Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Newsmax: Obama Risks a Domestic Military ‘Intervention’

I really don't know just how far American right wing madness can go before their heads simply explode. We've had claims that Obama is not really an American. We've had calls that he is racist, a Marxist, a socialist, a fascist, and now this:

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it.

That last sentence is the journalistic equivalent of Glenn Beck's claim to be "just asking questions". It's feeding red meat to the insane brigade whilst attempting to hold on to a modicum of integrity.

They are so utterly enraged at their loss of power that they will actually feed the lunatics the notion that, perhaps, a military intervention is the way to "take back America."

  • Officers swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to “obey the orders of the president of the United States.”

  • Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.

  • They can see that Americans are increasingly alarmed that this nation, under President Barack Obama, may not even be recognizable as America by the 2012 election, in which he will surely seek continuation in office.

  • They can see that the economy — ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation — is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.

  • They can see this president waging undeclared war on the intelligence community, without whose rigorous and independent functions the armed services are rendered blind in an ever-more hostile world overseas and at home.

  • They can see the dismantling of defenses against missiles targeted at this nation by avowed enemies, even as America’s troop strength is allowed to sag.

  • They can see the horror of major warfare erupting simultaneously in two, and possibly three, far-flung theaters before America can react in time.

  • They can see the nation’s safety and their own military establishments and honor placed in jeopardy as never before.

    So, if you are one of those observant military professionals, what do you do?
  • When George Bush was president these very same people suggested that it was unpatriotic not to offer him 100% support as he fought two wars. Now, they actually float the notion of military intervention to remove a democratically elected president from office. And the people doing so are the very same people who demanded that Bush should be supported so that he could "spread democracy across the world".

    This kind of insanity and double speak actually makes your head spin.

    Even the people at Newsmax aren't insane enough to believe this bollocks as they write it, but it says a lot about where they think their audience are that they'll print this garbage to please them.

    I've said it before, but the American right wing are now simply bat shit crazy.

    Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

    Click title for full article.

    Crazy Conservatives At Take Back America Conference.

    Cenk looks at the latest Take Back America conference, which managed it's best ever attendance - a whopping 600 people - who embraced the conference message that Obama is both a fascist and a Marxist. Obviously we are in the Glenn Beck school of political affiliation here, where such terms become interchangeable.

    What's scary here is how many Republicans attended this tiny, unhinged convention: Huckabee, Bachmann, Trent Franks. The panel discussing Obama's Marxism, for example, was led by former Lt. Gen William G. Boykin, the man whose religious fervour became legendary:

    • June, 2003: "I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."[1]
    • Well, is he [bin Laden] the enemy? Next slide. Or is this man [Saddam] the enemy? The enemy is none of these people I have showed you here. The enemy is a spiritual enemy. He’s called the principality of darkness. The enemy is a guy called Satan.”
    • They’re after us because we’re a Christian nation.
    • Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he’s in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.
    And how did this former General suggest that the US could best protect itself from further terrorist attack? Believe it or not, his suggestion was "prayer". That's right, not weapons, not intelligence, but "prayer" is what Boykin told these nutters is the best way to keep the US safe.

    At this same conference we had Huckabee telling everyone that the US had to leave the UN. Others told of how the Sodomites were taking over the country and of Obama's hatred of white people.

    This group is almost a textbook definition of the lunatic fringe. And yet so many Republicans flocked to this tiny gathering of crazy folk to assure them that they speak their language. As Cenk says, this is simply embarrassing. These insane people are who the Republicans feel are now their base.


    Trent Franks, at the same convention, says that Obama is "an enemy of humanity".

    Brown loses Sun newspaper backing.

    One of the biggest jokes of the nineties was the claim by The Sun newspaper that "It Was The Sun What Did It!" when the Tories were swept back into power against all the odds after the 1992 election.

    Then, later that decade, The Sun mysteriously fell in love with New Labour and Tony Blair, causing some of us to think that they simply saw which way the wind was blowing and adjusted their sails accordingly.

    Well, we can all tell what way the wind is currently blowing, and it's not blowing towards New Labour, so it's utterly no surprise to find that The Sun has changed course once again.

    Gordon Brown's hopes of reviving Labour's fortunes suffered a setback after the Sun newspaper backed the Conservatives to win the next election.

    The paper on Wednesday says "after 12 long years in power, Labour has lost its way and now it has lost us too".
    They hope by doing this to pretend to the general public that their influence far outweighs what it actually is and to imagine that people actually read their newspaper for it's political content.

    They will now claim that Cameron's eventual and undoubted victory next year was somehow influenced by the fact that they changed sides and backed what we all know to be the probable winning horse.

    George Pascoe-Watson, the Sun's political editor, said that in 2005 the paper had "warned Labour that it had one last chance... to try and prove it was the right party for the country.

    "We've now decided after four more years, particularly after the prime minister's... underwhelming performance in his conference speech, that it was time now to take a verdict and announce that verdict to the nation," he told the BBC.

    "The prime minister failed to convince us he was the right man for the country.

    'We feel it's time for a new leader''.

    Mr Pascoe-Watson said the paper believed that Tory leader David Cameron had "the vision, the energy, the drive, the ideas to take the country forward".

    He added: "We believe he will cut away a lot of the red tape which is strangling British business.

    "We think he is a fresh administration, he's got good people around him, and we will be holding him to account.

    The notion that Cameron will be held to account is an especially sick one. This man has risen in the polls precisely because newspapers like The Sun don't even ask what his policies are.

    It's astonishing to me that this man is set to become our next Prime Minister without any of us having any real idea of what he proposes to do. But newspapers like The Sun have made a big deal out of the fact that he is not Gordon Brown, as if that in itself is a quality which entitles one to high office.

    And the ways in which he is not Gordon Brown are often ways which suit the business interests of Rupert Murdoch. For example, as I've written about before, Cameron is already promising to put Murdoch's interests before the Tory notions of true competition by promising to eliminate Ofcom as we know it. Ofcom have been spending their time recently looking into the "monopolistic control" Sky television have of certain areas of British broadcasting:
    Its [Sky Televisions's] 80% of Premier League football and 100% of movies from the big Hollywood studios prevent others from entering the market, and Sky sells these rights to others at too high a price. As a competition regulator, Ofcom's job is to keep the market open. Its new ruling requires Sky to sell on its rights to all comers at some 30% less than it currently charges. BT reckons this will drop the average cost of watching top-flight football by £10 a month.

    Ofcom's boldness drew an amazed intake of breath from industry players and observers. This is the first time a regulator has seriously challenged Murdoch's market power. Those who stood to gain – BT Vision, Virgin Media, Top Up TV and others — were delighted their protests were so bravely answered.

    Sky's chief executive replied immediately that it would challenge Ofcom using "all available legal avenues". This time, however, Ofcom is not expected to allow Sky to use the tactic of delaying regulators in the courts for years – it must comply and can appeal afterwards.
    Cameron has earned The Sun's backing by his reaction to that Ofcom judgement:
    "Ofcom as we know it will cease to exist. Its remit will be restricted to narrow technical and enforcement roles. It will no longer play a role in making policy."
    So, by promising that the power of Murdoch to dominate the British media will not be challenged by any overseeing body, Cameron has helped make himself The Sun's next preferred Prime Minister.

    This would be shameful enough if The Sun actually decided elections, but it's far worse to think that people like Cameron are giving away so much for so very little.

    Click title for full article.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Torture: It's impossible not to embrace it...

    The Republican descent into madness continues unabated.

    Liz Cheney, speaking at a recent gathering of conservative women:

    “Mr. President, in a ticking time-bomb scenario, with American lives at stake,” she said, “are you really unwilling to subject a terrorist to enhanced interrogation to get information that would prevent an attack?”

    By speech’s end, the crowd was standing, and the former vice president’s daughter was being mobbed for photos and hounded to run for office.
    Being pro-torture is becoming terribly close to the official GOP position. And certainly, from the crowds reaction, it's a terribly popular message amongst the right wingers.

    The lunatics are finally taking over the Republican asylum.

    Click title for full article.

    Huckabee in St. Louis: Get America Out of the U.N.

    Mike Huckabee has told a crowd at the “How To Take Back America” conference, that:

    “It’s time to get a jackhammer and to simply chip off that part of New York City,” said Huckabee, “and let it float into the East River, never to be seen again!” That remark got him a standing ovation, and Huckabee went on to suggest de-funding the U.N. entirely.

    “It’s time to say enough of the American taxpayer’s dollar being spent on something that may have been a noble idea, but has become a disgrace!” said Huckabee. “It has become the international equivalent of ACORN and it’s time to say enough!”
    He talked of the ridiculous speeches made by many of the speakers, although I am sure he would have loved the speech which I regarded as the most hyperbolic of any given.

    The truth, of course, is that Huckabee loathes the UN because he fears - apart from the fact that such an organisation runs contrary to his belief in American exceptionalism - that the UN would love to impose a two state solution on the Israel/Palestine dispute, when Huckabee has explicitly come out against a two state solution.

    This is because Huckabee is a believer in the end times, when the world will come to an end and God will reappear. This fantastical situation can only come into being as long as the Palestinians are made to disappear from what Huckabee and others regard as Eretz Israel. To that end, he has already called for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

    All of this should be borne in mind when one listens to Huckabee denouncing the UN.

    He's waiting for the second coming and he's worried that the UN might get in the way of it....

    Kennedy warns of potential violence.

    The American Life League, the Virginia-based Catholic antiabortion organization who produced 10,000 signs bearing the message, "Bury ObamaCare with Kennedy" have stated that there was nothing violent or insensitive about their message.

    “There’s absolutely nothing violent about the sign,” Brown said, noting that her group distributed 10,000 at a rally earlier this month on the national Mall; she could not immediately say how much they cost.

    “I believe it was extremely insensitive for his father to have advocated the death of millions of babies,” Brown said, referring to the elder Kennedy’s support for abortion programs. “I don’t think what we did was insensitive.
    I don't quite know what point she is trying to make here. Even if she thinks Kennedy was "insensitive" to support abortion, does his supposed insensitivity rule hers out? I mean, if someone is insensitive towards my beliefs, does that mean it's impossible for me to be insensitive towards theirs? It's an idiotic point which she is making.

    To use the death of Kennedy in the posters is insensitive in itself. And to suggest that other things, be it programmes or people, should follow Kennedy into death is also appallingly insensitive. And crass. And possibly encouraging violence.

    It really is quite indefensible.

    Kennedy's son, Patrick, has spoken out against this rhetoric:
    “My family’s seen it up close too much with assassinations and violence in political life. It’s a terrible thing when people think that in order to get their point across they have to go to the edge of violent rhetoric and attack people personally.”

    “They had mass-produced signs, ‘Bury ObamaCare with Kennedy,’ ” he said after the AARP event. “It wasn’t just an individual who was over the edge in their ideology and vitriol. This stuff was mass-produced and mass-distributed and mass-funded. When you put that together with folks around the country calling in very destructive ways for other things about Obama, and connotations of my family name, it’s not a real stretch as to what the message is here.”
    Some on the right are, as usual, cranking this up way beyond where decent people would choose to go.

    When you find yourself equating anything with an actual person's death and hoping that this death will be replicated, then you have gone too far.

    And that's before we get to polls like this one having to be removed from Facebook.

    These Republican dumbasses are playing with fire.
    Kennedy referenced an article published Friday on the news Web site Politico that cited interviews with former Secret Service, FBI and CIA officials also concerned that the intensity of today’s debate could produce violence. The article notes that this summer’s health-care protests included an episode where freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil Jr., D-Md., was hanged in effigy. Anti-energy bill protesters tarred and feathered an effigy of Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla.

    “It’s very, very dangerous,” Kennedy said in the interview. “We put a lot of people in jail around the world for threatening our country’s security. But this atmosphere of attack that doesn’t attack the issue, but attacks the people, is very disruptive to the institution of democracy, which relies on a respect for the opposition.”

    He continued: “George Wallace didn’t need a gun to pull a trigger. We just need to be mindful of the wisdom of people … who have been through these ugly periods in American history. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
    Kennedy is right. History shows us where this kind of rhetoric can lead. There is simply no excuse for anyone indulging in this crap, no matter how "insensitive" they think others have been to the things they care about.

    Click title for full article.

    Andrew Marr says he was right to quiz Brown over pill-taking.

    I thought this question was utterly out of line. Marr is pretending that the question is a valid concern, when in fact he is asking the equivalent of "Do you still beat your wife?"

    We all know that Labour are sinking in the polls, so much so that Brown is said to be considering taking part in a televised debate with the other candidates - which gives us some indication of how bad things are - but it's still out of line to ask a Prime Minister if he is so depressed that he is on anti-depressants. The very asking of the question puts him in a no win situation.

    Both Labour and the Tories have come out in condemnation.

    Earlier, Neil Kinnock led an all-out Labour attack on the BBC, saying Marr had “cheapened” the corporation by asking Gordon Brown the questions about his health.

    Lord Kinnock spoke of his fury at the interviewer's “poking and prying” questions. He told Channel 5 News: “I abominate them. The BBC is one of the greatest institutions in the world. They demeaned themselves, they cheapened themselves and the judgment of the journalist who asked the question has to be questioned.”

    Tory MP Nadine Dorries also criticised the BBC and warned Marr not to “overstep the mark” with similarly personal questions when he interviews David Cameron this weekend.

    Marr is attempting to defend himself by claiming that the question was perfectly fair:

    “It was a tough question and I clearly thought carefully before asking it,” he said. “I decided it was a fair question to ask or I wouldn't have asked it.”

    He said it was entirely his decision to ask Mr Brown about his health and nobody had lodged a formal complaint.

    “Nobody in No 10 or in the government have contacted me about this at all. I have had no contact from anybody, probably to their credit,” he told the mediaguardian website.

    Of course, nobody in No 10 has contacted Marr, why would they give this story legs? But I think it's safe to say that Marr has interviewed Brown for the very last time.

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    Joy Behar Takes Glenn Beck To The Woodshed.

    Joy Behar sums up the Glenn Beck phenomenon rather well. She's spot on when she says that he is "frequently ridiculous" and "doesn't make any sense."

    Any time I watch him I have real difficulty following his argument, and often doubt that he is actually making one. He just seems to be listing organisations and suggesting random connections as proof of some never quite defined plot. It really is conspiracy-theory TV.

    I'm sure it's riveting for people wearing tin foil hats, but watching someone dousing people with petrol and boiling plastic frogs leaves the rest of us open mouthed at the crassness of the man.

    Scott Ritter: Keeping Iran honest.

    Prior to the Iraq war I found Scott Ritter to be consistently right in a way that many of the right wing commentators were not. Here, he turns his attention to the recent revelations concerning Iran's nuclear facility at Qom.

    The need to create a mechanism of economic survival in the face of the real threat of either US or Israeli military action is probably the most likely explanation behind the Qom facility. Iran's declaration of this facility to the IAEA, which predates Obama's announcement by several days, is probably a recognition on the part of Iran that this duplication of effort is no longer representative of sound policy on its part.

    In any event, the facility is now out of the shadows, and will soon be subjected to a vast range of IAEA inspections, making any speculation about Iran's nuclear intentions moot. Moreover, Iran, in declaring this facility, has to know that because it has allegedly placed operational centrifuges in the Qom plant (even if no nuclear material has been introduced), there will be a need to provide the IAEA with full access to Iran's centrifuge manufacturing capability, so that a material balance can be acquired for these items as well.

    Rather than representing the tip of the iceberg in terms of uncovering a covert nuclear weapons capability, the emergence of the existence of the Qom enrichment facility could very well mark the initiation of a period of even greater transparency on the part of Iran, leading to its full adoption and implementation of the IAEA additional protocol. This, more than anything, should be the desired outcome of the "Qom declaration".

    Calls for "crippling" sanctions on Iran by Obama and Brown are certainly not the most productive policy options available to these two world leaders. Both have indicated a desire to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Iran's action, in declaring the existence of the Qom facility, has created a window of opportunity for doing just that, and should be fully exploited within the framework of IAEA negotiations and inspections, and not more bluster and threats form the leaders of the western world.
    There should be no surprise that Iran, faced with constant threats of attack on it's facilities by both the US and Israel, should have sought to hide part of it's nuclear programme. The really interesting thing is that it has made this declaration; it has come clean.

    Obama, Sarkosy and Brown have chosen to take the Netanyahu line in all of this, and I'm not sure how useful that will turn out to be.

    For example, in today's New York Times we are given lists of the various ways in which we can bring this regime to it's knees:
    The Obama administration is scrambling to assemble a package of harsher economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program that could include a cutoff of investments to the country’s oil-and-gas industry and restrictions on many more Iranian banks than those currently blacklisted, senior administration officials said Sunday.

    “There are a variety of options still available,” Defense Secretary
    Robert M. Gates, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said of the potential list of targets for Iranian sanctions, notably in energy equipment and technology. He called it “a pretty rich list to pick from.”
    I know that they have to prepare themselves in case Ahmadinejad refuses to allow inspections, but aren't we getting way ahead of ourselves here?

    Ahmadinejad has said that he will allow inspections. Shouldn't we at least wait the few days until the talks before we start issuing threats of what we will do if we don't get our way? Indeed, the very fact that we are issuing so many threats, and making it clear that we have a myriad of ways to hurt the Iranians, makes me feel that we are actually worried that we won't get these sanctions past the Russian and Chinese veto, which is causing us to overplay our hand.

    The most important thing that we need to keep in mind is that the announcement regarding Qom changes nothing at all in terms of Iran's capability to manufacture a weapon.
    Simply put, Iran is no closer to producing a hypothetical nuclear weapon today than it was prior to Obama's announcement concerning the Qom facility.
    You wouldn't know that if you watched Obama, Brown and Sarkosy the other day. You would be forgiven for thinking that Doctor Death had been caught red handed charging up his ray gun.

    This is all hyperbolic nonsense. There will be time for talk of sanctions should Iran refuse to allow inspections, but, until we get to that point, I would prefer if Obama, Brown and Sarkosy put their George W. Bush impressions back in the box.

    Click title for Ritter's article.

    Vast, right wing conspiracy now targeting Obama says Clinton.

    Clinton reminds us that the "vast right wing conspiracy" which he faced is now lined up against Obama.

    They called Bill a murderer and all kinds of nonsense, and now they will turn their erratic, fact-free attack machine on to Obama. Watch here as Ann Coulter claims that the people carrying pictures of Obama with Hitler moustaches at the tea parties were probably Liberals.

    She offers not a scintilla of evidence to back up this ludicrous claim, but that's not the point. She's talking to insane people who don't require evidence, they only need to hear the word "Liberal" to know who the baddie is.

    Thankfully, their numbers are receding, and - for all their noise - they are not winning the argument.

    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Chavez on Fox News: "Ah, The Stupid People from Fox News!"

    Fox News decide to confront Hugo Chavez about his friendship with Ahmadinejad. They get more in return that they bargained for. Chavez laughs at the entire network, saying that they are known as "the stupid people from Fox News" and he tells the interviewer that "your mind has many confusions perhaps, poisons."

    He then lists all of the terrible things from the Iraq war to death squads in Latin America that Fox supports, gives them a salute and heads off. If only the Democrats would have the courage to treat that false news organisation with the level of contempt which Chavez shows them here.

    Wilson Elevated to GOP Hero Status.

    Why is it so inevitable that, as soon as a Republican reveals himself to be unhinged, that he instantly becomes a pin up of that party? It really says a lot about the rump of useful idiots that now constitute the Republican base that such morons can be elevated to hero status in direct correlation to how badly they behave.

    Jeremy Scahill: ACORN Got Pennies Compared to War Contracting Firms- Their Crimes Pale in Comparison.

    This would actually be funny if it wasn't so sick. The Republicans - aided by many Democrats - have been falling over themselves to de-fund Acorn, a community activist organisation which seeks to help some of America's poorest citizens.

    The problem with the bill they have passed, as Rachel Maddow points out, is that it falls foul of the bill of attainder clause in Article one of the US Constitution; a bill of attainder is when a bill is passed which only affects one person or one group of people. You know, sort of like a bill which is entitled the De-Fund ACORN Act.

    So, in order to make sure that the De-Fund ACORN Act doesn't run foul of the US Constitution, they are surely going to have to widen it's scope?

    For instance, if we can even pretend to be fair about this, you can't decide to de-fund Acorn alone because it has "been indicted for breaking campaign finance laws", or because it has "filed fraudulent paperwork with a federal agency", that would have to become the new rule for everyone.

    Rachel runs through the list of Defence contractors who would lose funding if the charges being made against Acorn were ever to be set in stone as reasons to refuse public funds to certain organisations.

    Are the Republicans going to insist that the US government de-fund all of these organisations who have fallen foul of the rules in the same way as Acorn has? You bet your bottom dollar they won't.

    What is being done to Acorn is an outrage, and they are not being attacked for any of the reasons which we have been given, as there are countless examples of other companies and defence contractors behaving much more egregiously and not facing any calls that they be de-funded.

    The right wing are attacking Acorn because Acorn helps the poor and is, therefore, a left wing organisation of old hippies who deserve to be run out of town. The fact that so many Democrats are spineless enough to go along with this makes me shudder. They really ought to grow a backbone.

    As Jeremy Scahill points out, the money given to Acorn was pennies compared with the money funnelled towards Defence contractors, but there is no insistence that their funding should be tied to their behaviour in the way which the Republicans are insisting should be the case regarding Acorn.

    This is just good old fashioned, shameless, Republican hypocrisy. It's actually embarrassing that the Democrats aren't openly laughing in their faces.

    Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

    U.S. to Demand Inspection of New Iran Plant ‘Within Weeks’

    Obama is using the revelation regarding Iran's new nuclear site at Qum to demand that Ahmadinejad allow inspections of all Iran's nuclear facilities with weeks.

    The Obama administration plans to tell Iran this week that it must open a newly revealed nuclear enrichment site to international inspectors “within weeks,” according to senior administration officials. The administration will also tell Tehran that inspectors must have full access to the key personnel who put together the clandestine plant and to the documents surrounding its construction, the officials said Saturday.

    The demands, following the revelation Friday of the secret facility at a military base near the holy city of Qum, set the stage for the next chapter of a diplomatic drama that has toughened the West’s posture and heightened tensions with Iran. The first direct negotiations between the United States and Iran in 30 years are scheduled to open in Geneva on Thursday.

    I think that's actually fair enough. If Iran, as Ahmadinejad insists, have nothing to hide then there is no reason for them not to open up all of their sites to inspection.

    And Obama - if I am reading this correctly and not missing anything - is going about this the right way by not demanding that the centrifuges stop turning. Bush always came at this from the angle that Iran should stop what it was doing immediately, implying that Iran was somehow already in breach of the NNPT.

    Now that the clandestine site has been revealed, however, American and European officials say they see an opportunity to press for broader disclosures. Iran will be told that to avoid sanctions, it must adhere to an I.A.E.A. agreement that would allow inspectors to go virtually anywhere in the country to follow suspicions of nuclear work.

    American and European officials should tread carefully here. It is one thing to insist that Iran prove that it is not developing a nuclear weapon, it is quite another to humiliate another nation and to trample on their sovereignty.

    I trust Obama is level headed enough to know the difference.

    Obama has every right to insist that we know exactly what is going on in Iran, and it is in Iran's interests to comply with this process. But it doesn't help to have American officials offering baseless speculation and assumptions as if they represent fact:

    In an interview to be broadcast Sunday on ABC, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the hidden facility was “part of a pattern of deception and lies on the part of the Iranians from the very beginning with respect to their nuclear program.”

    But he deflected a question that has been circulating inside the government: Is the Qum facility one of a kind, or just one of several hidden facilities that were intended to give Iran a covert means of enriching uranium, far from the inspectors who regularly visit a far larger enrichment facility, also once kept secret, at Natanz.

    “My personal opinion is that the Iranians have the intention of having nuclear weapons,” Mr. Gates concluded, though he said it was still an open question “whether they have made a formal decision” to manufacture weapons.

    That may very well be Gates' "personal opinion" but it certainly isn't based on fact. It can't be. Because the truth is that none of us know what is going on inside Iran.

    So let Obama insist on inspections and lets follow the evidence where it leads us.

    Let's not repeat the mistakes of Iraq, where certain people "knew" that Saddam had WMD based on nothing more solid than their own prejudices.

    Click title for full article.

    Saturday, September 26, 2009

    New CBS/NY Times poll: 65% of Americans want the Public option.

    At a time when Glenn Beck and his infamous tea party followers have given us a summer of raucous town hall meetings, replete with the hysteria that the right use as a substitute for argument, it appears that, for all their noise, they have simply failed to win over the American people to their argument.

    65% of Americans favour a public option to compete with the insurance companies. That's a substantial amount in favour. It only goes to show that, for all their hysteria, the tea party protesters do not represent the American people as the lunatics on the right have claimed. They represent, at a mere 26%, a small minority of public opinion. It would be a tragedy if their views eventually triumph over that of the clear majority.

    Obama and the Democrats should push ahead and give people what they want.


    As Cenk points out, were the US a proper democracy, these figures would end all the arguments.


    This is why this is so important. Here we find that a young woman has died of swine flu and that she didn't go to the doctor because she was uninsured and worried about the cost:

    Reports now indicate that after initially getting sick, Young put off treatment because she was uninsured:

    Young became ill about two weeks ago, but didn’t seek care initially because she didn’t have health insurance and was worried about the cost, according to Brent Mowery, her friend and former roommate. […]

    On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Young’s condition suddenly worsened and her roommate drove her to McCullough Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford, where she was flown in critical condition to University Hospital in Cincinnati.

    “That’s the most tragic part about it. If she had insurance, she would have gone to the doctor,” Mowery said.

    Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

    Senator Sanders Unfiltered: US Congress Bought & Paid For?

    Sanders spells it out.

    Revealed: the royal waive which means no spending cuts for the Windsors.

    At a time when both Labour and the Tories are falling over themselves to prove how much they are going to cut public spending to tackle the deficit, there is one area of public spending which they find themselves unable to cut: the financing of the royal family.

    Although all of the major political parties are vying to demonstrate their willingness to wield the axe on public spending, MPs will be powerless to reduce the £7.9m a year paid under the civil list because of an obscure deal struck between Buckingham Palace and the Treasury in 1972 when the current legislation governing royal finances was drawn up.
    Deals with the royal family are only negotiated once every ten years and, when it was John Majors turn to negotiate with them, he agreed to an annual rise in their payments - to account for inflation - set at an astonishing 7.5%. Inflation actually ran at around 3.7% for that decade allowing the royal family to build up a surplus of £35 million, including £12 million in interest.

    But here's the rub:
    Despite protests from a handful of MPs that the royal family should hand back some of that surplus to the Treasury it was confirmed that parliament could not amend the annual payment downwards. The deal under the 1972 Civil List Act confirmed by background Treasury papers in the National Archives seen by the Guardian means they can only ever vote to increase it. Labour MPs protested at the time that this applied to no other category of public expenditure.
    So, the only power MP's have over royal expenditure is to increase it, they have absolutely no power to move it in the other direction, even when the royal family have amassed a £35 million surplus.

    At times like this the claims that Britain is a democracy ring particularly hollow. We are actually a constitutional monarchy, which is the only place in which a deal as undemocratic as that one would ever be struck.

    Click title for full article.

    Iran's nuclear plant admission brings sanctions showdown nearer.

    Obama, Brown and Sarkosy have revealed that they have discovered a secret facility in Iran for the enrichment of uranium which they claim adds suspicion to the charge that Ahmadinejad is pursuing a nuclear weapon.

    Barack Obama said western intelligence agencies had known of the secret plant, – near the holy city of Qom, a seat of Shia learning – for more than two years. He called on Iran to allow UN inspectors to visit it, and to co-operate fully with scrutiny of its nuclear programme.

    Standing alongside him, Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said the alternative would be tougher sanctions against the Islamic republic.

    Moscow issued a separate statement describing the plant as a "violation" of UN security council decisions, and offering to support an investigation.

    Iran, certainly from the behaviour of Ahmadinejad, appear nonplussed by this discovery, and Ahmadinejad has stated that the facility will be open for inspection by the United Nations.

    He claimed the plant was legal and open for scrutiny. "We don't have any problems with inspections of the facility. We have no fears," Ahmadinejad said. He said the three western leaders would "regret this announcement", claiming it had been made to disrupt the Geneva talks.

    "They wanted to set up a sort of media game, take the stage to sort of set up the upper hand. This is not nice," he said.

    And Ahmadinejad continues to insist that his country's Fatwa against nuclear weapons still holds force. "We believe that nuclear weapons are against humanity," he said. "This bomb belongs to the last century."

    Obama is on stronger ground here than Bush ever was.

    By agreeing to reduce the US's nuclear arsenal, and by getting Brown to promise to reduce the number of British nuclear submarines, Obama has complied with the NNPT in a way which Bush did not. Bush was exploring new bunker busting nuclear weapons whilst condemning Iran for simply enriching uranium, which is it's right under the NNPT. So, Bush was engaged in blatant hypocrisy. Obama is not.

    Obama is now insisting that Iran must submit it's facilities to inspections, something which Ahmadinejad is saying that he is more than willing to do.

    Obama said yesterday: "This site deepens a growing concern that Iran is refusing to live up to those international responsibilities, including specifically revealing all nuclear-related activities."

    Sarkozy said the world would not be drawn into prolonged talks while the centrifuge "motors are running". He said: "If by December there is not an in-depth change by the Iranian leaders, sanctions will have to be taken."

    Brown said Iran was guilty of "serial deception" and it was time for the international community to draw a line in the sand. "On 1 October, Iran must engage with the international community and join the international community as a partner," Brown said. "If it does not do so, it will be further isolated."

    But Ahmadinejad is still insisting that he was playing within the rules:

    He justified Iran's apparent concealment of the plant by saying there were no international requirements to declare any nuclear facility until 180 days before fissile material was introduced into it.

    There was a flat denial of the claims - by US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown - that the plant was a secret facility.

    "If it was, why would we have informed the IAEA about it a year ahead of time?" Mr Ahmadinejad was reported as saying.

    The only way this could ever prove problematic would be if Iran refuses to allow UN inspectors to do their jobs. Or if the west insisted on pursuing Sarkosy's point, that the centrifuges must stop turning. After all, Obama made clear the other day that he has no problem with Iran pursuing nuclear energy in line with it rights under the NNPT. They should not have to turn off their centrifuges in order to prove that, we should be able to ascertain that simply by inspections.

    And, if Obama is telling the truth, and western intelligence has known about this facility for more than two years, there is more than a hint of seeking to recreate the Adlai Stevenson moment to all this dramatic revelation. It strikes me as slightly overdone. The very fact that we waited until the UN had assembled together almost all the world's leaders to reveal that we know of this facility screams of theatricality.

    It's all so unnecessary because, unlike his predecessor, Obama is using the United Nations in the way it was intended to be used. Ahmadinejad has the right to enrich uranium, and we have the right to inspect what he is doing to make sure that he is not pursuing a bomb. And, again differing from his predecessor, Obama is also complying with the letter and the spirit of the NNPT.

    So there is no need for this amount of drama. We want to inspect Iran's nuclear facilities and Ahmadinejad says that he is prepared to allow us to do so. He either will or he won't. We'll have our answer soon enough.


    Listen to this steaming pile of pooh from Lieberman, Bayh, and Kyl - supporters of the Iraq war one and all:.
    For years, Iran has cheated and lied to the world about its nuclear activities and its nuclear ambitions. Just last week, a secret IAEA report was leaked, describing Iran’s covert nuclear weapons work. Now it has been caught red-handed once again.
    That is simply blatantly false. Even The NYT who broke the story didn't make that claim:
    On Tuesday evening in New York, top officials of the world nuclear watchdog agency approached two of President Obama’s senior advisers to deliver the news: Iran had just sent a cryptic letter describing a small “pilot” nuclear facility that the country had never before declared.
    In other words, they were declaring it in that letter. The claim that someone sending the IAEA a letter - informing them of a facility which they are building - is the same as that person "being caught red handed" is simply dishonest. They weren't "caught", they told the IAEA within the time frame in which they were obligated to tell them.

    But Lieberman, Bayh, and Kyl don't stop there:
    After today, the evidence all points to one inescapable conclusion: Iran is determined to acquire nuclear weapons.
    What evidence do these three lunatics think points to some "inescapable conclusion"? There isn't any evidence as the facility not only hasn't been inspected yet, it's not yet even fully operational.

    It's nice to see that they've learned from the mistakes they made prior to the Iraq war and that they are letting the evidence lead them rather than jumping to conclusions.


    After the last Iranian election these same people cheered on the protesters, pretending that they had the best interests of ordinary Iranian people at heart. Glenn Greenwald points out how very quickly their concern for ordinary Iranians has vanished:
    In the absence of what they call "immediate" compliance, the Senators call for "crippling new sanctions against Iran." In The Washington Post today, AIPAC's most trusted House member -- Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D) -- similarly recommends sanctions that would "cause the Iranian banking system to collapse" and impose other severe economic hardships. [Emphasis mine] So much for all of that oh-so-moving, profound, green-wearing concern for the welfare of The Iranian People. Time to bomb them or, at best, starve them until their government complies with our dictates.
    If Lieberman, Bayh, and Kyl wanted to unite the Iranian people behind Ahmadinejad's regime, they couldn't have come up with a better way to do it than this. After 9-11, everyone in the US rallied behind Bush because he was the president and they couldn't afford not to at a time when the nation was being attacked. Do Lieberman, Bayh, and Kyl not think that the Iranians would do exactly the same if they percieve that their country is under siege?

    Click title for full article.

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Conservatives Turn On Beck.

    Glenn Beck's support amongst conservatives is coming apart as more and more of them realise that he is simply an opportunist who doesn't actually have an overall political agenda.

    He enraged many conservatives when he told Katie Couric that he thought McCain would have been a worse president than Barack Obama; which was a simply extraordinary thing to say considering the fact that Beck has already told us that Obama is a socialist, fascist dictator Hell bent on destroying the Republic from within. Quite what McCain would have done which is worse than that, Beck didn't specify.

    However, in this clip Beck says that the reason McCain would be worse is that, with McCain, the tea party protests would not be taking place. Now, remember, the tea party protests are largely seen as Beck inspired. And, like so much about Beck's political philosophy, the tea party protests have largely been without any specific message, or rather it has been an umbrella movement for various causes, some related and some not.

    But the important thing for Beck is that they have created a great deal of publicity for him personally, even if they have lacked any discernible political purpose.

    Mark Levin is beginning to smell a rat and has turned on Beck with some force:

    “I’m told the 5 pm’er said today that if John McCain were president, would there be marching in the street?,” Levin began. “I thought to myself, are you not aware of even recent history that the entire Reagan revolution rose up against the RINOs [Republicans in name only]?”

    “Have you no sense of your own history?” he said, addressing Beck. “This is why you refuse to consider yourself a conservative! Still searching around in the dark, in the shadows, trying to figure out who you are and who we should be. Some of us know who we are and what we must be! And we also know where we must go!”

    "A pox on both parties means a pox on this society."

    "If you’re not going to be politically sensible and have a strategy and have an end-game, you’ll keep winding up on weekly magazines, you’ll keep making a lot of money, but in the end you won’t make a difference."
    Levin is right to suspect Beck's end game, because the truth is that Beck doesn't have one. The truth is that Beck isn't very bright. He certainly doesn't have any discernible political ideology, which is why he pretends that he simply "asking questions". This enables him to throw out inflammatory shit without ever owning that shit.

    It's why he couldn't define "white culture" to Couric. Glenn Beck doesn't want to own anything he says. He is utterly self serving. Glenn Beck is in this for Glenn Beck. It's unthinkable that Limbaugh wouldn't be able to defend what he meant by "white culture" or anything else which Limbaugh pontificated upon. Because, like him or loathe him, Limbaugh has very strong political beliefs which he has spent his lifetime advocating. Beck does not. He is an opportunist whose greatest talent is in tapping into populist anger. But he doesn't know what to do with that anger or where to direct it. His entire game is to present himself as the little man, as lost and confused as everyone else, looking for answers.

    And, in order to keep this game going, and to hide the fact that he is actually an intellectual Pygmy, it suits Beck's purposes never to arrive at conclusions. Because to arrive at a conclusion is to own a political philosophy. And that's the last thing Beck wants to do.


    Cenk muses on just why Beck wouldn't answer Couric's question.

    Hat tip to Think Progress.

    Malkin's venom knows no bounds: Obama 'doesn't like this country very much,' is the 'Groveler in Chief'.

    Obama earned round after round of applause at the United Nations, where a grateful world applauded the fact that the dreadful years of George W Bush were over and a new sensible American president was speaking a language which the entire world understands and shares.

    Cue head explosions over at Faux News.

    Malkin has gone as far as to say that Obama has proven that he doesn't like the United States very much.

    Malkin: He doesn't like this country very much. And I think you did a great video tour there of all of his wonderful hits on his "We Suck '09" tour, ah, so far. And this latest speech before the United Nations and its cast of villainous characters -- it was really a Legion of Doom parade that he dignified with his presence -- and he solidified his place in the international view as the Great Appeaser and the Groveler in Chief!
    What they actually can't bear is that Obama is admitting in public what the entire world already knows: George Bush - and the style of leadership supplied by the neo-cons - made the US more despised around the globe than at any time since the Vietnam war. That is simply a fact.

    But listen to what it is that they actually find most offensive. Hannity bemoans the fact that "Obama was saying we're not going to force our values on you." Malkin is horrified that Obama has offered "a rejection of American exceptionalism."

    I mean seriously, is Malkin actually insane enough to believe in such an abstract concept as American exceptionalism? That it's okay if the US does things which it condemns others for doing because the US is innately good? Does Hannity seriously believe that it's a good thing to force your values on to other people and other cultures?

    Those are rhetorical questions. Of course they believe that. They really are that insane. However, even by their insane standards, Malkin reached new levels of nuttiness:
    Malkin: With this speech, and over the last eight months with his policies of retreat and surrender, he has solidified his place as the weakest of weak leaders of modern American history. There's no question about it! They laugh at us! He is a laughingstock.
    Yes, that's why the world applauded. Applause must be the new form of laughter.

    This produces the exact same reaction in me as I had to yesterday's conversation between Glenn Beck and John Bolton: these people are so out of touch with where the world currently find itself that the only thing which they are emphasising is their own irrelevance.

    They have nothing of value to offer, so they are simply left spluttering with rage on the sidelines spitting venom at passers-by. They are yesterday's people, and there's something about the bile which they are spewing which tells me that, deep down, they know this.

    The ideas and the world views which they have spent the past eight years defending have all been explicitly rejected. And it's driven them nuts.

    Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

    Obama hails historic resolution to rid world of nuclear weapons.

    Barack Obama yesterday became the first US president ever to chair a session of the UN council, whilst that council took steps for the first time in it's history to eliminate nuclear weapons.

    Obama described the resolution as "historic", saying it "enshrines our shared commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons".

    The resolution calls for states with nuclear weapons to continue disarming, to ratify a ban on testing them and to agree a treaty stopping the production of fissile material. In return, non weapons states should accept stronger safeguards designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

    The resolution, however, is non-binding, and there are many obstacles to its aspirations becoming reality. Obama faces serious opposition in the Pentagon and the US Congress, which has yet to ratify the test ban.

    I find it fascinating that Obama's instincts are so in tune with the rest of the world - I mean, we all can see that getting rid of nuclear weapons altogether is the only way to prevent smaller nations from eventually seeking them - and yet the place where he faces his toughest opposition is when he tries to get the US Congress to ratify what the UN has proposed.

    That's because in the US Congress he has to deal with Republicans, a group of people who make Mugabe look sane in comparison. Their answer to nuclear proliferation is not to ban these weapons, but to construct a missile defence system which would, in theory, allow them to fire the weapons and avoid retaliation. The fact that the missile defence system doesn't work is not something which deters them, indeed, it appears not to bother them at all.
    The US and Russia are due to sign a treaty in December bringing down the number of their deployed strategic weapons from more than 2,000 each to 1,500. Obama today promised much deeper cuts to follow. In January negotiations are due to start on a treaty banning the production of new weapons-grade fissile material. In May, the NPT comes up for review, and Obama hopes to persuade the US Senate to ratify the test ban soon afterwards. "The next 12 months will be absolutely critical in determining whether this resolution and our overall efforts to stop the spread and use of nuclear weapons are successful," Obama said.
    Of course, should the Republicans refuse to ratify the deals which Obama has worked out here they will be going against the instincts of their own hero, Ronald Reagan, as it was Reagan who proposed a complete elimination of these weapons at Reykjavik.

    In 1986 at the Reykjavik summit, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, both passionate about nuclear disarmament, shocked deterrence experts with an unimaginable proposal – total nuclear disarmament. “It would be fine with me if we eliminated all nuclear weapons,” said Reagan. “We can do that,” replied Gorbachev, “Let’s eliminate them. We can eliminate them.”

    However, U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz explained that the proposal was “too much for people to absorb, precisely because it was outside the bounds of conventional wisdom,” and “the world was not ready for Ronald Reagan’s boldness.”

    Obama is all for bipartisanship, so I have a theory. Obama should sell this to the US Senate as the Ronald Reagan Bill for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Present it to them with a big bow wrapped around it and see if they will still refuse to ratify Reagan's vision 23 years later.

    Force them to stand up and tell us why Ronald Reagan was wrong.

    Click title for full article.

    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Glenn Beck refuses to define "white culture".

    Beck accused Obama of being someone who had "over and over again" exposed himself as "a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."

    Katie Couric asks him what he meant by "white culture"?

    Watch him squirm as he refuses to give any explanation. It's extraordinary that he could make such a foul charge without ever thinking that anyone might want to know what he meant by it. He simply hasn't thought this through at all.

    After all he made this charge whilst talking to Fox and this is what their audience wanted to hear. They didn't need or want an explanation.

    Couric does, and the truth is that he either can't or won't explain what he meant. And notice how he thinks that Couric even asking the question is somehow turning him into the target.

    "How am I the target for simply asking questions?"
    There is something dreadfully self piteous and cowardly about this man. Firstly, he wasn't "simply asking questions" - that's the usual cowardly get out clause Beck uses to distance himself from the hate speak he preaches - but, in this instance, there was no question: Beck simply stated what he believed.
    "This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture..."
    "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people. I'm saying he has a problem...."
    "This guy is, I believe, a racist."
    As I say, there wasn't a question anywhere in there, simply a bald statement of "fact", as Beck sees it.

    And when, shortly after he said this, advertisers started dropping Beck's show like it was the plague, he instantly tried to turn himself into the victim of the piece by self piteously claiming that leftists were trying to silence him.

    And that's the same crap he resorts to here, because he doesn't want to explain what he meant when he said "white culture".

    He was the one resorting to attack by claiming Obama was a racist; but, the moment he is asked to defend what he said, he turns into a pathetic whiner claiming that everyone is picking on him for "asking questions"....

    Utterly pathetic and intellectually embarrassing. At least Limbaugh, for all his obvious faults, would have had an answer. I would have hated it, but Limbaugh would have stood by his beliefs. Beck can't even do that. He simply whines that he's being picked on.

    Irony Is Dead: Fox News Exec Urges Staffers To Be "Fair" And "Impartial"

    There's nothing to add to this. The video says it all.

    Sarah Palin Slams Obama.

    The Dixie Chicks had their CD's burned for daring to criticise Bush "on foreign soil", which in the days of the Bush administration was something akin to treason. But you can bet that there will be no criticism from the right for Palin running down Obama whilst in communist China.

    It's just the usual hypocrisy from these Republican loons. When they do it, it's bravely speaking out. If a Democrat does it, it's a hanging offence.

    And it's interesting that Palin insisted that the press be banned from attending the speech:

    Organisers barred the media after Palin indicated that she would speak differently if reporters were present.

    As Hari Sevugan of the Democratic National Committee joked:
    "Are there other countries that she can see from her window that she doesn't want us to know about?"

    Bolton: Most Anti-Israeli Speech By Any US President Ever.

    When Jon Bolton and Glenn Beck get together you know that lunacy lies ahead, as each seems to outdo the other in terms of the madness they exhibit.

    Beck begins by pretending to throw a frog into boiling water. I presume he thinks he's making some cryptic point, but in the end, like much of what Beck does, one is struck simply by the oddness of it all.

    I would honestly have thought that things couldn't get any odder from that point onwards, but they both managed to easily outdo the frog business by showing their utter lack of understanding of international law.

    Beck, for instance, objected to Obama referring to Israel's occupation of the Palestinians as an "occupation".

    Beck: "Occupation that began in 1967." That's weird. There was a war. They won.
    Beck is either the dumbest ass ever to address this issue or he's simply being disingenuous. I suspect the former.

    The fact that one can't keep land acquired by war is clearly stated in UN Resolution 242 (PDF):
    "Emphasising the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war."
    But Bolton's astonishment at what Obama has just said, in what he describes as "the most radical, anti-Israeli speech I can recall any president making", comes down to this:
    Bolton: Two phrases in what you just heard. The president says America does not accept - and I am quoting now - "the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements". Not new Israeli settlements, continued Israeli settlements. Which... this is Mr Wordsmith here... that calls into question, in my mind, all Israeli settlements.
    The very fact that they are both sitting there pretending that all Israeli settlements are not illegal means that they haven't the faintest clue as to what international law says in this regard.

    Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention:
    The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.
    Although, I suspect Bolton knows fine well what international law says, he simply doesn't feel that international law should apply to Israel. Beck is simply a moron on this subject, as he is on so many others.
    Bolton: Then he says, that we want "a Palestinian state that is contiguous". By the way, Gaza and the West Bank were never contiguous Palestinian areas before. And "that ends the occupation that began in 1967." That means, I think, a return to the 1967 borders.
    Again, a return to the 1967 borders is only controversial if one thinks that international law should not apply to Israel, as that is the entire point of UN Resolution 242: That Israel "withdraws from territories occupied in the recent conflict".

    They then pretend that a "contiguous" Palestinian state would mean that there couldn't be a contiguous state of Israel.

    All that is needed to make the West Bank and Gaza "contiguous" is a road or a railway link between the two. That road or railway could be elevated so that both Israel and Palestine have contiguous states, but this concept is obviously too complex for these two bozos to comprehend.

    But Beck's ignorance is especially a thing to behold. He actually asks Bolton where the 1967 border would be, proving that he knows almost nothing about this issue.

    Bolton insists that this is the most anti-Israeli speech ever. But, in reality, what got Obama these rounds of applause at the United Nations was the fact that he made it clear that he was going to make sure that international law was applied in this dispute. Bolton thinks that this amounts to Obama being a lawyer for the Palestinians, and he actually laments that this should be happening when the Palestinians find themselves in such a weak position. I suppose Bolton feels that, at such a time, the Israelis should be allowed to press home their advantage.

    Of course, what Bolton misses is that allowing Israel to do this would not result in peace, even if it resulted in a victory of sorts for the Likud movement, and lasting peace is what we are supposed to be seeking here. But Bolton has been fighting for Israel's corner for so long that this concept is literally lost on him.

    Bolton notes the warm reception which Obama received at the UN, the place that Bolton has famously said that he does not believe in, and one can't help thinking that the warm applause Obama received merely emphasises just how out of touch with world opinion Bolton and Beck actually are; and just how in touch with it President Obama has shown himself to be.

    Both Beck and Bolton come across as dinosaurs, yearning for the day when the US told the world that they could all bugger off; and that Israel, backed by the US, would do whatever it bloody wanted when it came to it's dispute with Palestine. They fail to comprehend that the attitude which they yearn for was the very thing which made the US hated around the globe and that it is Obama's specific rebuttal of their core beliefs which have earned him the world's respect.

    To counter the fact that they are both so out of touch with the world's view on this matter Beck comes up with the oh-so-expected false charge of anti-Semitism:
    Beck: Do you think it's possible to sit in a church with somebody who is as anti-Semitic as Jeremiah Wright is and not come away with an anti-Semitic view?
    We could have seen that coming a mile off. They simply find it impossible to believe that anyone could be asking that international law be obeyed. Indeed, Bolton has spent most of his adult life arguing against the very concept of international law which Obama has stood up for.

    As I say, Bolton and Beck come across as dinosaurs. Perhaps their world view should have gone into the boiling water instead of the frog.

    They display the mindset of the Bush years and they can't understand why no-one else misses it in the way they do.