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FixCam: Week in Preview

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Above you'll find the FixCam week in preview. At work and can't watch/listen? Here's a cheat sheet: it's all about the Benjamins. The third fundraising quarter closed last night and campaigns should begin leaking out their numbers today. Two key questions: Did Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) outraise Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) again? And, just how much personal money did former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) put into his campaign over the past three months? We'll have those answers and much more on The Fix all week.

The other big story line this week is Obama's four day "Judgement and Experience" tour through Iowa. Obama's campaign knows just how important Iowa is to his chances (more on that tomorrow) and is using this swing to highlight the five year anniversary of his 2002 speech in opposition to the war. Obama's visit comes at a good time; a Newsweek poll released over the weekend shows him leading Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) among likely Iowa caucus goers.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 30, 2007; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  FixCam  
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Next: Trippi Defends Edwards' Funding Decision

Comments

Mark in Austin,
I don't know if we are overpaying the contractors. The contractors are getting (or getting close to) market price - it's high risk/high reward and specialized skills (commercially speaking). But paying the military nearly the same as you could get commercially - how do you do that? I don't know a lot about military pay but I believe it's based on rank and seniority. I would think it would need to be merit pay or based on assignment? If you are going to raise all military pay to be competitive with the high risk commercial, I don't think that paying a soldier stationed in the US that is a cook the same as one protecting convoys in Iraq works, from a fiscal point of view (you would be "overpaying" the cook). If you pay differently, you run the risk of ruining the "all soldiers are the same" group mentality. In short, while it sounds easy to say "pay the military to do it", it might be more challenging than that - but I think it is something that people smarter than I should look into.

I think this is one of the results of not having enough people in the military for current operations. Having a couple hundred thousand more troops available with revised rules of engagement for certain missions would go a long way to fixing this.

Posted by: Dave! | October 2, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

vwcat coins the name "MoDo" and it fits. Reminds one of dragons. Despite the national polls, which surely are still meaningless, the D primaries are an open fight. Did you see Frank Rich in the NYT?

Dave! - What if the Pentagon budget for private armies was spent on expanding and paying more to the real Army? I hear what you are saying, but in the big picture we are underpaying our troops and overpaying the contractors and it makes no sense.

I see McCain coming back on the R side. McCain-Huckabee is stronger than Huckabee-McCain, but these are the two men who together can make a credible R run.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | October 1, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

bsimon/Walter,
Effective at what they are asked to do (their mission), which is protection of convoys. On one hand it does no good to have Americans killing Iraqis willy-nilly. It does not help any mission. On the other it's a war so people dying, even innocent people dying, is not exactly an unexpected event. It's a part of war and to expect anything else is not realistic. bsimon's statement that "every time an American accidentally kills an Iraqi civilian, we lose credibility as the good guys coming in to save the Iraqis" seems to imply that the US can't have any collateral damage and still win over the minds, if the the hearts, of the Iraqis. That is, not only unrealistic, but I believe not necessarily true. There have been examples of a war with huge civilian casualties where we have "won over" the people - Japan being the most blatant example. None of which means I am for a high civilian casualty count or a contractor force without any oversight.

So if the US pulled all the contractors and assigned what they were doing to soldiers, what would happen? My guess would be fewer convoys, more convoys getting blown up, and/or a manpower shortage somewhere else in Iraq because there are not enough soldiers to do everything that needs to be done. None of those help the overall mission either.

Posted by: Dave! | October 1, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

It is long past time for the media to do some questioning and scrutinizing of Hillary instead of always dumping on the other democratic candidates, who are so much better than Hillary.
Modo is right. If it was not for Hillary trading on the Clinton name, she would never even get elected to the senate let along president. Why anyone would take her serious is beyond me.
I hope the reason the press is giving her a free pass and obsessing on her is not over guilt from the 90s. They need to do their job.
Afterall, the press is totally missing the big story. the huge Obama movement that is growing under the radar. and with so many people becoming active in his campaign, people who rarely if ever bother to vote, people who felt no interest until he came along, republicans who are becoming democrats to support and vote for him, people not on the lists pollsters use, the number of people supporting Obama is far bigger than those who support Clinton.
Obama has built an awesome movement and they are fueling his candidacy and will propel him to the white house while the corporate shill, Hillary, will be looking around wondering what happened.

Posted by: vwcat | October 1, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

'Somebody that can shoot first and ask questions later and not worry one dime about the consequences or somebody that has to be fired upon first before they can respond and may be punished if they don't do things by the current rules? '

Btw, it's 'oversight'

Well 'effective' by what measure? If they undermine the mission [ie make more Iraqis angry enough to join the insurgency] doesn't that then further endangers the troops and guarantees that we will be there even longer. so how is that effective [unless your point is to stay there forever].

Posted by: Walter | October 1, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Dave! writes
"Think about it, who will be more effective? Somebody that can shoot first and ask questions later and not worry one dime about the consequences or somebody that has to be fired upon first before they can respond and may be punished if they don't do things by the current rules? I'm not arguing that the contractors should be exempt from oversite, I'm just stating the case that lack of oversite might make them more effective."


Well, it gets back to how you define effective. If effectiveness is only measured on a daily basis, then the above analysis might be correct. However, if effectiveness is measured within the context of achieving the larger mission (securing Iraq & bringing our troops home), then the contractors' tactics are not at all effective - they're in fact counter-productive.

Here's the point: every time an American accidentally kills an Iraqi civilian, we lose credibility as the good guys coming in to save the Iraqis.

.

Posted by: bsimon | October 1, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Anon,
"have given $2.6 million in campaign contributions between 1999 and 2006,[v] 77 percent of which went to Republicans and President Bush."

So that amounts to 77% of 2.6 million (roughly 2 million) over 8 years which comes out to about 250k per year and about 83k per company. In short, chump change (for politics).

Posted by: Dave! | October 1, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

bsimon,
"Dave! above tries to argue that such oversight is a negative thing. I'm not convinced." I was simply trying to come up with an answer to your question. I think that oversite has its benefits as well as its detriments. If less oversite and fewer rules make contractors more effective in protecting convoys, people may be making the calculation that safety measures outweigh the misuse of force and occasional errors/killings by contractors. Again, I'm not necessarily agreeing with this but it may be one answer to your question.

Walter,
"Don't you understand that everything that happens in Iraq is designed to create a profit for a company that will then reliably donate huge sums to the Republican party?" Even Republicans can think up better fundraisers than a hugely unpopular war. Blackwater, the latest incident notwithstanding, may donate money to Republicans but they also are generally very effective at what they do. Think about it, who will be more effective? Somebody that can shoot first and ask questions later and not worry one dime about the consequences or somebody that has to be fired upon first before they can respond and may be punished if they don't do things by the current rules? I'm not arguing that the contractors should be exempt from oversite, I'm just stating the case that lack of oversite might make them more effective.

Posted by: Dave! | October 1, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- thanks for doing the research I was too lazy to complete. :) I suppose the motivation for a "loan" is therefore more simple than I'd though -- if things go well, you can ultimately get your money back.

As far as SCHIP goes, I'm not aware of the mechanics but would suggest -- practially -- that the program is sufficiently popular that any separation between federal taxation and state instituted services is less problematic than for many other programs. Politically, this issue will hurt the GOP for the same reason that opposition to many of the Contract with America points hurt Democrats. In short, it's one of those vaunted 60/40 propositions that commands the support of a large, bipartisan segment of the population.

Posted by: Colin | October 1, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The senior Iraqi police officer said that Blackwater team members were questioned by Iraqi police immediately after the incident. They initially said they opened fire in response to a mortar attack, the officer said. However, he said, they then changed their story at least twice during the 90 minutes they were held.

Video of the shooting aftermath released by Iraqi police showed a car that had damage consistent with damages that would be caused by a rocket-propelled grenade.

The video showed what appeared to be the spent casing of a rifle-fired grenade, and the embassy source said the Blackwater guards were armed with a rifle-fired M-203 grenade.

The embassy source said a report in The New York Times that participants in the incident have told investigators at least one guard drew a weapon on a fellow guard who did not stop shooting after colleagues called for a cease-fire was "pretty much true." Blackwater has previously denied reports that said one Blackwater employee drew a gun on another.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/10/01/blackwater.report/index.html

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"No, the privatization of the military was quite deliberate-- the 'Rumsfeld strategy'' it was called. It was cooked up with Karl Rove as part of the K Street Strategy to reward R-contributing contractors with big, taxpayer financed contracts, in order to create a permanent R hold on this government."

Finally a context in which the postings fit. Thank you.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"In 2006, Halliburton is alleged to have overspent $2.7 billion on its contracts in Iraq. Food overcharges alone accounted for $4.5 million of KBR's overspending, although an even bigger problem was found in the work KBR contracted to do with the Iraqi fuel system. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction inspected the firm's actions and issued a report in June 2007 which stated, ""

Not to mention the billions ,that's billions with a B, that has come up missing. Our tax dollars going to good use. Straight into gop contractors pockets. Trading the blood of our brothers and sisters for little pieces of paper with pictures of dead president on it. TREASON

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Clean Elections campaign reform would sever the ties between campaign donors, politicians, and contract awards ensuring that private companies vying for government contracts compete on a level playing field.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

In 2006, Halliburton is alleged to have overspent $2.7 billion on its contracts in Iraq. Food overcharges alone accounted for $4.5 million of KBR's overspending, although an even bigger problem was found in the work KBR contracted to do with the Iraqi fuel system. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction inspected the firm's actions and issued a report in June 2007 which stated, "We found weaknesses in KBR's fuel receiving, distributing, and accountability processes of such magnitude that we were unable to determine an accurate measurement of the fuel services provided.[x]"

In 2006 Halliburton recorded a profit of $2.3 billion, a number strikingly close to the $2.7 billion the company is alleged to have overspent in Iraq during that year. Halliburton CEO David Lesar received a benefits package for 2006 totaling $16.5 million.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

JD - The bigger the fed portion of the match in the actual program, the more I agree with you that the program needs to move in the direction of state funding. The state should provide at least 50%, in my view, if the state is administering it, to leave the bulk of the taxing where spending is done.

Federalization of part, only, would not bother me, because it could help to even out service between rich and poor states, per capita.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | October 1, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Since the beginning of the current administration, spending on no-bid and limited-competition contracts has increased by 206 percent from $67.5 billion in 2000 to nearly $207 billion in 2006.[ii] A report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that 187 contracts in 2007 totaling $1.1 trillion involved significant overspending and negligence.[iii] And while most of us would not even renew a contract for a cabinet installer with that kind of overspending, the Pentagon doesn't seem to mind.

Companies receiving these contracts have given substantial amounts of campaign money over the years. Their contributions have been rewarded with new contracts, even with the overwhelming amount of evidence of malfeasance.

Three companies that were recently awarded the major LOGCAP IV contract (worth up to $150 billion)[iv]-former Halliburton subsidiary KBR, DynCorp, and Fluor Intercontinental-have given $2.6 million in campaign contributions between 1999 and 2006,[v] 77 percent of which went to Republicans and President Bush. All three of these companies had problems with previous contracts, including overcharging[vi], wasteful spending[vii], and false claims[viii]. These contracts include tasks related to supply and field operations, engineering and construction.[ix]

http://www.publicampaign.org/node/40642

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Colin, when I first read this blog I thought McC-F must have been extended so that the "millionaire opponent" provision had been extended from Congressional to Prez campaigns. a quick look at USCA and the CFR
leads me to believe it has not been!

Thus it makes no difference if Romney lends, or gives. I hope there is someone current on Fed campaign law out there who can correct me, if I have been sloppy here.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | October 1, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

' I'm surprised that mercenaries (your word) would be used, unless maybe they're having a hard time with recruiting goals to able to field enough bodies. '

What else would you call them? No, the privatization of the military was quite deliberate-- the 'Rumsfeld strategy'' it was called. It was cooked up with Karl Rove as part of the K Street Strategy to reward R-contributing contractors with big, taxpayer financed contracts, in order to create a permanent R hold on this government.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Good point on the cash infusion, Colin.

If you recall, John Kerry gave himself a $6M loan late in 2003, to keep his languishing campaign afloat (as it had underperformed prior to that). He had been hovering in the mid-single-digits.

The cash helped him keep things going until he could right the ship in Iowa, and ride that to the nomination. The fact that he had put in his own money (even if it was a loan) gave him renewed credibility and helped him from both a reporting and fundraising standpoint.

Posted by: J | October 1, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Hypocrite gop

"Can one even imagine a more effective way to completely belittle and trivialize those terms than the way in which Fox News is so casually and cheaply throwing around those terms? And yet the organizations which have, in the past, anointed themselves arbiters of when those terms could be used -- and who have righteously attacked far less significant and incautious exploitation of "Nazism" insults when used against the Right -- say nothing about the reckless, indiscriminate use of those terms on Fox and in similar venues.

To the contrary, the Simon Wisenthal Center has bestowed its highest honor, the Humanitarian Laureate, on Fox's owner, Rupert Murdoch. And Murdoch is a frequent guest at ADL events and has served on various ADL committees. Ironically, the ADL previously condemned Ted Turner for comparing Murdoch to Hitler, with Foxman issuing a formal condemnation statement:

The Anti-Defamation League called Ted Turner's reported remarks comparing Rupert Murdoch to Hitler "quite disturbing."

"As many and as serious as your business or personal differences with Mr. Murdoch," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, wrote to the CNN Chairman, "comparing him to Hitler trivializes a profound historical tragedy. Hitler's deeds resulted in the deaths of millions, and a war which gripped the world for six years. The comparison is an insult to the memory of the millions of victims of Nazism." Today's New York Post reported that Mr. Turner referred to News Corporation Chairman Murdoch as being "like the late Fuhrer."

In 1995, ADL called a similarly offensive remark by Mr. Turner to his attention when the CNN Chairman stated his inability to buy a network made him feel like "those Jewish people in Germany in 1942."

"Once again," Mr. Foxman wrote, "we urge that such inapt analogies to the Holocaust be avoided."

"

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/?last_story=/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/01/nazi_insult/

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

On his talk radio show last night, Mark Levin labelled MoveOn and Media Matters as "brownshirts." Michelle Malkin this morning excitedly touted Levin's attack, cheering the "no-holds-barred Mark Levin" for labelling both groups as the "brownshirts of the Clinton crime family."

On September 17, Bill O'Reilly had Tammy Bruce and Kirsten Powers on to wallow in outrage over a blog post written by Jane Hamsher in which she criticized Elizabeth Edwards for reciting right-wing talking points against MoveOn.org. Hamsher's picture was displayed while she and FDL were branded by O'Reilly as "fascists" and "Nazis." The largest right-wing blogs cheered on this smear
"

should I continue or are all you going to not vote gop? Vote indy or dem. Nobody is allowed to vote r, for thirty years. Their on timeout :) just kidding

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Just in the past few months alone, there is virtually no prominent anti-war or liberal group that has not been branded as Hitler and Nazis by the most influential factions on the Right. If one's goal were to trivialize Hitler and Nazism and the Holocaust, one would do exactly what the Right is doing -- brand every political opponent as Hitler and Nazis on a virtually daily basis. Yet the groups that have anointed themselves proprietors of those terms, and which have in the past expressed such righteous outrage when those terms were used against the Right, sit by meekly and silently.

During his failed crusade to convince Democratic candidates to boycott Yearly Kos, Bill O'Reilly spent weeks, on a virtually nightly basis, labelling Daily Kos as Nazis. On Fox News, O'Reilly repeatedly said things like this: "There's no difference between the KKK and the Nazis, who have websites, than the Daily Kos." And: "The [Daily Kos] website sells hate, as does the KKK and the Nazis. The comparison is valid."
"

Posted by: greenwald | October 1, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The defense sector as a whole spent $86.5 million on federal lobbying in 2005.

http://www.capitaleye.org/inside.asp?ID=247

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

bsimon and Walter, yes I agree with you; if it were up to me, we'd have American troops doing the inherently governmental function of soldiery on the battlefield. I'm surprised that mercenaries (your word) would be used, unless maybe they're having a hard time with recruiting goals to able to field enough bodies. There also might be an issue with optempo; they can't just willy nilly increase the size of the military (at least, not the officers, which drives the force size); that's set in statute. So, I guess ifyou were planning on having a temporary need, you'd want the flexibility of outsourcing it. But that's completely a guess on my part.

M in A, regarding your threadjack, I'd suggest that the Feds should mostly be out of that funding game. Let the states do it, completely. Reduce fed spending (and taxes accordingly), and let each state make the call on how extensive of a safety net or 'free' (ha!) healthcare they want to provide. It's constitutional, it's pay-as-you-go (since states can't run deficits), and it's more accountable IMHO.

Posted by: JD | October 1, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

O the irony.

" I know you are but what am I"

The gop is a party of greedy racist fascists.

""Nazis" and "Hitler" -- the Right's casual, trivializing political insults
(updated below)

One of the rules of political discourse that we had until quite recently -- enforced most vigorously by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and The Simon Wiesenthal Center, among others -- was that nobody was allowed to invoke Hitler and Nazis as a political insult. To do so, we heard constantly, was to trivialize Nazisim and the Holocaust and exploit that imagery for cheap political gain.

Several years ago, when MoveOn.org sponsored a contest for producing the best anti-Bush ad of 2004, it received well over 1,000 ads -- one of which compared Bush to Hitler. Upon learning of the ad's content, MoveOn immediately removed the ad, but that did not stem the tidal waves of outraged protests. The ADL's Executive Director, Abraham Foxman, roared that the ad was "shocking," "vile" and "outrageous." RNC Chair Ed Gillespie denounced it as "political hate speech" and demanded that all Democratic presidential candidates condemn it. The Simon Wiesenthal Center said comparing political opponents to Hitler is "shameful and beyond the pale and has no place in the legitimate discourse of American politics."

Similar outrage ensued when Sen. Dick Durbin invoked the behavior of the Nazis in a speech condemning Guantanamo. The very idea of even mentioning Americans and Nazis in the same breath was Despicable, said countless right-wing pundits such as Jonah Goldberg. After all, "The Nazis performed medical experiments on children and gassed whole families" and Hitler thus possesses a "singular villainy." Goldberg protested:

In the circles frequented by the likes of Durbin -- where Howard Dean is a statesman and Michael Moore deserves the Nobel Prize -- evil must automatically be associated with "Nazi."
Now, however, "Nazi" and "Hitler" comparisons have become, by far, the most common political insult on the Right, and these same Jewish advocacy groups are defeaningly silent. It is not merely that every new country on which the Right's war-crazed faction wants to wage war is "Nazi Germany" and every new leader -- or even every political functionary -- that does not submit completely to America's will is "Hitler." That is true, and it provokes no protests. But the casual, indiscriminate use of "Hitler" and "Nazism" as political exploitation is much more pervasive even than that. "

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/?last_story=/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/01/nazi_insult/

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse


The six companies -- Bechtel Group Inc., Fluor Corp., Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root, Louis Berger Group Inc., Parsons Corp. and Washington Group International Inc. -- contributed a combined $3.6 million in individual, PAC and soft money donations between 1999 and 2002, the Center reported on its news site, CapitalEye.org. Sixty-six percent of that total went to Republicans.

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/rebuilding_iraq/index.asp

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse


As reported in TPM Muckraker and in the book 'Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror' by Robert Young Pelton, Blackwater USA's first job was a $5+ million no bid contract with the CIA, which was obtained due to the relationship between a top CIA official and Blackwater founder.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"If you check, you will note that every contractor in Iraq is a Republican contributor."

so what is it called when you do this? Selling out your country for personal profit? Isn't that treason? When did treason become ok in american politics? Someone please tell me. I'll leave forever ;)? Or better yet, why is what the gop is doing NOT treason?

You silence will be deafening gop.

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"The study of more than 70 American companies and individual contractors turned up more than $500,000 in donations to the president's 2000 campaign, more than they gave collectively to any other politician over the past dozen years."

That's a start, but 1) $500k is not very much spread out over 70 American companies, 2) that was seven years ago, and 3) That was 2-3 years before the war began.

Lastly, these companies play both sides of the street; although it is reasonable to believe that they would normally favor Republicans. It would be interesting to see if their Republican:Democrat contribution ratio has moved towards the Democrats since November 2006.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"If Obama outraises Hillary, money will truly be a nonfactor in the Dem race. Hard to believe it. "

yOU MUST TAKE INTO ACCOUTN HILLARY HAS FREINDS IN HIGH PLACES. oBAMA SCARES THOS EPEOPLE/ tHIS IS WHY THE GOP IS FORCING THE opposition CANDIDATE. Beware the yale plan. It hasn't made this country any better/safer. On the contrary.


"All U.S. presidents since 1989 have been Yale graduates, namely George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton (who attended the University's Law School along with his wife, New York Senator Hillary Clinton), and George W. Bush, and Vice President Dick Cheney, (although he did not graduate). Many of the 2004 presidential candidates attended Yale: Bush, John Kerry, Howard Dean, and Joe Lieberman.

Other Yale-educated presidents were William Howard Taft (B.A.) and Gerald Ford (LL.B). Alumni also include several Supreme Court justices, including current Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Additional famous alumni are noted in the List of Yale University people, including Nobel Laureates, politicians, artists, athletes, activists, and numerous others who have led notable lives.
"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Skull_and_Bones_members

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

ERIK PRINCE, 37, Blackwater's founder and chairman, has deep roots in conservative Republican politics in Michigan.

His father, Edgar Prince, turned a small die-cast shop in Holland, Mich., into a major auto parts supplier with a specialty product: a windshield visor with a lighted mirror. After his death in 1995, the company was sold for $1.4 billion. Edgar Prince was a confidant and financial backer of Gary Bauer, a conservative activist and onetime presidential candidate.

Erik Prince's sister Betsy, a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, is married to Dick DeVos, billionaire son of the founder of marketing giant Amway and this year's likely Republican candidate for governor of Michigan.

Erik Prince went to private schools in Michigan, earned his pilot's license at 17 and attended the U.S. Naval Academy. He later joined the Navy and was deployed with a SEAL team.

Prince was living in Virginia Beach when he founded Blackwater in 1996. He now runs the Prince Group, Blackwater's parent company, from an office in McLean, Va.

Prince is a board member of Christian Freedom International, a nonprofit group dedicated to helping persecuted Christians around the world.

Since 1998, he has made nearly $200,000 in contributions to Republican committees and candidates, including President Bush and indicted former House leader Tom DeLay, according to Federal Election Commission records.

http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=108028&ran=144012

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the "loan" distinction, of course, is that it allows an individual with personal wealth to immediately infuse their campaign with money that they can quite possibly choose not to retire till the race is entirely over. In contrast, their opponents -- who would benefit from increased donation limits if the money was an outright contribution -- are left without any ability to similarly inject money into their campaigns.

It strikes me that while one can forcefully argue against the the "millionaires exception" entirely, as I'm sure any number of first amendment absolutists are willing to do on this blog, it makes little sense to only apply the exception to contributions rather than loans.

Posted by: Colin | October 1, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

ANDY VS. (P)AL IN LAX-TAX PROBE
By Chuck Bennett, New York Post

October 1, 2007 -- The finances of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network have come under the scrutiny of one his political allies, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, The Post has learned.

For years, the Harlem-based activist group neglected to file statements with the Attorney General's Charity Bureau on its fund-raising income, expenses and executive salaries as required by state law (sic)

"They are currently delinquent on their filings."


Even though it is the NY Post, it did bring a warm feeling to my heart.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON -- Companies awarded $8 billion in contracts to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan have been major campaign donors to President Bush, and their executives have had important political and military connections, according to a study released Thursday.

The study of more than 70 American companies and individual contractors turned up more than $500,000 in donations to the president's 2000 campaign, more than they gave collectively to any other politician over the past dozen years.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_20031031/ai_n14563311

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

drindl,

I'm of two minds in terms of predicting how Huckabee will come out. The GOP in general does not nominate dark horse candidates, but goes with the "anointed" one. At the same time, this year things look to be a bit more fluid in GOP circles than usual.

Huckabee certainly fits the social conservative requirements, so I'm not sure why he doesn't have more backing from that bloc in the GOP. Seems easier for them to back him now than to run a 3rd party candidate later.

In all, I think that he's going to run out of time. With a few more months I would give him a better chance of winning. I just don't currently see him breaking out in time for the primaries.

It would be interesting, though. He is (in my opinion) the most engaging candidate on the GOP side whether or not one agrees with him.

Posted by: J | October 1, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

'Dave! above tries to argue that such oversight is a negative thing. I'm not convinced.'

The fact that they seem to be killing Iraqis for fun and relaxation makes it a little less convincing...

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"You don't think the contractors build in the cost of benefits to their employees? We are paying for their retirements too"

Sure they do, but taxpayers are contributing only for the period of time of the contract; and is it 50% (20 yrs. service) or 75% (30 yrs service)? Or something a lot less because they let Social Security and employee 401Ks and IRA be the retirment income source?

I don't like the situation any more than you; but I don't see it as a dark dastardly method of providing a source for republican camapign contributions.

If you can prove that's what it is, then I'm sure that many of us on here would be more than glad to see what facts there are to substantiate that.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The Wall Street Journal's John Fund reports that the Rudy campaign is now denying that the now-infamous cell phone call from Judi Nathan during the NRA speech was staged:

Mr. Giuliani's deputy press secretary Jason Miller told me the NRA incident was definitely not a stunt. Instead it was a "candid and spontaneous moment" that would humanize the tough-guy former mayor with voters.

But this pushback was too ridiculous for even the ultra-conservative Fund to bear. He concludes: "Nice try. Just in case this isn't obviously ridiculous, Fox News commissioned a poll on the subject. It found that only 9% of Americans think a candidate should ever interrupt a speech to accept a call from his spouse."

We'd only add that this isn't the first "candid and spontaneous moment" of this kind. Rudy also fielded a similar call from his wife -- at exactly the moment that he was speaking at a podium -- last June.'

-- not a stunt. Instead it was a "candid and spontaneous moment" that would humanize the tough-guy former mayor with voters.--

So I don't get this... Rudy's campaign is saying the 'spontaneous moment' was meant to 'humanize' him? Then it wasn't 'spontaneous' was it?

Posted by: wtf | October 1, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

walter writes
"But the point is about more than money. The Iraqi government wants the mercernaries out because the people hate them. We are destroying the credibility of the government by overruling them... and we are further any credibility we had with Iraqis and adding fuel to the insurgency."


Another relevant consideration is how the mercenaries' behavior reflects on us. To an Iraqi that's trying to live a normal life, there's no difference between American military and American mercenary. Considering the mercenaries are guarding US personnel, there probably shouldn't be a distinction anyway - they're essentially acting on our behalf, despite have limited to nonexistent oversight. Dave! above tries to argue that such oversight is a negative thing. I'm not convinced.

Posted by: bsimon | October 1, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday at TPM I flagged Sy Hersh's new New Yorker article on the Cheneyite push for war with Iran -- an article as depressing as it is unsurprising. I want to focus in one passage from the piece about arch-Iran hawk Normam Podhoretz ...

Many of those who support the President's policy argue that Iran poses an imminent threat. In a recent essay in Commentary, Norman Podhoretz depicted President Ahmadinejad as a revolutionary, "like Hitler . . . whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it . . . with a new order dominated by Iran. . . .

[T]he plain and brutal truth is that if Iran is to be prevented from developing a nuclear arsenal, there is no alternative to the actual use of military force." Podhoretz concluded, "I pray with all my heart" that President Bush "will find it possible to take the only action that can stop Iran from following through on its evil intentions both toward us and toward Israel."

So this is the threat. Iran overturns the current unipolar world order and replaces it with a new world order dominated by Iran. It's really quite astonishing that people even write this garbage with a straight face. And yet there it is. Lost in all of this is that Iran is, what?, a third rate military power? Maybe?

Let's see if we can line up this comparison: Hitler/Germany, head of industrial superpower in the heart of Europe, engaged in massive rearmament putting it back in place as the dominant land military power in the world. Ahmadinejad, head of country with an economy roughly the size of Alabama, a sizable but largely outmoded military.

Notice any differences?

Posted by: Josh | October 1, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Mark, I have the same complaint about the (theoretical) Bloomberg campaign. If he doesn't need to raise money because of his personal wealth, then that's a problem for our democracy. Rich candidates shouldn't have such a big advantage.

But you bring up an excellent point: Can the VP donate money to the campaign? If so, then that's even worse. It means that Bloomberg would be a coveted VP pick because of his personal fortune. I'm not sure if anyone would actually pick a VP based on their wealth, but it's certainly possible.

Posted by: Blarg | October 1, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Ooops, duh. thanks.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

drindl, think about it.

A loan is temporary. It has to be paid back by the campaign (or is supposed to be).

An outright contribution is permanent. It stays with the campaign.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Mark A -- I'm curious -- why is a loan considered a different animal from an outright contribution? I mean, you still have the money...

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

'But, does this contracting cost the U.S. more in dollars? Maybe, but the taxpayers won't be paying 75% of the contractor's retirement pension as they will be doing for Petraeus. Or, for much of, and possibly all, of the contractor's healthcare, as they will be doing for Petreaus.'

Of course it does. You don't think the contractors build in the cost of benefits to their employees? We are paying for their retirements too -- only with a big chunk of profit built in.

But the point is about more than money. The Iraqi government wants the mercernaries out because the people hate them. We are destroying the credibility of the government by overruling them... and we are further any credibility we had with Iraqis and adding fuel to the insurgency.

Posted by: walter | October 1, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

'maybe the lack of oversite on contractors (or too much on soldiers) means convoys get better protection with the contractors.'

That's a very specious argument, especially cnsidering that the incident where 11 civilians were killed by Blackwater [or 20, according to the IIraqi government]] involved removing their charges from a secure location and bringing them out in the open -- and endangering their lives in the process.

Don't you understand that everything that happens in Iraq is designed to create a profit for a company that will then reliably donate huge sums to the Republican party? It has nothing to do with competence or efficiency or logic whatsoever.

If you check, you will note that every contractor in Iraq is a Republican contributor.

Posted by: Walter | October 1, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Interesting poll results from Iowa...

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2007/10/romney_obama_ah.html

"A new Iowa poll shows Mitt Romney ahead among Republicans and Barack Obama leading narrowly on the Democratic side."

Posted by: bsimon | October 1, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

If Obama outraises Hillary, money will truly be a nonfactor in the Dem race. Hard to believe it.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: paul | October 1, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Walter: I don't think anybody knows where the Point of Diminishing Return is either for cost or morale.

Many of the original contractors were skilled ex-U.S. Military who made a dollar killing;and some were killed, such as in Fallujah. They were Soldiers of Fortune, but nobody dared refer to them that way.

But, does this contracting cost the U.S. more in dollars? Maybe, but the taxpayers won't be paying 75% of the contractor's retirement pension as they will be doing for Petraeus. Or, for much of, and possibly all, of the contractor's healthcare, as they will be doing for Petreaus.

I wonder if anybody has ever done a cost/benefit analysis.

Plus, where would the U.S. Military get the bodies from? We're already way overextended even with the contractors. That overextension alone says, contractors. Unless we return to a Draft.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

'As a democrat myself, his potential scares me.'

I have to agree with you, Andy R. i find Huckabee trenmendously personally appealing and down to earth -- despite the fact that I disagree with him on almost everything.

What does anybody else here think about his chances?

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, now I am going to go reread the law over lunch so that I actually might be able to offer something constructive on McC-F.

Thanks, bsimon, for the wiki reference - the % match would be good to know.

Blarg, the last time we had this discussion here, you will recall, was about Bloomberg. What if he ran for VP? I think he could still spend his $.5B.

But I am going to "look it up".

Posted by: Mark in Austin | October 1, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Why is it okay for Romney to give "loans" to his campaign? Would it be legal for Romney to loan $15 million to someone else's campaign? If not, then the same problem exists.

No, Reason, I'm not jealous. I'm concerned about fairness. It's not fair that Romney has access to more campaign money than any other candidate, because of his own personal wealth. Campaign finance laws exist to stop Bill Gates from spending billions of dollars to make his chosen candidate president. (Or at least give his chosen candidate a huge unfair advantage.) But it looks like Bill Gates can do that, as long as he himself is the candidate. That's not fair. If we're going to have campaign finance laws, they shouldn't have huge loopholes like this.

Posted by: Blarg | October 1, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"if one very rich man, say Romney, or Bloomberg, or Perot, funds his own campaign, everybody else's contribution ceilings get lifted." - Mark in Austin

Mark, please explain. By lifted, did you mean raisded or removed? If you mean raised, then the ceiling could be continally raised during a campaign.

I thought that strict ceilings were why candidates opted out of public funding and got into the "open market funding." I've never heard that the ceilings were fluid and could be raised.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

'Walter, since I'm reasonably certain you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to Federal contracting, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt.'

What cons say when they want to offer you their opinion, rather than facts. The sources are all in the WaPo article. Read it yourself.

I think we never should have gotten into Iraq to begin, and that we should be drawing down. However, having said that, I would say yes, we should have had more troops if we were going to do this. Privatizing the military no mercernaries accountable to no one was a HUGE blunder... it was about nothing but profits, and is very dangerous -- which is why only 3rd world countries do it.

I dare you to tell me that you think it's smarter to pay mercernaries 10 times the cost of what a military guy working alongside him makes for doing the same job.

Tell me, aside from the huge burden to taxpayers, what that does to morale...

Posted by: Walter | October 1, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Romney donating to his own campaign. Why not? Why shouldn't a man who has money be able to donate that money to his own campaign, in which he believes? "

Buying an election like he did with votes in iowa straw. So by your standards the more money you have(personally) the more likely you are to be president. Hwo do most politicas make money?

no wonder we are in the politcal deep water we are in. Taking moeny for votes in politics used to be called a bribe. When did this change. How do bribing public officals make this coutnry better. iknow romney is rich, but think about the precedent

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"uut oohh. Looks like CC is censuring his blog again." - rufus


Thank You, Chris!


[Even if it was only a filter.]

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Read the 12:36 post. now you know why I post greenwald's articles for you people. He(amoung others) articulates much better than I could ever.

It's not about the source. It's about the WORD. Ignore the source. Ask yourself if you agree wiht a statement or not. The source is only a concern to fascists. But if a source continously lies and spins he loses all credibility. Remember when newspeople spent their lives building credibility. No more. But when a newsperson or journalist loses all credibility, what are they then? Are they still giving news? I say no. A newsperson with no credibility is a propogandist.

How is fox/rush/hannity/oreily still ont eh air GOP?

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Blarg and Norman, it's important to note that Romney isn't merely "donating" money to his own campaign. All of that money is in the form of "loans". That's right, loans. Why? Because if he donates the money straight up, it will trigger the Millionare Amendment through the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform bill. But taking out loans for a campaign, it will not trigger the millionare amendment. Your assumption is correct, J.

As to answer criticism to Romney donating to his own campaign. Why not? Why shouldn't a man who has money be able to donate that money to his own campaign, in which he believes? Could it be jealousy talking? Could it be that people who aren't wealthy hate those who have succeeded in life in terms of monetary compensation? Why else would there be this bickering about a person donating himself/herself money for their own campaign? It seems pretty reasonable to me.

Posted by: reason | October 1, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

now we see what the gop is about.

"Exclusive: Dem Rep To Introduce House Resolution Condemning Rush Limbaugh On Monday
By Greg Sargent - September 28, 2007, 5:59PM
I've just learned that Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) will be introducing a resolution in the House of Representatives on Monday condemning Rush Limbaugh for his "phony soldiers" remark.
"

http://tpmelectioncentral.com/2007/09/exclusive_dem_rep_to_introduce_house_resolution_condemning_rush_limbaugh_on_monday.php

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

bsimon,
"Here's a question - why are US State Dept convoys protected not by our own military but by mercenaries?" My initial thought relates to your previous paragraph - maybe the lack of oversite on contractors (or too much on soldiers) means convoys get better protection with the contractors.

Posted by: Dave! | October 1, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"UPDATE: In Comments, several people express the unquestionably valid concern that it is inappropriate, even McCarthy-ite and dangerous, for Congress to start formally condemning private political speech. That is true, and if we had a healthy political system, that would not happen.

But, as the MoveOn vote demonstrated, we have the opposite of a healthy political system, and it is thus far preferable -- for reasons I set forth here -- to ensure that a corrupt standard is applied equally rather than allow it to be applied by one political faction against another. Taking the corrupt political tactics wielded by the war-hungry Right and applying those same tactics to them (rather than ineffectively protesting the unfairness of the tactics) is the only way to ensure they cease.
"

Posted by: greenwald | October 1, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"I don't recall seeing as vicious and personal an attack on the honor and integrity of the members of the United States Armed Forces -- perhaps ever, but certainly during a time when America is at War. As the great American patriot and defender of military honor Senator Mitch McConnell said when urging his colleagues to condemn the attacks on the honor and integrity of the Supreme General, David Petraeus:

It's been more than a week since the Junior Senator from Texas offered an amendment condemning an ad by MoveOn.Org that appeared last Monday in The New York Times.

The ad was, by any standard, abhorrent.

It accused a four star general who has the trust and respect of 160,000 men and women in Iraq of betraying that mission and those troops, of lying to them and to us.

Who would have ever expected anybody to go after a general in the field at a time of war, launch a smear campaign against a man we've entrusted with our mission in Iraq.

Any group that does this sort of thing ought to be condemned.

"

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/?last_story=/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/01/nazi_insult/

Posted by: hypocrite gop | October 1, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"So to recap the Hunt/Fox argument: our Generals and other military commanders currently leading our Nation at War are "betraying our troops." They put their own selfish desire to advance their reputations and careers ahead of the welfare and lives of the soldiers they lead. The corruption and betrayal of these brave American Generals are preventing us from winning. These "poor excuses for officers" should be put on trial. "

Posted by: wow. ballsy | October 1, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Here's a nutshell summary of SCHIP from wikipedia:
"Like Medicaid, SCHIP is a partnership between federal and state governments. The programs are run by the individual states according to requirements set by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. States may design their SCHIP programs as an independent program separate from Medicaid (separate child health programs), use SCHIP funds to expand their Medicaid program (SCHIP Medicaid expansion programs), or combine these approaches (SCHIP combination programs). States receive enhanced federal funds for their SCHIP programs at a rate above the regular Medicaid match."


I read that to mean that the feds match state funds (though its not clear if its a 1:1 match, over that or under).

Posted by: bsimon | October 1, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"Our generals in both the Army and Marine Corps have cared more about their precious careers and reputations than their soldiers and Marines under them. The Marines have actually prosecuted a Marine for shooting a terrorist too many times . . . .

In Iraq, the story is the same. The Army rediscovered a trick we used in 'Nam' called "baiting," where you leave ammunition and pieces of explosive devices out and shoot whoever takes them. We used to leave exploding ammo to put in your AK -- when you try to fire it, the gun blows up. It worked then and it works now . . . but guess what the Army is now putting on trial: Ranger Snipers for doing their jobs. The rules of engagement were once again being followed and once again our generals put their careers over their men's lives. The chilling effect that these actions have over our soldiers is dramatic; this distrust weakens the very foundations of our military. It causes soldiers to second-guess themselves and their chain of command. We cannot fight like this and hope to win.

We should be putting these generals on trial, first for going along with Rummy and just as important for not trusting their soldiers. . . .

These poor excuse for officers do not deserve the soldiers they dare claim they lead.

"

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/?last_story=/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/01/nazi_insult/

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Treason:

"In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more serious acts of disloyalty to one's sovereign or nation. A person who commits treason is known as a traitor.

Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]." In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aided or involved by such an endeavour.
"

Hey, that's the gop platform, minus the racism and sexism. And the hate for the poor, while making the poor porrer so they can be richer.

"In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more serious acts of disloyalty to one's sovereign or nation. A person who commits treason is known as a traitor.

Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]." In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aided or involved by such an endeavour.
"

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/?last_story=/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/01/nazi_insult/

Posted by: wow You people have balls that's for sure | October 1, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Big trouble for King of Zouk. He is a big Giuliani backer, as we all know.

If he gets the GOP nomination, there is an increasing liklihood that conservatives will jump to a third party that will be more loyal to "true republican ideas" (as if anyone knows what those are anymore). What's even more hilarious is that Rudy and his lackeys like zouk will be the ones branded as RINOs!

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | October 1, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, I really do think that not only can Huckabee win, but that he will win(if he can raise any sign of the money needed). He is by far the best public speaker in the GOP field. He can be funny, serious, charming, and authoritative when he wants to be. In truth he reminds me alot of another guy from Hope Arkansas. Taken with the facts that he is a former minister (Christian right check), he is a former governor of a southern state (southern strategy check), great personal story (NASCAR dads chekc), and he still has the outsider label attached since he never served in DC. All good things for the GOP nomination.

Then if you look at the general, he is the most dangerous candidate to all of the Democrats. He comes across as more sincere then Edwards, he can stunt the Hope and change argument by Obama (I can see it now 'Mike Huckabee knows about Hope, he grew up there'), and he is a TON more likeable then Hillary. Not to mention in his last election he won 48% of the black vote, In Arkansas. That should tell you what type of politician he can be. As a democrat myself, his potential scares me.

Posted by: Andy R | October 1, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"Come on mark. you hear enough gop talking points. You don't want that here"

If anyone wants to hear republicans talking points they don't need to come here. Turn on rush, turn on fox. It's all the same. People come on-line for real conversation and news. Not repeating lies and gop talking points, mark. Clones. Borg. fox and Rush are your avatars. They are running this country by proxy. False flag politics :).

As a results your party is done for 30 years. Enjoy you rirrelevance.

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I guess by the time I wrote my last I was behind the curve! :)

Posted by: J | October 1, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Mark, Blarg, Andy,

My understanding is that Romney did not contribute to his campaign, but gave it a loan (or series of them). That would help him to avoid the bumps in allowable contributions to his opponents.

I have not, however, independently confirmed that his contributions were actually loans.

Posted by: J | October 1, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, the "loan" exception to the exception could invite abuse. I read this law when it passed and not since then. So I would have to goback and see if there is a presumption that loans above a certain sum were presumptively contribs.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | October 1, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

"Monday October 1, 2007 08:45 EST
"Nazis" and "Hitler" -- the Right's casual, trivializing political insults
(updated below)

One of the rules of political discourse that we had until quite recently -- enforced most vigorously by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and The Simon Wiesenthal Center, among others -- was that nobody was allowed to invoke Hitler and Nazis as a political insult. To do so, we heard constantly, was to trivialize Nazisim and the Holocaust and exploit that imagery for cheap political gain.

Several years ago, when MoveOn.org sponsored a contest for producing the best anti-Bush ad of 2004, it received well over 1,000 ads -- one of which compared Bush to Hitler. Upon learning of the ad's content, MoveOn immediately removed the ad, but that did not stem the tidal waves of outraged protests. The ADL's Executive Director, Abraham Foxman, roared that the ad was "shocking," "vile" and "outrageous." RNC Chair Ed Gillespie denounced it as "political hate speech" and demanded that all Democratic presidential candidates condemn it. The Simon Wiesenthal Center said comparing political opponents to Hitler is "shameful and beyond the pale and has no place in the legitimate discourse of American politics."

Similar outrage ensued when Sen. Dick Durbin invoked the behavior of the Nazis in a speech condemning Guantanamo. The very idea of even mentioning Americans and Nazis in the same breath was Despicable, said countless right-wing pundits such as Jonah Goldberg. After all, "The Nazis performed medical experiments on children and gassed whole families" and Hitler thus possesses a "singular villainy." Goldberg protested:

In the circles frequented by the likes of Durbin -- where Howard Dean is a statesman and Michael Moore deserves the Nobel Prize -- evil must automatically be associated with "Nazi."
Now, however, "Nazi" and "Hitler" comparisons have become, by far, the most common political insult on the Right, and these same Jewish advocacy groups are defeaningly silent. It is not merely that every new country on which the Right's war-crazed faction wants to wage war is "Nazi Germany" and every new leader -- or even every political functionary -- that does not submit completely to America's will is "Hitler." That is true, and it provokes no protests. But the casual, indiscriminate use of "Hitler" and "Nazism" as political exploitation is much more pervasive even than that.

Just in the past few months alone, there is virtually no prominent anti-war or liberal group that has not been branded as Hitler and Nazis by the most influential factions on the Right. If one's goal were to trivialize Hitler and Nazism and the Holocaust, one would do exactly what the Right is doing -- brand every political opponent as Hitler and Nazis on a virtually daily basis. Yet the groups that have anointed themselves proprietors of those terms, and which have in the past expressed such righteous outrage when those terms were used against the Right, sit by meekly and silently.

During his failed crusade to convince Democratic candidates to boycott Yearly Kos, Bill O'Reilly spent weeks, on a virtually nightly basis, labelling Daily Kos as Nazis. On Fox News, O'Reilly repeatedly said things like this: "There's no difference between the KKK and the Nazis, who have websites, than the Daily Kos." And: "The [Daily Kos] website sells hate, as does the KKK and the Nazis. The comparison is valid."

On his talk radio show last night, Mark Levin labelled MoveOn and Media Matters as "brownshirts." Michelle Malkin this morning excitedly touted Levin's attack, cheering the "no-holds-barred Mark Levin" for labelling both groups as the "brownshirts of the Clinton crime family."

On September 17, Bill O'Reilly had Tammy Bruce and Kirsten Powers on to wallow in outrage over a blog post written by Jane Hamsher in which she criticized Elizabeth Edwards for reciting right-wing talking points against MoveOn.org. Hamsher's picture was displayed while she and FDL were branded by O'Reilly as "fascists" and "Nazis." The largest right-wing blogs cheered on this smear.

On September 26, Tammy Bruce went on Fox and, discussing Media Matters and MoveOn, said that "a Gestapo has emerged in America," and "you have a media Gestapo in Media Matters and a political Gestapo in MoveOn.org." She used the word "Gestapo" continuously to refer to these groups.

So apparently, the whole business about exterminating millions of people and committing genocide and invading numerous countries is no longer necessary to be a "Nazi," to be "Hitler," to become the "Gestapo." Those things are all now relegated to incidental after thoughts.

Now, one need merely express liberal views and criticize those on the Right and one is now indistinguishable from German Nazis. Hence, Markos Moulitsas and Media Matters and Jane Hamsher and MoveOn.org -- despite not actually advocating, let alone engaging in, genocide, the mass slaughter of Jews, and aggressive, unprovoked wars -- are all Adolf Hitlers, all Nazi Gestapo agents, and are all continuously branded as such by Fox News and right-wing radio.

Can one even imagine a more effective way to completely belittle and trivialize those terms than the way in which Fox News is so casually and cheaply throwing around those terms? And yet the organizations which have, in the past, anointed themselves arbiters of when those terms could be used -- and who have righteously attacked far less significant and incautious exploitation of "Nazism" insults when used against the Right -- say nothing about the reckless, indiscriminate use of those terms on Fox and in similar venues.

To the contrary, the Simon Wisenthal Center has bestowed its highest honor, the Humanitarian Laureate, on Fox's owner, Rupert Murdoch. And Murdoch is a frequent guest at ADL events and has served on various ADL committees. Ironically, the ADL previously condemned Ted Turner for comparing Murdoch to Hitler, with Foxman issuing a formal condemnation statement:

The Anti-Defamation League called Ted Turner's reported remarks comparing Rupert Murdoch to Hitler "quite disturbing."

"As many and as serious as your business or personal differences with Mr. Murdoch," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, wrote to the CNN Chairman, "comparing him to Hitler trivializes a profound historical tragedy. Hitler's deeds resulted in the deaths of millions, and a war which gripped the world for six years. The comparison is an insult to the memory of the millions of victims of Nazism." Today's New York Post reported that Mr. Turner referred to News Corporation Chairman Murdoch as being "like the late Fuhrer."

In 1995, ADL called a similarly offensive remark by Mr. Turner to his attention when the CNN Chairman stated his inability to buy a network made him feel like "those Jewish people in Germany in 1942."

"Once again," Mr. Foxman wrote, "we urge that such inapt analogies to the Holocaust be avoided."

It probably is true that the indiscriminate use of history's most despicable criminals as a cheap political insult trivializes those crimes. But so, too, does the blatantly inconsistent and politically motivated expressions of outrage by groups which claim some sort of proprietary interest in Nazism and the Holocaust -- enforcing speech rules when violated by political opponents but tacitly overlooking far more egregious ones committed by political allies. Just compare their outrage machines in action over an ad submitted anonymously to MoveOn's site to the meek and total silence in the face of Fox News' daily Nazi and Hitler insults.

If Jane Hamsher and MoveOn.org are routinely held up on Fox News as "Nazis," and Media Matters and Markos Moulitsas continuously branded as "Hitler" and "the new Gestapo," then isn't the only logical conclusion that these terms signify nothing significant, that they are merely commonplace insults? And isn't that the outcome which these groups -- sitting silently by -- are supposedly dedicated to preventing? Shouldn't the ADL, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and like-minded groups be vigorously condemning Fox News and the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Tammy Bruce and Mark Levin for this reckless and "trivializing" behavior?

UPDATE: I sent the following e-mail to the ADL, and will post a response if I receive one. The Simon Wisenethal Center does not seem to have a contact e-mail for media requests, so I intend to call them with the same inquiries:

I've written a piece today in Salon (which can be found here) on the virtually daily use of "Nazis" and "Hitler" as a political insult by Fox News and right-wing talk radio, particularly directed against liberal and anti-war groups such as Daily Kos, Media Matters and MoveOn.org.

In the piece, I examine the ADL's silence in the face of this constant, trivializing use of these terms on Fox News, and contrast that silence to past denunciations from the ADL and Abraham Foxman when such terms have been used (in much less significant contexts) by the Left.

I would like to include a reaction from the ADL and Mr. Foxman in this story. I also intend to write a follow-up article and would like to interview Mr. Foxman and include the ADL's formal position there. Does the ADL plan to denounce and condemn the casual use of these terms as a political insult from the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Mark Levin and Fox? Just a fraction of them are documented in my story.

If I could interview someone at the ADL, or if you would like to send a written response, please let me know and I will include it.

Thank you -

Glenn Greenwald

One can encourage the ADL to apply their condemnation practices equally to Fox News here.

-- Glenn Greenwald
"

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/?last_story=/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/01/nazi_insult/

Posted by: greenwald | October 1, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Blarg and Andy R., for something worth redading here today."

Come on mark. you hear enough gop talking points. You don't want that here.

"Blah blah blah. Lie lie lie"

" I Agree with you"

I agree with you"

What good is that dittohead. The borg. who do you grow parroting the same tired old talking points. You don't want to come here I got a solution for you. Go elswhere.

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but timely:

JD said:

"The country works best when the States handle stuff like this. If they want to fund their own SCHIP, fine; and the residents of those states can vote out the bums if they want, and/or think they're getting overtaxed so they can provide healthcare to middle class families."

I, and likely some others here, COULD tend to agree with that sentiment. If SCHIP is treated like the "block grants" of the Nixon era, it will tend to separate the joy of spending from the pain of taxing - the Feds get the pain, the states get the pleasure. A recipe for irresponsibility.

So if someone here knows the mechanics of SCHIP, which I do not, please enlighten me.

I do not want to read more about how the Rs are mean to kids or how the Ds are playing politics by extending coverage to the privately insured middle class. I want to know if the mechanics divorce the funding from the spending, which is always a recipe for waste and lack of control.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | October 1, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin-
That's a nice, concise explanation.

What do you think of the earlier question about Romney's 'loan' vs an actual contribution to himself that would trigger the changes to campaign limits?

Posted by: bsimon | October 1, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

HYPOCRITES. cENSURE THEM ALL, or was the moveon "move" a mistake by the gop? Practice what you preach if you want to be a political party in america post 9/11.

"Saturday September 29, 2007 08:02 EST
Fox News' attack on the honor and integrity of our war generals
(updated below)

As we learned from both our Senate and House last week, in the United States we must never "attack the honor and integrity . . . of members of the United States Armed Forces." All good patriots from both parties agree on this.

That is why I was so shocked and outraged -- and more than a little upset -- when I went to FoxNews.com this morning and saw this:

I naturally assumed that the "disgraceful military leaders" attacked by the Fox headline must be those of another country, not those of the United States leading our Nation, putting themselves in harm's way, during a Time of War. Yet when I clicked on the item, this is the anti-military filth that I found:

And the text of the article -- by Fox News Contributor and frequent O'Reilly guest David Hunt -- is even more Despicable, as it repeatedly attacks the honor and integrity of members of the United States Armed Forces in one smearing paragraph after the next, beginning with this first sentence:

Our generals are betraying our soldiers . . . again.
To accuse a general of "betrayal" is, in military parlance, the equivalent of accusing him of treason to his country. Yet that is what this Fox News article does in the very first paragraph with regard to many of our brave Generals risking their lives for our country in a Time of War -- and it not only accuses Our Military Commanders of "betrayal," but betrayal of their own troops. It continues in this same Despicable vein:
Our generals in both the Army and Marine Corps have cared more about their precious careers and reputations than their soldiers and Marines under them. The Marines have actually prosecuted a Marine for shooting a terrorist too many times . . . .

In Iraq, the story is the same. The Army rediscovered a trick we used in 'Nam' called "baiting," where you leave ammunition and pieces of explosive devices out and shoot whoever takes them. We used to leave exploding ammo to put in your AK -- when you try to fire it, the gun blows up. It worked then and it works now . . . but guess what the Army is now putting on trial: Ranger Snipers for doing their jobs. The rules of engagement were once again being followed and once again our generals put their careers over their men's lives. The chilling effect that these actions have over our soldiers is dramatic; this distrust weakens the very foundations of our military. It causes soldiers to second-guess themselves and their chain of command. We cannot fight like this and hope to win.

We should be putting these generals on trial, first for going along with Rummy and just as important for not trusting their soldiers. . . .

These poor excuse for officers do not deserve the soldiers they dare claim they lead.

So to recap the Hunt/Fox argument: our Generals and other military commanders currently leading our Nation at War are "betraying our troops." They put their own selfish desire to advance their reputations and careers ahead of the welfare and lives of the soldiers they lead. The corruption and betrayal of these brave American Generals are preventing us from winning. These "poor excuses for officers" should be put on trial.

I don't recall seeing as vicious and personal an attack on the honor and integrity of the members of the United States Armed Forces -- perhaps ever, but certainly during a time when America is at War. As the great American patriot and defender of military honor Senator Mitch McConnell said when urging his colleagues to condemn the attacks on the honor and integrity of the Supreme General, David Petraeus:

It's been more than a week since the Junior Senator from Texas offered an amendment condemning an ad by MoveOn.Org that appeared last Monday in The New York Times.

The ad was, by any standard, abhorrent.

It accused a four star general who has the trust and respect of 160,000 men and women in Iraq of betraying that mission and those troops, of lying to them and to us.

Who would have ever expected anybody to go after a general in the field at a time of war, launch a smear campaign against a man we've entrusted with our mission in Iraq.

Any group that does this sort of thing ought to be condemned.

What a monumental day for the United States that was, when the U.S Senate set a new standard that "[a]ny group that does this sort of thing ought to be condemned." This Despicable attack on the honor and integrity of our military commanders by Fox News and former Col. Hunt -- like the similar one from Rush Limbaugh, which may be the topic of a critically important Congressional vote on Monday -- must not go unanswered by the Congress.

UPDATE: In Comments, several people express the unquestionably valid concern that it is inappropriate, even McCarthy-ite and dangerous, for Congress to start formally condemning private political speech. That is true, and if we had a healthy political system, that would not happen.

But, as the MoveOn vote demonstrated, we have the opposite of a healthy political system, and it is thus far preferable -- for reasons I set forth here -- to ensure that a corrupt standard is applied equally rather than allow it to be applied by one political faction against another. Taking the corrupt political tactics wielded by the war-hungry Right and applying those same tactics to them (rather than ineffectively protesting the unfairness of the tactics) is the only way to ensure they cease.

-- Glenn Greenwald
"

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/?last_story=/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/01/nazi_insult/

Posted by: GREENWALD | October 1, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

JD writes
"I take it, your point is that we should have more troops (and less contractors) in Iraq then?"

From a strict financial perspective, wouldn't it be cheaper? Expanding a bit, the recent Blackwater episode seems to imply that contractors are operating with little to no oversight - another reason US troops should be preferred.

Here's a question - why are US State Dept convoys protected not by our own military but by mercenaries?

Posted by: bsimon | October 1, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Blarg and Andy R., for something worth redading here today.

Blarg, the First Amendment issue is very different for a person supporting his own candidacy. The government cannot keep me from wasting my fortune on myself.

But the theory of this is as follows: free speech requires that all ideas get heard in the marketplace. To keep the market open,
everybody who can raise the minimum it takes to be heard, seen, or read will publish, and be heard, seen, or read.

Contributions are limited so that no single person can buy up all the available space.

The contribution rules have an exception:
if one very rich man, say Romney, or Bloomberg, or Perot, funds his own campaign, everybody else's contribution ceilings get lifted. Imperfect, yes. But we cannot keep an individual from spending on himself without amending the Constitution in a way that would scare the ___ out of me.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | October 1, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Andy R-
I was wondering about Thompson's numbers too, but then remembered the timing of his announcement; isn't he exempt from reporting because he announced after a critical date (thus the midnight web-site announcement)?

Posted by: bsimon | October 1, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

It comes down to the simple business equation of every transaction requiring a profit.

And the fact that these contracts are no-bid, meaning no competition or even competence is required.

Result -- worst of all possible worlds.

Posted by: Walter | October 1, 2007 11:10 AM

Walter, since I'm reasonably certain you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to Federal contracting, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

The passthroughs mentioned in the article are not in any way out of the ordinary. The full explaination of how the FAR works is far beyond the scope of this blog, but you might do a little research.

As for your sole source claim...your evidence, please? (Moveon.org doesn't count, please show the link proving that this was non-competed work)

I take it, your point is that we should have more troops (and less contractors) in Iraq then?

Posted by: JD | October 1, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Andy -- you think Huckabee could be the R nominee? A couple of months ago I would have considered that a real longshot, but now I'm beginning to wonder...

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, I have been looking and I can't find anything so I think Huckabee and his people are keeping it real close to the chest. That could mean two things, he didn't raise much at all (less than 2 million say) or he raise a significant amount (over 5 million).
I don't think Huckabee would entertain the idea of a third party especially since he lines up so well as a VP pick for the likes of McCain and Guiliani. dut as I have said I think his fundraising will be solid this quarter and he will eventually win th GOP nod.

Posted by: Andy R | October 1, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Why can't all republicans be like this. If you would not be hypocrites. If you woul dhold yours to the same standards as mine. We wouldn't be in this hot water as a nation. Party loyalist who choose party over country are traitors.

"
I didn't actually hear BOR's comments, because I wouldn't watch FOX if you paid me to. BTW, I am a Republican, very conservative, but anything that comes from the lying mouths of John Gibson, Bill O'reilly, Sean Hannity or that worthless jerk that comes on around 5 pm (MST) just turns my stomach. None of them has any idea what truth is.
name changed to protect the innocent
| 10.01.07 - 3:24 am

"

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Question: can someone identify a male Republican presidential candidate being criticized for the crime -- highly unusual among people who want to be president! -- of being ambitious?

Posted by: Sue | October 1, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

5. Americans' satisfaction with the way the nation is being governed today is at 31%. That's down from 57% in Sept. 7-10, 2001 poll - just before the 9/11 attacks. The current reading is as low as Gallup has ever recorded on this particular measure.

http://blogs.usatoday.com/gallup/2007/09/ten-things-you-.html

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"Senate Passes Hate Crimes Bill; Larry Craig Opposes
| Nico Pitney | September 27, 2007 12:33 PM


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Read More: hate crimes, larry craig, Breaking Politics News

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Comments
Moments ago, the Senate voted 60-39 to end debate on the Matthew Shepard Act, which expands federal hate crimes laws to include violence based on a victim's sexual orientation, gender, disability, and other factors. The AP reports:

The Senate attached hate crimes legislation to a must-pass Pentagon spending bill Thursday, but opponents predicted it ultimately would fail.
"The president is not going to agree to this social legislation on the defense authorization bill," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. "This bill will get vetoed." [...]

The Democratic-controlled House passed the same hate crimes legislation as a stand-alone bill earlier this year despite Bush's veto threat. That makes a repeat of 2004, when the Senate passed a similar amendment to the same bill only to see it stripped out during negotiations with the Republican-led House, less likely this time around. President Bush, who says the bill is not needed, could then be faced with vetoing the vast defense authorization bill containing the same provision.

The White House had no immediate comment Thursday.


Notably, Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) voted against the legislation.
"

Posted by: the gift that keeps on giving :) | October 1, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious if anyone has heard anything about Huckabee's Q3 fundraising -- it looks like the religious right may be planning to torpedo Rudy and Fred [and maybe Mitt] so it seems like Huckabee would be the natural 3rd party candidate for them.

I think the real problem here for the Repubican party is that it has let what JimD I beleive calls the Chrisitian ayatollahs [and I've also heard the American Taliban] take control of the party, and they are extremists who certainly do not represent the majority in this country.

You'd think the tremendous public backlash about the Shiavo case would have taught them something.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"DSA ENDORSES OCTOBER 27TH ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATIONS

In 27 days, 11 cities will become the focus of Americans outraged by the continuing war and occupation in Iraq. The National Mobilization to End the War in Iraq will hold demonstrations in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle and Jonesborough, Tenn. Fall Out Against the War! is the rallying cry of the organizers. DSA is proud to join the list of endorsers, and we urge all members and friends to participate.

DSA will issue a new statement and leaflet on the war in time to be used at the demonstrations. It will also be posted on DSA's Website (www.dsausa.org).

We must continue to demand that the Bush Administration cease its efforts to prolong the war in Iraq and oppose its starting a new war with Iran. Nor can we let Congress off the hook. The American people recorded their decision on Iraq in the 2006 elections and we must keep the pressure on Congress, demanding that it use its power of the purse to end this war. Visit www.oct27.org for more details and information on how to get involved in the demonstration in your region.

IRAQ MORATORIUM

Friday, September 21 marked the first Iraq Moratorium. The Young Democratic Socialists united to strengthen the anti-war movement as YDS chapter members wore black armbands and sported National Youth and Student Peace Coalition's "Books not Bombs" buttons. The photo (at right) shows Wichita State YDS participants in the Iraq Moratorium.

Modeled on the Vietnam Moratorium of 1970, the Iraq Moratorium repeats on the third Friday of each month in a series of escalating actions until the war is over. DSA and YDS are endorsers of the Iraq Moratorium, whose Website lists local actions. YDS chapters are planning future actions in connection with the Iraq Moratorium, and DSA members are encouraged to follow YDS's example and turn out for local actions on Moratorium Days. The next Iraq Moratorium is October 19th.

PLEDGE FOR PEACE

Progressive Democrats of America has organized a pledge for peace to support the 70 members of Congress whose open letter to President Bush says that they will only 'support additional appropriations for U. S. military operations in Iraq for the protection and safe redeployment of all of our troops out of Iraq.' DSA urges all of our members and friends to support this effort. You can sign the national petition by clicking here.

In solidarity,


National Director "

Posted by: dsa | October 1, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Dear VoteVets.org Supporter,

Whew! It has been one busy week for us, but we wanted to take the opportunity to let you know what we've been up to, thanks to your support.

First, today, we released the following internet ad, challenging the notion Rush Limbaugh put forth on his show yesterday - that those of us who fought in Iraq, and came home to speak out on the President's failed policy, are "phony" soldiers. Until Rush Limbaugh has one of us on his show, to say that to our faces, or admits he was wrong, we're going to keep on him. We will not let someone try to silence us by smearing us.

Second, we just got back from our few days in DC. Thanks to you, we were able to fly in, and house, some of the greatest patriots you could ever hope to meet. All of these fine men and women served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and rather than doing the easy (and deserved) thing by taking time off, they've all committed to speaking out. Here are some of the highlights of what your money helped us to do:

Each of our veterans received training on how to effectively communicate with public officials and media, from top professionals in the business. Paul Begala, former advisor to President Clinton, came and gave our veterans some great pointers!
Some of our vets got intense one-on-one media training, to prepare them to do national television and radio at the drop of a hat.
We held a press conference and were joined by Senators Dick Durbin, Patty Murray, Charles Schumer, Barbara Boxer, Bernie Sanders and Representative Ellen Tauscher, highlighting the need to refocus the war on terror, to responsibly exit Iraq and go on the offense against al Qaeda.
Our veterans then blanketed Capitol Hill to lobby Congress to pass legislation mandating rest for our troops between deployments. That amendment passed in the House, but was killed in the Senate by the minority (even though a majority voted for it).
On that note, we also wanted to alert you to a very important website - www.restedandready.com - which has information on that legislation, and how you can help get it passed. We strongly suggest you go to that site, and pass it on to all your friends and family who support our troops and veterans.

We've got some huge plans ahead, and look forward to keeping in touch, and keeping you all involved.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely

Brandon Friedman
Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran
Vice Chair, VoteVets.org
"

Posted by: support the troops | October 1, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I never said it was only me. We are all censured, on this blog. Who does that change the fact? cc's lucky he is blocking my post. Coward. The democratic agenda. Go here

But these small victories are just a start, so please send our Weekly Agenda for 10/1/07:
http://democrats.com/weekly-agenda


Get with the program.

"You are with us(fascism) or against us."

Bush

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Sue, the text you quoted said that Hillary has been given a "rosy portrayal" in the media for months. Now you complain when the media starts pointing out her flaws as a candidate. Do you think that Hillary's flaws should be ignored, and that the media should only praise her? Do you think that evasive answers aren't a legitimate topic of discussion?

Rufus, you aren't censored any more than anyone else. There's apparently a restrictive list of blocked words, which applies equally to everyone. If there was censorship directed against you, you'd be gone. Don't annoy everyone by posting extra to "balance out" the guy in charge of the blog. There's no evidence that anyone from the Post actually reads these comments.

Posted by: Blarg | October 1, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"Buy an Impeach Bush and Cheney Bracelet

Help build the impeachment momentum by wearing and encouraging others to wear this symbol of commitment to restoring our Constitution.

Good quality silicone, comfortable and eye-catching. As low as 75¢ each. Fund-raise by selling for $1. or $2. each. They sell like hotcakes. In a test sale at a recent rally a team of two sold 600 in just three hours.

Shipped to U.S. zip codes only. $4 for shipping and handling will be added on quantities of fewer than 25. First orders will be filled from bracelets in stock, later orders may be delayed up to 3 weeks. The more you get, the cheaper they are.

See large image and buy:
http://afterdowningstreet.org/bracelet
"

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

'A new poll out today by the American Research Group has Mitt Romney surging to the top in South Carolina with 26%.Now Mitt leads in every poll for the first primary states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan, and Nevada.'

But will the hard-core evanghelicals support him?

Posted by: Lou | October 1, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"Other Victories Last Week:

The first (of many) Republican schemes to steal the 2008 Presidential election was defeated in California, where the GOP was promoting a referendum to allocate CA's 55 electors by Congressional District, which would have switched 20 electors from D to R and made a Democratic Presidential victory nearly impossible. Congratulations to CourageCampaign.org for stopping this outrageous GOP scheme!

The 4 GOP presidential frontrunners showed their contempt for minority voters by refusing to participate in a debate hosted by Tavis Smiley on PBS, which Sam Brownback called a "disgrace." They previously refused to debate on Latino and gay issues. Why? As Digby says, "The Republicans are the party of racists."

Larry Craig didn't resign as of 9/30 like he promised, so Republicans are still the party of anonymous airport bathroom gay sex.

Newt Gingrich won't run for President, so Republicans will have to choose one of the Pygmies - hopefully not Rudy Mussolini, who mild-mannered John Dean thinks is even more dictatorial than Bush.

Jena 6's Mychael Bell was released on bond and will be tried in juvenile court thanks to tremendous grassroots organizing by ColorOfChange.org and civil rights activists and pressure on D.A. Reed Walters by Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D-LA).

Verizon reversed its outrageous policy of censoring NARAL's pro-choice text messages after massive netroots outrage led by NARAL.org.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken declared two provisions of the USA Patriot Act unconstitutional, as we all knew they were.

Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS could finally prove that George Bush deserted the Texas Air National Guard in 1972 and conspired with senior officers to defraud the U.S. government by getting credit and pay for drills he never attended.

_____________________

National Caucus on December 7

When it comes to choosing our Presidential cancidates, why does Iowa take priority over the rest of the country?

The National Presidential Caucus was created to give citizens across the country - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents - a chance to gather in small groups (up to 50 people) to discuss the candidates and vote.

Of course this vote is informal and will not choose any delegates for the convention. But it will get a lot of media coverage and will be a lot more meaningful than the polls - particularly for longer-shot candidates whose lower poll rankings reflects the Corporate Media's bias against them.

The full Caucus will be held on Friday December 7, using Meetup-style tools to help citizens connect. There will also be a Preliminary Straw Poll & Caucus Warmup on Friday, November 9, 2007

Democrats.com is a co-sponsor of the National Presidential Caucus. For more details visit:
http://www.nationalcaucus.com

"

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, no link

"Iraq Occupation Day 1,656

Last week Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid postponed votes on Bush's $190 Billion demand until January. They snuck through a Continuing Resolution with at least $14 billion for Iraq and $70 billion more in a Pentagon "bridge fund" if Iraq appropriations are delayed. This gives us more time to tell Congress: Cut all Iraq funds except to bring our troops home.

We were horrified to hear the three presidential frontrunners - Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards - all say they would keep U.S. troops in Iraq until 2013 and beyond. Tell them to produce an out-of-Iraq plan for 2009:
http://www.democrats.com/out-of-iraq-2009

We persuaded 4 more Democrats to support the "Peace Pledge" to oppose all Iraq funds except to bring our troops safely home: Henry Waxman (CA), Mike Thompson (CA), John Tierney (MA), and Lloyd Doggett (TX). That makes 85 signers but we want a majority of 218, so keep writing/calling your Representative:
http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/115

Finland is launching a peace process for Iraqi Sunnis and Shia combatants, led by veterans of sectarian wars in Northern Ireland and South Africa. The U.S. is prohibited from participating.
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/27268

This week the House will vote on several bills to "reform" our disastrous occupation but not end it. We want Congress to ban Iraq war profiteering and contractor crimes with harsh penalties and strict enforcement; repeal the 2002 Authorization of Use of Military Force in Iraq; and oppose the meaningless Abercrombie-Tanner reporting bill.

Democrats will also introduce a resolution to condemn Rush Limbaugh for calling troops who criticize U.S. policy "phony soldiers." We want every Member who condemned Moveon's truthful ad to condemn Rush's outrageous smear. And we want Rush fired from Armed Forces Radio for attacking our troops.

To stop Cheney's insane plan to attack Iran, Rep. Dennis Kucinich told Ed Schultz: "We're preparing for another war, and they're going to destroy America. We have a government in place right now that has to be challenged. I'm seriously thinking about calling a privileged resolution on impeachment of the vice president and forcing a vote on the floor of the House." Go Dennis!

"

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

uut oohh. Looks like CC is censuring his blog again. i may have to force his hand today. test his thought police limits. If I can't post what I want I may be forced to post more often to balance him out. ut oh.

Fricking republcians fascists. Only you have free speech. It's going to change. You people are done for a generation. Remember how yopu treated the other side, gop. Remember bush. Remember noxon spying on mlk and lennon. Remember how you fascists destroyed the coutnry. I don't want to hear any whining or crying when you are out of power. Remember the last thirty years of fascist rule. Stay in your basment with your mouths shut. No tim mcveigh tactics. Magority rule remember?

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

'Using some of the same personal stories he tells on the campaign trail - how he ran a marathon after losing 110 pounds, how his wife overcame a harrowing cancer diagnosis, how he pardoned Keith Richards for a decades-old traffic violation - the former Arkansas governor advised the 75 or so churchgoers that life's hardships aren't always bad.'

Posted by: keith richards? | October 1, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Will playing the 'Victim card' finally blow up in Hillary's face?

"Speaking to This Week, an ABC programme, Mr Clinton accused Democratic rivals who criticised his wife of "rewarding the Republican attack machine" that had "beaten up on her for 16 years". Mr Clinton's response ended a weekend in which both men openly attacked each other in a new proxy war to shape voters' perceptions of Mrs Clinton and whether she or Mr Obama has the best experience for the presidency. "

Posted by: Zonker | October 1, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Blarg, there is a big difference in Romney donating to his own campaign and someone else doing it. Romney is the candidate. We as the public, get to ask him questions directly or indirectly through the media. Then judge his answers and vote yes or no for him.
Now a donor on the other hand can be virtually anonymous and still control significant influence in the race.

Posted by: Andy R | October 1, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

'This photo caption from Thompson's high-school yearbook: "Freddie Dalton Thompson. The lazier a man is, the more he plans to do tomorrow."

'Jo Becker of The New York Times mines Thompson's more recent history -- and turns up details that are no less worrisome to hard-core conservatives. Thompson wrote himself this note on whether to convict Bill Clinton on the impeachment charges against him: "His office is too high + the crimes too low." Writes Becker, "his approach to the impeachment case -- and his ultimate decision to part with the Republican majority by voting to acquit Mr. Clinton on one of two impeachment counts -- underscores the concerns now being raised by many conservative leaders."

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/TheNote/Story?id=3105288&page=3

Posted by: R party fracturing | October 1, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I hear taht sam. The street runs one way. we have a one party system. Free speech? Only gop has free speech. The rest of us are censored fired or arrested. what has our country become? Who did this to us. You know who I blame. How can we fix it? Should we? I think yes, we should. First step. Marginalzing and pointing out those who would divide the nation for profit. Call them for what they are. PArty loyalist. Traitors.

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I am looking for two things in this weeks money chase. First, did Mike Huckabee outraise any of the top four candidates (most likely McCain (5 mil) or Thompson (7mil), and if so look for his poll numbers to sky-rocket. The second question is if Obama outraises Hillary. He will definitly have more cash on hand, but if he can out raise her one more time that would be huge.

By the way if Thompson could only raise 7 mil, which is what I read was about what he would pull in, then that is pitiful. This guy has connections to big money in Hollywood and Frist and Alexander's folks in Tennessee. You know that he was lining up people for four to five months and the best he can do is 7 million. He is toast in my opinion.

Posted by: Andy R | October 1, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

'Politico's Mike Allen and John F. Harris see Clinton now facing "a sudden burst of media wind shear. After months of mostly rosy portrayals of her campaign's political skill, discipline and inevitability, the storyline shifted abruptly to evasive answers, shady connections and a laugh that sounded like it was programmed by computer."

Time for the MSM to pick up the winger memes now. Wouldn't want to see a Dem actually elected... time for the swiftoating to begin...

Posted by: Sue | October 1, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"Giuliani is beyond the pale," Richard Viguerie, a veteran conservative activist and author,

This looks like a BIG problem for R's in 2008

'The GOP ballot is still filled with question marks -- and the one next to former mayor Rudolph Giuliani's name is growing bigger by the day. This is Rudy's nightmare (and should be just as scary for everyone in a party that's in growing danger of coming apart at its seams): "A powerful group of conservative Christian leaders decided Saturday at a private meeting in Salt Lake City to consider supporting a third-party candidate for president if a pro-choice nominee like Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination," Salon.com's Michael Scherer reports.

"Giuliani is beyond the pale," Richard Viguerie, a veteran conservative activist and author, told ABC's Jake Tapper after the meeting. "Maybe it's just time to never support another Republican establishment candidate, and support principled conservative candidates -- win or lose." This is about Giuliani, but it's also a measure of how former senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., has failed to unite/excite/appease conservatives. "In his short time on the campaign trail, Thompson has demonstrated a moderate temperament and an independent streak belying hype that he would be the answer to [James] Dobson's prayers," Tapper writes.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/TheNote/story?id=3105288&page=1

Posted by: Cover this, CC! | October 1, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: link | October 1, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse


now the AP is covering Rush's traitorous back:

'The Associated Press has now covered the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh's now-infamous assertion that soldiers favoring withdrawal from Iraq are "phony soldiers." Unfortunately, the AP's reporting on Rush's pushback on the controversy is outright false -- so bad, in fact, that it goes much farther than even Rush himself did in falsifying the actual meaning of his original remarks.

As Steve Benen notes over at TPM, Limbaugh is now trying to explain away the "phony soldiers" comment by saying that he wasn't referring in general to pro-withdrawal troops, but to specific phony soldiers whom the left is using for propaganda purposes. Limbaugh has posted a transcript of the controversial radio episode, and in it, he refers to these specific "fake soldiers" later in the broadcast.

Here's how the Associated Press reported on this today:

In a transcript of Thursday's show posted on his Web site, Limbaugh said the comment followed a discussion of Jesse Macbeth, who was sentenced to five months in prison earlier this month for collecting more than $10,00 in benefits to which he was not entitled...
"He became a hero to the anti-war left. They love phony soldiers, and they prop 'em up," Limbaugh said Thursday. "I was not talking ... about the anti-war movement generally. I was talking about one soldier with that phony soldier comment, Jesse MacBeth."

In the AP's telling, Limbaugh says he first mentioned the specific phony soldier, and then "followed" with a reference to "phony soldiers." This description, of course, makes Limbaugh's pushback sound completely reasonable: Limbaugh says he established the specific context -- a discussion of MacBeth -- before using the controversial phrase.
But this is not what Limbaugh's transcript says at all, of course. Indeed, not even Limbaugh himself is arguing this. Rather, Limbaugh's transcript shows that the mention of MacBeth came long after his initial reference to phony soldiers. He hadn't established this context first at all. This is just a pathetic error.

Limbaugh's actual explanation for what happened, of course, is also thoroughly bogus. As the transcript clearly shows, he used the phrase "phony soldiers" in direct response to his caller's complaint in general that we "never" hear from "real soldiers" who oppose the war, only troops who "spout" against the war "in the media."

What's more, even Limbaugh's caller took Limbaugh to be referring to antiwar troops in general. After Limbaugh used the phrase, the caller responded: "Phony soldiers. If you talk to any real soldier and they're proud to serve, they want to be over in Iraq, they understand their sacrifice and they're willing to sacrifice for the country." The caller himself understood Limbaugh's meaning perfectly: You're not a real soldier if you oppose the war; "any" real soldier "wants" to be in Iraq.

It's not surprising that multiple wingnut bloggers are pretending that Limbaugh's explanation is valid, as Benen notes. But for the Associated Press to misrepresent Rush's own explanation in a way that airbrushes away the controversy more effectively than even Limbaugh's own pushback does is just deeply embarrassing. Not sure I've ever seen this happen before, actually. Correction, please.'

Posted by: Sam | October 1, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse


In her latest column on Hillary, Maureen Dowd quotes New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier as follows:
Others do not underestimate her relentlessness. As Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, once told me: "She's never going to get out of our faces. ... She's like some hellish housewife who has seen something that she really, really wants and won't stop nagging you about it until finally you say, fine, take it, be the damn president, just leave me alone."

Hellish housewife?

You don't have to like Hillary -- a Yale law grad and twice-elected U.S. Senator who is the first woman with a reasonable shot at becoming President -- to find this a tad off-putting. To the likes of Dowd this will sound soooo earnest and soooo tedious. But it really is worth marveling at that America's premiere female political columnist is quoting this approvingly.

Posted by: the 'liberal media' lie | October 1, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

It's completely unfair that Romney is able to donate that much money to his campaign. If he wanted to donate tons of money to someone else's campaign, he wouldn't be allowed to. But because it's his own campaign, he can. Someone as rich as Romney is better off running for office than just supporting another candidate, because of a loophole in campaign finance laws. Romney should play by the same rules as everyone else.

Posted by: Blarg | October 1, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

It costs the U.S. government a lot more to hire contract employees as security guards in Iraq than to use American troops.

It comes down to the simple business equation of every transaction requiring a profit.

And the fact that these contracts are no-bid, meaning no competition or even competence is required.

Result -- worst of all possible worlds.

Posted by: Walter | October 1, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

'In his usual meticulous way, Walter Pincus reviews a Blackwater contract and crunches the numbers:

Amount billed per day for a Blackwater senior manager: $1,075

Amount paid per day to U.S. Gen. David Petraeus: $493

Now, Blackwater was a third tier subcontractor: a sub of a sub of a sub. So the amount listed above is what Blackwater charged directly--not what the prime contractor, Halliburton subsidiary KBR, ultimately charged to the U.S. government, which would be a higher number.'

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/30/AR2007093001352.html

Posted by: Walter | October 1, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Get em' moyers. History will be their judge. Justice can not. Not in america.

"Bill Moyers on the fallen: Can you find a "phony" in the bunch?
By: Nicole Belle @ 7:15 PM - PDT

Download (3194) | Play (3293) Download (1447) | Play (1508)

Though he has far more class than to say so explicitly, I suspect that Bill Moyers was upset by Rush Limbaugh's statement that any troop member advocating withdrawal was a "phony soldier". He looks at the seven soldiers who penned the op-ed in the NY Times questioning why remain in Iraq and the tragic price three have paid.

Funny, none of them look remotely phony to me, Rush...
"

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse


A little slow, CC --
'Mitt Romney's campaign has turned into something unusual: A hybrid between self-financing and individual donations. The Washington Post reports that with the end of the third quarter, Romney will have raised a total $40 million to date from outside donors plus $15 million from his own personal fortune.'

Posted by: Norman | October 1, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I guess attacking the generals is ok this week. Sorry only gop has free speech. Non-goper's have to pay for what they say. Gop, is the plan to censure everybody, or just the left. Hypocrites.

"Whither Rush Goest, So Goes FOX News; FOX Now Insults War Generals
By: Nicole Belle @ 3:33 PM - PDT Glenn Greenwald:

As we learned from both our Senate and House last week, in the United States we must never "attack the honor and integrity . . . of members of the United States Armed Forces." All good patriots from both parties agree on this.

That is why I was so shocked and outraged -- and more than a little upset -- when I went to FoxNews.com this morning and saw this:

I naturally assumed that the "disgraceful military leaders" attacked by the Fox headline must be those of another country, not those of the United States leading our Nation, putting themselves in harm's way, during a Time of War. Yet when I clicked on the item, this is the anti-military filth that I found:

And the text of the article -- by Fox News Contributor and frequent O'Reilly guest David Hunt -- is even more Despicable, as it repeatedly attacks the honor and integrity of members of the United States Armed Forces in one smearing paragraph after the next, beginning with this first sentence:

Our generals are betraying our soldiers . . . again.

And yet, Brit Hume still couldn't keep himself from making a few anti-MoveOn.org slams this morning on FOX News Sunday. Et tu, Brit?
"

www.crooksandliasrs.com

Posted by: rufus | October 1, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

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