Sunday, April 20, 2008

Transcript: John McCain on This Week 4-20-08

Does McCain really believe we are better off now than we were 8 years? Or does he really believe the American people are that stupid? We'll find out in November. (Read the entire transcript):

STEPHANOPOULOS: And on Friday, you conceded that Americans are
not better off than they were eight years ago, but the Democrats are
launching an ad campaign this week where they’re going to try to pin
some comments you made during the primary. Take a look.

MCCAIN: I think you could argue that Americans overall are
better off because we have had a pretty good, prosperous time, with
low unemployment, low inflation. A lot of good things have happened,
a lot of jobs have been created. I think we are better off overall.

UNKNOWN: Do you feel better off?


STEPHANOPOULOS: The theme is going to be, and you know it,
you’re out of touch, you just don’t get it. How do you respond?

MCCAIN: Well, I have an economic plan. It’s good. It’s strong.
Things have gotten worse in the last several months, as we all know,
in our economy. Americans are struggling. American families are
sitting around the kitchen table today trying to figure out how
they’re going to keep their home, keep their job. Times are very,
very tough. And the worst thing you can do, the worst thing you can
do is raise taxes. Both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama want to
raise taxes. That’s out of touch. That’s out of touch.

He has to criticize Bush somewhat if McCain is going to win in the Fall:
STEPHANOPOULOS: But we’re not going to have a balanced budget
before you leave office in your first term?

MCCAIN: Well, that still should be a goal, but the goal — the
goal right now is to get the economy going again.

Here’s $100 billion right here for you, George. Two years in a
row, last two years, the president of the United States has signed in
a law, two big-spending, pork-barrel-laden bills worth $35 billion.
That increases the budget, the baseline of the budget. In the years
before that, $65 billion. You do away with those, there’s $100
billion right there, before you look at any agency of government.

How are you going to balance the budget, John:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about that, though. You claim…

MCCAIN: There’s hundreds of billions that can be saved, and
Americans know that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you only claim $60 billion a year from your
earmark reforms. Every other…

MCCAIN: It will be $100 billion when you look at $35 billion in
the last two years and $65 billion in the years before that, and…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But sir, let me finish the point…

MCCAIN: OK, sure.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Every other estimate I’ve seen says that the
earmarks are about $18 or $20 billion a year. To get to the $60
you’re talking about — that includes an earmark like the aid to
Israel, $2 billion a year, $1 billion a year for military housing.
You’re not going to cut those.

MCCAIN: I’m going to cut at least that — look…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you cutting aid to Israel?

MCCAIN: Of course not. I’m not cutting…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you cutting military housing?

MCCAIN: No, of course not. I am cutting billions and billions
out of defense spending which are not earmarks. The $400 million ship
that they had to scrap that was supposed to cost $140 million. The
$30 billion, I believe it is, add-on for a system in the Army that’s
going up $30 billion and we still haven’t got any result from it. The
$50 million contract to some buddy of Air Force generals. I mean,
there are so many billions out there just in defense…

STEPHANOPOULOS: To hit your number, you say $160 billion in
discretionary spending. The entire non-defense discretionary budget
is $500 billion a year. That means you’re talking about a 30 percent
cut in every program. Education, veterans benefits…

MCCAIN: I’m talking about looking at every institution of

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you’re prepared to (inaudible)?

MCCAIN: I’m talking about changing the way we do business in

STEPHANOPOULOS: But are you prepared to cut 30 percent?

MCCAIN: I am here (ph) to cut hundreds of billions of dollars
out of wasteful and unnecessary spending in America, whether they be
ethanol subsidies, whether they be sugar price supports, whether they
be payments to the wealthiest farmers, whether they be the loopholes
that are out there worth I don’t know how many billions and billions
of dollars.

I guess my critics — and frankly from the tone of your question,
from the tone of your questions — think we’re going to do business as
usual in Washington. We’re not.


MCCAIN: I’m their worst nightmare. I’m their worst nightmare, my friend.

NY Times: Bush using Pentagon to Spread Propaganda

Spreading disinformation is keeping with a the Fascist administration:

Many U.S. military analysts used as commentators on Iraq by television networks have been groomed by the Pentagon, leaving some feeling they were manipulated to report favorably on the Bush administration, The New York Times said in Sunday editions.

A Times report examining ties between the Bush administration and former senior officers who acted as paid TV analysts said they got private briefings, trips and access to classified intelligence meant to influence their comments.

"Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks," the newspaper said.

The Pentagon defended its work with the analysts, saying they were given only accurate information.

Ties to military contractors
Many of the commentators also have ties to military contractors who are vested in U.S. war efforts, but those business links are seldom disclosed to viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks on which they appear, the newspaper said.

President George W. Bush has been engaged in a long struggle to halt a drain in public support for the Iraq war, in which more than 4,000 American soldiers have died, and to boost support for his post September 11 war against terrorism.

One case cited by the Times was in the summer of 2005, when accusations were rife over human rights violations at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba, where foreign terrorism suspects are held.

The Times said administration communications officials flew a group of retired military officers to the camp on a jet normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney to give their side of the case. Many in the group have subsequently appeared as commentators on the TV networks.

The Times quoted Robert Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, as saying, "It was them (the Bush administration) saying, 'We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.'"

Kenneth Allard, a former NBC military analyst who taught information warfare at the National Defense University, told the Times the campaign amounted to a "coherent, active," sophisticated information operation.

As the situation in Iraq deteriorated, he saw a gap between what analysts were told in private briefings and what subsequently was revealed in inquiries and books.

"Night and day," he told the Times. "I felt we'd been hosed."

Some analysts said they had suppressed doubts about the situation in Iraq for fear of jeopardizing their access.

I imagine part of that disinformation is the lie that the Iraq war is turning in our favor:
Twelve people died in overnight clashes in Baghdad's Sadr City district, which has become a chief battleground between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the Mahdi Army of hard-line cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, police and hospital officials said Saturday.

[...]Security forces in the area also have come under repeated attack by militants trying to prevent the construction of a concrete wall through the district.

The wall — a concrete barrier of varying height up to about 12 feet — is being built along a main street dividing the southern portion of Sadr City from the northern, where Mahdi Army fighters are concentrated.

American commanders hope that construction of the Sadr City wall, which began Tuesday, will hamper their ability to fire rockets and mortars at the Green Zone, the central Baghdad district where government offices and the U.S. Embassy are located.

Mass desertions
The zone has been regularly shelled since the Iraqi military launched an operation against Shiite militias in Basra on March 25. That operation quickly stalled amid fierce resistance from the militants and mass desertions from the security forces.

[...]The near-daily clashes in Sadr City since then have fueled worries over a total breakdown of a truce called last year by al-Sadr, with fears of wider violence.

Hillary Clinton's Friends Abandon Her

Time to abandon ship. This from the NY Times:

It is a question many in the Clinton camp are asking these days, sometimes in conversations far less civil than that one. After nearly two decades building relationships with a generation of Democrats, Mrs. Clinton has recently suffered a steady erosion of support for her presidential campaign from the party stalwarts who once formed the basis of her perceived juggernaut of “inevitability.”

Some of it is just business, practical politicians putting aside ties to the Clintons to follow the will of the voters in their states or making a calculation about who seems best positioned to win.

The immediate fallout, with the Pennsylvania primary only two days away, is electoral. Mrs. Clinton has been losing potential endorsers and superdelegate backing from grass-roots activists like Mrs. Larson as well as elected officials, party luminaries and former Clinton White House aides (the most recent being former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who endorsed Mr. Obama on Friday). It is the constituency that provided Mrs. Clinton with an early lead among superdelegates, one she retains although by a narrowing margin.

But there is something more wrenching at work as well, a reckoning of whether the Clintons, on balance, have been good or bad for the party. It has the feel of a very personal testing of loyalties to a former president who once always seemed to be adding to the “Friends of Bill” list, and to a sitting senator who, if not so driven as her husband to win over everyone, used her fame to help elect other Democrats.

But one person’s “disloyalty” is, to another set of eyes, well-deserved “comeuppance.” And there is no shortage of powerful Democrats who are quick to accuse the Clintons of defining loyalty as a one-way street, with little regard for the sacrifices they have made for a couple whose own political needs seem to their critics always to come first.

This tension was neatly distilled in a heated conversation in January between a prominent Clinton supporter and Cameron Kerry, the younger brother of Senator John Kerry, who had just endorsed Mr. Obama.

In the telling of two Democrats familiar with the discussion, one from each camp, the Clinton supporter, a Democratic fund-raiser with close ties to both Mrs. Clinton and John Kerry, noted that Bill Clinton campaigned for Mr. Kerry in 2004, even though the former president had just undergone bypass surgery.

To which Cameron Kerry parried that his brother had agreed to fly with Mr. Clinton on Air Force One after the impeachment vote “when no one wanted to be seen with him.”