Getting Your Plane Shot Down Does Not Make You Qualified

June 29, 2008

Gen. Wesley Clark, acting as a surrogate for Barack Obama’s campaign, invoked John McCain’s military service against him in one of the more personal attacks on the Republican presidential nominee this election cycle.

Clark said that McCain lacked the executive experience necessary to be president, calling him “untested and untried” on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” And in saying so, he took a few swipes at McCain’s military service.

“He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn’t a wartime squadron,” Clark said.

“I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.”

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), also on CBS, was equally uncharitable towards Obama’s record on foreign policy as he continued to distance himself from his former party.

“Sen. Obama, unfortunately, like a lot of the Democratic leadership, continues to take a position that we ought to withdraw … even though the new policy is working,” said Lieberman. “If we had done what Sen. Obama asked us to do for the last couple of years, today Iran and Al Qaeda would be in control of Iraq. It would be a terrible defeat for us and our allies in the Middle East and throughout the world.”

Meanwhile, the opposition narratives for the fall election campaign appeared to be in full force on ABC’s “This Week,” with Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) calling McCain a flip-flopper, while Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty accused Obama of not working in a bipartisan fashion.

Emanuel attacked McCain for changing his position on offshore oil drilling, President Bush’s tax cuts and his relationship with the evangelical community.

Quipped Emanuel: “If flip-flop was an Olympic sport, John McCain would be the first to win a gold medal.”

But Pawlenty cited McCain’s record on immigration and his support of increasing U.S. troop presence in Iraq as ample evidence that he bucks his party on account of principle — and then challenged Emanuel to name one piece of legislation where Obama has worked across party lines.

“The question really remains, when has Barack Obama stood up and taken on his party
on anything of national significance?” Pawlenty asked. “It’s not leadership to jump in front of a parade. And I think Barack Obama’s book ‘The Audacity of Hope’ perhaps should be retitled ‘The Audacity of Hypocrisy.’”

VP watch

A pair of prospective running mates for Obama and McCain downplayed their interest in serving on the presidential tickets on “Fox News Sunday” — and one even said he wasn’t interested in an immediate Cabinet appointment.

Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.), said he was committed to finishing out his four-year term as governor before accepting any Cabinet position within a potential Obama administration.

“In 2011, it’s my intention to walk out the door of the [Pennsylvania] capitol … in January of 2011. I know that disappoints some people in the capitol, but that’s my intention,” Rendell said. “And if there was a position open that I was interested in, like energy or transportation, I’d be honored to serve in an Obama administration, but not at the beginning, not until my time is finished.”

Rendell, one of Sen. Clinton’s leading surrogates during the Democratic primaries, said that President Clinton was “disappointed” that his wife came up short in the Democratic primary, but “is going to do every single thing that Barack Obama asks him to do … and make a great case for Sen. Obama as our next president.”

Meanwhile, former Ohio Rep. Rob Portman also disavowed interest in serving as McCain’s running mate, saying he preferred to remain with his family in Ohio instead of returning to Washington, where he most recently served as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“I don’t expect to be asked, honestly,” said Portman. “I’m also, as you know, Chris, home after 15 years of commuting when I was in Congress and in the administration, and I’ve got three teenagers. It’s time to be home. I love being home.”

Portman, for his part, reiterated McCain’s unequivocal support for NAFTA despite the fact that the free trade agreement is viewed skeptically in the Rust Belt, including the electorally critical states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“It’s created an enormous number of jobs, including to Canada, which is our biggest trading partner,” said Portman. “And when that message gets out there, it makes it look a little silly that you have someone going around the state of Pennsylvania and Ohio blaming NAFTA for anything from high energy prices to the common cold. “

Third party

Both third-party presidential candidates appeared on the Sunday talk show circuit, with each offering an ample helping of criticism towards the major-party nominees.

Ralph Nader, who said Obama was “talking white” to appeal to voters earlier in the week, continued to attack the Democratic nominee on ABC’s “This Week,” accusing him of being too cozy with an assortment of corporate interests.

“Look at the positions he’s taken on that corporate America is very congenial to. If you want to cover everybody on health insurance … go to single payer. He’s opposed to single payer,” said Nader.

Meanwhile, former Republican Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party’s nominee, had harsh words for both McCain and his former party.

“What’s wrong with John McCain is symptomatic of what’s wrong with the Republican party in these first years of the 21st century. They talk one thing but do something different and that’s become very obvious to the American people,” Barr said on Fox.

Barr said he is the only candidate offering the combination of a crackdown on excessive government spending along with concern for civil liberties.

But he had to distance himself from past congressional votes in support of the Patriot Act and for legislation authorizing the war in Iraq — positions anathema to much of the Libertarian Party base.

“I certainly was wrong, along with a lot of others in Congress, and now realize that the vote in support of military operations in Iraq was not what the administration intended. They intended to occupy the country even though they didn’t tell us or the American people that at the time,” said Barr.

The governator

And a Sunday show wrapup wouldn’t be complete without mention of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appearance on “Meet the Press,” where he advocated for McCain’s candidacy but acknowledged their difference on offshore drilling, a proposal that Schwarzenegger opposes.

“I’m 100 percent behind him. That we don’t agree on everything, that’s clear; nor do I with my wife. I mean, it doesn’t mean that we should split, it just means that we don’t agree on certain things.”
He also announced his opposition to a statewide referendum that would amend the state’s constitution to ban gay marriage, while not sounding too opposed to the California Supreme Court’s recent controversial ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

“I think it’s good that California is leading in this way,” said Schwarzenegger. “I personally believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But at the same time I think that my belief, I don’t want to force on anyone else, so I think we should stay with the decision of the Supreme Court and move forward.”

Originally found @ Politico.com

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Standoff in Iraq Is NOT Just About Oil or Unwanted US Presence,

June 21, 2008


The decisive battle of the Iraq war is shaping up – not in the streets of Baghdad but in the halls of government where the future of America’s role across the region is on the line.

American and Iraqi officials have expressed new resolve to hammer out far-reaching deals that would allow U.S. forces to remain on bases across Iraq once the U.N. mandate expires at year’s end.

The stakes in the talks are enormous.

The outcome will shape not just Iraq for years to come – but, more important, America’s strategic position all across the oil-rich Persian Gulf at a time when Iran’s influence is growing. The U.S. maintains substantial air and naval forces elsewhere in the Gulf but few ground troops except in Iraq.

A pact also would assure Arab allies that Iraq would not fall under domination by Iran, which is pressuring the Iraqis to refuse any deal that keeps U.S. soldiers here.

But critics in the United States fear it will tie the hands of the next president when millions of Americans are anxious to bring troops home. Many Iraqis, in turn, worry the deal will allow American domination of their country for decades.

With so much in the balance, the Iraqi government said Wednesday that both Washington and Baghdad recognize the need to finish the talks by July’s end “to avoid any legal vacuum that may arise.”

That came only days after it seemed the deal was dead. But Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the prospects for an accord had brightened because of new U.S. flexibility after meetings in Washington.

The White House said President Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki discussed the talks Thursday via secured video teleconference and affirmed their commitment to completing the deal.

Nevertheless, the two sides remain far apart on core issues, including the number of bases where the United States will have a presence, and U.S. demands for immunity from Iraqi law for American soldiers and contractors.

Other obstacles include U.S. authority to detain suspects, fight battles without Iraqi permission and control of the country’s airspace.

Iraq’s parliament must sign off on the deal by year’s end – and approval is by no means certain.

Opposition to the initial U.S. demands brought together rival Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders who all complain the deal would leave real power in American hands.

The oil minister, who is close to the country’s powerful Shiite clerical leadership, told the British newspaper The Guardian this week that Iraq will demand the right to veto any U.S. military operation.

But American commanders believe they need such sweeping powers to protect U.S. soldiers in a combat zone.

Publicly, U.S. officials have expressed confidence they can find language that will satisfy the Iraqis on all major issues. But the negotiations are taking place against the backdrop of war and intense power struggles among rival ethnic groups in Iraq – each with its own agenda.

The U.S. operates scores of bases throughout the country, including the sprawling Camp Victory headquarters in Baghdad, Asad air base in western Iraq and the giant air facility at Balad, a 16-square-mile installation about 60 miles north of the capital that houses tens of thousands of American troops, contractors and U.S. government civilians.

It’s still unclear how many of the facilities Washington would want to keep.

If all else fails, the two sides could go back to the U.N. Security Council and seek an extension of the mandate allowing troops in Iraq.

But that could prove politically embarrassing – and difficult – in the waning days of the Bush administration or the early days of the new U.S. presidency.

The current standoff has its roots in events last August when leaders of Iraq’s rival factions – facing enormous U.S. pressure to resolve their differences – signed a declaration of unity.

It included a statement that Iraq’s government wanted a long-term security relationship with the United States apart from U.N. mandates, which Iraq has long wanted to end.

A few months later, Bush and al-Maliki signed a statement of principles to negotiate two agreements – a broad security framework and a second deal spelling out the rules for the U.S. military presence.

Talks began in March but Iraqi officials were outraged over the initial U.S. demands – especially immunity for U.S. soldiers and security contractors.

The American draft also included no firm commitment to defend Iraq from foreign invasion – which would require U.S. Senate approval – nor a timetable for the departure of American troops, according to Iraqi officials. U.S. officials have released few details.

After Iraqi negotiators briefed lawmakers last month, politicians from all walks paraded in front of microphones to denounce the U.S. proposals.

Some commentators likened the U.S. position to the Iraqi-British treaty of 1930, which gave Britain virtual control of the country and is widely seen here as a humiliation.

Shiite lawmaker Haidar al-Abadi, speaking for al-Maliki’s party, said June 4 that “negotiations are at a standstill, and the Iraqi side is studying its options.” A week later al-Maliki himself said talks had reached a “dead-end.”

Aides scrambled to clarify that al-Maliki did not mean negotiations were over. But his comments reflected Iraq’s resolve not to accept an agreement short of major Iraqi demands.

“We could not give amnesty to a soldier carrying arms on our soil,” al-Maliki said then.

Such comments reflect each Iraqi faction’s need to publicly defend Iraq’s rights, amid the country’s intense political rivalry.

Some Sunni groups, for example, privately favor a continued American presence as a counterweight to Iran’s influence among Shiites. Yet several leading Sunni politicians signed a letter to Congress insisting on a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal – in part to needle al-Maliki on an nationalistic issue.

Shiite parties, in turn, believe the agreement would shore up American support for al-Maliki ahead of parliamentary elections next year – a goal they seek. But Shiite leaders are also anxious to take over full control of their country.

Meanwhile, recent Iraqi military successes against al-Qaida in Mosul and Shiite extremists in the south have convinced some Shiite politicians they don’t really need America.

“Iraq has another option that it may use,” al-Maliki said recently. “The Iraqi government, if it wants, has the right to demand that the U.N. terminate the presence of international forces on Iraqi sovereign soil.”

This story is originally posted at AssociatedPress.com

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Barack Sizes Lieberman Up On Senate Floor

June 7, 2008


Why not simply pee where your territory is, like a wolf or another wild animal? Rather than being so of the wild, Joe Lieberman decided to pull presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama to the side to have words off of the CSPAN cameras. Some reports suggest it may have been the other way around. Perhaps, Barack is making early moves. More as this story unfolds. Please, discuss it.

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Change the Rules When You Need To

May 28, 2008

I highly recommend reading this blog entry from Aimster Blog about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, class in the presidential race, and the future of the democratic party and its nominee.

READ THIS: Aimsterblog

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Astrologers Predict Winner of Presidential Race

May 18, 2008


More than 1,500 astrologers from 45 countries gathered in Denver, coincidentally the site of the Democratic National Convention in August, for the “United Astrology Conference: Rockin’ the Universe.” The many star-chart readers spent quite some time debating the birth times of the candidates. One astrologer, Joni Patry of Dallas, Texas, said she hd received the key piece of the puzzle from a good source: Obama’s exact birthdate and time of birth. McCain’s exact time of birth required less searching as it was mentioned by his mother, Roberta, in a Mother’s Day advertisement. Interestingly enough, not unlike Hillary’s tax reports, no one could lock down an exact time of birth for Mrs. Clinton. So, between McCain and Obama, the United Astrologers picked John McCain to win based on having a “stronger chart”.

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McCain To Take Money From Taxpayers For His Campaign

April 21, 2008


John McCain is abandoning any hope of catching the Democrats in fundraising.

Based on new financial disclosure reports released Sunday, and interviews with his finance team, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee will instead accept taxpayer money to finance his general election and share other costs with the Republican National Committee.

The strategy will allow McCain to stretch his campaign dollars by splitting the cost of television advertising and other campaign activity with the RNC.

But the decision also puts the Arizona senator at risk of being badly outspent – even with RNC help – by a Democratic nominee who will be allowed to spend as much as he or she can raise on the November race.

McCain has raised a total of $72 million for his presidential bid, including $15 million in March. He ended last month with about $11.5 million in cash.

The rest of the story can be found @ Politico.com

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*** Hypocrit! I hope people see this. From Campaign Finance Reform to bleeding a starving economy dry by taking what little money is left for his own potential gain.