Pelosi HEARTS Bush! by Linda Milazzo (crossposted from opednews, smirkingchimp)

Thank you, Larry King. When you bring it, YOU BRING IT! And last night, YOU BROUGHT IT!! Thanks to the few simple questions you asked Speaker Pelosi, viewers got a clearer insight into who Speaker Pelosi is, and how Speaker Pelosi feels - about President Bush, her self-described "day job," and her Congressional opponent, Cindy Sheehan.

So how does Speaker Pelosi feel about President Bush? She likes him! She genuinely likes him. According to Pelosi, there's nothing "personal" for her in the decisions and policies of George W. Bush. Why should it be personal? Nothing the President has done regarding the war has personally affected Mrs. Pelosi or her family. No Pelosis have been killed in Iraq, lost limbs, suffered traumatic brain injury, or committed suicide after returning home. And since Mrs. Pelosi dislikes the war, or so she proclaims, no young Pelosi will be prompted to fight it. So for Speaker Pelosi, the Iraq war, with its non-Pelosi casualties, will remain non-personal – and her relationship with its creator, George W. Bush, won't be soured by her pain.

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