Thursday, March 20, 2008

Was Obama's Passport File an Inside Job By The Clinton Campaign?

Just one week ago, on March 13, Daniel Malloy reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
At 1:46 p.m. yesterday the e-mail arrived in reporters' inboxes from Sen. Barack Obama's campaign: "Obama Receives Endorsement of Flag Officers from Army, Navy and Air Force."

It touted a news conference earlier in the day at which 10 high-ranking former military officers had announced their support of Mr. Obama, an attempt to show the senator's strength on national security issues.

Exactly 24 minutes later, Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign returned the salvo with a missive of its own -- a list of 31 high-ranking former military officers who have pledged their support for Mrs. Clinton in the past. Two minutes after that, the campaign issued a memo with pointed questions for Mr. Obama on national security, including:

"As voters evaluate you as a potential Commander-in-Chief, do you think it's legitimate for people to be concerned that you have traveled to only one NATO country, on a brief stopover trip in 2005, and have never traveled to Latin America?"

Just another day in the e-mail crossfire.
How did the Clinton campaign know Barack Obama's travel history?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

His Imminent Eminence . . . .

. . . . Soon-to-be New York Governor, David Paterson
[Photo: Getty Images]

David Paterson just gave his first public address since Eliot Spitzer's resignation yesterday. He made noises about "getting back to work" and the budget, talked about being black and blind, indicated he wasn't planning any major changes to his predecessors more controversial policies, and became the first human being in government to express sympathy for Spitzer himself. "My heart goes out to Eliot Spitzer, his wife Silda, his daughters," he said. "I know what he's gone through this week. In my heart, I think he's suffered enough."

Paterson also displayed a rather awesome sense of humor. "Just so we don't have to go through this whole resignation thing again," one ballsy reporter asked, "have you ever patronized a prostitute?" Patterson thought for a minute. "Only the lobbyists," he said.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The George W. Bush Lieberry

The Chronicle of Higher Education asked readers to submit their designs for the George W. Bush Library:

Cast your vote for the best design.

Tensions Rise in South America: Where Do Clinton & Obama Weigh In?

Colombia will ask the International Criminal Court to try the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of supporting genocide. (Reuters: Jorge Silva)

Pepe Escobar at reports:

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports:
Venezuela has moved 10 army battalions to the border with Colombia, as diplomats struggle to defuse the regional crisis triggered by Colombia's cross-border attack in Ecuador last weekend.

The Organisation of American States says Colombia violated Ecuador's sovereignty in the raid and Colombia has said it will ask the International Criminal Court to try the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for genocide, claiming he is financing the rebels.

Ecuador has accused Colombia of violating its sovereignty when it raided the FARC's jungle camp - killing the rebel group's second-in-command, Raul Reyes.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe says the leftist governments of Venezuela and Ecuador provide support to the rebels and has now signalled he will seek to bring charges of supporting genocide against the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

"We are proposing to the International Criminal Court that President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela be denounced for the presumed crime of financing genocide.

"We have suffered 40 years of terrorism, and we can't accept that a country should be in solidarity and in complicity with terrorists."

But Ecuador's President Rafael Correa sees it differently.

"Here is a naked, irrefutable fact" he said.

"International law has been trampled upon; the letter to the Organisation of American States has been trampled upon; the fundamental respect that needs to exist for a sovereign country, a friend and a dear brother, has also been trampled upon"

Organisation of American States secretary Reinaldo Rodriguez Gallad says Correa is now being backed by the organisation, after an emergency meeting in Washington.

"We reaffirm the principle that a state's territory can't be violated and can't be the subject of military occupation, nor any other forceful measure taken by any other state, whatever the motive may be, even temporarily."

The United States was the only nation in the OAS to offer Colombia unqualified support.

Ecuador has since rejected a Colombian apology as insufficient and President Correa has mobilised thousands of Ecuadorian troops towards the border.

And the Colombian raid has also infuriated President Chavez, who has ordered his own tanks and troops to the border area.

President Chavez says he believes conflict with Colombia and its ally, the United States, is inevitable, but his country wants peace.

"Nothing and nobody will take us off the road to true peace," he said.

Dr Yvonne Corcoran-Nantes is a senior lecturer with the School of Political and International Studies at Flinders University and says Colombia has broken all the existing protocol.

"The co-existence and the solidarity that been developed over the last decade within South America has been really, really important and this has really broken all the protocols or many of them that have been sustained and supported over the last decade," she said.

Dr Corcoran-Nantes says there is little basis to Colombia's claims that Chavez is supporting the FARC rebels.

"International political positions, particularly those that support the United States will consistently blame Hugo Chavez for almost everything that goes on in Latin America that it doesn't like," she said.

"I don't think for one minute that Chavez is supporting in any substantive financial or materialistic way, FARC for example.

Dr Corcoran-Nantes says that the crisis will eventually pan out.

"I think that Columbia will come to a point when it will make some grudging apology," she said.

"But at the same time it will justify what it has done and whether that is acceptable or not remains to be seen.

"I don't believe, we are going to break out in all out war, unless pushed.

"The United States wouldn't want that, but I think it will make the relationship between Columbia and Ecuador and Columbia and Venezuela extremely fraught."

Meanwhile, border commerce between Venezuela and Colombia has already been disrupted as the tensions worsen.

What one Venezuelan citizen says perhaps best sums up the mood of the people there.

"Everybody is afraid of what could happen," he said.

"The truth is, as far as I'm concerned, this shouldn't be happening, how can we fight if we are brothers?"

Barack Obama's press release:
"The Colombian people have suffered for more than four decades at the hands of a brutal terrorist insurgency, and the Colombian government has every right to defend itself against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The recent targeted killing of a senior FARC leader must not be used as a pretense to ratchet up tensions or to threaten the stability of the region.

The presidents of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela have a responsibility to ensure that events not spiral out of control, and to peacefully address any disputes through active diplomacy with the help of international actors."
Hillary Clinton's statement:
“Hugo Chavez’s order yesterday to send ten battalions to the Colombian border is unwarranted and dangerous. The Colombian state has every right to defend itself against drug trafficking terrorist organizations that have kidnapped innocent civilians, including American citizens. By praising and supporting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Chavez is openly siding with terrorists that threaten Colombian democracy and the peace and security of the region. Rather than criticizing Colombia’s actions in combating terrorist groups in the border regions, Venezuela and Ecuador should work with their neighbor to ensure that their territories no longer serve as safe havens for terrorist groups. After reviewing this situation, I am hopeful that the government of Ecuador will determine that its interests lie in closer cooperation with Colombia on this issue. Hugo Chavez must call a halt to this provocative action. As president, I will work with our partners in the region and the OAS to support democracy, promote an end to conflict, and to press Chavez to change course.”