Mitt Romney’s Silence on Blackwater

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romney-3.jpg
Just caught this. Politico‘s Kenneth Vogel suggests that Mitt Romney’s silence about the Blackwater killings in Iraq may have something to do with the fact that:

The top counterterrorism and national security adviser to Romney’s presidential campaign is Cofer Black, vice chairman of Blackwater USA.

I thought it might have been Romney’s general stance on the inappropriately termed war on terror and that we should “double Guantanamo” rather than shut it down that explains Romney’s silence.
But I think Romney will be the Republican primary winner, the way things look today — and it’s good to add to the brief.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

31 comments on “Mitt Romney’s Silence on Blackwater

  1. Carroll says:

    Posted by susan at September 23, 2007 06:10 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    That’s interesting. But I am not too surprised. Four couples in our circle, are intermarried jewish-catholic/jewish protestant..and their parents were also intermarried. It hasn’t seem to be a problem in their seperate religions or raising their children…and they are all still married, no divorces yet..love conquers all.

    Reply

  2. karenk says:

    RON PAUL for President! just keep sayin it and it’ll come true.that’s what’s worked for the Bush Admin with every lie, just keep repeating it and it will become truth.

    Reply

  3. konopelli/wgg says:

    Romney scares me.
    He’s every BIT as much an amoral opporunist as the Chimp, but smarter.

    Reply

  4. Kathleen says:

    …. you’re welcome!
    I think Demz are so out of it, delusional, they don’t get it that we aren’t going to have another election in 08. As John Dean has been warning, everything is in place to declare Martial law and cancel elections.
    Given that the Bush family coat of arms says “Born to Rule”, not govern mind you, but RULE and Busholini has scoffed whatever laws he chooses, why would anyone expect anything else? If you connect the dots, what other picture could one get but one of Dick Tater and his Big Schtick.
    Rather than health care for children, he’ll use the funds for installing a throne in the Oval Office and have the bin Laden family cough up a jewel encrusted crown.
    It takes a village to impeach an idiot. That’s my new mantra. If repetition works for RepubliKlans, maybe it’ll work for us.

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  5. bob h says:

    Black did such a spectacular counterterror job at the CIA.

    Reply

  6. ... says:

    kaathleen thanks for your pointed and to the point comments, especially the one at the beginning of this thread.

    Reply

  7. andrew says:

    I had such high hopes for the 2008 Presidential Election. But, it seems the best we can hope for is a spectacle of smoke-screens and mud slinging. Even though Robert Morrow is a bit of a nut job, I think he brings us to some interesting insights about the ’08 fight for the White House.
    It sounds like it’s going to be more like an episode of Jerry Springer than a fruitful and
    democratic election. What the US most needs is a decent ‘discussion’ about the real issues. Looks like the election will provide none of this.
    Republicans will throw as much dirt at Senator Clinton’s past as they can muster, forcing our minds away from any real critical thought. Hillary’s camp will follow suit, and all we’ll be left with is a bunch of half-truths, speculation, with both campaigns in damage control mode.
    I’m depressed. C’mon Senator Obama, time to step up and win this thing.
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/clintons/bodycount.asp

    Reply

  8. susan says:

    Boy, it seems that all of liberal blogistan is roiling today. We must be experiencing some strong solar flairups. For the vast majority of you Howard “I’m as mad as h***, and I’m not going to take this anymore!!” Beales, I suggest flower essences and crystals, or a nice glass of wine, some soothing Bach. For Carroll there is this:
    Attachment to Israel Declining Among Young American Jews
    The Jewish Daily Forward
    Anthony Weiss | Wed. Sep 05, 2007
    American Jews’ connection to Israel drops off with each subsequent generation, a new study suggests.
    The authors of the study, sociologists Steven M. Cohen and Ari Kelman, found a consistent increase in alienation in each younger generation, with middle-aged Jews less attached to Israel than older Jews, and younger Jews less attached than middle-aged Jews.
    “Every measure indicates a decline of attachment to Israel” from one generation to the next, Kelman, a sociologist at the University of California, Davis, told the Forward.
    While the waning relationship between American Jews and Israel has been documented in past studies, the new survey, entitled “Beyond Distancing,” provides the most in-depth statistical picture to date of American Jewish attitudes toward Israel and the extent of the disaffection.
    Cohen and Kelman used a broader variety of questions than past studies have to gauge attachment and alienation among different generations of Jews. They found that young adult Jews were less attached to Israel than any other living generation of Jewish adults. This low level of attachment was consistent across the political spectrum, independent of party affiliation or ideological attachment. The authors concluded that the changes are likely generational and permanent.
    “Insofar as younger Jews are less attached to Israel,” the authors wrote, “the inevitable replacement of the older population with younger birth cohorts leads to a growing distancing in the population overall.”
    Cohen and Kelman used a series of questions about Israel to gauge connection. Eighty percent of Jews over age 65 said that “caring about Israel is an important part of being Jewish,” compared with 72% of those 50-64 years old, 64% of those 35-49, and 60% of those under 35. From these responses, the authors compiled an index of overall attachment. They found that nearly 40% of Jews over 65 were found to be highly attached, compared with just over 20% of Jews under 35. The numbers are almost exactly reversed for low attachment, with more than 40% of Jews under 35 registering low attachment, compared with 20% of Jews over 65.
    The one life-cycle event that Cohen and Kelman did point to as significant was intermarriage of Jews with non-Jews. Cohen, who has been an outspoken opponent of intermarriage, said that much of the rise in alienation and decline in attachment among younger generations could be accounted for by the rising levels of intermarriage.
    The survey did make some unusual choices, particularly by choosing to exclude the responses of Orthodox Jews, who tend to have the closest connection to Israel. Cohen explained that this was done for two reasons: first, because the statistical sample of Orthodox responses was too small, and second, because Jewish policymaking’s focus is on non-Orthodox Jews.
    Ted Sasson, a senior scholar at Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, said the study was “important and interesting.” He objected, however, to the author’s prediction of what the findings might mean for the future. Sasson said that the data underpinning the study provided a snapshot of current attitudes, not a trend.
    One finding that Cohen, Kelman and Sasson could all agree upon was the positive influence of a trip to Israel. Cohen and Kelman’s study found that attachment levels increased dramatically, particularly among young Jews, after a trip to Israel. This confirmed previous studies, including one co-authored by Sasson, that had documented the rising sense of Jewish attachment among participants in Birthright Israel’s free trips to Israel.
    Cohen and Kelman’s Israel study is one in a series of studies they will be writing for the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies to explore various aspects of identity among young American Jews. The Bronfman Philanthropies are a founder and sponsor of Birthright Israel.
    Roger Bennett, vice president of the Bronfman Philanthropies, has long advocated the importance of understanding the identities of young Jews on their own terms and creating programs that respond in kind.
    Bennett said that though the findings of the study were dramatic, he saw no cause for alarm. “It’s a rallying call to roll up our sleeves and move to action,” he said.
    Wed. Sep 05, 2007

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican at September 23, 2007 11:10 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Steve and Lobe do seem to have tamped down quit a bit. Puzzling….are they trying to beat back the public acceptance/perception of the inevitably of an Iran attack the neo’s and the MSM has going or what?

    Reply

  10. konopelli/wgg says:

    You don’t fight a dragon armed with lawn darts.
    Posted by PissedOffAmerican at September 23, 2007 11:10 AM
    More and more I am of the opinion, that you cannot win arguments with fascists, you have to win wars against them.
    The GOPuke nominee will be the one who fires up and rides the fear factor most effectively. Fear is the only plank in the GOPuke platform. It’s all they’ve got. With any “luck” (see, IX/XI), it’s all they’ll need.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    Well, I’ll be flipped. The NYT has published the entire First Chapter of W&M’s “The Israel Lobby’ in the Sunday edition.
    I don’t think I have ever seen the Times do this before in a book review..wonder what got into them.
    http://tinyurl.com/yuxskf
    I am surprised Steve and/or the NA Foundation hasn’t reviewed the book and the authors conclusions since policy is their domain.

    Reply

  12. ComicDork says:

    I say forget Iran, they’re easy: re-open diplomatic channels, say we’re sorry for overthrowing Mosadeq (thanks Kermit!), sorry for the Shah, and they can have all the nuclear technology they want. BUT. But if there is a nuclear incident anywhere in the world, 15 minutes later they’re an irradiated parking lot. No questions asked, no warning giving. It’s that easy. That’s what you do when you’re a super-power in a nuclear world.
    Now, as for Blackwater, I have to agree with the comments above about Bush creating a moral vacuum in Iraq and we have no idea about it because pictures of violence, destruction & devastation in war “upset” the American public so we don’t see them (thanks ‘free press’!). If little Katie Couric or Tough-guy Sean Hannity (who I guarantee can’t take a punch) had to show those every night then people would get the vapors, oh my, oh yes… we have such delcicate sensibilities in this country.
    The Bush administration created a shadow army in Iraq for 2 reasons: (a) it feeds the military-industrial complex funneling tons of money to these firms and back to the republican party and (b) it puts off the need for a draft by filling the battlefield with mercenaries who help with the fighting, but don’t count in the body count, and help put off a draft.
    As for the Candidates, if you’re a Democrat you really want to vote for Dennis Kucinich: he’s the man. Edwards & Obama are more conservative versions of him. + his wife is british & attractive. Edwards & Obama are acceptable, Hillary… sorry, media/establishment candidate and we’re Americans so we really have to STOP doing dynasties. No more Clintons, no more Bushes, no more, no more, no more.
    If you’re a republican… well, there’s 2 flavors of you: Goldwater & Falwell. If you’re Goldwater? Sorry, you haven’t been paying attention and you’re an ‘independent’ now. The only way to get out with your soul is to vote for the Democrat.
    If you’re a Falwell republican… sorry, I can’t help you and I don’t understand what motivates you anyways. Good luck with that because if you took a good, long look in the mirror you’d realize you’ve moved this country down the road to authoritarian rule. Thanks for that by the way.
    That ends the ComicDork voting guide. Good luck out there… you’re gonna need it.

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I just read Lobe’s take on Steve’s opinion on Iran/Bush/war at anti-war.com….
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2007/09/22/is-steve-clemons-right-will-bush-bomb-iran/
    Unfortunately, it seems both Steve and Lobe underestimate, inexplicably, the sheer evil contained within the Bush/Cheney machine. Such a lack of understanding is astounding to me, considering the events that have occurred since 9/11/01. Steve still talks of the Bush regime as if it is bound by some standard of legality, rationality, or accountability.
    Who doubts that these monsters are capable of hatching a false flag terrorist attack of epic proportions in order to pursue their agenda and remain in power? The fallen towers, 1000,000 dead Iraqis, the illegal evesdropping programs, the federally funded armed mercenaries on both foreign and domestic soil, the systematic dismantling of our justice system, and a myriad of other criminal offenses and ethical transgressions are not enough to convince Steve and Lobe?
    It is far past the time that this Administration can be discussed as a functioning example of a democratic machine bound by the rule of law or pursuing the interests of the citizenry. To discuss this Administration as anything other than a criminal enterprise, unbound by laws or ethics, is a serious breech of common sense and has no foundation in reality.
    You don’t fight a dragon armed with lawn darts.

    Reply

  14. Kathleen says:

    Speaking of voodoo dolls, recently some house guests bought me a dog bisquit shaped like a man with a full length pucture of Dopey pasted on it. I couldn’t resist sticking a pin in his thrid eye. Didn’t do much for his insight, but it did wonders for my blood pressure, which was all his fault in the first place.

    Reply

  15. easy e says:

    No, these lying posturing treasonous scumwads are all cut of the same cloth, marketed by the same interests, and whoring to the same clients.
    Truth is, we’re screwed no matter which one of these frauds manage to slime their way into the Oval Office.
    Posted by: PissedOffAmerican at September 22, 2007 05:28 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Kucinich & Paul haven’t sold out to corrupt special interests and that’s why they’re not being heard.
    One of the solutions: Radical election & campaign finance reform.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, Romney started his campaign by lying to the American people right off the bat. So, Morrow is probably right, he’s the PERFECT right wing piece of excrement to recieve the opportunity to perform rectal fornication on the citizens of the United States.
    Is that better, Steve?
    Its a sorry damned state of affairs when a candidate for the Presidency can spew a known lie during a debate, and exit that debate still retaining his candidacy. But there you have it, thats the name of the game in Washington these days. Anyone seen this shrew Hillary mention Romney’s lie? What about this paper tiger Obama, anyone seen him bring it up?
    No, these lying posturing treasonous scumwads are all cut of the same cloth, marketed by the same interests, and whoring to the same clients.
    Truth is, we’re screwed no matter which one of these frauds manage to slime their way into the Oval Office.

    Reply

  17. Carroll says:

    Oh, kcuf! here we go again.
    Bush Was Told of North Korean Presence in Syria, Sources Say
    By Glenn Kessler and Robin Wright
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Friday, September 21, 2007; Page A01
    Israel’s decision to attack Syria on Sept. 6, bombing a suspected nuclear site set up in apparent collaboration with North Korea, came after Israel shared intelligence with President Bush this summer indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, U.S. government sources said.
    The Bush administration has not commented on the Israeli raid or the underlying intelligence. Although the administration was deeply troubled by Israel’s assertion that North Korea was assisting the nuclear ambitions of a country closely linked with Iran, sources said, the White House opted against an immediate response because of concerns it would undermine long-running negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear program
    The Bush administration’s wariness when presented with the Israeli intelligence contrasts with its reaction in 2002, when U.S. officials believed they had caught North Korea building a clandestine nuclear program in violation of a nuclear-freeze deal arranged by the Clinton administration.
    Conservative critics of the administration’s recent diplomacy with North Korea have seized on reports of the Israeli intelligence as evidence that the White House is misguided if it thinks it can ever strike a lasting deal with Pyongyang. “However bad it might be for the six-party talks, U.S. security requires taking this sort of thing seriously,” said John R. Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who was a top arms control official in Bush’s first term.
    But advocates of engagement have accused critics of trying to sabotage the talks. China on Monday abruptly postponed a round of six-party talks scheduled to begin this week, but U.S. officials now say the talks should start again Thursday.
    Some North Korean experts said they are puzzled why, if the reports are true, Pyongyang would jeopardize the hard-won deal with the United States and the other four countries. “It does not make any sense at all in the context of the last nine months,” said Charles “Jack” Pritchard, a former U.S. negotiator with North Korea and now president of the Korea Economic Institute.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I have more faith in my vodoo dolls than I do in the Israeli intelligence “truthiness”.

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  18. Kathleen says:

    In a piece for the Village Voice, Blackwater’s War on Drugs Bonanza, Ward Harkavy says Blacwater has low friends in high places. Kurfers.
    For comic relief,
    Thursday, September 20th, 2007 at 7:45 pm
    ALAN ‘GREENSPIN’S’ LATEST CLAIM: IRAQ WAR WAS ALL ABOUT YELLOW RIBBONS
    By Don Davis
    Backing off his initial claim that the Iraq War was “all about oil,” former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan “Greenspin” Greenspan today insisted that the Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq was actually instigated by the corporation that manufactures the omnipresent yellow ribbons on the back of SUVs.
    Greenspan explained that in exchange for initiating an unnecessary and counterproductive war, Bush, Cheney and numerous cabinet members received stock and stock options in the Halliburton Ribbon Company, whose yellow ribbons are a perfect metaphor for the chicken-hawks in this Administration.
    Greenspan, interviewed by Matt Lauer from his bathtub during his ritual early-morning soak, also predicted that the huge profits from yellow ribbon sales are the reason why the Neo-Cons will never pull U.S. troops out from Iraq.
    A separate accounting by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office confirms that Americans have spent five times as much on yellow ribbons since the start of the war as the military has expended on body armor for the troops.
    Indeed, windfall profits from yellow ribbon sales would have been even greater, according to the CBO, if all the “old oak trees” which also sport such ribbons had not been destroyed under Bush’s “Healthy Forest” program.
    Addressing these charges, President Bush asserted that “Americans can have both their yellow ribbons here, and their troops cut to ribbons over there.”
    Finally, Greenspan did express remorse for not blowing the whistle on the war-mongerers, indicating that if he could do it over again, heÂ’d forgo cutting interest rates, in favor of cutting off BushÂ’s balls.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Back to horrific…
    How Bush has created a moral vacuum in Iraq in which Americans can kill for free. From Newsweek: “Imagine a universe where a man can gun down women and children anytime he pleases, knowing he will never be brought to justice. A place where morality is null and void, and arbitrary killing is the rule. A place that has been imagined hitherto only in nightmarish dystopian fiction, like “1984,” or in fevered passages from Dostoevsky—or which existed during the Holocaust and Stalinist purges and the Dark Ages. Well, that universe exists today. It is called Iraq. And the man who made it possible is George W. Bush.” 9/23
    “It doesn’t matter what you think of the Moveon.org ad or title. Individually Democratic politicians can say whatever they like. But we’re trying to end a foreign policy catastrophe in Iraq. People are getting killed. Billions are being squandered. Our security is being eroded; our military weakened. Minority Republicans are blocking majority support for bringing the troops home. They are denying troops a guarantee of decent home rotations. That Senate Democrats would allow them to consume the time and the attention of the Senate and hijack that debate to vote for criticizing an ad by an independent group is simply craven and foolish.”
    NYT Editorial: “If anything was clear from General Petraeus’s testimony and the president’s prime-time speech, it was that Mr. Bush has no idea how to end the war in a way that salvages as much as possible of America’s treasury, blood and global image while limiting the chaos that would follow any withdrawal, whether it comes quickly or slowly. Mr. Bush’s only idea is to keep the war going until he leaves office, and that means that other co-equal branch of government, the Congress, will have to lead the way out.”
    oh sure. Don’t hold your beath.

    Reply

  19. Robert Morrow says:

    I think that Romney or Huckabee are best positioned to be the Republican party nominee. No, we are not going to nominate Guiliani. Fred Thompson is a jug headed idiot, and I mean no offense to jug-headed idiots. Like James Dobson says, Fred Thompson can’t talk his way out of a paper sack on the campaign trail. He literally knows nothing about the issues and cares nothing about them. He is only doing this because his wife is making him run for president.
    Ron Paul is still set to make a splash in the primaries. His best shot is New Hampshire, if he can’t win there, he can’t win anywhere. If Ron Paul wins NH it will knock Romney out of the presidential race.
    Which would be good because Romney is set up to throw the election to Hillary in the general, as would Fred Thompson.
    My goal this election cycle was to keep Hillary, Guiliani and McCain out of the White House. McCain is down. Guiliani should go down in the primary. But it is looking like the only hope for Republicans to beat Hillary is RON PAUL. The rest of them are just fresh meat for the Clintons.

    Reply

  20. Carroll says:

    Does it seem to you that politicans are increasingly using violence against the public?
    Seems that way to me. I think this is about the third of fourth example of this type of thing by politican’s aides and goons I have seen this month.
    CBS 2 Reporter Files Complaint After Scuffle
    Mike Flannery Was Shoved By Aide After Rep. Weller Speech
    Flannery has filed a complaint after he was shoved and sent down a flight of stairs while questioning a congressman Friday, knocking him into a woman who also fell.
    The incident happened in Joliet, where Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) was announcing his intention not to run for reelection.
    Weller spoke for about 15 to 20 minutes about his accomplishments in his district and in Washington, then he left with a phalanx of people around him, and “with no intention, evidently, of answering questions,” Flannery said.
    Flannery was pushed by a Weller aide right before he followed Weller into a stairway.
    The initial contact occurred off-camera.
    In the video posted on cbs2chicago.com, you can see Flannery stumbing into the view of the camera after being pushed. He is then shoved a second time once inside the doorway, which caused a woman inside the stairwell to fall.
    The man who shoved Flannery and CLTV political reporter Carlos Hernandez-Gomez was identified as John Dusik, an aide to the congressman.
    A watchdog group recently declared Weller one of the most corrupt members of Congress due to questions about his financial ethics stemming from land deals in Central America.
    “I began to throw out a number of questions regarding his controversial Latin American land deals,” and asked if there should be a House Ethics committee investigation, Flannery said.
    Weller did not speak, but instead went back down the stairs, still surrounded by a phalanx of aides, Flannery said. At that point, the scene began to turn ugly.
    “There’s a large man, who begins shoving reporters around, including yours truly. He shoves me one way, then he goes after another reporter with CLTV.… There’s an opening in the doorway, and I begin moving through that doorway, and he shoves me down the stairs; he shoves me into a railing on the staircase and also into a woman in on the staircase who was traveling with Weller,” Flannery said.
    Flannery said the woman turned around and complained to him about being knocked down, and he explained that he had been pushed through the doorway.
    Meanwhile, Weller drove away without answering questions, Flannery said.
    “I realized that I need to ask the police to look into this, and I indicated to them that we get roughed up like this from time to time, but I don’t recall ever being treated this violently; shoved around this violently, to the point where a woman gets knocked down,” Flannery said.

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    Here’s something you can do today. The Israelis against house demolitions org in Israel has sent out a call for help to protest Israel cutting off the power and water supplies to Gaza. This, btw, in international law is collective punishment.
    Pelosi has a email address for Speaker of the House that anyone can mail to….
    AmericanVoices@mail.house.gov
    Appropiately named…now if they just actually read any of their mail.
    September 21st, 2007
    The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) deplores the unanimous decision by the Israeli cabinet to impose sanctions on supplies of electricity, fuel and other basic goods and services to the civilian population of Gaza, and calls upon the international community to prevent this crime against humanity from being carried out. Indeed, the very legal framework invoked by Israel to carry out this illegal and immoral act – declaring Gaza a “hostile entity” within a “conflict short of war” – has absolutely no standing in international law. The collective punishment of an entire civilian population, by contrast, is explicitly prohibited.
    We call on the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, to urgently convene the Security Council in order to tell the Israeli government that this step is completely unacceptable and must be rescinded.
    We call on the governments of the world, and in particular the American government and the European Parliament, to censure this decision, especially in light of recent attempts to revive the diplomatic process.
    We call on the world’s religious leaders to condemn this blatant violation of human rights and the most fundamental assault on human life and dignity, made especially poignant as it is being implemented during the holy month of Ramadan. As Israelis, most of whom are Jews, we call upon Jewish leaders to speak out unequivocally against this offence against Jewish values on the eve of Yom Kippur
    And we call upon the peoples of the world to let their officials and leaders know of their repudiation of this cruel, illegal and immoral act – an act that stands out in its cruelty even in an already oppressive Israeli Occupation. ICAHD condemns attacks on all civilians, be they Israeli or Palestinian. Violations of international law by governments affecting millions of people are, however, especially egregious and must be denounced.
    Israel’s decision to punish Gaza’s civilian population, with all the human suffering that entails, constitutes an instance of State Terrorism against innocent people. Only when Israel is held accountable for its actions and international law upheld will a just peace be possible in the Middle East.

    Reply

  22. karenk says:

    Jon Stewart is right, the name alone sounds evil-BLACKWATER. If Iraq is so dangerous nearly 5 years into the war that diplomats need all this extra security, surely we are not reaching our objective. And if “Our Ally”(as Bush called them)the Iraqi Government is in control then why aren’t we complying with their demand that Blackwater leave the country? And I wonder about the future assignments of these increased, souped up private security firms, after they leave Iraq. Naomi Wolf thinks they’ll be used to control Americans who get out of line. Scary stuff…

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    We do desperately need some new words that aren’t exactly profanity but convey the same meaning to describe these people.
    Maybe we could write backwards…kucf? ..gnikucf?..sdratsab?…or some of the creatives type here could invent some entirely new ones.
    If seems unfitting to me to use unprofane words to describe these profane sdratsab but we will just have to improvise and not be potty mouths.

    Reply

  24. Carroll says:

    Feds Probe Blackwater Weapons Smuggling
    By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer
    Friday, September 21, 2007
    Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday.
    The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh, N.C., is handling the investigation with help from Pentagon and State Department auditors, who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told The Associated Press. Blackwater is based in Moyock, N.C.
    The U.S. attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina, George Holding, and a spokeswoman for Blackwater did not return calls seeking comment Friday. Pentagon and State Department spokesmen declined to comment.
    Officials with knowledge of the case said it is active, although at an early stage. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, which has heightened since 11 Iraqis were killed Sunday in a shooting involving Blackwater contractors protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Baghdad.
    The officials could not say whether the investigation would result in indictments, how many Blackwater employees are involved or if the company itself, which has won hundreds of millions of dollars in government security contracts since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is under scrutiny.
    In Saturday’s editions, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that two former Blackwater employees — Kenneth Wayne Cashwell of Virginia Beach, Va., and William Ellsworth “Max” Grumiaux of Clemmons, N.C. — are cooperating with federal investigators.
    Cashwell and Grumiaux pleaded guilty in early 2007 to possession of stolen firearms that had been shipped in interstate or foreign commerce, and aided and abetted another in doing so, according to court papers viewed by The Associated Press. In their plea agreements, which call for a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the men agreed to testify in any future proceedings.
    Calls to defense attorneys were not immediately returned Friday evening, and calls to the telephone listings for both men also were not returned.
    The News & Observer, citing unidentified sources, reported that the probe was looking at whether Blackwater had shipped unlicensed automatic weapons and military goods to Iraq without a license.
    The paper’s report that the company itself was under investigation could not be confirmed by the AP.
    Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ordered a review of security practices for U.S. diplomats in Iraq following a deadly incident involving Blackwater USA guards protecting an embassy convoy.
    Rice’s announcement came as the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad resumed limited diplomatic convoys under the protection of Blackwater outside the heavily fortified Green Zone after a suspension because of the weekend incident in that city.
    In the United States, officials in Washington said the smuggling investigation grew from internal Pentagon and State Department inquiries into U.S. weapons that had gone missing in Iraq. It gained steam after Turkish authorities protested to the U.S. in July that they had seized American arms from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, rebels.
    The Turks provided serial numbers of the weapons to U.S. investigators, said a Turkish official.
    The Pentagon said in late July it was looking into the Turkish complaints and a U.S. official said FBI agents had traveled to Turkey in recent months to look into cases of missing U.S. weapons in Iraq.
    Investigators are determining whether the alleged Blackwater weapons match those taken from the PKK.
    It was not clear if Blackwater employees suspected of selling to the black market knew the weapons they allegedly sold to middlemen might wind up with the PKK. If they did, possible charges against them could be more serious than theft or illegal weapons sales, officials said.
    The PKK, which is fighting for an independent Kurdistan, is banned in Turkey, which has a restive Kurdish population and is considered a “foreign terrorist organization” by the State Department. That designation bars U.S. citizens or those in U.S. jurisdictions from supporting the group in any way.
    The North Carolina investigation was first brought to light by State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard, who mentioned it, perhaps inadvertently, this week while denying he had improperly blocked fraud and corruption probes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Krongard was accused in a letter by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, of politically motivated malfeasance, including refusing to cooperate with an investigation into alleged weapons smuggling by a large, unidentified State Department contractor.
    In response, Krongard said in a written statement that he “made one of my best investigators available to help Assistant U.S. Attorneys in North Carolina in their investigation into alleged smuggling of weapons into Iraq by a contractor.”
    His statement went further than Waxman’s letter because it identified the state in which the investigation was taking place. Blackwater is the biggest of the State Department’s three private security contractors.
    The other two, Dyncorp and Triple Canopy, are based in Washington’s northern Virginias suburbs, outside the jurisdiction of the North Carolina’s attorneys.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well, here is a good ad….Mitt hires Black whose company sold weapons to US listed terrorist groups and to insurgents in Iraq who are using them to kill Americans.
    But then again this is so common place among this f****** (that means fricking, not f******) war pond scum, who cares…is anyone shocked any more?

    Reply

  25. Kathleen says:

    Love this piece….
    NEWS YOU WON’T FIND ON CNN
    Blasphemy against the holy name of General Mary Petreus
    A Conservative’s Garden of False Narratives: Who are you calling a moonbat, anyway?
    By Phil Rockstroh
    09/21/07 “ICH” — — One would think that from the cries of (feigned) indignation and calls for repentance arising from conservatives regarding Move-On.org’s ad in the N.Y. Times that the liberal-leaning group had not simply questioned the insights and intentions of a public servant, promoting, in a public forum, the policy of an illegal and immoral occupation of a sovereign nation; rather, the folks of Move-On.org had committed blasphemy against the holy name of some revered saint — General Mary Petreus, Mother of God.
    The false outrage of perpetually offended conservatives serves as cover for the true outrages of our era, including: truncated civil liberties, rising levels of social and economic inequality and injustice, and foreign wars of aggression waged by an insular and secretive executive branch and fought by a permanent underclass. The outrages keep arriving, because the collective imagination of the citizen/consumers of the US, arbitrated by a careerist media elite, has been, for decades, in the thrall of false narratives that serve the interests of the elite of the corporate/militarist classes.
    Concurrently, a sense of unease and despair, due to a sense of personal and collective powerlessness before exploitive power, has created the tone and tenor of the times, and begot the phenomenon of supine liberalism and Viagra conservatism. (In this way, liberals stand fecklessly by, as the public is, time and time again, screwed by the decrepit schemes of the right.)
    In this way, liberal paternalism is insufferable; worse, it is dangerous. This has been the right’s craftiest accomplishment: inducing “reasonable” liberals and “sensible” centrists to enable their crimes, from stolen elections to their present preparation for a massive bombing campaign of Iran, by intimidating them with the fear that any protest on their part will cast them among the ranks of America-hating, lefty moonbats, who wish to see the terrorist win, dumpsters piled high with discarded fetuses and metro-sexuality made the official state religion.
    Moreover, these assaults upon both reason and the republic (what’s left of it) will persist until progressives begin to effectively counter the narratives of the predatory right. Some call it shameful demagoguery; although, conservatives call it career advancement. This is not a novel situation. Throughout history, these kinds of pernicious mindsets have always been with us; it is our tragedy that they have been allowed to prevail.
    Conservatives are eager to embrace false narratives: The surge is working; the terrorists hate us for our freedom; Fred Thompson is Ronald Reagan incarnate, but with a touch of Jed Clampett “folksiness.” Accordingly, when the times are roiled with uncertainty, when thoughts of the future are tinged with dread, conservatives, like a character in Southern Gothic literature, will fall into a swoon, longing for the return of an imagined, purer past that never was. One can picture these rightwing sorts wandering the streets, wearing a faded prom dress and a broken, prom queen tiara, twittering and cooing, while repeating over and over again, “the surge is working; Anbar Province is now a beacon of freedom unto the world…”) in an imaginary dialog with the ghost of their long lost beau, Ronald Reagan.
    Ronald Reagan, an ungifted actor, by means of playing the role of a “resolute” Cold Warrior, was able to gain the approbation and wealth that had alluded him as a contract player in Hollywood. In truth, Reagan’s greatest accomplishment was convincing himself of his own sincerity.
    Constantin Stanislavsky, who is considered the father of modern acting technique, is reputed to have said that when an actor starts to believe he is the character he’s portraying it is time to escort him from the theatre. Withal, Fred, Rudy, Rush, Hannity, O’Reilly, et al., can you find the exits on your own or will you need to be medicated, strapped to a gurney, and wheeled from the public arena? Rather than being candidates for President of the United States, most of the Republican field seems to be vying for the title of National Crazy Uncle — the kind of guy who corners you at a family gathering and rants that the PTA is a terrorist front group and gangs of illegal aliens are engaged in a vast conspiracy to steal single socks from his washer-dryer.
    The Republican candidates for president and their fantasy-prone constituents wish to set the Way Back Machine to the golden days of the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was impersonating a man just arrived via the
    1940s. This phenomenon is known as the Law of Republican Special Relativity, which states: When events begin to accelerate forward, the conservative mind will be cast, at an equal rate of speed, backwards in time. But the paradox is: they arrive in a parallel universe, an alternative past that never existed on this earth — a low probability dimension, comprised of platitudes and false pieties, where white male privilege is sacrosanct, only for the reason (according to their reality-proof perspective) that it serves to provide all mankind with all things good and holy.
    This law can be tested by performing the following simple exercise: Engage a conservative true believer in a dialog regarding the manner by which “state’s rights” was misused in the Jim Crowe dominated Deep South of the pre-Civil Rights Era in order to propagate and maintain segregation, and your conservative-minded test subject will respond as if those realities transpired long ago and far away on a planet that he has never visited.
    Yet, paradoxically, rightists have manage to create a Time Retrieval Device, a device that has summoned from the past wonders, such as the following: a reversal of many of the rights of working people; the return of unsafe and unsanitary practices in the food industry; widening gaps of wealth, health and privilege between social, racial and economic classes; in short, many the excesses of plutocratic rule inherent to unfettered capitalism.
    As a result, a generation has inherited power who are devoid of the concept of causation and consequence. Ergo, we have developed a political class who rule by narratives of denial and shallow self-justification. An example of this is the blaming of the people of Iraq for the blood-drenched debacle that has resulted from the illegal and immoral invasion of their nation. As well as, an enabling cadre of media elitists who served as cheerleaders for the invasion, because they deemed it to be good for business, and, to this day, are unwilling to admit their complicity.
    All of the above leads to the question: What are present day conservatives striving to conserve? Historically, conservatives gave their utmost to conserve institutions such as slavery, Jim Crowe, child labor — and, of course, the use of leeches for medical purposes. (Perhaps, they simply couldn’t stand the thought of a fellow blood-sucker being deemed dangerous, and they feared the start of a trend.) At present, the central paradox of contemporary conservatism is this: How does one practice conservatism within an all-encompassing economy based on disposability? This is analogous to establishing a brothel devoted to the goal of abstinence.
    When engaged in a dialog with many conservatives, the question becomes: Are their reactions and responses evoked therein simply borne of plain ignorance, willful ignorance, or outright lying? Or are their responses the result of a group hallucination? All progressives have experienced the following nonsensical encounter of the conservative kind. Present a reasoned argument to a conservative — and, all at once, completely ignoring the tenet, tone and thrust of the point, they begin hallucinating a creature, only known to exist in the rightwing bestiary, known as a “moonbat” — a mythological beast that, ironically, seems to appear when a conservative is confronted with reality.
    Accordingly, the time has come for a study of political zoology and to posit who are the true moonbats now making their habitat in the United States. Case study: Unregulated, wish-fulfillment-based conservative economic policy has created those suburban arrays of mold-incubating petri dishes known as products of the housing boom. Moreover, the bursting of the whole bubble-prone Ponzi scheme has sent shock waves throughout international economies and is surging the economy of the US towards recession. Furthermore, conservative anti-regulatory policies have rendered us babes in a cheap, plastic Toyland.
    What has an era of conservatism wrought? Answer: a culture that has all the value, integrity, sustainability and safety as a toy manufactured in China. Apropos, contemporary life, as conceived and manufactured by conservative “values”, is shoddily made, toxic and not a lot of fun.
    In addition, it has spawned a culture ridden with public relations fabulists and media-savvy confidence artists who tell us that the taste of corporate ass-suck is the ambrosia of the gods. The locked-down, stultifying mindset and ideological barbarianism of present day conservatism is directly linked to the steep decline of the quality of life in the United States.
    The recent revelations regarding the “I’m-not-gay-I-simply-engage-in-same-sex-encounters-in-puplic-restrooms” wing of the Republican Party are instructive in understanding the rightist’s worldview and its effect on our times. Covert sex in a public bathroom stall is an apt metaphor for how contemporary conservatism limits and restricts the possibilities of human life. In the same way that a closet-case gay conservative stunts the possibilities of his love life, the conservative mindset limits the scope of a culture’s possibilities. Accordingly, economic life must be ruled by ruthless, unregulated competition, and the nation’s meaning can only be found in war. Hence, under the Bush Junta, we are told, as far as international relations go, that the nation has few options other than its present policy of predatory capitalism and “wide-stance” militarism.
    Regarding perma-fools such as these, Ernest Becker wrote: “Once you base your whole life striving on a desperate lie, and try to implement that lie, you instrument your own undoing.” Accordingly, the republic is dead; it’s ghost howls online only in pixelated protests such as this one. This grim reality will remain, until we rise up and repudiate the false narratives that have created and continue to comprise these tragic times.
    Phil Rockstroh, a self-described auto-didactic, gasbag monologist, is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at philangie2000@yahoo.com.
    Amen.

    Reply

  26. Kathleen says:

    ComicDork… there to fix the roof…. good one.
    Guess I’d better use the Biblical term to say US taxpayers and Iraqis are getting fornicated.

    Reply

  27. Kathleen says:

    Okay Dad.

    Reply

  28. ComicDork says:

    Does this really surprise anyone? I mean initially, yes, it does but once you really start to think all about it… it makes total sense. The candidates have just carved up the Republican pie and the mercenaries had to pop out somewhere.
    Was it Salman Rushdie on Bill Maher who said that calling them contractors made them sound like they were there to fix the roof? As an actual former government (IT stuff at various agencies) myself, I am only comfortable calling these ‘security contractors’ what they really are: Mercenaries.
    I wish people would just wake up and see the real, deep and, perhaps, lasting harm the Bush administration and Congress have done to this country. But how can they when everyone is so up and arms about poor little David Petraeus’ feelings.

    Reply

  29. Steve Clemons says:

    I get the point — and will leave the art of the profanity there as it communicates what Kathleen is stating pretty well. But I don’t want to see a trend start here. So, try to communicate without the profanity as it tuns off a lot of readers and I will delete further posts that go down that route.
    Thanks,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Just shut up and fuck, cook and scrub.”
    Gads, they have time to cook and scrub? Then what the hell are the ten kids for?

    Reply

  31. Kathleen says:

    Don’t you mean Romney will be the RepubliKlan primary winner? Up until 1979, the Mormons prohibited Blacks from joining their “church”.
    And while we’re waxing all KKKristian, forget about turning the other cheek and loving one’s enemies. That’s yesterday’s Christianity. What’s good for business is good for God and
    Country. Bibles are just for thumping and carrying around when you get caught with your pants down.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if Romney won the primary. RepubliKlans are so sexist, the Mormon attitude toward women fits. It’s more like an Agricultural Animal Husbandry Program. Just shut up and fuck, cook and scrub. And while you’re at it, a little bowing and scraping wouldn’t hurt either.

    Reply

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