HAMMERNEWS- Michael Hammerschlag

Current Political Commentary by journalist Michael Hammerschlag; Thoughts on foreign policy, Republican outrages, liberal strategies, science by 8 year correspondent in Russia/Ukraine over 22 years and longtime commentator; Website: http://HAMMERNEWS.com

Sunday, October 14, 2012



And no message from me would be complete without some harbinger of the coming apocalypse. This is a 88 cannon blast- the remaining sheet is only 25-30% thickness of 30 years ago, so we are now actually seeing the disappearance of 80-90% of the Ice Sheet since then!

Other leading ice scientists this week predicted the complete collapse of sea ice in the Arctic within four years. "The final collapse ... is now happening and will probably be complete by 2015/16," said Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University.

Satellite shows solid ice where floes actually exist, but the picture from the ocean is far different. On an ON POINT show, a woman on science icebreaker that can cut through 1/2M ice (think) says on a trip that made it up to 83 degrees N without finding solid or big enough ice to moor to.. that "We could have made it to the North Pole!"

Why this is so incredibly significant is that it is the worst and most powerful instant feedback loop; shiny ice absorbs 10% of the sun's heat, dark water absorbs maybe 85%, causing an immediate 6-8x increase in warming, and delaying the winter freeze later and later!!

The enormous Arctic melt, esp.in Russian Arctic means Polar bears can't get on the ice till much much later, maybe January this year, without swimming hundreds of miles, where some have drowned. They almost exclusively eat seals that come up through holes in the ice pack, but loose or crumbling ice gives seals too many vantage points for air. A Russian expert expects them to be extinct in decades, but bears are smart- they may find a way to survive on land.. but poaching and hunting is also taking a big toll- the remoteness of the ice is their only salvation. By the way, polar bears are the only animal that will routinely eat you. Ask John Irving.


Late report, but if you haven't see it, Jumpin Joe did well, pummeling the “Big Thinker” the whole time. In the beginning Joe seems to flub and stutter on a couple of lines, but then he recovered. He was pumped up, over-caffeinated some say, and did show disrespect to the Boy Wonder the whole time: laughing, guffawing, interrupting; but the most extreme national member of the Repub Party deserved it in spades. Radish wasted a lot of time at the start on the Benghazi fulfural- a simple 3-day “scandal” that will be moot soon- as I said BO screwed up trying to soft-peddle the obvious terrorism. (Though I remember some journo swearing that there was a major violent protest before the attack 2 weeks ago). And again, as I said, the Repubs cut $150 mil from State Dept security. They set up camera's weirdly- showing them looking in opposite directions, Joe sometimes talking earnestly straight into the camera to the elderly. When Ryan tried to upbraid JJ for interrupting, he came across as a petulant jn. high nerd, and his whole presentation was loaded with lies: 

There were no full breaks, as in collapses, by revoltin Ryan, but he was stunned w Biden gotcha, “Why did you sent me 2 letters asking for Stimulus money?”, and by Radish who pressed him on which deductions he would eliminate to pay for his air budget. “Would you eliminate the mortgage deduction” 2 or 3 times, and Paul just flubbered: “We'll see” or something to that effect. Biden had his talking points, numbers, and tales of humanity prepped and ready and hammered the snot over and over again: "$500 bil goes to the top 120,000 households in the Bush tax cuts, and he wants to give them ANOTHER $500 bil!!"  When Ryan talked up his 20% flat tax cuts and magic funding sources, Joe was unequivocal- “It has never worked!!. Oh, Now you're Jack Kennedy!” Paul did us all a favor by emphasizing how he would outlaw abortion (you could hear another 2% of women fleeing)- now about a 20 point spread between men and women- insane but no matter who the Repub is, men vote like robots for him. Somehow the novelty of 2 Catholic Veeps battling never got to the Catholic Bishops categorically rejecting Ryan's cruel Darwinian budget. Radatz only asked about their abortion stances as Catholics: Biden nailed the right tone, saying he supported his church, but wouldn't presume to force its opinions on others. I've long waited for some liberal to challenge these antediluvians on abortion: “It IS a tragedy! Help me stop it: expand Sex Ed, give people free birth control, day-after pills. Let's cut abortions in half!” Call their no-nothing bluff.

Biden didn't make full use of his closing statement- just saying “You know me, trust me.” , when I would have liked him to repeat: “these people have wanted to destroy SS, Medicare, Medicaid for 50 years... and THIS IS THE GUY THAT WROTE THE PLAN. He's the first one to admit it!!!!

It is still incredible, after Sarah the quitter, that Romney picked this hard-right extremist, as if he had a death wish, or thought it displayed his toughness, instead of recklessness.... but I think it was a father mentor thing- Ryan is some energetic youngster who looks up to the Tin Man, and won't overshadow him, even makes Romney look more natural. The 4rd abominable GOP Veep choice in 5, starting from Quayle, the Dick, Cheney, and Palin. The whole GOP is running from his budget, even if they voted for it.

from pithy Chas Pierce (prod. of Inside Job doc)

----For years, Paul Ryan has been the shining champion of some really terrible ideas, and of a dystopian vision of the political commonwealth in which the poor starve and the elderly die ghastly, impoverished deaths, while all the essential elements of a permanent American oligarchy were put in place. This has garnered him loving notices from a lot of people who should have known better. The ideas he could explain were bad enough, but the profound ignorance he displayed on Thursday night on a number of important questions, including when and where the United States might wind up going to war next, and his blithe dismissal of any demand that he be specific about where he and his running mate are planning to take the country generally, was so positively terrifying that it calls into question Romney's judgment for putting this unqualified greenhorn on the ticket at all. Joe Biden laughed at him? Of course, he did. The only other option was to hand him a participation ribbon and take him to Burger King for lunch.----

You know what's the difference between Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan?
Lipstick. -----

There's no doubt BO will come out swinging in the next debate, and he can do it when he sets his mind to it. Look for Obama's solid 3-5 point lead to come back. The notion that Americans would be even close to electing that cartoon plutocrat though, is deeply distressing- his only constituency should be the top 1%, but we are a shallow people, easily swayed by the latest promise, the newest shiny beads hawked by unscrupulous hucksters.. and there as never been one as untethered and unprincipled as Mitt. In truth, with probably Part 2 of the Recession and the Great Famine coming, the next 4 years could be Hell in Earth for whoever is Prez.

Thursday, October 04, 2012



Oct 3 11pm EST
Astoundingly weak debate performance by Obama- he acted relaxed, conciliatory, and never challenged one Romney lie directly. This is the hazard of believing polls that say you're ahead, and the godlike deference shown the CIC. Again and again Obama returned to his appeaser consensus persona that won him so much scorn from Congress and sank much of his agenda during his honeymoon and Dem majority, perhaps due to growing up in the racist violent world of Hawaii, where being a peacemaker is a necessary survival strategy for someone as exotic as BO (spent 3 years there). When he said he and Romney believe about the same thing on Social Security, I about hit the floor. HOW ABOUT RYAN? He didn't even mention the extremist Veep candidate and his vision of a pay as you go Darwinian world where people will die like flies. He allowed the Mittwitt to say 10 times “$700 bill cut to Medicare” without saying SAVINGS AREN'T CUTS- they are SAVINGS!!! THEY ARE THE OPPOSITE. Or say Nonsense when Romney said he wouldn't raise taxes one bit because his tax cuts would be made up in magic savings, or at least imply Romney really only cares about the rich, which his every proposal benefits. 

They acted like respectful college debaters, but Obama took constant attacks (on green energy, Medicare “cuts”, on vast increase in unemployed and food stamp recipients) without levelling any solid counter-punches. Nothing about the 47% moochers, Mitt's silver spoon origin, cold heartless policies and terrible record in Mass, Romney plan same stupidity as Reagan plan: “cut taxes, boost defence, and balance the budget”.

If he does as poorly in future debates, he could lose. For over a year Romney's been calling BO a failure whose every move is a disaster, and Obama never punished him for it; he didn't even enumerate his successes.

But Romney couldn't restrain the self-satisfied pained smile-smirk (smilk) that looked creepy + adolescent. 

Oct 4 6pm EST Obama's lame performance was typified by his laughing agreeable reaction to Romney's calling him a liar, when in fact Romney's blatant outrageous lies went unchallenged: that Obama doubled the national deficit (actually less than when he took office- $1.1 tril now), that he gave $90 bil to green energy (actually ~$25 bil), that Romney's health plan covers pre-existing conditions, that Obama was lying, that ACA is a government takeover of Medicare, that capping deductions at $17,000 will magically pay for his $5 tril tax cut, which he repeatedly dishonestly denied was $5 trillion. Mr. Ro-money is the smoothest, most untethered and professional liar I've ever seen- ThinkProgress counts 27 lies.

"Your entitled to your own plane + house, but not your own facts," Romney said in the patented Rove strategy to attack your opponent over YOUR faults to muddy the issue. "I will not reduce the share paid by high-income individuals,” Mr. Romney said, describing his plan to cut tax rates by 20 percent. “I know that you and your running mate keep saying that, .. but it’s just not the case. Look, I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying somethinhttp://news.yahoo.com/turkey-returns-fire-syrian-shelling-114527634.htmlg that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it, and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.” [Here Barrack laughed with Mitt!] Their SHARE, no, but of course 70% of the benefits of a flat tax cut will accrue to the top 2%, income is so unequal now.

Obama, as I said before, had to simply nail down one egregious lie and pound Romney on it until he conceded or broke down into some nasty jn. high snide comeback that could be fatal. Man, his advisers on this were pitiful- if he wanted, he could have put Romney away. But as Reich said, he's a professor, not a pugilist- he has little taste for personal battle, even though he's a great orator. Now there's the risk of him coming back very strong in the next town-hall (more Obama's speed), like Gore, and being called mean or schizophrenic. Last time around I was sending Kerry some recommendations through top adviser I met- at one point turned on the TV to hear him say my phrase. Kerry kicked ass in his debates, but that didn't help enough- the Swift Boat scumbags had done their work. (Obama has these too- Special Forces Crossroads guys (same offices) that probably will launch big attack this month). For Obama, he should have attacked Romney's HYSTERICAL response to the Libyan attack- a word that has great power, making Romney seem weak and womanly, and makes it hard for him to attack too intensely, lest he reinforce it.

Nothing about global warming, monstrous prison pop, the attack on women, idiotic war on drugs (+ state march to legalization)- just arcane nerdish numbers that Romney made 70% up out of whole cloth.
   5 questions that should have been asked:


Obama Admin's stunningly spastic handling of the murderous attack on our Consulate gives Romney some ammo (though after his first contemptible response and slapdown, he hasn't used it). First the Admin downplayed any organized terrorist attack because it would admit BO missed terrorism signs, but I think that was better for admin- a random crowd attack leading to such carnage would be because of lax security (which in some [NYT full story] way there was, but 4 of 7 US Consulate occupants and 3 of 7 Libyan guards were armed). Now they say it was organized terrorist attack, obvious from the beginning, esp since Al Zawahiri called for attacks on 9-11 anniversary. “Just before 9:30, the Libyan guards began hearing shouts of “God is great” from outside the walls. Then he heard American voices through the radio: “Attack, attack!” Moments later the guards heard gunfire, the blasts of rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and other grenades falling inside the compound. The attackers moved on all three entrances at once in an apparently coordinated assault, backed by truck-mounted artillery.”
Ambassador Stevens being helped by Libyans. May already be dead
US security people were more confident because of “An effective response by newly trained Libyan security guards to a small bombing outside the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi in June may have led United States officials to underestimate the security threat to personnel there.... After an attack in early April on the convoy of the United Nations special envoy, the Embassy in Tripoli sent about four Special Forces soldiers to Benghazi to augment security, part of a larger group of nearly 22 Special Operations personnel, including Navy SEALs and bomb-squad specialists sent to Tripoli last fall to establish security at the embassy”. Sadly, Amb. Stevens, a truly good egg, had premonitions- he was worried he was on an AQ hit list.

Incredibly the attack almost killed the Turkish ambassador who left 10 min before. The US computer specialist also died of smoke inhalation, though I'm suspicious of that- Stevens looks beaten up. The terrorists overran the compound- wouldn't they have hunted him down? With a contingent of 8 Tripoli security officers, Americans evacuated over 3-4 hours later (1am?), but were followed by the terrorists to a ”safe house” 1km away, where they were hit by deadly accurate mortar fire that killed 2 more Americans: “the roughly 30 Americans were surprised and outgunned again in the second attack”. Mortars are devastating powerful weapons in the hands of expert marksman, able to invisibly kill up to a mile away without warning, and RPG's makes even a hack militiaman a dangerous killer. That crummy 1 story ranch style Consulate was simply indefensible. How screwed up the situation was: “it was deemed unsafe for Americans to visit the hospital — wounded attackers were also under treatment at the same hospital where Mr. Stevens was taken”

Look for Obama to make a strike on this Libyan terror group shortly, since the new government hasn't done diddly, unable or unwilling to attack recent allies against Khaddafi (though they publicly refused permission).
We “now believe that Ansar al-Shariah had a rough attack plan for the American diplomatic mission “on the shelf” and ready for some time”

But incredibly, the FBI hasn't investigated the Consulate or Benghazi witnesses AT ALL as journos and looters rummaged through the abandoned bldg, and the US has now completely evacuated the city:
“The FBI has been unable to set up operations in Benghazi as part of the investigation into the deaths of Stevens, information manager Sean Smith and government contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. The absence complicates efforts to gather evidence and interview witnesses.” I guess! Look for the Romney people to attack on this, creating more pressure for retaliation.

In reaction the FBI got sent postehaste Thursday, spending 13 hours at the burned out shell. Sorry, crime scenes only last 48 hours before being hopelessly contaminated, but there are pictures and video of the attackers. Look to the skies, friends.

Really bad news for the poor innocents in Guantanamo- the attack may have been led by an ex-prisoner there, Sufyan bin Qumu, released in 2007 after 6 years to Khaddafi's jails, released by him in 2010, and then a trainer-leader in the revolution.

Oct 7
The Turks have blasted a Syrian military base with artillery 4 days running over a Syrian cross border 4 shell mortar shelling that killed 5 women/girls in one family, and wounded a cop. This could be the provocation for NATO to finally step in and establish a safe corridor or no-fly zone over Russia/China's brutal intransigence, desperate to save their last world naval base. But BO has little desire to get involved in this amorphous mess, and without America, NATO is headless, though election politics may change that (though Obama has shown remarkable resistance to cheap political stunts). But a formal request from Turkey could establish the causality to act. The Russians reward for their bullying backing of bastard Bashar, the chinless one, will be to be swept into the sea if the rebels win. The UN finally was able to pass a resolution condemning the Syrian attack with Russia's grudging accession.

The Turks are furious- moving a column of armoured cars to the border, and passing a resolution to attack Syria at will. The marvellously named PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan (beaten only by Atal Bihari Vajpayee) was once friendly with the Ass-ads, but has turned vehemently against them, as this becomes more and more a Sunni World vs Shiite outlier story. As confirmation that things are getting worse for the Baathist regime and poor Syrians, Islamic militants took responsibility for 2 car bombs that killed that killed 48 in Aleppo.

IRAN RIOTS- Rial Drops 40% in a week

Iran is really on the ropes with world sanctions causing full blown hyper-inflation, leading to police attacks on the market money changers- something like what I saw in Russia in '92-93 (40% in a day!). Ahmadinejad may be on his last legs, but don't expect whomever replaces him to be much better, since the murderous mullahs may have to do some slaughters to maintain control. Of all countries, the poor Iranians, who actually like Americans, deserve to be free of these religious thugs who've kept Iran in a near constant state of war and crisis for 33 years- with people working 3 jobs just to barely survive. Maybe the Arab Spring can transmute into a Persian Fall (of the mullahs). After serious protests against Ahmadinejad's fraudulent reelection in 2009, though, the opposition was completely crushed. When he came to the UN, NY state should have arrested him for kidnapping and extortion in the Iran Hostage Crisis- he was a student leader who admitted his part but said he advocated attacking the Soviet embassy (that's Putin's great pal, but VVP is afflicted with phantom hand syndrome- Happy Birthday Mr President! - MM).


ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Rep. Paul Broun said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are "lies straight from the pit of hell" meant to convince people that they do not need a savior.
The Republican lawmaker made those comments during a speech Sept. 27 at a sportsman's banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell. Broun, a medical doctor, is running for re-election in November unopposed by Democrats.
"God's word is true," Broun said, according to a video posted on the church's website. "I've come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior."
Broun also said that he believes the Earth is about 9,000 years old and that it was made in six days. Those beliefs are held by fundamentalist Christians who believe the creation accounts in the Bible to be literally true.

 He sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology
Liberty Baptist Church video: http://bit.ly/TefuyK
So a medical doctor doesn't believe in embryos?? Huh? You mean people really rode dinosaurs.