"As for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries, they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the American people. We will negotiate for it, sacrifice for it; we will not surrender for it, now or ever." - Reagan, January 20, 1981

"In Vietnam, we tried and failed in a just cause. No More Vietnams can mean we will not try again. It should mean we will not fail again." - from No More Vietnams by Richard Nixon

Thursday, July 17, 2008

ObamaIraq Watch

I'm going to keep updating this one as it develops

first, lets remember http://www.gop.com/ObamaIraq.htm

and for a short intro story -

we're undoutably wining the war, ever since mccain's troop surge plan was pushed through. obama is now saying that HIS plan would work because of the extraordinary outcome of (although he will not say it) mccain's plan. i really hope mccain is recognized for his disicive support of plan, and people realize that obama is just sugercoating his plan because he can't re-write history.


Barack Obama purges Web site critique of surge in Iraq

Monday, July 14th 2008, 8:10 PM

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama's campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop "surge" in Iraq, the Daily News has learned.

The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a "problem" that had barely reduced violence.

"The surge is not working," Obama's old plan stated, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks - not U.S. military muscle - for quelling violence in Anbar Province.

The News reported Sunday that insurgent attacks have fallen to the fewest since March 2004.

Obama's campaign posted a new Iraq plan Sunday night, which cites an "improved security situation" paid for with the blood of U.S. troops since the surge began in February 2007.

It praises G.I.s' "hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics and enormous sacrifice."

Campaign aide Wendy Morigi said Obama is "not softening his criticism of the surge. We regularly update the Web site to reflect changes in current events."

GOP rival John McCain zinged Obama as a flip-flopper. "The major point here is that Sen. Obama refuses to acknowledge that he was wrong," said McCain, adding that Obama "refuses to acknowledge that it [the surge] is succeeding."

Let's get started:

Before being "refined":




_____lets hear it_____

"Barack Obama opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. In 2002...."

_____bla bla bla_____


_____denial isn't just a river in egypt
"Iraq violence falls to four-year low" May 26, 2008
life before the surge
"Life In Hell"
life after the surge
"Back to Baghdad"
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1722747,00.html?iid=sphere-inline-sidebar _____

"Iraqi Government Not Stepping Up"

_____ That is not what the mid-east nations (sunni-led, non-the-less) think
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121331389679269827.html?mod=googlenews_wsj ____

"Uneven Gains Not Sustainable Without Iraqi Action"

_____ Iraqi Army Takes Last Basra Areas From Sadr Force - April 20, 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/world/middleeast/20iraq.html?hp _____


_____ ummm.... do you even know what it is?
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14369678 ____

"Military Stretched Thin"

_____ but not broken
http://www.ftleavenworthlamp.com/articles/2008/06/12/news/news10.txt _____


_____From Iraq Study Group Report:
Precipitate Withdrawal
Because of the importance of Iraq, the potential for catastrophe, and the role and commitments of the United States in initiating events that have led to the current situation, we believe it would be wrong for the United States to abandon the country through a precipitate withdrawal of troops and support. A premature American departure from Iraq would almost certainly produce greater sectarian violence and further deterioration of conditions, leading to a number of the adverse consequences outlined above. The near-term results would be a significant power vacuum, greater human suffering, regional destabilization, and a threat to the global economy. Al Qaeda would depict our withdrawal as a historic victory. If we leave and Iraq descends into chaos, the long-range consequences could eventually require the United States to return. _____

" All Combat Troops Redeployed by 2009"

____he wouldn't even be inaugarated until jan. 2009 _____

"Residual Force to Remain"



_____http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/afghanistan_rel_2003.jpg _____


_____From Iraq Study Group Report:
national reconciliation, including the negotiation of a "political deal" among Iraq's sectarian groups on Constitution review, de-Baathification, oil revenue sharing, provincial elections, the future of Kirkuk, and amnesty; security, particularly curbing militias and reducing the violence in Baghdad; and governance, including the provision of basic services and the rollback of pervasive corruption. _____

"A United Nations-Led Constitutional Convention"

_____ okay.... he doesn't like the one already written, so he wants a bunch of foreiners to write a new one for the iraqis. i wonder how the iraqis would feel about having their constitution scraped for one obama likes. CHANGE _____

"Refuse to Provide U.S. Assistance to Sectarian Actors"

_____ because we actually try to help sectarian actors, right mr. obama? _____

_____ i will put this part in it's entirty:
"Support for Iraqi Stability: Barack Obama would work with Kurdish leaders to come to an accommodation
with Turkish leaders who see the Kurdish ascendance as a threat. He would press Sunni Arab states like Saudi Arabia to use their influence to encourage Iraqi Sunnis to reconcile. To combat terrorism, Obama would press
Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia to stem the flow of foreign fighters, arms, and financial resources into Iraq. Obama also would be a tough negotiator with Syria and Iran, sending a clear message that they need to stop
meddling in Iraq’s affairs. Prevent the War's Spread Beyond Iraq: To prevent spillover -- in particular, Turkish or Iranian adventurism -
- the Obama plan would promote a regional compact that would ensure commitments by Iraq's neighbors to non-intervention and to Iraq's territorial integrity.
A New Cooperative Security Framework in the Gulf: As we disengage from Iraq's civil war, America needs
to support regional sources of stability. This is particularly important given recent claims from Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran will fill any vacuum created by American withdrawal. Barack Obama would
work to develop a long-term strategy of regional cooperation. This will not only improve Iraq's stabilization
and regional integration, but also serve as a check against Iran's regional ambitions."

lets sit down and talk, unconditionally, make a speech, they will listen to you. it worked on kool-aid drinking high school kids, why is this any different? ______


_____ without enough troops _____

"Iraq is Facing a Humanitarian Crisis Right Now"

_____really? lets pull the troops! ______

"Take Care of Refugees"

_____ that would be nice, especially since there will be a lot more once the obama plan is in place _____

"Secure International Assistance"

_____ we have been trying to do that. but this is different because they will drink obama kool-aid. speech ______

"Prevent Genocide"

_____ wothout enough troops? how? oh yeah, you will tell the un to do it, that will really "restore the world's faith in america"
"Fulfill America's Obligation to Accept Refugees"
and to do that "Obama would expedite the Department of Homeland
Security's review of Iraqi asylum applicants". okay.... but also tell "Great Britain, Australia, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands" as well as "Arab governments, especially American allies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait" to "expand their refugee quotas"... that will really "restore the world's faith in america", .... especially since there will be a lot more once the obama plan is in place ______


_____ bla bla bla. said that already _______

Now his "Refined" NYT one (The NYT later revealed that Obama has a team of 300 Foreign Policy Advisors that tell him what questions to expect and how to answer them, an example given appears repeatedly in this article - “a genuine opportunity,” - begging the question of how much of this article is is genuin Obama):

"Op-Ed Contributor
My Plan for Iraq By BARACK OBAMA Published: July 14, 2008"
let's hear it

"CHICAGO — The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States."

________Nice try, straw man. let's tell the whole story -
[The Iraqi timeline proposal made public Tuesday appears to set an outer limit, requiring U.S. forces to fully withdraw five years after the Iraqis take the lead on security nationwide — though that precondition could itself take years. ]
From what it sounds like the Iraqis want a conditions based system where these conditions have to be met. Then when those are done they want a US withdrawal within such a time-period (NOT A SPECIFIC DATE) to ensure we don't sit around. The government wants US help until its up and running, then us out of there so they can get going and I can understand that._______

"The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president."

________HEY, THIS PART WASN'T REFINED! "Barack Obama opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. In 2002...." bla bla bla________

"I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown."

______This was just complaining - and an exageration http://www.ftleavenworthlamp.com/articles/2008/06/12/news/news10.txt - until the part whare it says "Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown." The only thing that has grown with respect to Iran is the number of names in their checkbook, the exception being Sadr, who seems to be getting more unpopular by the day. as for Al Qaeda, lets ask them what they have to say about that
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3346386.ece ____

"In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness. "

________but you said - "THE SURGE IS NOT WORKING" and "Uneven Gains Not Sustainable Without Iraqi Action" and "AMERICAN MILITARY CANNOT SUSTAIN CURRENT STRATEGY IN IRAQ" - THAT IS WHAT YOU SAID_____

"But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge."

lets take this one 1-point-at-a-time. "The strain on our military has grown"- an exageration http://www.ftleavenworthlamp.com/articles/2008/06/12/news/news10.txt
"the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated" - in relation to what? it was 'better' before the invation of Iraq? http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020318/popup/
"we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted" - it would have been less if more people did what you did and voted against funding the troops
"Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country" - first of all http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2008-05-21-iraqarms_N.htm
second, if we can't handle corruption (Tony Rezco), you expect a government only a few years free and has been in war for it's whole existance to be able too and use it as an excuse to abandan the Iraqi people?
"they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge"
nice try straw man, the surge was too create an environment whare it can happen, not only did you contradict yourself in this same op-ed, but http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121331389679269827.html?mod=googlenews_wsj ____

"The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009."

____but in the last sentence, you said "they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge." and you did that straw man thing again, the Iraqis want a conditions based system where these conditions have to be met. Then when those are done they want a US withdrawal within such a time-period (NOT A SPECIFIC DATE) to ensure we don't sit around. The government wants US help until its up and running, then us out of there so they can get going and I can understand that.____

"Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government."

______again, the Iraqis want a conditions based system where these conditions have to be met. Then when those are done they want a US withdrawal within such a time-period (NOT A SPECIFIC DATE) to ensure we don't sit around. The government wants US help until its up and running, then us out of there so they can get going and I can understand that. you have to tell the whole truth, not twist it to suit your political wants. doing your idea of a pull-out, which is not what anybody else you mentioned here was talking about, would just be "i'm sick of this" and leaving, aka “surrender”_______

"But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war."

_____this is a combination of lies and stupidity______

"As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal."

_______"As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in" - if you are going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. nobody that you mentioned in this op-ed agrees with your plans, and neather does Petraeus, yet you stick to it.
"We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began" - so first it's " All Combat Troops Redeployed by 2009" (he wouldn't even be inaugarated until jan. 2009) then it's by the end of 2009 (which still isn't 16 months) and now it is " summer of 2010" (he finally got his months right), and leave a "residual force" in Iraq to "perform limited missions" like going after "any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia", which before he said Al Qaeda has grown because of us not withdrawing Iraq, but now says that only remnants now remain in Iraq, said all in one op-ed._____

"In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments. As I have often said, I would consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected. We would move them from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We would pursue a diplomatic offensive with every nation in the region on behalf of Iraq’s stability, and commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees."

_____??? these claims don't seem to have been 'refined', it is the same stupid idea from before_____

"Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq. "

_____Mullen did not say to compleatly withdraw like you are advocating, and actually "Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has suggested that if security continues to improve in Iraq, the Pentagon may be able to send some units to Afghanistan instead of Baghdad as scheduled early next year. But he has also stressed that he will wait for Petraeus to make his assessment.""- AP
. But there is another, more disterbing part of this. you said - "Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been" but http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/03/20/binladen.message/index.html

he doesn't really say anything else, but I will put the rest anyway______

"As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

Barack Obama, a United States senator from Illinois, is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee."



Obama: Surge Succeeded Beyond ‘Wildest Dreams’
by FOXNews.com
Thursday, September 4, 2008

The troop surge in Iraq has been more successful than anyone could have imagined, Barack Obama conceded Thursday in his first-ever interview on FOX News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.”

As recently as July, the Democratic presidential candidate declined to rate the surge a success, but said it had helped reduce violence in the country. On Thursday, Obama acknowledged the 2007 increase in U.S. troops has benefited the Iraqi people.

“I think that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated,” Obama said while refusing to retract his initial opposition to the surge. “I’ve already said it’s succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.”

However, he added, the country has not had enough “political reconciliation” and Iraqis still have not taken responsibility for their country.

Speaking on other national security matters, Obama said he would not take military action off the table in dealing with Iran, but diplomacy and sanctions can’t be overlooked.

The Islamic republic is a “major threat” and it would be “unacceptable” for the rogue nation to develop a nuclear weapon, he said.

“It is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon, it would be a game changer,” Obama said. “It’s sufficient to say I would not take military action off the table and that I will never hesitate to use our military force in order to protect the homeland and the United States’ interests.”

But Obama also warned against the current U.S. administration lumping radical Islamic groups together.

“They have fueled a whole host of terrorist organizations,” Obama said of Iran, but “we have to have the ability to distinguish between groups. … They may not all be part and parcel of the same ideology.”

Obama sat down with O’Reilly in York, Pa., after holding a discussion on the economy with voters nearby. The Illinois senator has been campaigning in battleground states since accepting the Democratic presidential nomination last Thursday at his party’s convention in Denver.

Obama said he “absolutely” believes the United States is fighting a War on Terror, with the enemy being, “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, a whole host of networks that are bent on attacking America, who have a distorted ideology, who have perverted the faith of Islam.”

He repeated his campaign’s foreign policy position that Afghanistan must become the “central front” in the War on Terror.

Obama was first asked to come on “The O’Reilly Factor” in early 2007. The interview will air in three more parts after Thursday, from Monday through Wednesday next week.


I don't want Obama in charge of my security, he can not even write an honest op-ed that doesn't contradict itself from paragragh to paragragh, or admit his own changes and mistakes.

now, no matter what anybody says, after all the political attacks, and all those like obama who said 'no we can't', no matter how anybody tries to spin this, the determination of the Republican party never wavered; and for that confidence in our heroic servicemen and women, all our allies, and the truly inspiring courage of the Iraqi people who strove for freedom in their darkest hour;

We Won The War; And The Rebublic Of Fear Is Gone Forever

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7/16/08 - TOP STORY - "It seemed like the Stadium didn't want it to end"

AL outlasts NL in marathon 15-inning All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium

Updated Wednesday, July 16th 2008, 11:20 AM


The All-Star Game said goodbye to Yankee Stadium Tuesday night. It was a long, long, long goodbye.

By the time it ended, at 1:37 Wednesday morning, the Stadium was half-empty, a stark contrast to earlier Tuesday, when a packed house paid tribute to baseball's cathedral with a cavalcade of stars - past and present - on display.

Fifteen innings and four hours and 50 minutes later, the American League did what it always does - it won the game. Michael Young's sac fly brought home Justin Morneau - barely - with the winning run of a 4-3 marathon.

"It seemed like the Stadium didn't want it to end," said Derek Jeter, who stuck around for all 15 innings while Yankee teammate Alex Rodriguez left the Stadium shortly after coming out of the game in the fifth. "That's what me and Mo were talking about."

The win came just in time as both teams were down to their last pitchers.

As a matter of fact, NL skipper Clint Hurdle actually told Mets' third baseman David Wright (who was in the DH spot) he might need him to pitch if the game went on much longer.

Asked how Met owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon would react if he were to pitch, Wright said, "I just hope that they were asleep."

It would be hard to blame them if they were, as the game, at times, seemed as if it would never end, with the American League failing to win it in the 10th despite loading the bases with no outs.

Boston's J.D. Drew, one of seven Red Sox on the AL squad, was named the MVP, even though he didn't enter the contest until the sixth inning. Drew was actually cheered, but his Boston teammate Jonathan Papelbon was vilified when he entered in the eighth for suggesting on Monday that he - and not Mariano Rivera - should close the game.

Drew went 2-for-4 with a home run, stolen base and a walk that loaded the bases in the 15th inning.

That's when Young came up and lofted a fly to right fielder Corey Hart, whose throw barely nailed Morneau.

"I was just praying at that point. I think if I had popped it up to second, he was still taking off for home," said Young.

The game may have ended after nine had Billy Wagner not blown a one-run lead for the NL in the eighth - giving up an RBI double to Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria - but thanks to a shaky outing from the Met closer, the teams played seven more innings.

Wagner wasn't the only star to struggle Tuesday night.

Dan Uggla made an All-Star record three errors, doing his best to hand the AL the victory, but the Junior Circuit resembled the Yankees with runners in scoring position, missing out on opportunities in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings before finally coming through in the 15th.

While the NL lost out on home-field advantage and saw its winless streak extended to 12 years, there was little doubt that the night will go down as a memorable one for everyone involved.

With a collection of 49 Hall of Famers in attendance to join the 64 current All-Stars, the Yankee Stadium field was loaded with some of the greatest talent the game has ever seen for the pregame ceremony.

There was one more special guest to help close out the festivities, as George Steinbrenner made his first appearance in the Bronx since Opening Day, riding in from the outfield on a golf cart with his family surrounding him.

The night began with a Hall of Fame celebration, as the 49 members of the Hall emerged from Monument Park, where they had been gathered behind a red curtain in left-center field.

The biggest ovations were reserved for Wade Boggs, Cal Ripken and Willie Mays - at least until Reggie Jackson was announced, bringing chants of "Reg-gie! Reg-gie!" that made you think you it was 1977.

The final players introduced on the field were the catchers, giving the fans the opportunity to show Yogi Berra their love with a thunderous ovation. Moments later, following Sheryl Crow's rendition of the national anthem, a golf cart emerged from the curtain in left-center, bringing Steinbrenner onto the field to deliver the balls for the ceremonial first pitch.

Steinbrenner, flanked by daughter Jennifer, son Hal and son-in-law Felix Lopez, was greeted with a nice ovation from the fans, then welcomed to the infield by Jackson, Berra, Whitey Ford and Goose Gossage, who then stepped up to deliver the ceremonial first pitches to A-Rod, Joe Girardi, Jeter and Mariano Rivera, respectively.

"It's my 12th year and by far it's the greatest show I've seen for an All-Star Game. New York knows how to do it best," said A-Rod, who was long gone by the time the game ended.

Pitchers dominated the early going, as the game was scoreless going into the fifth for the first time since 1990.

Matt Holliday, tabbed to replace Alfonso Soriano in the NL's starting outfield, snapped the scoreless tie in the fifth with a solo home run to right field off Ervin Santana of the Angels. The NL added another run to its lead in the sixth on Lance Berkman's sacrifice fly against Oakland's Justin Duchscherer.

Arizona's Dan Haren continued the NL's stellar pitching night, throwing two scoreless innings to match Ben Sheets Carlos and Zambrano. Edinson Volquez was unable to continue the trend, however, serving up Drew's two-run homer to right field with two outs in the seventh that tied the game.

Jonathan Papelbon came in for the eighth, ending the debate over who would serve as the AL's closer. Papelbon came into a chorus of boos from the 55,632 on hand, most of whom erupted in chants of "Mariano!" and "Overrated!" throughout the inning.

Papelbon allowed a leadoff single by Miguel Tejada, who stole second and advanced to third when Dioner Navarro's throw went wide and into center field. That set up Adrian Gonzalez's sac fly, giving the NL a one-run lead and putting the Red Sox closer in position for the loss with the unearned run.

Rivera got five outs, getting the final two in the ninth before pitching a scoreless 10th, but he missed out on a chance to be the winner after Colorado's Aaron Cook escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the bottom of the 10th.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

7/15/08 - TOP STORY - Petraeus confirmed as Centcom chief


Senate OKs promotions of Iraq generals

WASHINGTON (AP) — Notwithstanding months of partisan wrangling in Congress over the Iraq war, the Senate Thursday handily confirmed Gen. David Petraeus as the top commander in the Middle East and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno to replace Petraeus as the chief military officer in Iraq.

The Senate voted 95-2 in favor of Petraeus with Democratic Sens. Robert Byrd and Tom Harkin opposing. Harkin, D-Iowa, cast the lone vote opposing Odierno, who was confirmed 96-1.

The Senate action will keep the nation on its present course in Iraq for the remainder of the year. It also will hand the next administration a pair of combat-tested commanders who have relentlessly defended the need to keep troops in Iraq in large numbers, rather than wind down combat operations.

Despite their firm backing of the politically unpopular war, Petraeus and Odierno drew little criticism from congressional Democrats who typically reserve their sharpest critiques for Bush and his political appointees.

"This continuity in U.S. military leadership will be helpful in working with regional and Iraqi political and military leaders," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Byrd, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he opposed Petraeus in part because the general should see through operations in Iraq.

With security gains being described as fragile, "it does not seem prudent to remove the mastermind behind the fragile successes that have been thus far achieved," said Byrd, D-W.Va.

Harkin spokeswoman Jennifer Mullin said the senator believes that "Petraeus has been an unapologetic supporter of this misguided war in Iraq, continually toeing the administration's party line" while Odierno is guilty of "serious flaws in judgment."

Odierno has "refused to characterize the insurgency that began after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime as anything that was serious and worthy of a shift in U.S. strategy," Mullin said in a statement.

Last year, Petraeus helped to tame growing opposition to the Iraq war in Congress by providing measured assessments of progress and warning that an exodus of U.S. troops would result in chaos. In the meantime, he advocated a buildup of some 30,000 troops in Baghdad and other hotspots, which eventually proved vital in tamping down violence.

Odierno, as Petraeus' deputy commander in Iraq, is credited with successfully managing the new strategy.

In their new jobs, Odierno will receive a fourth star and report to Petraeus, whose area of responsibility will broaden to include such countries as Iran and Pakistan.

Petraeus would replace Navy Adm. William J. Fallon as chief of U.S. Central Command. Fallon resigned last month following news reports that he was at odds with the White House over Iran policy.

By mid-July, the Pentagon is on track to withdraw the last of the additional combat brigades sent as part of the build-up, leaving behind roughly 142,000 troops. During his nomination hearing in May, Petraeus told Congress that he is likely to recommend more troop reductions this fall.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

7/13/08 - Top Story - Report: Bush Administration Considers Stepping Up Pace of Iraq Withdrawal (of 'Surge' forces)

Dear Insurgents, just remember this:

and you're next Taliban


Report: Bush Administration Considers Stepping Up Pace of Iraq Withdrawal

Sunday , July 13, 2008

FOX News

The Bush administration is considering withdrawal additional combat forces from Iraq, but a timeframe will depend on a report from newly-confirmed Central Command leader Gen. David Petraeus, the Pentagon said Sunday.

Citing administration and military officials, The New York Times reported Sunday that although no final decision has been made, additional troops could begin departing in September, and at least one and as many as 3 of the 15 combat brigades in Iraq could either be withdrawn or scheduled for withdrawal by the time President Bush leaves office.

The report references the need for additional troops in Afghanistan, where efforts by the Taliban have increased, as a cause for the consideration to withdraw troops.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen have both said they want to begin shifting focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, and to withdrawal forces from Iraq based on conditions on the ground. If Iraq remains on the positive trends through September, removing additional troops would be the logical next step based on what they've said.

"Secretary Gates certainly hopes that conditions in Iraq allow for continued troops drawdowns this year and the steady security progress we have seen lately would suggest that may indeed be possible. However, no decisions have been made yet and won't be for some time," said Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell.

"The last surge brigade is still pulling out of Iraq. Once they have left the country, we will begin a 45 day period of consolidation and evaluation. At the end of that time, Gen. Petraeus will make a recommendation to Secretary Gates and President Bush about whether to continue the troop drawdown," Morrell said.

The Times reported that although the consensus in Washington and Baghdad is that forces may leave Iraq, Bush may be cautious due to goals of establishing a stable, democratic government in the country.

“There hasn’t really been any discussion of numbers, and it’s definitely based on conditions on the ground,” a military officer in Baghdad told the Times. And conditions, he went on, “are a lot more favorable than in December or April or even two months ago.”

White House officials will say only that a number of scenarios are under consideration and that commanders talk regularly with the defense secretary, who reports to the president and senior staff about options.

Speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking Republican Dick Lugar said it may not be so easy to leave Iraq because Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has several political problems, including provincial elections, a fragile security in Anbar that could delay a Status of Forces Agreement and individual provincial leaders attempting to make independent oil deals that ignore how the revenues are to be distributed.

"As far as our troops are concerned, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, has indicated we need troops in Afghanistan. But he has no troops to send to Afghanistan," Lugar, R-Ind., said. "So it is logical in the military sequence that we are going to move troops out of Iraq, not immediately perhaps to Afghanistan, but at least to relieve the strain, which is intense right now upon our armed forces. And that is why it may make sense."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

7/12/08 - Top Story - IndyMac Folds, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in trouble, and Oil in Alaska


In IndyMac's Wake, Are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Safe?
After IndyMac Goes Bust, Concern Centers Around Mortgage Giants
July 12, 2008 —

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are private companies with deep ties to the government.

Fannie Mae was created during the Depression as part of the New Deal as a way to revive a collapsed housing market by providing mortgage guarantees to low- and middle-income Americans.

Today they own or guarantee a mind-boggling $5 trillion in loans  far more than any other lender, which is why the fear that they could go under has been so nerve rattling.

"If they were to go out of business, most of middle America would not be able to get a mortgage," said Howard Shapiro, an analyst for global adviser Fox-Pitt, Kelton.

Even if you haven't heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, there's a good chance, if you're a homeowner, they own your loan. Here's how it works: After a bank gives you a mortgage, it often packages it with other mortgages and sells it, most often to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

If Fannie and Freddie were to fail, analysts say mortgage rates would soar, mortgage lending would grind to a halt and borrowers of all kinds would pay higher rates  sinking the economy into an even deeper downturn.

That's why most analysts believe the government would never let it happen.

"Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play such a vital role in the mortgage market," said Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. "They are essentially too big to fail."

Government officials tried to shore up confidence in Fannie and Freddie. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., says there is no crisis and no bailout is necessary. "These institutions are in sound shape," he said. "The economics are fine in these institutions, and people need to know that."

But news late Friday saw another big mortgage lender, IndyMac, shut down by regulators. IndyMac's assets as of March 31 totaled $32.01 billion and its deposits totalled $19.06 billion. This news is likely to feed the psychology of fear that has been gripping the market.

Per a July 11 press statement from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., IndyMac "had about $1 billion of potentially uninsured deposits held by approximately 10,000 depositors." The FDIC has taken over the bank, which it described as the "fifth FDIC-insured failure of the year."

Fox-Pitt, Kelton analyst Shapiro said, "We've been in kind of a psychological mode in the markets for the past year, where the worst news is the news everybody believes."

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures


Bush Says Gas Prices Causing Rethinking on Drilling (Update1)

By Holly Rosenkrantz

July 12 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush said some opponents of expanded domestic oil drilling and exploration are rethinking their positions amid the rise in gasoline prices.

``If this change of heart is real,'' Bush said in his weekly radio address, lawmakers can ``expand American oil and gas production and eventually relieve the pressure of rising prices.''

Bush is pressing Congress to open more domestic land to oil drilling in an effort to reduce energy prices. He has proposed drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf and developing energy sources in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a response to record prices.

Many Democrats have resisted calls for new drilling on the grounds it may damage the environment, and they have called on Bush to release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ease pressure on prices, a proposal Bush has rejected.

The stockpile, with more than 700 million gallons of oil, ``has never been more full than it is now,'' Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said in today's Democratic radio address. Releasing some of it would give drivers ``quick and real relief'' from gasoline prices that have nearly tripled during Bush's presidency, he said.

The U.S. also needs a long-term energy policy to curb its dependence on foreign oil, boost the economy and reduce global warming, Van Hollen said.

The price of crude oil has doubled in the past year, with oil for August delivery settling at $145.08 a barrel yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline now tops $4 per gallon, according to AAA, compared with less than $3 in early February.

McCain's Stand

Bush, in his radio address, didn't name lawmakers who have changed their positions on the issue. Some Republicans, including presumptive presidential nominee Senator John McCain and Senator Mel Martinez of Florida, have expressed stronger support for domestic drilling than they have in the past.

House Democrats will push legislation next week that would ban the export of Alaska oil to overseas markets. The legislative package would also require oil companies to drill on leases they have before asking the federal government for more leases.

Bush blamed a lack of action on the issue on the Democratic Party.

``Past efforts to meet the demand for oil by expanding domestic resources have repeatedly been rejected by Democrats in Congress,'' he said.

Friday, July 11, 2008

7/11/08 - History - American folk song: She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain


"She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain", also sometimes called simply "Coming 'Round the Mountain", is an American folk song often categorized as children's music. An alternate title and pronunciation is She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain.

Although the first printed version of the song appeared in Carl Sandburg's The American Songbag in 1927, the song is believed to have been written during the late 1800s. The song was based on an old Negro spiritual titled "When the Chariot Comes", which is sung to the same melody. During the 19th century it spread through Appalachia where the lyrics were changed into their current form. The song was later sung by railroad work gangs in the Midwestern United States in the 1890s. The song's style is reminiscent of the call and response structure of many folk songs of the time, where one person would shout the first line and others repeat.

She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes). She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes). She'll be coming 'round the mountain, she'll be coming 'round the mountain , She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes. (when she comes).

The same structure is repeated with the following verses:

She'll be drivin' six white horses when she comes, etc.

Oh we'll all come out to meet her when she comes, etc.

We will kill the old red rooster when she comes, etc.

We'll be havin' chicken and dumplings when she comes, etc.

We'll all be shoutin' "Halleluja" when she comes, etc.

Contrast this to the original lyrics of "When the Chariot Comes":

O, who will drive the chariot When she comes? O, who will drive the chariot When she comes? O, who will drive the chariot, O, who will drive the chariot, O, who will drive the chariot When she comes?

King Jesus, he'll be driver when she comes, When she comes . . . .

She'll be loaded with bright Angels When she comes . . . .

She will neither rock nor totter, When she comes . . . .

She will run so level and steady, When she comes . . . .

She will take us to the portals, When she comes . . . .


Carl Sandburg, in The American Songbag, suggests that "she" refers to union organizer Mary Harris "Mother" Jones going to promote formation of labor unions in the Appalachian coal mining camps.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

7/11/08 - John McCain - Health Care

7/11/08 - Top Story - Breakthrough in Autism Research


Autism gene search turns up hope for treatment

Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:48pm EDT

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON, July 10 (Reuters) - Researchers studying more than 100 families prone to autism said they had identified at least six new genes that appear to underlie the disorder -- and said they suggest it may be possible to treat it sometimes.

Their study, published in the journal Science, reinforces the common wisdom that autism is not just a single disease but can be caused by a range of genetic and environmental factors.

It also showed that, at least in many of the families studied, autism appears to be caused by the combination of faulty DNA and something in the physical or social environment of an affected child after birth.

The mutations appear to disrupt genes important to the developing brain, and which are turned on and off by activity of brain cells known as neurons that are stimulated by early childhood experiences.

"There appear to be many separate mutations involved, with each family having a different genetic cause," Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which helped pay for the study, said in a statement.

"The one unifying observation from this new report is that all of the relevant mutations could disrupt the formation of vital neural connections during a critical period when experience is shaping the developing brain."

Dr. Christopher Walsh and Dr. Eric Morrow of Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues studied 104 families in the United States, Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. All had family members with autism and in 88 of the families, first-cousin marriages were common.

Such consanguineous marriages can make recessive disorders -- those that require two faulty copies of a gene -- more common. "Marriage between first cousins increases the prevalence of neurological birth defects by about 100 percent," the researchers wrote.


"Autism symptoms emerge at an age when the developing brain is refining the connections between neurons in response to a child's experience," Walsh said.

"Whether or not certain important genes turn on is thus dependent on experience-triggered neural activity. Disruption of this refinement process may be a common mechanism of autism-associated mutations."

One finding that offered some hope -- many of the mutations did not result in missing or damaged genes, but simply turned them off.

"This means that we would not need to replace the gene, if we could only figure out how to reactivate it, perhaps with medications," said Morrow.

Walsh, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, noted that studies have shown that enriched learning environments can help some children with autism.

Such extra training may help activate pathways in the brain that bypass the broken on/off switches, he said.

Autism, which is marked by impaired social interaction and communication, or a related disorder like Asperger's syndrome, affects an estimated one out of every 150 U.S. children, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. Asperger's is marked by social awkwardness.

Autism can cause mental retardation in up to 70 percent and seizures in 20 to 25 percent of cases.

"At the moment, we understand the genetic causes of 15 to 20 percent of autism," Walsh said. "The remaining 80 percent remain unexplained."

(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

© Thomson Reuters 2008 All rights reserved

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

7/9/08 - Top Story - War Games: Iran Test Fires Missiles in Persian Gulf, Hormouz


War Games: Iran Test Fires Missiles in Persian Gulf, Hormouz

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Associated Press (AP)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards test-fired nine long- and medium-range missiles Wednesday in war games officials say are in response to U.S. and Israeli threats, state television reported.
Gen. Hossein Salami, a top Guards commander, was quoted as saying the exercise "is to demonstrate our resolve and might against enemies who in recent weeks have threatened Iran with a harsh language." The drill was conducted in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormouz.
The report didn't provide details but said the missiles fired included a new version of the Shahab-3 missile, which officials have said has a range of 1,250 miles.
The report comes less than a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he sees no possibility of a war with the United States or Israel.
"I assure you that there won't be any war in the future," Ahmadinejad told a news conference Tuesday during a visit to Malaysia for a summit of developing Muslim nations.
Iranian officials have been issuing a mix of conciliatory and bellicose statements in recent weeks about the possibility of a clash with the U.S. and Israel.
Israel's military sent warplanes over the eastern Mediterranean for a large military exercise in June that U.S. officials described as a possible rehearsal for a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, which the West fears are aimed at producing atomic weapons.
For months, Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials have said they don't believe the U.S. will attack because of its difficulties in Iraq, domestic worries and concerns over the fallout in the region. At the same time, Tehran has stepped up its warnings of retaliation if the Americans — or Israelis — do attack it, including threats to hit Israel and U.S. Gulf bases with missiles and stop oil traffic through the vital Gulf region.

7/8/08 - My News Edit - Iraq: US withdrawal timeline, and what the Libs will try to leave out


What you may have heard was:

["We will not accept any memorandum of understanding if it does not give a specific date for a complete withdrawal of foreign troops," Mr. al-Rubaie (Iraqi National Security Adviser) told reporters in Iraq's holy city of Najaf. ]

What you may not have heard was:
[Al-Rubaie, who spoke to reporters after meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani (the highest ranking of Iraq's Shiite religious leaders and a staunch anti-extreamist) in Najaf, did not provide details on the proposed timeline.]
[In Washington, US state department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said the US and Iraq were in agreement over the principle of a US withdrawal. ]
["We want to withdraw. We will withdraw. However, that decision will be conditions-based," said Gonzalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman. "We're looking at conditions, not calendars here."
"We're making progress and are committed to departing, as evidenced by the fact that we have transferred over half of the country's provinces to provisional Iraqi control, and we're planning on removing the fifth and final surge brigade at the end of the month here, if things go according to plan," he told reporters.]
[He said the US was "making progress" and was committed to departing, pointing out as evidence that the US has transferred over half of Iraq's provinces to provisional Iraqi control. ]


[The Iraqi timeline proposal made public Tuesday appears to set an outer limit, requiring U.S. forces to fully withdraw five years after the Iraqis take the lead on security nationwide — though that precondition could itself take years. ]

Catch that? The withdrawl would happen FIVE YEARS AFTER THE IRAQIS TAKE THE LEAD ON SECURITY NATIONWIDE! Which could take who knows how long. This is also only a proposal, but ever if it wasn't it proves that the Iraqi Gov. does NOT want us out of Iraq until they can handle the security situation on their own. It also underscores the progress of the surge ([ Rubaie said, adding Iraq's 500,000-strong security forces had greatly improved.] and the ability of the Iraqi Government is becoming strong and independent.

The point being: Don't let the Libs trick you, their lies contradict eachother, and that Freedom is not free.

7/8/08 - Top Story - G-8 endorses halving global emissions by 2050


G-8 endorses halving global emissions by 2050

By JOSEPH COLEMAN – 9 hours ago

RUSUTSU, Japan (AP) — World leaders on Tuesday endorsed halving world emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050, edging forward in the battle against global warming but stopping short of tough, nearer-term targets.
The Group of Eight leading industrial nations — the United States, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Canada and Italy — also called on all major economies to join together to stem the potentially dangerous rise in world temperatures.
"This global challenge can only be met by a global response, in particular, by the contributions from all major economies," the G-8 said in a joint, five-page communique.
The G-8 last year at a summit in Germany pledged to consider the 2050 target, and this year's Japanese hosts had hoped to solidify that commitment at the meeting in Toyako, northern Japan.
The G-8 has been under pressure to secure commitments by wealthy nations to push forward stalled U.N.-led talks on forging a new accord to battle global warming by the end of next year.
The new accord would succeed the troubled Kyoto Protocol when its first phase expires in 2012.
The United States hailed the agreement as substantial progress, and a top European Union official called it a "new, shared vision" by wealthy nations on climate.
The leaders of major developing countries such as China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa said they expect the G-8 to take the lead and provide more aid to the developing world to help it cope with climate change.
The leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said the industrial nations must lead because they have the economic strength to adopt sweeping changes.
They called on the G-8 countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 45 percent by 2012, compared with their 1990 levels, and by up to 95 percent by 2050.
Tuesday's statement, however, addressed total world emissions rather than just those produced by wealthy countries, and critics attacked it for failing to go much beyond the G-8 statement last year.
The communique also did not set a base year from which emissions would be cut.
"It falls dangerously short of what is needed to protect people and nature from climate change," said Kim Carstensen, director of the World Wildlife Fund's Global Climate Initiative.
Environmentalists have argued that the 50 percent reduction target is insufficient, and have clamored for ambitious targets for countries to cut emissions by 2020. Japan itself has set a national target for cutting emissions by between 60 percent and 80 percent by 2050, but has not set a midterm goal.
"To be meaningful and credible, a long term goal must have a base year, it must be underpinned by ambitious midterm targets and actions," said Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. "As it is expressed in the G8 statement, the long term goal is an empty slogan."
Shorter-term targets have been much more difficult to reach consensus on, since they would require nations to act more quickly. The United States, for instance, has argued that meeting a Europe-supported goal of reducing emissions by between 25 and 40 percent by 2020 is unrealistic.
In a nod to such disagreements, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda — the summit host — said the G-8 countries would set individual targets, and he did not mention a range. The statement also said that the issue would be discussed in talks on Monday among the 17-member Major Economies Meeting, a U.S.-led group working on climate change.
"The G-8 will implement aggressive midterm total emission reduction targets on a country-by-country basis," he said.
The White House quickly hailed the agreement and said it was a validation of Bush's global warming policy.
The G-8 acknowledged that it alone cannot effectively address climate change — that contributions from all major economies are required — a position Bush has argued repeatedly, said Dan Price, the president's deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs.
The agreement also urged nations to set high goals for energy efficiency, promote clean energy and technologies and mobilize financing to help poor nations cut their own emissions and grapple with the effects of warming.
Scientists say urgent action is needed to make greenhouse gas emissions fall after peaking within the next 15 years, to limit the increase in global temperatures to under 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures beyond that could trigger the worst effects of warming, such as melting ice sheets and extreme weather.
The U.N.-led climate talks have been plagued by divisions. Quickly developing nations have urged wealthy countries to take the first, toughest steps. The United States, Japan and others, meanwhile, say they want to hear what up-and-coming economies like China are willing to do.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the agreement constituted a "new, shared vision by the major economies" that would support the U.N.-led effort on a new global warming accord.
"This is a strong signal to citizens around the world," he said in a statement, calling for a renewed push behind the U.N. talks, which aim to conclude a new pact at a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the agreement a "major step forward" from the climate deal reached in Germany.

Associated Press writers Malcolm Foster and Steve Gutterman in Rusutsu, Eric Talmadge in Sapporo and Deb Riechmann in Toyako contributed to this report.