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Saturday, January 26, 2008

MSNBC says 'audio issues' behind mysterious Romney whisperer

UPDATE: 'No way of knowing' who whispered, MSNBC says

The whisper that could be heard just before an answer from Mitt Romney at Thursday's Republican debate was the result of a microphone malfunction, an MSNBC spokesman tells RAW STORY, but its source remains a mystery.

Just before Romney answered a question about Ronald Reagan's 1983 Social Security overhaul, a voice can be heard whispering, either "He raised taxes" or "not raise taxes." The overheard musing was the result of an open microphone somewhere, but a spokesman said the whisperer has not been identified.

"We heard the same thing you heard," MSNBC VP for Communications Jeremy Gaines told RAW STORY via e-mail Friday afternoon. "There was obviously an open mike which picked up the whisper, but we have no way of knowing who did the whispering."

Gaines also said the network would replace a post that "shouldn't have been removed" from its First Read blog. The post is available here with an editor's note attached.

"We thought it might have simply been our control room cueing a question, which then didn’t seem to warrant a post, since that would be very inside baseball. So, I took it down," NBC's Domenico Montanaro wrote at First Read.

"As far as figuring out the mystery of who or where it came from, that is being worked on, and we hope to have an answer soon," Montanaro continued. "It puzzled us here too, and we’re looking through tape of other candidates to see if it was one of them. We’ll let you know."

Earlier Friday, Gaines said the whisper was simply the result of "audio issues," but he revised that statement after returning to New York from the debate site in Florida and watching a tape of the proceedings.

Moderator Tim Russert asked Romney if he would "do what Ronald Reagan did in 1983" to fix Social Security. Immediately after Russert's question, someone can be heard whispering what sounds like, "He raised taxes," although Montanaro said MSNBC believed the whisperer said "not raise taxes."

It's unclear whether Romney heard the voice, but he quickly answered, "I'm not going to raise taxes."

Romney's campaign has not respond to requests for comment.

Some bloggers are accusing the former Massachusetts Governor of shenanigans.

"Some have speculated that the whisper is a prompt for Russert to add on the rest of the question, "raised taxes," to what Russert said about Reagan, but listen to how incredibly fast the whisper comes after Russert finishes his sentence. Seems mighty fast to have been someone trying to get Russert to finish the question - how does the whisperer know that Russert is done? It sounds much more like a prompt for Mitt," wrote blogger Steward Rhodes.

"Recalls “the bulge” from the Bush/Kerry debates doesn’t it?" mused Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson, referring to a debate in which President Bush appeared to have some sort of transmitter or other device underneath his suit jacket.

Commenters on MNSBC's First Read blog also noticed the incident, although the network removed a post referencing the whisper from its Web site before replacing it Friday afternoon.

RAW STORY enhanced the audio in the following video to make the whisper easier to hear.

The following screenshot of MSNBC's first read was posted at the liberal forum, Democratic Underground, before MSNBC took it down.

The following thumbnail screenshot of MSNBC's First Read was posted at the liberal forum, Democratic Underground, before MSNBC took it down. Click for full size.

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NBC Finds Picture of Hillary Clinton And "Slum Lord" Renzo

On Friday morning's episode of the Today Show on NBC, host Matt Lauer discussed Monday night's testy debate between presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL). In particular, he focused on her allegation that Obama had represented Tony Rezko, the indicted Chicago businessman whom she referred to as a "slum lord."

Lauer then presented Clinton with a photo of Rezko posing between Sen. Clinton as first lady and her husband during his presidency. He asked if she remembered meeting Rezko.

Clinton said she did not, and parried, "I don't have a 17-year relationship with him."

The senator also argued that it wasn't unfair for her to bring up Rezko during the debate.

"I try not to attack first," Clinton said, "but I have to defend myself and I do have to counter punch."

Clinton then argued that the debate between the two candidates should focus on their position on important issues, and implied that she was the most viable candidate to defeat Senator John McCain if he was the Republican candidate.

"Let's focus on what we want to do for the country and most importantly focus on the great difference between us and the Republicans," she argued. "Senator McCain has said it would be fine with him if we were [in Iraq] 100 years. It's not fine with me."

A clip of the exchange is presented below.

This video is from NBC's Today Show, broadcast January 25, 2008.

Transcript via closed captions

:: It is perfectly legitimate to draw comparisons and contrasts. And I think both senator obama and I have made it clear that we do want to focus on what we each would do for our country. It has been obviously an incredibly intense campaign. I think it's cause for celebration that we have an african-american, a woman running for the highest position in our country, the toughest job in the world.

:: Right, but --

:: But I do want to make it clear that our campaigns have to stay focused on what, you know, the legitimate differences are, so we can give voters information that will enable them to make the right decision.

:: On monday night in south carolina, it didn't always stay focused on that, senator. I want to run a clip. This is where you were attacking senator obama in particular about his work connected to what was called the so-called slum lord in chicago, a guy named tony rezko. Take a look at the clip.

:: I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor rezko in his slum landlord business in inner city chicago.

:: That was monday night, senator. I know you don't have video, you can't see what i'm about to put up on the screen right now. But i'm going to put up a picture right now that we've received. This is a picture of you and your husband, bill clinton, posing with that same man, tony rezko. It's undated, i'm going to ro-tel you right now. We know it's him. We don't know when it was taken. We think it was during your husband's presidency. I'm curious, do you know anything about the picture? do you know when it was taken? do you remember meeting this man?

:: No, I don't. You know, I probably have taken hundreds of thousands of pictures. But of course, matt, you didn't show what preceded what I said, which was a direct attack, one of several that was leveled against me by senator obama.

:: I understand. It was a counter punch, I understand that.

:: It was a counter punch. I try not to attack first, but I have to defend myself and I do have to counter punch. No, I don't know the man. I wouldn't know him if he walked in the door. I don't have a 17-year relationship with him. But I think with a we ought to be looking at is how we go forward talking about the issues. I do think, however, that this is a campaign, it's a contest. It's something that is very important to each of us running, to our supporters, to those who believe in us. And I took a lot of incoming fire for many, many months and I was happy to absorb it because obviously I felt that that was part of my responsibility.

:: I guess what i'm saying, though --

:: As it gets toward the end of the campaign, you've got to set the record straight as I tried to.

:: Right. But does it make sense to use someone like this, tony rezko, against senator obama, when there's really no such thing as political purt anymore? I know you stand at events and stood as first lady along with your president and they fired 200 people by you a night --

:: A thousand people.

:: This man, he made a contribution to the dnc back in march of 2000. If there's no such thing as being able to fully vette who you come in contact with, is it appropriate to make this attack on your opponent?

:: I think you have to look at the facts. There's a big difference standing somewhere taking a picture with someone you don't know and haven't seen since and having a relationship that the newspapers in chic chicago have been exploring. Let's focus on what we want to do for the country and most importantly focus on the great difference between us and the republicans. I think you saw that again in their debate. They're sticking with the failed policies of president bush, more in iraq. Senator mccain has said it would be fine with him if we were there 100 years. It's not fine with me. Yes --

:: Real quickly, the latest poll --

:: So you have to -- right, you have to draw those comparisons and I think that's fair.

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Whispering of "Raise Taxes" to Romney During MSNBC Debate

This is a video response to Anderson Cooper: "The Whisper"

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Chomsky on World Ownership

Noam Chomsky is a noted linguist, author, and foreign policy expert. On January 15, Michael Shank interviewed him on the latest developments in U.S. policy toward Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan. In the first part of this two-part interview, Chomsky also discussed how the U.S. government’s belief in its ownership of the world shapes its foreign policy.

Michael Shank: Is the leading Democrats’ policy vis-à-vis Iraq at all different from the Bush administration’s policy?

Noam Chomsky: It’s somewhat different. The situation is very similar to Vietnam. The opposition to the war today in elite sectors, including every viable candidate, is pure cynicism, completely unprincipled: “If we can get away with it, it’s fine. If it costs us too much, it’s bad.” That’s the way the Vietnam opposition was in the elite sectors.

Take, say, Anthony Lewis, who’s about as far to the critical extreme as you can find in the media. In his final words evaluating the war in The New York Times in 1975, he said the war began with “blundering efforts to do good” but by 1969, namely a year after the American business community had turned against the war, it was clear that the United States “could not impose a solution except at a price too costly to itself,” so therefore it was a “disastrous mistake.” Nazi generals could have said the same thing after Stalingrad and probably did. That’s the extreme position in the left liberal spectrum. Or take the distinguished historian and Kennedy advisor Arthur Schlesinger. When the war was going sour under LBJ, he wrote that “we all pray” that the hawks are right and that more troops will lead to victory. And he knew what victory meant. He said we’re leaving “a land of ruin and wreck,” but “we all pray” that escalation will succeed and if it does “we may all be saluting the wisdom and statesmanship of the American government.” But probably the hawks are wrong, so escalation is a bad idea.

You can translate the rhetoric almost word by word into the elite, including political elite, opposition to the Iraq war.

It’s based on two principles. The first principle is: “we totally reject American ideals.” The only people who accept American ideals are Iraqis. The United States totally rejects them. What American ideals? The principles of the Nuremburg decision. The Nuremburg tribunal, which is basically American, expressed high ideals, which we profess. Namely, of all the war crimes, aggression is the supreme international crime, which encompasses within it all of the evil that follows. It’s obvious that the Iraq invasion is a pure case of aggression and therefore, according to our ideals, it encompasses all the evil that follows, like sectarian warfare, al-Qaeda Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and everything else. The chief U.S. Prosecutor Robert Jackson, addressed the tribunal and said, “we should remember that we’re handing these Nazi war criminals a poisoned chalice. If we ever sip from it we must be subject to the same principles or else the whole thing is a farce.” Well, it seems that almost no one in the American elite accepts that or can even understand it. But Iraqis accept it.

The latest study of Iraqi opinion, carried out by the American military, provides an illustration. There is an interesting article about it by Karen DeYoung in the Washington Post. She said the American military is very excited and cheered to see the results of this latest study, which showed that Iraqis have “shared beliefs.” They’re coming together. They’re getting to political reconciliation. Well, what are the shared beliefs? The shared beliefs are that the Americans are responsible for all the horrors that took place in Iraq, as the Nuremberg principles hold, and they should get out. That’s the shared belief. So yes, they accept American principles. But the American government rejects them totally as does elite opinion. And the same is true in Europe, incidentally. That’s point number one.

The second point is that there is a shared assumption here and in the West that we own the world. Unless you accept that assumption, the entire discussion that is taking place is unintelligible. For example, you see a headline in the newspaper, as I saw recently in the Christian Science Monitor, something like “New Study of Foreign Fighters in Iraq.” Who are the foreign fighters in Iraq? Some guy who came in from Saudi Arabia. How about the 160,000 American troops? Well, they’re not foreign fighters in Iraq because we own the world; therefore we can’t be foreign fighters anywhere. Like, if the United States invades Canada, we won’t be foreign. And if anybody resists it, they’re enemy combatants, we send them to Guantanamo.

The same goes for the entire discussion about Iranian interference in Iraq. If you’re looking at this from some rational standpoint, you have to collapse in ridicule. Could there be Allied interference in Vichy France? There can’t be. The country was conquered and it’s under military occupation. And of course we understand that. When the Russians complained about American interference in Afghanistan, we’d laugh. But when we talk about Iranian interference in Iraq, going back to viable political candidates, every single one of them says that this is outrageous – meaning, the Iranians don’t understand that we own the world. So if anybody disrupts any action of ours, no matter what it is, the supreme international crime or anything else, they’re the criminals. And we send them to Guantanamo and they don’t get rights and so on. And the Supreme Court argues about it.

In fact, the same is true almost anywhere you look. Since we own the world, everything we do is necessarily right. It can be too costly and then we don’t like it. Or there could be a couple of bad apples who do the wrong thing like Abu Ghraib. Going back to the Nuremburg tribunal, they did not try the SS men who threw people into the extermination chambers. The people who were tried were the people at the top, like von Ribbentrop, the foreign minister, who was accused of having supported a preemptive war. The Germans invaded Norway to try to preempt a British attack against Germany. By our standards they were totally justified. But Powell is not being tried. He is not going to be sentenced to hanging.

Shank: And with a Democrat president, will that thinking fundamentally change?

Chomsky: It’ll change. There’s a pretty narrow political spectrum, and in fact, intellectual and moral spectrum. But it’s not zero. And the Bush administration is way out at the extreme. In fact, so far out at the extreme that they’ve come under unprecedented attack from the mainstream.

I quoted Schlesinger on the Vietnam War. To his credit, he is perhaps the one person in the mainstream who took a principled stand on the Iraq War. When the bombing started in 2003, Schlesinger did write an op-ed in which he said that this is a day which will live in infamy, quoting Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as the United States follows the policies of imperial Japan. That’s principled.

There was no such principled critique when the liberal Democrats were doing it. But his critique of the invasion of Iraq, from its first days, was unusual. It is probably unique, so much so that it’s kind of suppressed. It reflects, first of all, a change of sentiment in the country, and also the fact that the Bush administration is so far out that they’re denounced right in the mainstream.

When the Bush administration came out with its National Security Strategy in September 2002, which basically was a call for the invasion of Iraq, Foreign Affairs, which is as respectable as you can get, ran an article just a couple of weeks later by John Ikenberry, a mainstream historian and analyst, in which he pretty sharply condemned what he called this new imperial grand strategy. He said it’s going to cause a lot of trouble; it’s going to get us in danger. That’s quite unusual. But in the case of Bush, there’s plenty more like him. So yes, they’re way out at the extreme. Any candidate now, maybe anyone except Giuliani, will moderate somewhat the policies.

Shank: With Bush’s campaign in the Gulf, rallying Gulf States against Iran, what’s the strategy now? What’s the importance of the timing of his tour?

Chomsky: First of all, remember that in the United States, which is a rich powerful state which always wins everything, history is an irrelevance. Historical amnesia is required. But among the victims that’s not true. They remember history, all over the Third World. The history that Iranians remember is the correct one. The United States has been torturing Iran, without a stop, since 1953. Overthrew the parliamentary government, installed the tyrant Shah Reza Pahlavi, and backed him through horrible torture and everything else. The minute the Shah was overthrown, the United States moved at once to try and overthrow the new regime. The United States turned for support to Saddam Hussein and his attack against Iran, in which hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered with chemical weapons and so on. The United States continued to support Saddam.

In 1989, the Iran-Iraq war was all over. George Bush I, supposedly the moderate, invited Iraqi nuclear engineers to the United States for advanced training in weapons production. Iranians don’t forget that. After what they’ve just been through, they should be able to see the total cynicism of what’s happening. Immediately after the war, which the United States basically won for Iraq by breaking the embargo, shooting down Iranian commercial airplanes, and so on, the Iranians were convinced that they couldn’t fight the United States. So they capitulated. Immediately after that the United States imposed harsh sanctions, which continue, they got worse. Now the United States is threatening to attack. This is a violation of the UN charter, if anybody cares, which bars the threat of force. But outlaw states don’t care about things like that.

And it’s a credible threat. Just a couple of weeks ago there was a confrontation in the Gulf. Here the story is: “look how awful the Iranians are.” But suppose Iranian warships were sailing through Massachusetts Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. Would we think that’s fine? But since we own the world of course it’s fine when we do it off their shores. And we’re there for the benefit of the world, no matter what we do, so it’s fine. But Iranians aren’t going to see it that way. They don’t like the threats of destruction. They don’t like the fact that it’s a very credible threat. They’re surrounded on all sides by hostile American forces. They’ve got the American Navy sending combat units to the Gulf.

Take this recent Annapolis meeting about Israel-Palestine. Why did they pick Annapolis? Is that the only meeting place in the Washington area? Well, Iranians presumably notice that Annapolis is the base from which the U.S. Navy is being sent to threaten Iran. You think they can’t see that? American editorial writers and commentators can’t see it, but I’m sure Iranians can.

So yes, they’re living under serious constant threat. It’s never ended since 1953. And Bush is now desperately trying to organize what Condoleezza Rice calls the “moderate Arab states,” namely the most extreme, fundamentalist tyrannies in the world, like Saudi Arabia. So the “moderate Arab states,” they’re trying hard to organize them to join the United States in confronting Iran. Well, they’re not going along. They don’t tell Bush and Rice go home. They’re polite and so on but they’re not going along. They’re continuing to enter into limited but real relations with Iran. They don’t want a conflict with them.

Shank: Did the National Intelligence Estimate offer a reprieve, any window at all?

Chomsky: I think so. I think it pulled the rug out from under people like Cheney and Bush who probably wanted to have a war to end up their glorious regime. But it’s going to be pretty hard to do it now. Although Olmert just announced again yesterday that Israel is leaving open the option of attacking Iran, if Israel decides that it is a threat. Israel, which is a U.S. client state, is granted a right similar to that of the United States. The United States owns the world and can do anything, and its client states can be regional hegemons. Israel wants to make sure that it dominates the region and therefore can carry out whatever policies it wants to in the occupied territories, invading Lebanon or whatever it happens to be. The one threat that they cannot overcome on their own is Iran.

Israel and Iran had pretty good relations right through the 1980s. They were clandestine relations but not bad. And now they recognize that Iran is the one barrier to their complete domination of the region. So therefore they want the United States, the big boy, to step in and take care of it and if the United States won’t, they claim they’ll do it. I don’t think they would unless the United States authorized it. It’s much too dangerous. They would do it only if they’re pretty sure they can bring the United States in.

Shank: The presidential candidates in the Democratic Party are trying to one-up each other on who can be more militaristic vis-à-vis Pakistan, who would bomb first if there was actionable intelligence. What’s Washington’s role in helping Pakistan now? Should it have a role and if it does what should it look like?

Chomsky: Again, there’s a little bit of history that matters to people outside centers of power. First of all, the United States supported Pakistani military governments ever since Pakistan was created. The worst period was the 1980s, when the Reagan administration strongly supported the Zia ul Haq regime, which was a brutal harsh tyranny and also a deeply Islamic tyranny. So that’s when the madrassas were established, Islamic fundamentalism was introduced, they no longer studied science in schools and things like that, and also when they were developing nuclear weapons.

The Reagan administration pretended that it didn’t know about the nuclear weapons development so that it could get congressional authorization every year for more funding to the ISI, the intelligence agencies, the fundamentalist tyranny and so on. It ended up holding a tiger by the tail. It commonly happens. The Reagan administration also helped create what turned into al-Qaeda in Afghanistan at the same time. It’s all interrelated. And they left Afghanistan in the hands of brutal, vicious, fundamentalist gangsters, like their favorite Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who got his kicks out of throwing acid in the face of women in Kabul who weren’t dressed properly. That’s who Reagan was supporting.

The United States also tolerated the Khan proliferation system. In fact the United States is still tolerating it. Khan is under what’s called house arrest, meaning just about anything he likes. And it continues with the support of the Musharraf dictatorship. Now the United States is kind of stuck. The population strongly opposes the dictatorship. The United States tried to bring in some kind of compromise with Bhutto, whom they thought would be a pliable candidate. But she was assassinated under what remain unclear circumstances. The ISI, the intelligence agencies who are extremely powerful in Pakistan, have withdrawn support for the extremist militants in the tribal areas and now they’re beginning to fight back. In fact it was just reported that one of their leaders has said that they’re going to continue to resist the Pakistani Army as they’ve been doing.

People who know the Middle East like Robert Fisk have been saying for years that Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world, for all kinds of reasons. For one, it’s falling apart. There are rebellions in the Baluchi areas. The tribal areas are now out of control of the ISI. There is a Sindhi opposition movement. It could very well be a resistance movement especially after Bhutto’s assassination, since she was Sindhi. There are strong anti-Punjabi feelings developing, against the Army, the elite and so on.

So the country is barely being held together. It’s got nuclear weapons. It’s very anti-American. Take a look at popular opinion; it’s very strongly anti-American, because they remember the history. We may forget it. We tell ourselves how nice and wonderful we are, but other people, especially the people who are at the wrong end of the club, they see the world as it is. So it’s very anti-American. If the United States wants to do something there it has to get a surrogate to come in and do it. Even the dictator that the United States supports, Musharraf, and the army are strongly against any direct U.S. involvement in the tribal areas, which the United States is now talking about. Who knows what that could lead to, some other war against a country with nuclear weapons?

The Bush administration is really playing with fire. I don’t think it has a lot of options at this point. If I were asked to recommend a policy I wouldn’t know what to say. Except to try to withdraw support from the dictatorship and allow the popular forces to do something. The United States, for example, gave no support to the lawyers and their opposition. It could have. The United States is not all powerful, but it could have done something. But when Obama says, “Okay we’ll bomb them,” that’s not very helpful.

Michael Shank is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus ( and an analyst with George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

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John McCain & Miss Teen SC on Economics!

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Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel calls for Impeachment!

Impeachment Statement by Presidential Candidate Senator Mike Gravel
January 25th, 2008 by J. Skyler McKinley

While I’ve been outspoken in favor of the Impeachment of Vice President Cheney and President Bush since last July, today I’m announcing my very strong and unqualified support for Impeachment.

I want to very clearly and emphatically affirm the imperative of Impeachment as the Presidential Campaign begins to move into high gear and as the media is busy anointing the “front runners.”

As a Candidate for President, and most importantly as an American, I firmly believe that our most important and highest priority, both as individual American citizens and as a whole Nation, is to protect, defend, and nourish the foundation of American Democracy: the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Every other issue is of secondary importance.

I’ve chosen to run for President to effect what I consider to be much needed change. When people go to Internet websites that match them with the candidates that best reflect their own concerns and priorities, a very large number of voters find that I am the candidate best advocating the issues they most care about.

However, today I want to unequivocally state: without Impeachment first, what I or any other worthy Presidential candidate wants to accomplish is very unlikely to happen. Our words will in fact become another empty campaign promise and another sad political fantasy.

Why am I making such a statement?

Let’s review a few supremely important and disturbing facts:

Without Impeachment before we choose the next Administration, we as a Nation will be setting a legal precedent. We will be saying yes to the systematic destruction of the Constitution and Bill of Rights engineered by Vice President Cheney and President Bush, and will be formally agreeing to the end of American Democracy. We, as Americans, will be giving our approval and consent to the idea that the Vice President and President are indeed above the law, that they are in fact a law unto themselves.

Cheney and Bush have openly boasted about their supposed right to break the law. This administration has claimed that it has the right to spy on Americans without a warrant. This administration has decided that it has no obligation to respond to any lawful subpoenas from Congress, and that it may invoke Presidential signing statements to declare its right to ignore any Federal Law. This administration thinks it has the authority to arbitrarily strip any American of his or her citizenship.

This administration has illegally declared that it has supreme overriding authority. The Vice President and the President have accumulated and consolidated unprecedented power that has replaced the co-equal system of checks and balances mandated by the Constitution with a new Imperial Presidency. This imperialism has given the President far-reaching powers that our founding fathers would quickly recognize as tyranny.

The illegitimate authority of this newly constructed imperial Presidency – this Supreme Commander-in-Chief created by Cheney and Bush – has replaced the Rule-of-Law based on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Our system of co-equal branches of government, the unique and revolutionary principle of American Democracy, the great leap of faith that people could actually govern themselves, has been subverted. It is now almost dead.

America, the world’s oldest Democracy, is an astonishingly brilliant system of government based on carefully crafted and refined checks and balances between co-equal branches of government. The civil liberties given birth by this revolutionary form of government over 200 years ago are rapidly ending.

Our political elite, those we have entrusted to be the people’s representatives, have failed. Their oath of office, to protect and defend the Constitution, has been disregarded in the light of political power.

When we have a Vice President and President who openly declare they are above the law of the land, above the Constitution, how can we as Americans pretend that we live in a Democracy?

If We The People do not take action to demand accountability in the form of Impeachment, we become passive accomplices to the silent overthrow of American Democracy.

It is now time for the People to become leaders. We must teach our elected representatives to act in accordance with their oath of office and effect immediate impeachment of those who have committed these crimes against the Constitution.

If we do not act now we are all personally endorsing, sanctioning, and indeed celebrating, the end of the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus and all other fundamental civil liberties and democratic values. Such values have been the foundation of American Democracy for over 200 years.

The media-anointed “front-running” Presidential Candidates simply do not have the courage to tell the American public the truth.

If we elect any candidate from any party without first impeaching this outlaw Administration, we endorse and elect a new Imperial President of the United States. This cements into place a failed Democracy whose citizens have passively chosen to relinquish the cherished freedoms millions have fought and died to protect.

Do we really believe that we can trust the next President to give back the dramatically expanded power of the Unitary Executive? Once absolute power has been granted, it is never relinquished voluntarily.

We need to stop kidding ourselves. Let us summon 1% of the courage that those who landed on the beaches of Normandy had and recognize what is painfully obvious to the rest of the World: we are rapidly losing every fundamental freedom we thought we were fighting the “terrorists” to protect.

In six short years, the Vice President and the President have actively conspired to commit the most grievous crimes against our Constitution and the personal freedoms it guarantees. America has gone from being perhaps the most admired and respected nation on the planet to becoming the ultimate rogue state. The world’s only remaining superpower is now feared as the greatest threat to world peace.

The Constitutional system of checks and balances that are the foundation of our civil liberties have been gutted. America has become the only “civilized” state to declare its right to arbitrarily imprison, torture, and spy on anyone it chooses to, including its own citizens. We are also the only state to officially declare a right to wage lethal preemptive war on any nation that dares to threaten its exclusive superpower status.

Every democratic nation has the government that is created by active participation of its citizens. Impeachment is the only option for us, as Americans, to effectively wake ourselves up from this collective nightmare. It is the only way for us to demonstrate to ourselves and the rest of the world that we are the Americans we like to believe we are. We need to demonstrate that we actually can summon the courage to live up to our self-proclaimed ideals.

Enough is enough. This is NOT allowed.

There is a lot of very good news that makes me tremendously hopeful that we as a nation are starting to wake up and insist our Congressional representatives act to make Impeachment happen now.

Our corporate controlled media works very hard to portray impeachment as a fringe issue not worthy of serious consideration, even though polls show the negative approval ratings of this administration have surpassed all historic records. Reputable national polling shows that 54% want the Vice President impeached and 45% of voters favor Impeachment for the President.

We The People are indeed waking up – we have learned not to rely on the old top-down corporate media dinosaurs to tell us what they have decided is “the news.” Fortunately, We The People have an amazing network of online alternative information sources. These rapidly evolving reality-based, user-driven, independent media sites have made us our own news editors.

We The People are now realizing that we must act now to take the initiative to demand that our elected representatives in Congress initiate immediate Impeachment hearings. From the bottom-up, we have begun the process to restore the Rule-of-Law in America.

Here’s what we can all do now to take effective action:

Join your fellow Americans and Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary committee, by signing his petition that asks all other members of the Judiciary Committee to join his call for immediate hearings on the Impeachment of the Vice President.

Support and donate to these Impeachment Groups:

Impeach Bush

The World Can't Wait

Code Pink

Support and donate to my campaign and tell your friends.

Support and donate to the other Presidential candidates who are also publicly and courageously calling for Impeachment.

Let the other Presidential Candidates know why you are not willing to support or contribute to their campaign: that you refuse to support anyone who isn’t willing to tell the truth to the American people about what has happened to their Democracy.

Join together to organize and petition your Congressperson to be true to their oath office: to uphold their most fundamental and sacred duty to protect and defend the Constitution by Impeaching the Vice President and President. Together we will restore the Rule-of-Law in America.

Senator Mike Gravel
Candidate for President


Rummy Resurfaces, Calls for U.S. Propaganda Agency

This was one of the major themes in one of Rumsfeld's first post-Pentagon public comments at a conference today on network centric warfare sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement. According to Rumsfeld, the United States is losing the war of ideas in the Muslim world, and the answer to that, in part, is through the creation of this new government agency.

During the the Q&A after the speech, I asked Rumsfeld what this new agency might entail (he was pretty clear it wouldn't be a resurrected U.S. Information Agency, which was merged into State Department in 1999), and why, when there is an abundance of media available in the private sector, the government needs to get involved.

I'll just let Rumsfeld speak for himself:

Private media does not get up in the morning and say what can we do to promote the values and ideas that the free Western nations believe in? It gets up in the morning and says they're going to try to make money by selling whatever they sell... The way they decided to do that is to be dramatic and if it bleeds it leads is the common statement in the media today. They've got their job, and they have to do that, and that's what they do.

We need someone in the United States government, some entity, not like the old USIA . . . I think this agency, a new agency has to be something that would take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that exist today. There are multiple channels for information . . . The Internet is there, blogs are there, talk radio is there, e-mails are there. There are all kinds of opportunities. We do not with any systematic organized way attempt to engage the battle of ideas and talk about the idea of beheading, and what it's about and what it means. And talk about the fact that people are killing more Muslims than they are non-Muslims, these extremists. They're doing it with suicide bombs and the like. We need to engage and not simply be passive and allow that battle of competition of ideas.

What would this agency actually do? Hard to say, but Rumsfeld referred approvingly back to when the Army paid reporters to plant stories in the local press in Iraq. He still thinks that was a good idea (and blames the U.S. press for screwing it up).

In Rumsfeld's view, the free press can co-exist with government sponsored/produced/paid news. "It doesn't mean we have to infringe on the role of the free press, they can go do what they do, and that's fine," says Rumsfeld. "Well, it's not fine, but it's what it is, let's put it that way."

UPDATE #1: MountainRunner, IntelFusion, Spencer Ackerman, and the Washington Post's William Arkin all weigh in. As does the New York Times' blog The Lede, which is kind enough to give us a high five. For sheer comedy gold, though, Ackerman wins, hands down.

Update #2: Pods, shmods, what the heck was Rumsfeld talking about?! All those years of transcribing tapes must be making me deaf, because while that does sound something like a plausible Rumsfeldism, It turns out, he said, BLOGS, BLOGS, BLOGS. Corrected above.


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* Terrorists Keep Blogs, Too
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* Army Audit: Official Sites, Not Blogs, are Security Threat
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* Clarifying the Blog Rule Clarification
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* Army's Blog Rebuttal
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* Army: Milblogging is "Therapy," Media is "Threat"
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* Army's Info-Cop Speaks