Sunday, August 24, 2008

Biden Confirmation Tainted By Family Legal Problems

On the day after the confirmation as Senator Joe Biden of Delaware as the Vice Presidential choice for presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama, his son and brother are reported to be named in lawsuits for allegations of fraud.
Hunter Biden, son of Senator Joe Biden, and the Senator's brother James, are named in a lawsuit involving fraud and millions of dollars that has been playing out in the New York Supreme Court since 2007, revolving around their involvement in the hedge fund industry during their involvement with Paradigm Companies LLC. A Washington lobbyist, the younger Biden served for a time as the Paradigm's president.

A lawsuit filed by their former partner Anthony Lotito Jr. asserts in court papers that the deal was crafted to get Hunter Biden out of lobbying because his father was concerned about the impact it would have on his bid for the White House. Biden was running for the Democratic nomination at the time the suit was filed.

Hunter Biden was made president with an annual salary of $1.2 million, despite his inexperience in the hedge fund industry, the lawsuit said. Before that, he had been part of the Washington law firm Oldaker, Biden & Belair, which earned $1.76 million in lobbying revenue in the first half of 2006, according to Congressional Quarterly's CQ MoneyLine. One of its biggest clients is the National Association of Shareholder and Consumer Attorneys, a District-based group representing law firms specializing in investment and corporate law.

The details of the case can be found in the article itself at the Washington Post site by following the above link. What is truly fascinating, and needs to be taken into consideration, is that this information was out there prior to the announcement of Joe Biden as Obama's running mate, a choice that was supposedly made after Biden had been fully vetted and confirmed as being viable for the position.

The vetting process is supposed to uncover this kind of thing and eliminate a potential candidate from position because of the possibility of bringing a scandal into a campaign. Obama's campaign has already seen enough scandal as it is, because, as has been said over and over, he's an unknown. And it seems there is a lot of effort being put in play to make sure that he's an unknown, considering that there are sealed documents regarding him at the University of Illinois, Chicago's Richard J. Daley Library, among other missing records.

We're not going to count this one as strike three for Obama yet for the past several days. This one can be considered a hard flying fowl ball into left field.

Biden, the vetted running mate. Makes you wonder how much effort was really put into the process, doesn't it?

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Russia Withdraws, Georgia Prepares for Refugee Flood

As Russian forces withdraw, finally, behind the buffer zone back into South Ossetia, Georgia prepares for a new crisis: the influx of thousands of refugees who had fled the area during the conflict returning to try and rebuild their lives after leaving.
Despite skepticism and in spite of still maintaining a presence in several key Georgian locations, Russian forces have finally begun to withdraw into territory in South Ossetia, as they said they would do by yesterday. This creates a new situation for Georgian authorities, that of masses of people displaced by fighting who now wish to return to their homes and attempt to resume their lives.

Georgia has deployed a “massive police presence” in and around the city of Gori to help guarantee security for returning residents in the wake of the Russian withdrawal on Friday evening, said Shota Utiashvili, a high-ranking Interior Ministry official.

At dusk on Friday, columns of armored personnel carriers and troop transports ferried most of the Russian forces in Georgia back to Kremlin-defined security zones in Abkhazia, a separatist enclave in Georgia’s west, and South Ossetia, the breakaway region where the war broke out two weeks ago.

On Saturday, Russian armored columns continued to flow over the Inguri River from the Georgian city of Zugdidi into Abkhazia, a local police spokesman said. The Russians have also left the Georgian military base in Senaki, but only after confiscating almost everything of value, including televisions, refrigerators and even toilets, according to local residents who have watched the steady stream of Russian trucks moving in and out of the base for more than a week.

Russian troops still maintain checkpoints and are entrenched in the Georgian cities of Poti, a port city on the Black Sea, and have several locations within Georgian territory along the border area of South Ossetia. Russia's Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the Russian military’s general staff, stated that the Russians would not "sit behind the fence and watch as they drive around in Hummers,” a reference to captured United States Marine Corps captured by Russian forces last week. Georgia and Western allies maintain that the Russians are in violation of earlier agreements and demand a Russian return to their prewar positions. Russia, meanwhile, intends to announce it's recognition of two separatist enclaves, which creates an even more murky diplomatic and political situation in the region.

Currently some 112,000 refugees have been registered by the Georgian government, with estimates being that there are possibly closer to 200,000 in total. Refugees who are moving back into areas still held by Russian forces are cautiously optimistic that the conflict has begun to come to an end. Housing for refugees has not been an easy task to undertake. Many refugees have been forced to seek housing in dilapidated buildings that have been far from capable of handling the large numbers of people flooding into them; in one case, a shelter housing around 1,700 refugees shared a single, rigged up water faucet and two toilets.

As Russia withdraws, even to the point that they have and are withdrawing, the main concern now for the people of the nation of Georgia is certain: for Georgians to return to any semblence of their former lives is going to be a slow, hard process. Especially if they're keeping a watch out for bears wandering the countryside.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Friday, August 22, 2008

Forming Ranks, as Veterans Solidly Backing McCain Over Obama

It's been an ongoing battle between McCain and Obama in the attempt to win the hearts and minds of the American Veteran vote in recent weeks. An August 19th Gallup Poll shows which candidate leads among voters, and by how wide of a margin.
According to Gallup, American veterans, after recent addresses by both McCain and Obama to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, registered voting veterans are more solidly in support of McCain than his prospective Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, and the margin of separation between the candidates is telling.

With both presidential candidates addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention this week (John McCain on Monday and Barack Obama on Tuesday), Gallup finds that registered voters who have served in the U.S. military solidly back McCain over Obama, 56% to 34%.

This is based on aggregated data from Aug. 5-17 Gallup Poll Daily tracking, involving interviews with more than 11,000 registered voters, including 2,238 military veterans. Veterans are defined as those who are or have been members of the U.S. military. Obama leads McCain 46% to 43% among all registered voters during this time.

A 22% difference between McCain and Obama among polled veterans, and only a 3% lead by Obama nationally according to Gallup, which is a slip in the polls for Obama since his initial emergence as the likely nominee of the Democratic party.

Perhaps it is telling that veterans prefer McCain, a fellow veteran, to become the next Commander-in-Chief of the United States armed forces, over Obama, who has no military experience whatsoever. Leadership experience, especially actual combat leadership experience, is critical to understanding and analyzing information in times of crisis; this is experience that McCain has and Obama does not.

Still, there does seem to be a trend among veterans to vote Republican rather than Democrat, as shown in the final Gallup Poll results of the 2004 elections, in which President Bush lead opponent Senator John Kerry 55% to 39%. Nationally, veterans tend to be more along the lines of 47% Republican, 39% Democrat, as compared to the rest of the nation, which according to Gallup tends to run 48% Democrat to 37% Republican.

With the veteran vote secured, the uncommitted voters are the essential battleground for McCain and Obama. With a slipping lead that is now down to 3 points over McCain, Obama may very well be discovering how having a retired veteran fighter pilot on his tail is not a to his advantage.

I know this American Fighting Man is voting for him...


So You're an Evangelical Christian Supporting Obama...

For evangelical Christians, the issue of abortion is a hot topic, especially in regards to politics. Knowing a candidate's record on the issue can be either supportive or damning for the candidate when they try to move from one level of office to another.
There is an ongoing debate about when life begins. For some, there is no question that life begins at conception; for others, life begins at birth, and for others still, life begins somewhere in between. So what about a baby that has been through the abortion procedure and was able to survive outside the womb? Can there be any doubt that once a breathing, pulse bearing infant is out in the air that it's alive? If you're Senator Barack Obama, there is obviously some question to that state.

Looking back over Obama's record, there is one significant case that comes to bear from his days in the Illinois state senate, such a long, long time ago (2002), and his challenging of a bill that would protect the lives of infants who had survived the abortion procedure, called the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. The legislation was created after Illinois nurse Jill Stanek had held a baby for 45 minutes that had been left to die after surviving a late term abortion procedure, and her subsequent reporting of the incident to the Illinois Department of Human Services, who determined that no laws had been broken in the incident (see her commentary here).

What is disturbing about all of this in the case of Senator Obama is his stand on the issue, as shown in statements made while challenging the passage of this legislation in the Illinois Senate.

So — and again, I’m — I’m not going to prolong this, but I just want to be clear because I think this was the source of the objections of the Medical Society. As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child — however way you want to describe it — is now outside the mother’s womb and the doctor continues to think that it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. Is that correct?

"Not coming out limp and dead?" Would "limp and dead" not imply that there had been life to begin with? Apparently the Senator from Illinois believes that it is more important to protect the physician performing the abortion than the life of the child, it would seem. Is this a position that Christians, evangelical or otherwise, are willing to support and promote out of a candidate?

Personal note: I'm sure that there are going to be those who come out with the tired old "separation of church and state argument" on this issue. Let me make one clear little reminder before that is bandied about on here: there is absolutely no wording in the United States Constitution that proclaims such a thing. The Constitution clearly states that there shall be no laws enacted that protect or promote any one religion as being a state institution.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Who can it be now? Evidently it won't be Hillary Clinton...

She gave him a derby-esque run for the roses during the primaries, hanging on as long as she could before conceding, and then offered her support for his campaign as she suspended hers. Now it seems the final snub of Hillary Clinton is being readied.
It's one of the most anticipated announcements of the year. The announcement of the running mate for likely Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Over the past few weeks, names have been bandied about across the country as analysts and pundits have speculated on who the candidate for Vice-President of the United States will be, but one thing seems clear: it won't be Hillary Clinton.

There are so many, many reasons that Clinton is the obvious choice for Obama to pick as his running mate. A master politician in her own right, Clinton was the ultimate insider during the administration of a former President, having been First Lady to husband Bill during his own terms in the White House. She's connected, she's definitely been vetted as a candidate, and she has a huge following among Democratic voters, which gave her the wherewithal to run such a tight race against Obama in the primaries to begin with. With Hillary as Vice President, Obama would have the potential for a more intimate relationship with former President Bill Clinton.

And yet she hasn't even been vetted as a potential running mate by team Obama.

Obama has often said, most recently on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on July 27, that Clinton “would be on anybody’s short list.”

But apparently not his.

“She was never vetted,” a Democratic official reported. “She was not asked for a single piece of paper. She and Senator Obama have never had a single conversation about it. How would he know if she’d take it?”

The official also said Clinton never met with Obama’s vetting team of Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy.

Perhaps it's no wonder that a Clinton supporters are outraged at the DNC for playing such an active role in the rocket rise of a candidate that no one had heard of nationally two years ago. The Democratic party is in such disarray that the upcoming Democratic National Convention slated for next week in Denver is already a media and public relations circus, with local law enforcement officials clearing room in the local lock-ups to handle a large number of out of hand protesters, should the need arise. And given the punitive measures placed against Florida and Michigan for their holding primaries ahead of the approved Democratic National Party schedule having possibly been the determining factor in Clinton's failed bid for the nomination, there is little doubt as to why she would be a less than whole-hearted supporter of Obama in rallies across the nation, as mentioned by one Democrat campaign worker noted after a rally in Boca Raton, Florida.

Minutes after pushing through the rope line to thank Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for “all that you do,” Robin Shaffer said she was worried. She feared that the senator she respected and admired for being tough and experienced had not done all that she could to unify Florida’s fractured Democratic Party while campaigning here on Thursday for her former opponent.

“It was good that she said my supporters need to now support Barack Obama,” said Ms. Shaffer, 46, reflecting on Mrs. Clinton’s speech before about 700 people. But, she added, “I wanted her to repeat that one more time.”

Many who had supported Mrs. Clinton’s run for president shared Ms. Shaffer’s opinion. Democrats who said they had recently accepted that Mr. Obama, of Illinois, would be the Democratic presidential nominee greeted Mrs. Clinton’s 30-minute speech — her first rally in Florida on his behalf — with warmth but also demands for more.

The reasons for Hillary Clinton not being selected for the Vice Presidential position can and will be speculated over for some time to come, as well as the "what-if" factor had she been chosen for the spot and Obama winds up losing to McCain in the November race. The presence of unhappy Clinton supporters in Denver also shows a severe lack of the purported party unity that the Obama camp keeps harping to the media, lending itself to a potential black eye for the convention before it even has a chance to begin.

Party of unity? Don't bet on it.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Obama Swings, Misses, Strike Two...

In another stunning example of inexperience in running for office at the national level, Barack Obama has gone after John McCain over how many houses McCain owns, only to hear the swishing sound of air as McCain's Rezko fastball gets by him.
Maybe Obama should stick to playing basketball.

In an attempt to show how that John McCain is "out of touch" rich, Obama released an ad today in which he proclaimed that McCain doesn't even know how many houses he owns. Once again, leaving himself wide open for a counter-attack, Obama shows that his inexperience is not only in international affairs and domestic policy, but in political wrangling, as well. His own dealings with Tony Rezko have left Obama a vulnerable place for a McCain counter-attack, which McCain had no qualms in making sure was put out for public consumption before the end of the day.

Perhaps we can see Obama go after McCain on something else he is vulnerable on. Religion, perhaps, or military service. Or possibly even financial investing, since he doesn't seem to be aware that there are some who invest in real estate, not necessarily to live in, as is obviously the case with the McCain's, but rather as an investment, along with other investments, such as stocks and bonds.

This is the kind of knowledge and experience we need in the White House? That would be change, all right, and it would definitely give us all a reason to hope, as in, "I hope that we can survive three more years of this moron that we've elected..."

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Report States Third WTC Tower Fell Due to Fire

The official report on 7 WTC is complete, but it's sure not to set well with conspiracy theorists who are no doubt going to cry "cover-up" when the news becomes more widely known. The third tower collapse on Sept 11, 2001, was caused by fire.
Rosie O'Donald is sure to come out claiming that it is all part of a cover-up. Others will undoubtedly claim that the report is further evidence of a conspiracy on the part of the Bush administration to cover their tracks in having been behind the attacks of 9-11. The fact remains, however, that the official report on the collapse of 7 World Trade Center states that the third building fell as a result of structural failure caused by fire, not by bombs or incendiary devices positioned to bring it down after the planes were flown into the twin towers.

Fires in the 47-story office tower at the edge of the World Trade Center site undermined floor beams and critical structural columns, federal investigators concluded Thursday, as they attempted to curb still-rampant speculation that explosives or fuel fires were responsible for the building’s collapse of Sept. 11, 2001.

The long-delayed report by engineers here at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in suburban Washington is intended to solve one of still lingering central questions about the 2001 attacks: Why did 7 World Trade Center fall, if it was not hit by an airplane.

“Heating of floor beams and girders caused a critical support column to fail,” said Shyam Sunder, the lead investigator. “Video and photographic evidence combined with detailed computer simulations show that neither explosives nor fuel oils played a role in the collapse that brought the building down.”

Fire, as pretty much any firefighter will tell you, is considered by those in the fire service to be a living entity. It consumes, and when fed, it grows; it is created, and it dies. The more it consumes, the larger it becomes, the larger it becomes, the hotter and faster it burns, affecting even the materials in it's path that it can not consume.

To say that there is any substance that can't be consumed, ultimately, by fire, is a misconception. The very earth that the iron and other metals that are used in making steel are the result of the life cycle of the planet: the earth's core is not a solid mass, but a molten, churning mixture of elements that are constantly being consumed and reintroduced into the upper levels of the interior of the planet. Everything that exists on planet earth was initially forged by the fires of the core of the planet. Metals are purified, shaped, and formed of fire, as it requires heat make solid construction grade metal malleable for working. And, regardless of Ms. O'Donald's uninformed opinion as expressed some time back on The View, steel girders can be heated to the point at which they will fail.

Perhaps if the water main had not been broken and the fire suppression system had been able to work in 7 World Trade Center, the building would not have collapsed some seven hours after the collapse of the twin towers. At this point, that can only be a matter of speculation. The fact is, however, after years of research and study into the cause of it's collapse, the determination has been made, and the official report has been filed. All that remains now is for the conspiracy theorists to once again begin tossing wild theories and explanations.

For my 343 brothers and sisters who gave all. May God give you rest.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Russia Announces Pullout Date - What, Again?

Russia has announced a "firm" date for withdrawing it's troops from central Georgia back into an area behind a "buffer zone" in South Ossetia. Hasn't the world been assured of a Russian pullout before?
Russia has announced that it will begin withdrawing troops from Georgia back into South Ossetia behind a buffer zone where Georgian forces will not be allowed by late Friday, according to reports coming out of Moscow. The announcement comes from General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy head of Russia's General Staff, who made the announcement at a Moscow news conference, stating that Russia will observe a 1992 peacekeeping agreement between Russia and Georgia. He further stated that Georgia had violated the terms of the agreement by withdrawing their own peacekeepers and sending them toward the regional capital, Tskhinvali, thus negating their right to engage in peacekeeping operations within the region.

Georgian officials say that Russia is the aggressor, and may not be considered a peacekeeper itself. Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili told VOA that the buffer zone around South Ossetia is ill-defined and that Russia is "playing games" with the facts.

Utiashvili says Russian officials show journalists one thing during the day, and return their forces at night. He claims that the number of checkpoints and amount of territory held by Russian forces are not decreasing.

Given the previous announcements of cease-fire orders and troop withdrawals by Moscow, it's a reasonable understanding why Georgian officials are skeptical that Russia will withdraw it's troops at this point. Georgia isn't alone in doubting Russia, as negotiations between Russia and NATO reached a near total breakdown yesterday, with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice harshly criticizing Russia for it's actions in Georgia.

U.S. Secretary of State led the charge against Russia, beginning with sharply-worded statements to journalists on the plane over to Brussels. At the meeting, Rice also spoke of Russia’s increasing aviation presence in near Alaska. “It is not cost free,” Rice commented. “This is a very dangerous game, and perhaps one the Russians might want to reconsider.” Moscow responded to that statement through Deputy Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Nogovitsyn yesterday. “That is a Russian issue,” Nogovitsyn said. “The decision on those flights was made by the supreme commander. Strategic aviation will no longer remain laid up. There is nothing criminal about it. We’ve been flying there for half a year already.”

Sources in Western diplomatic circles say the NATO session was tense. The United States, some of the Scandinavian countries and the vast majority of Eastern European countries were in favor of taking a hard line against Russian actions and quickly providing Georgia with a membership action plan. Western European diplomats, in particular French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, opposed a harsh position. The final statement from the four-hour-long session was a compromise.

For now, the world can only wait, watching to see if Russia will, this time, follow through with it's word to withdraw troops back at least into South Ossetia. From there, the future remains uncertain. One thing that is certain, as the situation in Georgia begins to, hopefully, wind down, Russia has certainly shown exactly how much her current government can be trusted by the rest of the world.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obama and McCain take off the gloves

In a case of making an attempted uppercut to McCain, team Obama has released a new ad linking the Republican to high level wrong-doing in his past. Perhaps the Obama people should have realized that their own chickens would come home to roost, as well.
The Obama campaign has a new political ad out today linking John McCain to Jack Abramoff, alleging corruption and conspiracy on the part of Obama during the entire Abramoff situation, a situation in which McCain had very little, if any actual, involvement in the entire scandal other than possession of an email communication, protecting Alabama Governor Bob Riley. Hardly, in the grand scheme of things, as controversial and damning as some of the things in Obama's past, as McCain is more than willing to point out in response to the Obama ad:

Barack Obama’s ad is ridiculous. Because of John McCain, corruption was exposed and people like Jack Abramoff went to jail. “However, if Barack Obama wants to have a discussion about truly questionable associations, let’s start with his relationship with the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, at whose home Obama’s political career was reportedly launched. Mr. Ayers was a leader of the Weather Underground, a terrorist group responsible for countless bombings against targets including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and numerous police stations, courthouses and banks. In recent years, Mr. Ayers has stated, ‘I don’t regret setting bombs … I feel we didn’t do enough.’

“The question now is, will Barack Obama immediately call on the University of Illinois to release all of the records they are currently withholding to shed further light on Senator Obama’s relationship with this unrepentant terrorist?” —McCain spokesman Brian Rogers

The records surrounding the relationship of Obama and Ayers are currently housed at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and are not accessible for public viewing, as journalist Stanley Kurtz discovered earlier this month, despite his having been promised access to the files.

Is Obama hiding things that he, and his supporters, would rather not be seen by the public eye? If so, they're certainly not doing an impressive job in covering their tracks. Rather than moving in a way that doesn't attract attention, Obama and his cronies have a history and record of making major errors in regards to public appearances, leaving themselves wide open to scrutiny and speculation.

For Obama to have gone after McCain on Abramoff, while having so many questions concerning his own relationship with Ayers under such scrutiny, Obama has shown a very significant lack of skill in maneuvering in the arena of national politics.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


The 2008 Denver DNC: Rise of the Machines?

Denver is in full swing as preparations are being made for the upcoming Democratic National Convention, an event that promises to have all the drama and intrigue of Terminator, Othello and Macbeth rolled into one neat package.
The question "Is it dead, yet?" seems to be floating around Democratic circles in regards to the Hillary Clinton campaign. With grass roots organizations such as PUMA and others around, it seems that there is still life in the Clinton machine, something that creates a very dangerous political situation for the presumed nominee for the DNC, Barrack Obama.

History has shown time and again that you can't turn your back on the Clinton machine, nor can you count it out of the game until the game is officially over and team Clinton has been left on the sidelines watching someone else sprint to victory. Thus seems to be the case for the Denver convention, as there is discussion of a brewing coup being planned by Clinton supporters that will take place on the floor of the convention.

As of July 31, the Democratic National Convention was still in need of one-fourth of the estimated cost of the Denver convention – amounting to 10 million of the $40 million.

Moreover, Washington Examiner political columnist Tony Campbell explains in detail why this national convention could be absolutely explosive:

"I talked to a Clinton delegate here in Maryland. He told me they have been instructed to vote for Hillary (for president) on the first ballot. To make things more interesting, there is a movement to swing 160 delegates from Obama to Clinton. If that happens, Clinton could re-establish her campaign and face John McCain in the fall."

And further:

"The group P.U.M.A. (for Public Unity My A--) claims that 15 delegates have switched from Obama to Clinton in July. There is still the possibility of a floor convention vote to fully seat the delegations from Michigan and Florida – which would benefit Senator Clinton.

Given the mood and atmosphere surrounding the Clinton "defeat" by Obama in the primaries, in which both Florida and Michigan were stripped of their delegates initially, the issues surrounding Obama both in his relationships with controversial figures and the funding he's been receiving from Middle Eastern backers, the relentless work by Hillary supporters in trying to make sure that the message is clearly delivered that they are NOT happy with the Democratic National Party for what they see as having lauded Obama by virtue of race over substance, the new allegations that Obama is "selling" tickets to his planned and potential acceptance speech, among other issues, the party is clearly not moving forward in a united front toward the November elections. Clinton supporters, to be sure, are anything but fully behind the potential nomination of Obama:

A massive e-mail and Internet campaign is under way aimed at derailing the nomination of Barack Obama and making Hillary Clinton the party’s standard bearer next week at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

“It’s downright nasty,” said Memphis, Tenn., superdelegate and city council member Myron Lowery, who has shared dozens of the messages he’s received with The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal newspaper.

“I think it’s divisive for the ‘Support Hillary’ campaign to continue at this time. She made the decision to fully support Mr. Obama,” said Lowery, who initially supported Clinton but later switched his allegiance to Obama. “I don’t know why they’re not taking their cue from Hillary and falling in line.”

But is that really the cue that Hillary is sending forth? Lowery thinks so, but with statements made by the Senator from New York and former First Lady to the effect that her supporters should be heard at the convention, is she truly putting one hundred percent effort behind Obama? Given the "terminatrix" image that some pundits have created around Hillary, I somehow can't imagine her standing over Obama and saying "Come with me if you want to live." I think, personally, she would be more inclined to use the "I'll be back" line made famous during the FIRST movie. This concept becomes more apparent with the news that Senator Clinton's brother and chief campaign backers have met with McCain a top McCain surrogate in Phoenix, Arizona, raising speculations as to what sort of topics where discussed and where the Clinton support will truly rest come the conclusion of the convention.

With the Democratic National Convention less than a week away, the gathering raises questions about the support Illinois Sen. Barack Obama can expect from former local supporters of Mrs. Clinton, who dominated at the polls in the Northeast in the April primary election. Mrs. Clinton won 74 percent of Lackawanna County Democrats to Mr. Obama’s 26 percent.

Ms. Fiorina’s daylong local visit, part of a two-day bus tour of the state, was aimed at talking disenchanted former supporters of Mrs. Clinton into supporting Mr. McCain. The private gathering was not a fundraiser.

“I think there’s going to be a groundswell of support for McCain,” said Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola, a Republican and one of the people who attended. “I think a lot of Hillary supporters are going to be for McCain.”

Neither the Obama camp nor members of team Clinton have been available for comment, and Obama, once enjoying a more comfortable lead in the polls, has recently seen that lead slipping as McCain, a former fighter pilot, has begun to come in on him from behind, a position the Senator from Arizona has stated in the past that he feels very comfortable being in.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


More 'Weather' Challenges for Obama

The story that isn't a story just won't go away for Barack Obama. His connection with Weather Underground Pentagon bomber cum professor William Ayers has never been fully explained, and if files pertinent to their relationship remain sealed, it may not.
Stanley Kurtz is an unhappy camper. And he's unhappy because he's been denied access to files that may fill in the blanks surrounding the relationship between Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama in his association with a known terrorist, William Ayers.

According to Obama and Ayers, there is simply no story. They both sat on a foundation together, they've had passing acquaintance through the years, but there is no "relationship." If that's the case, then why are there files relating to the Obama and Ayers connection that are not viewable at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois, Chicago? That's what Kurtz wants to know in his article in National Review, detailing his pursuit of a story that supposedly "isn't there," but very much seems to be, in that there is such large evidence of a cover-up going on surrounding the relationship between Obama and Ayers.

Unfortunately, I don’t yet have access to the documents. The Special Collections section of the Richard J. Daley Library agreed to let me read them, but just before I boarded my flight to Chicago, the top library officials mysteriously intervened to bar access. Circumstances strongly suggest the likelihood that Bill Ayers himself may have played a pivotal role in this denial. Ayers has long taught at UIC, where the Chicago Annenberg Challenge offices were housed, rent-free. Ayers likely arranged for the files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge to be housed in the UIC library, and may well have been consulted during my unsuccessful struggle to gain access to the documents. Let me, then, explain in greater detail what the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) records are, and how I have been blocked from seeing them.

Is there something that the Obama campaign is afraid of the American people seeing? Is there something there that Ayers doesn't want uncovered? What, exactly, is in these files that is such a secret that access to them is being treated with the same scrutiny as official classified governmental documents? It should be noted that these files are being housed at a library, a place that is, by definition, a repository of information that is made available to the public. The government is not in possession of these files.

So why the secrecy, unless there is something in there that someone doesn't want to be made public?

Kurtz plans to continue his endeavors for access to these documents. I wish him well, and hope that he can gain access to them. I won't discount, however, the possibility that by the time he is allowed access that there will be things that have been removed, after all of the hooplah surrounding his initial probe into this story.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain to Announce VP: Who Says Timing Isn't Everything?

What's the best birthday present John McCain could give himself this year? The media blitz that will accompany his announcement of his running mate overshadowing the Democratic Convention and the nomination of Obama.
It's been one of the most anticipated and speculated upon decisions on the minds of both Democrats and Republicans. Who will be the running mates?

It is very likely Obama will announce his decision during the Democratic convention in Denver, an event that is already promising to be a media circus with the expectations of protests BY groups that claim to carry the Democrat mantle.

In a strategic move slated for August 29, McCain's birthday, the likely Republican candidate is expected to announce his choice for a running mate for the November general election in the key battleground state of Ohio.

The campaign has begun building a crowd of 10,000 for Dayton, Ohio, according to an organizer. McCain is scheduled to appear with his running mate at a large-scale event in Pennsylvania shortly thereafter.

Senior Republicans are in the dark about who he’ll name, although they say former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are prime contenders after a trial balloon by McCain gave him very negative feedback about the idea of picking an abortion-rights running mate such as Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and the first secretary of homeland security.

Another speculative prospect has been Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn), which would have been the first time in history since the candidacy of Abraham Lincoln, whose vice-Presidential choice was Andrew Johnson (D-Tenn) to have seen a vice-Presidential candidate not of the same party as the Presidential nominee.

As of now, the announcement is slated for 29 August, although McCain, who has been playing a very close hand concerning his choice of running mate, has stated that he may make his announcement sooner than that.

UPDATE: According to Drudge, Obama appears to be close to announcing his running mate, as well.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Georgia On My Mind...

For days on end the world has had it's attention torn in several directions. With the U.S. Presidential race entering the convention phase, the controversies surrounding the Olympics in Beijing, the Middle East, and now Russia and Georgia?
If you asked the average American on June 27, 1914, who Archduke Franz Ferdinand was, the vast majority would have looked at you and said "never heard of him. Indeed, almost a full century later, if you mention Franz Ferdinand you're likely to bring to mind the rock group from Glasgow, Scotland, who's hit song "Take Me Out" was featured in commercials for the Sony PSP.

On June 28, 1914, Europe began it's decline into a state of continental war that would become, at the end, the most costly and devastating war to ever face the world. Even with the American entrance into the conflict in 1918, many Americans weren't sure why the U.S. was involving itself in a European conflict. And a great many Americans still weren't exactly sure what had started the war to begin with.

It's a century later, nearly, and until a few days ago, the vast majority of Americans really didn't have a clue that there was a problem in the former Soviet satellite nation of Georgia, let alone having any knowledge of a region known as South Ossetia. Yet once again the less well known regions of Europe have engaged the attention of the world as they become an object of turmoil and strife. The reason? South Ossetia has been seeking to break away from Georgia, as a large percentage of the population of the region are ethnic Russians, and wish for closer ties to Moscow than to Tbilisi. Or at least, that's what the Russians claim.

To some in the west, Russia has proven itself, at the governmental level, not to be trusted at their word. With the claims of having given cease-fire orders to their forces that rolled into the region on the one hand, and the first-hand accounts of Russian armor rolling into flanking positions around key Georgian cities, the bombing of the infrastructure (communication facilities and the like), and the sinking of Georgian ships by Russian warships, one can only speculate as to the long term goal of the Russian government. Georgia was, after all, one of the nations that made up the former Soviet Union, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was a member at one time of the KGB's "Fifth Directorate," which focused on political dissenters against Soviet policy, as well as having worked in the KGB's foreign intelligence divisions. Relevant? Perhaps not, unless one looks at the documented history of the practice of disinformation practiced by the KGB and Soviet Union throughout the years. To be fair, the United States and other western nations have practiced this method through the years, as well, but in this case it is Russia that is claiming non aggression at the governmental level while Russian troops have been occupying Georgian sovereign soil.

There will be, and probably are already, those who shrug their shoulders and proclaim, "It's no different from the United States invading Iraq and Afghanistan." In the case of the United States in regards to both Afghanistan and Iraq, there was evidence that has been documented and gone over ad nauseum to show terrorist activities being sponsored by or supported by both countries. Ethnic Russians living in the nation of Georgia are citizens of Georgia, not mother Russia, and the conflict that was brewing between South Ossetia and Tbilisi was an internal matter, not something for Russia to become, legally, involved in, which leads to the question; is the world witnessing the awakening of the Russian bear after a period of hibernation?

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man