Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Transcript: John McCain Interview with CBS' Katie Couric

Read the full transcript here. Update: This interview was done in early July. To Read the interview from 7-22-08 go here.

Do you need further proof that McCain, if elected, would bomb Iran.

Couric: Would you discourage Israel if their leadership came to you as president and said, we're going to strike Iran's nuclear sites?

McCain: I can’t get into that kind of hypothetical, but the Iranians are testing these missiles not because of reaction because of the Israelis in my view. This is part of a calculated plan, developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. And nations led by all of European friends as well as other countries, we have to impose meaningful, tough, effective sanctions on the Iranians to modify their behavior. We cannot never allow a second holocaust.

Couric: Do you get a sense, Sen. McCain, that an attack by Israel on Iran is imminent?

McCain:I have no idea. I know this: that Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons in violation of various treaties and their own commitments and we need to do everything we can to modify that behavior in the form of very tough economic and other sanctions. Their economy is not strong because of their lousy government.

Couric: What do you think that should be done right now that isn't being done, Senator, in that department?

McCain: Impose tough sanctions. There are European financial institutions that are extending unlimited lines of credit to the Iranians. Shut all of that down. Make things very very tough economically on the Iranians and trade and others ways. I think it can have a beneficial effect.

Of course, McCain can't the question. He reverts to talking points.
Couric: Beyond a summer tax gas holiday plan that no one thinks will pass, are you offering any kind of relief to the American people, who are, as you well know, really struggling right now?

McCain: Well, we quickly have to go off-shore if the states let us and explore and exploit those areas. If you lift the moratorium on offshore exploration then I think that will send a signal and have an effect on gas prices immediately. The gas tax holiday was just a chance to give some people a little bit of a relief, that’s all it was. A lot of people say it was a gimmick and wouldn’t work. A lot of people who are driving the furthest with the most cars, which are low-income Americans, really would like to have a little bit of relief.

Jesse Jackson Jr. Denounces Father's Anti-Obama Slurs

This is very sordid and bizarre. I guess Jesse Jackson can't stand any black leader outshining himself. This is only the latest unchristian Jackson foul-mouthed remark. Even his own son has had enough. Not to mention that Congressman Jackson is a major Obama supporter. I'm fed-up also.

If you haven't seen the video of Jackson's remark that led to the apology, I've included it below:

FISA Vote: Obama Betrays his Supporters

Obama has once again proven himself to be just another typical politician.

More than two and a half years after the disclosure of President’s Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program set off a furious national debate, the Senate gave final approval on Wednesday afternoon to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program.

Why not wait till after the election when the Democrats control the Congress and White House? What was the hurry? Why give Bush what he wanted? It also makes Hillary look the good guy.
The plan, approved by a vote of 69 to 28, marked one of Mr. Bush’s most hard-won legislative victories in a Democratic-led Congress where he has had little success of late. Both houses, controlled by Democrats, approved what amounted to the biggest restructuring of federal surveillance law in 30 years, giving the government more latitude to eavesdrop on targets abroad and at home who are suspected of links to terrorism.

The issue put Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in a particularly precarious spot. After long opposing the idea of immunity for the phone companies in the wiretapping operation, he voted for the plan on Wednesday. His reversal last month angered many of his most ardent supporters, who organized an unsuccessful drive to get him to reverse his position once again. And it came to symbolize what civil liberties advocates saw as “capitulation” by Democratic leaders to political pressure from the White House in an election year.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who was Mr. Obama’s rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the bill.

This from the AP:
Sen. Barack Obama's vote in favor of anti-terrorist surveillance legislation on Wednesday marked an about-face on the issue that left him comfortably in the bipartisan middle, no matter the criticism from John McCain nor the discomfort among liberal Democrats.

"Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, Senator Obama chose to support" the legislation, his office said, even though it contained a provision the Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting had flatly opposed.

Translation: With the general election looming, preventing another terrorist attack trumped fears that privacy rights may be violated.

Ironically, the Democratic presidential contender cast his vote one day after telling a campaign audience that accounts of a shift toward the center on the Iraq War, guns, the death penalty and other issues were unfounded. "The people who say this haven't apparently been listening to me," Obama said in response to a question at a town hall-style event.

Legal immunity for companies such as AT&T is not an issue likely to affect many votes in November.

This from Glenn Greenwald:
The Democratic-led Congress this afternoon voted to put an end to the NSA spying scandal, as the Senate approved a bill -- approved last week by the House -- to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, terminate all pending lawsuits against them, and vest whole new warrantless eavesdropping powers in the President. The vote in favor of the new FISA bill was 69-28. Barack Obama joined every Senate Republican (and every House Republican other than one) by voting in favor of it, while his now-vanquished primary rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, voted against it. John McCain wasn't present for any of the votes, but shared Obama's support for the bill. The bill will now be sent to an extremely happy George Bush, who already announced that he enthusiastically supports it, and he will sign it into law very shortly.

This from Power Line:
Standing with his party's hard-left wing through the primary season, Barack Obama consistently opposed granting immunity to telecoms who cooperated with the federal government's foreign terrorist surveillance program in the years after September 11. Obama went even farther by vowing to oppose any cloture motion on the FISA reform bill as long as it included telecom immunity. Jake Tapper has assembled the quotes, including this one from Obama's Senate office in December:
Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies and has cosponsored Senator Dodd's efforts to remove that provision from the FISA bill. Granting such immunity undermines the constitutional protections Americans trust the Congress to protect. Senator Obama supports a filibuster of this bill, and strongly urges others to do the same....Senator Obama will not be among those voting to end the filibuster.

Like everything Barack Obama says, that pledge was operative only as long as it was in Obama's political interest. Last month, he announced a change in position. He still favored the Dodd amendment to strip telecom immunity from the act, but said he would now vote in favor of cloture and in favor of final passage of the FISA reform bill.

Today, the FISA bill came up for a series of votes in the Senate. Consistent with the new position he announced last month, Obama voted for the Dodd amendment, to delete telecom immunity from the act. The Dodd amendment failed, 66-32. Later came the cloture vote, the one on which Obama had pledged to vote "No." Obama voted "Yes." He then voted with the 69-28 majority in favor of the act.

Talking Points Memo:
No surprises here. Just the weight of disappointment.

Late Update: Worth noting that Hillary voted against the bill, while Obama --as we've noted here before -- changed positions on telecom immunity and voted for the bill.

Sell Out: Abu Dhabi Acquires a Stake in Chrysler Building

There doesn't seem to be anything that isn't being sold out in America. The politicians and the business community have no pride or patriotism. They will do that which benefits them, and the American people be damned. They won't protect us from terrorists, illegal immigrants, or foreign takeover of our country.

The government of Abu Dhabi bought a 75 percent stake in the landmark Chrysler Building on Tuesday for $800 million from a German real estate fund managed by Prudential Real Estate Investors.

You would think that Abu Dhabi got a controlling interest in New York’s Art Deco masterpiece for that kind of money. But you would be wrong.

Despite having only a minority holding, Tishman Speyer Properties will continue to control the property, much as it has since 1997. That is because it controls the land beneath the 77-story tower with the stainless steel crown, gargoyles and elevator cabs that evoke the chrome laden autos of years gone by.

Tishman Speyer Properties did not return calls requesting comment and the often secretive Abu Dhabi Investment Council, an arm of the Gulf emirate government, was also mum. Teresa Miller, a spokeswoman for Prudential Real Estate Investors, confirmed on Wednesday that “we no longer own a 75 percent stake in the Chrysler Building.” She declined to disclose the sale price.

Speaking of sell-out:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games next month despite an earlier threat to boycott over a crackdown in Tibet, his office said Wednesday.

Sarkozy told Chinese President Hu Jintao he would go to Beijing during a half-hour meeting on the sidelines of the Group of Eight industrialised nations summit in northern Japan.

Sarkozy had threatened to boycott the Olympic opening gala following a Chinese crackdown in Tibet in March that sparked international outrage, leading to speculation that some world leaders might shun the Summer Games.

[...]The statement came as French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he had called in China's ambassador over his comments warning of serious consequences if Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

[...] In France, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) accused Sarkozy of surrendering to China.

"I am disappointed and bitter. Until the last moment, I kept hoping he would not dare" attend the ceremony, said RSF secretary general Robert Menard.

"This is a surrender in the middle of battle, an abandonment of all the commitments he made as a candidate and all of the values our country embodies," Menard charged.

[...]Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have said they will not attend the Olympics opening but denied it was a snub.

US says Iranian-sponsored Attacks in Iraq Falling

Couldn't this be seen as sign of good will? Remember all that propaganda about how the Iranians were supporting terrorism against our troops? What happened? Did the surge defeat the Iranians in Iraq, as it did with al Qaeda? Or maybe Iran is not the great big boogeyman they've been made out to be. In any case, the neocon drumbeat of war continues unabated.

The number of rocket and mortar attacks in Iraq that can be linked to Iranian-sponsored fighters has fallen in recent weeks, the second-ranking American commander in Iraq said Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin attributed the decline mainly to inroads made by Iraqi security forces in choking off radical elements of Shiite militias in the southern cities of Basra and Amarah. Amarah purportedly is a hub for smuggling weapons to Iraqi Shiite extremists from Iran.

In an interview with three American reporters, Austin said he does not know whether the dropoff in attacks is an intentional gesture by Iran, which has strengthened its influence in Iraq since the war began five years ago.

It certainly isn't because Iran is afraid.
Iran state media said nine missiles were tested in total, including a new Shahab-3, with a range of 2,000km (1,240 miles).

Iran has tested the missile before, but the latest launch comes amid rising tensions with the US and Israel over the country's nuclear programme.

US Under-secretary of State William Burns said the test was "provocative".

He told a Congressional hearing: "We view force as an option that is on the table but a last resort.

McCain on Iran: "Maybe That's a way of Killing them"

It was a shocking and insensitive remark. McCain demonstrates bigotry by making light of cigarettes killing innocent Iranians. Given the last 7 years, do we want that kind of ignorance to govern us for another possible 8 years. To McCain Iranians are subhumans to be slaughtered. And if he were elected President McCain would certainly attack Iran. He made these remarks yesterday.

Are the Skies Safe: Aborted Landings on Rise, Sez Union

We were warned. The mess which is the airline industry will cost lives in other ways not the result of terrorism.

The aerobatic maneuver that almost caused two airplanes to crash in midair at Kennedy Airport is becoming both more frequent and more risky in the area's clogged skyways, air traffic controllers warned Tuesday.

In Saturday's close call, a Cayman Airways jet aborted a landing and shot upward to prepare for another attempt - a move known as a go-around - coming as close as 100 feet to an LAN Chile aircraft departing from a nearby runway, controllers said.

The National Transportation Safety Board launched a probe into the incident yesterday. Investigators plan to interview the pilots and controllers and examine radar data and control tower recordings, a spokesman said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said there was never any risk of collision.

The two airlines involved also denied there was a near-miss, although Cayman Airways confirmed yesterday that a go-around was executed.

[...]"The incidence of go-around seems to be on the rise, and that's a product of an increase in air traffic," said Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

Powerful Congressman Uses Campaign Funds to Help Other Candidates...and Himself

This is the corrupt two-party dictatorship perpetuates it's rule. Rangel, who has represented one of the poorest districts in the country for decades, uses his seniority to keep his seat. Meanwhile, the people of Rangel's district continue to live in the substandard squalor they've always known. The Congressman's "experience" has obviously not benefited his constituents.

Call him the House sugar daddy.

Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel, the powerful chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has doled out a whopping $849,392 from his campaign coffers to help Democratic colleagues win elections this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That makes him second in generosity only to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in helping out members of Congress.

It's also a major climb up the ladder for the dean of the New York delegation, who ranked 10th in making donations in the previous election cycle.

With nearly 100 members of Congress now indebted to him for his help, Rangel has ratcheted up his influence considerably, and some are wondering what he is going to do with his raft of IOUs.

[...] Over the two years that he has served as Ways and Means chairman, Rangel has pulled in $3.7 million in campaign contributions - more than any other incumbent - and will need to spend very little of it on his own re-election.

Since first being elected to Congress in 1970, Rangel has faced only one serious challenge and has rarely won less than 90 percent of his district.