To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal To Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians And Shoot At Them – Seymour Hersh — a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for The New Yorker — revealed that Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President’s office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran. There were a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.
Exxon Mobil Makes Profit of $1,485.55 Per Second – Exxon Mobil once again reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history Thursday, posting net income of $11.68 billion on revenue of $138 billion in the second quarter (just three months!). That figure is after subtracting money spent finding and producing more new oil and all other expenses. Aren’t you glad that you’re paying nearly $4 a gallon for gasoline so that you can say you had a part in this history-making event? They also recently gave chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson an 18% raise to $21.7 million per year, and I’m sure you’re glad you helped keep Mr. Tillerson out of the poorhouse.
Several bills have been introduced in Congress to enact a ‘windfall’ profits tax on these earnings, or at the very least eliminate manufacturing tax exemption oil companies now enjoy. Barack Obama wants to tax oil companies at a special rate every time crude goes over $80 a barrel. Most plans would either use this newfound tax money to fund investments in renewable energy, or give it to low income Americans struggling with high energy prices. But so far those efforts have been blocked – mainly by Republicans – who say raising taxes on oil companies will only discourage investments in finding new oil and raise the price of crude. (But if that’s true, then why doesn’t Exxon Mobil use more of their $11.68 billion quarterly profit that they already have to find more oil? – JLV)
McCain’s Campaign Now Getting That Karl Rove Touch – On July 3, news reports said Senator John McCain, worried that he might lose the election before it truly started, opened his doors to disciples of Karl Rove from the 2004 campaign and the Bush White House. Less than a month later, the results are on full display. The candidate who started out talking about high-minded, civil debate has wholeheartedly adopted Mr. Rove’s low-minded and uncivil playbook.
Mr. McCain’s campaign is now under the leadership of members of President Bush’s re-election campaign, including Steve Schmidt, the czar of the Bush war room that relentlessly painted his opponent, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, as effete, elite, and equivocal through a daily blitz of sound bites and Web videos that were carefully coordinated with Mr. Bush’s television advertisements.
The run of attacks against Mr. Obama over the last couple of weeks have been strikingly reminiscent of that drive, including the Bush team’s tactics of seeking to make campaigns referendums on its opponents — not a choice between two candidates — and attacking the opponent’s perceived strengths head-on.
There’s obviously nothing surprising about the McCain campaign’s reliance on the standard, personality-based attacks that the GOP uses every election year. It’s long been obvious to everyone outside of The TNR Circle that McCain’s only prospect for winning would be to move the election away from debates over issues (where his positions are widely rejected by the public) and instead demonize Barack Obama as an effete, elitist, effeminate, far Leftist, terrorist-loving radical, and it was equally obvious that McCain would eagerly employ those Rovian tactics.
Bush Threatens to Veto Equal Pay for Women – This week, the House is expected to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor for a vote, legislation that would help close the wage gap between working men and women and “close loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility” for discriminatory pay. In an official statement, the White House said it would veto the bill.
Newly Uncovered Documents Show Problems Known With Voting Machine Patch – Just before the November 2002 election in Georgia, Diebold CEO Bob Urosevich personally flew in from Texas and applied a software patch to voting machines in just two counties, DeKalb and Fulton, both Democratic strongholds. A flag went up when it became apparent that the patch installed by Urosevich had failed to fix a problem with the computer clock — which employees from Diebold and the Georgia Secretary of State’s office had been told the patch was designed specifically to address. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, who was five percentage points ahead of Republican challenger Saxby Chambliss in polls taken only a week before the voting, lost 53 percent to 46 percent. Roy Barnes, the incumbent Democratic Governor, who had been leading challenger Sonny Perdue by a fairly wide margin of eleven points, lost 51 percent to 46 percent. The last-minute patch installation and the lack of official recertification may have rendered the 2002 Georgia results invalid.
“People working for Diebold were told to keep this quiet so [Georgia Secretary of State Cathy] Cox would not find out,” a whistleblower said. “They knew she was in over her head and had come to completely rely on Diebold. They controlled the warehouse, the machines, and the certification. There were no state employees.”
Diebold renamed itself Premier Election Solutions in 2007. The company has come under fire on numerous occasions for failing to protect its software from hackers, and its systems have been decertified in California. Maryland’s House of Delegates voted to ban the company from its electronic voting in 2006, though the law didn’t pass the Senate and state is now considering Premier for their optical scan systems.
In August 2003, Walden O’Dell, then the chief executive of Diebold, announced that he had been a top fund-raiser for President George W. Bush and had sent a get-out-the-funds letter to 100 wealthy and politically inclined friends in the Republican Party.
While McCain Wears $520 Italian Ferragamo Leather Loafers, He Tries to Make us Think Barack Obama is Elitist – McCain can wear any kind of shoes he wants, but isn’t it hypocritical to try to equate a black man to two blonde girls to try to show Obama is an out-of-touch elitist while McCain is wearing $520 Italian Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Pregiato’ Moccasins as he travels between his eleven houses? And what better way to show his American pride than to tour the country in Italian leather while charging Obama as un-American? Remember TV footage of Michelle Obama telling Access Hollywood during a family interview that Obama was wearing ten year old pants and a worn-out belt and hurriedly adding, “Don’t pan down to the shoes — because we’ve talked about getting new shoes for him.”
Strained by War, U.S. Army Promotes Unqualified Soldiers – An Army policy implemented in 2005 and expanded this year lowered the bar for enlisted soldiers with the rank of E-4 to gain the rank of sergeant, or E-5, by diminishing the vetting process. According to more than a half dozen current and former Army sergeants interviewed by Salon, the policy has produced sergeants who are not ready to lead. In some cases, soldiers were promoted even after being denied advancement by their own unit commanders. While awarding a promotion once required effort on the part of a commander, those interviewed say, the Army’s current policy actually requires effort to prevent a promotion, and has had negative consequences on the battlefield.