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Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain Sets a New Record: 10 Flip-Flops in Two Weeks

In his eternal quest for the Republican presidential nomination, the supposed maverick John McCain has repeatedly reversed long-held positions and compromised purportedly core principles. From the Bush tax cuts, the religious right and immigration reform to overturning Roe v. Wade, proclaiming Samuel Alito a model Supreme Court Justice and bashing France (just to name a few), McCain changed sides as changing political conditions dictated.

But over the past two weeks, McCain’s rapid fire, acrobatic flip-flops have produced whiplash, at least for voters. 10 times since the beginning of June, McCain has retreated from, upended or just forgotten positions he once claimed as his own. On Social Security, balancing the budget, defense spending, domestic surveillance and a host of other issues so far this month, McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” did a U-turn on the road to the White House.

1. Social Security Privatization. John McCain has apparently learned the lesson that the more President Bush spoke about his Social Security privatization scheme, the less popular it became. On Friday, Mr. Straight Talk proclaimed at a New Hampshire event, “I’m not for, quote, privatizing Social Security. I never have been. I never will be.” Sadly, McCain and his advisers like ousted HP CEO Carly Fiorina are on record declaring fidelity to the idea of diverting Social Security dollars into private accounts. On November 18, 2004, for example, McCain announced, “Without privatization, I don’t see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits.” And in March 2003, McCain backed his President, declaring, “As part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it - along the lines that President Bush proposed.” As they say, let’s go to the videotape.

2. Raising - and Slashing - Defense Spending. As Steve Benen noted Friday, John McCain was also for boosting American defense spending before he was against it. In the November 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs, McCain argued “we can also afford to spend more on national defense, which currently consumes less than four cents of every dollar that our economy generates - far less than what we spent during the Cold War.” But facing the $2 trillion budgetary hole the McCain tax plan is forecast to produce (a sea of red ink even the Wall Street Journal noticed), Team McCain changed its tune. As Forbes scoffed in amazement:

“McCain’s top economic adviser, Doug Holtz-Eakin, blithely supposes that cuts in defense spending could make up for reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% and the subsequent shrinkage in federal revenues. Get that? The national security candidate wants to cut spending on our national security. Wait until the generals and the admirals hear that.”

3. First Term Balanced Budget Pledge. With its on-again/off-again/on-again promise to balance the budget by January 2013, the McCain campaign executed that rarest of political maneuvers, the 360. During a February 15th rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, “McCain promised he’d offer a balanced budget by the end of his first term.” But just days later, McCain’s senior economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin announced a deficit-ending target of 2017. In mid-April, Holtz-Eakin proclaimed, “I would like the next president not to talk about deficit reduction.” McCain, too, signaled the retreat from his first-term balance budget commitment, explaining to Chris Matthews on April 15th that “economic conditions are reversed.”

Apparently economic conditions have improved dramatically since then. On June 6, Holtz-Eakin squared the circle, announcing, “That plan, when appropriately phased in, as it has always been intended to be, will bring the budget to balance by the end of his first term.”

4. The Media’s Treatment of Hillary Clinton. No doubt, John McCain suffers from recurring bouts of selective amnesia. And some episodes take only days to manifest themselves. During his disastrous “green screen” speech on June 3, McCain reached out to Hillary Clinton’s supporters by proclaiming, “The media often overlooked how compassionately she spoke to the concerns and dreams of millions of Americans, and she deserves a lot more appreciation than she sometimes received.” But by June 7, McCain denied to Newsweek that his media critique never passed his lips, “I did not–that was in prepared remarks, and I did not–I’m not in the business of commenting on the press and their coverage or not coverage.”

5. The Estate Tax. Just days before his contortionist act on Social Security, John McCain reversed course on the estate tax as well. On June 8, 2006, McCain on the Senate floor expressed his agreement with Teddy Roosevelt that “most great civilized countries have an income tax and an inheritance tax” and “in my judgment both should be part of our system of federal taxation.” But after years of battling Republican colleagues dead-set on dismantling the so-called “death tax” and instead promoting a $5 million trigger, on Tuesday John McCain sounded the retreat. Now, he insists, “the estate tax is one of the most unfair tax laws on the books.”

6. FISA, Domestic Surveillance and Telecom Immunity. When it comes to the Bush administration’s program of domestic spying on Americans, McCain has performed similar logical gymnastics. On December 20, 2007, McCain suggested to the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Charles Savage that President Bush had clearly crossed the line. As Wired’s Ryan Singel noted:

“I think that presidents have the obligation to obey and enforce laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, no matter what the situation is,” McCain said. The Globe’s Charlie Savage pushed further, asking , “So is that a no, in other words, federal statute trumps inherent power in that case, warrantless surveillance?” To which McCain answered, “I don’t think the president has the right to disobey any law.”

But on June 2, McCain adviser Holtz-Eakin put that notion to rest, telling the National Review:

“[N]either the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001.”

Pressed to explain the glaring inconsistencies, John McCain on June 6 played dumb, deciding that cowardice is the better part of valor. As the New York Times reported, McCain now believes the legality of Bush’s regime of NSA domestic surveillance is unclear and, in any event, is old news:

“It’s ambiguous as to whether the president acted within his authority or not,” he said, saying courts had ruled different ways on the matter. “I’m not interested in going back. I’m interested in addressing the challenge we face to day of trying to do everything we can to counter organizations and individuals that want to destroy this country. So there’s ambiguity about it. Let’s move forward.”

As for immunity for the telecommunications firms cooperating with the White House in what before August 2007 was doubtless illegal surveillance, there too McCain’s position has evolved. On May 23, campaign surrogate Chuck Fish announced that McCain would not back retroactive immunity “unless there were revealing Congressional hearings and heartfelt repentance from those telephone and internet companies.” Subsequently, the McCain campaign swiftly backtracked, claiming its man supports immunity unconditionally.

7. Restoring the Everglades. On June 5, John McCain traveled to the Everglades to win over Floridians and environmentally-minded voters. There he proclaimed, “I am in favor of doing whatever’s necessary to save the Everglades.” Sadly, as ThinkProgress documented, McCain not only opposed $2 billion in funding for the restoration of the Everglades national park, he backed President Bush’s veto of the legislation in 2007. “I believe,” he said, “that we should be passing a bill that will authorize legitimate, needed projects without sacrificing fiscal responsibility.”

8. Divestment from South Africa. During his June 2 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), John McCain called for the international community to target Iran for the kind of worldwide sanctions regime applied to apartheid-era South Africa. Unfortunately, McCain’s lobbyist-advisers Charlie Black and Rick Davis each represented firms doing business with Tehran. Even more unfortunate, John McCain was frequently not among those offering “moral clarity and conviction” in backing “a divestment campaign against South Africa, helping to rid that nation of the evil of apartheid.” As ThinkProgress detailed:

Despite voting to override President Reagan’s veto of a bill imposing economic sanctions against South Africa in 1986, McCain voted against sanctions on at least six other occasions.

9. Fighting Job Losses in Michigan. During the run-up to the Michigan primary, John McCain cautioned workers there in January that he didn’t want to raise “false hopes that somehow we can bring back lost jobs,” adding that it” wasn’t government’s job to protect buggy factories and haberdashers when cars replaced carriages and men stopped wearing hats.” But after getting trounced in Michigan by Mitt Romney and watching the economy deteriorate further, McCain has had a change of heart. As Bloomberg noted on June 5:

Nowadays, the party’s presumptive nominee is singing a different tune, striking a populist pose and saying “new jobs are coming”… …Over the past few months, however, McCain has taken a lesson from Romney, acknowledging recently that “Americans are hurting.” Returning to Michigan last month, the Arizona senator told a local television station that he would fight for new jobs and the state wouldn’t “be left behind.”

Perhaps the good people of Michigan, as John McCain suggested to a Kentucky audience in April, can make a living on eBay.

10. Opposing Hurricane Katrina Investigations. During a June 4th town hall meeting in Baton Rouge, John McCain answered a reporter’s question regarding Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the New Orleans levees by announcing:

“I’ve supported every investigation and ways of finding out what caused the tragedy. I’ve been here to New Orleans. I’ve met with people on the ground.”

As it turns out, not so much. McCain’s revisionist history neglects to mention that in 2005 and 2006 he twice voted against a commission to study the government’s response to Katrina. He also opposed three separate emergency funding measures providing relief to Katrina victims, including the extension of five months of Medicaid benefits. And as ThinkProgress pointed out, “until traveling there one month ago, McCain had made just one public tour of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina touched down in August 2005.”

And so it goes. As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west each day, so too will John McCain change positions. (Like that other law of nature, McCain’s flip-flops are literally becoming a daily occurrence. Since this piece was originally drafted on Saturday, McCain added two new policy turnabouts - on phasing out rather than repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and on requiring a litmus test for his judicial appointees - to his litany of reversals.) As the Pew Research Center recently found, the word Americans now most frequently use to describe John McCain is not “maverick,” but “old.” Given the dizzying pace of his reversals, “opportunist” may soon top that list.

Crooks and Liars » McCain Sets a New Record: 10 Flip-Flops in Two Weeks

How Republican of Him. Republican Honor at it's best.

Former CIA third in command and indicted Cunningham bribery scandal co-conspirator Kyle “Dusty” Foggo is threatening to out agents, secret programs and Bush administration skeletons in an attempt to ward of a possible jail sentence on 30 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.

Prosecutors say Foggo has threatened “to expose the cover of virtually every CIA employee with whom he interacted and to divulge to the world some of our country’s most sensitive programs - even though this information has absolutely nothing to do with the charges he faces.”

Prosecutors also allege his lawyers are seeking to introduce classified evidence to “portray Foggo as a hero engaged in actions necessary to protect the public from terrorist acts” to gain sympathy from jurors.

Foggo’s efforts to disclose classified information are “a thinly disguised attempt to twist this straightforward case into a referendum on the global war on terror,” wrote prosecutors Valerie Chu, Jason Forge and Phillip L.B. Halpern in a court motion filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

The government wants U.S. District Judge James Cacheris to hold a closed hearing on whether the information is admissible at trial and if it is relevant to Foggo’s case.

Desperate much? It’s amusing to see the Bush administration panic on this one - especially after all their own thinly disguised attempts to make every issue they could think of a “a referendum on the global war on terror”. “Dusty” knows where the bodies are buried on everything from Negroponte’s South American death squads to Iraq procurement corruption and if he starts singing who knows where it could end.

But what’s truly revealing is the way Foggo only believes in national security up until the point where its his own neck on the line. How Republican of him.

Crooks and Liars » Foggo Threatens To Spill Beans, Burn Agents

Moscow News - News - Top Brass Defends Russia's Right to Preemptive Strike

I don't know about you, but i was raised in the "duck and cover" days of the cold war.  I was just a kid then but I remember the doctrine of "mutually assured destruction" if either the U.S. or Russia had the thought of using nukes on one another.  The "Bush Doctrine" is the doctrine of unilateral (even if nobody else wants to go to war with us, we go alone) preemptive (before there is any threat against us.  If we believe that they may become a threat we can invade and occupy and defeat them for what we thought they might do) war.  Well, it looks as though Russia has adopted this theory of preemption and with the same threat "nothing is off the table, including nukes", as Bush has been advocating for the past 8 years.  What a fool he is to bring us to this place in history.  What fools we'll be if we elect his hyper war mongering friend McCain to take over the reigns in this volatile world.  we need thinking people to bring this world back to sanity.  We can't kick everyone's ass in the world just because we spend twice as much on our military industrial complex as the rest of the world combined.  All the military spending in the world isn't going to save us from a nuclear holocaust.

Top Brass Defends Russia's Right to Preemptive Strike

Russia underlined its right to a "preventive" nuclear strike this week in what military analysts interpreted as a move to introduce more clarity into the nation's defense doctrine. The statements, made by Chief of General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky on Saturday, were followed by naval exercises in the northern Atlantic that will feature over 40 aircraft of the Air Force. Though unrelated, the developments pointed to a Russia not so much on the offensive as a one that was eager to bring its defense doctrine in line with that of the Western world and make it more up to date with contemporary military demands.

"We are not planning to attack anyone. But our partners should clearly understand... that the armed forces will be used if necessary to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and its allies, including on a preventative basis, including with the use of nuclear weapons," RIA Novosti quoted Baluyevsky as saying Saturday at a scientific conference in Moscow. He underlined, however, that "military force can and must be used to demonstrate the decisiveness of the top leadership of the country" only as "a last resort" and when all other methods have failed.

"This is the clarification of the nuclear doctrine," Sergei Karaganov, a defense expert and the dean of the International Politics Department at the Higher School of Economics, told The Moscow News. "What [Baluyev­sky] means is the enhanced deterrence doctrine, which was created in the United States" and used by NATO for decades.

And while Karaganov believes the statements might be interpreted more aggressively in the West, they are mostly meant to have a psychological impact.

"We have adopted the concept of preemption," he says, noting that it was previously not part of Russia's nuclear doctrine.

General Gennady Yevstafyev, a former military intelligence officer, believes that though General Ba­luyevsky made some very important and necessary clarifications, there is nothing "extraordinary" about the statements. They are in line with the doctrine President Vladimir Putin began spelling out in 2000, which announced Russia's readiness to use nuclear weapons for the defense of itself and its allies.

Yevstafyev pointed out, however, that Baluyevsky's comments should be understood in a context that includes some of the other statements made at the conference. "Soon we will not be able to maintain missile defense," Yevstafyev told The Moscow News, echoing Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, who told a conference at the Academy of Military Sciences in Moscow that over the next 12 years foreign powers will "obtain fundamentally new means and systems" and integrate intelligence, communications and navigation, leaving almost all of Russia's territory vulnerable.

"Under these conditions a potential enemy will gain the ability to carry out high-precision strikes, coordinated in terms of time and space, on practically any target on Russian territory," RIA Novosti quoted him as saying.

As for Baluyevsky's statements themselves, experts doubt they will have any serious impact on relations between Russia and NATO.

"This is not news for NATO," Karaganov said. "As for our allies, we will see who's ready to join our nuclear umbrella." Asked what potential allies might benefit from this kind of protection, Karaganov pointed to countries in Asia.

The statements came against a backdrop of the biggest military exercises staged in the Atlantic since the end of the Cold War as warships and nuclear bombers successfully test fired supersonic cruise missiles close to the Iberian Peninsula. The Moskva missile cruiser of the Russian Black Sea Fleet staged a successful live fire exercise, while 40 aircraft, including Tu-160 Blackjacks are set to take part. Col. Gen. Yuri Soloviev, meanwhile, announced this week that the Moscow Region would have a second unit operating a S-400 Triumph zenith anti-missile system by the end of the year.

Moscow News - News - Top Brass Defends Russia's Right to Preemptive Strike

Chickenhawk War Pundits Are Calmly Telling U.S. Allies to Commit National Suicide | ForeignPolicy | AlterNet

I'd hate to be Georgia right now. So many American pundits have plans for the Georgians, brilliant schemes designed to get Georgia into a big war with the Russians. "Here's what you oughta do." It's like listening in on bar talk -- some drunk trying to talk a 98-pound weakling into a rematch with the hulking thug who just put him on the floor. Funny thing, they never want to prove their theory themselves.

The backseat generals started early. On August 16, a week after the fighting between Russian and Georgian troops started, the neocon magazine Weekly Standard featured a chirpy, upbeat article listing all the hardware we could ship to the Georgians to help them fight a nice, long, bloody guerrilla war.

It was classic Tom Clancy stuff, all based on the idea you make war with stuff, not people. These guys just won't face the fact that for the guerrilla, the key weapon, the only weapon that matters, is people -- and starting a guerrilla war means sentencing most of the people in your address book to a very nasty death.

Now we've got Sarah Palin, everybody's favorite sniper-mom, volunteering to go to war with Russia over South Ossetia.

As far as I know, Palin isn't volunteering to go there herself. She sticks to targets that don't shoot back, like moose. But then that's what all these eager volunteers have in common: none of them are actually going to go over and fight the Russians themselves, and as far as I know none of them even thought about asking the poor Georgians whether they're up for the sheer Hell of a guerrilla war. All the Georgians wanted was to join NATO, make a little money and maybe get a used car. They're like a guy who joins the Army for a college scholarship and finds himself on the front lines -- except they're not even in NATO yet. We're volunteering them to make the ultimate sacrifice and we haven't even let them in the club yet.

The absolute craziest cheerleading came out of an article in DoD buzz by Greg Grant, quoting an anonymous Department of Defense source who wants Georgia to become the new Hezbollah.

Greg's anonymous warmonger got a big, way-too-enthusiastic boost from Noah Schachtman who writes for this lame-named war site, "The Danger Room," in Wired magazine. His article, "Should Georgia Become A Black Sea Hezbollah?" seems to come up with a gung-ho answer, basically, "Sure! Do it!" Wrong question, and definitely wrong answer.

I'm pretty sure if you asked any Georgians, they'd screech, "Agh! No! We don't want to live like Hezbollah, cowering in our huts under constant bombardment, raising kids with no prospects but martyrdom!" But then the neocons haven't asked anybody in Georgia. Safe in their living rooms, they think it'd be a great idea for Georgia, a very unwarlike little middle-class country, to try to imitate the Lebanese Shia who make up Hezbollah's suicide squads.

The strangest thing about these articles is that they just drip admiration for Hezbollah. It's weird to find American defense pundits praising Hezbollah all of a sudden. I've been talking up Hezbollah's military wing for years, and all I got was a lot of abuse

Back when Israel and Hezbollah fought in 2006, every mainstream military pundit was assuring America that Israel would soon drive Hezbollah out of South Lebanon. I said no chance, and eventually, without admitting they were wrong and I was right, the pundits have changed their minds. Now they just love Hezbollah and want our poor Georgian allies to imitate Hezbollah. But these armchair Rambos just don't get it. You can't take a peace-loving, middle-class Georgian and make him into a Hezbollah guerrilla. You have to start with the right kind of people, because guerrilla war -- I keep having to repeat this -- is about people. It's not gadgets, it's not clever strategies, it's not a McGyver episodes. It's being willing to accept a level of misery and death the average American can't imagine. Won't imagine. That's what it takes.

That's why I knew Hezbollah would win the 2006 war with Israel: because they have been through decades of misery, cluster bombs raining down on their miserable villages, raids by the proxy-force South Lebanon Army -- and through it all, Hezbollah has been doing the slow, boring work of organizing the dirt-poor Shia, providing basic services, suffering with them and preparing them for the big fight. That's what makes a good guerrilla army: misery channeled into paramilitary organization. That's what made it possible for the Shia to force the Israelis out of Lebanon, and then fight them to a stalemate when they tried to come back in 2006: because they'd been living rough, poor and hopeless for a long time, then had that misery turned into a coldblooded willingness to die. That's the un-cool, no-fun side of guerrilla warfare: the guerrillas lose way, way more people than the armies fighting them.

Chickenhawk War Pundits Are Calmly Telling U.S. Allies to Commit National Suicide | ForeignPolicy | AlterNet

Friday, September 12, 2008

Truthdig - Reports - Country First? Hardly

Republicans would like Americans to think that they are the party of God.  The party of Morality.   I find that the two are not mutually exclusive.  One does not have to believe in God to be highly moral.  Nor does being a republican guarantee that one is moral as has been proven a thousand times by this criminal of a president.  He's a liar and a cheater and has no thought of the men and women who are dying because of his lies except what he says at press briefings when he pretends he cares.  You can't send men and women off to fight a war that you knew was based on lies and then say you care about them.  Those are the rules of morality.  And now McCain and Palin are the new poster, dare i say, children?, for the hopeful christians in this country who really are moral.  The moral citizens of this country dream of having a president they can trust and believe in.  But these people (McCain and Palin) are anything but moral.  They would sell their own kids to stay in power.  They are bought and paid for and owned by Corporate lobbyists and special interests who, believe it or not, are not working for the moral masses.  A prescient article from David Sirota.

"On the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities, the Republican convention reminds us of what Barry Goldwater suggested 44 years ago: Terrorists are not the only ones who believe extremism is no vice. And, as the old aphorism warns, when the most virulent extremism attacks our country, it won’t be shrouded in Islamic fatwas—it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross."

"Sadly, the when is now. McCain is the flag, Palin is the cross—and Americans will have to decide whether we believe their zealotry puts country first."

By David Sirota

Let’s say that you enjoyed watching last week’s Republican National Convention on television.

Let’s say you drank in the almost uniformly white faces and the regimented revivalism, you clapped when speakers belittled Barack Obama’s work organizing impoverished communities, indeed, you cheered with Rudy Giuliani’s zinger, “Drill, baby, drill!”

Let’s further stipulate that you were not at all discomfited by the convention’s incessant “Country First” mantra that defines loyalty to America as lock-step fealty to the Republican Party.

Let’s say—for sheer argument’s sake, of course—all of this is true. What, then, of the substance? Stripping away the partisanship, passion and propaganda, what about the veracity of the claim that the GOP puts this country first?

Well, let’s just say it’s a little dicey.

On national security, the Republican Party advocates continuing to force thousands of young Americans to risk life and limb refereeing Iraq’s civil war. Though the party’s slogan hearkens back to conservatives’ “America First” isolationism, the GOP nonetheless supports spending $12 billion a month on the war—money needed at home.

Same story on economics. In 2004, the Republican White House called outsourcing “a plus.” In 2006, the Republican commander in chief OK’d the sale of critical infrastructure to foreign dictators. And today the Republican presidential nominee is demanding more NAFTA-style trade pacts that eliminate American jobs. This, says the GOP, is putting our country first.

But who is the “country”? According to the Census Bureau, it will soon be mostly nonwhites. That is, the demographic groups that the alleged “country first” party regularly disparages, whether Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) yearning for a return to segregation, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) scapegoating Latinos, Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) celebrating Japanese internment, President Bush genuflecting to Bob Jones University’s white supremacists, or Ronald Reagan echoing bigoted rallying cries at the scene of Mississippi race murders.

Maybe, you insist in your post-convention fervor, I just don’t get it. Maybe “country first” really does mean refereeing foreign civil wars, spending billions overseas while cutting domestic programs, exporting jobs and bashing ethnic groups that will soon make up the majority of the nation.

But I don’t think so. More likely, Republicans have simply taken the famous parable to heart—the one about patriotism being the last refuge of scoundrels.

As a political strategy, it’s not stupid. Following the Bush-DeLay-Abramoff era, many Americans rightly think Republican politicians are scoundrels. And so those politicians are trying to make sure “this election is not about issues,” as John McCain’s campaign manager said this week, but about a hideous hypernationalism only Joe McCarthy could love. Employing flag pins, war stories and Bible-thumping social conservatism, former POW McCain and Christian fundamentalist Sarah Palin hope their red-white-and-blue phantasmagoria will hypnotize America into voting Republican.

Such desperation leads to seeming incoherence at times. For instance, when anti-war protesters at the GOP convention demanded lawmakers actually put country first by bringing the troops home, Republican delegates responded like an entranced mob of cultists, mindlessly chanting “U.S.A.”

Then again, in the Karl Rove age, every televised scene—no matter how absurd—is part of sculpting an election victory with a mallet of jingoism and a chisel of intolerance.

On the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities, the Republican convention reminds us of what Barry Goldwater suggested 44 years ago: Terrorists are not the only ones who believe extremism is no vice. And, as the old aphorism warns, when the most virulent extremism attacks our country, it won’t be shrouded in Islamic fatwas—it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.

Sadly, the when is now. McCain is the flag, Palin is the cross—and Americans will have to decide whether we believe their zealotry puts country first.

Truthdig - Reports - Country First? Hardly

Alleging Coup Plot, Chávez Ousts U.S. Envoy - NYTimes.com

Chavez and Moralez are not crazy.  The CIA did try to overthrow Chavez in a 2002 coup until the citizens of the country attacked the presidential palace and demanded that they release Chavez and put him back in power.  There are hundreds of accounts of this coup.  It's not just a hollow claim.  And I wouldn't be one bit surprised if Bush/Cia were planning a coup against Moralez who is the most beloved leader Bolivia has ever seen.  He just keeps winning election after election even when America is working the elections to over throw his government "nicely" through elections.  They just don't have enough support from the rich in Bolivia to overwhelm the 80% of working class Bolivians who love their honest leader.  I have a book titled "Overthrow" which talks about all the leaders around the world that we have had a hand in either usurping or assassinating.  It's a good read.

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela said Thursday that he was expelling the American ambassador, Patrick Duddy, giving him 72 hours to leave the country. Mr. Chávez took this step after he said his government had discovered an American-supported plot by military officers to topple him.

He also recalled his ambassador to Washington, Bernardo Álvarez, and explained his decision by expressing solidarity with Bolivia’s embattled president, Evo Morales, who on Wednesday expelled the American ambassador there, Philip S. Goldberg, accusing him of supporting rebellious groups in eastern Bolivia..

“When there is a new government in the United States, we’ll send an ambassador,” Mr. Chávez said, using an expletive to refer to Americans.

The move by Mr. Chávez marks a low point in political relations with the United States, which imported more than $40 billion in oil from Venezuela last year. Trade between the countries has remained resilient, topping $50 billion in 2007, despite repeated threats by Mr. Chávez to halt oil exports to the United States, a warning he reiterated on Thursday.

Mr. Chávez also warned Bolivian opposition groups that he would support an armed resistance movement in Bolivia if Mr. Morales, a close ally, was removed in a coup. Protests in Bolivia intensified Thursday with at least eight people killed in clashes, Reuters reported.

The United States and Venezuela have been sparring over a variety of issues, like claims that Venezuela is growing as a transshipment point for cocaine, Mr. Chávez’s plans for military exercises with Russia’s navy in the Caribbean and the safety of Venezuela’s airports for American airlines.

The Chávez government said Thursday that it would reduce the number of flights by airlines from the United States to Venezuela, which now number about 70 a week, after the Bush administration complained that American inspectors were not allowed to review the security of Venezuelan airports.

The airline issue offers a window into tension over claims of drug trafficking, with news reports here saying that government officials are hesitant to allow inspectors into facilities thought to be used to smuggle cocaine to the United States and Europe.

Mr. Chávez said Thursday that a plot to overthrow and assassinate him had been uncovered and that the Bush administration was behind it. Neither the State Department in Washington nor a spokeswoman at the American Embassy here would comment on the expulsion and the latest charges. On Wednesday night, state television here played what it described as intercepts of phone discussions between active-duty and retired military officers that referred to a plot to take Miraflores, the presidential palace.

Mr. Chávez has claimed at least 26 times in the last six years that there were plots to kill him, according to counts in the local media.

Alleging Coup Plot, Chávez Ousts U.S. Envoy - NYTimes.com

The BRAD BLOG : Legendary Rightwing Vote Suppressor Honored by GOP Bigs in D.C.

Several weeks ago at the UK's Guardian, I wrote about rightwing democracy-hater Paul Weyrich and his 1980 speech to 15,000 preachers in Dallas (with Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell also on the bill), in which he called for massive vote suppression. The comments, from one of the "Conservative" Movement's "founding fathers" and a Godfather of the Republicans' now-peaking, long-waged voter suppression scheme, are worth getting out there again and again --- particularly right now. The video of Weyrich's 1980 comments (:40 seconds) is at right and the text is below...
"Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome - good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

As mentioned previously, Weyrich continues as a regular consultant to the top-tier GOP power-brokers to this day, and last night the man who so eloquently elaborated the Republican Rosetta Stone of voter disenfranchisement was honored "for Life, Work and Service" at a D.C. shindig that raised "over $330,000...for the Free Congress Foundation."

"The highlight of the evening included an historic 21 gun salute video," a press release issued this afternoon (posted in full below) crows. That salute "included 30 of the country's top leaders such as author and columnist, George Will; national talk show host and author Hugh Hewitt, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R - KY), Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich; Ken Blackwell, 2008 Vice-Chairman of the Republican Convention Platform Committee and Former Ohio Secretary of State; Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq., Free Congress Foundation; Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum; Jerry Falwell, Jr., Liberty University; Rep. Edwin Meese, III,. Heritage Foundation and Former U.S. Attorney General; Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family; Don Wildmon, American Family Association, among many others."...

Though comments as seen in the video above ought to make this man a pariah to any democracy-loving American citizen, he continues to be anything but to the GOP movement which has mainstreamed this guy, and his loathing for American values, and turned him into a movement demigod...

"With his commitment to traditional family values, he has consistently promoted a morally conscious culture," explains the release, without clarifying what traditional or moral value is contained in fighting against democracy.

"As one step in this effort, he is credited for coining the term 'Moral Majority,'" the release continues. "Today, Paul writes regularly for the Washington Times and Newsmax and continues to serve as an influential voice for the conservative movement through his leadership of the Free Congress Foundation and the weekly meetings of Coalitions for America."

Just so good Americans, who actually put country ahead of partisan politics and power, realize who and what you're up against between now and November.

The BRAD BLOG : Legendary Rightwing Vote Suppressor Honored by GOP Bigs in D.C.

Tit For Tat Provocation Between US, Russia

Two Russian supersonic strategic bombers, the advance party for a deployment of Russian forces for a joint exercise, landed in Venezuela on Wednesday in a move guaranteed to infuriate all believers in America’s divine right to hegemony. The Tu-160 bombers(pictured above) are reputed to be the equals of America’s B-1 and with an even bigger weapons load. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that the bombers were there for ‘training purposes’ and added that he planned to fly one of the aircraft himself.

The entire exercise is designed to send a “how do you like it?” message to the West, following the US and allied military presence in Georgia and the Black Sea:

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the two Tu-160 bombers flew to Venezuela on a training mission. It said in a statement carried by the Russian news wires that the planes will conduct training flights over neutral waters over the next few days before heading back to Russia. Also Wednesday, NATO said it ended a routine exercise by four naval ships in the Black Sea. Russia had denounced the exercise as part of a Western military buildup sparked by the Georgia conflict. … Earlier this week, Russia said it will send a naval squadron and long-range patrol planes to Venezuela in November for a joint military exercise in the Caribbean.

Let’s not forget, too, that US advisers were in Georgia when it launched its full military might into its own breakaway province of South Ossetia and that neoconservative advisers to the administration and the McCain campaign have called for turning states along Russia’s borders into US-armed “porcupines”. To imagine how Russia sees its own national interest threatened, imagine if Cuba, Venezuela and other nations around America’s Caribbean “pond” became Russian-armed permanent bastions in America’s backyard. There’s a lot of other tit-for-tat going on right now too. Not only has Russia said it will send a fleet to Venezuela - something that will tax Russian naval readiness to the utmost - but it has called for an embargo on arms imports to Georgia at the UN. That one won’t get out of the Security Council because the US will veto it but it is another purely political maneuver, making a statement about involvement in Russia’s backyard. There’s a new combatative style of rhetoric at the UN too, which again points to a breakdown in the post-perestroika monopolar world the neocons foolishly believed would last forever. Matters haven’t become as bad as during the actual Cold War just yet, experts say - but does anyone doubt that with the angry man, John McCain, in control of what would pass for US diplomacy, it wouldn’t get worse? He might even make John Bolton his Secretary of State! A McCain presidency would lead to America’s allies putting even more distance between themselves and the US and finish off the assault on American prestige that George Bush has so successfully mounted. Obama, by contrast, offers a badly needed new detente before the world returns to dark days and a ticking nuclear clock.

Crooks and Liars » Tit For Tat Provocation Between US, Russia

Thursday, September 11, 2008

News Hounds: Hannity Has A Bullyboy Meltdown At Suggestion Economy Is In Trouble

Sean Hannity is a lying piece of shit.

Hannity Has A Bullyboy Meltdown At Suggestion Economy Is In Trouble

Multimillionaire Sean Hannity proved last night (9/10/08) on Hannity & Colmes he’s not just a loudmouthed blowhard but seriously out of touch with everyday Americans. As author and economist Robert Kuttner politely tried to discuss the economic challenges Barack Obama would face as president, Hannity had a bullyboy meltdown at the suggestion that the economy is in trouble and that ordinary Americans are in dire economic straits. But Kuttner kept his cool and refused to be intimidated. He challenged Hannity with comebacks like, “I don’t spew any goddamn line... Do you want to deny (the economy’s in dire straits), you fool?” He’s our latest top dog. With video.

The interview started out pleasantly with Alan Colmes probing the thesis of Kuttner's new book, Obama's Challenge, that Obama will need to be a “transformative” president in order to effectively address American’s economic woes. “The economy is in such dire straits for most people,” Kuttner said.

Kuttner continued, “If people vote on whether Sarah Palin is better at shooting a moose, the Democrats are toast. And if Obama and Biden can bring the election back to the fact that the Republicans have had their shot at experimenting with letting Wall Street go nuts and it’s really harmed ordinary people, then the election turns on the economy and the Democrats win. So this is a fight about whether the election is about culture or about pocketbook issues.”

Kuttner thinks there is a narrative Democrats should use, “a narrative of the ordinary, hard-working family just getting the short end of the stick. Everything from subprime to health insurance to your pension blowing up, of your job not being secure.” He added, “And that’s a narrative that affects ordinary people. If that narrative is persuasive, the Democrats win.”

Apparently, that was just too much for Hannity’s sensitive widdle feewings. But with Hannity, sensitivity is always a one-way street. He welcomed the guest by beginning his portion of the interview by saying bombastically, “Oh, stop it. Oh, stop it. This is garbage you’re spewing here.”

Kuttner was soft-spoken but unflappable. “No name calling yet. You’ll get your turn in a minute.”

“Great American” Hannity showed just how much respect he truly has for his fellow citizens by saying with great disgust, “This is a pro-Obama book.”

“But I’m not here to be Obama’s...” Kuttner began.

“Oh, stop it,” Hannity continued.

“I’m not here to be insulted, either,” Kuttner said. “You’re doing RNC talking points.”

Ooh, that really got to Ol’ Bullyboy. “I don’t have any RNC – these are HANNITY talking points,” he said. He waved his papers like Joseph McCarthy. “I write the talking points.”

Kuttner said, “Oh, yeah, right.”

“You spew this line...” Hannity began.

Kuttner retorted, “I don’t spew any goddamn line. Stop insulting me or I’m walking off the set.”

“Go ahead! Go! Good-bye! Leave! I don’t care! Go right ahead! Walk off!” The host with the leastest responded. But he kept talking. “You said the economy’s in dire straits.”

“Do you want to deny that, you fool?” Kuttner said.

Hannity suddenly started calling him, “Sir.”

“Sir my butt,” Kuttner rejoined.

Oooh, the Bullyboy was angry now. He started counting off on his fingers in an effort to prove just how good our economic times really are. “Unemployment in this country has been lower than the last four decades. Economic growth in the last quarter was 3.3%. Interest rates’ inflation have been lower in the Bush years than they’ve been in the last three decades and YOU are trying to convince the people of America that something is (unintelligible).” Of course, those stats are of no comfort to the rising numbers of people facing foreclosures, medical bills they can't afford, unavailable health insurance, job layoffs, skyrocketing gas prices and vanishing pensions. Not that Hannity worries about those things. His only worry in life seems to be doing whatever he can to stop Barack Obama being elected president.

“Do I get a turn to talk?” Kuttner interrupted. Hannity graciously allowed him one. Kuttner said, “If you can persuade the American people that the average family is doing great, your guy deserves to win the election. But I don’t think the American people are that stupid.”

As Hannity continued to try to argue that everything Kuttner was arguing was “based on a lie,” Kuttner said, “It’s based on people’s own lives. People’s health insurance are going up in smoke, people’s pensions are going up in smoke, people’s jobs are being exported to China, unemployment is 6.1% and rising, the administration is bailing out Wall Street because of Republican deregulation... If you think the economy is great, you campaign on that.”

Hannity couldn’t even muster up the good manners to thank Kuttner for being on the show.

By the way, I don’t think Hannity's behavior is going to help him get Obama on his show any time soon.

News Hounds: Hannity Has A Bullyboy Meltdown At Suggestion Economy Is In Trouble

High Court May Immunize Big Pharma

This is a long one but it really pisses me off so i'm passing it on.  I can't believe how these companies hire lobbyists to go to Washington and have these laws written to protect them even when they know their products are dangerous.  they're pigs who profit off of the misery of the people and just hope that their padding of government coffers will be enough to protect them from the people when the people decide to fight back because they've been so harmed. 

   The FDA's new "preemption" doctrine jeopardizes consumers' right to sue for drug-caused injuries.

    Struck by a blinding migraine, Vermont musician Diana Levine went to a clinic where she was injected with the anti-nausea drug Phenergan, produced by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Within weeks, the hand that had fingered her guitar was black with gangrene. Doctors amputated below the wrist and, when that failed to stop the necrosis, removed her forearm.

    Wyeth's label had warned that hitting an artery could cause irreversible damage, but it did not specifically direct physicians to avoid delivering the drug with intravenous (IV) push injection - rather than free-flowing IV drip or intramuscular shot.

    Levine sued in Vermont court, charging that, because Wyeth had known for decades that using IV push to inject Phenergan directly into a vein creates avoidable risk, it should have added specific instructions on its label barring the practice.

    Wyeth argued that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Phenergan and its label immunized it from state-level lawsuits. The Vermont court disagreed and awarded Levine $6.8 million.

    The U.S. Supreme Court will hear Wyeth's appeal on Nov. 3, the day before the presidential election, when few people will be paying attention. They should be.

    If Wyeth's legal defense wins, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said at a hearing in May, "Patients [who are] hurt by defective drugs … would no longer have the ability to seek compensation for their injuries."

    Levine is in her early 60s, has clear blue eyes and white hair that falls loosely around her unguarded face. She laughs easily and there is anger, but no bitterness, when she reflects that "all Wyeth needed to do was that simple label change. This loss of my arm, and the effect it had on my livelihood and my whole life didn't need to happen."

    As for the FDA, she says, "I know there are good hearts there and [if Wyeth wins] I want to ask them: 'How do you feel about not having us little people out here to tell you when something goes wrong, and a court system to help you hold drug companies accountable?' "

    Wyeth's defense - and the fate of the kind of liability litigation that exposed the dangers of Vioxx - rides on whether the Supreme Court accepts the FDA's new doctrine of "preemption." The legal term means, in this instance, that a federal agency can write rules that preempt - or override - the right of a person to sue for damages in state courts. Some legal experts see the Bush administration's embrace of preemption as part of a concerted, stealth strategy to impose, by bureaucratic fiat, the tort "reforms" that corporations failed to lobby though Congress.

    "So far, seven federal agencies have issued over 51 potentially preemptive rules, often without any opportunity for public comment," wrote Kathleen Flynn Peterson, former president of the American Association for Justice.

    What is at stake, then, is tens of thousands of product-liability suits against drug makers; the right of many consumers to sue if they are harmed by FDA-approved drugs; and a strong financial incentive for drug companies to set high safety standards, follow drugs after approval, update labeling and issue recalls. And, of course, there is Levine's compensation.

    Consumers' right to sue for drug-caused injuries dates back to 1852. But in 2006, the FDA quietly tucked a pro-preemption phrase into the preamble of an FDA-labeling law.

    "Preemption had never been raised by drug companies before Levine," says Richard Rubin, the small-town Vermont lawyer who won against Wyeth's high-powered legal team, "because there had never been any preemption."

    The effect, of this "radical legal doctrine," said Waxman at the May congressional hearing, is "you might have been injured by a defective product, but you can't go and sue the manufacturer, who might have even known it was defective, because the FDA said it was not defective when they approved it. That to me is an absurd position."

    But drug companies get the logic, as do other corporations subject to consumer lawsuits. Showing uncharacteristic affection for federal regulation, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, Microsoft and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco are supporting Wyeth before the Supreme Court.

    Siding with Levine are 47 U.S. states attorneys general, 18 members of Congress and a panoply of public interest groups that have filed "friend-of-the-court" amicus briefs. They are joined by former FDA commissioners Donald Kennedy and David Kessler whose August amicus brief notes that traditionally, corporations, not the FDA, bear "ultimate responsibility" for drug safety: "[P]ro-preemption arguments … turn that understanding upside down, relieving manufacturers of front-line responsibility for the safety of their drugs, and handing that job to the FDA."

    But the FDA isn't up to the job. The agency's own Science Board found that "American lives are at risk" because the FDA "is not positioned to meet current or emerging regulatory responsibilities."

    A 2006 Government Accountability Office investigation found the FDA was incapable of ensuring drug safety. After initial approval - when many problems surface - the agency lacked the resources to gather independent data and the authority to compel drug companies to provide follow-up studies.

    Add to that the conflicts of interest, cronyism and corporate influence that have flourished in Bush bureaucracies, from FEMA to the Justice Department to the FDA.

    The architect of FDA's preemption policy is Daniel Troy. Before becoming the agency's chief counsel and primary liaison to the White House, Troy had represented industry, frequently suing the agency on behalf of drug and big tobacco companies. After leaving the FDA, he slipped into a top post at drug giant GlaxoSmithKline.

    The revolving door also swung Randall Lutter into the post of FDA deputy commissioner for policy, where he defended the agency's embrace of preemption before Congress. Lutter was a member of the ExxonMobil-funded, global warming-denying Annapolis Center. He was also resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank that takes oil and tobacco money and advocates vigorously for "tort reform."

    The Supreme Court's acceptance of Levine falls into a pattern that suggests it is in sync with the Bush administration's push to make preemption part of its legacy.

    A March Supreme Court case surrounding Rezulin, the now-withdrawn diabetes drug linked to liver failure, could have voided the right to sue - even when a drug company commits fraud by concealing dangers from the FDA. But that case, Warner-Lambert Co. v. Kent, failed to make law because a tie vote resulted when Chief Justice John Roberts recused himself over ownership of Pfizer/Warner-Lambert stock. (Although Levine v. Wyeth will have industry-wide impact, few expect another recusal.)

    In February, the court ruled 8-1 in Riegel v. Medtronic for the makers of a faulty catheter that ruptured during heart surgery. The FDA approval that immunized Medtronic from liability now protects the makers of most medical devices, including defibrillators and pacemakers, from liability suits.

    Riegel is "a resounding victory for the preemption defense and for the business community," cheered Alan Untereiner, a lawyer for the Product Liability Advisory Council.

    Wyeth v. Levine could be the next step for preemption - extending it to all FDA-approved pharmaceuticals, and drastically restricting the right to a jury trial.

    In Reigel, Justice Stephen Breyer provocatively asked which group you rather would trust: "An expert agency, on the one hand, or 12 people pulled randomly for a jury role? …What worries me is, what happens if the jury is wrong?"

    But in the recent cases of Vioxx, Trasylol and Redux, it was not the jury that was wrong in finding for the dead and injured, it was the drug manufacturers that "withheld key information from the FDA…while continuing to market their unsafe drug to an unsuspecting public," wrote the New England Journal of Medicine in a brief supporting Levine.

    The new FDA stance, then, promises Americans "the worst of both worlds … an FDA incapable of protecting them, and no tort system to provide compensation if they are injured," Georgetown University law professor David Vladeck wrote in the July Cornell Law Review.

    Despite the preventable loss of Diana Levine's arm, Phenergan's label still doesn't bar intravenous push. In 2006, six years after Levine's amputation, Marie Caschetta, an 84-year-old woman in South Daytona, Fla., suffered a similar fate after a push IV injection of the FDA-approved drug.

    So, as you follow the November election results, listen for news of Wyeth v. Levine - as if your right arm depended on it.

t r u t h o u t | High Court May Immunize Big Pharma

Newshoggers.com: White House Claims Osama Not 9/11 Mastermind

some time ago, after exposing all the 9/11 lies, i wrote that i doubted that bin laden was even involved in 9/11.  Now the white house is saying he was not the master mind.  who knew?  after 7 years of chasing bin laden "to the gates of hell" for 9/11, now they say he wasn't the master mind!  they're obviously trying to cover up their failure at catching him. 


White House Claims Osama Not 9/11 Mastermind

By Cernig
Who would have thought that on the day before the anniversary of 9/11, a White House press spokesperson would seek to redefine seven years of the war on terror just to flatter the White House's failure? That even this unmitigated disaster of an administration would have such gall? Yet, here we have it.
A reporter asked White House Press Secretary Dana Perino about the administration’s ongoing efforts to find the “mastermind” of 9/11, Osama binLaden. Perino interrupted the reporter, claiming binLaden was not the true “mastermind” of the attacks:

Q But Osama binLaden is the one that — you keep talking about his lieutenants, and, yes, they are very important, but Osama binLaden was the mastermind of 9/11 –

PERINO: No, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of 9/11, and he’s sitting in jail right now.

Perino also said “So there are human limitations to any — this is not the movies, we don’t have superpowers,” perhaps suggesting that's what it would take to catch Bin Laden.

(So now we know what John McCain's secret plan is - he's going to put his underpants on outside his pantyhose...)

As (Sgt.) Rock Richard says at VetVoice:

What happens when you can't catch the bad guy? You just decide he isn't the bad guy anymore, since you already caught the bad guy. Everybody wins!

And, perhaps as expected, the Associated Press swallows it whole and doesn't even burp, citing unquestioningly Perino's description of KSM as usurping binLaden's original place as mastermind and taking her at her word that it would need superpowers to catch the Al Qeada head despite the failure at Tora Bora.
Update: Larisa notes that 9/11 isn't even mentioned by the CIA on Osama's wanted poster.
"Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world."

Newshoggers.com: White House Claims Osama Not 9/11 Mastermind

Wounds Reopened As Racial Killing Case Reversed : NPR

All Things Considered, September 10, 2008 · For some families of those who died in violence of the era, the overturning of James Ford Seale's conviction in connection to the murder of two black teens in 1964 shows justice has been painfully slow. For others, the mere prosecution of the case was victory of a kind.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the conviction of Seale — a former reputed Klansman — on a procedural issue. Seale was tried last year on federal conspiracy and kidnapping charges in connection with the deaths of two black teens in Mississippi in 1964. The case was part of the Justice Department's effort to prosecute old civil rights cases.

This is the first time a federal civil rights conviction has been overturned since the government began prosecuting cold cases in 1989.

Charles Moore and Henry Dee, two young African-Americans from Franklin County, Miss., were abducted, severely beaten and dumped alive into the Mississippi River. Their bodies were recovered after federal agents began searching for three missing voting-rights workers in 1964. It wasn't until last summer, however, that the case went to trial. Seale was convicted and sentenced to three life terms, but now the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned his conviction.

"I don't understand. It's just beyond me," says Charles Evers, brother of Medgar Evers, who was targeted for his civil rights work and gunned down by a Klansman in 1963.

"They took the young men and killed them, and threw them in the Mississippi River for no reason," Evers says. "They had no charges against them at all other than they were black. It's injustice — racist justice."

The appeals court did not find a problem with the facts or the merits of the case against Seale but found a procedural issue. The court agreed with defense attorneys that the statute of limitations on the kidnapping charges had expired.

Judge Harold DeMoss said that while this "in some cases deprives society of its ability to prosecute criminal offenses, that is the price we pay for repose."

"It seems they gave a very reasoned decision to show why they agreed with us as to what the law was," says George Lucas, who is with the federal public defender's office in Jackson, Miss.

Lucas says attorneys are preparing motions now for Seale's immediate release. Seale is 72 years old and in poor health. He has been serving his sentence in a federal prison in Indiana. Before and during the trial, Seale denied involvement in the killings.

The Justice Department says it remains confident Seale is guilty of kidnapping the two young men, and that it's reviewing the court's decision.

Thomas Moore, a brother of victim Charles Moore, had pushed for the prosecution for years. He says the fact that the trial took place 43 years after the crime is still a victory.

"I brought it out in the people's eyes of Franklin County that was in so much denial — that this thing happened in Franklin County," he says.

Moore says the state should bring murder charges against Seale, because there is no statute of limitations on murder. Now that there's been a trial, many believe there's more evidence to make this case.

Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor in Birmingham, Ala., says most of the old civil rights cases were murder cases prosecuted in state courts, and he says this case has good potential to move forward.

"There was a conviction. There was enough evidence that a jury found that this defendant was involved in the kidnapping and possible murders," he says. "One would think state court now would have to take a very, very strong look because [the case has] essentially been made for them."

It has taken decades for defendants to be brought to justice in many of these old civil rights-era cases.

Jones ultimately secured convictions for the racially motivated murders of four little girls inside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, but it took 37 years. The successful prosecution of the Klansman who murdered Medgar Evers in Mississippi came three decades after the crime. Families of the victims still waiting say justice has been entirely too slow.

Wounds Reopened As Racial Killing Case Reversed : NPR

John McCain's ads are LIES. Here's the video proof.

This election matters, so I'm forwarding this message to everyone I know.   Please watch the video.    Let McCain win by attacking Obama with the truth, not distortions and outright lies.   McCain has voted with Bush over 90% of the time.   We can't take four or more years of that.   By the way, when I was teaching at the local Catholic elementary school, we taught the "good touch, bad touch" unit every year, beginning at least with kindergarten.    This is what McCain is referring to when he says Obama wants to teach sex ed to kindergartners.  
Subject: I'm John McCain and I approve this message

We have to spread the truth about McCain ourselves because it's clear the corporate media won't. NOW. FAST. FURIOUS. EVERYWHERE.

We are in the two-minute drill with no timeouts. No more sitting on the sidelines and allowing the McCain campaign to rack up points with countless distortions.

Watch the video and forward it to everyone you know.

As we've seen with The Real McCain 2 (nearly 4.5 million views and counting!), once the truth gets out, it's hard to stop. In the last few days we have seen a disgusting descent into the worst of sleazy smear politics. We need to spread the facts and the truth. Send this to your friends and relations, especially if they are unsure or undecided -- they're more willing to believe you than a talking head! Vote this video up on Digg and Reddit, and rate, comment, and favorite it on YouTube.

Spread the truth. Don't wait. It starts with you.

Robert Greenwald
and the Brave New team

YouTube - John McCain's ads are LIES. Here's the video proof.

Sarah Palin's Faux Populism | Media and Technology | AlterNet

Jim Hightower is a true populists of the people.  He has a fantastic whit and a keen mind.  If you've never heard of him, i highly recommend that you look him up and read some of his articles.  He's a hoot.  But today he's more serious because the "populist" moniker has been swiped by the most non-populist and nefarious movement this country has ever seen, Republican neo-conism.


It was not my intention to be writing about Sarah Palin, since everyone with a laptop, a No. 2 pencil or a red crayon seems to be covering that beat. But then came the pundits:

"She's a populist," gushed Karl Rove on Fox TV. Weird, since this right-wing political slime and corporate whore loathes, demonizes, mocks, fears and tries to destroy real populists.

"Perfect populist pitch," beamed CBS analyst Jeff Greenfield right after Palin's big speech at the GOP fawnfest in St. Paul. In his less infatuated moments, Greenfield surely must realize how ludicrous his comment was, since once, long ago, he co-authored a book that had "populist" in the title, so he has at least had a brush with the authentic people's movement that the term encapsulates.

So they made me do it. Karl, Jeff and other pundits who are rushing to place the gleaming crown of populism atop the head of this shameless corporate servant -- they are the ones who have driven me to write about Palin. Someone has to nail the media establishment for its willing perversion of language, American history and the substance of today's genuine populism.

Palin might be popular, she might be able to field dress a moose, she might live in a small town, she might enjoy delivering "news flashes" to media elites, she might even become vice president -- but none of this makes her a populist. To the contrary, she is to populism what bear is to beer, only not as close.

You want a taste of the real thing? Try this from another woman who hailed from a town (smaller than Wasilla, Alaska) and was renowned for her political oratory:

Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street and for Wall Street. ... Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. ...
There are thirty men in the United States whose aggregate wealth is over one and one-half billion dollars. There are half a million looking for work. ... We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the accursed foreclosure system wiped out. ... We will stand by our homes and stay by our firesides by force if necessary, and will not pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the Government pays its debts to us.
The people are at bay, let the bloodhounds of money who have dogged us thus far beware.

That, my media friends, is populism. It comes from Mary Ellen Lease, who was speaking to the national convention of the populist party in Topeka, Kan., in 1890. In a time before women could vote, Lease traveled the countryside to rally a grassroots revolt against the corporate predators of her day, urging farmers to "raise less corn and more hell." She didn't need to brag that she was a pit bull in lipstick, because her message, idealism and actions made her an actual force for change.

America has been blessed with populist women ever since, including such honest and insistent voices as Ida Tarbell, Mother Jones, Dorothy Day, Rosa Parks, Rachel Carson, Karen Silkwood, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Barbara Ehrenreich and Granny D. Measure Sarah Palin against these.

Populism was and is a ground-level, democratic movement with the guts and gumption to go right at the moneyed elites. It is unabashedly class-based, confronting the Rockefellers on behalf of the Littlefellers. To be a populist is to challenge the very structure of corporate power that is running roughshod over workers, consumers, the environment, small farmers, poor people, the middle class -- and America's historic ideals of economic fairness, social justice and equal opportunity for all.

"Populist" is not an empty political buzzword that can be attached to someone like Palin, whose campaigns (lieutenant governor, governor and now Veep) are financed and even run by the lobbyists and executives of Big Oil, Wall Street bankers, drug companies, telecom giants and other entrenched economic interests.

Populists don't support opening our national parks and coastlines to allow the ExxonMobils to take publicly owned oil and sell it to China. Palin does. Populists favor a windfall profits tax on oil companies that are robbing consumers at the pump while milking taxpayers for billions of dollars in subsidies. Palin doesn't. Populists don't hire corporate lobbyists to deliver a boatload of earmarked federal funds, then turn around and claim to be a heroic opponent of earmarks. Palin did. Populists favor shifting more of America's tax burden from the middle class to the superwealthy, while opposing another huge tax giveaway for corporations. Palin doesn't and doesn't.

Another thing populists don't do is sneer at community organizers, as Palin did in her nationally televised coming-out party. Indeed, populists of old were community organizers, as are today's. They work in communities all across our great land, putting in long days at low pay to help empower ordinary folks who are besieged by the avarice and arrogance of Palin's own corporate backers. Since the governor likes to put her fundamental Christianity on political display, she might give some thought to a new bumper sticker that expresses a bit of Biblical populism: "Jesus was a community organizer while Pontius Pilate was governor."

Environmental justice groups, ACORN, living wage campaigns, the Bus Project, clean water efforts, union organizing drives, PIRG, Fighting Bob Fest, Jobs with Justice, Apollo Alliance, United Students Against Sweatshops, the Evangelical Environmental Network, clean election initiatives, stopping mountaintop removal, USAction, community supported agriculture, Campus Progress, local business alliances, Citizens Trade Campaign, Wellstone Action -- these are but a few of those doing terrific community organizing today. They embody the vitality of modern populism, doing the essential grunt-level work of democracy.

What gives Palin any legitimacy to denigrate that? She embraces none of these causes, instead supporting the rich and powerful whom grassroots folks are having to battle. She's a plutocrat, not a populist. Big difference.

Sarah Palin's Faux Populism | Media and Technology | AlterNet

Assaults in Pakinstan without their approval.

Remember when Republicans said Obama was irresponsible for saying that if he has "actionable intelligence" that Bin Ladin was in Pakistan he would go get him?  Do you remember how horrible they were about his judgement and his lack of experience?  Remember when they said that pulling troops out of Iraq was another case of his bad judgement?  Well we're pulling troops out of Iraq and guess what Bush did in July!!

President Bush secretly approved orders in July that for the first time allow American Special Operations forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the prior approval of the Pakistani government, according to senior American officials. The classified orders signal a watershed for the Bush administration after nearly seven years of trying to work with Pakistan to combat the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and after months of high-level stalemate about how to challenge the militants' increasingly secure base in Pakistan's tribal areas. American officials say that they will notify Pakistan when they conduct limited ground attacks like the Special Operations raid last Wednesday in a Pakistani village near the Afghanistan border, but that they will not ask for its permission. "The situation in the tribal areas is not tolerable," said a senior American official who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the missions. "We have to be more assertive. Orders have been issued."

While Rome Burned...They Talked About Lipstick

While Rome burns, McCain wants to keep your focus on lipstick on pigs.  He shouldn't since the pig is his economic policy and the lipstick is him lying about how great it is.  There are real issues in the world today but you wouldn't know it listening to McCain.  He'd rather lie and say Obama legislated to teach kindergarteners "comprehensive sex education".  Of course this is just more Bull Shit to take weak minds off of the issues at hand.  Obama wanted a program that taught our most vulnerable about good and bad touching and what to do if anyone tried to touch them in a "bad way".  He wants to protect our children from pedophiles.  Good thing McCain is there to put up a commercial to demonize this sort of education.  What would the pedophiles do without him?
Here are some real issues facing us today that McCain doesn't want to talk about because he played a big part in causing every one of them:


U.S. global leadership is dwindling: "An intelligence forecast being prepared for the next president on future global risks envisions a steady decline in U.S. dominance in the coming decades." According to the U.S. intelligence community's top analyst, U.S. leadership is eroding "at an accelerating pace" in "political, economic and arguably, cultural arenas."

Market diving, another massive bank may collapse: Stocks fell 280 points on Tuesday, a dive that was accelerated when concerns mounted about the Lehman Brothers investment bank's ability to raise capital. "Waves of selling wiped out nearly half of Lehman's value in the stock market on Tuesday, leaving the firm, one of the nation's oldest and largest investment banks, in an all-out fight for survival," the New York Times reported.

Fear of violence, terrorism slows Iraq withdrawal: "U.S. defense officials said the president's decision to withdraw only 8,000 soldiers from Iraq reflects a persistent concern among top commanders that the improvements in security could be temporary and that renewed violence could erupt. Officials fear that Iran might reactivate the Shiite Muslim militias it's armed and trained and that the Sunni group al Qaida in Iraq is trying to reestablish itself in Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city."

Iraqi parliament gridlocked: "Iraqi lawmakers returned from their summer recess Tuesday, still gridlocked over the critical law on provincial elections and with no new vote in sight."

Economy weakening: "The U.S. economy continues to be marked by weak housing and labor-market conditions," the Wall Street Journal reported today, "suggesting economic performance will be sluggish at best through the end of the year."

On 9/11 anniversary, aviation still vulnerable: "The nation's top domestic security official," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, "said Wednesday aviation remains vulnerable to terrorist attack

seven years after 9/11."

Unemployment rising: The nation's unemployment rate has "bolted above the psychologically important 6 percent level last month for the first time in five years," the AP noted over the weekend, "and it's likely to go even higher in the months ahead, possibly throwing the economy into a tailspin as Americans pick a new president." Moreover, a new study released yesterday showed that pending home sales dropped 3.2% in July, reversing gains made in June.

Federal deficit ballooning: The weak economy is not only devastating the federal government's coffers -- likely driving the federal budget deficit over the $500 billion mark by January, according to government estimates -- but is also depleting state unemployment insurance trust funds.

U.S. 'running out of time' in Afghanistan: "The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today the U.S. is 'running out of time' to get the war in Afghanistan right and announced that he was developing a "new, more comprehensive strategy" to cover the entire region."

Military suicides reaching record levels: Suicides among active-duty soldiers this year "are on pace to exceed both last year's all-time record and, for the first time since the Vietnam War, the rate among the general U.S. population," according to Army officials.

U.S.-Russia relations worsening: "Just three months ago, President Bush reached a long-sought agreement with Russia intended to open a new era of civilian nuclear cooperation and sent it to Congress for review. Now, according to administration officials, Mr. Bush is preparing to scrap his own deal."

OPEC trying to prevent oil prices from falling: The OPEC oil cartel announced its intention to reduce oil production by approximately half a million barrels per day in what the New York Times described as "a bid to stem a rapid decline in oil prices in recent weeks."

And that's not even counting the 36 million Americans living in poverty this year, the sky high prices of gas and food, the sinking consumer confidence, and the 46.9 million people without health insurance (about 16 percent of the total population), etc.

No, the stories above are just from the last few days...

While Rome Burned...They Talked About Lipstick

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

CNN’s Ware: McCain ‘has no idea what is going on in Iraq.’

BROWN: OK. So, reality check on McCain. Are we really winning in Iraq, and is the surge the reason?

WARE: Well, first, let me say, the troops will come home with honor regardless. I mean, the way they have comported themselves in this war, they have earned that honor.

Winning, however, is a matter of definition. Now, if by winning, you mean strengthening a member of what President Bush called the axis of evil, Iran, the very thing Senator Obama — Senator McCain says that they prevented, Iran is stronger because of this war.

If you mean by dividing a community with blast barriers, if you mean by having to build an American militia, if you mean by destabilizing the entire region, then, sure, that’s winning, that’s victory. But I’m not sure that’s why people went in there.

BROWN: It doesn’t sound like you think that’s winning.

WARE: Well, at this point, a win may just be getting out while minimizing the damage.

Now, to what degree has the surge played into this? Again, that’s a matter of definition. What exactly is the surge? I would love to hear Senator McCain explain that — 30,000 troops…

BROWN: The increase in troops, the 30,000 troops. That’s what he means, though, when he says it, right?


WARE: Yes. Well, if that’s what he means, then he has no idea what is going on in Iraq, because what has delivered the successes we’re seeing now, as drops of 80 to 90 percent in violence, and who doesn’t welcome that, began two years ago or more, when the U.S. began engaging with its enemy, the Sunni insurgency when it started bringing in al Qaeda, and putting them on the U.S. government payroll, setting them loose on hard-core al Qaeda elements, and setting them loose on Shia militias.

BROWN: So, strategy, rather than the 30,000 troops?

WARE: Yes, the 30,000 troops was sort of like the icing on the cake.

BROWN: Right.

WARE: But the success that you’re seeing right now has been building for two years. And it also includes accommodating someone who was one of your number-one enemies, which was Muqtada al-Sadr, and turning him into a legitimate political figure.


Think Progress » CNN’s Ware: McCain ‘has no idea what is going on in Iraq.’

Gov't officials probed about illicit sex, gifts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties improperly engaged in sex with employees of energy companies they were dealing with and received numerous gifts from them, federal investigators said Wednesday.

The alleged transgressions involve 13 former and current Interior Department employees in Denver and Washington. Their alleged improprieties include rigging contracts, working part-time as private oil consultants, and having sexual relationships with — and accepting golf and ski trips and dinners from — oil company employees, according to three reports released Wednesday by the Interior Department's inspector general.

The investigations reveal a "culture of substance abuse and promiscuity" by a small group of individuals "wholly lacking in acceptance of or adherence to government ethical standards," wrote Inspector General Earl E. Devaney. Devaney's office spent more than two years and $5.3 million on the investigations.

The reports describe a fraternity house atmosphere inside the Denver Minerals Management Service office responsible for marketing the oil and gas that energy companies barter to the government instead of making cash royalty payments for drilling on federal lands. The government received $4.3 billion in such royalty-in-kind payments last year. The oil is then resold to energy companies or put in the nation's emergency stockpile.

The Associated Press: Gov't officials probed about illicit sex, gifts

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

College kids being lied to in order to suppress the youth vote.

Officials in charge of voter registration in Virginia seem to be asking for Federal investigation… According to this press release from this extremely important battleground state, students are being told that they risk losing their scholarship and tax dependency status if they register to vote in their college, as opposed to home, state.    And surprise, it appears all these warnings are bogus and have one impact and one impact only: to suppress voter turnout among college-aged people, who are overwhelmingly supporting Obama this year.   Memo to Virginia: that’s illegal. 


Last week, Virginia’s Montgomery County, home to Virginia Tech, issued a press release regarding proper protocol for college students registering to vote. In interviews with Inside Higher Ed Tuesday, it was described by turns as “unsubstantiated,” “chilling,” and (more generously) as not “incredibly encouraging or friendly.”  

It reads, in part: “The Code of Virginia states that a student must declare a legal residence in order to register. A legal residence can be either a student’s permanent address from home or their current college residence. By making Montgomery County your permanent residence, you have declared your independence from your parents and can no longer be claimed as a dependent on their income tax filings — check with your tax professional. If you have a scholarship attached to your former residence, you could lose this funding. And, if you change your registration to Montgomery County, Virginia Code requires you to change your driver’s license and car registration to your present address within 30 days.”

Sujatha Jahagirdar, program director for the Student Public Interest Research Group’s nonpartisan New Voters Project….[said]  “For a county registrar to issue what really are in our experience unsubstantiated warnings for a particular demographic is alarming,” … “It’s upsetting that this is coming up in Virginia. But it’s even more upsetting that the ability of young people to vote is questioned in many other states too.”

She added: “In 25 years of registering young voters around the country, none of the staff has ever heard of a single incident where a student has lost their tax status or their scholarship because of where they’ve registered to vote.”

I wonder why Montgomery County election officials would lie about the ramifications of registering to vote?   Does anyone else smell a lawsuit?

Crooks and Liars » Virginia county issues “chilling” voter registration report

Why are Republicans such suckers in supporting the elite over their own self-interest?

In recent weeks, John McCain and the Republican party have blatantly and without any shame adopted the Democratic campaign theme of “change”. It should be evident to an objective observer that Bush 43 and now McCain and Pailin are mere puppets to the true Republican national party leaders who control their strings. Cheney is one of the few of that inner cabal that have been calling the shots since the Nixon administration. They are in fact a continuation of the Nixon and Ford presidencies with only a disruption during the Carter and Clinton years. Bush 41( Head of the RNC during Nixon,former head of the CIA,VP to Reagan, and president is probably the real leader of this political Cosa Nostra if not a equal partner of this power sharing musical chairs game. His right and left hands have been Dick Cheney(former Sec.of Defense of Bush 41, former White House Chief of staff for Ford) and the other is Donald Rumsfeld(former Sec. of Defense for Ford and Bush 43,former special envoy to the Middle East during Reagan). Another member of this group, more likely a captain if not a full blown boss himself is James Baker (former C.O.S of Reagan, former Under Sec. of Commerce for Ford, former C.O.S and Sec of State for Bush 41, former Sec. of Treasury for Reagan, former chief legal advisor to Bush 43). Another captain or free lance enforcer is Karl Rove a college drop out and campaign manager for both Bush 41 and 43, also for Phil Gram who is McCain’s economic advisor.
Lets look at McCain’s staff of change.
On July 2, 2008, Steve Schmidt was given "full operational control" of McCain's campaign. Steve Schmidt prior to this was a top aide to Dick Cheney and a protégé to Karl Rove. Another advisor is Charles R. Black worked for Ronald Reagan's two Presidential campaigns in 1976 and 1980 and he was a senior political adviser to the 1992 re-election campaign of George H.W. Bush. Another advisor is Randy Scheunemann. He was project director for the Project for the New American Century. A neo-conservative think tank founded by non other than Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Bill Kristol and others in 1996. Other signatories to this group reads like a who’s who of the last 8 years of the republican administration. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century.
These people have never cared about small town america or “values” All they care about is war profiteering. Many of the signatories have never served in the military. Cheney and Rove both dodged the draft. Look at the statement of principles by the PNAC. Rumsfeld was a good friend of Saddam Huessin in the 80’s Cheney didn’t want Nelson Mandela free. These are the real puppet masters, they throw out the talking points about the left of being elitist and not caring about middle america and these same guys other than Rove have advanced degrees and are worth no less than 10 million dollars. People who support them need to extricate their heads out of Limbaugh and Hannity’s asses and see what is really happening to them. McCain is not his own man he confuses stories of his real life with a book he read “The Gulag Archipelago", in which a fellow prisoner - not a guard - silently drew a cross in the dirt with a stick.” An ironic twist to all this is Eliot A. Cohen, a signatory to the PNAC "Statement of Principles", responded in The Washington Post: "There is no evidence that generals as a class make wiser national security policymakers than civilians. George C. Marshall, our greatest soldier statesman after George Washington, opposed shipping arms to Britain in 1940. His boss, Franklin D. Roosevelt, with nary a day in uniform, thought otherwise. Whose judgment looks better?"[
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/johnmccain/2581086/John-McCain-accused-of-plagiarising-Wikipedia-for-speeches.html. Even if you don’t like Obama there is no-way a sane person can want this continued blatant fleecing of our Nation.

Thes are all verifiable facts and can be found just with a google search and wikipedia.

Other than the ultra affluent, how can anyone support the Republican party? When will small town America realize that they are being duped into supporting the ultra-affluent agenda. The talking points of the right are so hypocritical that it becomes laughable. The red meat of the right is the so called Main stream Media as if Limbaugh, Hannity, et al. are not part of it. They demean celebrity status, however they tout one of their greatest presidents(Reagan) was an actor. They say they are the party of patriotism, yet many of the upper echelon of the party have never served, i.e. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Baker, Reagan. They say that they care about "Main Street" USA but only bail out the Whales of Wall Street. Yet small town America eat this tripe every year. They don't care about relgion unless it can be used to stir up the base, nor science or technology unless there is a buck to be made. Small town America takes pride on its freedom but yet don't realize that over time we are becoming less free, ie wire tapping and other forms of domestic survelliance. They demean people of intelligence because they know many people of small town America don't have degrees and use it at a fake issue and call people who spent time in academia as elitist when many on the right serve on university boards and have part-time professorships. They say they are against affirmitive action but yet celebrate mediocrity, Bush43 and McCain graduating at the bottom of their classes. Who both came from already well established families and had all the opportunities and connections to excel. Why does small town America believes this is the party for them? Christian conservatives seem to the be the first ones who want to go to war and bomb someone before any diplomacy is tried. Why can't small town America and Christian conservatives realize they are being used as pawns just as much the Islamic fundamentalist are. Islamic fundamentalist come from small town Middle East and given the same kind of talking points as the evangalicals. They want prayer in school, no choice available to women, and believe to the core that their ideas about worship and country are the best. Wake up small town America you are being duped.

Talking about who is more patriotic, symbols, and wearing pins are nothing more than distractions to the real issue of how a few select group of people have held power almost continously for over 30 years. Yes the left has thier own political power groups but none have been so effective at pushing forward an agenda that is fundamentally bad for the U.S. and in a larger view the entire world. I stress again the now defunct PNAC and the AIPAC have been slowly pushing us closer to another World War. Bush41 and et al have been doing this and no one calls them on it. Every Republican admistration has basically the same people recycled since Nixon. Just do a little research and you will see that these people are just pushing this agenda of some kind of Pax Americana and not taking into account that maybe other nations of the world might not like that and if not bomb them.
Many people who support the Republican party, really need to read "1984" by George Orwell and see how we as nation have been inching closer to that type of society. People think this story is about a communist society, but it is more about how a society is kept in a constant state of fear in order for the ruling class to stay in control. Doublespeak, patriotism to the point of frenzy, censhorship, erosion of civil liberties (not respecting the constitution) is happening right in front of us. The cosilidation of government (the executive branch has never been more powerful than ever). No real independent journalism. Cameras on street corners. This may sound like delusional conspiracy stuff, but I implore people to research for themselves to really see what is happening to them. People think this could never happen here in the U.S. but all this has already happening, slowly, icrementally all under the guise of "keeping America safe"

I posted thes comments on other political blogs and I send them to you to use them or do with them as you please. I truly hope that Senator Obama will be able to stem this tide of facism and break this cycle of fear that has beem slowly eroding the American dream.

Posted by: IronComments | September 9, 2008 5:07 AM