Tuesday, September 30, 2008
for 24-Hours of Propaganda
"Just give me, Wall Street, and the US Government all of your money and you can trust us not to spend it on ourselves...I promise."
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is calling for Americans to get behind attempts to salvage a $700 billion rescue plan for the financial sector.
Obama told a crowd at the University of Nevada at Reno that if Wall Street fails, ordinary people will be hurt, too. Harkening back to his days as the right-hand man for a slumlord, Obama urged the American public that it would be better to pay up now as opposed to him having to come back and ask again.
The Illinois Democrat warned that if Congress doesn't take action, people will find it tougher to get a mortgage for a home, a loan for college or a loan to buy a car. Fear mongering is obviously the way to trick American's into backing a measure that anyone with good sense would give the "smell test" and reject.
Obama is proposing that the limit on federal deposit insurance for bank accounts be raised from $100,000 to $250,000. Increasing that limit, he says, would help small-business owners and reassure nervous Americans as well as help shore up the economy. How exactly this would have a direct effect on small-business owners, or reassure nervous American's with less than $250,000, was not fully explained.
“It’s the American economy that needs this rescue plan,” Obama told the assembled score of students, explicitly hitching his ongoing argument about social change to the financial crisis, arguing that the nation must transcend its differences and unite behind the bailout.
“This country and the dream it represents are being tested in a way that we haven’t seen in nearly a century. And future generations will judge ours by how we respond to this test,” he said. “Will they say that this was a time when America lost its way and its purpose? When we allowed our own petty differences and broken politics to plunge this country into a dark and painful recession? Or will they say that this was another one of those moments when America overcame? When we battled back from adversity by recognizing that common stake that we have in each other’s success?”
By now, such rhetoric is familiar to the public: Obama’s knack for fusing the language of (progressive) movement organizing with (conservative) American exceptionalism. Today, he took a risk by wrapping it around a deeply unpopular and complex measure that is widely seen as a sop for reckless elites.
“I believe that this is one of those moments. I know that many of you are anxious about your future and the future of this country,” Obama continued. “Despite all of this, I ask you to believe – believe in this country and your ability to change it. I ask you what has been asked of the American people in times of trial and turmoil throughout our history – what was asked at the beginning of the greatest financial crisis this nation has ever endured. In his first fireside chat, Franklin Roosevelt told his fellow Americans that “..there is an element in the readjustment of our financial system more important than currency, more important than gold, and that is the confidence of the people themselves. Confidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out our plan. Let us unite in banishing fear. Together, we cannot fail.”
Obama channeled The New Deal era — the fear of depression and the promise of a populist agenda — to recast the bailout as a working-class imperative:
“America, together, we cannot fail. Not now. Not when we have a crisis to solve and an economy to save. Not when there are so many Americans without jobs and without homes. Not when there are families who can’t afford to see a doctor, or send their child to college, or pay their bills at the end of the month. Not when there is a generation that is counting on us to give them the same opportunities and the same chances that we had for ourselves...Now is the time to make them proud of what we did here. Let’s give our children the future they deserve, and let’s act with confidence and courage to show the world that at this moment, in this election, the United States of America is still the last, best hope of Earth.”
Obama and his mentor, the slumlord Antoin Rezko, who taught Obama everything he knows about pumping the poor for more money.
for 24-Hours of Propaganda
Wall Steet waits in anticipation for the Bail-Out that the US Government promised them.
With many congressional members facing tough re-election bids, especially now during what may prove to be the worst Economic Crisis in History, the much ballyhooed $700 Billion Bailout Package for Wall Street failed to pass, even with bi-partisian support.
“This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country,” said a statement from Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s top economic adviser, who had represented McCain on Capitol Hill over the last several days.
Instead of a Bail-Out For Wall Street, How About Kicking All the Deadbeats out of the houses they never should have had?
McCain suspended his campaign Thursday morning to return to Washington to try and get a deal done. Soon after his arrival, though, an agreement that appeared to be coming together fell apart–a situation that Democrats pinned on McCain. Over the next few days, McCain’s campaign took credit for bringing House Republicans, who were reluctant to support the bailout, to the negotiating table. Late Saturday night, the House GOP leadership signed off on a deal. But the majority of the caucus still opposed it when the vote was called Monday.
“From the minute John McCain suspended his campaign and arrived in Washington to address this crisis, he was attacked by the Democratic leadership: Senators Barack Obama and Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others. Their partisan attacks were an effort to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis. By doing so, they put at risk the homes, livelihoods and savings of millions of American families,” Holtz-Eakin said in his statement. He also blamed Pelosi for delivering a “strongly worded partisan speech” before the vote was called.
A Road That Should Be More Taken
Others were also blaming Pelosi's pre-vote speech. House Minority Leader John Boehner said that Pelosi’s speech “poisoned” the Republican caucus and “caused a number of members we thought we could get to go south.”
In one fell swoop, the House of Representatives applied a sledgehammer to the American economy. The staggering plunge in the value of publicly quoted stocks in the US - a $1.2 trillion fall - shows clearly just how much Wall Street had been holding out for a financial bail-out. Corporate America lost, in one day, a chunk of its value the size of the Indian economy.
Obama took a more hands-off approach to the legislative process, encouraging it along but not trying to intervene directly.
The current mess would never have occurred in the absence of ill-conceived federal policies. The federal government chartered Fannie Mae in 1938 and Freddie Mac in 1970; these two mortgage lending institutions are at the center of the crisis. The government implicitly promised these institutions that it would make good on their debts, so Fannie and Freddie took on huge amounts of excessive risk.
Worse, beginning in 1977 and even more in the 1990s and the early part of this century, Congress pushed mortgage lenders and Fannie/Freddie to expand subprime lending. The industry was happy to oblige, given the implicit promise of federal backing, and subprime lending soared.
This subprime lending was more than a minor relaxation of existing credit guidelines. This lending was a wholesale abandonment of reasonable lending practices in which borrowers with poor credit characteristics got mortgages they were ill-equipped to handle.
Once housing prices declined and economic conditions worsened, defaults and delinquencies soared, leaving the industry holding large amounts of severely depreciated mortgage assets.
So, in the end, not only was it Wall Street "Fat Cats" who brought us to the prespice of collapse, but it was the Federal Government, and in the end, consumers who took on financial obligations they were ill-equipped to handle.
The blame goes all the way around.
The blame does rest at the feet of the very same American Citizens who are decrying "predatory lending" practices and "Wall Street Greed" as the cause of the Financial Crisis.
Every person who took out a loan and did not repay it is to blame. Every single person who believes the US Government should intervene to stop their own foreclosure, readjust their mortgage, or give them their house for free is to blame.
Those who have been responsible with their money--who did not take out second and third mortgages and/or buy houses that were way out of their means--are the only innocent parties in this economic collapse.
"Fuck America! Get Your Free House!"
Monday, September 29, 2008
for 24-Hours of Propaganda
"We must confront the privileged elite who have destroyed a large part of the world.”
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said it was the capitalist system that caused the financial crisis in the United States and the country should come up with a new constitution.
Speaking to reporters in Lisbon on the last leg of a tour that included visits to Cuba, China, Russia and France, he said: "I think the United States should start a constituent process to create a constituent assembly, a new truly democratic model."
A constituent assembly is a body elected to draft and sometimes adopt a new constitution.
"I hereby accuse the North American empire of being the biggest menace to our planet.”
"It was capitalism that caused the ruin" in the United States, said Chavez, who is one of Washington's fiercest critics, calling the financial crunch "the worst financial crisis in history".
"Let the U.S. empire end and let a great nation and great republic rise from the ruin ... It's time to shout 'Liberty!' again in the United States," Chavez said, calling for a new government to be free of the "dictatorship of the elite" such as big banks and corporations.
Chavez, who has signed various deals from weapons to energy this week in China and Russia also signed an agreement with Portugal's Socialist government on Saturday to buy 1 million ultra-cheap laptops for schools and 50,000 pre-fabricated houses in deals worth $3 billion.
“I have said it already, I am convinced that the way to build a new and better world is not capitalism. Capitalism leads us straight to hell.”
They also signed a draft deal between Energias do Portugal and Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA for the development of a liquefied natural gas project from the Blanquilla Este reserve in northern Venezuela.
The computers, which the government started distributing in Portuguese primary schools this week at a subsidised price of 50 euros , will be delivered to Venezuela from December. They cost 285 euros in stores in Portugal.
The laptop is based on Intel Corp's lassmate PC, a cheap computer that has been adopted in various formats in countries such as Brazil and Indonesia.
for 24-Hours of Propaganda
The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) steams through the Pacific Ocean.
A rag-tag band of pirates has succeeded in crippiling the Kenyan military, hijacking 33 of its tanks and an assortment of other weapons, ammunition and material said to be valued at $30 million.
The ship was apparently hijacked before it was scheduled to rendezvous with the Kenya Navy, for the purpose of being escorted to port. The pirates who have seized the Ukrainian ship off the coast of Somalia have warned against any attempt to rescue the vessel's crew or cargo.
U.S. naval ships also were in the area Friday and "monitoring the situation,“ but there has been no decision about intercepting the vessel. A U.S. Defense Department official said Washington was concerned about the attack.
"I think we’re looking at the full range of options here,“ U.S. Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
Agence France-Presse reports that the pirates, despite being surrounded by the USS Howard and two other foreign warships, have demanded a ransom of U.S. $20 million.
Speaking by satellite phone to AFP, Sugule Ali said the pirates were not afraid of the warships: "That will not make us to abandon the ship or to refrain from asking (for) the money. There is no shortage of food supply and all the crew members are healthy and well including ours."
One of the pirates, Sugule Ali, claiming to be speaking on their behalf, later told reporters via satellite phone that they wanted a ransom and "nothing else".
"We need $20 million for the safe release of the ship and the crew," he told reporters. "If we are attacked, we will defend ourselves until the last one of us dies."
It was unclear whether the pirates who seized the 530-foot-long cargo ship Faina on Thursday knew what it carried. Still, analysts said it would be extremely difficult to sell such high-profile weaponry like Russian tanks.
The hijacking, with worldwide pirate attacks surging this year, could help rally stronger international support behind France, which has pushed aggressively for decisive action against Somali pirates.
San Diego-based destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) is on station and is in visual range of MV Faina, which is anchored off the Somalia coast near the harbor city of Hobyo.
"Howard is on-station," said Cmdr. Curtis Goodnight, Howard commanding officer. "My crew is actively monitoring the situation, keeping constant watch on the vessel and the waters in the immediate vicinity."
Two other pirated vessels, MV Capt Stefanos and MV Centauri, are also anchored at this location near the Somali harbour city of Hobyo. Pirates have seized dozens of ships near Somalia's coast in recent months.
"Piracy has become big business and there seems to be no concerted response to the problem," said Mr Chitiyo, from the London-based Royal United Services Institute. Authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland say they are powerless to confront the pirates, who regularly hold ships for ransom at the port of Eyl.
This incident highlights the complexity of the situation in the region. MV Faina is owned and operated by "Kaalybe Shipping Ukraine" and is carrying a cargo of T-72 tanks and related equipment. Its crew is comprised of citizens from Ukraine, Russia and Latvia. There is no indication that the ship had a security team aboard.
The USS Howard is part of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, which is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to conduct Maritime Security Operations.
Somali pirates in small boats sail close to the MV Faina
Ukrainian officials and an anti-piracy watchdog said 21 crew members were aboard the seized ship, including three Russians. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko ordered unspecified measures to free the crew, which had been sailing towards the Kenyan port of Mombasa.
A Kenyan government spokesman, Alfred Mutua, confirmed the East African nation’s military had ordered the tanks and spare parts. The tanks are part of a two-year rearmament program.
"The government is in contact with international maritime agencies and other security partners in an endeavor to secure the ship and cargo,“ Mutua said in a statement. "The government is actively monitoring the situation.“
Ukrainian state-controlled arms dealer Ukrspetsexport brokered the sale. It was unclear where the shipment originated, though Ukrainian news agencies identified the ship operator as a company called Tomex Team based in the Black Sea port of Odessa.
"A ship carrying cargo of that nature being hijacked off the coast of Somalia is something that should concern us, and it does concern us. And we are monitoring the situation and taking a look at what the options might be,“ Whitman said.
The Navy says the 5th Fleet includes the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and several support ships, which "deter destabilizing activities and ensure a lawful maritime order in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman and Gulf of Aden.“
Pirate attacks worldwide have surged this year and Africa remains the world’s top piracy hotspot, with 24 reported attacks in Somalia and 18 in Nigeria this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center.
The issue burst into international view September 15 when Somali pirates took two French citizens captive aboard a luxury yacht and helicopter-borne French commandos then swooped in to rescue them.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy this month called on other nations to move boldly against pirates, calling the phenomenon "a genuine industry of crime.“
In June, the U.N. Security Council – pushed by France and the United States – unanimously adopted a resolution allowing ships of foreign nations that cooperate with the Somali government to enter their territorial waters "for the purpose of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.“
33 T-72 armored tanks were aboard the MV Faina bound for Kenya that was seized by the Somalia Youth Coastguard.
All branches of the Kenyan Armed Forces were on full alert on Sunday night and heading for a showdown with the pirates who seized the Faina
The Navy put to sea and was racing to take up position in a joint operation to recover the hijacked Ukrainian cargo vessel, which was also carrying arms and ammunition.
"All branches of the military are working with partners to solve the problem," said a senior government official.
For as well as the 33 T-72 tanks, the Faina was carrying huge quantities of ammunition and grenade launchers for the Kenyan forces, making it a floating ammunition dump.
Any firefight could result in a massive explosion that would blow the freighter out of the water, killing the very people they were trying to rescue.
And if Russian commandos attempted to storm the Faina -- a Ukrainian ship sailing under a Belize flag -- it was feared the pirates would use the crew as human shields.
It was believed as many as 100 pirates from the self-styled Somalia Youth Coastguard were in control of the Faina.
They struck 200 miles off the Somalia coast in three speedboats launched from a mother ship, on Thursday.
Racing to incept the seized vessel, the Neustrashimy (Dauntless ) is armed with surface-to-air missiles, 100-millimeter guns and anti-submarine torpedoes.
A Somalia Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Faysal Ahmed told the Sunday Nation that he suspected that the hijackers were working in concert with Al Shabaab, a terrorist group that has been linked with Al Qaeda.
"I have heard a spokesman for the hijackers on BBC Somalia service say that if they don't get the $35 million ransom they are demanding, they will release the tanks and the retain the guns and ammunition," Ahmed said. "If they get the weapons, they will be very dangerous not only for Somalia but for the whole East African region."
Ahmed said the Somalia government had not capacity to stop the pirates and had frequently requested help from other governments and the UN Security Council and obtained promises on help with policing the Somalia coastline waters but no action.
The Kenya Navy was ordered into action by Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, who acts as commander in chief in the absence of President Kibaki, who is currently in New York.
In Nairobi, Musyoka described as "disastrous" and "unimaginable" the extent of damage that could be caused by the seized arsenal should it fall into terrorist hands.
Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy has been sent to deal with the Pirates.
for 24-Hours of Propaganda
"This isn't a crisis so much as it is a bonanza for state-sponsored enterprise."
The US stock market could suffer a devastating crash with shares losing a third of their value this week if Hank Paulson’s financial bailout plan fails, US Treasury officials have warned.
The financial system could face a meltdown of 1929 proportions unless US politicians succeed in their efforts for a $700bn rescue scheme, experts added.
The warning came as Republicans and Democrats met in Washington for a rare weekend debating session to attempt to seal agreement on the contentious plan, aimed at preventing a long-lasting recession in the US.
You will be seeing a lot of these now that the US Mint is ready to print off $900 Billion extra dollars.
Officials are privately painting a far bleaker portrait of the fragility of the global economy than that advanced by President George W Bush in his televised address last week.
One Republican said that the message from government officials is that “the economy is dropping into the john.” He added: “We could see falls of 3,000 or 4,000 points on the Dow [the New York market that currently trades at around 11,000]. That could happen in just a couple of days. What’s being put around behind the scenes is that we’re looking at 1930s stuff. We’re looking at catastrophe, huge, amazing catastrophe. Everybody is extraordinarily scared. It’s going to be really, really nasty.”
Peter Spencer, economic adviser to the Ernst & Young Item Club, said: “This is the time you have to bail people out and ask questions later. It is very difficult to see how the US banking system would survive without that.This has the potential to make 1929 look like a walk in the park.”
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said: “We hope sometime [Sunday] evening we can announce some kind of agreement in principle. We may not have another day.”
Rebel Republicans - who see Paulson’s proposals as socialism by the back door - were warned they will be responsible for causing an “amazing catastrophe” if they continue to oppose the plans, which would see taxpayers buy up the bad debts of failing banks. Instead they want an insurance scheme for banks, which would spread the cost to private enterprise.
WaMu couldn't hold on long enough for their piece of the $900 Billion Dollar Pie.
In what is by far the largest bank failure in U.S. history, federal regulators seized Washington Mutual and struck a deal to sell the bulk of its operations to J.P. Morgan.
The collapse of the Seattle banking giant, which was triggered by a wave of deposit withdrawals, marks a new low point in the country's financial crisis. But the deal, as constructed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., could hold some glimmers of hope for the beleaguered banking system because it averts any hit to the bank-insurance fund.
Instead, J.P. Morgan agreed to pay $1.9 billion to the government for WaMu's banking operations and will assume the loan portfolio, which has $307 billion in assets. The full cost to J.P. Morgan will be much higher, because it plans to write down about $31 billion of the bad loans and raise $8 billion in new capital. All WaMu depositors will have access to their cash, but holders of more than $30 billion in debt and preferred stock will likely see little if any recovery.
The deal will vault J.P. Morgan into first place in nationwide deposits and greatly expand its franchise.
The seizure was another watershed event in a frenetic period for the U.S. banking system, and came while members of Congress wrangled over the Bush administration's proposed $700 billion bailout package. The tally of U.S. financial giants that have either been seized by the government or sold themselves off to stronger firms in recent weeks includes mortgage titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insurer AIG, and Wall Street firms Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch. The US Senate also approved $25 billion dollars in loan guarantees for the financially strapped US auto industry, intended to spark a wave of automotive innovation.
The failure of WaMu eclipsed what had long been America's largest bank bust on record, the 1984 collapse of Continental Illinois, which had $40 billion in assets.
The fact that no bank was willing to buy WaMu until it failed shows how badly confidence has eroded in a banking system awash with record profits just a few years ago. Faced with deepening losses on mortgages, credit cards and other loans, big and small banks across the country are struggling with what many bank executives say is a crisis far deeper than the savings-and-loan debacle.
Before the deal, J.P. Morgan ranked as the fourth-largest bank as measured by branches, ranking below Bank of America, Wachovia and Wells Fargo. Its network of more than 3,100 branches stretches across 17 states with deep penetration in New York, Illinois, Texas, Michigan and Ohio. The deal will expand J.P. Morgan's footprint westward and into the South. Most importantly, it will give J.P. Morgan an instant presence in two states where it is now virtually non-existent: California and Florida.
WaMu letting TPG Capital (which led a $7 billion cash infusion in the bank this spring and has now lost it all) know what they can go do to themselves.
The downfall of WaMu has been widely anticipated for some time because of the company's heavy mortgage-related losses. As investors grew nervous about the bank's health, its stock price plummeted 95 percent from a 52-week high of $36.47 to its close of $1.69 Thursday. On Wednesday, it suffered a ratings downgrade by Standard & Poor's that put it in danger of collapse.
Wachovia has begun preliminary talks with Citigroup about a potential merger, while also contacting Wells Fargo and Spain's Banco Santander. A week and a half ago, Wachovia began deal talks with Morgan Stanley, negotiations set against the backdrop of Lehman Brothers’s collapse. But nothing has resulted from those discussions.
Wachovia's current problems stem largely from its acquisition of mortgage lender Golden West Financial Corp. in 2006 for roughly $25 billion at the height of the nation's housing boom. With that purchase, Wachovia inherited a deteriorating $122 billion portfolio of Pick-A-Payment loans, Golden West's specialty, which let borrowers skip some payments.
All the idiots that lost literally trillions in investors--and now taxpayers--money do want charity. To the tune of about $900 billion.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
America's Axis of Enemies Show a United Front in Face of World Economic Meltdown
for 24-Hours of Propaganda
Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's dictator, faces "re-election" in November.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vowed Thursday to make relations with Latin America a top foreign policy priority, a pledge backed by the first Russian naval deployment to the Caribbean since the Cold War.
Putin greeted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, on his second trip to Russia in just over two months, with offers to discuss further arms sales to Venezuela and possibly helping it to develop nuclear energy.
Chavez's visit takes place as a Russian naval squadron sails to Venezuela, a in a pointed response to what the Kremlin has cast as threatening U.S. encroachment near its own borders.
The Kremlin dispatched its nuclear-powered warship Peter the Great and a submarine destroyer, Admiral Chabanenko, from the Arctic base of Severomorsk to Venezuela, across the Caribbean Sea, for military exercises in what is traditionally America’s backyard.
Russia President Dmitry Medvedev said that the joint naval exercises between Russia and Venezuela would demonstrate “the strategic nature of our relations”.
The Russian naval deployment follows a week long visit to Venezuela by a pair of Russian strategic bombers. On his Sunday TV and radio program, Chavez joked that he would be making his international tour aboard the "super-bombers that Medvedev loaned me.", and described their visit as a warning to the US.
Both men suggested their countries are working to decrease U.S. global influence.
Chavez said South America was growing in importance for Moscow.
"Latin America is becoming a noticeable link in the chain of the multi-polar world that is forming," Putin said at his suburban residence at the start of his talks with Chavez. "We will pay more and more attention to this vector of our economic and foreign policy."
Putin did not mention any specifics of potential Russian-Venezuelan military cooperation in his opening remarks, but Russian news reports said that Venezuela could buy Russian air defense missiles and more Sukhoi fighter jets.
A Kremlin official who spoke on customary condition of anonymity said that Russia would grant Venezuela a $1 billion credit for the purchase of Russian weaponry in an effort to help Venezuela revamp its military forces.
Chavez has already struck deals worth $4.4 billion since 2005 to buy jet fighters, tanks and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. The two countries also edged closer in energy relations after Russia’s Gazprom and Venezuela’s state-run oil company struck a deal to create an “oil and gas consortium”.
Russia's Kommersant daily reported that Venezuela was planning to purchase anti-aircraft systems, armoured personnel carriers and more combat aircraft.
Venezuela is the ninth largest oil producer in the world and a major supplier to the US, while Russia is the second largest oil exporter and has a quarter of global gas reserves. Chavez said that the joint venture would be “the biggest oil consortium on the planet”.
Russia also openly declared its ambition to rival the US in Latin America as Putin promised to sell nuclear technology to Venezuela.
“We are ready to consider opportunities for cooperating on the use of atomic energy,” Putin told Chavez during talks in Moscow. Russia is aggressively promoting itself as a builder of nuclear power plants and supplier of fuel to nations seeking nuclear energy.
Venezuela’s fiercely anti-American leader has long coveted his own nuclear energy programme, but insists that he has no desire to build an atomic bomb.
The announcement of atomic assistance is certain to alarm Washington. Moscow has already angered the West by delivering enriched uranium to Iran for its Russian-built power station, amid fears that Tehran is secretly building a nuclear bomb.
The countries have boosted ties in recent weeks following sharp US criticism of Russia's incursion into Georgia, with Moscow dispatching long-range bombers and warships to Venezuela for exercises near US waters. During that war, Washington angered Moscow by holding naval exercises near its Black Sea coast. And when the war ended, the United States used warships to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia-- a conflict where Chavez was one of the few world leaders to support Moscow.
Putin made the nuclear offer after Russia this week delayed talks with the United States and other powers on fears Iran is developing nuclear weapons, concerns critics say have been exacerbated by civilian nuclear technology provided by Moscow.
Chavez, who addressed Putin as "my dear friend Vladimir," said that stronger ties with Russia would help build a multi-polar world—a term Russia and Venezuela use to describe their shared opposition to the perceived U.S. global domination.
He lavished praise on Putin during his second visit to Russia in as many months. "I think that today more than ever before what you have said about a multi-polar world is becoming reality," Chavez told Putin. He said he brought greetings from Cuban leader Fidel Castro, another staunch U.S. enemy.
Both men like Calamari, ironically.
Both leaders have used criticism of the U.S. to boost their popularity at home and advance foreign policy objectives.
Russia is the latest leg in a tour taking Chavez to a number of nations whose governments are eager to counter U.S. global clout. He stopped briefly in Cuba on his way to China, where he touted agreements to increase oil exports and purchase military jets.
In an interview broadcast on Russian television before the visit, Chavez said that Venezuela and Latin America as a whole need "friends like Russia" to help them shed U.S. "domination" and ensure peace.
Russia has ramped up its cooperation with Caracas further since last month's war with Georgia, which has badly damaged Moscow's already strained ties with the West and particularly the United States.
Chavez has also talked about creating "a new strategic energy alliance" with between the oil-rich nations.
After visiting Venezuela this month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said five major Russian oil companies are looking to form a consortium to increase Latin American operations and to build a $6.5 billion refinery to process Venezuelan crude.
Putin said that Russia's Gazprom state natural gas giant will launch its first drilling rig next month to tap Venezuela's offshore gas reserves.
"Fuck you America--I hate you!"
Chavez made a his next punch at his arch foe the United States on Friday, saying Washington was unable to handle the financial crisis and wanted to use a worthless dollar to own the world.
Chavez had just met French President Nicolas Sarkozy on a visit that had most recently taken him to Russia. "The Americans harass us and attack us... (they) want to buy the world with paper that does not have any value," Chavez told reporters in the courtyard of the presidential palace. Washington expected to remedy the current crisis "by running the money printer, and I strongly doubt we'll be able to resolve the crisis that way," he said.
An official from Sarkozy's office who spoke on condition of anonymity said the French president had urged Chavez to think ahead to the next U.S. administration and not give his adversaries a pretext to "caricaturize" him. The official added that France was eager to help Venezuela diversify its economy and was ready to transfer technology in the transport and energy sectors, as well as in defense to help fight illegal trafficking in the Caribbean.
Chavez said the activities of French oil companies Total and Perenco came up in his talks with Sarkozy, as well as projects involving the auto industry and underground trains in Caracas.
Further talks would be held at a meeting on October 2-3, he added.
U.S. oil companies Exxon and ConocoPhillips quit Venezuela after Chavez launched nationalisation programmes last year, while Total and Norway's StatoilHydro reduced their holdings and received around $1 billion in compensation.
"I am going to rule the world."
Russia is to build new space and missile defence shields and put its armed forces on permanent combat alert, President Medvedev announced last week.
In a sharp escalation of military rhetoric, Medvedev ordered a wholesale renovation of Russia’s nuclear deterrence and told military chiefs to draw up plans to reorganise the armed forces by December.
He said that Russia must modernise its nuclear defenses within eight years, including the creation of a “system of air and space defense”.
When the Soviet Union fell, Putin's first dream was to become a Calvin Klein model
The announcement puts Russia in a new arms race with the United States, which has infuriated the Kremlin by seeking to establish an anti-missile shield in eastern Europe. The US argues that the shield is aimed at rogue states such as Iran, but Russia is convinced that its own security is threatened.
Putin, getting ready to invade your house.
Medvedev told military commanders that “all combat formations must be upgraded to the permanent readiness category” by 2020. He added that Russia would begin “mass production of warships, primarily nuclear cruisers carrying cruise missiles and multi-purpose submarines”.
“A guaranteed nuclear deterrent system for various military and political circumstances must be provided by 2020,” he said after attending military exercises in the southern Urals region of Orenburg.
Tensions with the West have soared to new levels since Russia’s war with Georgia last month. Mr Medvedev told army chiefs that the conflict showed that “a war can flare up suddenly and can be absolutely real”.
Putin has personally killed more people than you have ever had sex with.
The military build-up was announced as Russia wages a struggle to prevent Georgia and Ukraine from entering NATO. The military alliance is due to consider fresh applications from the two former Soviet satellites in December.
Iranians chanted "Death to Israel" on Friday as Islamist students unveiled a book mocking the Holocaust in an Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day annual parade to show solidarity with the Palestinians.
"I look forward to a world without the U.S.A and Israel."
And in Gaza City, the Islamist Hamas movement that has ruled the impoverished Palestinian territory since June 2007 marked the day by calling for more suicide attacks on Israel.
The book "Holocaust," published by members of Iran's Islamist Basij militia, features dozens of cartoons and sarcastic commentary.
Education Minister Alireza Ali-Ahmadi attended the official launch of the book in Tehran's Palestine Square.
The cover shows a Jew with a crooked nose and dressed in traditional garb drawing outlines of dead bodies on the ground.
Inside, bearded Jews are shown leaving and re-entering a gas chamber with a counter that reads the number 5,999,999.You have a better than 50% shot at guessing which one is Admadinejad.
Another illustration depicts Jewish prisoners entering a furnace in a Nazi extermination camp and leaving from the other side as gun-wielding "terrorists."
Yet another shows a patient draped in an Israeli flag and on life support breathing Zyklon-B, the poisonous gas used in the extermination chambers.
Iran does not recognise the Jewish state, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has attracted international condemnation by repeatedly predicting Israel is doomed to disappear and branding the Holocaust a "myth."
Ahmadinejad, treating an Israeli Olypian to a nice walk.
The commentary inside the book includes anti-Semitic stereotypes and revisionist arguments, casting doubt that the massacre of Jews took place and mocking Holocaust survivors who claimed reparations after World War II.
One comment, in a question-and-answer format, reads: "How did the Germans emit gas into chambers while there were no holes on the ceiling?" Answer: "Shut up, you criminal anti-Semite. How dare you ask this question?"
In 2006, the Islamic republic hosted a conference of Holocaust deniers and revisionists and a mass-circulation Iranian newspaper held a cartoon competition on the subject.
On Friday, tens of thousands of Iranians marched in Tehran, chanting "Death to Israel," declaring solidarity with the Palestinians and calling for Jerusalem and Israel to be handed to the Palestinians.
Demonstrators carried placards bearing slogans including "Israel will be destroyed, Palestine is Victorious" and "Holy war until victory," and they also torched American and Israeli flags.
In Gaza, a Hamas parliamentarian called for more suicide attacks against Israel as thousands of Palestinians marched to mark Al-Quds Day.
"We call on all the factions to undertake efforts to contain the enemy and halt its aggression by planning martyrdom operations," Ahmed Abu Helbiya told a crowd of more than 2,000 protesters.
Friday's Iran protest follows a fresh verbal attack on Israel by Ahmadinejad.
In an address to the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, he said "the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters."
Quds Day was started by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic, who called on the world's Muslims to show solidarity with Palestinians on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan.
The demonstration was held under an official slogan: "The Islamic world will not recognise the fake Zionist regime under any circumstances and believes that this cancerous tumour will one day be wiped off the face of the earth."
"You know, you hug harder than Castro."
Meanwhile, Russia and the United States have reached a deal to seek a new U.N. resolution on Iran.
Ambassador John Sawers spoke before heading into a high-level meeting at U.N. headquarters of nations concerned with events in Pakistan.
After the meeting, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the resolution will be introduced in the Security Council on Friday.
Western diplomats said the resolution would reaffirm three rounds of earlier U.N. sanctions to make clear that the process has not been dropped and that the council wants Iran to comply.
The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because details have not been made public.
The United States, Britain and France have been pressing for a new round of sanctions to step up pressure against Iran for its continuing refusal to suspend uranium enrichment as a prelude to talks on its nuclear program. But Russia and China objected to new sanctions.
The proposed new resolution appears to be a compromise—no new sanctions but a tough statement to Iran that Security Council resolutions are legally binding and must be carried out.
Russia on Tuesday had scuttled high-level talks on imposing new sanctions on Iran that had been set for Thursday between the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, the key players in seeking an agreement with Iran. Even sanctions opponent China had agreed to the meeting.
U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, sought to downplay the move, saying the time wasn't right for the session. But they had previously said such a gathering would be useful and necessary to get a fourth Security Council sanctions resolution on Iran.
Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful and designed to produce nuclear energy, but the U.S. and Europeans suspect Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that Tehran needs the ability to produce nuclear fuel because it cannot rely on other nations to supply enriched uranium to the Islamic regime's planned reactors.
Also, it recently became clear that Israel gave serious thought this spring to launching a military strike on Iran's nuclear sites but was told by President George W Bush that he would not support it and did not expect to revise that view for the rest of his presidency, senior European diplomatic sources have told the Guardian.
The then prime minister, Ehud Olmert, used the occasion of Bush's trip to Israel for the 60th anniversary of the state's founding to raise the issue in a one-on-one meeting on May 14, the sources said. "He took it [the refusal of a US green light] as where they were at the moment, and that the US position was unlikely to change as long as Bush was in office", they added.
The sources work for a European head of government who met the Israeli leader some time after the Bush visit. Their talks were so sensitive that no note-takers attended, but the European leader subsequently divulged to his officials the highly sensitive contents of what Olmert had told him of Bush's position.
Bush's decision to refuse to offer any support for a strike on Iran appeared to be based on two factors, the sources said. One was US concern over Iran's likely retaliation, which would probably include a wave of attacks on US military and other personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as on shipping in the Persian Gulf.
The other was US anxiety that Israel would not succeed in disabling Iran's nuclear facilities in a single assault even with the use of dozens of aircraft. It could not mount a series of attacks over several days without risking full-scale war. So the benefits would not outweigh the costs.
Iran has repeatedly said it would react with force to any attack. Some western government analysts believe this could include asking Lebanon's Shia movement Hizbollah to strike at the US.
"It's over ten years since Hizbollah's last terror strike outside Israel, when it hit an Argentine-Israel association building in Buenos Aires [killing 85 people]", said one official. "There is a large Lebanese diaspora in Canada which must include some Hizbollah supporters. They could slip into the United States and take action".
Even if Israel were to launch an attack on Iran without US approval its planes could not reach their targets without the US becoming aware of their flightpath and having time to ask them to abandon their mission.
"The shortest route to Natanz lies across Iraq and the US has total control of Iraqi airspace", the official said. Natanz, about 100 miles north of Isfahan, is the site of an uranium enrichment plant.
In this context Iran would be bound to assume Bush had approved it, even if the White House denied fore-knowledge, raising the prospect of an attack against the US. Several high-level Israeli officials have hinted over the last two years that Israel might strike Iran's nuclear facilities to prevent them being developed to provide sufficient weapons-grade uranium to make a nuclear bomb. Iran has always denied having such plans.
Olmert himself raised the possibility of an attack at a press conference during a visit to London last November, when he said sanctions were not enough to block Iran's nuclear programme.
"Economic sanctions are effective. They have an important impact already, but they are not sufficient. So there should be more. Up to where? Up until Iran will stop its nuclear program," he said.
The revelation that Olmert was not merely sabre-rattling to try to frighten Iran but considered the option seriously enough to discuss it with Bush shows how concerned Israeli officials had become.
Bush's refusal to support an attack, and the strong suggestion he would not change his mind, is likely to end speculation that Washington might be preparing an "October surprise" before the US presidential election. Some analysts have argued that Bush would back an Israeli attack in an effort to help John McCain's campaign by creating an eve-of-poll security crisis.
Others have said that in the case of an Obama victory, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, the main White House hawk, would want to cripple Iran's nuclear program in the dying weeks of Bush's term.
During Saddam Hussein's rule in 1981, Israeli aircraft successfully destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak shortly before it was due to start operating.
Last September they knocked out a buildings complex in northern Syria, which US officials later said had been a partly constructed nuclear reactor based on a North Korean design. Syria said the building was a military complex but had no links to a nuclear programme.
In contrast, Iran's nuclear facilities, which are officially described as intended only for civilian purposes, are dispersed around the country and some are in fortified bunkers underground.
In public, Bush gave no hint of his view that the military option had to be excluded. In a speech to the Knesset the following day he confined himself to telling Israel's parliament: "America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.''
Mark Regev, Olmert's spokesman, tonight reacted to the Guardian's story saying: "The need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is raised at every meeting between the prime minister and foreign leaders. Israel prefers a diplomatic solution to this issue but all options must remain on the table. Your unnamed European source attributed words to the prime minister that were not spoken in any working meeting with foreign guests".
Three weeks after Bush's red light, on June 2, Israel mounted a massive air exercise covering several hundred miles in the eastern Mediterranean. It involved dozens of warplanes, including F-15s, F-16s and aerial refueling tankers.
The size and scope of the exercise ensured that the US and other nations in the region saw it, said a US official, who estimated the distance was about the same as from Israel to Natanz.
A few days later, Israel's deputy prime minister, Shaul Mofaz, told the paper Yediot Ahronot: "If Iran continues its programme to develop nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The window of opportunity has closed. The sanctions are not effective. There will be no alternative but to attack Iran in order to stop the Iranian nuclear programme."
The exercise and Mofaz's comments may have been designed to boost the Israeli government and military's own morale as well, perhaps, to persuade Bush to reconsider his veto. Last week Mofaz narrowly lost a primary within the ruling Kadima party to become Israel's next prime minister. Tzipi Livni, who won the contest, takes a less hawkish position.
The US announced two weeks ago that it would sell Israel 1,000 bunker-busting bombs. The move was interpreted by some analysts as a consolation prize for Israel after Bush told Olmert of his opposition to an attack on Iran. But it could also enhance Israel's attack options in case the next US president revives the military option.
The guided bomb unit-39 (GBU-39) has a penetration capacity equivalent to a one-tonne bomb. Israel already has some bunker-busters.
God of War, Bruce Lemkin, has been frustrated by his inability to land Hugo Chavez as a customer.
The US will lose its role as a global financial “superpower” in the wake of the financial crisis, Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, said on Thursday, blaming Washington for failing to take the regulatory steps that might have averted the crisis.
“The US will lose its status as the superpower of the world financial system. This world will become multipolar” with the emergence of stronger, better capitalised centres in Asia and Europe, Steinbrück told the German parliament. “The world will never be the same again.”
Bruce Lemkin, God of War, displaying the "sales face" that has sealed over $32.4 Billion in Arms Deals this year alone.
His were the most outspoken comments by a senior European government figure since Wall Street fell into chaos two weeks ago.
He later told journalists: “When we look back 10 years from now, we will see 2008 as a fundamental rupture. I am not saying the dollar will lose its reserve currency status, but it will become relative.”
The minister, who has spearheaded German efforts to rein in financial markets in the past two years, attacked the US government for opposing stricter regulations even after the subprime crisis had broken out last summer.
The US notion that markets should remain as free as possible from regulatory shackles “was as simplistic as it was dangerous”, he said.
But Steinbrück had warm words for the US’s crisis management in the past fortnight, including the government’s planned $700bn rescue package for the financial sector. Washington, he said, had earned credit for acting not just in the US interest but also in the interest of other nations.
Yet he repeated Germany’s refusal to mount a similar rescue operation using taxpayers’ money to acquire toxic assets. “This crisis originated in the US and is mainly hitting the US,” he said. In Europe and Germany, such a package would be “neither sensible nor necessary”.
The US, Steinbrück said, had failed in its oversight of investment banks, adding that the crisis was an indictment of the US two-tier banking system and its “weak, divided financial oversight”.
He blamed Washington for refusing to consider proposals Berlin had made as it chaired the Group of Eight industrial nations last year. These proposals, he said, “elicited mockery at best or were seen as a typical example of Germans’ penchant for over-regulation”.
His comments followed calls this week by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president and current holder of the European Union presidency, for an emergency G8 meeting on the crisis.
Steinbrück’s proposals include a ban on “purely speculative short selling”; a crackdown on variable pay for bank managers, which had encouraged reckless risk-taking; a ban on banks securitising more than 80 per cent of the debt they hold; international standards making bank managers personally responsible for the consequences of their trades; and increased co-operation between European supervisors.
Following a meeting with Christine Lagarde, his French counterpart, in Berlin, he said France and Germany would set up a working group of treasury, central bank and supervisory authority officials that would consider tougher regulation of short selling.
"Now look guys, it might get ugly out there, but we are gonna have to sell every single one of these planes today." Bruce Lemkin, God of War, tells his sales people before an expected big sales day.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
for 24-Hours of Propaganda
"I think transitions are never that noticeable, but they are always on their way. It has to do with distance and accessibility. People call it mellowing, but I think it's how available you are toward other people, or how much you distance yourself."
Paul Newman, known for his piercing blue eyes, boyish good looks and stellar performances in scores of hit Hollywood movies, has died, his foundation said Saturday. He was 83.
"It seems to me that the older I get, the more running around I do with less satisfaction, just spinning my wheels..."
Newman, who had been battling cancer, passed away on Friday, Newman's Own Foundation said in a statement from Westport, Connecticut.
"Paul Newman's craft was acting. His passion was racing. His love was his family and friends. And his heart and soul were dedicated to helping make the world a better place for all," Foundation Vice-Chairman Robert Forrester said.
"I begin to understand the romance of business.. the allure of being the biggest fish in the pond and the juice you get from beating out your competitors..."
Newman played youthful rebels, charming rogues, golden-hearted drunks and amoral opportunists in a career that encompassed more than 50 movies. He was one of the most popular and consistently bankable Hollywood stars in the second half of the 20th century.
"I am confounded at the stinginess of some institutions and some people. I'm bewildered by it. You can only put away so much stuff in your closet."
If Marlon Brando and James Dean defined the defiant American male as a sullen rebel, Paul Newman recreated him as a likable renegade, a strikingly handsome figure of animal high spirits and blue-eyed candor whose magnetism was almost impossible to resist.
"I have taken roads that I wished I had not traveled on. And I'm traveling on some pretty exciting ones, too."
Two of his most popular movies included "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969) and "The Sting" (1973), in which he co-starred with an equally popular and handsome actor, Robert Redford.
"Whenever I'm in the dumps, I come up here and it reaffirms everything that I think is really good and generous about this country."
Newman was also a philanthropist, a health food mogul -- he once quipped that his salad dressing was making more money than his movies -- a race car enthusiast and a leftist political activist.
"Why not, really, go to the fullest length, and the silliest length, in exploiting yourself and turn the proceeds back to the community?"
Many however will remember him for his good looks: in 1990 People Magazine chose him as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World, and in 1995 Britain's Empire Magazine picked him as one of the 100 sexiest stars in film history.
"I respect generosity in people, and I respect it in companies too, I don’t look at it as philanthropy; I see it as an investment in the community."
He earned nine Oscar nominations for acting and won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1987, late in his career, for his role as a pool shark named 'Fast Eddie' in "The Color of Money," co-starring with Tom Cruise. Many critics at the time said he was really being awarded the Oscar belatedly for his original performance of the same smarmy character in the 1961 movie "The Hustler."
"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”
“When a role is right for him, he’s peerless,” film critic Pauline Kael wrote in 1977. “Newman is most comfortable in a role when it isn’t scaled heroically; even when he plays a bastard, he’s not a big bastard — only a callow, selfish one, like Hud. He can play what he’s not — a dumb lout. But you don’t believe it when he plays someone perverse or vicious, and the older he gets and the better you know him, the less you believe it. His likableness is infectious; nobody should ever be asked not to like Paul Newman.”
"If you don't have enemies, you don't have character.”
Born Paul Leonard Newman on January 26, 1925 in Shaker Heights, Ohio into a well-off middle class family -- his father ran a successful sporting goods chain -- Newman acted in school plays as a youth.
"If you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you.”
He joined the navy in World War II wanting to be a pilot, but tests showed that he was colorblind. Instead he served as a rear-seat radioman and tail gunner aboard Avenger torpedo bombers in the Pacific theater.
"You only grow when you are alone.”
After the war, he went to Kenyon College in Ohio on a football scholarship but took up acting after being cut from the team because of a barroom brawl. He enrolled in the Yale drama school, and moved to New York where he acted in plays. That job eventually landed him television roles, and then in the movies.
Newman's film career almost ended with his first movie -- he considered his performance in the sword-and-sandal 1954 drama "The Chalice" so mediocre he paid for a page-size ad in a Hollywood trade publication to apologize.
Newman redeemed himself in his next movie, "Somebody Up There Likes Me" (1956), a portrayal of boxer Rocky Graziano, and by 1958 was nominated for an Oscar as an alcoholic ex-football player in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," starring alongside Elizabeth Taylor.
Hit movies rolled on from there, including "Exodus" (1960), "The Hustler" (1961), "Hud" (1963), "Cool Hand Luke" (1967), "The Towering Inferno" (1974) and "Slap Shot" (1977).
A committed liberal , Newman openly campaigned for several Democratic Party candidates -- which got him onto Republican president Richard Nixon's famous list of enemies in the 1970s. Newman was a Eugene McCarthy delegate to the 1968 Democratic convention and appointed by President Jimmy Carter to a United Nations General Assembly session on disarmament.
"Being on president Nixon's enemies list was the highest single honor I've ever received," Newman said in a 2006 interview. "Who knows who's listening to me now and what government list I'm on?"
In the 1980s Newman participated in televised debates with conservative Charlton Heston on nuclear issues, and contributed money and an occasional article to The Nation, a prominent leftist magazine.
Later Newman film roles include "Fort Apache, the Bronx" (1981), "The Verdict" (1982), "Nobody's Fool" (1994), "The Road to Perdition" (2002), and as the voice of a vintage Hudson in the animated "Cars" (2006).
"People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked.”
Newman had six children, three from an early marriage that ended in divorce and three with actress Joanne Woodward, whom he married in 1958. He had five daughters and one son, Scott, who died of a drug overdose in 1978.
What was the secret to his long marriage? That question was repeated so often that in one interview he simply responded: "I don't know what she puts in my food."
To supermarket shoppers, Newman may be better known as the smiling face on the successful "Newman's Own" brand of salad dressings and organic food.
"It's all been a bad joke that just ran out of control," Newman said in a 2003 interview. "I got into food for fun but the business got a mind of its own." The "Newman's Own Foundation," takes profits from that company and sponsored numerous charitable organizations.
Newman also founded his "Hole in the Wall" Camps, which provided fun summer breaks for children around the world suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
Newman became interested in auto racing while filming the movie "Winning" in 1968, and quickly became a race car enthusiast. Over the years he won four Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) championships, won the GTS class in the 1995 24 hour race at Daytona, and sponsored race teams.
"Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser.”
In January 2005 Newman, then 79, escaped from his burning race car after it spun on track at the Daytona Beach circuit. He was not injured in the accident.
"You can't be as old as I am without waking up with a surprised look on your face every morning: 'Holy Christ, whaddya know - I'm still around!' It's absolutely amazing that I survived all the booze and smoking and the cars and the career.”
Newman retired from movie acting in 2007, at the age of 82. Mr. Newman’s last screen credit was as the narrator of Bill Haney’s documentary “The Price of Sugar,” released this year. By then he had all but announced that he was through with acting. "You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that's pretty much a closed book for me," Newman said in an interview.
“We are such spendthrifts with our lives,” Mr. Newman once told a reporter. “The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.”
"To be an actor you have to be a child”
Friday, September 26, 2008
for 24-Hours of Propaganda
Political Pundits Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.
The first presidential debate was held as scheduled at the University of Mississippi Friday and it was a very close contest. The debate was to focus on foreign policy, but due to the national news this week, the first thirty-five minutes dealt with the economy and specifically the Wall Street bailout currently being crafted in Washington. Sen. McCain managed to score some good points on Obama's earmark requests and out of control government spending. McCain jabbed at Obama, who he said has requested millions of dollars in pork barrel spending, including some after he began running for president. As he does frequently, the Republican vowed to veto any lawmaker's pork barrel project that reaches his desk in the White House.
John McCain portrayed himself as a battle-tested elder running against a naive rookie.
From there, however, the debate turned to the promised subject of foreign policy, and the tide of the evening clearly turned to McCain. McCain repeatedly sounded his theme that Obama "doesn't understand," the implications of his positions while Obama tried to counter that McCain was a clone of President George W. Bush.
But Obama's barbs did not stick to McCain, who has a long history of opposing his party on any number of issues. One particularly effective way McCain demonstrated this was when he rattled off a list of U.S. military actions and explained why he either supported them or opposed them. Another tactic McCain used effectively was to point out that he has traveled to many of the world's hot spots, like Georgia, Pakistan's frontier, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and has seen first hand the security challenges each poses to the United States. McCain demonstrated a depth of knowledge of world affairs that Obama, however well studied and prepped he may be, cannot possibly match.
McCain also succeeded in getting under Obama's skin with his criticism of Obama's understanding of world affairs. That led to Obama interrupting, protesting, and attempting to correct the record while McCain was speaking.
"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," Obama said.
“You don’t say that aloud. If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government,” McCain countered.
Stylistic mistakes like this often overshadow substance, as Vice-President Al Gore learned in 2000 when he beat George W. Bush in the first presidential debate, yet was viewed as the loser because of his persistent sighing throughout the debate. Obama's interruptions are a tell for when he feels that he has been hurt by something McCain has said.
McCain, on the other hand, was cool and calm throughout, except for one time when, appearing exasperated, he cut into an Obama answer on meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad. But that was an effective moment for McCain, as he made the point that Obama's desire to talk to the Iranians is naive and showed some emotion in doing so.
"This is dangerous. It isn't just naive; it's dangerous," McCain said.
McCain gets points for his vastly greater knowledge and experience in dealing with foreign policy issues and for taking Obama off his game and making him play defense. Stylistically, McCain wins again for frustrating Obama into losing his poise a little.
The Real Obama's.
Tony Blankley explained in the Washington Times Wednesday, "The mainstream media have gone over the line and are now straight out propagandists for the Obama campaign. While they have been liberal and blinkered in their worldview for decades, in 2007-08 for the first time, the major media are consciously covering for one candidate for president and consciously knifing the other. This is no longer journalism — it is simply propaganda. The image of Sen. Obama that the press has presented is not a fair approximation of the real man. They have consciously ignored whole years in his life, and showed a lack of curiosity about such gaps that bespeaks a lack of journalistic instinct. Thus, the public image of Mr. Obama is of a "Man who never was."
"The mainstream media ruthlessly and endlessly repeats any McCain gaffes, while ignoring Obama gaffes. You have to go to weird little Internet sites to see all the stammering and stuttering that Mr. Obama needs before getting out a sentence fragment or two. But all you see on the networks is an eventual one or two clear sentences from Mr. Obama. Nor do you see Mr. Obama's ludicrous gaffe that Iran is a tiny country and no threat to us. Nor his 57 American states gaffe. Nor his forgetting, if he ever knew, that Russia has a veto in the United Nations. Nor his whining and puerile "come on" when he is being challenged. This is the kind of editing one would expect from Goebbels' disciples, not Cronkite's.
"More appalling, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" suggested that Gov. Sarah Palin's husband had sex with his own daughters. That scene was written with the assistance of Al Franken, Democratic Party candidate for Senate in Minnesota. Talk about incest.
"But worse than all the unfair and distorted reporting and image projecting, is the shocking gaps in Mr. Obama's life that are not reported at all. The major media simply has not reported on Mr. Obama's two years at Columbia University in New York, where, among other things, he lived a mere quarter mile from former terrorist Bill Ayers— after which they both ended up as neighbors and associates in Chicago. Mr. Obama denies more than a passing relationship with Mr. Ayers. Should the media be curious? In only two weeks the media has focused on all the colleges Mrs. Palin has attended, her husband's driving habits 20 years ago and the close criticism of Mrs. Palin's mayoral political opponents. But in two years they haven't bothered to see how close Mr. Obama was with the terrorist Ayers.
"Nor have the media paid any serious attention to Mr. Obama's rise in Chicago politics — how did honest Obama rise in the famously sordid Chicago political machine with the full support of Boss Daley? Despite the great — and unflattering details on Mr. Obama's Chicago years presented in David Freddoso's new book, the mainstream media continues to ignore both the facts and the book. It took a British publication, the Economist, to give Mr. Freddoso's book a review with fair comment.
"The public image of Mr. Obama as an idealistic, post-race, post-partisan, well-spoken and honest young man with the wisdom and courage befitting a great national leader is a confection spun by a willing conspiracy of Mr. Obama, his publicist David Axelrod and most of the senior editors, producers and reporters of the national media."
The Earmark King, Barack Obama, and one of his "pet projects" in Illinois that simply lined the pockets of campaign donors and volunteers--past and present.
A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood, IL, that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions about whether the money might have been misspent. The garden was never built. And now state records show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood. Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.
Clinton, doing what he does best.
On Wednesday, the former president fired . “Well, if you look at the speech I gave in Denver and the speech Hillary gave, I think it would be hard to question the depth of our feeling and the fact that we gave good reasons for why we were supporting Senator Obama and Senator Biden,” he told King, then explained the thinking by some Democratic critics who’ve questioned his level of support for Obama, and have called on him to attack John McCain. "I personally think that is not a good strategy to win this election,” he said. “That is, everybody wants Hillary or me or, for that matter, Senator Obama or Senator Biden just to say bad things about Senator McCain or Governor Palin. I just don't believe that getting up here and hyperventilating about Gov. Palin, or Sen. McCain for that matter, is a productive use of a former president's time and is not a vote-getter."
Clinton explained to King his October Campaign schedule, which is expected to include Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada, “at a minimum" in October, “after the Jewish holidays are over...I think it would be — if we're trying to win in Florida, it may be that — you know, they think that because of who I am and where my political base has traditionally been, they may want me to go sort of hustle up what Lawton Chiles used to call the 'cracker vote' there. But Senator Obama also has a big stake in doing well in the Jewish community in Florida, where Hillary did very well and where I did very well. And I just think respecting the holidays is a good thing to do."
New Hampshire is probably the state most likely to flip from Democratic to Republican, given McCain's special bond with the state's independent voters who twice helped him win GOP primaries. Indicating Obama's concern, he's running TV ads in the pricey Boston media market; McCain is not. Of McCain's top two targets, Pennsylvania has tightened somewhat in the past month to slide from leaning-Obama into the tossup category. Wisconsin remains tantalizing close as it does about this time every four years before voting Democratic.
With the exception of Virginia, the tossups look remarkably similar to those of the most recent elections, despite Obama's efforts to try to pick off traditional Republican bastions. McCain, meanwhile, has an edge in Bush-held bellwether Missouri, though it continues to be hard-fought by both candidates.
Elsewhere, Obama recently abandoned efforts in the home state of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, as well as in Georgia. North Dakota workers for Obama also are being dispatched elsewhere, and ads for that state are slated to stop airing next week. Montana, too, has largely fallen off the playing field. Surveys show McCain with comfortable leads in all four.
McCain after his most recent bout with melanoma over 7 years ago.
Two liberal groups – one of them directed by a brother of the Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean – began running a graphic attack advertisement Thursday morning raising questions about Senator John McCain’s health. Showing vivid and unflattering images of the fresh scar that appeared on Senator McCain’s face immediately after his last operation for melanoma skin cancer eight years ago, the commercial ends with a screen headline that reads, “Why won’t John McCain release his medical records?” The commercial is among the harshest to run against Mr. McCain yet, seeking to exploit the sensitive issues of health and age. Officials with the groups running the ad, Brave New PAC and Democracy for America, said they were only showing the spot initially on MSNBC over the next few days, a limited run intended to draw news media attention on a network that has increasingly catered to liberal tastes.
If military experience was the only thing that McCain had that Obama didn't, it would be enough when we are embroilled in at least 3 armed conflicts all around the globe.