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Archive for July 11th, 2008

McCain’s Alter Ego

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2008 4:41 am by HL

McCain’s Alter Ego
Bloomberg profiles Sen. John McCain’s right hand man, noting he’s “run for president twice, gone through four campaign managers, written five books and delivered hundreds of speeches. The one constant: Mark Salter, the Arizona senator’s longtime aide and alter ego.”

“Salter, 53, is his most trusted adviser, traveling companion, image-shaper, sounding board, wordsmith and defender. He weighs in on almost every campaign decision, and in McCain’s absence, even speaks for the presumptive Republican nominee.”

Said McCain: “He’s like a brother. There’s no one closer to me in my life, besides my wife and kids.”


Impotent Sabre Rattling In the Persian Gulf

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2008 4:40 am by HL

Impotent Sabre Rattling In the Persian Gulf
Here’s the metric. The Israeli military, which has roughly par equipment with the US military, could not shut down even 5% of Hezbollah’s strategic missile capability after a month of air war, plus a partial ground incursion. Why should Iran be different?

And no, I’m not talking about Iran:

The US vowed to defend Israel and its other allies in the Gulf, as Iran carried out its second ballistic missile test in two days yesterday.

Here’s the metric. The Israeli military, which has roughly par equipment with the US military, could not shut down even 5% of Hezbollah’s strategic missile capability after a month of air war, plus a partial ground incursion. Southern Lebanon is a lot smaller than Iran. A lot, lot smaller.

Hezbollah even managed to badly damage an Israeli warship, but it apparently didn’t have more of those types of missiles. In fact, in general, Hezbollah did not have Iran’s most advanced missiles. Iran, of course, does.

If Iran wants to shut down the Strait of Hormuz it can, and I see very little the US can do about it. If the President orders the navy into the Strait there is a real chance of serious naval losses, possibly even including an aircraft carrier. This is a bad place for a deep water navy like the US’s to fight. And all Iran has to do is not destroy every tanker, but make going through the Strait dangerous enough that naval insurance becomes impossible to buy. At that point the US and other countries either start grabbing foreign flagged ships (remember, merchant marines these days are mostly flagged under countries like Panama) and militarizing them, or it does without all that oil

Which is to say, the US finds itself in a very nasty war with a huge oil spike and it does not have a military solution. If Israel couldn’t take out a much smaller number of missile launchers hidden in a much smaller area, why exactly would the US think it can take out more in a larger area?

Iran isn’t insane. They won’t declare war on Israel or the US. And if a war breaks out it’ll go much worse for them than for the US. But the US will still be devestated. This won’t be the Iraq war. It won’t take years for the price of oil to quintuple or more, it’ll happen overnight. Indeed, there will probably be actual real physical shortages.

I’m not one who believes violence is never the solution. Sometimes violence is a solution; sometimes violence is even the best solution.

This ain’t one of those times.


What Obama Can Do Now On FISA

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2008 4:39 am by HL

What Obama Can Do Now On FISA

Last night, on Countdown, Russ Feingold said we can fix it FISA if Barack Obama is elected President. Fine. Now here is what Obama can do now to help that happen.

Barack Obama can pledge, if he is elected President, to instruct his Administration to comply with FISA, as it existed prior to the passage of the Protect America Act and the most recent Amendment, passed yesterday. Barack Obama can pledge that in his Administration, the Executive Branch will comply with FISA (with the caveat that the one fix that was considered necessary, that telephone calls whose only nexus with the United States is the incidental passage of the communication through a United States based telecommunications node). Just because the Congress gutted FISA does not mean that an Obama Administration needs to act like the Bush Administration.

More . .

Barack Obama can also present FISA legislation he will propose when he is President. He can run on the FISA fix he will propose. He can win a mandate for that change (unfortunately, retroactive telecom immunity is now irrevocable.)

Finally, Obama can promise that when he is President, he will either appoint a commission or ask that Congress create a commission (along the lines of the Church Commission) to investigate what abuses took place during the Bush Administration. And I know just the guy to chair it – Russ Feingold.

My expectation of his doing any of these things is nil. But that is my point really. The time for Obama to stand up on FISA was now, so that he could stand up if and when he becomes President. His recent actions on FISA pretty much preclude a FISA fix when he is President imo.

There are a number of Obama bloggers who are upset that people like Glenn Greenwald are taking Obama to task for this. They want us to leave Obama alone. Some really never cared about this issue, as they themselves admit. But the ones who profess to care, seem not to understand that beyond the global political problem of Obama’s propensity to triangulate in DLC fashion, the FISA issue has been severely damaged by Obama’s actions. Feingold wants another go at it if and when Obama is President. Obama’s actions make this that much harder to do.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only


Alaska

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

Alaska
And we have a name.

Federal prosecutors have filed a criminal case against state Sen. John Cowdery, R-Anchorage. No other information is available at this time, check adn.com throughout the morning for more updates.

…presumably stems from this.

Former Veco executive Rick Smith just said he bribed former Sen. Ben Stevens and sitting Anchorage Sen. John Cowdery.

His comment came as prosecutor Nicholas Marsh asked Smith who he’d pleaded guilty to bribing.

Stop Whining, Citizen!
“Enron” Phil DOES NOT WANT.


In an interview with the Washington Times, Phil Gramm, a former Texas senator who is now vice chairman of UBS, the giant Swiss bank, said he expects Mr. McCain to inherit a sluggish economy if he wins the presidency, weighed down above all by the conviction of many Americans that economic conditions are the worst in two or three decades and that America is in decline.

“You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” he said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. “We may have a recession; we haven’t had one yet.”

“We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline” despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.


Why Obscenity Laws Must Be Fought

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

Why Obscenity Laws Must Be Fought
What’s defined as healthy sexuality in this country is narrowly defined and schizophrenic — and the government should not have final say.

Immigration Reform Groups Strategize for Presidential Campaign
The groups are paying close attention to the candidates’ statements on the campaign trail.


Top McCain Surrogates Questioning Obama’s American-Ness

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Top McCain Surrogates Questioning Obama’s American-Ness
John McCain’s campaign has explicitly said that questions about Obama’s patriotism are off limits, but McCain’s highest-profile surrogates have embarked on a new round of efforts to raise questions about Obama’s American-ness, for lack of a better word — with…


What a Candidate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

What a Candidate
Bob Schaffer, the Republican senate candidate in Colorado, helped broker a oil deal in Iraqi Kurdistan that the State Department said threatened the security of Iraq….


…Moon quest brings new hope to NASA

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

…Moon quest brings new hope to NASA
The unassuming log cabin has long symbolized the American drive to tame and settle the frontier. But if aerospace engineer Robert Howard Jr., age 36, is successful, 21st-century settlers will live in a dwelling that might resemble an oversized balloon or soup can. As manager of the “habitability design center” at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Howard is helping to create a dwelling that could comfortably house four people on the moon for at least half a year. He is one of many NASA employees who will be speaking at this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival (from June 25 to 29 and July 2 to 6, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.), which will commemorate the space agency’s 50th anniversary…

Gas prices slip from record high
National average falls slightly to $4.104, diesel hits new high.


Rove avoids subpoena by fleeing the country.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

Rove avoids subpoena by fleeing the country.
This morning, Karl Rove refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee to testify about the politicization of the Justice Department, despite a subpoena. During the hearing, Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) revealed that Rove had not only skipped out of the hearing, but had skipped out of the entire country. Watch it: […]

This morning, Karl Rove refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee to testify about the politicization of the Justice Department, despite a subpoena. During the hearing, Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) revealed that Rove had not only skipped out of the hearing, but had skipped out of the entire country. Watch it:

When ThinkProgress contacted Rove’s lawyer, his office confirmed that Rove was out of the country “on trip scheduled long before the subpoena was sent.” Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) said Rove’s attorney “never mentioned” this trip to the committee. Rove’s bogus claims of executive privilege were rejected by the Committee as “not valid” by a 7-1 vote. The committee gave Rove five days to comply with the subpoena.


Partisan Bickering Kills Va. Roads Bill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2008 4:32 am by HL

Partisan Bickering Kills Va. Roads Bill
RICHMOND, July 9 — The General Assembly’s special session on transportation failed to come up with an agreement on how to pay for millions in road and transit projects across the state, including the most congested area of Northern Virginia.

The Red, White and Eat Your Greens Party
The folks organizing (if you want to call it that) the Democratic National Convention have spent all week trying to squash a major flapdoodle involving political correctness and color that threatened to confirm every negative stereotype about how Democrats are so hilariously sensitive to the full…