Archive for October 29th, 2008
the four signs of the apocalypse:
[...] Last and least is a voice from the left, Norman Solomon, who comes forward in these last days to warn his progressive voter friends to stay away from Ralph Nader at the polls. No matter that national polls say consistently that Nader draws his votes from McCain’s side, Solomon is worried. Even as he acknowledges Obama’s progressive policy failings both domestic and foreign, he explicitly counsels voting for Obama with no expectation of change:
When I’ve spoken to dozens of audiences during the two months since the Democratic National Convention, where I was an elected Obama delegate, there’s been an overwhelmingly positive response when I make a simple statement about Obama and the prospects of an Obama presidency : the best way to avoid becoming disillusioned is to not have illusions in the first place. Looking past the election, progressives will need to mobilize for a comprehensive agenda, including economic justice, guaranteed healthcare for all, civil liberties, environmental protection and demilitarization.
I recalled (though many may not) his similar warning to the Greens in October 2003, to stay away from Nader, a decision which ultimately allowed Democratic operatives and Republican law firms to keep Independent Nader’s anti-war message off of state ballots and out of the 2004 campaign. Thousands more died while Progressives mobilized. [...]
- from Steven Conn, CounterPunch (where else?)
Dole Ad Fabricates Audio Of
Opponent Yelling “There Is No God”
Seth Colter Walls, HuffPost, Oct 29 2008
Falling behind in her reelection race, Sen. Elizabeth Dole has uncorked one hell of a charge: The Democrat running against me is godless. Dole’s 30-second ad, which is running on television in North Carolina but has not (understandably) been promoted by the GOP, uses a September fundraiser co-hosted by 40 people, including a representative of the Godless America PAC, to falsely accuse Democrat Kay Hagan of being an atheist herself. The end of the ad features a picture of Hagan with a female voice yelling “there is no God!” — the clear implication is that the voice is Hagan’s. In fact, the Democratic candidate is a Sunday School teacher and an elder at her Presbyterian church. The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday morning that Hagan’s campaign is seeking a “cease and desist” order against Dole’s new attack. “A leader of the Godless Americans PAC recently held a secret fundraiser in Kay Hagan’s honor,” the ad begins, showing some ominously blurred footage, ostensibly of the event in question. The ad then quotes the group’s Ellen Johnson making atheist claims on two cable news shows. Summing up, the spot asks: “Godless Americans and Kay Hagan. She hid from cameras, took Godless money. What did Hagan promise in return?” Two weeks ago, when the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a similar attack, the Fayettville Observer described it as “the nastiest, most misleading, negative ad of the campaign.”
Ze’evi memorial turns into ‘election propaganda’
Amnon Meranda, YNet, Oct 29 2008
A Knesset ceremony commemorating the late minister Rehavam Ze’evi, who was assassinated by Palestinian gunmen 7 years ago, turned into yet another heated political debate, as some ministers used the event to promote their own agendas. Opposition Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu strayed completely from the nature of the ceremony and gave a speech on “the government that will be established by me.” Netanyahu mainly detailed the education revolution that he had in mind for the children of Israel, which mainly focused on bringing them back to ‘Zionist basics.’ He also said that the education portfolio would be passed on to the Likud party following the upcoming general elections. Several Labor and Meretz Knesset members left the meeting outraged. “The memorial could have involved less politics,” said MK Ophir Pines-Paz of the Labor party. “It’s shameless,” said Labor MK Eitan Cabel. Meretz-Yahad MK Ran Cohen added,
Bibi is shamelessly insolent, and uses Gandhi’s memorial for cynical election propaganda. If it were a memorial for Netanyahu, Gandhi would not have done this to him.
Foreign Minister and Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni spoke before Netanyahu, and described Ze’evi, who was shot dead in the Jerusalem Hyatt hotel in October 2001 by Palestinian terrorists, as
a charming and honest man, who first and foremost symbolizes the complete Land of Israel in its historical sense. The land that each one of us, regardless of political association, is connected to at the depth of our souls. He symbolizes our commitment to one another … a commitment that doesn’t forget and doesn’t let us forget the missing and the captives. Even if the names on their dog tags change, our commitment to bringing them home never will. We disagreed on the way, but there are days when these differences of opinion are erased and the people of Israel stand united. If he were sitting here today, we would have argued. But this is the Gandhi that stood up for his opinions and beliefs till the day he died … We should always remember that horrible moment in which we realized who the State of Israel’s real enemies are.
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, Ze’evi’s former fellow party member, criticized the pull-out from Gaza and the steps taken in Lebanon, saying,
The State of Israel is a Jewish state by definition. Anyone who is not willing to accept that has no place in this house or any other house from Metula to Eilat. Ze’evi would have never put up with our concessions towards the Egyptians. Time after time we went to meet Mubarak in Egypt — he never agreed to come here for an official visit as president. Any self respecting leader would have conditioned these meetings — does he want to talk to us? Let him come here; he doesn’t want to talk to us? He can get lost.
Syria ‘Gave Green Light For Raid’
Dominic Waghorn, Sky News, Oct 28 2008
Why did America launch a daylight helicopter attack on Syria provoking worldwide outrage? The plot thickens. Publicly America is still saying nothing but US officials are making intriguing claims off the record. Now, a respected Israeli intelligence expert says he has been told the operation was carried out with the knowledge and co-operation of Syrian intelligence. Ronen Bergman, author of The Secret War with Iran, makes the claim in the Yediot Ahronoth newspaper, based on briefings with two senior American officials, one of whom he says until recently “held a very high ranking in the Pentagon.” Bergman told Sky News the raid happened after America had lobbied Syria intensely to deal with an al Qaeda group conducting activity on the border. The Syrians were unwilling to be seen publicly bowing to US pressure to tackle the group, he says, but in the end gave the Americans the green light to do so themselves. He claims the Syrian government told the Americans: “If you want to do this, do it. We are going to give you a corridor and carte blanche. We will not harm your troops.” Bergman maintains Syrian intelligence has been co-operating secretly with its US counterpart for some time in its war with al Qaeda. There are several unanswered questions about the mysterious raid. In particular why it happened with very little apparent resistance by Syrian forces. Mobile phone video of the attack shows no air-to-air or ground-to-air defence activity. This is strange, Bergman points out, given Syrian paranoia about helicopters being used by Israel for espionage purposes. “The Syrians have invested so much in aerial defences, especially against choppers and the Americans go in in daylight and nothing is being done.”
West Virginia Vote Flipping Caught On Tape
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem on US Raid
Fatima el Issawi, Asharq al-Awsat, Oct 29
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has described the attack on Syrian territory by US helicopters as “a criminal, terrorist act of aggression,” noting that the Syrians “cannot understand the reason” for this attack. He said that Damascus is still waiting for answers from the US Administration and from the Iraqi government for the reasons for mounting this attack. He stressed that the attack “was not an error, but a deliberate act and took place in broad daylight.” On Syria’s response to this attack, Al-Muallem said that the response would depend on the answers that Damascus would receive. He added that Damascus will request the United States to investigate the attack, but he did not rule out a confrontation. He said: “Syria has a right to defend its territory, but we hope we will not reach the point of confrontation. However, if that is what they want, there will be no other option.” He did not spare the Iraqi government his criticism. In comment on the statement by a spokesman for the Iraqi government on the reasons for launching the US raid, He said that “he cannot believe that an Arab official with one drop of Arab blood would justify this raid, if (Iraqi spokesman Al-Dabbagh) did say that.” He went on saying that “there is no partner on the other side of the border” with Iraq to coordinate with control of the border.
At a news conference held at the Foreign Press Association headquarters in central London following his meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, al-Muallem said: “We consider the raid a terrorist, criminal act of aggression, and we hold the US Government responsible. We request the US Government to investigate [the raid] and notify us of the results. We also call on the Iraqi government to investigate the raid and not allow launching attacks and acts of aggression against Syria from its territory.” Al-Muallem wondered if “the raid represents a foretaste of the security agreement between Iraq and the US Administration,” adding: “There are questions that we need to consider.” In reply to a question on whether Damascus received a clarification about the raid from the American party, Al-Muallem said: “They said they had no information and that they regret the death of civilians.” He added: “The raid came as a surprise to everyone.” Describing the attack, he said: “It is the law of the jungle practiced by some of those working in the US Administration, or what we call in our region the cowboy policy.” He added: “The record of this US Administration is full of lies ever since they went to the UN Security Council claiming they had evidence of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.”
In reply to a question on Iraq’s stand on the raid, Al-Muallem said: “I am surprised to see an Arab citizen with a drop of Arab blood justifying this sinful attack on unarmed civilians. I cannot believe what he [al-Dabbagh] said that, if he did say that.” He noted that he is awaiting a telephone call from Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari at the request of the latter. In response to a question on whether Syria will resort to the UN Security Council, Al-Muallem said: “As long as there are Americans in the Security Council, there will be no democracy.” Commenting on the Arab League’s role, Al-Muallem said: This is a flagrant act of aggression against an Arab country, and anyone with Arab blood must react strongly and fearlessly to this aggression.” He added: “The response will depend on the answers we will receive from the US Administration and from the Iraqi government.” He said: “International law gives every country the right to defend its territory; we hope we will not reach the point of confrontation, but if that is what they want, there will be no other option.” He continued: “If it was said that there were Al-Qaeda elements in Washington preparing to launch an attack, would you believe that or would you ask for evidence? Whoever says that there are Al-Qaeda elements [in Syrian territory] must give evidence, or at least respect people’s lives.”
Al-Muallem underlined that his meeting with his British counterpart David Miliband was positive. He said: “We discussed all aspects of bilateral relations and I explained to my counterpart the circumstances of the US aggression. We also discussed relations between Syria and the EU.” He expressed his “satisfaction” at the outcome of the talks, noting that he extended an invitation to Miliband to visit Syria, and Miliband hopes to visit Syria in the near future. Replying to a question on the Syrians’ favorite US presidential candidate, Al-Muallem said: “I hope that the American people will elect a president who can build a good reputation for the United States, contrary to what the current US administration has done. We hope the new president will learn from the mistakes of this Administration and acts to protect the lives of Americans and others.” He stressed that the US raid on the Syrian territory will not affect the rapprochement between Syria and the West in general and with the EU in particular.
Answering a question on ties with Iran, al-Muallem said: “Our relations are very good and we will continue them, as the Iranian nuclear program is peaceful, and they confirmed this to us.” He added: “There is political coordination, but we have our own interest and they understand and support our interest.” Discussing the smuggling of arms and fighters across the border, something which the United States has constantly criticized the Syrians for, Al-Muallem said: “We do all we can to control the border, but no one can ensure total control of the border. In addition, we have no actual partners on the other side of the border (Iraq) to ensure the control of the border and exchange of information.” He added: “There is a security cooperation agreement between the two countries, and we were about to call for a meeting of the security committee of the countries neighboring Iraq.” Asked if the US raid would affect the course of the indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel, Al-Muallem said: “There is a political crisis in Israel at this point in time, and until this crisis has been resolved, there will be no negotiations” with Israel.
A joint statement was issued on the Syrian Foreign Minister’s visit to Britain. It underlined that the meeting between Al-Muallem and Miliband witnessed “frank, useful, and constructive talks on bilateral relations and the situation in the Middle East.” Both sides “expressed their common will to work together to ensure stability in the region based on their common interest.” The statement said that both countries stress the need for Lebanon and Syria to build on the historic agreement on the exchange of diplomats. They stressed the need for the exchange of ambassadors and the demarcation of the border as soon as possible. According to the statement, both parties look forward to seeing successful, transparent, safe, and honest elections in Lebanon as well as full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.