Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza

Nehad Al-Hajsale, the London, Ont. man who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, is seen with his daughter in this undated family handout photo.

Nehad Al-Hajsale, the London, Ont. man who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, is seen with his daughter in this undated family handout photo.

Dalia Salim, the wife of Nehad Al-Hajsale, who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, appears on CTV's Canada AM from 'A' studios in London, Ont., Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008.

Dalia Salim, the wife of Nehad Al-Hajsale, who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, appears on CTV’s Canada AM from ‘A’ studios in London, Ont., Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008.

Nehad Al-Hajsale, the London, Ont. man who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, is seen with his wife, Dalia Salim, and their daughter in this undated family handout photo.

Nehad Al-Hajsale, the London, Ont. man who has been trapped in Gaza since early November, is seen with his wife, Dalia Salim, and their daughter in this undated family handout photo.


Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare

December 31 2008

A London, Ont. man’s trip to the Gaza Strip to visit his ailing father has turned into an extended nightmare.

Nehad Al-Hajsalem has been trapped in Gaza since early November, and his family is growing increasingly desperate to bring him home safely.

An Israeli aerial bombing campaign on Gaza is now in its fifth day, with close to 400 people killed in the attacks.

Al-Hajsalem’s wife, Dalia Salim, told CTV’s Canada AM she worries for her husband’s safety, saying just getting through by phone is a challenge.

“It’s quite hard,” Salim said. “You have to call at least 10 times for the phone to pick up. But I do talk to him and it’s pretty scary. I can hear all the bombs, I can hear emergency sirens going by, I can hear helicopters, the loud zooming sound of them. It’s all so frightening.”

Al-Hajsalem, a permanent resident of Canada, travelled to Gaza when he learned the border with Egypt would be opened for several days in early November.

He had planned to visit his father who was dying from liver cancer, then return to Canada.

Al-Hajsalem’s father died on Nov. 23, but the Gaza border has once again been closed and Al-Hajsalem hasn’t been allowed to leave the territory.

Salim said her husband’s status as a permanent resident means Foreign Affairs can do little to help him.

Her final hope — of securing passage for Al-Hajsalem aboard an aid ship making trips from Cyprus to Gaza — fell apart yesterday.

The ship, which had made several recent trips to Gaza, had agreed to take Al-Hajsalem as a passenger back to Cyprus.

However, the ship wasn’t allowed to land in Gaza.

“That was basically our last hope, but that boat never made it to Gaza. Israeli navy ships hit it from the side and made it go back to Lebanon, so basically my only hope is gone,” Salim said.

According to a report from The Associated Press, the SS Dignity, a ship carrying international peace activists and medical supplies, was damaged by the Israeli navy Tuesday, and forced to head to Lebanon.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the ship ignored an Israeli radio order to turn back as it approached Gaza early Tuesday.

According to Palmor, the vessel tried to outmaneuver the Israeli navy ship and crashed into it, lightly damaging both vessels, before the Dignity was turned back.

Crew and passengers aboard the ship dispute the account, however, claiming it was rammed by the navy ship.

The ship was carrying close to four tons of medical supplies organized by Free Gaza, a group that has made five aid trips to Gaza, despite a blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza.

Source

The entire population is being held hostage by Israel.

Nothing can get in and no one can get out. Israel has everyone trapped and is killing them systematically.  What is wrong with this picture?

These people have nothing to fight back with. They just wait until they are killed. Death is the only way out of Gaza.

Don’t be fooled by reports that the US is asking for a halt in the bombing that is pure BS. Then again most Americans will believe the propaganda they usually do. The Bush Administration as par usual are lieing. They actually blocked the UN plan to stop the bombing.  So that in it self tells me they are full of #%$@.

Seems Israel is having an election soon and they want to win so killing hundreds of innocent people is the way to get “Re-Elected”.  How sick can a bunch of murderers get?

This much like What Hitler did except instead of using the Gas Chambers they are just bombing them. These people are trapped. They can’t escape. So the difference is what?

Palestinians  have been cut off food and supplies for weeks. Anyone who thinks Israel has justification is dead wrong. They have done everything imaginable to kill Palestinians in the past and now it’s just Genocide as Hitler did.

This blockade is nothing new it is old and it is cruelty beyond comprehension.

Even the UN seems to un- able to do anything. So what the hell good are they if they can’t stop the murders?  Meanwhile the US who is pretending to do something are in fact the ones who are stopping them.

Well the US needs a good slap up the side of the head as does Israel.

  1. Both are guilty of war crimes.
  2. Both are guilty of Genocide.
  3. Both are guilty of crimes against humanity.
  4. Both are  guilty of murder.
  5. Both are liers.
  6. Both are Terrorist nations as far as I am concerned.

They terrorize everyone in their path.

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

Israel and the US have lied  many times this is just one example of it. Anything that will create a good war is what they both do? The profiteers love the Warmongers.

‘The USS Liberty’: America’s Most Shameful Secret
by Eric S. Margolis

May 2, 2001

NEW YORK – On the fourth day of the 1967 Arab Israeli War, the intelligence ship ‘USS Liberty’ was steaming slowly in international waters, 14 miles off the Sinai Peninsula. Israeli armored forces were racing deep into Sinai in hot pursuit of the retreating Egyptian army.

‘Liberty,’ a World War II freighter, had been converted into an intelligence vessel by the top-secret US National Security Agency, and packed with the latest signals and electronic interception equipment. The ship bristled with antennas and electronic ‘ears’ including TRSSCOMM, a system that delivered real-time intercepts to Washington by bouncing a stream of microwaves off the moon.

‘Liberty’ had been rushed to Sinai to monitor communications of the belligerents in the Third Arab Israeli War: Israel and her foes, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

At 0800 hrs, 8 June, 1967, eight Israeli recon flights flew over ‘Liberty,’ which was flying a large American flag. At 1400 hrs, waves of low-flying Israeli Mystere and Mirage-III fighter-bombers repeatedly attacked the American vessel with rockets, napalm, and cannon. The air attacks lasted 20 minutes, concentrating on the ship’s electronic antennas and dishes. The ‘Liberty’ was left afire, listing sharply. Eight of her crew lay dead, a hundred seriously wounded, including the captain, Commander William McGonagle.

At 1424 hrs, three Israeli torpedo boats attacked, raking the burning ‘Liberty’ with 20mm and 40mm shells. At 1431hrs an Israeli torpedo hit the ‘Liberty’ midship, precisely where the signals intelligence systems were located. Twenty-five more Americans died.

Israeli gunboats circled the wounded ‘Liberty,’ firing at crewmen trying to fight the fires. At 1515, the crew were ordered to abandon ship. The Israeli warships closed and poured machine gun fire into the crowded life rafts, sinking two. As American sailors were being massacred in cold blood, a rescue mission by US Sixth Fleet carrier aircraft was mysteriously aborted on orders from the White House.

An hour after the attack, Israeli warships and planes returned. Commander McGonagle gave the order. ‘prepare to repel borders.’ But the Israelis, probably fearful of intervention by the US Sixth Fleet, departed. ‘Liberty’ was left shattered but still defiant, her flag flying.

The Israeli attacks killed 34 US seamen and wounded 171 out of a crew of 297, the worst loss of American naval personnel from hostile action since World War II.

Less than an hour after the attack, Israel told Washington its forces had committed a ‘tragic error.’ Later, Israel claimed it had mistaken ‘Liberty’ for an ancient Egyptian horse transport. US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, and Joint Chiefs of Staff head, Admiral Thomas Moorer, insisted the Israeli attack was deliberate and designed to sink ‘Liberty.’ So did three CIA reports; one asserted Israel’s Defense Minister, Gen. Moshe Dayan, had personally ordered the attack.

In contrast to American outrage over North Korea’s assault on the intelligence ship ‘Pueblo,’ Iraq’s mistaken missile strike on the USS ‘Stark,’ last fall’s bombing of the USS ‘Cole’ in Aden, and the recent US-China air incident, the savaging of ‘Liberty’ was quickly hushed up by President Lyndon Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

The White House and Congress immediately accepted Israel’s explanation and let the matter drop. Israel later paid a token reparation of US $6 million. There were reports two Israeli pilots who had refused to attack ‘Liberty’ were jailed for 18 years.

Surviving ‘Liberty’ crew members would not be silenced. They kept demanding an open inquiry and tried to tell their story of deliberate attack to the media. Israel’s government worked behind the scenes to thwart these efforts, going so far as having American pro-Israel groups accuse ‘Liberty’s’ survivors of being ‘anti-Semites’ and ‘Israel-haters.’ Major TV networks cancelled interviews with the crew. A book about the ‘Liberty’ by crewman James Ennes’ was dropped from distribution. The Israel lobby branded him ‘an Arab propagandist.’

The attack on ‘Liberty’ was fading into obscurity until last week, when intelligence expert James Bamford came out with Body of Secrets, his latest book about the National Security Agency. In a stunning revelation, Bamford writes that unknown to Israel, a US Navy EC-121 intelligence aircraft was flying high overhead the ‘Liberty,’ electronically recorded the attack. The US aircraft crew provides evidence that the Israeli pilots knew full well that they were attacking a US Navy ship flying the American flag.

Why did Israel try to sink a naval vessel of its benefactor and ally? Most likely because ‘Liberty’s’ intercepts flatly contradicted Israel’s claim, made at the war’s beginning on 5 June, that Egypt had attacked Israel, and that Israel’s massive air assault on three Arab nations was in retaliation. In fact, Israel began the war by a devastating, Pearl-Harbor style surprise attack that caught the Arabs in bed and destroyed their entire air forces.

Israel was also preparing to attack Syria to seize its strategic Golan Heights. Washington warned Israel not to invade Syria, which had remained inactive while Israel fought Egypt. Bamford says Israel’s offensive against Syria was abruptly postponed when ‘Liberty’ appeared off Sinai, then launched once it was knocked out of action. Israel’s claim that Syria had attacked it could have been disproved by ‘Liberty.’

Most significant, ‘Liberty’s’ intercepts may have shown that Israel seized upon sharply rising Arab-Israeli tensions in May-June 1967 to launch a long-planned war to invade and annex the West Bank, Jerusalem, Golan and Sinai.

Far more shocking was Washington’s response. Writes Bamford: ‘Despite the overwhelming evidence that Israel attacked the ship and killed American servicemen deliberately, the Johnson Administration and Congress covered up the entire incident.’ Why?

Domestic politics. Johnson, a man never noted for high moral values, preferred to cover up the attack rather than anger a key constituency and major financial backer of the Democratic Party. Congress was even less eager to touch this ‘third rail’ issue.

Commander McGonagle was quietly awarded the Medal of Honor for his and his men’s heroism – not in the White House, as is usual, but in an obscure ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard. Crew member’s graves were inscribed, ‘died in the Eastern Mediterranean..’ as if they had be killed by disease, rather than hostile action.

A member of President Johnson’s staff believed there was a more complex reason for the cover-up: Johnson offered Jewish liberals unconditional backing of Israel, and a cover-up of the ‘Liberty’ attack, in exchange for the liberal toning down their strident criticism of his policies in the then raging Vietnam War.

Israel, which claims it fought a war of self defense in 1967 and had no prior territorial ambitions, will be much displeased by Bamford’s revelations. Those who believe Israel illegally occupies the West Bank and Golan will be emboldened.

Much more important, the US government’s long, disgraceful cover-up of the premeditated attack on ‘Liberty’ has now burst into the open and demands full-scale investigation. After 34 years, the voices of ‘Liberty’s’ dead and wounded seamen must finally be heard.

Source

Many years ago thing were much different then they are now.

palistine-19461

First List Releast Of Palestinian Victims In “Cast Lead Massacre”
December 31 2008

By Hiyam Noir

GAZA – On Wednesday the Palestinian Health Ministry released a list of 187 Palestinians killed during the first two days of the Israelis Cast Lead Massacre across Gaza Strip

The director of the Health Ministry’s Public Relations department in Gaza,Dr Omar Nasr, reveal that the death toll through out Wednesday after noon,have exceeded 390 including 31 children,the health ministry are collecting all the names of the slain and the many wounded.

In the coming days details of how many civilians were killed and injured ,will be presented to international humanitarian organizations,these files are evidence when judical legal proceedings will begin against the Israelis.

The following list identified the first 187 victims of the Israeli onslaught as:

Ibrahim Al-Jamaj
Isma’il Al-Husari
Isma’il Salem
Isma’il Ghneim
Eyman Natour
Eyhab Ash-Shaer
Ibrahim Mahfoudh
Abu Ali Ar-Rahhal
Ahmad Al-Halabi
Ahmad Al-Kurd
Ahmad Al-Lahham
Ahmad Al-Hums
Ahmad At-Talouli
Ahmad Zu’rub
Ahmad Abu Jazar
Ahmad Radwan
Ahmad ‘Udah
Ahmad Abu Mousa
Ahmad Tbeil
Adham Al-Areini
Osama Abu Ar-Rus
Osama Abu Ar-Reish
Osama Darweish
Ashraf Ash-Sharabasi
Ashraf Abu Suhweil
Amjad Abu Jazar
Ameen Az-Zarbatli
Anas Hamad
Anwar Al-Bardini
Anwar Al-Kurd
Ayman Abu Ammouna
Ayman An-Nahhal
Ibrahim Abu Ar-Rus
Basil Dababish
Bassam Makkawi
Bilal Omar
Bahaa Abu Zuhri
Tamir Qreinawi
Tamir Abu Afsha
Tawfiq Al-Fallit
Tawfiq Jabir
Thaer Madi
Jabir Jarbu’
Hatim Abu Sha’ira
Hamid Yasin
Husam Ayyash
Hasan Baraka
Hasan Abid Rabbo
Hasan Al-Majayda
Hussein Al-A’raj
Hussein Dawood
Hussein ‘Uroq
Hakam Abu Mansi
Hamada Abu Duqqa
Hamada Safi
Hamdan Abu Nu’eira
Haydar Hassuna
Khalid Zu’rub
Khalid Abu Hasna
Khalid An-Nashasi
Khalid Shaheen
Raed Dughmush
Rami Ash-Sheikh
Raafat Shamiyya
Riziq Salman
Rif’at Sa’da
Rafiq Na’im
Ramzi Al-Haddad
Ziyad Abu ‘Ubada
Sarah Al-Hawajiri
Salim Abu Shamla
Salim Qreinawi
Sa’id Hamada
Salim Al-Gharir
Suheil Tambura
Shadi Sbakhi
Shahada Quffa
Shahada Abd ar-Rahman
Sabir Al-Mabhouh
Suhayb Abu ‘Iffat
Suhayb Abd al-‘aal
Tal’at Salman
Tal’at Basal
‘Aasim Ash-Shaer
‘Aasim Abu Kamil
Abid Ad-Dahshan
Abd ar-Raziq Shahtu
Abd as-Sami’ An-Nashar
Abdul-Fattah Abu ‘Uteiwi
Abdul-Fattah Fadil
Abdullah Juneid
Abdullah Al-Ghafari
Abdullah Rantisi
Abdullah Wahbi
Arafat Farajallah
Azmi Abu Dalal
Isam Al-Ghirbawi
‘Alaa Al-Qatrawi
‘Alaa Al-Kahlout
‘Alaa ‘Uqeilan
‘Alaa Nasr Ar-Ra’i
Ali Awad
Imab Abu Al-Hajj
Omar Darawsha
Omran Ar-ran
Anan Ghaliya
Gharib Al-Assar
Fayiz Riyad Al-Madhoun
Fayiz Ayada Al-Madhoun
Fayiz Abu Al-Qumsan
Camellia Al-Bardini
Ma’moun Sleim
Mazin ‘Ulayyan
Muhammad Al-Ghimri
Muhammad Al-Halabi
Muhammad Asaliyya
Muhammad Az-Zatma
Muhammad Az-ahra
Muhammad Gaza
Muhammad An-Nuri
Muhammad Abu Sabra
Muhammad Abu ‘Amir
Muhammad Abu Libda
Muhammad Hboush
Muhammad Al-Mabhouh
Muhammad Sha’ban
Muhammad Abu ‘Abdo
Muhammad Salih
Muhammad Tabasha
Muhammad Al-Habeil
Muhammad Abdullah Aziz
Muhammad Abdul-Wahhab Aziz
Muhammad Awad
Muhammad Abd An-Nabi
Muhammad Salih
Muhammad An-Najari
Muhammad Hamad
Muhammad Barakat
Muhammad Muhanna
Mahmoud Al-Khalidi
Mahmoud Abu Harbeid
Mahmoud Abu Matar
Mahmoud Abu Tabour
Mahmoud Abu Nahla
Mustafa Al-Khateib
Mustafa As-Sabbak
Mu’ein Hamada
Mu’ein Al-Hasan
Mumtaz An- Najjar
Mansour Al-Gharra
Nasser Al-Gharra
Nahidh Abu Namous
Nabil Al-Breim
Nathir Al-Louqa
Ni’ma Al-Maghari
Na’im Kheit
Na’im Al-Kafarna
Na’im Al-Anzi
Nimir Amoum
Hisham Rantisi
Hisham Al-Masdar
Hisham Abu ‘Uda
Hisham ‘Uweida
Humam An-Najjar
Hanaa Al-Mabhouh
Haytham Hamdan
Haytham Ash-Sher
Wadei’ Al-Muzayyin
Wasim Azaza
Walid Abu Hein
Walid Jabir Abu Hein
Yasser Ash-Shaer
Yasser Al-Lahham
Yahya Al-Hayik
Yahya Sheikha
Yahya Mahmoud Sheikha
Yousif Thabit
Yousif Al-Jallad
Yousif Sha’ban
Yousif Diab
Yousif Al-Anani
Yousif An-Najjar
Younis Ad-Deiri

Source

Palestinian History, A Chronology

In 1882 Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Paris starts financial backing for Jewish settlement in Palestine.

They even had a Rothschild involved in it. Same with the Federal Reserve in the US. How special is that? And of course Britain was in it up to their ears, as is the US now.

There is along history behind the take over of Palestine.

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Published in: on December 31, 2008 at 8:01 pm  Comments Off on Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza  
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Brown attacked for delaying Iraq war inquiry

Opposition says Prime Minister wants to postpone report until after election

By Andrew Grice, Political Editor

December 19 2008

Gordon Brown provoked a political storm yesterday by rejecting calls for an immediate inquiry into the Iraq war and its aftermath.

The Prime Minister came under fire from opposition parties after he told the Commons it would not be “right” to have such an investigation until British troops return home next summer. Allies said Mr Brown does not want to consider an inquiry while a substantial number of British troops – currently 4,100 – remain in Iraq. They say he will need to revisit the issue next July, when fewer than 400 will remain to protect Iraqi oil platforms and train the Iraqi navy.

Ministers will come under huge pressure next summer not to use the smaller-scale presence as an excuse to further delay an inquiry. David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, promised MPs last week: “We are not going to hide behind the idea that the last troops must have come home. We have always made it clear our commitment is in respect of combat troops, and we intend to honour that commitment.”

Opposition parties believe Mr Brown is keen to ensure the full investigation does not report until after the next general election, which must be held by June 2010. Although the controversial 2003 invasion was seen as “Tony Blair’s war”, Mr Brown has backed it and said he would not have acted differently.

David Cameron demanded a “robust, independent inquiry”, saying it is vital to learn lessons which could help during the campaign in Afghanistan. With up to 400 troops remaining in Iraq, there is a chance the investigation could be delayed for “many, many years”, he said.

The Tory leader insisted there is no need to wait until all troops are home because past inquiries had been held while conflicts continued. Troops who have served in Iraq are owed an investigation, he said. He told Mr Brown the inquiry should look into the decision to go to war, and the mistakes made in its conduct and planning. “Do you accept that if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past we are more likely to make them again in the future?” he asked.

The Prime Minister confirmed that British military operations in Iraq would end by 31 May at the latest, saying a rapid withdrawal would be complete by July.

On the inquiry calls, Mr Brown said: “I have always said this is a matter we will consider once our troops have come home. We are not at that position at the moment, and therefore it is not right to open the question now.”

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, urged Labour and the Tories to apologise for backing an “illegal war” which he described as the “single worst foreign policy decision of the past 50 years” and called for a public inquiry.

Charles Kennedy, who opposed the war as Liberal Democrat leader, said it was “shameful” that the US and UK did not “even bother to count” the number of innocent lives lost during the conflict and occupation. He said it would leave a “legacy of hatred” for generations. The Prime Minister replied: “I do acknowledge the sufferings of the Iraqi people. You must not forget the violence against the Iraqi people practised by Saddam Hussein. We were dealing with a dictatorship and we now have a democracy.”

Angus Robertson, leader of the Scottish National Party at Westminster, said: “Now that there is a timetable for withdrawing our forces, there is no reason why we cannot have a timetable for an inquiry.”

Source

Lie by Lie:  Iraq War Timeline

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq “1,284,105”
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq/iraqdeaths.html

Hugo Chavez wins Venezuela election

November 25 2008

By Redmond O’Neill

With all of the votes officially counted the results of Venezuela’s regional and municipal elections on November 23 are clear and of some interest.

Hugo Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venuezuela won 17 states and a large majority of the national vote. The opposition won five states and the mayoralty of capital Caracas.

Contrary to the dire predictions in some sections of the British and US media, both the president and opposition accepted the results with good grace. This confirms the meticulous respect for democracy, confirmed in the latest survey by the widely respected Latinbarometro, which found that satisfaction with democracy in Venezuela is the second highest in Latin America.

However, the elections illustrated two new aspects of Venezuela’s political landscape. First, in the country as a whole, Chavez gained a large margin of support over the opposition, of around 1m additional votes or roughly 20%.

That is a dramatic shift in comparison to the referendum on constitutional reform last year, which Chavez lost by roughly 1%. This suggests that, while Venezuelans rejected some of the proposed constitutional changes, Chavez retains broad overall majority support. No doubt this is due to the way his government has given the majority of the people access to free education for the first time, eradicated illiteracy, massively expanded access to free education at every level and raised the living standards of the impoverished majority.

At the same time, the opposition won Caracas and the interlocking state of Miranda, the main oil-producing state Zulia, and Carabobo, an important industrial region. These are the three biggest urban regions in the country.

The loss of Caracas, in particular, is a symptom of the acute problems of massive shanty towns, crime, traffic congestion, waste and inadequate public transport, which are now primary concerns of people in the big cities.

There can be little confidence that the opposition has any answers to these problems, as their policies of plundering national resources for the benefit of a tiny minority created this situation of urban decay in the first place.

Under the old regime, continued in the key backers of today’s opposition, Venezuela started 1950 with an average income that was nearly three times that of the main eight Latin American countries. By the time Chavez came to power, this lead had almost been eliminated by policies that gave Venezuela a rate of growth less than a quarter of the average of those eight countries for 48 years.

Once he tackled those controlling the national oil company in 2003 and was able to put its resources to productive use, Chavez achieved a sustained rate of economic growth outstripping that of most of Latin America and he put these resources to use tackling the most acute issues of poverty, health and education.

These elections show that Chavez now faces a more specific but equally imperative challenge, that of radically improving the infrastructure, and with it, the efficiency and quality of life in the country’s main cities.

What has been achieved so quickly, with such success, in the fields of health and education gives some confidence that this can be achieved, but only if the government takes on these issues with the same single-minded commitment.

Source

Published in: on November 27, 2008 at 12:23 am  Comments Off on Hugo Chavez wins Venezuela election  
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Greenland has voted ‘yes’ vote for autonomy

November 26 2008


75 percent voted ‘yes’ while 23 percent had voted’ no ‘in the referendum on autonomy.


Source


Greenland may be getting an early election

Greenland’s coalition government appears to be falling apart as it faces a growing number of problems that it doesn’t seem to be able to address. Sermitsiaq reports that a referendum on extending the home rule government’s autonomy from Denmark today, Tuesday 25 November could result in an early election call. Greenland Premier Hans Enoksen has the power to call for an early election if he feels it will be to his side’s advantage.

Greenland’s Audit Commission recently criticised four government ministers over their mishandling of public affairs. One minister, Aqqalu Abelsen, has already been forced out of the government as its Family and Health Minister. By calling for a snap election, Enoksen could help the other four ministers in his party avoid the same fate.

Self-rule will ultimately be the platform that Enoksen uses in his campaign if he decides to call for a quick election, which could happen as soon as 28 November, the last working day of Parliament. A public vote in favour of self-rule would likely have a knock-on effect helping the premier’s Siumut Party retain what power it has, suggests the Sermitsiaq newspaper.

The Siumut Party played a major role in negotiating the self-rule agreement with Denmark earlier this year. The Siumut and Atassut parties have 17 members in Parliament between them, as compared to the 14 members of the opposition. It could be a risky move to call a snap election, but now could be the ideal moment to solidify Enoken’s position.

Source

Greenlanders vote on more autonomy from Denmark

November 25, 2008

People in Greenland were voting Tuesday in a referendum on whether to establish a self-rule government, moving the Arctic glacial island closer to independence from Denmark.

About 56,000 people — most of whom are Inuit — live in Greenland, which is currently a Danish province. More than half of Greenlanders are eligible to vote in Tuesday’s referendum.

Greenlanders are asked to vote on whether they support a proposal that would establish Greenland’s right within Denmark’s constitution to be recognized as a nation, as well as give Greenlanders control over oil, gas and mineral resources on the island.

If the majority of Greenlanders vote Yes to the proposal, it would also establish a separate police force, courts of law and coast guard. As well, it would make Kalaallisut, or Greenlandic Inuit, the island’s official language.

“I think it’s so exciting,” Aaju Peter, an Iqaluit resident who came to Nunavut from Greenland, told CBC News on Monday.

“When you’re in your own home, you should be able to say where the furniture goes, and not have somebody else dictate where the furniture goes.”

Greenland became a Danish colony in 1775 and remained that way until 1953, when Denmark revised its constitution and made the island a province.

Under the 1979 Home Rule Act, Greenland got its own parliament and government, and self-determination in health care, schools and social services.

Foreign and military affairs are controlled by Copenhagen, and that would continue under the proposal.

The proposal being voted on Tuesday has been worked out between Greenland and Denmark over the past few years.

We want to take care of ourselves’

Aqqaluk Lynge, president of Greenland’s Inuit Circumpolar Council, said Denmark’s old colonial system taught Greenlanders that “‘We would take care of you.'”

“We don’t want that,” Lynge said. “We want to take care of ourselves.”

The outcome of the referendum is likely to be respected by the Danish government, as it supports greater autonomy for Greenland and a phase-out of an annual Danish subsidy of about 3.5 billion kroner, or about $588 million US, which accounts for two-thirds of the island’s economy.

But should the majority of Greenlanders vote Yes in Tuesday’s referendum, Denmark would not immediately withdraw that funding. Instead, the proposal calls for a gradual phasing out of the subsidy when the island earns

Steen Ulrik Johannessen, a journalist with the Danish News Agency in Copenhagen, told CBC News that the referendum proposes the transfer of responsibility — and the phasing out of the subsidy — to be done gradually.

“As soon as the oil and minerals give more than $1 billion a year, Denmark would slowly withdraw economically,” he said. “This would pave the road to independence.”

The proposal would also set new rules on how to split potential oil revenue between Greenland and Denmark. Greenlanders hope to find oil reserves off the western and southern coast of the glacial island, although exploration so far has been unsuccessful.

But while some on the island have said Greenland may not yet be ready for more independence, polls indicate most Greenlanders will likely vote Yes on Tuesday.

“To have an identity is so important that I think that a vast majority of Greenlanders will say Yes,” Lynge said.

Source

Greenland has voted ‘yes’ vote for autonomy and now we will have to wait and see what Denmark has to say about it all.

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 4:32 am  Comments Off on Greenland has voted ‘yes’ vote for autonomy  
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Barack Obama: Hope for America, but maybe not for the world?

November 7 2008

Barack Obama has run perhaps the best organized and most inspiring of presidential campaigns in US political history. He has risen above sleazy political tactics, challenged stereotypes, eschewed divisiveness, focused on issues that are important to Americans, and maintained his poise and principles in the face of tremendous pressure from his opponents. It has been truly awe-inspiring and admirable.

There is little wonder that almost 53% of American voters and perhaps a larger percentage of the world population have found themselves strongly attracted to Barack Obama. He has become a shining beacon of “hope” and “change” for a country in a crisis of self-confidence, and a world participating vicariously through the blown up “reality-TV” of American presidential elections.

Without taking anything away from the greatness of Obama’s achievement, and the historical importance of this event for American culture and identity, I feel constrained to point out that those who think an Obama presidency will improve the way that the United States has been engaging with the world may need to take a reality-check.

I say this as one who instinctively likes Barack Obama, has tremendous respect and admiration for him, shares with him the same alma mater, has close friends and relatives all across the United States, and has followed the campaign speeches, events and reporting on the US election with pathological interest.

I am addressing this article only to those who are already aware of the many ways in which the United States has been uniquely responsible for undermining international law, stability, peace and prosperity in the World. Those who are offended that I could even make such a suggestion should investigate elsewhere, and read no further.

The insight I share is a simple one: nothing that Barack Obama has done or promised gives rise to the “hope” that an Obama presidency will usher in the “change we need” in the world. The gloomy conclusion comes from asking a series of questions, and for each one recognizing the answer to be “no he won’t”:

  1. Will president Obama allow the United States to recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC)? The ICC is the preeminent global mechanism for holding egregious human rights violators to account, when they are able to escape being held to account by national jurisdictions. It is a mechanism championed by Europe and enthusiastically adopted by much of the world, but almost fatally undermined by the United States formal renouncing in 2002, and keeping a clutch of countries that depend on US support away from it – Sri Lanka being amongst that number.
  2. Will president Obama bring the United States into the Kyoto protocol or at least an equivalent and sufficient compact on responding to Global Warming? The United States with less than four percent of the global population is responsible for more a quarter of the annual emissions that cause global warming – by far the highest per-capita pollution rate. The negative consequences of Global warming will be borne disproportionately by the poor of the world who have benefited the least from the industrial activities over the last hundred years that have brought about the problem.
  3. Will president Obama bring the United States back in to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with Russia, or an acceptable equivalent? President George Bush in 2002 withdrew the US from the 1972 ABM treaty, because Russia could no longer compete in the arms race. This withdrawal from the treaty and subsequent plans for missile deployments in countries close to Russia has been the principal reason for souring relations with Moscow. It has begun a new version of the cold war, with attendant threats to the security of the world. (Georgia being the first bit of grass to get trampled as the Elephants position them-selves in the fight).
  4. Will president Obama reverse the longstanding US policy of blindly supporting Israel as it continues to deny the people of Palestine a just return of their lands and the right to a dignified existence in their own territory? Israel routinely receives upwards of 2 billion dollars in military aid alone from the US each year (together with about another one billion in non-military aid, Israel receives one sixth of the US foreign aid budget each year), and at the U.N. Security Council the US routinely exercises its veto power in favour of Israel anytime the rest of the world tries to even voice their concern about the injustice. This unprincipled support has been the chief recruiting sergeant in the Middle East for Al Qaida-style organizations, which are undermining stability and peace in the world.
  5. Will president Obama choke off the still strong political and military support by the US for the utterly corrupt, repressive, authoritarian Saudi Arabian regime? The Saudi regime is amongst the most corrupt and repressive in the world. That regime and US support for it remains the second most important driver of Al Qaida recruitment. It monopolises the massive wealth from oil revenues for the aggrandizement of a small circle of family, friends, and multinational oil companies, denying much of the local population even a semblance of fair share and perpetuates that injustice by repressive laws, restricted freedoms and denial of democracy.
  6. Will president Obama after closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison camp (even McCain would) apologise and pay compensation to those who can’t be charged — the large number of innocent people yanked in there by mercenary schemes, tortured, and denied any semblance of justice for now almost 7 years? Guantanamo Bay prison has — in large screen technicolour, brazenly and shamelessly — flouted numerous international covenants on civil, political and human rights. Since it’s inception in January 2002, Guantanamo Bay prison has shown the middle finger to the universal values of civilised cultures and made these values seem cheap, subservient, and disposable when inconvenient. Such an iconic prison camp that ends with unrepentant impunity will have terribly undermined the power of these values to shape the world.
  7. Will president Obama change the US position in 2001, when it became the only country to oppose the international UN treaty on curbing the flow of small arms? This treaty – spearheaded by Sri Lankan Jayantha Dhanapala, then under-secretary-general to Kofi Anan – aimed to provide some simple global standards and tracing methods to curtail the illicit flow of small arms in the world (much of them manufactured and sold by the US). These weapons expand the power of organized crime, fuel militia gangs, arm child soldiers (including those of the LTTE in Sri Lanka), and are estimated by the UN to kill at least half a million people each year.
  8. Will president Obama withdraw US intransigence at World Trade talks (which have been failing to reach consensus since the Doha round in 2001)? The US (which together with the EU spends more than 100 billion dollars per year on farm subsidies) wants to continue denying farmers from poor countries the same access to the markets of very rich nations, as has been secured for multinationals from those countries into the markets of the poor? Even the global western institutions such as the IMF and World Bank admit openly that this lack of symmetry in trade access is one of the principle causes of poverty in the African continent, the poorest region of the world.

I have considered here only a few of the burning questions of the world. I think they highlight the bleakness of this grand “change” in America, in terms of having a positive effect on the way that American power is wielded in the world. With a George Bush presidency, there was at least no illusion about the selfish abuse of military and institutional power by the United States. An Obama presidency that continues these wolfish tendencies in sheep’s clothing will not make the world a better place.

The election of Barack Obama is shrouded in the illusion that US engagement in the world will now be moral and benevolent. But the time for that has not yet arrived, and is not likely to arrive until US economic and military power diminishes more significantly. For those who were listening, Barack Obama has in fact been threatening the world, by the trade, military and foreign policy positions that he has articulated consistently throughout his campaign – and there is no reason to think he didn’t mean what he said.

Has Barack Obama offered “hope” for Americans? Resoundingly “Yes!” But the hope that President Obama offers Americans is not hope for the world.

Source

Can he stop the war mongering that has become embedded in America?

Can he eliminate the corruption in the American political system?
The American self serving agenda has seeped into every corner of the world. Whether is be Free Trade or the Financial Crisis.  It has seeped into the IMF and World Bank. It has slithered into every aspect of the planet. Corporations are as corrupt as the MOB. They hold too much power over Governments and people.

Free Trade agreements, the IMF and World Bank help promote their agenda of cheap slave labour,  massive profits and the ability to pollute world wide. They promote privatization of services such as water, education and health care. This all for profit and to the demise of the people.  Oddly enough the because of the Financial Crisis many countries have had to borrow money from the IMF and World Bank and are now at the mercy of their dictatorial agenda.

They of course are apparently seen as the good guys helping out those poor countries in need,  when in fact they are just as usual, promoting more  privatization of their resources. How sweet it is to be in their grasp. Well for the corporations that is, not for the people of the country that had to borrow money. I bet their Cooperate mouths are just watering at the prospect of more profits, at the expense of the countries who were forced to turn to the IMF and World Banks.

Farmers in India who have committed suicide or lost their farms may have something to say about the IMF loan given to India. They sure helped them now didn’t they? The International Monetary Fund was promoting an agenda all right. A corporate agenda, not that of “actually helping the country or it’s people”.

Iceland had to raise their Interest rates to a whopping 18 percent, while the rest of the institutions are lowering them. That was one of the stipulations in the IMF loan, they will receive from the IMF. There is something fishy in that, isn’t there? Gorden Brown treating them as a terrorist is just way out there.  There certainly is something rather strange about it all. One has to wonder what the true agenda is?

A few years back it was well known what was going on. Africa is one of the victims. A classic example of IMF and World Bank pretending to be nice.

A little History Lesson on The World Bank and IMF in Africa

The US Government can whine all they want, they don’t have money for Health Care and Social programs but in fact, if the War machine were ended they would have enough and more to lift many out of poverty and fund social programs.
The total of America’s military bases in other people’s countries in 2005, according to official sources, was 737.

The 612 billion war budget is not necessary either.

Instead they have working toward World Domination via  Military Dominance, Free Trade agreements, IMF and the World Bank.  They have pandered to Corperate Greed and Profiteering.  Which in the end causes more poverty, more pollution, more war, more corruption, more death,  more cheap slave labour, more profiteering for the greedy and more hatred towards the United States of America.

NATO and the United Nations have done little to stop the Fascist Agenda.  If anything they have enabled the US.

Should they end the Aid to Israel ? Well much of the aid is earmarked for weapons for one and it destabilizes the Middle East.

Can Obama sort through all of this and find ways to improve the life of US Citizens and the rest of the World?

Sure he could.  It will take time and political will.

Will he and the Government of the US do anything is another story.

The rest of the world also needs to work with Obama to end the War Machine and Cooperate Corruption however.

The Enablers around the world, must also make it clear their agenda of World Domination must end.

Enough is Enough.

If the leaders in the World are to promote anything is should be to improve the lives of it’s citizens,  not the profiteers and war mongers.

Cleaning up the media that sifts out “propaganda” to the American public would also go a long way to helping as well. The American people have the right to know the truth. So does the rest of the world.

The propaganda machine has worked it’s way into much of the media around the world as well.

People want the “truth” not “propaganda” and “lies”.







Barack Obama New President of the United States

The day history was made.

Obama to Become First Black President
By Russell Goldman

November 4 2008

Barack Obama cruised to victory Tuesday night in an historic triumph that promised change, overcame centuries of prejudice and fulfilled Martin Luther King’s dream that a man be judged not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character

Obama was projected to surpass the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency when polls closed on the West coast at 11p.m. ET.

Grant Park

Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-lll, gather at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.

(Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo)

Obama, a first term senator will little experience on the national level, made history by defeating Sen. John McCain, one of the country’s most experienced politicians and a bona fide war hero.

Obama’s history making victory was fueled by his soaring rhetoric, his themes of change and hope in uncertain economic times, as well as deep dissatisfaction with the last eight years of the Bush administration.

Obama’s campaign was historic for reasons beyond his skin color. He raised more money than any other candidate in U.S. history, and had to first defeat Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was the party’s favorite to win the Democratic nomination.

Voters from a broad swath of America’s diverse ethnic enclaves and economic communities celebrated Obama’s win Tuesday night, particularly those in the African-American community.

Thousand’s flocked to Chicago’s Grant Park to await the election results. In Harlem, New York the black community took to the streets to celebrate.

“I’ve been an Obama supporter from the beginning,” said Sophie Logothetis, an elementary school history teacher who waited an hour to get into Grant Par, “and I just had to be here.”

In Grant Park, the Rev. Jesse Jackson was seen crying when election results were announced.

In Harlem, Jeff Mann, a 51-year-old construction worker said, “You can’t be anything but joyful. Obama is going to change the world,” said Jeff Mann, 51, a construction worker in Harlem.

Crucial to Obama’s victory was winning all of the states that Democrat John Kerry won four years ago and flipping of Ohio, New Mexico Colorado, Virginia, Iowa and Florida states that all voted Republican in 2004.

Obama, 47, the son of a black man from Kenya and white woman from Kansas, served just two years in U.S. Senate before declaring his candidacy and ultimately taking on one of the most experienced politicians in America.

A moderate conservative who tried to stress his credentials as a maverick and distance himself from an unpopular president, McCain, 72, was unable to motivate his base and overcome his associations with Republican incumbent President Bush.

Obama built a coalition grounded on a base of near unanimous support from black voters, who made up 13 percent of the national vote. Obama also won nearly 70 percent of the vote of Hispanics. While John McCain was able to win white voters by 54-44 percent, Obama made inroads with them as well.

Voters shifted to the Democratic Party in this election, with Republican turnout falling to its lowest point since 1980.

By almost every quantifiable measure — from the $640 million Obama raised in the month of October, to the nearly $1 billion combined the campaigns have spent, to 9 million newly registered voters — records have been shattered.

Yet another record may fall once the number of voters is tallied. Turnout was heavy throughout the day and could surpass previous voting turnout records. The existing records were set in 2004 when more than 122 million Americans went to the polls, and in 1960 when 64 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot.

Each of the candidates was a dark horse who pundits predicted would never make it past the first weeks of their parties’ respective primaries. Obama ultimately beat out Democratic favorite Sen. Hillary Clinton for the nomination, the first glimmer of future success.

In perhaps the greatest and most calculated flip-flop of his campaign, Obama forwent public financing allowing him to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from donors contributing small amounts of money, proving that he was not just a neophyte who could make good speeches but a scrappy politician from Chicago.

McCain too changed course. In the final weeks of the campaign, the Arizona senator struck a more negative tone and along with Vice Presidential running mate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska began attacking Obama on his relationships and judgment. In the third and final presidential debate, McCain assailed Obama for his relationship with 1960s radical William Ayers and his campaign began aggressively using auto-dialed calls to voters, known as “robocalls,” to relay negative messages, frequently focusing on the Democrat’s experience and readiness for the White House. That strategy didn’t seem to achieve the desired effect, with voters responding in polls in the race’s final weeks that they were turned off by the negative ads and attack tactics. The economy is nationally the overwhelming issue for voters casting their ballots in today’s historic presidential election, according to early exit polls. Despite the possibility of Obama becoming the nation’s first black president, the turnout of black voters as a percentage of the national vote was at 13 percent, just slightly higher than in 2004, according to early exit polls. The economy has long dominated the campaign, and voters’ concerns became heightened when the major banks and credit markets needed a massive federal bailout to avoid a fiscal catastrophe. Four in 10 voters said their family’s financial situation is worse than it was four years ago, and eight in 10 are worried the current economic crisis will hurt their family finances over the next year.

McCain Votes and Keeps on Campaigning

Across the country voters are turning out in what could be historic numbers, in some cases spending hours in serpentine lines waiting for a chance to vote. In an indication of how intensely fought this campaign has been, both candidates kept holding large rallies and television interviews even as voters swarmed to their polling sites. In the past, presidential candidates have halted their campaigns on Election Day.

McCain voted early in Phoenix before heading off for some last-minute get-out-the-vote efforts in New Mexico and Colorado, two states where the GOP presidential pick had trailed but hoped to pull out narrow victories. “I promise you if I’m elected president I will never let you down,” an energized McCain told a crowd in Colorado. “I think we ought to hear one more time ‘drill, baby drill,'” he cheerfully suggested and the crowd obliged with the campaign’s chant.

Palin on Troopergate: “We Did Nothing Wrong”

After voting at a Chicago school, Obama spent the morning campaigning in Indiana before returning to Chicago to conduct television interviews broadcast via satellite to the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada and Missouri. Obama voted with his two young daughters in Chicago before he plunged into a final round of campaigning in Indiana. “I voted,” the Democratic presidential candidate said, holding up the validation slip he was given after turning in a ballot at the Shoesmith School in his Chicago neighborhood. Obama voted at the same polling station as William Ayers, the former 1960s radical who became a flashpoint in the campaign when McCain accused Obama of “palling around” with a domestic terrorist. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan also voted at that site. Farrakhan became a GOP target after he endorsed Obama.

Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, voted in her hometown of Wasilla and then joined McCain in Phoenix to watch the results. After voting, Palin noted that the result would be historic, implying that the voters would elect either the country’s first black president or the first female vice president. “It bodes so well the progress our country is making,” Palin said. She also said she was delighted that she was cleared of any wrongdoing in the firing of Alaska’s top police officer. “You didn’t believe us,” she told reporters. “I told you we’d done nothing wrong.” Today’s vote caps a long-fought and record-breaking campaign between two candidates who were both written off early in their candidacies and whose races for the White House have been nothing short of history making.

Record Setting Campaign Comes to an End

“The election is historic by any standard,” said Matthew Dowd, an ABC News political consultant. “We’re seeing a great generational shift.” By almost every quantifiable measure — from the $640 million Obama raised in the month of October, to the nearly $1 billion combined the campaigns have spent, to 9 million newly registered voters — records have been shattered. Yet another record may fall before the day is over as turnout is heavy and could surpass previous voting turnout records. The existing turnout records were set in 2004 when more than 122 million Americans went to the polls, and in 1960 when 64 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot.

Source

History was made in the US tonight.

McCain pledges to help Obama lead

Sen. John McCain on Tuesday urged all Americans to join him in congratulating Sen. Barack Obama on his projected victory in the presidential election.

Sen. John McCain congratulates Sen. Barack Obama on his projected victory.

Sen. John McCain congratulates Sen. Barack Obama on his projected victory.

“I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face,” McCain said before his supporters in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much, and tonight, I remain her servant,” he said.

McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, was standing with him, but she did not speak.

McCain called Obama to congratulate him, Obama’s campaign said.

Obama thanked McCain for his graciousness and said he had waged a tough race.

President Bush also called Obama to congratulate him.

With his projected win, Obama will become the nation’s 44th president and its first African-American leader.

Obama will address the country from a rally in Chicago, Illinois, at midnight.

Supporters in Chicago cheering, “Yes, we can” were met with cries of “Yes, we did.”

Obama’s former rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton said in a statement that “we are celebrating an historic victory for the American people.”

“This was a long and hard fought campaign but the result was well worth the wait. Together, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and a Democratic Congress, we will chart a better course to build a new economy and rebuild our leadership in the world.”

The Illinois senator is projected to pick up a big win in Virginia, a state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic president since 1964.

Obama also is projected to beat Sen. John McCain in Ohio, a battleground state that was considered a must-win for the Republican candidate.

Earlier in the evening, senior McCain aides were growing pessimistic about the Arizona senator’s chances.

Going into the election, national polls showed Obama with an 8-point lead.

In addition to the presidential contest, voters were making choices in a number of key House and Senate races that could determine whether the Democrats strengthen their hold on Congress.

Former Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, will win a Senate seat in Virginia, CNN projects. He will replace retiring Republican Sen. John Warner.

Incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a Republican, is projected to lose her North Carolina seat to Democratic challenger Kay Hagan. 

Dole is the wife of 1996 Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole.

CNN also projects Democrats will win two other Senate seats currently held by Republicans. In New Hampshire, former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen will win over incumbent John Sununu, and in New Mexico, Democrat Tom Udall will defeat Republican Steve Pearce.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held onto his seat in Kentucky.

Delaware voters re-elected Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, to his seventh term.

CNN’s Ed Henry said there were lots of long faces in the lobby of the McCain headquarters at the Arizona Biltmore hotel as McCain allies watched returns showing Senate Republicans losing their seats. 

Voters expressed excitement and pride in their country after casting their ballots Tuesday in what has proved to be a historic election.

When the ballots are counted, the United States will have elected either its first African-American president or its oldest first-term president and first female vice president.

Poll workers reported high turnout across many parts of the country, and some voters waited hours to cast their ballots. 

Reports of minor problems and delays in opening polls began surfacing early Tuesday, shortly after polls opened on the East Coast.

The presidential candidates both voted early in the day before heading out to the campaign trail one last time. 

Tuesday also marked the end of the longest presidential campaign season in U.S. history — 21 months — and both candidates took the opportunity to make their final pitch to voters.

As McCain and Obama emerged from their parties’ conventions, the race was essentially a toss-up, with McCain campaigning on his experience and Obama on the promise of change. But the race was altered by the financial crisis that hit Wall Street in September.

Although most of the attention has been focused on the presidential race, the outcome of congressional elections across the country will determine whether the Democrats increase their clout on Capitol Hill.

Few predict that the Democrats are in danger of losing their control of either the House or the Senate, but all eyes will be on nearly a dozen close Senate races that are key to whether the Democrats get 60 seats in the Senate.

With 60 votes, Democrats could end any Republican filibusters or other legislative moves to block legislation.

Many political observers also predict that the Democrats could expand their majority in the House.

Voters will also weigh in on a number of ballot initiatives across the country, many of them focused on social issues like abortion and affirmative action.

Source

Last count

Obama 349   McCain 163

You need 270 to win the Presidency.

Congratulations  to Barack Obama.

Transcript of Obama’s Victory Speech

Sen. Barack Obama spoke at a rally in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, after winning the race for the White House Tuesday night. The following is an exact transcript of his speech.

Barack Obama speaks at a rally in Chicago, Illinois, after winning the presidency Tuesday night.

Barack Obama speaks at a rally in Chicago, Illinois, after winning the presidency.

Obama:

Hello, Chicago.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Sen. McCain.

Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he’s fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin for all that they’ve achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation’s next first lady Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the new White House.

And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother’s watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you’ve given me. I am grateful to them.

And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best — the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.

To my chief strategist David Axelrod who’s been a partner with me every step of the way.

To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.

It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.

And I know you didn’t do this just to win an election. And I know you didn’t do it for me.

You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime — two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage or pay their doctors’ bills or save enough for their child’s college education.

There’s new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can’t solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it’s been done in America for 221 years — block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can’t happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let’s remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those — to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

That’s the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we’ve already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight’s about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons — because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America — the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves — if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Source

Video of Victory Speech

Published in: on November 5, 2008 at 4:59 am  Comments Off on Barack Obama New President of the United States  
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How McCain Could Win- How to Steal an Election in Five Easy Steps

November 3 2008

by: Greg Palast

It’s November 5 and the nation is in shock. Media blame it on the “Bradley effect”: Americans supposedly turned into Klansmen inside the , and Barack turned up with 6 million votes less than calculated from the . came in for and so did . , despite the Democrats’ Rocky Mountain high after the Denver convention, stayed surprisingly Red. , a state where Anglos are a minority, went by 300 votes, as did Virginia.

That’s the nightmare. Here’s the cold reality.

Swing state . Before this election, two Republican secretaries of state purged 19.4 percent of the entire voter roll. One in five voters. Pfft!

Swing state . One in nine voters in this year’s Democratic caucus found their names missing from the state-provided voter registries. And not just any voters. County by county, the number of voters disappeared was in direct proportion to the . Gore won the state by 366 votes; Kerry lost it by only 5,900. Despite reassurances that all has been fixed for Tuesday, Democrats lost from the list in February told me they’re still “disappeared” from the lists this week.

Swing state . In this year’s primary, ten nuns were turned away from the polls because of the state’s new voter ID law. They had drivers’ licenses, but being in their 80s and 90s, they’d let their licenses expire. Cute. But what isn’t cute is this: 566,000 registered voters in that state don’t have the ID required to vote. Most are racial minorities, the very elderly and first-time voters; that is, voters. Twenty-three other states have new, vote-snatching ID requirements.

Swing state . Despite a lawsuit battle waged by the Brennan Center for Justice, the state’s Republican apparatchiks are attempting to block the votes of 85,000 new registrants, forcing them to pass through a new “verification” process. Funny thing: verification applies only to those who signed up in voter drives (mostly black), but not to voters registering at motor vehicle offices (mostly white).

And so on through swing states controlled by Republican secretaries of state.

The Ugly Secret

Here’s an ugly little secret about American democracy: We don’t count all the votes. In 2004, based on the data from the US Elections Assistance Commission, 3,006,080 votes were not counted: “spoiled,” unreadable and blank ballots; “provisional” ballots rejected; mail-in ballots disqualified.

This Tuesday, it will be worse. Much worse.

That’s what I found while traveling the nation over the last year for BBC Television and Rolling Stone Magazine, working with voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. This we guarantee: there will be far more votes disappeared by Tuesday night than the three million lost in 2004. A six-million vote swipe, quite likely, shifts 4 percent of the ballots, within the margin of error of the tightest polls.

Begin with this harsh statistic: since the last election, more than ten million voters have been purged from the nation’s vote registries. And that’s just the start of the steal.

If the noncount were random, it wouldn’t matter. But it’s not random. A US Civil Rights Commission analysis shows that the chance a black voter’s will “spoil” or be blank is 900 percent higher than a white voter’s.

Does that mean the election’s stolen and you should forget voting and just go back to bed for four years? Hell, no. It means you vote and vote smart, learn how to pry their filthy little hands off your (there’s a link at the end).

How to Steal an Election in Five Easy Steps

Here’s how they can pull off the steal. Take out your calculator and add it up.

Step One: The “Dumpster” Vote – Purge Voters, Provisional Ballots

Ten million voters purged? What the hell is going on here? Why are we removing millions from the voter rolls?

The answer is the ’s secret weapon, the Help America Vote Act, signed by George Bush in 2002. When Bush tells us he’s going to help us vote, look out. But Democrats didn’t. They signed on to the bill, believing this “reform” law would prevent “another .” Instead, “Help America Vote” Floridated the entire nation.

Here’s how: Help America Vote empowered secretaries of state to remove fraudulent and suspicious voters from the voter registries. It was the trick used by Katherine Harris in in 2000 when she purged “felon” voters. Except they weren’t felons. And now her confrères are doing it in dozens of states, calling folks felon voters, “inactive” voters, suspect voters, whatever.

Take . The didn’t exactly trumpet it’s erasing 19.4 percent of voters’ names. It was, as detectives say, “hidden in plain sight,” buried deep inside a US Elections Assistance Commission administrative report, among tables of mind-numbing stats through which I was trawling some months ago. (I used to teach statistics at University, so I enjoy reading matrices like others enjoy novels.)

For BBC TV and Rolling Stone, I asked the current Secretary of State Mike Coffman, “Why all the purging?” No answer, not a word, stonewalled even when I flew into Denver and stood outside his door. He was, I guess, too busy preparing to count his own votes as Republican candidate for Congress.

So, where are the Democrats? That’s the really scary part. I spoke with Paul Hultin, appointed by ’s Democratic governor to the state’s Election Reform Commission. Hultin’s a terrific attorney. He knows, and says, that Help America Vote was a law “born in ,” but he’s spent his time on ’s voting machines, which he knows are busted. He’s the Democrats’ expert, and he didn’t know that a fifth of his state’s voters had vanished from the voter rolls.

Well, don’t worry. Hultin’s official committee will be holding hearings on the voting debacle in … on November 19.

Then there’s , with those one in nine Democrats missing. I spoke with San Miguel County elections supervisor, Democrat Pecos Paul Maez, who was none too happy that 20 percent of his voters, the majority poor and Hispanic, were not on the voter rolls, especially because he was one of the missing. He blamed the state for using a suspect contractor to tag names for the Big Purge, as required by the Help America Vote Act. The contractor that conducted the purge, Electronic Systems and Software (ES&S), was founded by Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.

The company and state choose the purging “algorithms,” those mathematical formulae that, depending on how you tweak them, can go through a voter roll like a hot knife through cream cheese.

So, what happens to the purged voters? They’re told to scram when they arrive to vote or, if they squawk, they get a “provisional” on which they can pretend to vote.

Now, here are the facts about provisionals: they don’t get counted. And there are lots of them. The great unreported story of the 2004 election was that there were more than three million voters shunted to provisional ballots. Over a million (1,090,000) were never counted, just chucked in the dumpster. That’s what caused Kerry to lose , and . This time, because of Help America Vote and a Republican campaign to challenge voters, the number of provisionals will rise, as will rejections.

Whatever keeps you from getting a real – purged name, for example – keeps you from having the provisional counted as well. That’s because Democrats won the right of every voter to get a provisional , but not the right to have that counted. And how many will go uncounted? Double the 1.1 million loss in 2004 – not just because of the ’s purge-mania, but because of a vicious little codicil in Help America Vote that went into effect since the last election …

Step Two: “Verification” (and Elimination) of New Voters

For the first time in US history, new voters will face special new obstacles to voting. When we say “new” voters, let’s be clear – we mean voters. A Wall Street Journal poll shows new voters prefer by an eye-popping three to one (69 percent to 20 percent).

So, the Republican game plan is simple: don’t let new voters vote. There are three steps to this block-and-steal tactic. First, under the new law, states can deny new voters registration on the grounds their names can’t be verified against government data files. Sounds reasonable, but it’s not, because we don’t have Soviet-style citizenship files in the US. The Social Security Administration is rejecting nearly half of the names submitted because there is no multi-state compatible tracking system. Of course, the know that.

New voter verification losses are huge. In California, a Republican secretary of state rejected 42 percent of new registrations, a trick discovered by his Democratic successor, Debra Bowen. She told me most of the rejected vote applicants had Hispanic, Vietnamese, Islamic and other “odd” names – odd, that is, for .

It used to be that you filled out a registration card and, bingo, you were registered. Not any more. That’s also what happened in to the 85,000 new registrants. They were victims of strict “matching” algorithms. Other states are also playing the “match” game. The result is voters will find themselves simply missing (or in some states, required to show extra ID – another horror show we’ll discuss below). But don’t worry, a of couple million new voters will get provisional ballots. That way, they can practice filling out their ballots for the day when democracy returns to America.

Step Three: New ID Laws

said, “I go to the grocery store and I wanna cash a check to pay for my groceries I gotta show a little bit of ID. Why should it not be reasonable … at the voting place they ought to be able to prove who they are by showing some form of ID.” And so, while buying his Pampers, Rove came up with a game-winner for the .

Karl, let me answer your question. The reason, according to several studies by the Bush administration itself, is that lots of folks don’t have government ID. Some are nuns, some are poor, lots are brown or old. I was on Fox TV with Lady Rothschild a couple of weeks ago. The lady, a supporter, approved of the ID requirement – and was truly surprised to find out that some poorer Americans don’t have passports. “Why don’t they?” her Fox-mates asked, incredulous. Well, not every barrio kid has just returned from his estate outside London.

Rove knows that. He certainly knows that, for example, Professor Matthew Barreto of the University of Washington found that 10 percent of white voters in don’t have the needed ID. And, for blacks, it’s about double – 19 percent lack the ID required to vote. New ID laws will add to the turn-aways, provisionals and rejecteds on Tuesday by at least two million – and that’s way conservative, assuming the new laws in swing states are only one-fourth as restrictive as ’s.

Step Four: Spoiling Ballots

Your chad gets hung. The touch screen doesn’t like your touch. Or, your paper had that extra mark that made the machine spit out your like day-old beer with a cigarette floating in it.

In the last election, 1,389,231 ballots were zeroed-out, “spoiled,” because the machines lost them, couldn’t read them, mangled them or simply didn’t register them. But it’s not random, not by a long shot. In in 2004, I found that 89 percent of blank and spoiled ballots were cast in minority precincts – a sum of uncounted ballots way over the Republican “victory” margin in that state.

Another study shows that Hispanics’ vote choices are six times as likely to fail to be recorded when they vote on computers versus paper ballots.

In the primaries and in 2006, the “spoilage” and blank (”undervote”) totals were horrific. There is every reason to believe the “spoilage” total will be as high as in the 2004 election. That is, no less than one million votes, overwhelmingly in minority districts, will just vanish. (”Spoilage” is not the same as vote tampering. There is a the concern that “black-box” computers will switch your vote via an evil software hack job. That’s another matter completely – and more votes lost if it happens, a sum I’m not including here.)

Step Five: Rejecting Mail-In Ballots

You’ve mailed in your . Last time around, over half a million mail-in ballots were junked: everything from postage due to not liking your signature to a circle checked, not filled in. Mailing in a is playing Russian roulette with it. About a tenth get junked.

This time, the has a new game for trashing your absentee vote. In states like , some FTFs (First-Time Federal voters) will have to include a photocopy of their ID in with the absentee . Bet you didn’t know that. They’re counting on you not knowing that. In , for example, you have to place the ID photocopy outside the inner envelope, but inside the outer envelope – Got that? – or your vote is toast. I’ve spoken to one student voter, who lost his vote for failing to use the two envelopes – though he only received one. (Have a mail-in in hand? Then, for God’s sake, walk it in to the polling place or local board of elections. Sign, seal and deliver it in person.)

You may get it right, but historic data suggest that, when combining the FTF games with the usual mail-in cock-ups, will lose another million votes to mail-in disqualifications.

and Exit Stratagems

These millions of uncounted ballots – spoiled ballots, provisional ballots rejected, absentee ballots disqualified – fully explain the difference between (which, for example, gave Kerry in 2004 and Gore a win in in 2000) and the official count. Exit pollsters ask, “Who did you vote for?” They never ask, and can’t know, “Did your vote count?”

How would they get away with it? Well, they begin explaining away how the “pollsters” get it wrong, how pollsters didn’t figure the “Bradley Effect” of lying, racist voters. They’ll tell us the new, young and Black Obamaniacs gave money, went to rallies – but never bothered to vote. But the real reason will never be whispered: They cast votes that just weren’t counted.

Will the election be stolen on Tuesday? No, it’s already been stolen. That is, several million voters are doomed to lose their ballots; most won’t even know it. Overwhelmingly, they are the poor, minorities, new voters – voters. Does that mean ’s got it in the bag and you’re helpless? Not at all.

Don’t Steal Your Own Vote

In 2004, I and other investigators wrote, long before Election Day, “’s stolen.” We were deadly right.

It’s happening again. For six years, the Democratic Party has been snoozing through a quiet, brilliantly executed Republican operation to block, stop and purge voters by the millions. As voting rights attorney John Boyd put it, “I don’t think the Democrats get it. All these new rules and games are turning voting into an obstacle course that could flip the vote to the in half a dozen states.”

once said, “We have elections like those run in countries where the guys in charge are, you know, colonels in mirrored glasses.” He wasn’t complaining; he was boasting.

I know that the campaign is not happy that I bring up the issue of a possible theft of the election. They fear voters will be “discouraged” by the possibility that the election is fixed.

Well, frankly, if you’re too bummed out by this recitation of facts and statistics to vote, then maybe you don’t deserve to vote, or to drive or to reproduce. Did Martin Luther King say, “I have a dream … so I’m going back to sleep”?

Votes can’t be saved by “hope” alone. There are simple ways to protect your own vote, from walking in your “mail-in” to refusing a provisional . (You can download the list at StealBackYourVote.org, written with Bobby Kennedy, a professor of law.)

It comes down to this: Can the margin of trickery, vote suppression and destruction – three to six million votes – be overcome? Yes. Because they can’t steal all the votes all the time. Two days before the election, John is down by only 4 percent in some polls. But these are polls of “likely” voters. They exclude first-time and many low-income voters.

So, the answer to vote suppression is for something unlikely to happen – for the “unlikely” voters to simply overwhelm the statistical assumption of their laziness. As I’m sure Mr. , a professor of constitutional law, could tell you: the best legal response to systematic vote suppression is to get off yo’ ass!

Source

Theft of Election 2008 Videos Part 1 and Part 2

Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues


In recent presidential debates, Senator John McCain has said things like, “I know the veterans.  I know them well.  And, I know that they know that I’ll take care of them.”  It was stunning, because nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s something that our friend Charlie Fink even made an issue of in his new video at Lunatics and Liars.

A lot of you have asked VoteVets.org to explain why Senator McCain gets consistently low ratings from veterans groups.   Below is a full list of votes, statements, and positions of Senator McCain’s, which shows that Senator McCain has consistently bailed on troops and veterans.

It’s a very long, but comprehensive list.  I encourage you to take a look and pass it around.  An even more robust list, complete with video, can be found at VetVoice.com, as well.

Sincerely,

Brandon Friedman
Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran
Vice Chairman, VoteVets.org

Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues

· Veterans Groups Give McCain Failing Grades. In its most recent legislative ratings, the non-partisan Disabled American Veterans gave Sen. McCain a 20 percent rating for his voting record on veterans’ issues.  Similarly, the non-partisan Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America gave McCain a “D” grade for his poor voting record on veterans’ issues, including McCain’s votes against additional body armor for troops in combat and additional funding for PTSD and TBI screening and treatment.

· McCain Voted Against Increased Funding for Veterans’ Health Care. Although McCain told voters at a campaign rally that improving veterans’ health care was his top domestic priority, he voted against increasing funding for veterans’ health care in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. (Greenville News, 12/12/2007; S.Amdt. 2745 to S.C.R. 95, Vote 40, 3/10/04; Senate S.C.R. 18, Vote 55, 3/16/05; S.Amdt. 3007 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 41, 3/14/06; H.R. 1591, Vote 126, 3/29/07)

· McCain Voted At Least 28 Times Against Veterans’ Benefits, Including Healthcare. Since arriving in the U.S. Senate in 1987, McCain has voted at least 28 times against ensuring important benefits for America’s veterans, including providing adequate healthcare. (2006 Senate Vote #7, 41, 63, 67, 98, 222; 2005 Senate Votes #55, 89, 90, 251, 343; 2004 Senate Votes #40, 48, 145; 2003 Senate Votes #74, 81, 83; 1999 Senate Vote #328; 1998 Senate Vote #175; 1997 Senate Vote #168; 1996 Senate Votes #115, 275; 1995 Senate Votes #76, 226, 466; 1994 Senate Vote #306; 1992 Senate Vote #194; 1991 Senate Vote #259)

· McCain Voted Against Providing Automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustments to Veterans. McCain voted against providing automatic annual cost-of-living adjustments for certain veterans’ benefits. (S. 869, Vote 259, 11/20/91)

· McCain Voted to Underfund Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted for an appropriations bill that underfunded the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development by $8.9 billion. (H.R. 2099, Vote 470, 9/27/95)

· McCain Voted Against a $13 Billion Increase in Funding for Veterans Programs. McCain voted against an amendment to increase spending on veterans programs by $13 billion. (S.C.R. 57, Vote 115, 5/16/96)

· McCain Voted Against $44.3 Billion for Veterans Programs. McCain was one of five senators to vote against a bill providing $44.3 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, plus funding for other federal agencies. (H.R. 2684, Vote 328, 10/15/99)

· McCain Voted Against $47 Billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain was one of eight senators to vote against a bill that provided $47 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. (H.R. 4635, Vote 272, 10/12/00)

· McCain Voted Against $51 Billion in Veterans Funding. McCain was one of five senators to vote against the bill and seven to vote against the conference report that provided $51.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as funding for the federal housing, environmental and emergency management agencies and NASA. (H.R. 2620, Vote 334, 11/8/01; Vote 269, 8/2/01)

· McCain Voted Against $122.7 Billion for Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted against an appropriations bill that included $122.7 billion in fiscal 2004 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies. (H.R. 2861, Vote 449, 11/12/03)

· McCain Opposed $500 Million for Counseling Services for Veterans with Mental Disorders. McCain voted against an amendment to appropriate $500 million annually from 2006-2010 for counseling, mental health and rehabilitation services for veterans diagnosed with mental illness, posttraumatic stress disorder or substance abuse. (S. 2020, S.Amdt. 2634, Vote 343, 11/17/05)

· McCain opposed an Assured Funding Stream for Veterans’ Health Care. McCain opposed providing an assured funding stream for veterans’ health care, taking into account annual changes in veterans’ population and inflation. (S.Amdt. 3141 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 63, 3/16/06)

· McCain Voted Against Adding More Than $400 Million for Veterans’ Care. McCain was one of 13 Republicans to vote against providing an additional $430 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs for outpatient care and treatment for veterans. (S.Amdt. 3642 to H.R. 4939, Vote 98, 4/26/06)

· McCain Supported Outsourcing VA Jobs. McCain opposed an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from outsourcing jobs, many held by blue-collar veterans, without first giving the workers a chance to compete. (S.Amdt. 2673 to H.R. 2642, Vote 315, 9/6/07)

· McCain Opposed the 21st Century GI Bill Because It Was Too Generous. McCain did not vote on the GI Bill that will provide better educational opportunities to veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, paying full tuition at in-state schools and living expenses for those who have served at least three years since the 9/11 attacks. McCain said he opposes the bill because he thinks the generous benefits would “encourage more people to leave the military.” (S.Amdt. 4803 to H.R. 2642, Vote 137, 5/22/08; Chattanooga Times Free Press, 6/2/08; Boston Globe, 5/23/08; ABCNews.com, 5/26/08)

· Disabled American Veterans Legislative Director Said That McCain’s Proposal Would Increase Costs For Veterans Because His Plan Relies On Private Hospitals Which Are More Expensive and Which Could Also Lead To Further Rationing Of Care. “To help veterans who live far from VA hospitals or need specialized care the VA can’t provide, McCain proposed giving low-income veterans and those who incurred injury during their service a card they could use at private hospitals. The proposal is not an attempt to privatize the VA, as critics have alleged, but rather, an effort to improve care and access to it, he said. Joe Violanti, legislative director of the Disabled American Veterans, a nonpartisan organization, said the proposal would increase costs because private hospitals are more expensive. The increased cost could lead to further rationing of care, he said.” (Las Vegas Sun, 8/10/08)

Lack of Support for the Troops

· McCain co-sponsored the Use of Force Authorization. McCain supported the bill that gave President George W. Bush the green light–and a blank check–for going to war with Iraq. (SJ Res 46, 10/3/02)

· McCain Opposed Increasing Spending on TRICARE and Giving Greater Access to National Guard and Reservists. Although his campaign website devotes a large section to veterans issues, including expanding benefits for reservists and members of the National Guard, McCain voted against increasing spending on the TRICARE program by $20.3 billion over 10 years to give members of the National Guard and Reserves and their families greater access to the health care program. The increase would be offset by a reduction in tax cuts for the wealthy. (S.Amdt. 324 to S.C.R. 23, Vote 81, 3/25/03)

· McCain voted against holding Bush accountable for his actions in the war. McCain opposed the creation of an independent commission to investigate the development and use of intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. (S.Amdt. 1275 to H.R. 2658, Vote 284, 7/16/03)

· McCain voted Against Establishing a $1 Billion Trust Fund for Military Health Facilities. McCain voted against establishing a $1 billion trust fund to improve military health facilities by refusing to repeal tax cuts for those making more than $1 million a year. (S.Amdt. 2735 to S.Amdt. 2707 to H.R. 4297, Vote 7, 2/2/06)

· Senator McCain opposed efforts to end the overextension of the military–a policy that is having a devastating impact on our troops. McCain voted against requiring mandatory minimum downtime between tours of duty for troops serving in Iraq. (S.Amdt.. 2909 to S.Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote 341, 9/19/07; S.Amdt. 2012 to S.Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote 241, 7/11/07)

· McCain announced his willingness to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for decades–a statement sure to inflame Iraqis and endanger American troops. McCain: “Make it a hundred” years in Iraq and “that would be fine with me.” (Derry, New Hampshire Town Hall meeting, 1/3/08)

· McCain voted against a ban on waterboarding–a form of torture–in a move that could eventually endanger American troops. According to ThinkProgress, “the Senate brought the Intelligence Authorization Bill to the floor, which contained a provision from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) establishing one interrogation standard across the government. The bill requires the intelligence community to abide by the same standards as articulated in the Army Field Manual and bans waterboarding.”  McCain voted against the bill.  (H.R. 2082, Vote 22, 2/13/08)

· McCain Also Supported Outsourcing at Walter Reed. McCain opposed an amendment to prevent the outsourcing of 350 federal employee jobs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center–outsourcing that contributed to the scandalous treatment of veterans at Walter Reed that McCain called a “disgrace.” (S.Amdt. 4895 to H.R. 5631, Vote 234, 9/6/06; Speech to VFW in Kansas City, Mo., 4/4/08)

· Senator McCain has consistently opposed any plan to withdraw troops from Iraq–a policy that has directly weakened American efforts in Afghanistan. Senator McCain repeatedly voted against a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. (S.Amdt. 3876 to S.Amdt. 3874 to H.R. 2764, Vote #438, 12/18/07; S.Amdt. 3875 to S.Amdt. 3874 to H.R. 2764, Vote #437, 12/18/07; S.Amdt.3164 to H.R. 3222, Vote #362, 10/3/07; S.Amdt. 2898 to S. Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585, Vote #346, 9/21/07; S. Amdt. 2924 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R.1585, Vote #345, 9/21/07; S.Amdt.2 087 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585, Vote #252, 7/18/07; S.Amdt. 643 to H.R. 1591, Vote #116, 3/27/07; S.Amdt. 4320 to S. 2766, Vote #182, 6/22/06; S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766, Vote #181, 6/22/06; S.Amdt. 2519 to S.1042, Vote #322, 11/15/05)

· McCain said it’s “not too important” when U.S. troops leave Iraq. This exchange occurred on NBC’s Today Show with Matt Lauer:

LAUER: If it’s working, senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?
McCAIN: No, but that’s not too important.

(NBC, Today Show, 6/11/08)

Cheerleading for War with Iraq–While Afghanistan was Unfinished

· McCain suggested that the war in Iraq could be won with a “smaller” force. “But the fact is I think we could go in with much smaller numbers than we had to do in the past. But I don’t believe it’s going to be nearly the size and scope that it was in 1991.” (CBS News, Face the Nation, 9/15/02)

· McCain said winning the war would be “easy.” “I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.” (CNN, 9/24/02)

· McCain also said the actual fighting in Iraq would be easy. “We’re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad.  We may have to take out buildings, but we’re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.” (CNN, 9/29/02)

· Continuing his pattern, McCain also said on MSNBC that we would win the war in Iraq “easily.” “But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” (MSNBC, 1/22/03)

· McCain argued Saddam was “a threat of the first order.” Senator McCain said that a policy of containing Iraq to blunt its weapons of mass destruction program is “unsustainable, ineffective, unworkable and dangerous.” McCain: “I believe Iraq is a threat of the first order, and only a change of regime will make Iraq a state that does not threaten us and others, and where liberated people assume the rights and responsibilities of freedom.” (Speech to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, 2/13/03)

· McCain echoed Bush and Cheney’s rationale for going to war. McCain: “We’re going to win this victory. Tragically, we will lose American lives. But it will be brief.  We’re going to find massive evidence of weapons of mass destruction . . . It’s going to send the message throughout the Middle East that democracy can take hold in the Middle East.” (Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 2/21/03)

· “But I believe, Katie, that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.” (NBC, 3/20/03)

· March 2003: “I believe that this conflict is still going to be relatively short.” (NBC, Meet the Press, 3/30/03)

· McCain echoed Bush and Cheney’s talking points that the U.S. would only be in Iraq for a short time. McCain: “It’s clear that the end is very much in sight . . . It won’t be long . . . it’ll be a fairly short period of time.” (ABC, 4/9/03)

Staunch Defense of the Iraq Invasion

· McCain maintained that the war was a good idea and that George W. Bush deserved “admiration.” At the 2004 Republican National Convention, McCain, focusing on the war in Iraq, said that while weapons of mass destruction were not found, Saddam once had them and “he would have acquired them again.” McCain said the mission in Iraq “gave hope to people long oppressed” and it was “necessary, achievable and noble.” McCain: “For his determination to undertake it, and for his unflagging resolve to see it through to a just end, President Bush deserves not only our support, but our admiration.” (Speech, Republican National Convention, 8/31/04)

· Senator McCain: “The war, the invasion was not a mistake. (Meet the Press, 1/6/08)

· McCain said the war in Iraq was “worth” it. Asked if the war was a good idea worth the price in blood and treasure, McCain: “It was worth getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He had used weapons of mass destruction, and it’s clear that he was hell-bent on acquiring them.” (Republican Debate, 1/24/08)

Dangerous Lack of Foreign Policy Knowledge

· When questioned about Osama bin Laden after the 1998 U.S. missile strikes in Afghanistan, McCain surmised that the terrorist leader wasn’t as “bad” as “depicted.” “You could say, Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that’s depicted?  Most of us have never heard of him before.” (Interview with Mother Jones magazine, 11/1998)

· McCain was unaware of previous Sunni-Shia violence before the Iraq War. “There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shias. So I think they can probably get along.” (MSNBC, Hardball, 4/23/03)

· McCain said our military could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan. While giving a speech, McCain was asked about Afghanistan and replied, “I am concerned about it, but I’m not as concerned as I am about Iraq today, obviously, or I’d be talking about Afghanistan.  But I believe that if Karzai can make the progress that he is making, that in the long term, we may muddle through in Afghanistan.” (Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, 11/5/03)

· McCain stated that Sunni al Qaeda was “supported” by the Shia Iranians. (2/2008)

· McCain again confused Sunni Muslim al Qaeda operatives with Shi’a Muslim insurgents. The Washington Post reported of McCain: “He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.

“Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives ‘taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.’

“Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was ‘common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.’” (Press conference, Amman, Jordan, 3/18/2008)

· Yet again, McCain demonstrated that he didn’t know whether al Qaeda was a Sunni or Shiite organization. While questioning General David Petraeus during a Senate hearing, the following exchange occurred:

MCCAIN: Do you still view al Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat?
PETRAEUS: It is still a major threat, though it is certainly not as major a threat as it was say 15 months ago.
MCCAIN: Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shi’ites overall?
PETREAUS: No.
MCCAIN: Or Sunnis or anybody else.

(Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 4/8/08)

· McCain incorrectly thought General David Petraeus was in charge of Afghanistan. The Army Times reported: “Speaking Monday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, McCain was asked whether he, if elected, would shift combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to intensify the search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

‘I would not do that unless Gen. (David) Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that,’ McCain said, referring to the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

“Petraeus, however, made clear last week that he has nothing to do with the decision. Testifying last week before four congressional committees, including the Senate Armed Services Committee on which McCain is the ranking Republican, Petraeus said the decision about whether troops could be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan was not his responsibility because his portfolio is limited to the multi-national force in Iraq.” (Annual meeting of the Associated Press, 4/14/08)

· McCain credited the “surge” for the “Anbar Awakening”–even though the Anbar Awakening preceded the surge by nearly a year. (7/22/08)

· John McCain has also recently demonstrated either serious knowledge gaps in terms of foreign policy, or mounting confusion, when discussing an array of other countries:

Spain: McCain refused to commit to meeting with the president of Spain, a NATO ally, after becoming confused about America’s relationship with Spain, its leader, and, possibly, exactly where Spain is located. (9/17/08)


Czech Republic and Slovakia: McCain referred to the two countries using the name “Czechoslovakia” several times–despite the fact that Czechoslakia split apart and hasn’t existed since 1993. (
7/15/08; (7/14/08))


Venezuela: McCain said that Venezuela was a Middle Eastern country. (
9/30/08)

This man it seems would not protect our men and women who risk their lives every day.

Know who your voting for.  I would never vote for this man. I love my troops too much to leave them in his hands. The majority of the money in 612 billion budget for defense goes to contractors etc. The majority goes to the profiteers of war and there are many.

Not for the troops or the veterans. Very little actually is used to take care of them.

One can decide what they will but, always consider the running record of any candidate.

McCain’s record in this area is rather bleak. One would think of all the people, he would understand, the needs of these ones the most. But he doesn’t.

If he can’t fathom the needs of troops and veterans, I am afraid he would never be able to lead the American people into a new and brighter future. But that’s just my opinion.

Would you want the lives of you children, brothers, sisters, uncle, aunts, families or friends left in his hands?

That is the ultimate question we all have to ask ourselves.

Anyone who has had an adversarial relationship with John McCain will tell you that there are few with less self-control than the senator from Arizona. Many have questioned his ability to maintain a clear head in a time of crisis. For those of us who have seen these sparks of insanity from McCain, we know all too well that what lies beneath is something dark, ominous and certainly not presidential. John McCain makes reference to his service to our great nation by almost daily reminding us of his five and a half year captivity in the Hanoi Hilton. Yet few have been able to look beyond McCain, the POW, to examine his political record, as if it were taboo somehow to be critical of a former prisoner of war. But what about this former prisoner of war and his criticism of the very same people who fought to bring him home from the dark dank cell he likes to remind us about so much? – The POW/MIA Families of those less fortunate than McCain, those who still have yet to be returned to the soil they gave their lives for.

Since his return from Hanoi, McCain has …

~Ignored pleas of POW/MIA Family Members for his political influence in the overall POW/MIA Issue as well as with their individual cases

~Verbally abused POW/MIA Family Members in public and private

~Attempted to negatively influence those who testified before the 1992 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs

~Diminished legislation that gave oversight and protection to the families

~Dismantled protection to any future servicemen that go missing.

Source

Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 12:46 pm  Comments Off on Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues  
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McCain scrapping to change course of election

Senator John McCain reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York

Reuters

Senator John McCain reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York

October 16 2008

A scrappy John McCain used the final presidential debate last night to try to unsettle his opponent, Barack Obama, with a fusillade of attacks, accusing him variously of threatening to weigh down Americans with new taxes, waging a historically negative campaign and taking extremist positions on abortion.

The ferocity of Mr McCain’s assaults, fuelled by his underdog status according to numerous new polls, seemed for the first portion of the debate to be having some impact. But by its end, Mr McCain may have erred on the wrong side of the dividing line between being aggressive and unpleasantly negative.

If Mr McCain, who may now face a deficit of as much as 14 points nationally according to New York Times/CBS poll yesterday, seemed at first to be more in his stride, by the time the clash was over, the spectators seem to have been left with a different impression. An instant CNN poll said that viewers gave the debate, held at Hofstra University in New York, to Mr Obama by 58 per cent to 31 per cent.

For some, however, it might at least been the feistiest and even most informative of the three presidential debates, although the scope of discussion was limited almost entirely to domestic issues with a heavy bent, of course, on the economy.

The star of the night may not have been either candidate, but rather ‘Joe the Plumber’. That would be Joe Wurzelbacher, whom Mr Obama met on the campaign trail in Ohio a few days ago only to hear him complain that his tax proposals may prevent him from buying the plumbing company he works for.

Over and over again, Mr McCain tried to turn the encounter into a metaphor of Mr Obama’s tax plan, ridiculing him for pledging to introduce higher taxes for richer Americans and his promise to “spread the wealth around”. Mr McCain called the approach “class warfare”.

While Mr McCain was revelling in his Joe the Plumber gambit, it is not clear that many voters will have understood why he kept raising him. As for Joe Wurzelbacher himself, he seemed more unimpressed than anyone. “I wasn’t swayed either way,” he said. “Obama speaks well, but, you know, there’s got to be action behind it.” He finally told one reporter he was leaning towards Mr McCain.

As the debate wore on, the energy of Mr McCain looked more pent-up and cross than productive. He tried to score a bulls-eye blow, excoriating Mr Obama for trying relentlessly to tie him to George Bush. “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush,” he exploded. “If you wanted to run against President Bush you should have run four years ago. I will take this country in a new direction.”

But here, as at many moments last night, Mr Obama refused to be put on his heels and with almost tedious moderation, hit directly back. “If I’ve occasionally mistaken your policies for George Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people – on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities – you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush,” he said.

If this debate was livelier, credit might be given to the moderator, Bob Schieffer from CBS. Midway through, he asked both candidates to explain why each of them had chosen their respective running mates. Given the shaky record of Sarah Palin, number two to Mr McCain, it might have been an invitation to Mr Obama to make hay at her expense. He demurred, choosing to speak mostly about his choice, Joe Biden, and even congratulating Ms Palin for her work on behalf of special needs children.

A brief discussion about the negativity of the campaign over recent weeks may have surprised some because of Mr McCain’s attempt to put Mr Obama on the defensive. What ensued with a sharp tit for tat. “One hundred percent, John, of your ads, 100 percent of them have been negative,” Mr Obama insisted. “It’s not true,” McCain retorted. It absolutely is true,” said Obama, seeking the last word.

As expected, discussion also turned to Bill Ayers, a former domestic terrorist but, in more recent years, respected advocate for education reform. Mr McCain’s campaign has repeatedly attempted to tie Mr Obama to Mr Ayers, and not in a flattering way.

“The fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Sen. McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me,” Obama suggested.

Source

I watched the debates myself and found McCain to be rather misinformed of some of the issues,  Or he just was lieing.

One the Free Trade issue Obama knew his issues and was correct.

Health Care  also another one of his strong points.

McCain on either of those two issues alone, was totally wrong and in my opinion. His comment England and Canada’s Health Care was an obvious one. Health Care in wither country would be the “Dream come true” for the American people. In this context the grass is greener on the other side of the wall. Universal Health care for all,  is far “superior” to the American insurance, greed, profiteering stance in America.  This leaves many without any  health care whatsoever. In essence the US has been breaking international Law.

On Free Trade the environmental issues do have be revisited. If a company pollutes and the Government wants to stop it  the Company has and will sue for lost profits and win. If people are dieing because of the pollution too bad for them. In essence Corporations pollute to their hearts content. Corporations have been given way to much power. Governments of all countries should be able to have the power to protect their citizens.

So on these two issues alone Obama knew exactly what he was talking about.

Published in: on October 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm  Comments Off on McCain scrapping to change course of election  
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Stephen Harper lied about Cadman Tape

Cadman bribe tape wasn’t doctored: Expert

A file photo of Independent MP Chuck Cadman. Author Tom Zytaruk asked the prime minister on tape about an alleged attempt by Conservative officials to bribe Cadman.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s own audio expert says a tape providing key evidence about an alleged bribe was not doctored as Harper has claimed.

Ted Colley ,  Canwest News Service

October 10, 2008

SURREY, B.C. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s own audio expert says a tape providing key evidence about an alleged bribe was not doctored as Harper has claimed.

Author Tom Zytaruk asked the prime minister on tape about an alleged attempt by Conservative officials to bribe Independent MP Chuck Cadman.

In 2005, Cadman told his wife, Dona Cadman, that two Conservative representatives had offered him a $1-million life insurance policy in exchange for his vote in a confidence motion aimed at bringing down the Liberal government.

Cadman was terminally ill at the time and died just two months later.

The interview, in which Harper speaks of an offer to Cadman “to replace financial considerations he might lose during an election,” has been cited by Liberals in the House of Commons and on articles posted on the Liberal party website as evidence that Mr. Harper knew of an alleged attempt to bribe Cadman in May 2005, in exchange for his vote in the Commons to topple the Liberal government of the day. Harper, who denies knowing any such thing, is suing the Liberals for $3.5-million.

Two audio experts hired earlier by Harper said the tape appeared to have been doctored.

An Ontario judge ordered another analysis and Harper tapped former FBI agent Bruce Koenig for the job.

Koenig said the portion of the tape dealing with the insurance policy “contains neither physical nor electronic splices, edits or alterations,” according to a report entered in court on Friday.

Last month, Harper was able to persuade the court to put the lawsuit on hold until after the Oct. 14 federal election. Harper also tried to keep Koenig’s report out of the court record until the vote had passed, but the Liberals were able to get it on the record Friday.

Zytaruk, who has steadfastly maintained the tape was never altered, said he’s happy about the timing.

“I’m glad this came out before the election. I was really looking forward to testifying because it’s not pleasant to be accused on a national scale of doing something dishonest, such as doctoring a tape.”

Dona Cadman, the Conservative candidate in Surrey North, could not be reached for comment before press time.

Source

Harper, Bush Share Roots in Controversial Philosophy

Close advisers schooled in ‘the noble lie’ and ‘regime change.’

What do close advisors to Stephen Harper and George W. Bush have in common? They reflect the disturbing teachings of Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish émigré who spawned the neoconservative movement.

Strauss, who died in 1973, believed in the inherent inequality of humanity. Most people, he famously taught, are too stupid to make informed decisions about their political affairs. Elite philosophers must decide on affairs of state for us.

In Washington, Straussians exert powerful influence from within the inner circle of the White House. In Canada, they roost, for now, in the so-called Calgary School, guiding Harper in framing his election strategies. What preoccupies Straussians in both places is the question of “regime change.”

Strauss defined a regime as a set of governing ideas, institutions and traditions. The neoconservatives in the Bush administration, who secretly conspired to make the invasion of Iraq a certainty, had a precise plan for regime change. They weren’t out to merely replace Saddam with an American puppet. They planned to make the system more like the U.S., with an electoral process that can be manipulated by the elites, corporate control over the levers of power and socially conservative values.

Usually regime change is imposed on a country from outside through violent means, such as invasion. On occasion, it occurs within a country through civil war. After the American Civil War, a new regime was imposed on the Deep South by the North, although the old regime was never entirely replaced.

Is regime change possible through the electoral process? It’s happening in the U.S., where the neocons are succeeding in transforming the American state from a liberal democracy into a corporatist, theocratic regime. As Canada readies for a federal election, the question must be asked: Are we next?

The ‘noble lie’

Strauss believed that allowing citizens to govern themselves will lead, inevitably, to terror and tyranny, as the Weimar Republic succumbed to the Nazis in the 1930s. A ruling elite of political philosophers must make those decisions because it is the only group smart enough. It must resort to deception — Strauss’s “noble lie” — to protect citizens from themselves. The elite must hide the truth from the public by writing in code. “Using metaphors and cryptic language,” philosophers communicated one message for the elite, and another message for “the unsophisticated general population,” philosopher Jeet Heer recently wrote in the Globe and Mail. “For Strauss, the art of concealment and secrecy was among the greatest legacies of antiquity.”

The recent outing of star New York Times reporter Judith Miller reveals how today’s neocons use the media to conceal the truth from the public. For Straussians, telling Americans that Saddam didn’t have WMD’s and had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda, but that we needed to take him out for geopolitical and ideological reasons you can’t comprehend, was a non-starter. The people wouldn’t get it. Time for a whopper.

Miller was responsible for pushing into the Times the key neocon lie that Saddam was busy stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. This deception helped build support among Americans for the invasion of Iraq. Miller was no independent journalist seeking the truth nor a victim of neocon duplicity, as she claimed. She worked closely with Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff and responsible for coordinating Iraq intelligence and communication strategy. Libby is a Straussian who studied under Paul Wolfowitz, now head of the World Bank, and before that, deputy secretary of defense, where he led the ‘Invade Iraq” lobby. Wolfowitz studied under Strauss and Allan Bloom, Strauss’s most famous student.

Miller cultivated close links to the neocons in the administration and at the American Enterprise Institute, the leading Washington-based neocon think tank. AEI played the key role outside government in fabricating intelligence to make the case for invading Iraq. Straussian Richard Perle, who chaired the Defence Policy Board Advisory Committee until he was kicked off because of a conflict of interest, is a senior fellow at AEI and coordinated its efforts. Miller co-wrote a book on the Middle East with an AEI scholar. Rather than being a victim of government manipulation, Miller was a conduit between the neocons and the American public. As a result of her reporting, many Americans came to believe that Saddam had the weapons. War and regime change followed.

‘Regime change’ in Canada

As in the U.S., regime change became a Canadian media darling. Before 9-11, the phrase appeared in Canadian newspapers less than ten times a year. It usually referred to changes in leadership of a political party or as part of the phrase “regulatory regime change.” Less than a week after 9-11, the phrase began to be used in its Straussian sense, as if a scenario was being choreographed.

From 19 mentions in Canadian newspapers in 2001, regime change soared to 790 mentions in 2002 and 1334 mentions in 2003. With the Iraq invasion accomplished that year, usage tailed off in 2004 (291 mentions) and in 2005 (208 mentions to November 10).

There’s one big difference between American and Canadian Straussians. The Americans assumed positions of power and influence in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The Canadians have not had much opportunity to show (or is that hide?) their stuff. That may change with a Harper victory.

Paul Wolfowitz’s teacher, Allan Bloom, and another Straussian, Walter Berns, taught at the University of Toronto during the 1970s. They left their teaching posts at Cornell University because they couldn’t stomach the student radicalism of the ’60s. At Toronto, they influenced an entire generation of political scientists, who fanned out to universities across the country.

Two of their students, Ted Morton and Rainer Knopff, went to the University of Calgary where they specialize in attacking the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They claim the charter is the result of a conspiracy foisted on the Canadian people by “special interests.” These nasty people are feminists, gays and lesbians, the poor, prisoners and refugee-rights groups who are advancing their own interests through the courts at the expense of the general public, these Straussians allege.

The problem with their analysis is that the special interest which makes more use of the courts to advance its interests than all these other groups combined — business — receives not a mention. Deception by omission is a common Straussian technique. The weak are targeted while the real culprits disappear.

Harper’s mentors

Harper studied under the neocons at the University of Calgary and worked with them to craft policies for the fledgling Reform Party in the late 1980s. Together with Preston Manning, they created an oxymoron, a populist party backed by business.

Ted Morton has turned his attention to provincial politics. He’s an elected MLA and a candidate to succeed Premier Ralph Klein. But he did influence the direction of right-wing politics at the federal level as the Canadian Alliance director of research under Stockwell Day.

When Harper threw his hat in the ring for the leadership of the Alliance, Tom Flanagan, the Calgary School’s informal leader, became his closest adviser. Harper and Flanagan, whose scholarship focuses on attacking aboriginal rights, entered a four-year writing partnership and together studied the works of government-hater Friedrich Hayek. Flanagan ran the 2004 Conservative election campaign and is pulling the strings as the country readies for the election.

Political philosopher Shadia Drury is an expert on Strauss, though not a follower. She was a member of Calgary’s political science department for more than two decades, frequently locking horns with her conservative colleagues before leaving in 2003 for the University of Regina.

Strauss recommended harnessing the simplistic platitudes of populism to galvanize mass support for measures that would, in fact, restrict rights. Does the Calgary School resort to such deceitful tactics? Drury believes so. Such thinking represents “a huge contempt for democracy,” she told the Globe and Mail‘s John Ibbotson. The 2004 federal election campaign run by Flanagan was “the greatest stealth campaign we have ever seen,” she said, “run by radical populists hiding behind the cloak of rhetorical moderation.”

Straus and ‘Western alienation’

The Calgary School has successfully hidden its program beneath the complaint of western alienation. “If we’ve done anything, we’ve provided legitimacy for what was the Western view of the country,” Calgary Schooler Barry Cooper told journalist Marci McDonald in her important Walrus article. “We’ve given intelligibility and coherence to a way of looking at it that’s outside the St. Lawrence Valley mentality.” This is sheer Straussian deception. On the surface, it’s easy to understand Cooper’s complaint and the Calgary School’s mission. But the message says something very different to those in the know. For ‘St. Lawrence Valley mentality,’ they read ‘the Ottawa-based modern liberal state,’ with all the negative baggage it carries for Straussians. And for ‘Western view,’ they read ‘the right-wing attack on democracy.’ We’ve provided legitimacy for the radical-right attack on the Canadian democratic state, Cooper is really saying.

A network is already in place to assist Harper in foisting his radical agenda on the Canadian people.

In 2003, he delivered an important address to a group called Civitas. This secretive organization, which has no web site and leaves little paper or electronic trail, is a network of Canadian neoconservative and libertarian academics, politicians, journalists and think tank propagandists.

Harper’s adviser Tom Flanagan is an active member. Conservative MP Jason Kenney is a member, as are Brian Lee Crowley, head of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and Michel Kelly-Gagnon of the Montreal Economic Institute, the second and third most important right-wing think tanks after the Fraser Institute.

Civitas is top-heavy with journalists to promote the cause. Lorne Gunter of the National Post is president. Members include Janet Jackson (Calgary Sun) and Danielle Smith (Calgary Herald). Journalists Colby Cosh, William Watson and Andrew Coyne (all National Post) have made presentations to Civitas.

The Globe and Mail‘s Marcus Gee is not mentioned in relation to Civitas but might as well be a member, if his recent column titled “George Bush is not a liar,” is any evidence. In it, Gee repeats the lies the Bush neocons are furiously disseminating to persuade the people that Bush is not a liar.

Neo-con to Theo-con

The speech Harper gave to Civitas was the source of the charge made by the Liberals during the 2004 election — sure to be revived in the next election — that Harper has a scary, secret agenda. Harper urged a return to social conservatism and social values, to change gears from neocon to theocon, in The Report‘s Ted Byfield’s apt but worrisome phrase, echoing visions of a future not unlike that painted in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian work, A Handmaid’s Tale.

The state should take a more activist role in policing social norms and values, Harper told the assembled conservatives. To achieve this goal, social and economic conservatives must reunite as they have in the U.S., where evangelical Christians and business rule in an unholy alliance. Red Tories must be jettisoned from the party, he said, and alliances forged with ethnic and immigrant communities who currently vote Liberal but espouse traditional family values. This was the successful strategy counselled by the neocons under Ronald Reagan to pull conservative Democrats into the Republican tent.

Movement towards the goal must be “incremental,” he said, so the public won’t be spooked.

Regime change, one step at a time.

Donald Gutstein, a senior lecturer in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University,

Source

The we have this:

US War Resister faces deportation from Canada

Canada hit hard by war on Taleban

We won’t win Afghan war, admits UK commander

And This

Omar Khadr:

He was 15 years old at the time and has now spent more than a quarter of his life in prison. Khadr has been in U.S. custody since 2002, when he was captured in Afghanistan and charged with murdering an American soldier during a firefight.

Stephen Harper, George Bush’s Fart Catcher

Well put I must say.