Monday, March 31, 2008

An innocent man loses 5 years of his life at Guantanamo Bay

This guys story fits a pattern. It becomes impossible not to believe that this kind of torture became, for a while at least, systematic during the Bush years.

At the age of 19, Murat Kurnaz vanished into America’s shadow prison system in the war on terror. He was from Germany, traveling in Pakistan, and was picked up three months after 9/11. But there seemed to be ample evidence that Kurnaz was an innocent man with no connection to terrorism. The FBI thought so, U.S. intelligence thought so, and German intelligence agreed. But once he was picked up, Kurnaz found himself in a prison system that required no evidence and answered to no one.

The story Kurnaz told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley is a rare look inside that clandestine system of justice, where the government’s own secret files reveal that an innocent man lost his liberty, his dignity, his identity, and ultimately five years of his life.
Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

Clinton: All The Way to Denver

Josh Marshall has been analysing Hillary's comment that, "I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests and until we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we don't resolve it, we'll resolve it at the convention -- that's what credentials committees are for."

He seems to think that Hillary's next move is revealed in that last phrase:

By saying she'll continue through the remaining ten contests, regardless of the outcome, and implicitly, I take it, regardless of any superdelegate declarations over the next two months, Sen. Clinton is saying it's no longer about pledged delegates, or superdelegates or popular votes. It's about Florida and Michigan. Period.
I find this simply bizarre. Hillary herself has already conceded that the votes from Michigan and Florida will not count.
"It's clear, this election they're having is not going to count for anything," Clinton said Thursday during an interview on New Hampshire Public Radio's call-in program, "The Exchange." "But I just personally did not want to set up a situation where the Republicans are going to be campaigning between now and whenever, and then after the nomination, we have to go in and repair the damage to be ready to win Michigan in 2008."
Speaking in the first primary state, Clinton said she understands concerns about her refusal.
She said at the time that she understood people being concerned about her refusal to take her name off the ballot and that it was only on there to counter the Republican's, who would be campaigning there. Now, she does a complete about turn, and announces that it is imperative that these votes be counted.

Indeed, now she's saying that this is the most important thing to be decided.

This goes beyond saying and doing anything to win, this is simply two faced and hypocritical. It's no wonder her approval rating is going through the floor.

I wonder if this kind of behaviour accounts for this:
Barack Obama has extended his lead over Hillary Clinton among Democrats nationally to 52% to 42%, the third consecutive Gallup Poll Daily tracking report in which he has held a statistically significant lead, and Obama's largest lead of the year so far.
Hillary sometimes acts as if no-one is watching her as she reverses promises which she has previously made and decides that the importance of certain things changes according to whether or not it improves her chance of her gaining the prize.

It's been an astonishing spectacle to witness her and her supporters telling us which states matter and which voters are important and unimportant. The short answer is that the people who vote for her matter and the rest don't.

Simply astonishing.

Click title for Josh Marshall's article.

Lieberman Tries to Say the Democratic Party Left Him

This is simply ridiculous. McCain is the nearest thing on offer in this election to JFK? I don't think even McCain would make that claim. Lieberman should simply join the Republicans and be done with it.

Here's what he was saying in 2006:

The man's an arsehole.

Al-Sadr calls ceasefire after six days of clashes

Al Sadr has announced a ceasefire in Basra, which is astonishing enough, although he appears to be doing having, to all intents and purposes, defeated that brave warrior Maliki of Arabia in his attempt to crush the Mahdi army ahead of the regional elections.

The government's plan to win control of Basra may now be abandoned, after more than 300 deaths. Its authority was further damaged when soldiers were shown on television handing over their weapons to the Mehdi Army.

The Roads to Iraq website is carrying more saying that al Sadr has given the Iraqi government a 9 point list, which the government have agreed to, as his conditions for a ceasefire:
The newspaper says that among the points is the withdrawal of the Iraqi and American forces from Basra, stop the raids against the Sadrists, Maliki to return to Baghdad in 48 hour followed by the ministers [Defense and Interior].
I wonder how Bush will attempt to spin this defeat? Days ago he was hailing this as "a defining moment in the history of Iraq". Now Maliki has agreed to leave Basra within 48 hours and stop raids against the Mahdi army. It's hard to sell that as "a defining moment in the history of Iraq" unless it is a moment which illustrates your defeat.

Followers of Mr Sadr handed out sweets as a symbol of victory in his main stronghold of Sadr City, though hours later, rockets were still being fired towards the government and American headquarters in the Green Zone. The US military was shocked at the speed with which the crisis span out of control. Boasts about the ability of the Iraqi army to cope on its own are demonstrably untrue.

Maliki consulted no-one before he launched this assault, an assault which he rather bizarrely led from the front, and an assault which he obviously hoped would manage to displace his rival al Sadr ahead of the forthcoming elections. His attempts to displace al Sadr have resulted in total failure. And Bush, rather than question why Maliki had chosen now to challenge al Sadr, hyped the whole thing up as "a defining moment in the history of Iraq".

No doubt they will now try to sell this as al Sadr backing down and offering a ceasefire and will concentrate on the statement that, "Because of the religious responsibility, and to stop Iraqi blood being shed, we call for an end to armed appearances in Basra and all other provinces."

However, to do so one would have to ignore the fact that the Mahdi army have not disarmed and have announced that they will not do so until the occupation ends.

This humiliating climbdown by Maliki of Arabia surely spells the end for his administration? I can't see how he is left with a single shred of credibility after this enterprise.

Bush, of course, is much more used to humiliating failure and wears it like an old suit, so I expect the events of the past few days will simply morph into the rest of his history in that country and have no effect at all on him.

We are so used to hyperbole from this man that he can actually claim that we are witnessing, "a defining moment in the history of Iraq", a moment in which the forces he is backing are soundly defeated, and none of us even stop to ask ourselves the significance of what has just occurred.

That says something. It says that most of us, deep down, know that the president is full of shit. So there's no need to pay too much attention to what he says, even when he claims that we are witnessing "defining moments of history". He says stuff like that all the time, it's simply not important. And even when he's defeated during such a "defining moment", we simply shrug it off as yet another defeat in a long, long line of defeats.

However, what's most clear from these recent events is that the myth that the Iraqi army are going to stand up so the US forces can stand down, is simply that: a myth.

Click title for full article.

Mugabe clings on despite election defeat

Well, this is hardly a surprise is it?

Robert Mugabe was desperately trying to cling to power last night, despite his clear defeat in Zimbabwe's presidential election, by blocking the electoral commission from releasing official results and threatening to treat an opposition claim of victory as a coup.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said that what it regards as the overwhelming win by its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, is "under threat" despite growing support from foreign monitors for its claim of victory. The party also said it had "security concerns" after a police raid on its election offices yesterday. Tsvangirai made no public appearances, apparently out of concern for his safety.

Mugabe is now warning Tsvangirai not to claim that he is the president as that "is called a coup d'etat and we all know how coups are handled".

Independent monitors have said that Tsvangirai won 56% of the vote and that Mugabe - and I still find this figure astonishingly high - won 36%.

Mugabe's regime have yet to release any official results and seem not to know how to respond to such an overwhelming defeat, a defeat on such a scale that even Mugabe will have a hard time convincing anyone that he won.

The MDC's secretary general, Tendai Biti, said the party was increasingly alarmed at the refusal of the state-run Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to issue any results. "It appears the regime is at a loss how to respond ... We are really concerned by this assault on democracy. The primary point of an election is a result. We think there is a constitutional threat to those results," he said.

Normally in Zimbabwe the results of elections are posted within hours of the election taking place.

The ZEC's chairman, George Chiweshe, declined to explain why he was still not issuing results more than 24 hours after the polls closed. "This is a complicated election and we will release the results when we have them," he said.

There is no such thing as a "complicated" election as they all work on the exact same principle. People vote and someone counts the votes and announces the result. This election only appears to be "complicated" because it's not given the answer that Mugabe wanted.

They say that most Zimbabweans are not celebrating as there is a real fear that Mugabe will not accept the result and simply stand down after 28 years, and I have to say that this is a fear that I understand. I would be astonished if Mugabe simply strolled into the sunset, accepting that he had been defeated.

But from what the international monitors are saying it is strongly suspected that Mugabe has been defeated.

South African monitors said they believed the opposition had won but would hold off on a public statement until the official results were announced. The Pan-African parliament observer mission warned against further delays in issuing the results.

A British foreign office minister, Mark Malloch-Brown, said it was "quite likely" that Mugabe had lost despite "massive pre-election day cheating".

It'll be interesting to see what Mugabe does next.

Click title for full article.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Equates Obama's Preacher to Jeffrey Dahmer

This woman is simply too insane for words.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck says after a defense of Barack Obama's pastor that she shouldn't judge him just on cherrypicked comments without taking into account his 20 years of good to his community: "Would you say, ... I'm sure at some point Jeffrey Dahmer ate peanut butter sandwiches doesn't make the fact that he ate people any less wrong."

Clinton Vows To Stay in Race To Convention

Hillary Clinton and her supporters have given their answer to Dean's plea that this contest be brought to a close by early June:

In her most definitive comments to date on the subject, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Saturday to put to rest any notion that she will drop out of the presidential race, pledging in an interview to not only compete in all the remaining primaries but also continue until there is a resolution of the disqualified results in Florida and Michigan.
The truth is that there is already a resolution of the results in Florida and Michigan, they were disqualified, as everyone - including Hillary - accepted at the time. For her to now argue that an election of which she previously stated, "It's clear, this election they're having is not going to count for anything," MUST now count reveals the shamelessness of her position.

And it's a shamelessness which now spells out future attacks the Republican party might consider should Hillary not be given what she wants.

A day after Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean urged the candidates to end the race by July 1, Clinton defied that call by declaring that she will take her campaign all the way to the Aug. 25-28 convention if necessary, potentially setting up the prolonged and divisive contest that party leaders are increasingly anxious to avoid.

"I know there are some people who want to shut this down and I think they are wrong," Clinton said in an interview during a campaign stop here Saturday. "I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests and until we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we don't resolve it, we'll resolve it at the convention -- that's what credentials committees are for.

"We cannot go forward until Florida and Michigan are taken care of, otherwise the eventual nominee will not have the legitimacy that I think will haunt us," said the senator from New York. "I can imagine the ads the Republican Party and John McCain will run if we don't figure out how we can count the votes in Michigan and Florida."

It is now becoming imperative that the super delegates declare their voting intentions as soon as they can - and that they vote according to the will of the electorate - as this appears to be the only way to stop this woman and her supporters from dragging the Democratic party through the mud and sullying their chances come November.

Clinton's game is becoming increasingly bitter. She has threatened to have her backers withdraw funding from the party unless she gets her way, she has announced her plan to ignore the delegate count, super delegates who announce their support for Obama have been labelled as "Judas", and she has generally behaved in a way which has alienated huge swathes of the Democratic party.

Her response to all of this is that she doesn't care and she has every intention of keeping going even though she has almost no chance of winning.

The best scenario that even her most rabid supporters can come up with - and it's highly unlikely that even this is remotely possible - is that she might win the popular vote - by this amount:
Under a scenario that includes the Florida and Michigan votes for Clinton, gives Obama all of the uncommitted Michigan votes, estimates the votes for all the caucus states and includes the Washington primary, Clinton wins by about 16,000 votes -- or about a tenth of one percent....
At this point she would still be behind Obama in the delegate count, but the plan - and I'm flattering it to call it such a thing - is that Hillary could claim victory based on the fact that one tenth of one percent of the voters, having included contests that everyone - including Hillary - have accepted as disqualified, would give her an overall lead in the number of votes cast. At this point Hillary would expect the super delegates to hand victory to her. Marvel comics couldn't come up with a scenario as fantastical as this one.

It's simply astounding that her campaign has sunk to such an extent that intelligent people are forced to scuttle around in the gutter holding up such unlikely scenarios as a reason for Hillary to continue in what is blatantly a lost cause. And yet that is precisely what is happening.

Hillary and her supporters have simply lost their minds. I mean seriously, does anyone regard that scenario as even remotely possible? The very fact that she has accepted that she can no longer win the delegate count ought to tell everyone all they need to know about what has happened here. Hillary has lost.

She and her supporters are now reduced to compiling ridiculous scenarios which simply won't happen in a million years, whilst simultaneously issuing dire threats to the party should anyone attempt to deviate her from her suicidal course.

She and her supporters should be ashamed. One should have dignity in defeat, but Hillary is showing none. Instead, she is simply refusing to accept what is a statistical reality, and is, once again, moving the goalposts over how this contest should be decided.

This is now becoming simply shameful.

Click title for full article.

British army joins battle to control Basra

The British army have now joined up with Maliki's forces in an attempt to defeat al Sadr's Mahdi army in Basra.

Military sources admitted that the militia had consolidated a number of 'criminal strongpoints' in the city. The involvement of the British is the first time UK forces have engaged militias since the Iraqi army operation, personally supervised by the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, began in the city last Tuesday morning.

British army spokesman in Basra, Major Tom Holloway, told the BBC the engagement had been successful: 'This is something we were always prepared to do. There are still a number of militia criminal strongpoints in the city, and we know where they are. Elsewhere they are consolidating their positions and gains.'

British aircraft have been patrolling above the city during the course of the operation, but have not so far been used to attack militia positions.

This week Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, is expected to confirm that the planned withdrawal of 1,500 British troops from Iraq this spring is on hold amid the heavy fighting in Basra. However, he will insist that bringing significant numbers home is still an option.

This is simply outrageous. Why should young Brits die so that Maliki can take on al Sadr? After all, Maliki did not consult anyone before he launched this assault, so why should we be required to bail him out once he discovers that his forces are not up to the job?

As I said yesterday, I am not remotely surprised that Bush should engage American forces in Maliki's battle, because Bush's entire reputation is tied to this conflict, even though I find it abhorrent that young Americans should die for this act of folly.

But just what Brown is playing at is lost on me.

The New York Times reported from Baghdad yesterday that senior members of several political parties were growing critical of the military operation in Basra ordered by al-Maliki, which they said had been poorly planned. It reported that at a news briefing in Basra, Iraq's defence minister, Abdul-Kader Jassem al-Obeidi, conceded the assault had not gone according to expectations. 'We were surprised by a very strong resistance that made us change our plans,' he said.

Maliki, in a ridiculous act of bravado, went to Basra to personally direct the troops, having consulted with no-one before he left, and now finds that he is well out of his depth. That can hardly have come as a surprise to anyone but himself.

And now both the US and UK forces are having to bail this man out of his act of stupidity. What happened to "as they stand up, we shall stand down"?

From all the reports that I am reading, things are not going according to plan:
Shiite militiamen in Basra openly controlled wide swaths of the city on Saturday and staged increasingly bold raids on Iraqi government forces sent five days ago to wrest control from the gunmen, witnesses said, as Iraqi political leaders grew increasingly critical of the stalled assault.

Witnesses in Basra said members of the most powerful militia in the city, the
Mahdi Army, were setting up checkpoints and controlling traffic in many places ringing the central district controlled by some of the 30,000 Iraqi Army and police forces involved in the assault. Fighters were regularly attacking the government forces, then quickly retreating.
The whole thing is bound to end in tears, which makes our voluntary involvement in it all the more odd.

Click title for full article.

Zimbabwe opposition claims huge poll win

I'll be astonished if the results are allowed to stand, but Morgan Tsvangirai is claiming that the opposition have "massacred" Mugabe's party in the Zimbabwean elections.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) defied a government ban on pre-empting the official announcement of the election results and released the count from polling stations that showed Tsvangirai beating the man who has ruled Zimbabwe for 28 years, even in the president's home territory of Mashonaland.

'We've won this election,' said Tendai Biti, the MDC's secretary-general. 'The results coming in show that in our traditional strongholds we are massacring them. In Mugabe's traditional strongholds they are doing very badly. There is no way Mugabe can claim victory unless it is through fraud. He has lost this election.'

I've pointed out before that inflation in Zimbabwe is running at 100,000% according to government figures, although many believe it may be four times as high as that. Only one in five people have a job, so it's no surprise that Mugabe is being thrashed in an election, what will be surprising will be if he allows the result to stand, rather than - once again - outrageously claiming victory and using his thug police force to ensure that his false claim is made real.

The government's electoral commission has yet to release the counts formally. But the MDC said that declarations posted at polling stations across Zimbabwe last night, and gathered from its agents observing the counts, showed Tsvangirai ahead of Mugabe in every province where results were available. The most dramatic gap was in Mashonaland West, where the MDC candidate had 88 per cent of the vote to the president's 12 per cent.

Even in rural areas, where Mugabe has traditionally commanded support, he was taking only half as many votes as Tsvangirai, according to the MDC. In Harare, the opposition candidate was pulling in three times as many votes as the president. It was not clear what proportion of the overall vote the results represented, but Biti claimed it was substantial and the trend was 'irreversible'.

He said the MDC was releasing the results ahead of the electoral commission to head off any attempt by the government to tamper with the figures when they are centrally collated, as they believe happened in the presidential election that Mugabe won by a narrow margin six years ago.

'We don't trust the electoral commission. It isn't independent. We made the mistake in 2002 of not claiming our victory,' he said. 'If they arrive at figures which are different, we will not accept that, pure and simple.'

I wish Tsvangirai well. Obviously, the best thing for Zimbabwe would be for Mugabe to accept his defeat and allow Tsvangirai to attempt to take steps to halt the dreadful slide towards becoming a failed state which Mugabe has driven that nation to.

However, I have no great faith that this is what Mugabe will allow.
The MDC's move came despite a warning by Zimbabwe's police chief, Augustine Chihuri, who said he will not permit the opposition to declare victory.
This what they are up against, a police force who make no attempt to hide the fact that they see themselves as part of Mugabe's government and who openly make threats against the opposition party.

Mugabe's state run Herald newspaper is saying that Mugabe has won the election with 57% of the vote. This gives us some indication of how Mugabe is going to try and play this.

Click title for full article.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

John "American" McCain.

A few people have picked up on this. Why does this ad end by calling John McCain the "American" president Americans have been waiting for? As opposed to what exactly? Is he saying that the black guy isn't really an American? It's certainly a very odd construct of a sentence.

It's war, Mugabe says, as opposition prepares for battle

Mugabe goes to the polls today in Zimbabwe against Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC party and ex-finance minister and independent Simba Makoni.

Mugabe kept his face straight when he announced, "We don't rig elections."

Inflation in Zimbabwe currently runs at 100,000% and eighty percent of the population are unemployed. What does he think he's going to get re-elected on, a wave of popular support for his policies?

He is depicting the fight ahead as a war:

"We must deliver the final blow against the British on March 29," he told one of his final election rallies. "We are in a war situation. This is a time to fight, not pleasure."
He's been delivering final blows to the British for the past twenty eight years so they're obviously a tougher bunch than we imagined.

David Coltart, a parliamentary candidate for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Bulawayo, told voters in a campaign letter that the election is their "chance to change the course of Zimbabwean history for the better". He added: "Zimbabwe is in such a terrible state that we do not have the luxury of making a mistake. Another five years of Zanu-PF rule will completely destroy Zimbabwe.

"In football terms Zimbabwe was in the premier league in 1980 ... Next season we will not even be able to play because the players have no boots, balls or kit. The goalposts have fallen down and the ground is overgrown."

The situation in Zimbabwe is simply intolerable:

Economists say inflation is probably four times the official figure of 100,000% and is likely to escalate further with the government presses furiously turning out cash to pay for its election campaign and salary increases for disaffected soldiers and civil servants whose income has been wiped out by hyperinflation.

Regular power cuts are likely to give way to no electricity at all, the water supply is drying up and the last of Zimbabwe's factories will close for lack of supplies. Food supplies are scarce and the fields produce only a fraction of Zimbabwe's needs amid a shortage of seeds, fertiliser and irrigation. Many more people will leave the country.

I don't care what anyone says, if Mugabe wins that election, the fix is in. How can the four fifths of your population who are unemployed vote for the man who did this to their country?

Click title for full article.

John McCain struggles to read off a teleprompter

Watching this painful attempt by McCain to read a teleprompter, gives us some indication as to why he should be so keen to dismiss Obama's oratory skills. If part of being a leader is inspiring people through the power of your rhetoric, then this guy simply doesn't cut the mustard.

Hillary: The "Big Boys" are "bullying" a woman.

It was bound to be the card she would play. Howard Dean has urged the super delegates to make up their minds by July 1st, which many of us are taking as an indication that Hillary's campaign is effectively over. After all, this is the women who threatened to take this matter all the way to the floor of the convention in Denver, and Dean appears to be indicating that the party is not prepared to stand by while Hillary engages in this kind of destructive behaviour.

Indeed Senator Pat Leahy went as far as to demand that Hillary stand down and start backing Barack Obama.

"There is no way that Senator Clinton is going to win enough delegates to get the nomination. She ought to withdraw and she ought to be backing Senator Obama," Leahy told Vermont public radio.
Hillary has issued her response. She has said that she will not "be bullied" out of the race and is implying that this is being done because she is a woman.

In a conversation with two Democratic allies, she compared the situation to the “big boys” trying to bully a woman, according to interviews with them.

No-one is bullying Clinton because she is a woman, but senior party officials are trying to make her aware of the fact that the race is all but lost, and that the more she attacks Obama in the personal way that she has been doing, the more she threatens the party's chances in November.

I don't see why Clinton finds that so hard to take on board.

Howard Dean, who really has stayed as far out of this as possible, explained his logic:

While not assigning blame, Mr. Dean said some attacks by the candidates’ supporters and surrogates would complicate efforts to unify the party after it had a nominee.

“The tone has changed in the last three or four weeks,” he said in an interview. “And the emotional content has increased to the point where it is in some cases unhealthy.

“If we have an ugly, divided convention, we will lose,” he said. “John McCain is not a strong candidate for president. The only way we lose is if we are divided.”

As Senator Leahy says, Hillary "has every right, but not a very good reason, to remain a candidate for as long as she wants to."

I don't expect logic to pierce the extraordinary hide of the average Clinton supporter, so perhaps the super delegates should get off their arses and indicate where their votes are going to go by July 1st and put Hillary and her supporters out of their bloody misery.

Click title for full article.

American warplanes join Iraqi troops in taking the fight to Shia militia

Maliki's assault on his rival in the forthcoming election in Basra really is starting to look a bit shaky. The Iraqi forces, the boys who will stand up so that the US can stand down, have had to ask the US for help.

US aircraft attacked Shia militia in Basra for the first time in the current round of fighting as intense battles continued between supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr and tens of thousands of Iraqi forces in a crackdown personally supervised by Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

British troops, based at the city's airport, were kept away from the operation described by George Bush as "a defining moment in the history of Iraq".

American fighter jets dropped bombs on a mortar team and a militia stronghold in Basra, said Major Tom Holloway, a British military spokesman. The number of casualties was unknown.

I have no idea why Bush would want to get his forces involved in what appears to be a political battle between Maliki and al Sadr ahead of the coming elections in Basra, elections that it is being predicted that al Sadr would win.

But for months now we have been told that the fall in casualties means that the "surge" is working. Now we are being told that the outbreak of violence is a sign that the surge is working. This "surge" simply can't fail under any circumstances, as everything that happens seems further proof that it "is working."

Maliki started out demanding that al Sadr's forces disarm within 72 hours. They have now extended that until 8th April, which is sure fire sign that things are not going well. Indeed, Abdel Qader Jassim, the defence minister, has voiced his "surprise" at the resistance that his forces have been met with from the militia. He's actually expressing his "surprise" that the Mahdi army can put up a fight.

And, of course, as Iraqi's witness this assault on the city of Basra, protests are breaking out all over Iraq.
As protests spread across Iraq, US aircraft also attacked Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, killing at least five civilians, according to Iraqi police and hospitals.

Defying a curfew, protesters again attacked the US-protected Green Zone in the capital with mortars and rockets. Elsewhere at least 22 people, including six civilians, were killed in fierce fighting in the southern cities of Mahmoudiya, Nasiriya - now held by elements of Sadr's Mahdi army - and Kut, according to reports from police and army officials cited by news agencies.

The British appear to be making it very clear that this is between Maliki and al Sadr and that they want nothing to do with it, which makes Bush jumping into Maliki's battle all the odder to work out.

"The operation was planned, implemented, and executed by the Iraqis. We will only intervene if requested by the Iraqis," the MoD said.

As if to drive home the point, an official added: "It is their operation, their responsibility to bring security to Basra and Iraq as a whole."

The US forces are showing no such reticence and Bush has actually employed boots on the ground, no doubt because the brilliantly trained Iraqi forces are having their arses kicked.

Four U.S. Stryker armored vehicles were seen in Sadr City by a Washington Post correspondent, one of them engaging Mahdi Army militiamen with heavy fire. The din of American weapons, along with the Mahdi Army's AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, was heard through much of the day. U.S. helicopters and drones buzzed overhead.

The clashes suggested that American forces were being drawn more deeply into a broad offensive that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, launched in the southern city of Basra on Tuesday, saying death squads, criminal gangs and rogue militias were the targets. The Mahdi Army of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite rival of Maliki, appeared to have taken the brunt of the attacks; fighting spread to many southern cities and parts of Baghdad.

The same Washington Post article states that Maliki decided on this action without consulting his US allies, so if I was an American I'd be seriously pissed that young American lives are being risked to help Maliki take out a political rival ahead of an election.

Bush is giving it the large one but to be honest he probably feels like the has no choice now. He is tied irrevocably to Iraq and he has to sell every twist and turn as a positive development. So, when Maliki starts a battle - and is then "surprised" with the force that he encounters - the US under Bush feel they have no option other than to engage and fight his war for him.

The British do not feel so inclined and I have to say that I am with Brown on that one. Maliki needs to realise eventually that, if he starts battles, he has to finish them or lose them. He can't always expect to call on the Americans to do his fighting for him.

Click title for full article.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dean urges superdelegates to choose between Clinton and Obama by July 1

The tide is turning against Hillary in the Democratic presidential race to be nominee. Howard Dean has now stated that super delegates should make their mind up by July 1st. It's impossible to believe that Hillary will have reversed Obama's lead in the delegate count by then which would lead to the conclusion that the majority of them would support Barack Obama.

And it appears that this is the result of consultation with a series of leading Democrats.

"I think it would be nice to have this all done by July 1. If we can do it sooner than that, that's all the better," Dean told ABC television. "We don't want this to degenerate into a big fight at the convention."

Dean said he was floating the proposal after consulting with senior Democratic leaders including Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson and John Edwards, the one-time rival to Clinton and Obama.

Dean has also held discussions with Clinton and Obama.

And the support for Obama is coming in all directions:

He got an additional psychological boost with a call from Patrick Leahy, a senator from Vermont, for Clinton to get out of the race. "There is no way that Senator Clinton is going to win enough delegates to get the nomination. She ought to withdraw and she ought to be backing Senator Obama," Leahy told Vermont public radio.

The support from Casey, an anti-abortion and anti-gun control Democrat popular among working-class male voters, could help Obama narrow Clinton's double-digit lead in the state.

"I believe in my heart that there is one person who's uniquely qualified to lead us in that new direction and that is Barack Obama," Casey told a rally in Pittsburgh yesterday.

I've said for ages that the men in grey suits should politely tell Hillary to step off the stage and, although she is proving reluctant to do so, the only other way is for the super delegates to pledge their allegiance early and bring this farce to an end. Hillary simply doesn't seem to have worked out that this is over and someone needs to spell it out to her. I suppose the super delegates are the very people to do that job.

The pointlessness of Hillary continuing is summed up in this article from Peggy Noonan and her experience attending a Hillary rally:

I sat next to a woman, a New York Democrat who'd been for Hillary from the beginning and still was. She was here. But, she said, "It doesn't seem to be working." She shrugged, not like a brokenhearted person but a practical person who'd missed all the signs of something coming. She wasn't mad at the voters. But she was no longer so taken by the woman who soon took the stage and enacted joy.

The other day a bookseller told me he'd been reading the opinion pages of the papers and noting the anti-Hillary feeling. Two weeks ago he realized he wasn't for her anymore. It wasn't one incident, just an accumulation of things. His experience tracks this week's Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showing Mrs. Clinton's disapproval numbers have risen to the highest level ever in the campaign, her highest in fact in seven years.

Anyone who reads here regularly will know that, in the beginning, I didn't care which Democrat won the nomination as I would have happily supported either of them. However, Hillary's negativity - especially when measured against Obama's ability to inspire and uplift - simply wore me down.

At first I was prepared to think that Bill's Jesse Jackson comments were simply a way of reminding the party that the Clinton's were ready to fight the Republican attack dog machine in a way that Obama wasn't.

I was willing to cut them some slack. However, eventually she simply wore me down with her constant attacks and the final one - that she and McCain had experience and Obama didn't - was simply too much to bear.

Noonan again:

What, really, is Mrs. Clinton doing? She is having the worst case of cognitive dissonance in the history of modern politics. She cannot come up with a credible, realistic path to the nomination. She can't trace the line from "this moment's difficulties" to "my triumphant end." But she cannot admit to herself that she can lose. Because Clintons don't lose. She can't figure out how to win, and she can't accept the idea of not winning. She cannot accept that this nobody from nowhere could have beaten her, quietly and silently, every day. (She cannot accept that she still doesn't know how he did it!)

She is concussed. But she is a scrapper, a fighter, and she's doing what she knows how to do: scrap and fight. Only harder. So that she ups the ante every day. She helped Ireland achieve peace. She tried to stop Nafta. She's been a leader for 35 years. She landed in Bosnia under siege and bravely dodged bullets. It was as if she'd watched the movie "Wag the Dog," with its fake footage of a terrified refugee woman running frantically from mortar fire, and found it not a cautionary tale about manipulation and politics, but an inspiration.

I'm delighted that Dean and the Dems appear to be ready to say, "enough already!"

Noam Chomsky - What’s Best For the Iraqis?

Chomsky is on the money as always. Of course, what he states will simply be ignored, as we operate from an elevated position of moral righteousness.

"We can profess principles, but they only apply to others, not to us."

Hat tip to The Largest Minority.

Obama: McCain is offering the same failed Bush economic plan.

Why Hillary Keeps Going.

It actually makes me despair when I read bunkum like this:

Obama is getting creamed by the Rev. Wright revelations, even though Democratic primary voters aren't paying attention. It will be quite different in the general, as most of us who deal in the world of political reality know.
Firstly, the fact that "Democratic primary voters aren't paying attention" is proof in itself that Obama is not "getting creamed" by this, and secondly, anyone continuing to support a candidate who is losing as profoundly as Hillary is losing is probably not living "in the world of political reality" and should refrain from lecturing others about the real world.

But Taylor Marsh is simply indicative of the campaign that Hillary, herself, is fighting. It has been called "the audacity of hopelessness" by a New York Times pundit and it's not hard to see why.

Hillary, herself, has spoken about why she keeps going:

"I hear it in the atmosphere," Clinton said of the increasingly loud chatter about whether she should drop out and let Democrats focus on the general election campaign.

"But the most common thing that people say to me ... is 'Don't give up, keep going. We're with you.' And I feel really good about that because that's what I intend to do," she told reporters on Tuesday.

This level of self delusion is simply astounding. But, of course, many of Clinton's supporters couldn't care less about the damage that they may inflict on the party because they have announced that should Obama be the candidate that they would rather vote for John McCain.

And it's hardly surprising that they would feel this way as Hillary Clinton has told them that she is fit for the job, as is McCain, but that Obama is not ready for the job - despite the fact that she has already hinted that he should become her Vice President.

Now, at last, the press have started to write about what many on the blogosphere have been saying for weeks, the race is over and Clinton has lost.
Somebody forgot to tell Hillary Clinton the Democratic presidential race is over and Barack Obama won. Obama has captured more state contests, more votes and more of the pledged convention delegates who will help decide which Democrat faces Republican Sen. John McCain in November's presidential election.
The notion that this will be allowed to continue for the next few months is simply hideous, as Hillary and her supporters - of whom 28% say they will vote for McCain rather than Obama - will simply continue to hack away at Obama with no thought whatsoever to any damage they might be doing to Obama's eventual chances against McCain in November. After all, they are not voting for him so why should they care?

But it surely can't be in the Democratic parties interest to allow this whole thing to drag on? Almost one in three Hillary supporters say they won't vote for Obama, so let them go before they do any more damage to the party's chances in November.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Clinton's tactics are alienating super delegates.

The super delegates are saying that Hillary's tactics are turning them off her and that they would much rather see which candidate is better at fighting John McCain rather than bashing the other Democratic candidate.

The Clinton campaign has been actively wooing these delegates, believing a plurality represents the strongest, and increasingly the only, way for her to win the nomination. But one undeclared delegate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the recent tactics are turning her and other superdelegates off.

"I don't think anybody's saying 'step aside,' but 'stop with the garbage' is what people want to say," the delegate said. "Just chill a little bit."

As activists committed to the party, they said, they have been impressed by Obama's ability to bring new Democrats into the fold, and they worry that Clinton is threatening that.

"We like the fact that there is a candidate that has won so many states overwhelmingly," the delegate said. "We're feeling her advisors are leading her in a path that diminishes her as well as him."
I'm surprised that they are willing to let her keep going whilst she is inflicting so much harm on the presumptive nominee and can only imagine that this won't last forever if Clinton keeps attacking Obama as opposed to McCain.

But it is the tactics of her campaign - and it's tone - that appears to be annoying so many super delegates, just as it is annoying almost every sensible Democratic supporter, with the exception of Taylor March and the guys over at My DD.
Several said they were angered by comments from James Carville, who called Bill Richardson "Judas" for backing Obama after serving in the Clinton White House. One delegate said Richardson's rationale for supporting Obama, and his implicit frustration at the Clintons' heavy-handed approach to garnering his support, was echoed among superdelegates.

Others said they were frustrated by recent reports that Clinton embellished her description of landing in Bosnia as First Lady, and said it suggested she would do anything to win. "I don't remember what movie I saw two weeks ago; I don't necessarily remember what I had for dinner last night," one superdelegate said. "But I would remember having to duck and run from sniper fire."

The final straw, though, were Clinton's comments Tuesday, when she said the Rev. Jeremiah Wright "would not have been my pastor." Several superdelegates saw it as a direct, personal attack on Obama.

"I think it's very dangerous for any candidate to constantly thrum on what they perceive as sensational criticisms of their opponent," said Debra Kozikowski, an uncommitted superdelegate from Massachusetts. "I would be more likely to respond positively to discussions of issues that effect Americans versus what might be perceived as character flaws."
And as Clinton and others continue to put forward their bizarre reasons for why the super delegates should disenfranchise the electorate and give the nomination to Hillary, the good news is that they appear not to be buying into any of her arguments.
And they say they are not buying some of the Clinton campaign's explanations as to why they should support her, whether it is her victories in large states, primary states or those likely to go Democratic in the November election.

"Periodically, over the last couple of weeks, you will see a news story or get something from the campaign, and you'll go, 'How stupid do you think I am?" one uncommitted superdelegate said. "All of us watch television all the time, read the newspapers. We all play with the little charts online too. We know it is virtually impossible."
Only yesterday Taylor Marsh linked to a story - without condemning it - which stated that Hillary intended to pursue the Tonya Harding Option, and that, if necessary, she would have to break Obama's back and make him totally unelectable in order for her to win victory. That was simply the latest in a series of shameful pronouncements from Camp Hillary that imply she will put herself in front of the good of party in her desire to grab the nomination.

Hopefully, this warning from the super delegates will serve as a timely reminder that this tactic is proving counter productive. And, hopefully, if she doesn't stop, the super delegates will declare ahead of Denver and finish her campaign off.

Click title for full article.

Now Clinton's Supporters Threaten to take their ball away unless they get what they want.

Hillary's supporters have written to Nancy Pelosi and are furious that she has said that super delegates should support the winner of the pledged delegate count and are demanding that she say that they should make an "independent" choice.

Several states and millions of Democratic voters have not yet had a chance to cast their votes.

We respect those voters and believe that they, like the voters in the states that have already participated, have a right to be heard. None of us should make declarative statements that diminish the importance of their voices and their votes. We are writing to say we believe your remarks on ABC News This Week on March 16th did just that.

During your appearance, you suggested super-delegates have an obligation to support the candidate who leads in the pledged delegate count as of June 3rd , whether that lead be by 500 delegates or 2. This is an untenable position that runs counter to the party’s intent in establishing super-delegates in 1984 as well as your own comments recorded in The Hill ten days earlier..
And then there is the inevitable reminder that they donate cash to the party with, one can only presume, the implied threat that this situation could change:
We have been strong supporters of the DCCC. We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August. We appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the Party and hope you will be responsive to some of your major enthusiastic supporters.
In other words, do what we say or the money might stop flowing towards the party. Hillary's gang are plumbing ever depressing depths to attempt to overturn the democratic wishes of the electorate and are now threatening to withhold funding from the party unless Pelosi retracts her statement that super delegates should back the electorate's choice.

These are the same people who, no doubt, understood the outrage felt by many when the Supreme Court handed George Bush the presidency in 2000 thanks to the the Florida recount. It is, to me, inconceivable that they do not see that many of us would regard a Hillary victory as just as illegitimate should that victory be handed to her by super delegates overturning the electorate's wishes because they feel she might be a better placed candidate to win. (Despite the fact that few believe that to be the case anyway.)

Once again, it simply seems like there is nothing that the Hillary camp won't sink to. Now they're resorting to open threats of financial punishment if they are not allowed to overturn the wish of the majority of the electorate. Unbelievable. In the "Democratic" Party...


Now she threatens to take this all the way to the convention.

How many more threats is this woman going to make to the Democratic Party? She really would bring the whole house down unless she gets what she wants.


Perhaps it's this "win at any cost" mentality which accounts for this:
As expected, one of the two major Democratic candidates saw a downturn in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, but it's not the candidate that you think. Hillary Clinton is sporting the lowest personal ratings of the campaign. Moreover, her 37 percent positive rating is the lowest the NBC/WSJ poll has recorded since March 2001, two months after she was elected to the U.S. Senate from New York.

As for the damage this controversy did or didn't do to Obama, it's a mixed bag. Yes, Obama saw some of his numbers go down slightly among certain voting groups, most notably Republicans. But he's still much more competitive with independent voters when matched up against John McCain than Hillary Clinton is. And he still sports a net-positive personal rating of 49-32, which is down only slightly from two weeks ago, when it was 51-28. Again, the biggest shift in those negative numbers were among Republicans.
The dirtier Clinton fights, the more she loses support, which is why her present strategy is simply lunacy. She's literally sinking in the polls like a bloody stone.

Click title for full article.

What do Iraqi's think of the occupation? Five Years On...

I can only find this taster of Charlie Rose's interview with two Iraqi's online, but Glenn Greenwald and Crooks and Liars have much more.

As Greenwald says:

The significance of the interview lies as much in what it says about the American occupation of Iraq as it what it illustrates about the American media. In the American media’s discussions of Iraq, when are the perspectives expressed here about our ongoing occupation — views extremely common among Iraqis of all types and grounded in clear, indisputable facts — ever heard by the average American news consumer? The answer is: “virtually never.”
It's well worth going to Salon or Crooks and Liars and watching the entire segment. Here's a quote from the whole interview which is not on the clip which I managed to fnd:

ROSE: And obviously, what we want to accomplish on this fifth anniversary of the American invasion, or the coalition invasion of Iraq, is how they see it as Iraqis, five years later. Give me an assessment.

ALI FADHIL: That’s a big question, assessment. Well, basically, probably, I`ll kind of sum it in a few words.

It’s — we have a country where the government is not functioning after five years. We have too many internal problems. And we have the violence increasing day after day.

We have a huge crisis of refugees inside and outside Iraq. We have a total failure of the — of the civilian — the civilian structure and what’s happening inside. We have the sectarian divisions increasing. We didn’t have that before. Now we have it. So, basically, my assessment is we have a whole nation called Iraq, now it’s wiped out.

Click title to go to Greenwald's page.

Iraq implodes as Shia fights Shia

Fresh in-fighting is breaking out in Iraq with Shia fighting Shia for the first time.

A new civil war is threatening to explode in Iraq as American-backed Iraqi government forces fight Shia militiamen for control of Basra and parts of Baghdad.

Heavy fighting engulfed Iraq's two largest cities and spread to other towns yesterday as the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, gave fighters of the Mehdi Army, led by the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, 72 hours to surrender their weapons.

The gun battles between soldiers and militiamen, who are all Shia Muslims, show that Iraq's majority Shia community – which replaced Saddam Hussein's Sunni regime – is splitting apart for the first time.

Mr Sadr's followers believe the government is trying to eliminate them before elections in southern Iraq later this year, which they are expected to win.
However, that's not how George Bush has chosen to see the situation. He's decided that what we are looking at is actually a positive development.
In an interview with The Times, he backed the Iraqi Government’s decision to “respond forcefully” to the spiralling violence by “criminal elements” and Shia extremists in Basra. “It was a very positive moment in the development of a sovereign nation that is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law,” the President said.
I know that Bush has spent the last five years attempting to sell the war in Iraq as a resounding success, when most of us see it as the very opposite, but even by his standards of Machiavellian spin, selling this as a positive must be some kind of a new low:

Mortars and rockets launched from Mehdi Army-controlled districts of Baghdad struck the Green Zone, the seat of American power in Iraq, for the third day yesterday, seriously wounding three Americans. Two rockets hit the parking lot of the Iraqi cabinet. The mixed area of al-Mansur in west Baghdad, where shops had begun to reopen in recent months, was deserted yesterday as Mehdi Army fighters were rumoured among local people to be moving in from the nearby Shia stronghold of Washash. "We expect an attack by the Shia in spite of the Americans being spread over Sunni districts to defend them," said a Sunni resident.

Forty people have been killed and at least 200 injured in Basra in the last two days of violence. In the town of Hilla, south of Baghdad, 11 people were killed and 18 injured yesterday by a US air strike called in support of Iraqi forces following street battles with Shia militia members in the city's Thawra neighbourhood. In Baghdad, 14 have been killed and 140 wounded.

The supporters of Mr Sadr, who form the largest political movement in Iraq, blame the Americans for giving the go-ahead for Mr Maliki's offensive against them and supporting it with helicopters and bomber aircraft. US troops have sealed off Sadr City, the close-packed slum in the capital with a population that is the main bastion of the Sadrists, while the Mehdi Army has taken over its streets, establishing checkpoints, each manned by about 20 heavily armed men. It is unlikely that the militiamen in Basra will surrender as demanded by the government. Sadiq al-Rikabi, an adviser to Mr Maliki, said those who kept their weapons would be arrested. "Any gunman who does not do that within three days will be an outlaw."

So, Bush is backing a plan to take on the Mehdi Army ahead of fresh elections, elections which Muqtada al-Sadr believes he will win. The Mehdi Army have been engaged in a ceasefire with the US up until now, so this latest development is one that it is very hard to see in a positive light.

The US are claiming that their fight is not actually against the Mehdi Army:
"This is not a battle against the [Mehdi Army] nor is it a proxy war between the United States and Iran," said a US military spokesman, Major General Kevin Bergner. "It is [the] government of Iraq taking the necessary action to deal with criminals on the streets."
The Mehdi Army appear to disagree with that notion. And there are very few Iraqi's who buy into that thesis either, with Sunnis expressing their delight that the US/Iraq forces are finally tackling the Mehdi Army.

I find it hard to see this development as a "very positive" one.

Click title for full article.

And another claim turns out to be false

That trip to Bosnia is simply proving a truth free zone for Hillary Clinton as the American press have started piling on to her, now they realise that her initial claim of landing under sniper fire was wrong. She also made the claim that she was the only First Lady to visit a war zone since Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943.

Turns out that fact's in need of a little fact checking too. First Lady Pat Nixon visited Vietnam in 1969. This is a very bad week for Hillary, and she was so enjoying skewering Obama over Reverend Wright until all this came along....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Clinton admits to error over sniper fire claim during Bosnia visit

US elections are odd bloody things, as they are so rarely fought over issues, and tend to focus on bizarre side shows which are supposed to highlight the candidates "character". In this way the Republican party have been very successful at getting working class Americans to vote against their own economic interest.

And this election - to establish who will be the Democratic presidential nominee - has been no different from the others. We have watched screeds of newsprint concentrate on the words of Obama's minister, with the implication that he must share this man's views, rather than watching newspapers actually discuss what Obama intends to do and how that differs from Clinton's plans.

And Hillary has been an expert at playing this game, highlighting her own experience and dismissing Obama's most blatant rhetorical gifts as merely "words".

Which makes her most recent gaffe all the more surprising.

She had claimed to remember landing in Bosnia under sniper fire.

"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

The footage which has surfaced shows that she did no such thing, which has prompted that rarest of things: a Clinton climbdown.

Hillary Clinton has had to admit that she exaggerated her claim of coming under sniper fire during a visit to Bosnia in the 1990s, after video footage showed the then first lady walking calmly from her plane.

The Clinton campaign played down the episode as a "misstatement" and a "minor blip". But it was seized on by supporters of her rival for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama, as further evidence of Clinton inflating her foreign policy experience during her time in the White House.

I love how Hillary gets to tell us all that this is a "minor blip", as if the person who commits the transgression gets to define how important we should all view that transgression.

At the heart of this issue is the fact that Hillary is greatly overstating her experience, implying that her husband's presidency was, in fact, her own. For the truth is that Hillary is actually not that much more experienced than Obama. But, by constantly seeking to overstate her "experience" Hillary has stumbled into this quite avoidable blunder.

She sought damage control by an interesting route.

At a press conference in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, yesterday, she said: "So I made a mistake. That happens. It shows I'm human, which for some people is a revelation."

She sought to hit back by stoking up the row over Barack Obama's fiery pastor, claiming that she would have left any church where such intemperate remarks had been made. "He would not have been my pastor," Clinton said, in her first public comment since the row began more than two weeks ago. Obama has remained in the pastor's church for 20 years.

In a dig at Obama, she said: "You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend.

"Everyone will have to decide these matters for themselves. They are obviously very personal matters ... I think the choice would be clear for me."

She first seeks to make the fact that she has been caught telling a huge porkie as proof that she "is human", and announces that this should be good news to some people; and then, immediately, launches into an attack on Obama and the fact that he has decided to stick by the minister who married him and baptised his children, despite the fact that he holds some views which Obama disagrees with.

This is where US elections really start to tire me out. I am willing to accept the fact that Hillary Clinton is not some kind of fantasist, and that she has genuinely misremembered what took place in Bosnia. I honestly don't believe that she simply lied her head off. She's much too intelligent a lady to stand up in public and tell such an obvious whopper and not expect to be caught out. But why, when she is forced to admit that her memory of what happened in Bosnia is flawed, does she have to start attacking Obama for standing by his minister?

Why, in God's name, can't we just stick to debating the policies? For whilst the two Democrats are tearing each other apart over "character", the Republican candidate is conflating Iran and al Qaeda forces in Iraq and being given a total free pass from the American media.

This is why I think Clinton should have stepped down on March 5th. After Texas and Ohio, when she failed to make any significant inroads into Obama's delegate lead, the contest has in effect been over for her. By continuing after that point she is serving no other purpose other than to harm the eventual Democratic nominee.

Just once, I'd love to see Hillary attacking John McCain, and accepting that Obama would be a great President, is that too much to ask of someone seeking the Democratic nomination?


The Carpetbagger Report has a good summary of this:
This may sound cynical, but my guess is that media interest in Clinton’s debunked Bosnia story had become too great a distraction. The controversy (and damaging videos) undermined Clinton on two fronts — credibility and national security experience — both of which are of critical significance.

So, how better to change the subject that to revive the Jeremiah Wright story with brand new criticism?

Clinton has been offered repeated chances to comment on the Wright controversy for three weeks. She’s not only declined, she’s avoided saying a single word. Today, all of a sudden, Clinton has all kinds of concerns she’s anxious to share. What a remarkable coincidence.

What’s more, we now have a situation in which John McCain defended Obama against Wright-related charges, and Mike Huckabee defended Obama, but Hillary Clinton sat down with editors of a conservative newspaper to reignite a fire that had already largely gone out.

Less than a week ago, former Mondale campaign manager Bob Beckel said, “Many liberals like myself, who would be happy to support Hillary Clinton if she earned the nomination, would abandon her if her campaign seeks to exploit the Wright controversy either in the remaining contests or with superdelegates.”

Now, it appears she’s doing both. I’d hoped Clinton was above this.

The truth is that Hillary will willingly go into the gutter if she thinks it would help her win the nomination.


Taylor Marsh highlights the Clinton plan whilst bizarrely failing to condemn it:

l just spoke with a Democratic Party official, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly, who said we in the media are all missing the point of this Democratic fight.

The delegate math is difficult for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the official said. But it's not a question of CAN she achieve it. Of course she can, the official said.

The question is -- what will Clinton have to do in order to achieve it?

What will she have to do to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in order to eke out her improbable victory?

She will have to "break his back," the official said. She will have to destroy Obama, make Obama completely unacceptable.

"Her securing the nomination is certainly possible - but it will require exercising the 'Tonya Harding option.'" the official said. "Is that really what we Democrats want?"

The Tonya Harding Option -- the first time I've heard it put that way.

I honestly don't know if I will ever be able to forgive Hillary for the shit she is currently engaging in. Or people like Taylor Marsh who appear to be sanctioning this stuff.

Click title for full article.