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    17 January 2008

    Another Republican aiding and abetting the enemy?

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    This is yet one more instance in which a Republican operative or politician is accused of supporting terrorist activities. First it was Yasith Chhun, a member of and fund raiser for the Cambodian Freedom Fighters. The CFF is designated a terrorist organization by the State Department and Chhun is charged with "attempting to kill the prime minister, attack government buildings and launch small-scale attacks on karaoke bars and fuel depots" in order to destabilize the Cambodian government. Chhun also raised $6,550 for the National Republican Congressional Committee and had a role on the NRCC Business Advisory Council.

    Then there's the case of Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari. This individual was arrested in February 2007 for terrorism financing and material support of terrorism. He was also a NRCC fund raiser and a lifetime member of the National Republican Senate Committee's Inner Circle. (Read more here and here.) Ali Alishtari raised $15,000 for the Republican party in the 2000s, none of that money has been returned or donated pending a conviction. He maintains that he was in it for the money not the "cause."

    Now we have Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark D. Siljander, who has been indicted in federal court for alleged ties to a charity that sent money to suspected Islamic terrorists.

    The WaPo reports:
    The indictment alleges that he lied to the FBI about his work on behalf of the Islamic American Relief Agency, which the Treasury Department designated as a terrorist organization in 2004.


    The charity, which was based in Columbia, Mo., allegedly paid Siljander $50,000 in March 2004 to lobby the Senate Finance Committee in an attempt to be kept off a list of terrorist organizations. Senate records indicate that Siljander has not been registered as a lobbyist since 1998.

    According to the indictment, the money was stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Siljander lied to federal agents about his role.

    If this is the foreign policy gravitas the Republicans claim to have over the Democrats then the United States will be even safer if/when the Democrats get a firm control of DC.

    Posted by Geoff

    16 January 2008

    Republican-voting squirrel-eating truck drivers

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    Well Mike Huckabee may be a very spiritual guy and a potential Republican presidential candidate but he has at least two other contenders in his party with a legitimate bead on the nomination as well and maybe more in the coming weeks. This includes South Carolina.

    For the most part the religious right loves him. There are many reasons for this including the Baptist Minister card and the Ayatollah-esque proclamation to amend the Constitution to fit his impressions of what "God's standards". These points indicate that he'll do well in SC Saturday. To be sure, someone, on his behalf, started push-polling SC voters and criticizing Huck's rivals.

    One would hope citizens in SC have learned to see through such tactics (which SC law prohibits, by the way). Or perhaps people will consider that these tactics are illegal and hold that against the Huck-ster. I'm not holding my breath.

    But none of this really matters. SC is Huck territory, according to Huck:
    "South Carolina's a great place for me. I mean, I know how to eat grits and speak the language. We even know how to talk about eating fried squirrel and stuff like that, so we're on the same wavelength." [start @ 1:40]

    What? People brag about eating fried squirrel?

    He continues:
    "When I was in college, we used to take a popcorn popper, because that was the only thing they would let us use in the dorm, and we would fry squirrels in a popcorn popper in the dorm room." [start @ 1:55]


    I'm the only guy that's just getting hammered from some of these special interest groups. And I think that'll turn for me and against some of these folks, because it's pretty obvious... There's just an anxiety that exists in the Washington power circles about our candidacy. ... Truck drivers know why they're voting for Mike Huckabee ... and that's why I'm convinced we're going to win." [start @ 3:25]

    Watch the full clip here:

    There you have it. If SC is a state full of squirrel-eating truck drivers then it's a lock for Huck.

    I don't know who looks worse here, Huckabee or South Carolina?

    (h/t Raw Story)

    Posted by Geoff

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    15 January 2008

    Blowback: Once in Pakistan. Twice in Pakistan. Next from Iraq?

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    I'm not the first one to suggest that the so-called "Anbar Awakening" is precisely the type of policy that invites blowback (read here for more about blowback) and I won't be the last.

    Time will tell if the Awakening is as bad a move as many believe it is. Don' get me wrong, it's an improvment but is it thought out? One of the big problems with this administration is that is lives in the present. It wants only to look good now and doesn't care about consider what will happen down the road (long or short). It used to be that they could spin their error around using the media and their devotees like Fox News and conservative bloggers. now they'll just pass it along to the next administration.

    Who ever the next president is will have plenty to deal with coming out of Iraq.

    Retuning to blowback, this NYT article highlights one point: Blowback is not an American phenomon.

    Here's a snip:
    Pakistan’s premier military intelligence agency has lost control of some of the networks of Pakistani militants it has nurtured since the 1980s, and is now suffering the violent blowback of that policy, two former senior intelligence officials and other officials close to the agency say.

    As the military has moved against them, the militants have turned on their former handlers, the officials said. Joining with other extremist groups, they have battled Pakistani security forces and helped militants carry out a record number of suicide attacks last year, including some aimed directly at army and intelligence units as well as prominent political figures, possibly even Benazir Bhutto.

    Makes you wonder if one day, 15 to 30 years down the road, there will be a 9/11-esque attack with roots in the Awakening. Much like 9/11 had root in our occupation of Saudi Arabia in 1990.

    I hope the change that is in the air surrounding the 2008 general elections will apply to foreign policy.

    Posted by Geoff

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    14 January 2008

    Photos: Barack Obama visits the College

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    I'm a bit late on this but here are some pics I snapped while filming the recent visit by Senator and presidential candidate-hopeful Barack Obama to the College of Charleston (full video at the Bully Pulpit website).

    If you're interested, here are some photos from the July Democratic debate and the Citadel in Charleston: Pre-debate, Part I, Part II and Part III.

    On that note. There is a good possibility that I'll be at the next Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach a week from now. Stay tuned...

    Posted by Geoff

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