More from Brave New Films

September 30, 2008

Palin Is Ready? Please.

September 30, 2008
By: Fareed Zakaria (editor of Newsweek International)
http://www.newsweek.com/id/161204/page/1
Will someone please put Sarah Palin out of her agony? Is it too much to ask that she come to realize that she wants, in that wonderful phrase in American politics, “to spend more time with her family”? Having stayed in purdah for weeks, she finally agreed to a third interview. CBS’s Katie Couric questioned her in her trademark sympathetic style. It didn’t help. When asked how living in the state closest to Russia gave her foreign-policy experience, Palin responded thus:
“It’s very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America. Where—where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to—to our state.”
There is, of course, the sheer absurdity of the premise. Two weeks ago I flew to Tokyo, crossing over the North Pole. Does that make me an expert on Santa Claus? (Thanks, Jon Stewart.) But even beyond that, read the rest of her response. “It is from Alaska that we send out those …” What does this mean? This is not an isolated example. Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. (“We mustn’t blink.”) But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly, gibberish.
Couric asked her a smart question about the proposed $700 billion bailout of the American financial sector. It was designed to see if Palin understood that the problem in this crisis is that credit and liquidity in the financial system has dried up, and that that’s why, in the estimation of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, the government needs to step in to buy up Wall Street’s most toxic liabilities. Here’s the entire exchange:
COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?
PALIN: That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it’s got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.
This is nonsense—a vapid emptying out of every catchphrase about economics that came into her head. Some commentators, like CNN’s Campbell Brown, have argued that it’s sexist to keep Sarah Palin under wraps, as if she were a delicate flower who might wilt under the bright lights of the modern media. But the more Palin talks, the more we see that it may not be sexism but common sense that’s causing the McCain campaign to treat her like a time bomb.
Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start. The next administration is going to face a set of challenges unlike any in recent memory. There is an ongoing military operation in Iraq that still costs $10 billion a month, a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan that is not going well and is not easily fixed. Iran, Russia and Venezuela present tough strategic challenges.
Domestically, the bailout and reform of the financial industry will take years and hundreds of billions of dollars. Health-care costs, unless curtailed, will bankrupt the federal government. Social Security, immigration, collapsing infrastructure and education are all going to get much worse if they are not handled soon.
And the American government is stretched to the limit. Between the Bush tax cuts, homeland-security needs, Iraq, Afghanistan and the bailout, the budget is looking bleak. Plus, within a few years, the retirement of the baby boomers begins with its massive and rising costs (in the trillions).
Obviously these are very serious challenges and constraints. In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, it is simply not true.

No Bail Out for Wall Street

September 29, 2008

FROM OUR FRIENDS AT TRUE MAJORITY

They said it couldn’t be done, but it HAS been done, by you and other TrueMajority members. At 2:05 pm today, the House voted down the taxpayer bailout of Wall Street. The stock market predictably dropped on the news that investment companies won’t be getting our money, and the pundits will be getting all exercised about it. Here’s what you should do about that:

Take a deep breath.

And then send a message to Congress to start focusing on the real fixes we need.

Wall Street has actually convinced a lot of us that what’s good for the Dow Jones Average is good for us real people. But for eight years while bankers raked in billions, ordinary Americans have seen their real wages drop, jobs sent overseas, health insurance rates skyrocket, and now thousands are losing their homes.

We need our government to actively work for US in fixing this mess, so let’s tell Congress it’s time to start over and pass a New Deal for Main Street.

That means:

  • Putting real regulations back on runaway financial corporations, and taking an ownership stake in exchange for any taxpayer support
  • Providing mortgage relief so ordinary Americans stop losing their homes
  • Putting millions to work by investing in new green jobs and infrastructure
  • Investing in a health care plan to cover everyone

This debate is not over, so jump into it now. At long last it’s become obvious what kind of country de-regulation and taxbreaks for corporations creates. People are re-considering our priorities as a nation. Speak up for yours.


Almost 5 million Iraqi Refugees

September 29, 2008

From our friend Stephan Said (formerly Smith, whom you may remember from the Princeton Congress some years back (www.stephansaid.com):

I believe the most universal humanitarian response to the war in Iraq, and for our mutual international security, is to help the innocent 4.8 million internally and externally displaced Iraqi refugees, whose numbers make the crisis the most catastrophic of our times. Our generation has the tools to create the more equitable global society we seek today. We don’t have to wait for politicians or pop radio. We can lead them.

For now, if you’re interested in finding out more about the crisis or working with organizations already involved, go to the following links:

www.refugeesinternational.org
www.epic-usa.org
www.unhcr.org
American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee


Exclusive: Palin On Foreign Policy

September 29, 2008


Katie Couric Interviews The Candidate About Watching Russia, Her New Passport And Her Opinion Of Obama

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/25/eveningnews/main4479062.shtml

Katie Couric: As we stand before this august building and institution, what do you see as the role of the United States in the world?

Sarah Palin: I see the United States as being a force for good in the world. And as Ronald Reagan used to talk about, America being the beacon of light and hope for those who are seeking democratic values and tolerance and freedom. I see our country being able to represent those things that can be looked to … as that leadership, that light needed across the world.

Couric: In preparing for this conversation, a lot of our viewers … and Internet users wanted to know why you did not get a passport until last year. And they wondered if that indicated a lack of interest and curiosity in the world.

Palin: I’m not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say go off and travel the world.

No, I’ve worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world.

Couric: Gov. Palin, you’ve had a very busy week. And you’re meeting with many world leaders. You met with President Karzai of Afghanistan. I know the McCain campaign has called for a surge in Afghanistan. But that country is, as you know, dramatically different than Iraq. Why do you believe additional troops, U.S. troops, will solve the problem there?

Palin: Because we can’t afford to lose in Afghanistan, as we cannot afford to lose in Iraq, either, these central fronts on the war on terror. And I asked President Karzai, “Is that what you are seeking, also? That strategy that has worked in Iraq that John McCain had pushed for, more troops? A counterinsurgency strategy?” And he said, “yes.” And he also showed great appreciation for what America and American troops are providing in his country.

Couric: The United States is deeply unpopular in Pakistan. Do you think the Pakistani government is protecting al Qaeda within its borders?

Palin: I don’t believe that new President Zardari has that mission at all. But no, the Pakistani people also, they want freedom. They want democratic values to be allowed in their country, also. They understand the dangers of terrorists having a stronghold in regions of their country, also. And I believe that they, too, want to rid not only their country, but the world, of violent Islamic terrorists.

Couric: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It’s funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don’t know, you know … reporters.

Couric: Mocked?

Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

Couric: When President Bush ran for office, he opposed nation-building. But he has spent, as you know, much of his presidency promoting democracy around the world. What lessons have you learned from Iraq? And how specifically will you try to spread democracy throughout the world?

Palin: Specifically, we will make every effort possible to help spread democracy for those who desire freedom, independence, tolerance, respect for equality. That is the whole goal here in fighting terrorism also. It’s not just to keep the people safe, but to be able to usher in democratic values and ideals around this, around the world.

Couric: You met yesterday with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who is for direct diplomacy with both Iran and Syria. Do you believe the U.S. should negotiate with leaders like President Assad and Ahmadinejad?

Palin: I think, with Ahmadinejad, personally, he is not one to negotiate with. You can’t just sit down with him with no preconditions being met. Barack Obama is so off-base in his proclamation that he would meet with some of these leaders around our world who would seek to destroy America and that, and without preconditions being met. That’s beyond naïve. And it’s beyond bad judgment.

Couric: Are you saying Henry Kissinger …

Palin: It’s dangerous.

Couric: … is naïve for supporting that?

Palin: I’ve never heard Henry Kissinger say, “Yeah, I’ll meet with these leaders without preconditions being met.” Diplomacy is about doing a lot of background work first and shoring up allies and positions and figuring out what sanctions perhaps could be implemented if things weren’t gonna go right. That’s part of diplomacy.

Couric: You recently said three times that you would never, quote, “second guess” Israel if that country decided to attack Iran. Why not?

Palin: We shouldn’t second guess Israel’s security efforts because we cannot ever afford to send a message that we would allow a second Holocaust, for one. Israel has got to have the opportunity and the ability to protect itself. They are our closest ally in the Mideast. We need them. They need us. And we shouldn’t second guess their efforts.

Couric: You don’t think the United States is within its rights to express its position to Israel? And if that means second-guessing or discussing an option?

Palin: No, abso … we need to express our rights and our concerns and …

Couric: But you said never second guess them.

Palin: We don’t have to second-guess what their efforts would be if they believe … that it is in their country and their allies, including us, all of our best interests to fight against a regime, especially Iran, who would seek to wipe them off the face of the earth. It is obvious to me who the good guys are in this one and who the bad guys are. The bad guys are the ones who say Israel is a stinking corpse and should be wiped off the face of the earth. That’s not a good guy who is saying that. Now, one who would seek to protect the good guys in this, the leaders of Israel and her friends, her allies, including the United States, in my world, those are the good guys.

© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


American Centurion

September 26, 2008

Weird, disturbing and potent.  It’s interesting to watch at the very least.

TruthThroughAction.org takes aim at Sen. McCain’s 100-year Iraq War in this 4-minute film by Josh Sugarman; a Brandon Yankowitz production.

“American Centurion,” follows a wounded American soldier’s last efforts to hold off an unrelenting enemy advance while, with the help of a misplaced child, coming to terms with his role in the ongoing conflict. The film was shot in Manhattan and southern New Jersey over two days in late July.

Presented by TruthThroughAction.org in association with YaSu Media.


Support the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2008

September 26, 2008

UPDATE:  David Swanson wrote:

> Antagonize and Blockade Iran Resolution Stopped By U.S. Citizen Outrage

> http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/36338

>

> Democratic leadership ‘effectively shelves’ Iran resolution

> Think Progress

>

> The Democratic leadership in the House “effectively shelved” a

> proposed non-binding resolution that “critics say would amount to a

> naval blockade of Iran because of concerns that it could provoke

> another war, officials on Capitol Hill said.” The Washington Times

> reports:

>

> Even though the document would not be a law but a “statement of

> policy” aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,

> the Democratic leadership is worried that it could be viewed by the

> Bush administration as a green light to use military force against

> Iran, officials said. […]

>

> The draft “demands that the president initiate an international

> effort” that would impose “stringent inspection requirements on all

> persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or

> departing Iran.”

>

> ***

>

> NEXT WE STOP PAULSON’S PLUNDER

>

From: The Committee on Foreign Affairs
Sent By: Mary.McVeigh@mail.house.gov
Date: 9/26/2008

September 26, 2008

Support the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2008

Dear Colleague:

Later today, the House will consider the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2008 under suspension of the rules. I urge you to join me in supporting this important measure.

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act will significantly strengthen our nation’s peaceful efforts to counter Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program. The legislation contains versions of two measures that have previously passed the House: HR 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act, which was approved by the House on September 25, 2007, by a vote of 397-16, and H.R. 2347, the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, which was passed on July 31, 2007, by a vote of 408-6. This bill will help strengthen the hands of the United States by leading efforts to ensure that if Iran does not end its quest to obtain nuclear w! eapons and its support for international terrorism, Iran will face meaningful economic measures.

The legislation will undercut Iran’s nuclear program and support for terrorism by:

· Codifying and expanding export and import bans on goods to and from Iran;

· Freezing assets in the U.S. held by Iranians closely tied to the regime;

· Making a U.S. parent company liable for the violation of U.S. Iran sanctions if the parent company uses a foreign subsidiary to circumvent sanctions;

· Increasing the ability of the Treasury Department to combat terrorist financing;

· Authorizing state and local governments to divest from any company that invests $20 million or more in Iran’s energy sector or extending this amount of credit; and

· Increasing U.S. export controls on countries that are directly involved in trans-shipment or illegal diversion of sensitive technologies to Iran.

· Requiring the Administration to report all foreign investments of $20 million or more made in Iran’s energy sector and to determine whether each such investment qualifies as sanctionable under the Iran Sanctions Act.

The legislation reaffirms our nation’s commitment to multilateral diplomacy to increase pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program, and explicitly states that nothing in the Act authorizes the use of force against Iran. I have attached a summary of the bill.

Please contact David Beraka at david.beraka@mail.house.gov to cosponsor this legislation.

I urge you to support this important measure.

Sincerely,

HOWARD L. BERMAN

Chairman

Comprehensive Iran Summary Attachment


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