Daily Archives: October 25, 2008

no shortage of

A new email making the rounds among Jewish voters in Pennsylvania this week equated a vote for Obama with the “tragic mistake” of their Jewish ancestors, who “ignored the warning signs in the 1930’s and 1940’s.” At first blush, it was typical of the sorts of emails floating around with false, unsubstantiated and incendiary claims this year. But where most of the attack emails against Obama have been mostly either anonymous or from people outside of mainstream politics, this one had an unusually official provenance: It was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s “Victory 2008” committee. And it was signed by several prominent McCain supporters in the state: Mitchell L. Morgan, a top fund-raiser; Hon. Sandra Schwartz Newman, a member of McCain’s national task-force monitoring Election Day voting, and I. Michael Coslov, a steel industry executive. After several calls for comment about the email, leaders of the state party repudiated it on Friday. They said it had been released without their authorization and that they had fired the strategist who helped draft it, Bryan Rudnick. […] – from Jim Rutenberg. NYT, Oct 24 2008

guy on cnbc blames illuminati (20 secs)

Banking maven Jeffrey Saut says the “Illuminati”
are behind stock market crash and economic pain.

how obama took florida’s jews

[…] A Quinnipiac University poll taken Oct 16-21 in Florida found Obama winning 77% of Jewish voters in that state, compared to just 20% for McCain. While the Jewish statistic was based on a relatively small sample size (87) and has a margin of error of plus or minus 10.5%, the finding is notable, because some leading Jewish Democrats in the state had publicly worried this summer about resistance to Obama among South Florida Jews. Obama’s progress comes despite the Republican Jewish Coalition’s barrage of negative ads painting him as a dangerously inexperienced candidate who has surrounded himself with anti-Israel advisers. The executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Ira Forman, and Democratic pollster Mark Mellman emphasized the extensive efforts of Obama and his campaign to introduce the Democratic nominee to the Jewish community. The campaign has sent dozens of Jewish surrogates — including Jewish members of Congress and well known figures in the community such as Ed Koch and Dennis Ross — to key states to talk about Obama’s background and his views on Israel and the Middle East. “As people got to know him better, they felt a lot more comfortable” with him, Mellman said. – JTA

expert disinfo from gershom gorenberg

An Israeli Looks At Obama (extract)
Gershom Gorenberg, American Prospect

[…] Turkish-mediated contacts between Jerusalem and Damascus have been underway since last year, but the United States has refused to join the process. According to Alon Liel, former director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Washington’s attitude is what has prevented an agreement. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has “made a strategic decision” that his country’s future “is tied to the West, not Iran,” Liel says. Peace with Israel would be the means by which Syria would realign itself. Iran would lose a key ally, as would Hamas and Hezbollah. Liel, who carried on back-channel contacts with Syria that preceded the official negotiations, says the administration’s refusal to join the process is based on “black and white vision” — since Syria is one of the bad guys, there’s no point in talking to it. He rates the chances of change in attitude, and of a peace deal that would significantly alter the regional map in Israel’s favor, as high if Obama becomes president. […]

5 & 6 weigh in against mandy

from Duncan Gardham, James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

It has been disclosed that Mandelson’s name appears “repeatedly” in secret files held by MI5 and MI6 as a result of his contacts with a Russian oligarch. British intelligence files held on Oleg Deripaska, Russia’s richest man, contain several references to Mandelson, sources say. The confirmation that the security services are sufficiently interested in Deripaska to keep files on him and his associates is likely to add to pressure on the minister to provide more information about his contacts with the Russian billionaire. It is understood that the cabinet minister’s details appear on a secure database called SCOPE, which pools intelligence material gathered by MI5, MI6, and GCHQ, the Government’s electronic eavesdropping centre. Sources have confirmed to the Daily Telegraph that Deripaska and Mandelson feature in the SCOPE files as associates. A Whitehall source said: “Deripaska is the kind of person we look at from time to time along with those he associates with. You would expect Mandelson to be among those mentioned.” Deripaska is a “person of interest” to the British authorities because of allegations of links to organised crime in Russia. Mandelson appears in the classified British intelligence files because of his various contacts with Deripaska.

allah, satan, poised to sweep u.s.

Christian right intensifies attacks on Obama
Eric Gorski, Rachel Zoll, HuffPost, Oct 24 2008

Terrorist strikes on four American cities. Russia rolling into Eastern Europe. Israel hit by a nuclear bomb. Gay marriage in every state. The end of the Boy Scouts. All are plausible scenarios if Democrat Barack Obama is elected president, according to a new addition to the campaign conversation called Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America, produced by the conservative Christian group, Focus on the Family Action. The imagined look into the future is part of an escalation in rhetoric from Christian right activists who are trying to paint Obama in the worst possible terms as the campaign heads into the final stretch and polls show the Democrat ahead. Although hard-edge attacks are common late in campaigns, the tenor of the strikes against Obama illustrates just how worried conservative Christian activists are about what should happen to their causes and influence if Democrats seize control of both Congress and the White House. Among the strongest pieces this year is Focus on the Family Action‘s letter, which has been posted on the group’s website (pdf) and making the email rounds. Signed by A Christian from 2012, it claims a series of events could logically happen based on the group’s interpretation of Obama’s record, Democratic Party positions, recent court rulings and other trends. Among the claims:

  • A 6-3 liberal majority Supreme Court that results in rulings like one making gay marriage the law of the land, and another forcing the Boy Scouts to “hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys.” In the imagined scenario, the Boy Scouts choose to disband rather than obey.
  • A series of domestic and international disasters based on Obama’s “reluctance to send troops overseas.” That includes terrorist attacks on US soil that kill hundreds, a nuclear bomb in Tel Aviv, Russia occupying the Baltic states and Eastern European countries, including Poland and the Czech Republic, and al-Qaida overwhelming Iraq.
  • Nationalized health care, with long lines for surgery and no access to hospitals for people over 80.
  • The goal was to “articulate the big picture,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of public policy for Focus on the Family Action. “If it is a doomsday picture, then it’s a realistic picture,” she said. Steve Strang, publisher of Charisma magazine, a Pentecostal publication, titled one of his recent weekly emails to readers, Life As We Know It Will End If Obama is Elected. Strang said gay rights and abortion rights would be strengthened in an Obama administration, taxes would rise and “people who hate Christianity will be emboldened to attack our freedoms.” Separately, a group called the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission has posted a series of videos on YouTube called 7 Reasons Barack Obama is not a Christian. The commission accuses Obama of “subtle diabolical deceit” in saying he is Christian, while he believes that people can be saved through other faiths. […]

    bachmann : it isn’t him, it’s his views

    Bachmann: Obama isn’t ‘anti-American,’ but his views are
    Matt Corley, ThinkProgress

    Still on the defensive over her McCarthyite comments that Obama “may have anti-American views,” Rep. Michele Bachmann said on Dennis Miller’s radio show today that she doesn’t believe “that Barack Obama is anti-American.” Bachmann confused her own message later in the show when she said she was “concerned he may have anti-American views.” Bachmann’s contradictory statement is reminiscent of when Sarah Palin told CNN that she wasn’t going to call Obama a socialist, but then added that his policies “sound like socialism.”

    Listen here (81 secs. audio only) :

    dnno about the genuinity of this

    Nazis hoped to found empire in Amazonian rainforest
    Chris Irvine, Daily Telegraph, 25 Oct 2008

    Nazis travelled into the Amazon rainforest to scout suitable sites for a South American colony, according to a new book. German scientists took an expedition to a remote region of the Brazilian Amazon on the border with French Guyana to see if they could set up a Nazi outpost in the Amazon. The book, The Guyana Project: A German Adventure on the Amazon, says the Nazis believed they were destined to colonise and settle in parts of the world much like the pioneers of America’s west. On an island on a tributary of the Jari River, author Jens Gluessing found a 9ft high wooden cross etched with swastikas. The inscription says: “Joseph Greiner died here on 2.1.1936, a death from fever in the service of German Research Work.” Gluessing discovered photographs of the expedition by exploring German and Brazilian archives. He found that Greiner was one of three sent by the SS to explore the region bordering French Guyana with a view to populating it on behalf of the Reich. The team, using the cover story they were collecting specimens of fauna and wildlife, reported back to their boss Heinrich Himmler on how German soldiers could live in Brazil. Dr Otto Schulz-Kampfhenkel, an SS officer and leader of the expedition, wrote to Himmler and said:

    The two largest scantly populated, but rich in resources, areas on earth are in Siberia and South America. They alone offer spacious immigration and settlement possibilities for the Nordic peoples. For the more advanced white race, the Amazon area offers outstanding possibilities for exploitation.

    It would appear however the explorers were defeated by the Amazon. Before the plan was finalised, Himmler lost interest, thus shelving a potential Nazi South American colony.

    abu nidal = al CIA-duh

    Iraqi secret police believed that Abu Nidal was working for the Americans when they interrogated him in Baghdad only months before the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Hitherto secret documents which are now in the hands of the Independent, written by Saddam Hussein’s security services for Saddam’s eyes only, state that he had been “colluding” with the Americans. The final hours of Abu Nidal are revealed in the set of intelligence reports drawn up for Saddam’s “presidency intelligence office” in September of 2002. The documents state that Egyptian and Kuwaiti intelligence officers had asked Abu Nidal, whose real name was Khalil al-Banna, to spy for them “with the knowledge of their American counterparts.” The records of these sessions were never intended to be made public and were written by Iraqi “Special Intelligence Unit M4” for Saddam. The documents appear to be a frank internal account of what the Iraqis believed his mission in Iraq to be. The papers name a Kuwaiti major, a member of the ruling Kuwaiti al-Sabbah family, as his “handler”, and state that he was also tasked to “perform terrorist acts inside and outside Iraq.” His presence in the country “would provide the Americans with the pretext that Iraq was harbouring terrorist organisations,” the reports say.

    Robert Fisk, Independent

    rather interesting essay by trita parsi

    Israel Gets Real on Iran
    Trita Parsi, Oct 15 (via Tony Karon Blog)

    On the eve of his departure from political life, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Olmert delivered a stinging parting shot — putting under question not only the wisdom of holding on to Palestinian land, but also the feasibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “We have to make a decision, one that goes against all our instincts, against our collective memory,” he told the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot. Recognizing that no other Israeli leader ever had uttered these words publicly, Olmert went on to declare that “Israel must withdraw from almost all, if not all” of the West Bank to achieve peace. On Iran, Olmert argued that Israel had lost its “sense of proportion” when stating that it would deal with Iran militarily. “What we can do with the Palestinians, the Syrians and the Lebanese, we cannot do with the Iranians,” Olmert said, in stark contradiction to his own earlier warnings on Iran as well as the rhetoric of many of his hawkish cabinet members. “Let’s be more modest, and act within the bounds of our realistic capabilities,” he cautioned. Olmert’s interview dashed the hopes of neoconservatives in Washington hoping for an Israeli post-November surprise through the bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities. With the US facing a financial crisis and Israel’s lacking the “proportions” to take on Iran, the risk for military confrontation with Iran in the last months of the Bush Administration has decreased significantly, according to most analysts.

    Olmert’s statement may signal a long-overdue shift towards Israel’s Plan B on Iran. Israel’s first preference had been to pressure the US to exercise its own military option on Iran, and to prevent any diplomatic breakthrough that might cause Washington to accept some level of Iranian uranium-enrichment capability. In this regard, Israeli warnings of its readiness to attack Iran if the US declined to do so served primarily to pressure Washington to launch a military strike. Talk about the Israeli military option was aimed at keeping the American military option on the table. Since the mid-1990s, a key tenet of Israel’s foreign policy has been to sound alarm bells on Tehran. Originally, the aim was to prevent any thaw between the US and Iran out of a fear that Israeli security interests would be sacrificed in a potential US-Iran deal. Plan A was to nip this in the bud by undermining efforts to pursue diplomacy in the first place. This policy did not lack critics, however. An internal Israeli Iran-committee in the early 1990s led by former commander of the Israeli air force, David Ivry, concluded that the aggressive Israeli rhetoric had prompted Iran to turn its focus towards Israel. Iran has enough problems in the region, the committee argued, there was no need to make Israel shine any brighter on Iran’s radar.

    As Iran’s power grew in the region, Israeli concerns grew accordingly. The more Iran could present itself as an indispensible actor in the region, the greater the risk of a US-Iran accommodation. Left with few good options, and an unwillingness to consider how a US-Iran deal could change Iran’s behavior towards Israel, the inclination in Israel was to intensify the very policy its Iran-committee had warned against. But while Israel’s Iran hawks argued against US-Iran diplomacy, they had a hard time digesting the Bush Administration’s opposition to Israeli-Syrian diplomacy. The contradiction in the Israeli position was evident during AIPAC’s conference earlier this summer. Ephraim Sneh — a leading Iran hawk of Israel’s Labor Party — argued passionately against US-Iran diplomacy while making an equally passionate case for diplomacy with Syria. His justification was that in case of war, the Israeli public must know that every stone had been turned before their young men and women were sent to battle. On Iran, however, Sneh did not acknowledge the same justification.

    Olmert’s valedictory interview may be the first small steps towards a Plan B on Iran — one that takes as its point of departure the new regional realities: A balance of power that has shifted away from Israel, and an Iran that is unlikely to unlearn the technology of enriching uranium. Israel now needs a way out of the prison of its own rhetoric. Repeating statements that a nuclear Iran is “unacceptable” and using a rhetoric that creates an air of inevitability of war has left the Jewish State with no real options. A more nuanced rhetoric on Iran may have the down-side of reducing pressure on the US to act — “If we don’t talk about Iran, the world will forget about Iran,” as Israeli Iran expert David Menashri put it – but has the up-side of enabling new options to emerge for the Jewish state. Warning about being “boxed into the corner,” a recent Haaretz editorial offered a clear break from Israel’s Plan A: “The best chance of calming the atmosphere and reducing the threat lies in starting negotiations between the United States and Iran… [I]t is the only route not yet tried and is likely to help moderate Iranian policy. Israel must encourage an American rapprochement with Iran, with the understanding that this will serve the Israeli interest as well.” And in a video by the Jewish Council for Education and Research, several high-ranking Israeli generals throw their weight behind US-Iran diplomacy as a path towards advancing Israeli security.

    Still, in spite of the many rising voices against Israel’s losing approach on Iran, the Jewish state is a long way from discarding its Plan A. Unlike Olmert who recognized the unfeasibility of Plan A while leaving office, Israel’s new Prime Minister, Tzipi Livni, may enter office with Plan B in sight. She rejects the idea that Israel “will not be able to live” with a nuclear Iran and says Israel must deal with the challenges it faces. Though Livni won’t go as far as Barack Obama in promising direct diplomacy with Tehran, she may help Israel find a few more options on Iran.