Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell endorses Obama, but there's more.

Today Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama, but the more interesting part that will likely get less press was his defense of Muslims.

Powell is one of the first politicians that has publicly said, Obama isn't a Muslim, but what if he is? Is there something wrong with that? This is America and there isn't anything wrong with that. Even Obama himself has rarely addressed this point. Powell again shows why members of both parties respect him, his character, and his judgment dearly. We are walking down a dangerous path in history when citizens and politicians indicate that it is appropriate to single out faiths as disqualifying people from higher office or any office; the whispering undercurrent to this election is that Muslim = terrorist and that is wrong in so many ways and denigrates the accomplishments of so many. That is not the America we should be presenting to the world. Powell is on point and joins the growing number of prominent GOP members, conservative radio hosts and conservative newspapers that have come out to endorse Senator Obama. Hats off to Colin Powell for doing the right thing and standing up for our fellow citizens.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Carly Fiorina Implodes

I found Carly Fiorina's recent appearance on MSNBC to be rather humorous.

Well, I don't think John McCain could run a major corporation. I don't think Barack Obama could run a major corporation. I don't think Joe Biden could run a major corporation. But on the other hand, a major corporation is not the same as being President or Vice President of the United States. It is a fallacy to suggest that the country is like a company. So, of course, to run a business you have to have a lifetime of experience in business. But that's not what Sarah Palin, John McCain, Barack Obama, or Joe Biden are doing.

Simply hilarious.

We are talking about a party that elected George W. Bush and touted his experience running (or screwing) an oil company and a baseball team, and his MBA. One that promoted the image that he would be America's first "CEO President"

We are talking about a party that touted Mitt Romney's experience as Vice President of Bain Capital.

We are talking about a party that especially during the Republican Revolution or... Gingrich Revolution if you will, basically advocated for smaller government that was accountable to its stockholders (the American People), just like a company.

My how short our memory is...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

McCain and Wall Street

"The government was forced to commit $85 billion," McCain said in a statement. "These actions stem from failed regulation, reckless management and a casino culture on Wall Street that has crippled one of the most important companies in America."

It's funny, McCain and the other Republicans (former McCain Financial Policy adviser Phil Gramm) passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999. On the surface it was in my eyes truly a modernization act. It allowed Banks, Investment Banks, and Insurance firms to become one. Not the end of the world and not necessarily a bad thing at all.

This paved the way for Gramm's new bill, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Here we saw a bill that ensured unregulated creation and trading of Credit Default Swaps, Collateral Debt Obligations, Mortgage Backed Securities. And that's where we are today, a day after AIG was spared by the Treasury, Lehman brothers was allowed to collapse and the financial sector is in misery. With this bill, the Republicans allowed the financial sector to regulate themselves. When has self-regulation ever worked? When? Casino Culture indeed Senator McCain, your friend Mr. Gramm created this mess and you signed onto it in the 2001 Fiscal Year budget. Let's not forget all this time, McCain was the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. Where was John McCain the last 8 years when all of this de-regulation was going on? I don't remember him speaking up or against any of the deregulatory bills. The fact that he has done an about face today, just shows you who we have running for President.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain wants a commission for the market collapse

McCain has said that he would create a commission to investigate how and why our stock market had such a huge collapse these past few weeks/months. I say, bring it on, let's have a commission. Maybe we can finally discuss industry deregulation. It's always been a game for Wall Street to invent ways to make money before the SEC comes in and says something. It just so happens that we let them go so willy nilly this time, that they dug themselves a very large hole and won't climb out of it in one piece. That's just what happens when you let greedy ambition run wild. Commission? Sure, maybe McCain will discover the role his own advisers like Phil Gramm played in this whole mess.

I hope Americans all realize who is going to pay for all of this, it's a double-edged sword. For everyone whose 401k/IRA accounts got shafted, that was the first blow. The second comes when people begin to realize that it is the American tax payer who will be shouldering the burden, the burden of bailing out AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie... This is money that we could have been doing other things with. Things like healthcare, education, etc. It's funny in the back of my mind I keep hearing George W. Bush's words, that we shouldn't increase taxes on the wealthy, because the wealthy have accountants to get them out of paying for taxes. Whose that leave? That's right, it leaves you and I, the middle class. Thanks guys.

McCain and Al Gore: Inventors of the Century

Today, John McCain knows how Al Gore feels. McCain policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, referring to this BlackBerry stated, "You're looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create."

True, McCain may have voted on and driven some legislation that allowed for the FCC to make way to PDAs utilizing Push-services. But by no means did John McCain have a finger in its creation or R&D tax breaks that spurred its development. Research In Motion is based in Canada. Now John McCain will have to watch as the media and emails circulate about "John McCain invented the BlackBerry!". Now he knows how Al Gore felt. Now he knows, and so does the right wing. It's like karma came back to pay them back for that ridiculous Al Gore and the internet attack.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin: Working Mothers

"A spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign said she was unable to say at this time what Palin’s position is on federal policies relating to job protections and benefits for working mothers."

Really? That's kind of surprising. I figured if anyone would have an early stance on job protection for working mothers/new mothers, it would be Palin. I'm curious what her stance is when she does reveal an opinion that the McCain-Palin campaign is willing to release.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Real Sarah Palin

Review of Sarah Palin, as given by Anne Kilkenny of Wasilla, Alaska. Anne Kilkenny exists and she actually did write the article as verified by the NYTimes and internet mythbusters,

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992.
Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a
first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her
father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a
first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more
City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the
residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular
girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and
won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because
she is a "babe".

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She
kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents
for seven months.

She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby.
There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out
there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a
champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly
sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his
work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or
so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their
major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything
like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She's smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000
(at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about
670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running
this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been
pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had
gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had
given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6
years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over
33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the
City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation
(1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a
regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she
promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they
benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration
weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed
money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it
with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage
the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said
she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a
new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a
multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece
of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was
still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers
involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the
community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it
would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that
could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office
redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus
in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will
make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she
proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she
recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while
she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's
surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas
or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by
her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the
basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected
City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from
the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents
rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's
attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew
her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the
Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for
Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin
fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as
Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people,
creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally
grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power
to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the
case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated”
her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top
cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure
and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that
an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't
fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation
for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen
contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she
later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to
replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded
for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew
her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in
help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town
introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council
became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She
abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t
like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything
publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got
the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one
of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no
background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great
job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the
high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the
structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this
Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party)
engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some
undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all
her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and
garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a
gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit,
exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from
Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel
politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to
nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget
guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing
projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative
action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply
because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant
she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party
leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated
them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a
fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.
They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and
predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly
stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made
point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's
mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and
experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package
of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march
to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to
global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state
initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from
pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the
state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s
lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar
bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a
heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more
knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
regretting it.

•“Hockey mom”: true for a few years
•“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary
school, not since
•“NRA supporter”: absolutely true
•social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill
that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships
(said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to
promote it.
•“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby
BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life
•“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has
residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska.
No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on
supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city
administrator to run town of about 5,000.
•political maverick: not at all
•gutsy: absolutely!
•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at
explaining actions.
•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
•”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores
and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city
without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built
streets to early 20th century standards.
•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on
•pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city
government in Wasilla’s history.
•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union
doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim
that she is pro-labor/pro-union.


First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed
voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting
programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny +
Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local
government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen
when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because
few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out
of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no
fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will
cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100
or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's
attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to
say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in
spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor)
from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of
Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust
for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible
for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are
swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the
population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The
day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the
current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was
5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to
2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

Anne Kilkenny
August 31, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Country vs. Party

Country is more important than party. The more I hear this phrase repeated, the more it bothers me. Joe Lieberman repeated it last night more times than I can remember. Sounds high-minded, but in reality it doesn't really make any sense.

Politicians join a party because they share a common view on how best to run a country, so that it can be successful and take care of its inhabitants. Which party is not putting country first? It's a facetious argument to say that if you are a Democrat and you're not voting for McCain, you are not doing so in the best interest of your country. Putting your country first is the principle goal of any party. Then again, Joe Lieberman has never made sense.

"The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first."- Barack Obama - DNC '08

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Notes from the RNC

I'm watching the RNC right now and writing down some notes that come to mind...

-Why is Fred Thompson so orange?
-What's going on with this random guy screaming "Yeaaaaa yeaaaa yeaaa!" every few seconds, he's kind of obnoxious, you can hear him over the speaker at the podium.
-Everyone keeps chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"... I just don't get it.
-There are a lot of people there dressed like Tucker Carlson.
-Lieberman? Why hasn't he been kicked out of the Democratic Party yet?
-"Country First"... are they saying Obama doesn't put country first? What's first, ego? Isn't that the insinuation? What happened to running a respectful campaign.
-Wow. Did they just applaud Bill Clinton? WTF?
-I can't believe Lieberman just said that Obama voted against equipping troops in the field. That's such a ridiculous distortion of the truth. What a backstabber. So much for helping him "reach to the stars".
-"yes we will"? Can't they come up with their own original chant...
-That's a big flag they have on screen... and on everyone's lapel. Patriotism isn't about how many pieces of flair you have or how big your flag is. I most people in that room realize one day that Republican policies are not in their best interest.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin?

This reminds me of the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers. You could hear the collective "uhhhhhhhh...." of voters across the nation. If John McCain wanted to make an argument for the 2008 election about experience and sound decision making, I think he sunk his own battleship. Palin has been governor of Alaska for about a year and a half, a mayor for six, and on a city council for four. I'm trying to figure out what she brings to the table for McCain, and I hate to say it, but it's starting to sound like nothing, other than the obvious, that she is a woman. This is the impression that I get, especially given the overtures the McCain campaign has been making to disaffected Hilary Clinton voters.

Palin herself said during her introduction:
"It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hilary left 18 million cracks in the highest hardest glass ceiling in America, but it turns out that the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all."

It sounds like the McCain/Palin campaign are banking that voting women are going to vote for this ticket, solely on the fact that Palin is a woman. Talk about single issue voting. Sure, Hilary was a woman too, but she brought with her, strong Senate experience, a positive record on womens' rights and reproductive freedom, and populist appeal. Palin, on the other hand is very much pro-life. If you were a Hilary supporter, Hilary agrees with Obama on about 95% of the issues, why would you vote for McCain who agrees with Obama on... say... 5%?

"I'm pro-life. I'll do all I can to see every baby is created with a future and potential. The legislature should do all it can to protect human life. "

With a McCain presidency and justice elections, the Supreme Court will actually have the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. I have a feeling that even pro-life women, when faced with a legislative ban on abortion (even in cases of rape or incest) will change their tune when choice becomes no choices.

I can't help but wonder if we just witnessed the tipping point of a McCain self-destruction; maybe it was just a "senior moment". Republicans everywhere must be kicking themselves for not electing Mitt Romney in the first place. Or could it be that Palin will decline the nomination and Romney will get the nod, it sounds crazy enough to be true, especially given the way left field nature of Palin's nomination.

More information will come out about her in the coming weeks, and maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised, but as of now, it looks like he was looking for a woman to be on the campaign (it wouldn't be hard to find a more qualified woman and one that wasn't in the midst of an ethics investigation). If he truly wanted a woman as vice-president, why didn't he pick someone the GOP was more familiar with and more qualified? He could have easily chosen:

Condoleezza Rice, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Susan Collins, or Elizabeth Dole.... 4 women who I am at odds with on the political spectrum, but who obviously have more political experience, practical experience, foreign policy experience, more national exposure and support, and more distinguished careers than this former mayor of Wasilla. Any one of those women could have easily been strong contenders for VP. I think more people have heard of Wasilla, Alaska band, "Portugal. The Man," than have heard of Palin.

But to be serious for a minute, to be VP you don't need to be popular or well-known. What Americans are interested in is, if something were to happen to a 72-year old John McCain, is she ready to step in and govern the United States of America, the most dynamic economy in the nation and the most powerful military the world has ever seen. Palin was a real shot in the dark, and if she actually accepts the nomination, I think this election is over now.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

less government in business, more business in government

I've always thought of George W. Bush as the MBA president, running the United States as if it was a multinational corporation (albeit with a inept CEO at the helm). For the last eight years, it has seemed to be the singular mission of the Bush administration to outsource government and let business run it. It came as no surprise that they brought in Blackwater to fight our wars, and even less when industries began to deregulate with the industry policing itself, driven by the whim of a free market economy.

This in some cases, makes for more efficient government and a more aggressive economy, but in many other cases, you are throwing the public interest to the wolves. The most recent, and most egregious that comes to mind is a proposal to make changes to the Endangered Species Act which would "streamline" the protection services of the Department of the Interior. What the proposal really does is to remove mandatory consultation from government scientists, so that what goes on the endangered species list and what factors contribute to extinction of a species becomes the responsibility of a department that oversees conservation and land development.

Quote from the MSNBC article:
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said late Monday the changes were needed to ensure that the Endangered Species Act would not be used as a “back door” to regulate the gases blamed for global warming. In May, the polar bear became the first species declared as threatened because of climate change. Warming temperatures are expected to melt the sea ice the bear depends on for survival.

The reasoning offered up for this is that since we don't know/can't make correlations that global warming is a contributing factor to species extinction (uhhhhhhh we can't?) the DOI doesn't need to seek experts on climate, ecology, etc. They can decide for themselves. Additional reasoning is that the Endangered Species Act has been around for long enough that government agencies and private land developers and land owners know best how to take care of species that fall within their boundaries and plans; they don't need to waste time consulting the experts. I can just see the level of abuse this is going to open the floodgates for rampant disregard in the name of efficiency and money.

How business friendly.

Again, none of this is unexected. I was surprised however, to see that today, George W. Bush, signed a bill banning lead in toys. Whaaaat? This is one of the few times I've seen this administration step forward to regulate the private sector. I would have expected Bush to offer the veto pen and say that it should be up to businesses to regulate themselves and consumer displeasure to manifest itself in corporations bottom line. Maybe the legislation was veto proof, or maybe you'd look heartless by not passing it. Whatever the reason, this represents a stark difference from the business friendly legislation pushed during the last 8 years of Bush.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chuck Norris wanted to be Barack Obama when he grew up

My friend Chris wrote a hilarious post for Slate about rumors that the Obama campaign should circulate. Call it the anti-viral slander email?

From written by: Christopher Beam

The Barack Obama presidential campaign introduced a new site last week,, that it hopes will debunk persistent myths about the senator: that he's a Muslim, that he won't say the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. As we have argued before, restating the myths often reinforces them, no matter how persuasively they've been refuted.

Rather than restate untruths about Obama, the campaign would do better to start some rumors of its own. Here's a template e-mail the Obama campaign might consider disseminating.

From: [Redacted]
To: [Redacted]

There are many things people do not know about BARACK OBAMA. It is every American's duty to read this message and pass it along to all of their friends and loved ones.

Barack Obama wears a FLAG PIN at all times. Even in the shower.

Barack Obama says the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE every time he sees an American flag. He also ends every sentence by saying, "WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL." Click here for video of Obama quietly mouthing the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE in his sleep.

A tape exists of Michelle Obama saying the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE at a conference on PATRIOTISM.

Every weekend, Barack and Michelle take their daughters HUNTING.

Barack Obama is a PATRIOTIC AMERICAN. He has one HAND over his HEART at all times. He occasionally switches when one arm gets tired, which is almost never because he is STRONG.

Barack Obama has the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE tattooed on his stomach. It's upside-down, so he can read it while doing sit-ups.

There's only one artist on Barack Obama's iPod: FRANCIS SCOTT KEY.

Barack Obama is a DEVOUT CHRISTIAN. His favorite book is the BIBLE, which he has memorized. His name means HE WHO LOVES JESUS in the ancient language of Aramaic. He is PROUD that Jesus was an American.

Barack Obama goes to church every morning. He goes to church every afternoon. He goes to church every evening. He is IN CHURCH RIGHT NOW.

Barack Obama's new airplane includes a conference room, a kitchen, and a MEGACHURCH.

Barack Obama's skin is the color of AMERICAN SOIL.


Barack Obama says that Americans cling to GUNS and RELIGION because they are AWESOME.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I'm moving to a new comment system, learn more about it at . The Disqus environment creates dialogue based comments rather than a flat, "well I don't know who that comment was directed to" format. Try it out.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Barry Obama in West Virginia

My friend sent over this YouTube link this morning and it gives us a peek into the West Virginia voting constituency. Most of those interviewed are Clinton supporters that say they will either not vote or vote Republican if Barack Obama is the Democratic Party nominee. Is that crazy or what? Voting Republican is probably the worst thing they could do for themselves, they are in a sense voting against their own economic interests. Why would someone do that? Apparently they don't like his name Barack and they think he's a Muslim.

It's funny because Barack (Barak) is a fairly common name straight out of the Hebrew Bible. There are a lot of Israelis named Barak. Hussein too, is a common Arabic name meaning "good" or "handsome". Unfortunately, Hussein is the name he was given at birth and unfortunately there was a dictator of Iraq with the same first name. But it goes beyond context of the name, it's the fact that it doesn't sound "American". It's not white bread, it's different, he's not Barry, it sounds foreign, it threatens the status quo. I often forget that while our country has had a lot of progress with racism, it's only been a few decades since that progress had been made. There is still a lot of mistrust of people that are of a different color skin, that attend a different church, that worship from a different book, and it would be a shame if people voted the same way an infant sees the world, in the binary of he looks like me or she doesn't look like me.

Obama is a Christian, but even if he was a Muslim why would it matter? The woman in the video can't bring herself to believe that he is not a Muslim and instead resorts to saying that she thinks that there is some sort of conspiracy going on. "I just don't believe that [that he is not a Muslim]". It's almost easier on her conscience to say that she is distrustful of a Muslim than to just say that she doesn't want a black man as President of the United States. I hope that those in the video represent a minority rather than a majority, but as they exist, it shows that we still have a ways to go in terms of loving thy neighbor.

Friday, May 30, 2008

will Fox News lean left?

At last glance, President Bush had the highest disapproval rating, 69%, of a U.S. president in the 70 history of the gallop poll. At was not always this low, in fact, after 9/11, Bush, was in fact one of the most popular presidents as the nation banded together in light of the terrorist attacks.

One organization that gained a lot of momentum following 9/11 and our run-up to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was Fox News, with its right leaning media coverage. Fox News made a living heralding the Bush administration, demonizing liberal elites, the far-left media conspiracy, painting war protesters as unpatriotic, etc. America ate it up, after all, there were terrorists running amuck and boy were we mad. Fox News is a business triumph any way you look at it, they are the number one rated cable news network and subsequently, the advertising dollars have rolled in, and the administration has been especially conciliatory towards Fox News, gracing them with exclusive interviews with President Bush and other members of the Executive Branch which have largely shut off access when it comes to other networks.

I am curious how Fox News will proceed in the coming years. As I mentioned before, President Bush is the most unpopular President in modern history, presidential candidate John McCain while being a Republican is still distrusted and hated by a significant portion of his own party, and Barack Obama (or Hillary Clinton for that matter) seems well positioned to be our next President of the United States. Come 2009, the Executive Branch will most likely be run by a Democrat, the House and Senate will probably still have a Democratic majority, your average American thinks the Republican party is full of out-of-touch idiots, Republicans can't recognize their own party anymore, the economy is in a tailspin caused in my opinion by the deregulation of the housing and credit markets, and politics for the most part have made a complete 180 in favor of anyone who is not associated with the neo-conservatives.

I think with America growing increasingly disillusioned with the right wing, it is inevitable that viewership moves back towards left leaning/centrist MSNBC and CNN. You just don't make money by pursuing an opinion that few people embrace. Next year are people still going to want to hear from Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Nancy Grace, and Glenn Beck drumming us to increasing anti-immigrant fervor, made up facts, blaming Democrats, screaming at people for not supporting the troops, and boycotting companies for ridiculously tenuous ties? No, I don't think so. I think regular Americans will be able to tell that 8 years of majority Republican rule led to failed foreign policy, failed economic policy, uncompetitive wages, job loss, and soldiers being over stretched and under-provided for. I think it's pretty obvious to most people that 8 years of Bush didn't lead to a better America. McCain still seems like he's part of the Bush club.

Fox News is a business; it is still part of News Corporation. How is Fox News going to change and adapt to a shifting American political sentiment? When Scott McClellan comes out and writes a book basically saying, the Bush administration misled us into Iraq, the media didn't hold him responsible, outlets like Fox News facilitated the move to war, are people really going to believe it when Fox News analyst, Karl Rove, comes out and says "oh he's full of it" and the network and White House try to paint him as a disgruntled employee that wants to sell books? Fox News will have to change; otherwise ratings are going to drop like a rock. I think Rupert Murdoch knows this. I am curious what kind of content changes are going to be made, if punches will be pulled back, if zealous right wingers will be pulled out of prime time slots?

Recently, Rupert Murdoch had this to say about Obama and McCain:

[speaking about Obama]. "He's become a rock star. It's fantastic... he may not carry Florida because the Jewish people are suspicious of him and so are the Hispanics... but he'll probably win in Ohio and who knows... he'll probably win [the election]"... Personally I want to meet Obama, I
want to know , is he going to walk the walk. If you read his education policy, it's just great, he's got a revolution there, the education system in this country is a total disgrace... He wants a break with the past, I do know that he is a highly intelligent man with a great record at Harvard, at the Law Review, and I just hope he's as good as he promises."

[Speaking about McCain]. " He has been in Congress a long time, and you have to make a lot of compromises... So what's he really stand for?... He's a patriot, he's a friend of mine, he's a decent guy but he's unpredictable. He doesn't know much about the economy, and I say this sympathetically, I think he has a lot of problems."

Murdoch seems to be jumping on to the Obama band wagon, We'll have to wait and see if he directs Fox News to follow in step.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

John McCain on Political Expedience

John McCain opposes Senator Jim Webb's updated GI bill citing that his opposition to the bill was the principled and right view and not the politically expedient viewpoint. For your reference the bill is officially titled: WEBB-HAGEL-LAUTENBERG-WARNER G.I. BILL “POST-9/11 VETERANS EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE ACT” (S.22). McCain supports another bill, the Enhancement of Recruitment, Retention and Readjustment Through Education Act (S.2938), which I will compare later (at least to some degree).

First some background. Both the S.22 bill and it's Republican alternative S.2938, serve as an updated GI bill in the same scope as the GI Bill that was introduced to our armed forces post WWII. This is especially important at the present time as the military is finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain members during a war that has entered its 5th year.

McCain argues that he knows the military better than supporters like presidential candidate, Barack Obama, and that support for Senator Webb's bill is political and not based on sound reason. He argues that passage of the GI bill will hurt retention by encouraging service members to leave the military to go back to school. This is not a subject I'm going to tackle today, but I do think that McCain's train of thought is short sighted and mistaken. The original Montgomery GI Bill was not created for purposes of retention, the spirit of the bill was to reward our men and women in the military for their service to their country, to avoid a post-war abundance of job seekers, and to stave off a post-WWII depression. Until I write something with more depth, I would refer you to Jim Webb's fact sheet on the subject for now.

Now what is curious about McCain calling this support politically expedient is two-fold.

First, the Senate passed this bill 75-22. 75!! This is in a Senate that has a hard time passing any kind of legislation together. Tell me more. The bill had 58 co-sponsors including:

Daniel Akaka (D)- Chairman of the Committee on Veteran's Affairs & WWII Army veteran
(actually all of the WWII vets in the Senate are co-sponsors, Akaka, Inouye, Lautenberg, and Warner)
Chuck Hagel (R)- Vietnam Veteran
Jim Inhofe (R)- "Mr. Global Warming is a Hoax!" and Army veteran withdrew sponsorship
Richard Lugar(R)- Navy veteran
Arlen Specter(R)- Airforce veteran
John Warner(R)- Navy and Marine Corps veteran, WWII veteran, and former Secretary of the Navy
and of course...
Jim Webb(D)- Vietnam War veteran, Marine Corps veteran, former Assistant Secretary of Defense, and former Secretary of the Navy

Oh I guess I should add that this bill is "endorsed by all major military and veterans’ associations but is opposed by the Pentagon and VA"- Army Times. (The Pentagon and McCain think the bill will hurt retention in the military and the VA thinks it will create too much work for them)

In fact, almost every single Senate member with military experience is a co-sponsor (interesting note, I had no idea such a large number of Senators had military experience). So what McCain is trying to tell me is that all of these Senators that decided to co-sponsor the bill were doing so because of political expedience? All of them. I am supposed to believe that John McCain is one of the few members of the US Senate with military experience that is being principled and not doing it to look good, and not doing it because it's in the best interests of our troops and veterans? I have a hard time believing that McCain has a monopoly on straight talk and truthiness.

The second aspect to McCain's opposition is the fact that he supports a gas tax holiday. Let's talk about political expedience. Not one economist in the country thinks a gas tax holiday is a good idea. The experts, unanimously think it's a bad idea and McCain thinks it's the right thing to do, am I now supposed to believe that the straight talk express is supporting the right move and not the politically expedient one? McCain, politically willing to say anything, showing his age, or secretly right?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

do you hate capitalism?

Friday afternoon I was at the Barack Obama rally in the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, FL. To my right hand side, I had some friends from work, a libertarian, a conservative, and a democrat. My friend next to me, the libertarian, repeated something I've heard a lot over the years. When he heard Obama tear into the oil companies over skyrocketing profits and rising prices at the pump, he chuckled, "can't a company make a dollar these days? people just hate capitalism".

I can almost guarantee you wouldn't hear that kind of thing from someone poorer than us, but it's the kind of principled economic stance that you hear from a lot of people that stray further to the right of the political spectrum. I hear it a lot, how can you be mad at a company that is successful? How can you admonish them for doing well? It's not that surprising to hear that though, we're as single person households, in I would estimate the 90th percentile of income in the United States, if not higher. We are successful, we work hard, and nobody should penalize us for making a dollar. That's why, at least I think, I hear a lot of complaints about taxes and tirades of "liberals being against capitalism". Full disclosure, I own ExxonMobil stock and I have since I was 14 (it's not like I don't like to make money).

Unfortunately, cases like Exxon Mobil are different. Their profit is huge. It's not the fact that they make money that bothers me, it's that the way they take care of their business partners, whether they are the land owners, station owners, surrounding community, etc. Taking care of anyone that is not Exxon Mobil is something to be desired.

During Obama's speech, Obama spoke of how Americans need to band together, especially in difficult times; a new age of nationalism and community. During a time when rising gas prices are on the forefront of the American consciousness, what are companies like ExxonMobil doing? Joining forces with the consumer to get through a rough patch? More like diving into a Scrooge McDuck style money pool. Investment into alternative energy? Not really. Directing their millions of lobbying dollars towards something consumer friendly? You're dreaming. Do people like me hate capitalism? No, but it's a little infuriating when normal people can't even make a living selling Exxon Mobil's gas at the gas station. I can tell you where Exxon's 2007 $40 billion profit didn't go.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Are you bitter?

If you've been following the news this past week, you may have noticed that it's been a very sloooooow news week; the biggest news story is Hilary Clinton and John McCain knocking on Barack Obama for calling voters in small Pennsylvania towns, bitter. This is a serious story? Are people bitter? I would think so, there is a reason that entire region is known as the "Rust Belt". I don't even live in a small town where the entire economic foundation collapsed and I would say that I'm bitter. Groceries have gone up in price (dramatically), gas has gone up, the Dow is down about 1500 pts from its late 2007 high, my investment portfolio & 401k and most people's investments are tanking, my raise doesn't match inflation, I can't afford a house, I mean let's be honest, who isn't bitter? Saying we aren't in a recession doesn't make it so, and saying that disgruntled people aren't doesn't make it so either. So what's wrong with Obama saying people are bitter. Fox News went on the streets of Allentown PA to ask; the best reaction is the anchor getting frustrated and asking the optician why he doesn't just move. OR

Fox News Anchor: Do you think that people are bitter because of the situation at hand?
John@Diner: I know they are.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Joe Lieberman. Far Right in Disguise

I published this online May 2006; due to technical issues with Blogger 2 years ago, the post itself did not receive a permanent link, and was instead bundled into a monthly archive. I was and still am in strong agreement with everything I wrote in the aforementioned post and the essay I wrote (linked below) for my 'ethics in medicine' class that I took with Dr. Jeffrey Blustein of the Montefiore Bioethics Center, Professor of Bioethics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy, Barnard College. I am re-posting it for posterity and because I was reminded of Joe Lieberman the other day. In 2006 during the Senate race between Lieberman and Ned Lamont, the Lieberman website crashed and the campaign pointed fingers at the Lamont campaign and even went so far as to file a complaint with the US Attorney's Office. A Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the FBI found that the cause of the crash was due to the use of a crappy $15/month hosting site and a misconfigured server. Onwards!

A few months ago Joe Lieberman spoke out in defense of Catholic hospitals' right to turn away rape, sexual assault, and incest victims who were seeking emergency contraception. "hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for 'principled reasons' shouldn't be forced to do so… In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital”. In a way he's right, in another way he's callous and very much not right. Look around at the hospitals in New York City, in your town, in your suburb, how many hospitals are Catholic; how many have merged with the Catholic Church and you don't even know about it?

The Catholic Church is a huge financial power that controls more than a few hospitals across our nation. As the largest non-profit provider of healthcare, they have the financial resources to keep hospitals afloat that other organizations could not. More and more hospitals are either selling to the Catholic Church or affiliating themselves with them. Does your hospital provide EC? It's hard to know these days.

Lieberman justifies the Catholic position saying that there are plenty of other hospitals in Connecticut you could go to. That's fine for Connecticut, that's not fine for the many counties and cities where the Catholic hospital is the sole provider of healthcare and residents have no alternative.

Furthermore, what an insensitive comment. If you are a rape victim, I'm sure the last thing you need is to drive to the hospital in a state if duress only to be turned away. What are Americans to do when there is no procreative freedom, our morals are being governed by an organization that represents about 25% of our population and less than 10% in many of the states where the Catholic hospital has been deemed a "sole-provider". America was founded by those seeking to escape religious oppression, look around though, here we are again.

Follow the link: CLICK ME! essay I wrote for "Ethics and Medicine" examining the ethics of the Catholic healthcare system.

I've said it once, I've said it a million times...

worth the read.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What's Wrong With Kids These Days?

Apparently getting a concussion, hearing loss, and vision loss is what you get these days for talking trash on the internet, on MySpace.

Mercades Nichols' Mother's comments: "don't waste your time on myspace going back and forth talking, saying all these nasty things about people. I don't see why she would do that if she didn't have the nerve to back up what she was saying."

Some comments from the accused when asked if they felt any remorse: “None at all,... Guess we’re not going to go to the beach on this spring break"
"Am I going to be released in time to go to cheerleading practice tomorrow?

Exhibit 1:

Teen Beating, Victoria Lindsay, Video
Uploaded by guanabee

Exhibit 2:

One the girls' Myspace pages. Look at it and feel your brain hurt. Expand the image to see some what she's all about.

Update 4/11/08: The screenshots below which was allegedly Mercades Nichols' myspace page, is not necessarily her page. See blog and comments @ Republican Ranting. That blog that I linked to is interesting in that the permanent link is titled "myspace-of-mercades-nichols-the-girl-who-kidnapped-and-beat-victoria-lindsay-reveals-that-she-is-anything-but-sorry/" and the title of the article that appears on the post is "Fake Myspace of Mercades Nichols (the Girl Who Kidnapped and Beat Victoria Lindsay) Shows that People Have No Decency". Sounds like someone else on the internet had a change of heart, I admit that I did not give her the benefit of the doubt.. Anyways, the point of this update is that the myspace address of the "real" page is rodeo_chick_0413 and the "fake" one is rodeo_chick_413 (has been removed). Are they both her pages? Was the offensive page faked? They were both last updated on 4/8/08. Is the removed page a fake and what instigated the whole event in the first place? Either way, the page I took the screenshots from made Mercades seem to be a pretty awful person, rubbing salt into a wound that was already pretty bad. Due to its unbelievably racist content on all levels, I'm inclined to agree that it's a fake. Whoever created the page... is pretty awful regardless of the circumstances surrounding this whole thing. Again the pages below, probably fake.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Getting Desperate?

Hilary Clinton responding to a question regarding a "do-over" in the Florida and Michigan primaries:

I would not accept a caucus. I think that would be a great disservice to the 2 million people who turned out and voted. I think that they want their votes counted. And you know a lot of people would be disenfranchised because of the timing and whatever the particular rules were. This is really going to be a serious challenge for the Democratic Party because the voters in Michigan and Florida are the ones being hurt, and certainly with respect to Florida the Democrats were dragged into doing what they did by a Republican governor and a Republican Legislature. They didn't have any choice whatsoever. And I don't think that there should be any do-over or any kind of a second run in Florida. I think Florida should be seated.

You know, NOT having a do-over is a great disservice to the voters of Florida. I did not go to the polls because I knew my vote wouldn't yield any delegates. Just a guess, but I think a lot of people felt that way. What's Clinton scared of? If Florida believes in her, it will give her the votes. Her trying to declare herself the victor in a state that knew its votes didn't count and to declare victory and delegates in Michigan where she was the only person on the ballot is absolutely ridiculous. Someone is getting desperate for delegates...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

a letter from someone who knows things

President George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The Preamble to our Constitution states that one of our highest duties as public officials is to "provide for the common defence." As an elected Member of Congress, a senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I work everyday to ensure that our defense and intelligence capabilities remain strong in the face of serious threats to our national security.

Because I care so deeply about protecting our country, I take strong offense to your suggestion in recent days that the country will be vulnerable to terrorist attack unless Congress immediately enacts legislation giving you broader powers to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans' communications and provides legal immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the Administration's warrantless surveillance program.

Today, the National Security Agency (NSA) has authority to conduct surveillance in at least three different ways, all of which provide strong capability to monitor the communications of possible terrorists.

First, NSA can use its authority under Executive Order 12333 to conduct surveillance abroad of any known or suspected terrorist. There is no requirement for a warrant. There is no requirement for probable cause. Most of NSA's collection occurs under this authority.

Second, NSA can use its authority under the Protect America Act, enacted last August, to conduct surveillance here in the U.S of any foreign target. This authority does not "expire" on Saturday, as you have stated. Under the PAA, orders authorizing surveillance may last for one year – until at least August 2008. These orders may cover every terrorist group without limitation. If a new member of the group is identified, or if a new phone number or email address is identified, the NSA may add it to the existing orders, and surveillance can begin immediately. We will not "go dark."

Third, in the remote possibility that a new terrorist organization emerges that we have never previously identified, the NSA could use existing authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor those communications. Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the FISA Court has approved nearly every application for a warrant from the Department of Justice. In an emergency, NSA or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may begin surveillance immediately, and a FISA Court order does not have to be obtained for three days. The former head of FISA operations for the Department of Justice has testified publicly that emergency authorization may be granted in a matter of minutes.

As you know, the 1978 FISA law, which has been modernized and updated numerous times since 9/11, was instrumental in disrupting the terrorist plot in Germany last summer. Those who say that FISA is outdated do not understand the strength of this important tool.

If our nation is left vulnerable in the coming months, it will not be because we don't have enough domestic spying powers. It will be because your Administration has not done enough to defeat terrorist organizations – including al Qaeda -- that have gained strength since 9/11. We do not have nearly enough linguists to translate the reams of information we currently collect. We do not have enough intelligence officers who can penetrate the hardest targets, such as al Qaeda. We have surged so many intelligence resources into Iraq that we have taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result, you have allowed al Qaeda to reconstitute itself on your watch.

You have also suggested that Congress must grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies. As someone who has been briefed on our most sensitive intelligence programs, I can see no argument why the future security of our country depends on whether past actions of telecommunications companies are immunized.

The issue of telecom liability should be carefully considered based on a full review of the documents that your Administration withheld from Congress for eight months. However, it is an insult to the intelligence of the American people to say that we will be vulnerable unless we grant immunity for actions that happened years ago.

Congress has not been sitting on its hands. Last November, the House passed responsible legislation to authorize the NSA to conduct surveillance of foreign terrorists and to provide clarity and legal protection to our private sector partners who assist in that surveillance.

The proper course is now to conference the House bill with the Senate bill that was passed on Tuesday. There are significant differences between these two bills and a conference, in regular order, is the appropriate mechanism to resolve the differences between these two bills. I urge you, Mr. President, to put partisanship aside and allow Republicans in Congress to arrive at a compromise that will protect America and protect our Constitution.

I, for one, do not intend to back down – not to the terrorists and not to anyone, including a President, who wants Americans to cower in fear.

We are a strong nation. We cannot allow ourselves to be scared into suspending the Constitution. If we do that, we might as well call the terrorists and tell them that they have won.


Silvestre Reyes
Member of Congress
Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


this is awesome...


WALLACE: How does [McCain] overcome all of that and…

BUSH: Because there’s two big issues. One is, who’s going to keep your taxes low? Most Americans feel overtaxed and I promise you the Democrat party is going to field a candidate who says I’m going to raise your tax.

If they’re going to say, oh, we’re only going to tax the rich people, but most people in America understand that the rich people hire good accountants and figure out how not to necessarily pay all the taxes and the middle class gets stuck.

We’ve had — we’ve been through this drill before. We’re only going to tax the rich and all you have to do is look at the history of that kind of language and see who gets stuck with the bill.

Monday, January 28, 2008

saddam's charade

That June 2000 speech was about weapons of mass destruction. In talking casually about that speech, Saddam began to tell the story of his weapons. It was a breakthrough that had taken five months.

"Oh, you couldn't imagine the excitement that I was feeling at that point," Piro remembers.

"And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?" Pelley asks.

"He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the '90s. And those that hadn't been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq," Piro says.

"So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk, why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?" Pelley asks.

"It was very important for him to project that because that was what kept him, in his mind, in power. That capability kept the Iranians away. It kept them from reinvading Iraq," Piro says.

Before his wars with America, Saddam had fought a ruinous eight year war with Iran and it was Iran he still feared the most.

"He believed that he couldn't survive without the perception that he had weapons of mass destruction?" Pelley asks.

"Absolutely," Piro says.