Friday, May 18, 2007

Taking the second tier seriously - Politics -

Taking the second tier seriously - Politics -

Taking the second tier seriously
Are the maverick GOP hopefuls having an effect on the presidential race?
By Tom Curry
National affairs writer
Updated: 5:55 p.m. ET May 18, 2007

WASHINGTON - Is Republican presidential contender Ron Paul destined to be remembered for saying that terrorists attacked the United States on Sept 11, 2001 “because we've been over there; we've been bombing Iraq for 10 years”?

It was a critical moment in Tuesday night’s GOP presidential candidates’ debate in South Carolina.

Paul gave former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani the opportunity to rebuke him and dominate the news coverage of the event.

But Paul’s passionate supporters don’t think Giuliani was the winner — and their man the loser — in that skirmish.

In fact, Paul said Thursday that in the hours immediately after Tuesday night’s debate, supportive phone calls to his campaign and donations via his web site soared.

“I was amazed. People donate money in the middle of the night, so all that night there was money coming into our website,” Paul said in an interview with

Every four years, under-funded and relatively little-known presidential hopefuls such as Paul enter the race for their party’s nomination. You may recall some other long-shot contenders of past elections:
# Former Delaware governor Pierre “Pete” du Pont IV in 1988, who advocated allowing younger workers to set up voluntary retirement accounts as an alternative to Social Security.
# South Carolina Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings in 1984, whose broad Southern accent led Sen. Ted Kennedy to call him “the first non-English speaking candidate for president.”
# Virtuoso orator Allan Keyes in 2000 who thrilled conservative audiences by demanding abolition of the income tax and repeal of the 16th Amendment.

'Pierre... a nutty idea'
Sometimes these candidates serve as unwitting foils for their party’s frontrunners.

During a 1987 debate among the six GOP contenders, Vice President George Bush snidely pointed out du Pont’s aristocratic heritage by criticizing du Pont’s proposal for private retirement accounts as an alternative to Social Security.

"Pierre, let me help you on some of this,” Bush snapped. “I think it's a nutty idea to fool around with the Social Security system and run the risk of the people who've been saving all their lives.”

The poll numbers of contenders such as du Pont or Paul in the early stage of the nomination contest suggest they have no chance to win.

But then again, they just might. The best case of a seemingly out-of-the-running candidate who surprised everyone and became the front-runner was Howard Dean four years ago.

In early 2003 the former Vermont governor keenly sensed the frustration Democrats felt about the Iraq war and he was exactly the right candidate for that moment.

Apart from their function as the idiosyncratic “character actors” of presidential debates, do these second-tier candidates have an impact on their party’s nominees and their policies?

Varied messages and motives
If they have little chance of sitting in the Oval Office, why do they run? In the case of this year’s crop of GOP long-shot contenders, the motives and messages vary:
# Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado: Long the leading voice in his party for keeping out illegal immigrants, Tancredo has spread his immigration message through his political action committee, trying to defeat fellow Republican Rep. Chris Cannon, in 2004, for example. A presidential bid is a natural extension of Tancredo’s advocacy and his presence in debates will ensure that the pressure is on Giuliani and McCain on the immigration issue.
# Rep. Duncan Hunter of California: Like Tancredo, Hunter speaks for the frustrated immigration hawks in his party. He’s also using his presidential bid to sound the alarm about the Chinese regime which, he said in his debut television ad, is “cheating on trade and they’re buying ships, planes and missiles with our money, as well as taking millions of jobs.”
# Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: Having finished 11 years as governor, Huckabee was free to show off his relaxed talents as a presidential candidate, which he’d already been doing as a public health crusader. “Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork,” he pleaded in his book and in speeches warning of soaring incidence of diabetes and obesity.
# Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas: His candidacy ensures that social conservatives will have their voice heard on protection of fetal life in the womb and preservation of heterosexual marriage.
# Tommy Thompson: He served 15 years of governor of Wisconsin, implemented successful welfare reform in his state, and contemplated seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 2000. But he yielded to a less experienced governor from Texas. On the campaign trial Thompson touts the significance of Wisconsin and its ten electoral votes and guarantees that he’d carry it for Republicans.

An unsuccessful bid can put a contender in the running for a future job, either as vice president, or as in the case of 1988 Democratic long-shot Bruce Babbitt who ended up as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Interior.

Sometimes, as in the case of Paul, these second-tier candidates represent a category-busting type of thinking that cannot find a comfortable resting place in either major party.

Is Paul having an impact?
Asked Thursday what impact he is having on the Republican presidential race, Paul said, “I think it might be significant that one of the so-called front-runners needed to attack me on national television. They must think I’m having enough of an impact that they have to try to discredit me. That was the purpose of the (Giuliani) attack: to discredit me so that my foreign policy challenge wouldn’t be heard.”

He added, “What annoys them the most is that I don’t criticize foreign policy from the Left; I criticize it from the Right, from a conservative viewpoint, from a constitutional viewpoint. It drives them nuts.”

Paul, a ten-term House member from Texas and the 1988 Libertarian candidate for president, admits most Republican voters don’t agree with his non-interventionist approach to foreign policy.

“I think the majority of Republicans right now are in the camp of intervention — but they’re also asking a lot of questions because of what happened in last year’s election and they know that they lost the election over foreign policy,” he said.

Complete U.S. exit from Iraq
Paul supports withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq — not leaving some behind for counter-terrorism operations and training Iraqi soldiers, as advocated by Democratic contenders Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.

And what of the consequences of U.S. exit from Iraq?

“It may be much better,” Paul said. “The Arab League may take over. Israel may be much more of a player there rather than us suppressing Israel. There’s all kinds of good things that could come of it.”

Paul will probably not be able to persuade Sen. John McCain to adopt a non-interventionist foreign policy. But in the long run, a contender can see vindication.

Case in point: Pete du Pont saw some of his ideas — considered extreme and unorthodox in 1988 — become mainstream.

In 1988 du Pont called for:
# Requiring welfare recipients to work, an idea which was incorporated into the 1996 welfare reform bill signed into law by President Clinton.
# Creating voluntary individual retirement accounts as an alternative to Social Security, a proposal which President Bush championed and tried to get Congress to enact in 2005.
# Withholding drivers’ licenses from high school students who test positive during mandatory random drug testing.
# Offering vouchers to parents so they could send their children to private schools, if local public schools were dysfunctional.

Discounted as an iconoclast who had little chance to become the 1988 GOP nominee, du Pont proved to be ahead of his time. So, too, could be today’s crop of contenders.
© 2007 MSNBC Interactive© 2007 MSNBC Interactive


Sunday, May 6, 2007

Nuclear bomb exercise will test region's response |

Nuclear bomb exercise will test region's response |

April 17, 2007

Nuclear bomb exercise will test region's response
More than 3,000 troops, police officers will participate in simulation this month
By Will Higgins
April 17, 2007

Indiana's homeland security readiness will be tested later this month with the simulated detonation of a nuclear bomb somewhere in the Hoosier state, the U.S. Northern Command said.
The event will trigger the deployment of 1,000 Indiana National Guard troops, more than 2,000 active-duty military personnel, local and state police officers, and other officials.
The action will take place at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Jennings County and Camp Atterbury in Johnson County.
The nuclear scenario will be played out from April 30 to May 18. It is one of three such tests that will be held simultaneously. The others are a hurricane in Rhode Island and a terrorist attack in Alaska. Such tests are held twice a year by the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Canadian Department of National Defence.
"They're designed to test what are our weak spots so we can start fixing holes," said Lt. Cmdr. Sean Kelly, a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command, which was established after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to coordinate the armed services' response to internal attacks and disasters.
Kelly declined to provide details of the exercises, because it would give the responders an unrealistic advantage.
A U.S. Government Accountability Office report issued in January projected that if terrorists were to detonate a 10-kiloton nuclear device in a large city, the surrounding 3,000 square miles would be contaminated, 450,000 people would need to be evacuated, and there would be "hundreds of billions of dollars in economic impact."

Friday, April 27, 2007

White House’s Tillman data sought - Military Affairs -

White House’s Tillman data sought - Military Affairs -

White House’s Tillman data sought
House committee requests information from administration and Pentagon
The Associated Press
Updated: 4:26 p.m. ET April 27, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO - Lawmakers on Friday requested documents from the White House and Pentagon describing how and when the Bush administration learned the circumstances of Pat Tillman’s death.

The House Oversight Committee is investigating why Tillman’s family and the public were misled about the circumstances of his death. The San Jose native, who turned down a lucrative contract with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and joined the Army following the Sept. 11 attacks, was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004.

Although Pentagon investigators determined quickly that he was killed by his own troops, it was five weeks before the actual circumstances of his death were made public. Instead, the Army claimed he had been killed in an enemy ambush.

Committee Chairman Henry Waxman wrote Friday to White House Counsel Fred Fielding requesting “all documents received or generated by any official in the Executive Office of the President ... that relate to Corporal Tillman.”

A second letter was sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Among other things, Gates was told to produce all documents related to Tillman generated by the defense secretary’s office and the Pentagon’s office of public affairs, as well as the office of Gen. John Abizaid.

The committee gave the administration until May 18 to produce the documents.

The oversight committee held its first hearing on Tillman’s death earlier this week. Tillman’s family has said they believe the erroneous information peddled by the Pentagon was part of a deliberate cover-up that may have reached all the way to President Bush and then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

A White House spokeswoman said this week that Bush did not learn about the unusual circumstances of the Army Ranger’s death until after the soldier’s memorial service on May 3, 2004.

On April 29, a top general sent a memo to Abizaid, who then headed all U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, warning it was “highly possible” that Tillman was killed by friendly fire and making clear that his warning should be conveyed to the president. The White House said there is no indication that Bush received the warning

Two days later, the President mentioned Tillman in a speech to the White House correspondents dinner, but he made no reference to the way he died.

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Tenet: White House warned of Iraq chaos - Politics -

Tenet: White House warned of Iraq chaos - Politics -

Tenet: White House warned of Iraq chaos
Book by ex-CIA chief highly critical of Cheney; Bush official rejects claims
The Associated Press
Updated: 8:01 p.m. ET April 27, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO - The CIA warned the Bush White House seven months before the 2003 Iraq invasion that the U.S. could face a thicket of bad consequences, starting with “anarchy and the territorial breakup” of the country, former CIA Director George Tenet writes in a new book.

CIA analysts wrote the warning at the start of August 2002 and inserted it into a briefing book distributed at an early September meeting of President Bush’s national security team at Camp David, he writes.

The agency analysis painted what Tenet calls additional “worst-case” scenarios: “a surge of global terrorism against U.S. interests fueled by deepening Islamic antipathy toward the United States”; “regime-threatening instability in key Arab states”; and “major oil supply disruptions and severe strains in the Atlantic alliance.”

While the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies have been widely criticized for being wrong about much of the prewar intelligence on Iraq, the analysis Tenet describes concerning postwar scenarios seems prescient. Iraq is buffeted by brutal sectarian violence, and there are suggestions that the country be partitioned into ethnic zones.

However, Tenet cautions against concluding that the CIA predicted many of the difficulties that followed. “Doing so would be disingenuous,” because the agency saw them as possible scenarios, not certainties, he writes. “The truth is often more complex than convenient.”

The analysis also presaged an intelligence community conclusion last year that the Iraq war was fueling Islamic resentment toward the United States and giving rise to a new generation of terror operatives.

Tenet’s recollection of the memo also comes at a time when Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress are locked in a high-stakes dispute over war funding and whether to set hard timetables for ending the war.

A copy of the book, “At the Center of the Storm,” was purchased by an Associated Press reporter Friday at a retail outlet, ahead of its scheduled Monday release. Tenet served as CIA chief from 1997 to 2004.

The book is highly critical of Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials, who Tenet argues rushed the United States into war in Iraq without serious debate — a charge the White House rejected Friday. Beyond that, he contends, the administration failed to adequately consider what would come in the war’s aftermath.

“There was precious little consideration, that I’m aware of, about the big picture of what would come next,” Tenet writes. “While some policy makers were eager to say that we would be greeted as liberators, what they failed to mention is that the intelligence community told them that such a greeting would last only for a limited period.”

The former CIA director offers a litany of questions that went unasked:
# “What impact would a large American occupying force have in an Arab country in the heart of the Middle East?”
# “What kind of political strategy would be necessary to cause the Iraqi society to coalesce in a post-Saddam world and maximize the chances for our success?”
# “How would the presence of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, and the possibility of a pro-West Iraqi government, be viewed in Iran? And what might Iran do in reaction?”

Tenet laments that “there seemed to be a lack of curiosity in asking these kinds of questions, and the lack of a disciplined process to get the answers before committing the country to war.”

Tenet assigns his own agency part of the blame, saying the intelligence community should have strove to answer the questions not asked by the administration.

The memoir paints a portrait of constant tension between the CIA and the office of Cheney, who Tenet says stretched the intelligence to serve his own belief that war was the right course.

It alarmed Tenet and surprised even Bush, the author says, when Cheney issued his now-famous declaration that, “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

Chastising Cheney nearly five years later, Tenet writes: “Policy makers have a right to their own opinions, but not their own set of facts.” Here again, Tenet blames himself for not pulling Cheney aside and telling him the WMD assertion was “well beyond what our analysis could support.”

For the first time, Tenet offers an account of his own view of a historic moment in the run-up to war: Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 2003 speech before the United Nations, with Tenet sitting just behind him.

“That was about the last place I wanted to be,” Tenet recalls. “It was a great presentation, but unfortunately the substance didn’t hold up,” he says of the performance, in which Powell charged Iraq had WMD stockpiles.

“One by one, the various pillars of the speech, particularly on Iraq’s biological and chemical weapons programs, began to buckle,” he writes. “The secretary of state was subsequently hung out to dry in front of the world, and our nation’s credibility plummeted.”

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Government Advertising.

prop•a•gan•da (pr p -g n d ) n.
1. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.
Public Relations! Its so politically correct. This is information produced by the government or by private corporations the government contracts, to create and distribute information to persuade the opinion of the public. The same public that puts these authority figures into power. We pay the government to set up campaigns to tell us what we should think and we elect them according to the views they manipulated us with and then give them power to act on their will. Does protecting their doctrine really have anything to do with us?

public relations
pl.n. Abbr. PR
1. (used with a sing. verb) The art or science of establishing and promoting a favorable relationship with the public.
We are clearly losing the war in Iraq and spawning an increase in international “terrorism” and yet the government is implanting “favorable” fake news stories into a seemingly normal network news broadcast to persuade the minds of the people. The government must spend billions of dollars on PR or the American public will get mislead. The question is, is it working? There is no favorable news coming out of Iraq because there are no favorable conditions there.

mis‧in‧for‧ma‧tion ˌmɪs ɪn fərˈmeɪ ʃən - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mis-in-fer-mey-shuh n

1. to give false or misleading information to.

The government has to much influence in the media! Not only is the media already controlled by a few corporations, those corporations are in the business of government. What could be more secure for the corporations than to invest in the government? The Media will print what the Government wants us to know. There is very little independent, non-biased, truth telling, source printing the facts, the facts which are the news.

2002 – Pentagon Plans Propaganda War

Pentagon Office of Strategic Influence

Also, the Office of Global Communications has been created to “integrate the President’s themes” worldwide.

Not only has the government tried to create propaganda campaigns overseas – they do it here too! Even with the FCC investigating the Fake News.

13 Nov 2001: "After two months, American television's cautious approach has turned into knee-jerk pandering to the public, reflecting a mood of patriotism rather than informing viewers of the complex, sometimes harsh realities they need to know"

But wait! Didn’t Rumsfeld say back in ’01 that the regime wouldn’t target the news media?

Q: Sir, is it correct that yesterday, you terminated efforts by the administration to start an information operations campaign related to this? And can you assure that there is no information operations campaign targeted at the news media?
Rumsfeld: Well, you can be certain there is no campaign targeted at the news media.

“The great mass of people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one. – Hitler.