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27 September 2008


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"The next president will have an international community anxious for a fresh start. The best advice: stay calm; do nothing rash; avoid commitments that cannot be backed up but also the impression that you are a soft touch; talk to anyone who has something to offer; work to build the country's bruised reputation and financial position, and to reduce its energy dependence.

"And keep in mind that, whatever the intent, some big crisis will still hit you from an unexpected direction."

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, vice-principal of King's College, London


William R. Cumming

I listened to the debate as opposed to watching it. Trying to detect substantive distinctions for policy differences as to the future for both candidates. Unfortunately, both focused largely on the past. Biggest single difference over what Henry Kissinger had advised McCain (his "friend" of 35 years.) Obama clearly willing to find out for himself though what he wants to do. McCain unable to ferret out for himself what must be done and has to rely on others who he is told are "competent." Personally, I believe Henry Kissinger is what has ailed US foreign policy since the Nixon era. But then I hold a grudge. Too many friends on Mya Lin's Wall in the five years Kissinger and Nixon continued the war after traiterously sabotaging the peace talks during 1968. If Kissinger in his dotage is to be the out of view foreign policy advisor for McCain strongly suggest voting for Obama. Henry's pre-emptive war in Cambodia started the US down the slippery slope to the current failures.


Were you watching the original debate as broadcast or the "Updated" Version because there are\will be differences....

For Example... Bloomberg reported, correctly that the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said in a speech yesterday that...

"...the proposed $700 billion rescue of financial institutions backed by Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke would..... "plunge the U.S. government deeper into a fiscal abyss."

But that was swiftly upgraded into to a new improved update where according to Bloomberg he now "said" it's.....

"`..a critical first step'' toward calming markets even while adding to the U.S. government's fiscal burden."

Rewriting history before it's finished happening.



McCain: "Nearly 300 Marines lost their lives in the bombing of the barracks."

(The 25th Anniversary of that event comes next month in OCT.)


Despite that, McCain wants to keep spending oceans of American blood and treasure in order to prop up Dawa, i.e. the religio-political party of al-Maliki which is one and the same as the Dawa which bombed the US Embassy and played a role in the killing of the very same Marines whom McCain refers to.

Loyal Bushies, like McCain, have done a heckuva job!!

Remember ....

1) Large Turnout Reported For 1st Iraqi Vote Since '58 The Washington Post, June 21, 1980

In another development today, Al Dawa, a clandestine Iraqi fundamentalist Moslem organization, claimed responsibility for yesterday's grenade attack on the British Embassy here in which three gunmen reportedly were killed.

An Al Dawa spokesman told Agence France-Presse by phone that the attack was a "punitive operation against a center of British and American plotters."

2) Iraq Keeps a Tight Rein on Shiites While Bidding to Win Their Loyalty The Washington Post, November 30, 1982

Membership in Dawa, which means "the call," is punishable by execution. Dawa guerrillas were known for hurling grenades into crowds during religious ceremonies, and attacks claimed by the party were frequent until the middle of 1980.


Secretary of State George Shultz said Tuesday that there "quite likely" was a link between the U.S. Embassy bombing in Kuwait and attacks on American facilities in Lebanon. He warned of possible retaliation.


The sources said the investigators matched the prints on the fingers with those on file with Kuwaiti authorities and
tentatively identified the assailant as Raed Mukbil, an Iraqi automobile mechanic who lived in Kuwait and was a member of Hezb Al Dawa, a fundamentalist Iraqi Shiite Moslem group based in Iran.


Kuwait Sunday announced the arrests of 10 Shiite Moslems with ties to Iran in the terrorist bombings that killed four people and wounded 66 last week at the U.S. Embassy and other targets.


Hussein said fingerprints from the driver who died in the blast at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait identified him as Raad Akeel al Badran, an Iraqi mechanic who lived in Kuwait and belonged to the Dawa party.

5) 10 Pro-Iranian Shiites Held in Kuwait Bombings, The Washington Post December 19, 1983

Kuwait announced yesterday the arrest of 10 Shiite Moslems with ties to Iran in terrorist bombings that killed four people and wounded 66 last Monday at the U.S. Embassy and other targets.

"All 10 have admitted involvement in the incidents as well as participating in planning the blasts," Abdul Aziz Hussein, minister of state for Cabinet affairs, told reporters after a Cabinet session, United Press International reported.

Hussein said the seven Iraqis and three Lebanese were members of the Al Dawa party, a radical Iraqi Shiite Moslem group with close ties to Iran.

6) Beirut Bombers Seen Front for Iranian-Supported Shiite Faction, The Washington Post, January 4, 1984

The terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the bombing of the U.S. Marine compound and the French military headquarters here may be a front for an exiled Iraqi Shiite opposition party based in Iran, in the view of a number of Arab and western diplomatic sources.

Authorities in Kuwait say their questioning of suspects in the recent bombing there of the U.S. and French embassies indicates a clear link between Islamic Jihad, a shadowy group that says it carried out the Beirut attacks, and Al Dawa Islamiyah, the main source of resistance to the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Al Dawa (The Call) has been outlawed in Iraq, where it wants to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state to replace the secular Baath Socialist government of Saddam Hussein, who is a Sunni Moslem.

It draws its strength from the large Shiite population in southern Iraq. Thousands of its most militant members were expelled to Iran in 1980 before the outbreak of the Iranian-Iraqi war and joined Al Dawa there. But it also has a large following in Lebanon among Iraqi exiles and sympathetic Lebanese Shiites.

While Al Dawa operates out of Tehran, it is not clear whether its activities abroad are under direct Iranian control or merely have Iran's tacit acceptance.

7)Baalbek Seen As Staging Area For Terrorism, The Washington Post, January 9, 1984

Al Dawa, according to Arab and western sources, is believed to have had a role in the Oct. 23 suicide bomb attacks on the U.S. Marine and French military compounds in Beirut.

8) Message From Iran Triggered Bombing Spree In Kuwait, The Washington Post, February 3, 1984

Al Dawa, for example, is no household name in the United States.

But it is a name important to this story.

It leads us back to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the ruling figure in Iran; to Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the militant Lebanese Shiite leader who has been implicated--despite his denials--in the Marine and French bombings in Beirut; to Hussein Musawi, Fadlallah's strong-arm lieutenant; to the Hakim brothers in Iran and their connections to the Middle East terrorism industry.

9) KUWAIT ROUNDS UP BOMBING SUSPECTS. Chicago Tribune. Jul 13, 1985.

The outlawed Iraqi Al-Daawa Party, which professes allegiance to Iranian
leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was blamed for bomb attacks on the
U.S. and French Embassies and on four economic targets in Kuwait in
December, 1983. Five people were killed and 86 injured.

HIJACK ATTEMPT. Seattle Times. Dec 26, 1986. [snip]

Another caller, saying he represented the Islamic Jihad terrorist group,
said his group worked with the pro-Iranian outlawed Iraqi Al Daawa Party
in staging the airplane hijacking.

The mysterious Islamic Jihad holds at least two French and two American hostages in Lebanon. Al Daawa seeks to overthrow the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, which has been at war with Iran for six years.

11) 'Walk Free' Prediction Gets Puzzled Reaction. San Francisco Chronicle.
Jul 15, 1987.

State Department officials indicated yesterday they were perplexed by
Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North's assertion that 17 men convicted in
Kuwait of bomb attacks on the U.S. and French embassies will eventually
"walk free." .... The 17 are mainly Iraqi Shiites identified as members
of the underground Al-Daawa Party, which is pro-Iranian.

[keywords: Iraq; Iran; Islamic fundamentalism; Shiite fundamentalists; Dawa; Daawa; Islamic Jihad; Secretary of State George Shultz; Saddam Hussein; Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North; U.S. and French Embassies; Hizbollah; Hezbollah; Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini; Ayatollah Khomeini; 2008 presidential debates; Senator John McCain of Arizona]

Michael singer

Dear PAT, Though Obama never connected Bush's economic disasters to the lives of peole in supermarkets, filling stations and the like at least he referenced Americans. McCain had nothing to say about middle class people. He never denied or defended the subsidies for big oil he supports or the Bush tax cuts for the rich. I just wish BO would lean forward, starting pointing and nail McCain on his disinterest in regular Americans. Further, his soppy mention of grunts and how they know he will take care of them must have gone over eeal well with the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who can't get their disability payments. Yeah he's really taken care of them and the soldiers at Walter Reed. Michael Singer

Mad Dog


My reaction was that of "Bully-boy mean versus Altar-boy polite".

There were moments when I felt that Obama should stop turning the other cheek to McSame's schoolyard taunts of being naive, or "he just doesn't understand", and perhaps Obama will take the gloves off in the next debate.

But after some reflection, I think it might have been wise on Obama's part not to respond in kind to McSame's bullying because to do so might have further alienated those of the electorate who fear making the choice of voting for a man of color (yes, race and racism will never be airbrushed away even if it is not spoken of out loud).

If Obama decides that he just can't get down in the dirt with McSame, I would like Obama to at least not appear so defensive and wounded by McSame's attacks.

Not ignorant of the obvious pain that such attacks cause, but instead sure, confident and serious about Obama's own beliefs, vision and skills.

Sidney O. Smith III

If Obama loses, can a State secede from the Union?

Confusing times we live in, are they not? But, I mean, who wants to call themselves part of the USA if we preemptively launch military strikes against nations that pose no threat to our citizenry? Of course, this secessionist desire is particularly true if such a “strategy” includes using weapons of mass destruction and ends up as a modern day incarnation of Victor Hanson’s vision from the inferno -- Sherman’s March through the Islamic world that kills innocents by the tens of thousands, including children, all under the pretext of proclaiming freedom for all.

Apparently, Mr. SC Gamecock himself, Sen. Lindsey Graham, does not believe that our founding fathers had envisioned a balance of power that allowed state legislatures to lodge a compliant against an authoritarian government -- particularly one that creates a corporate welfare state at home and spreads imperialistic wars against other cultures abroad. A little torture here, a little torture there…

And while I am no scholar -- and admit I don’t yet know the answers -- I am yet to find anyone who can counter DiLorenzo’s arguments supporting the idea that our founding fathers believed in the constitutionality of secession as a way to check the rise of an authoritarian state. As he has explained in his two books on Lincoln, secession was assumed by nearly all before the WBS, including most particularly New Englanders, who were close to seceding themselves in the early part of the 19th century.

DiLorenzo relies heavily on the views of the great abolitionist Lysander Spooner. Spooner, prior to the WBS, wrote a brilliant tract proving the unconstitutionality of slavery -- one that left everyone, including Southerners, speechless. But Spooner vehemently opposed the WBS for the exact same rationale and then went on to say that Lincoln and his campaigns of shock and awe were basically all about a war in the name of imposing punitive tariffs against the South, so as to give a revenue stream for corporate subsidies. We all know the routine today, as people are taxed to help bail out Wall Street as the wars against other cultures rage on.

And in an attempt to pay tribute to War Eagle Raimondo’s brilliant description of our times as “bizarro”, perhaps Obama’s supporters should let Jeff Davis own arguments lead the way. Perhaps Biden, know for breathtaking gaffes, during some rally before the enlightened ones could lift Jeff Davis’ work above his head and say, “Secession -- yes, we can!” And the rebuttal from the crowd, “Change, you need!”

Then again, maybe not. But, on a more serious note, it is a pity that our state legislatures are not vehicles that can oppose the rise of a fascist government that intends to create a corporate welfare state at the expense of others and spread carnage to the rest of the world.

And, if DiLorenzo is correct -- and, again, I don’t yet know -- then those who use Lincoln as a rallying call are typically part of the left (you know) or right (William Kristol) who want an executive office to spread some type of imperialism, either here or abroad, in the name of corporate welfare, among other things.


I thought the only glaring error on Obama's part was letting McCain get away with that weepy sililoquy about his love for veterans. I waited for Obama to come back with "then why did you vote against Jim Webb's GI bill?" He did not. I was disappointed.

On the upside, Obama seems to have cured himself of that meandering professorial style he displayed in the primary debates.

I, too, was hoping for a senior moment from McCain, but at least his overt rudeness seems to have swung independents away from voting for him - as gleaned from the focus groups.


Matt Tabbi wrote the other day that he was amazed how long the GOP has gotten running against 'the Sixties'. And that it still works.

I thought that was an interesting insight.

Dan M

Poor John,

I wonder how the Senators lack of basic courtesy and respect will play in the south? Can't help him.

These are things he thinks Americans care about:

He opposes bears -- they're too expensive.

He supports the Strategic Defense Initiative. Money well spent.

He opposes our ill-advised military adventure in lebanon (proof that it was a bad idea? Marines died).

He supports our ill-advised military adventure in Iraq (more Marines must die so that bracelet-bestowing mothers everywhere can sleep at night).

He thinks Ronald Reagen was a swell president.

He opposes calling for all sides in a conflict to show restraint. It's "naive."

He dislikes the KGB, which is apparently a major threat to our way of life.

He thinks the words "Saakashvili, "Ossetia," and "Abkhazia" are important.

He believes voters care passionately about the difference between "tactics" and "strategy."

He supports sub-committee chairmen holding fact-finding hearings.

He opposes Washington's gas-bag political culture.

He says his opponent doesn't "understand" when he should just assert his opponent is "wrong."

David W.

As an independent, I am supporting Obama, but am not one to 'drink the Koolaid.' That said, I thought there was one man on the stage last night who acted, spoke and looked Presidential, and that was Obama.

I am saying this only because in 2000 and 2004, I felt neither candidate was truly Presidential in the debates.


the Israelis used to always condemn the late PLO chair and PA president Y. Arafat for the disparity of his statements for those abroad and for home consumption, i.e. his English and his Arabic statements did not match.

I wonder whether B, Husein Obama's private and public statements would also betray some incongruence.

On some sundry topics, first the public posture followed perhaps by the private or backroom talk.

1. Russia-Caucus GA.
A. The behavior of the Russkies is unacceptable. Pure aggression. they must roll back. Such aggression in the 21st Century- who would have thought it?
B. Come on now kids- Russia is a lot more important to us than Uke or GA. They got deliverable nukes, Europe's gas & and oil in a choke hold. How can we forget that this former communist nation is now a Christian nation? After all, that idiot ShakkCash conducted a nightime artillery raid on a civilian city with Russian peacekeepers inside. How stupid can you get?

How come we didn't see this coming? Where was our HUMINT? We need somebody like W. Pat Lang running HUMINT at DIA again!!!

2. What is the greatest national security threat?
A. Iran acquiring Nukes and becoming an existintial threat to Israel.
B. We got to say this shit to get elected. Gen Abizaid said a while ago that we could live with a few Iranian nukes. What would be the big deal? But that is the reality of Jewish leverage in tight U.S. elections. Eh, after all, that kind of reality check would have to come from Axlerod and Rahm Emmanuel, my controllers, not from my lips.

3. What is this about McCain sayin Mahmoud Ahmed Nezadi says Israel must be destroyed?
A. That is a vile thing this nut is saying.
B. Of course that is not what he is saying. Professor Cole and Jonathan Steele and even Ne(j)zadi (See how easy it is to prononuce when you de-agglutinate it) have explained he is talking about disappearance of the apartheid state through the process of historical process analogous to what happened to the Soviet Union. he is repeating a saying of the Ayatollah Khomeini.)

For those w/ classical background contrast that with Cato the Elder who ended every speech with "Cartago Delenda Est."
(more correctly-Carthaginem esse delendam ). Carthage must be destroyed

4. The War on Terror- where it must be fought?
A. Afghanistan + Waziristan where it started.
B. that is bullcrap. We will be fighting the Pushtu speakers for fifty years. This war against the Muslims started in Palestine. It blew up bigtime in 1967 when LBJ green lighted the total defeat of secular Egypt, Syria and Jordan. We killed the last powerful secularist regime in Iraq. Now the crazy fundamentalists rule. Sunni in one corner and Shiite in the other and they are striving for dominance.

Undil we do something in Palestine, there is no hope of unraveling this knot. The facts on the ground under Bush have made a two state solution impossible. A binational state is the next step. But with West Bank and Hamas under different political leadership, who knows how to bring it about?

we have sown the wind, and are reaping the whirlwind.

5. What is going on with this 700 billion dollars?
A. it is an immense burden on the taxpayers and it will delay other programs.
B. Shh. Don't let the secret out. Yes there are printing presses for $100 bills. But the more important presses spit out the T-bills. We just refloat incoming T-Bills with bigger issues. As long as people are working and the economy is growing, it don't matter. Keynes explained it a long time ago-keep the money supply just right. The only danger is running out of ink or paper.


I thought the debate was more or less fought to a draw, maybe slight advantage Obama. Not the pundits, however, who were busy studying body language, eye contact and who knows what else. They appear to give it overwhelmingly to Obama. as do independents in most overnight polls I'm seeing.

I never call these things right!

Green Zone Cafe

I applaud your endorsement of Obama. It is the only way to restore America's image in the world and probably to avoid apocalypse.

That said, your hope for a Queeg moment for McCain surprised me. Although I am considering whether McCain "deserves it" for his campaign and his reckless choice of Palin, I thought of Lt. Barney Greenwald's words:

"Question is, in the last analysis--last analysis--what do you do for dough? Old Yellowstain, for dough, was standing guard on this fat dumb and happy country of ours. Meantime me, I was advancing little free non-Prussian life for dough. Of course, we figured in those days, only fools go into armed service. Bad pay, no millionaire future, and You can't call your mind or body your own. Not for sensitive intellectuals. So when all hell broke loose and the Germans started running out of soap and figured, well it's time to come over and melt down old Mrs. Greenwald--who's gonna stop them? Not her boy Barney. Can't stop a Nazi with a lawbook. So I dropped the lawbooks and ran to learn how to fly. Stout fellow. Meantime, and it took a year and a half before I was any good, who was keeping Mama out of the soap dish? Captain Queeg."


Debates are always in the eye of the beholder as to the winner.

Its obvious McCain has taken some of Obama's ads personally, thus the animosity. As to being a Bully, thats a stretch or is that some sort of Army-Navy thing.

Both candidates got what they wanted out of the debate. Obama held his own and raised his stature while McCain continued to pummel Obama on his experience and naivete.
McCain missed an opportunity when Obama speaking about Bush said to McCain "Your President", we all know he is OUR President whether you like him or not. Obama needs to get this speaking to foreign despots without conditions behind him. I know he tried but he needs set it straight, diplomacy first, or McCain will continue to eat his lunch on it.

It all came down to a trained wordsmith versus a naval aviator and McCain did better than I thought he would.


"The only danger is running out of ink or paper."

In 1923, the German finance ministry planned for months to get enough paper and ink to do it. No longer a practical problem. Now all you have to do is inconvenience a few electrons.


it still sticks in my craw that neither McCain, Obama, nor Lehrer got antennae sensitive enough to detect "Republican" Guards when the context called for "Revolutionary" Guards.

It's that Sunni-Shiite thing. Obama could have cleaned three-sticks' clock on that.

" As you well know, the Republican Guards worked for the former President Saddam , whereas the Revolutionary Guards, work for the Islamic Republic of Iran."


I couldn't help but notice how stuck in the 60's McCain still seems to be. Almost all of his little speeches last night seemed to involve only the past tense, which isn't going to do us much good with the myriad problems that complicate our future.

I was formerly of the opinion that most of the disparity between where Obama ought to be in the polls and where he is in the polls was due to the color of his skin. I still believe that (due to the fact that I voted for Tom Bradley in 1982 and 1986, and have observed the Bradley effect in actual practice), but I now think there's another factor in play here...

The GOP is increasingly the party of the delusional, and we have a plentiful supply of voters who fit that description.

GOP positions on almost all issues are obviously contradicted by reality (e.g., the GOP House members' plan for fixing the economy, or the continued assertions that we've won the war in Iraq), but the unreality that guides GOP beliefs is one that is remarkably attractive to many Americans, e.g., you can keep borrowing without making any concomitant investments, there's infinite oil and gas right here in the US-of-A, and all complex problems have simple solutions that usually involve nothing more than dropping bombs on other countries.

For those Americans who are invested in those myths the GOP has propagated since the Reagan era, hearing Obama talk about the need to live in a larger world, or make explicit the likelihood that the nation's economy is in danger of falling apart, merely makes them cling more tightly to their fantasies of American exceptionalism.

Obama and the Democratic party are asking Americans to roll up their sleeves and get to work fixing the problems of this nation, including dealing with the awful costs of foolish wars and even more foolish investment policies. And much of the population simply doesn't want to hear that message of accountability and responsibility, so they tune in to the gibberish that McCain and Palin are selling instead.


Will,you sound like a Maureen Dowd column.


I thought Obama did well in the debate, when many of the punditry were predicting that McCain would mop the floor with him.

McCain seemed old,looking backwards, rather than forwards, a one-tracked old mind.

In fact, he reminded me a lot of Barry Goldwater in '64.

The old lumbering, completely predictable heavyweight, ran into a pretty damned good counter-puncher in Obama.

My take on it.

I was impressed.

Andrew Kitz

A short time ago, Col. Lang referred to Mr. McCain as a "man in decline." Having watched the debate, I would firmly agree. I would add that the rigors of his current "mission" have undoubtedly accelerated the trend. Mr McCain's face reveals a man who appears to be in near constant pain, and given his personality type, I'm sure much of that pain is kept from the world. I've spent much time recently with a man living in constant pain, and the look is unmistakeable.

Mr McCain's decisions reflect a man who is no longer in control of his own destiny. His campaign has long ceased to be governed to any degree by his own will. He has lost the battle for his soul, and I believe we are witnessing the tragic twilight of a once proud political career. Even if he emerges victorious, his administration will hardly be a manifestation of his influence. He is owned. When we see by whom, the affair is all the more tragic. This will become all too apparent very soon into his first term. Thus, ignominy awaits him even in victory.

Are we to expect that once he assumes office, Mr McCain will reassert his more admirable qualities and his former capabilities? No. The horse has been broken, and things will not improve once he is subject to the daily demands of the job. Mr McCain is clearly a man in personal turmoil, an anthropomorphic metaphor for the state of our union itself. He doesn't have much left, spiritually or physically, and he is ever so susceptible to some dangerous people and dangerous ideologies with which he has surrounded himself. If this sad saga must play itself out, let it not happen with our nation's future at stake.

Cold War Zoomie

I thought the debate was more or less fought to a draw,...

Me too. McCain did better than I thought he would considering some of the short clips of him I've seen the last few weeks.

I liked this format much better than the older ones. Better, but not perfect...we INTJs need lots more details!


"I never call these things right!" (JohnS.)

Are you sure?


John McCain is an old man who should not be running for this office. He is the bore and offensive person described in the blog. BTW, that he would not look at or address Obama is racism in its purest form. (Pretend he does not exist)

The same crowd (and it is really only a handful) that brought us a stolen election in 2000 is at it again.

There is something physically wrong with McCain. He will not stand up to the rigors of the office. Incapacitation has an 80% to 100% chance in my opinion. Why won't they release his health records?

Should he be incapacitated, we would be subjected to a government far worse that the one George Bush delivered. It is especially scary because a proven robot (Palin) would be controlled by unknown right wing zealots.

Americans should forget the posturing and hollow promises and vote for own interests. Vote Obama for to do otherwise risks an uncertain future.

Patrick Lang


A couple of people have written objecting to my suggesting that McCain might have disintegrated last night into a moment of frothing rage along the lines of "Lieutenant Commander Queeg" on the witness stand in the "Caine Mutiny Court Martial." Someone suggested that Queeg (the character) was a really, really, brave soul and this person cited Lt Greenwald's (Jose Ferrar) empassioned defense of Queeg after the lieutenants, these feckless civilians in uniform are acquitted of the charge of mutiny.

I share the sentiment that long service regulars deserve a special credit for their patiently endured years of suffering. It would be odd if I did not feel that way.

Nevertheless, in the end Queeg was still mad as a hatter.

Well, pilgrims, I have served with a lot of brave, devoted men who were at the same time people who should not have had command. McCain is impaired. Wait and see. pl

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