Full Constitutional Protection for Some, but No Privacy for the Poor By Adam Liptak


I have one comment to make: corporate welfare.  ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

By Adam Liptak
The New York Times
Monday 16 July 2007

Go to Original

In San Diego, poor people who want public benefits must give up their privacy. Investigators from the district attorney’s office there make unannounced visits to the homes of people applying for welfare, poking around in garbage cans, medicine chests and laundry baskets.

Applicants are not required to let the investigators in. But they get no money if they refuse.

Lawyers who have sued on behalf of the applicants say that being poor should not mean having to give up the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable government searches. So far, the courts have disagreed, saying that rooting out welfare fraud justifies the searches, but not without drawing some fierce dissents.

“This situation is shameful,” seven dissenting judges wrote when the full federal appeals court in San Francisco refused to rehear the case a few months ago. “This case is nothing less than an attack on the poor.”

Luis Aragon, a deputy district attorney in San Diego, said the county had struck a sensible balance.

“Whenever one goes into a home,” Mr. Aragon said, “of course you have to be concerned. The dilemma San Diego faced was, either you say yes to everybody or you have some verification.

“As for intrusiveness,” he continued, “you probably went to college. You probably said you were a pretty good student. And they said, ‘Yeah, but we want to see a transcript.’ Doesn’t the government have the right to some level of verification?”

I don’t recall any admissions officers going through my sock drawer, but it was a long time ago and I was a distracted teenager.

The main problem, Mr. Aragon said, is the “alleged absent parent.” Applicants sometimes claim to be single mothers when there is a man around the house, and investigators are on the lookout for that man.

“They’re looking for boxer shorts in a drawer,” said Jordan C. Budd, a law professor who represented the plaintiffs when he was legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in San Diego. “They’re looking for medicine in a man’s name.”

But the investigators do not limit their inquiries to potential welfare fraud. If they come across evidence of other crimes, like drug use or child abuse, they pass it along to the police and prosecutors.

The program apparently did reduce welfare fraud, or at least save money. According to the county’s statistics, the denial rate for welfare applications rose to 48 percent from 41 percent over five years, and there was 4 to 5 percent increase in withdrawn applications.

The San Diego program is the most aggressive one in California and perhaps in the nation, but the recent decisions have probably given governments around the country all kinds of ideas. An earlier home-visit program, instituted in New York in 1995 by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, was largely dismantled as part of the settlement of a lawsuit in 1997.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in San Diego said the money the county saved was not worth the price in privacy and dignity.

“The poor are presumed guilty, presumed lazy and presumed to be trying to gain something they don’t deserve,” said Professor Budd, who now teaches at the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, N.H. “It’s a general poverty exception to the Fourth Amendment.”

The majority in a divided three-judge panel decision last year upholding the program made two basic points. The first was that people are free to opt out – by giving up their welfare benefits.

The dissenting judge called that a false choice for an applicant desperate to feed her children.

The majority also relied on a 1971 Supreme Court decision, Wyman v. James, which upheld a New York program involving scheduled visits from social workers, not surprise searches by investigators from a prosecutor’s office. The Supreme Court said the main purpose of the New York visits was “rehabilitation.”

At his deposition in the case, Mr. Aragon said his office’s investigators were not in the rehabilitation business.

“I’m trying to imagine what rehabilitation would be,” he testified. “Get off the couch. Get a job. I don’t know.”

The plaintiffs have until next month to decide whether to ask the Supreme Court to hear their case. They say they have not made a final decision, which is a little surprising given the importance of the issue and the volume and vehemence of the dissents. But they may have reason to fear what the current Supreme Court would say.

One of the dissenting judges, Harry Pregerson, writing for himself and six colleagues in April, suggested one sort of argument that might be promising. He said there was a double standard at work.

“The government does not search through the closets and medicine cabinets of farmers receiving subsidies,” Judge Pregerson wrote. “They do not dig through the laundry baskets and garbage pails of real estate developers or radio broadcasters.”

Only the poor, he said, must “give up their rights of privacy in exchange for essential public assistance.”


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.


Corporate Crime is more Harmful than Street Violence

Twenty Things You Should Know About Corporate Crime by Russell Mokhiber

Rules of the Game-How Multinational Corporations Avoid Paying Their Taxes By PETER ROST, MD

“Starving The Beast.” How the Corporatocracy Sets the Rules of the “Game” … by T Hartmann

Nobles Need Not Pay Taxes By Thom Hartmann

Wal-Mart pays itself rent, gets large tax breaks



Now We Know How the Colonists Felt By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

Dandelion Salad

By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor

Monday 16 July 2007 Party affiliation aside, based upon the polls, most Americans are thoroughly disgusted with President Bush commuting a portion of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s sentence. According to a CNN poll, “Fully 64 percent of all Americans and 69 percent of voters said they disapproved of the commutation. Broken down by party affiliation, 76 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of Republicans, and 80 percent of Independents said they disapproved.” Few people were surprised; most felt that it was going to happen. Still, in spite of the perceived inevitability, the news has filled a majority of voters with a deep sense of disgust.

On Monday, July 2, President George W. Bush spat in the eye of the American public when he said, “… I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.” Wait a minute; that does not make any sense when taken in the context of his opening remarks. President Bush opened by saying, “From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department.” Obviously, this was not made clear to Mr. Libby. In spite of Vice President Cheney’s ridiculous claim that the office of the VP is not a part of the executive branch, Libby was a part of the staff, a part of the administration. If Libby lied to the FBI and obstructed the investigation, he failed to fully cooperate with said investigation and the president’s requirement. This is why he is now a convicted felon and will forever be referred to in many circles as federal inmate number 28301-016.

In framing his argument, the president said that those in support of the Fitzgerald investigation “argue correctly” in saying “… our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable.” Still, contradicting his own logic, the president took it upon himself to overturn the sentencing decision of his own appointee, United States District Judge Reggie B. Walton; the trial process; the jury’s verdict, the appellate process and federal sentencing guidelines when he commuted the prison sentence of Scooter Libby.

Many of those who agree with Bush’s decision would like to have Americans believe that this is analogous to President Clinton’s pardon of Susan McDougal. In fact, these two instances are in no way similar. Mrs. McDougal was sent to prison by a judge for civil contempt of court; Scooter Libby was convicted by a jury of his peers on four felony charges. McDougal served eighteen months in jail, including seven weeks in solitary confinement. She paid her debt to society. Libby, after being convicted, walked free. Finally, since Mrs. McDougal had served her time, President Clinton did not receive any personal benefit by granting her a pardon. Many believe that President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence in order to protect himself and VP Cheney from possible criminal or impeachment processes.

Many people continue to ask, “What else was to be expected from this administration?” After all, this is the administrations whose lies are responsible for 3,660 US troop deaths, 35,638 wounded US troops, the death or injury of over 600,000 Iraqis, and $439 billion in taxpayers’ money being wasted in Iraq. While illegally invading sovereign nations under the pretext of spreading democracy, the president tramples on his own constitutional processes in order to protect himself and his friends. This latest act and its rationale are just more of the same. Just when we thought that President Bush could not do another thing to lower the standing of this country in the eyes of the international community, he struck again.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) was correct in stating, “When it comes to the law, there should not be two sets of rules – one for President Bush and Vice President Cheney and another for the rest of America. Even Paris Hilton had to go to jail. No one in this administration should be above the law.” America needs to closely scrutinize the character and judgment of individuals such as former Senator Fred Thompson (R-Tennessee), who said, “While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the president’s decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life,” and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who stated, “After evaluating the facts, the president came to a reasonable decision and I believe the decision was correct.”

Americans are thoroughly disgusted with this man who swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies both foreign and domestic, but has proven to be one of the greatest domestic constitutional enemies in the history of this country. Most people have been raised to believe in doing what is right. What do we tell our children and those who look to the actions of our leaders for examples of virtue? Now, all bets are off; the fix is in; the game rigged. The Golden Rule is truly, “he with the gold rules.”

As we have just celebrated the 231st year of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of this nation, we know how the colonists felt. On July 4, 1776 many of the colonists signed on to a document that stated “The history of the present King of Great Britain (King George III) was a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” As our president has illegally wiretapped American citizens, used lies and deceit to place our military and citizenry in harm’s way, and detained individuals without their constitutional guarantees while allowing his criminal friends to walk free, are we not living a similar history?

By engaging in the aforementioned practices, have not President Bush, Vice President Cheney and others in this administration committed the same offenses that the signatories of the Declaration of Independence accused the King of Great Britain of committing? According to the Declaration, “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good; … He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers; … He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power, … and He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.” President Bush’s commuting of Libby’s sentence proves to me that the president believes as King George III of Great Britain believed in 1776, when the colonists charged “He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution.”

One of the many things that is admirable about America is that we do not have to follow in the footsteps of the “… Continental Army who dropped pitchforks and took up muskets to fight for our freedom and liberty and independence,” as the president stated in his July Fourth address to the West Virginia Air National Guard. The signatories of the Declaration of Independence understood that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed. Even though our Declaration states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Today we have a Constitution that allows for the orderly redress of grievances between the government and the governed.

As Americans celebrated the Fourth of July in their back yards and, thanks to his friends in high places, I. Lewis Libby, federal inmate 28301-016, walked free in his, Americans clearly understood how the colonists felt. Remember this as we continue to celebrate the Declaration of Independence, “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Even though it is not King George III but President George II, don’t pick up your musket, pick up your pen. In this constitutional democracy, the pen is mightier than the sword! If you don’t protect your rights today, you may not have any left to protect tomorrow.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is Producer/Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “On With Leon” on XM Satellite Radio Channel 169, Producer/Host of the television program “Inside The Issues With Wilmer Leon” and a Teaching Associate in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, DC. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email: wjl3us@yahoo.com.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

The Waiting Game by Paul Krugman

Dandelion Salad

by Paul Krugman

Being without health insurance is no big deal. Just ask President Bush. “I mean, people have access to health care in America,” he said last week. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.”

This is what you might call callousness with consequences. The White House has announced that Mr. Bush will veto a bipartisan plan that would extend health insurance, and with it such essentials as regular checkups and preventive medical care, to an estimated 4.1 million currently uninsured children. After all, it’s not as if those kids really need insurance — they can just go to emergency rooms, right?

O.K., it’s not news that Mr. Bush has no empathy for people less fortunate than himself. But his willful ignorance here is part of a larger picture: by and large, opponents of universal health care paint a glowing portrait of the American system that bears as little resemblance to reality as the scare stories they tell about health care in France, Britain, and Canada.

The claim that the uninsured can get all the care they need in emergency rooms is just the beginning. Beyond that is the myth that Americans who are lucky enough to have insurance never face long waits for medical care.


h/t: Op-Ed

Does the Bush Administration Support the Troops? Yes, Like a Noose Supports a Hanging Man! by Walter C. Uhler

Dandelion Salad

by Walter C. Uhler

Posted 16 July 2007 On August 2, 2000, while accepting the Republican Party’s nomination as Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney told the U.S. military, “help is on the way.” Cheney used the occasion to savage the Clinton administration: “Rarely has so much been demanded of our armed forces and so little given them in return.” Yet, Cheney’s rebuke has proven to be vastly more applicable today than it has been for the past thirty years. When it comes to abuse and neglect of our military, President Clinton emerges as a rank amateur when compared with President George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney.

It was the Bush administration that sent American soldiers to war in Iraq without adequate supplies of body armor, without an adequate number of armored vehicles to ward off roadside bombs and, most significantly, without an adequate number of troops to secure the peace in Iraq after toppling Saddam Hussein. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld disdained and abused the senior military leadership – and the disdain was largely reciprocated.

But listen to how Rumsfeld responded in Kuwait, in December 2004, when Spec. Thomas Wilson (a mechanic with the Tennessee Army National Guard) asserted, “our vehicles are not armored.” Rumsfeld callously replied: “As you know, you go to war with the Army you have…They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” [Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco, p. 411]

Had Rumsfeld been either an honest, honorable or forthright man, he might have said: “Son, we never planned to be in Iraq this long. I was too obsessed with demonstrating the wisdom of my policy of military transformation, which emphasizes technological superiority as a force multiplier, rather than adequately equipping a large army. Others, such as Vice President Cheney, believed we would be greeted as liberators. None of us in the Bush administration expected a long war, which we might well lose. I’m sorry, we were dead wrong.” (That is, due to our mistakes, some of your buddies already are dead and some of you soon will be.)

To readers of Thomas E. Ricks’ book, Fiasco, none of this is news. Ricks is the Washington Post’s senior Pentagon correspondent who interviewed “an extraordinary number of American military personnel, including more than one hundred senior officers” and had access to more than thirty thousand pages of documents. He’s written a sympathetic, but factual, account of the military’s “tragic” undertaking in Iraq.

Readers of Fiasco will feel the passion with which many of America’s senior military leaders (both active and retired) opposed both the very reasons for invading Iraq as well as the now demonstrably crackpot strategy to be employed there. They’ve been vindicated on both counts. In fact, after reading Fiasco, I was forced to ponder how close America came to a military coup d’etat.

The case of retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni is especially instructive. Shot three times in Vietnam, Zinni went on to become the chief of Central Command in 1997 and, thus, was the military man responsible for Iraq. And, as he told Ricks, “We contained Saddam…We watched his military shrink to less than half its size from the beginning of the Gulf War until the time I left command, not only shrinking in size, but dealing with obsolete equipment, ill-trained troops, dissatisfaction in the ranks, a lot of absenteeism. We didn’t see the Iraqis as a formidable force. We saw them as a decaying force.” [Ricks, p. 13]

Yet, while in charge of Centcom, Zinni completed plans for a possible war with Iraq. His war plans required approximately 350,000 troops. Why so many? Because, as Zinni told a group of Marine commanders in November 2002: “If you guys don’t go through the enemy in six weeks, we’ll disown you…But then the hard part begins….We have lit a fuse, and we don’t know what’s at the other end – a nuke, a hand grenade, or a dud?” [Ricks, p. 71]

As he told Ricks: “I was worried that we didn’t understand the importance of maintaining order, that we had come in with sufficient forces to freeze the situation, to understand that when we’re ripping the guts out of an authoritarian regime, you’ve got responsibility for security services, everything else. You have to be prepared to handle all that.” [Ibid]

Zinni also was one of the first Americans to suspect that the Bush administration was lying to the American public about Saddam’s so-called weapons of mass destruction. In fact, Zinni was sitting on the stage at the VFW national convention in Nashville, Tennessee on 26 August 2002 – sitting on the stage behind Cheney as the vice president told the audience: “the Iraqi regime has in fact been very busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents, and they continue to pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago….Many of us are convinced that Saddam Hussein will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon.” [Ricks, p. 49]

Zinni subsequently asserted that he nearly fell off his chair: “In my time at Centcom, I watched the intelligence and never – not once – did it say ‘He has WMD.'” As Ricks adds: “Since retiring he [Zinni] had retained all his top-secret clearances, he was still consulting the CIA on Iraq, he had reviewed all the current intelligence – and he had seen nothing to support Cheney’s certitude.” [Ibid, p. 50]

By the fall of 2003, Zinni “began speaking out…bitterly denouncing Rumsfeld, criticizing the Iraq occupation and saying it lacked a coherent strategy, a serious plan, and sufficient resources.” In the fall of 2003 – and thus months before May 12, 2004, the date that Gen. Richard Myers, Bush’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee that “there is no way to militarily win in Iraq” – Zinni told a gathering of the U.S. Naval Institute and the Marine Corps Association that “We’re in danger of failing.”

He also said, “We can’t go on breaking our military and doing things like we’re doing now.” Then, invoking parallels with Vietnam, Zinni asserted: “My contemporaries, our feelings and sensitivities were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam, where we heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice…We swore never again would we allow that to happen. I ask you, is it happening again?” As Ricks notes: “There were hundreds of Marine and Navy officers present, and many of them arose to give his denunciation of their civilian leaders a standing ovation.” [Ricks, pp. 241-42]

Matters have worsened significantly since then. Last year, retired General Colin Powell observed that the U.S. Army is “about broken.” Lt. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn, chief of the Army National Guard, complained, “we have absolutely piecemealed our force to death.”

Retired U.S. Army Colonel and scholar Andrew J. Bacevich has provided some of the details that would support Powell’s conclusion: “One third of the regular Army’s brigades qualify as combat-ready. In the reserve components, none meet that standard.” The Army “is currently short 3,000 commissioned officers…young West Pointers are bailing out of the Army at a rate not seen in three decades….The stress of repeated tours is sapping the Army’s lifeblood.” [Bacevich, “Bushed Army,” The American Conservative, June 4, 2007]

But, rather than respond to this dire situation, Republican smacked-asses, like Senator Saxby Chambliss, place party loyalty to Bush’s lost war over country and soldiers. Thus, when Senator Jim Webb, a combat veteran of the Vietnam war, attempted to introduce legislation (S. 2012) that would provide some relief to U.S. troops, chicken hawk Chambliss felt the need to chastise Webb for not knowing America’s military history.

What Senator Webb didn’t understand, according to blowhard Chambliss, was that “during World War II and other wars of this country, service members participating in those wars deployed for 3 and 4 years with little or no break.” [Bob Geiger, “GOP’s Chambliss Compares Iraq Troop Relations to WW II,” Huffington Post, July 13, 2007] Yet, had the smacked-ass party loyalist from Georgia taken the time to seriously inform himself about this issue, he might have learned what retired General William E. Odom knows.

According to Gen. Odom, “No U.S. forces have ever been compelled to stay in sustained combat conditions for as long as the Army units have in Iraq. In World War II, soldiers were considered combat-exhausted after about 180 days on the line. They were withdrawn for rest periods…In Iraq, combat units take over an area of operations and patrol it daily, making soldiers face the prospect of death from an IED or small arms fire or mortar fire each day. Day in and day out for a full year, with only a single two-week break, they confront the prospect of death, losing limbs or eyes, or suffering serious wounds.” [Odom, “‘Supporting the Troops’ Means Withdrawing Them,” Neiman Watchdog, 5 July 2007]

Some have argued that Webb’s bill was an unconstitutional constraint on the president’s war-making authority, even if it had survived a presidential veto. But, then, the question remains: “Why hasn’t the Bush administration taken similar steps to support the troops?

Why? Because such relief would jeopardize Bush’s plans to “string out the war until he leaves office, in order to avoid taking responsibility for the defeat he has caused and persisted in making greater each year for more than three years.” [Odom] Ever decreasing combat readiness and the death of a few hundred more soldiers and Marines can be offset temporarily by a “surge” in troop strength.

Unfortunately, in a regime where such losses seem but a small price to pay, in order to assure that Bush can claim that Iraq wasn’t lost during his presidency, “support for the troops” becomes synonymous with the support that a noose provides a hanging man.

Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Cheney and the Klamath – Was the Veep Behind the Nation’s Largest Salmon Kill? By Dan Bacher

Dandelion Salad

July 16, 2007

Representative Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, will convene an oversight hearing on the role that Vice President Dick Cheney played in Klamath River Basin decisions leading to the Klamath fish kill of 2002. The hearing is set for July 31 in Washington D.C.As reported in the Washington Post article, “Leaving No Tracks,” by Jo Becker and Barton Gellman on June 27, Cheney’s intervention in the development of a 10-year water plan for the Klamath River resulted in a September 2002 die-off of an estimated 68,000 to 80,000 adult salmon in the lower Klamath – the largest fish kill in U.S. history.

The cutoff of water was made in spite of evidence from state, federal, tribal and independent scientists that a fish kill was imminent in September because of low, warm water conditions that prevailed in the river when the salmon began their annual migration upriver. In the spring of 2002, hundreds of thousands of juvenile salmon and steelhead perished because of the low flows and high water temperatures as the fish moved downriver.

The article, the last in a series of four about Cheney’s dubious methods of “governance,” spurred Representative Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) and 35 other House Democrats from California and Oregon to send a letter to Rahall on June 27 requesting the hearing.

According to the Post article, Cheney called Sue Ellen Wooldridge, deputy chief of staff to Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton, to pressure her into adopting a change in policy for the Klamath River Basin that would benefit some farmers at the expense of protecting federally threatened salmon and suckers in order to win votes in Oregon. At stake was the reelection of Republican Senator Gordon Smith.

“His political interference resulted in a 10-year water plan for the Klamath River that has been unanimously ruled ‘arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the Endangered Species Act,’ by three courts,” said the letter. “Moreover his action resulted in the largest fish kill in the history of the west.”

The ramifications of that salmon kill are still being felt today, as returns of adult chinooks to the Klamath River are so low that commercial, recreational and tribal fishing seasons have been severely restricted over the past three years. Last year’s commercial fishing season for California and Oregon was cut by over 90 percent. It was the largest commercial fishing closure in the nation’s history, causing over $60 million in damages to coastal economies, according to the letter.

After requesting Rahall to hold oversight hearings on Cheney’s involvement in the Klamath Basin decisions, the Representatives said, “His blatant disregard for law cannot be ignored.”

Those signing the letter included Representatives Mike Thompson, George Miller, Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Sam Farr, Jim Costa, Howard Berman, Bob Fillner, Adam Schiff, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Brad Sherman, Dennis Cardoza, Tom Lantos, Peter DeFazio, Diane Watson, Linda Sanchez, Doris Matsui, David Wu, Barbara Lee, Jerry McNerney, Jane Harman, Hilda Solis, Pete Stark, Xavier Becerra, Mike Honda, Grace Napolitano, Susan Davis, Lynn Woolsey, Darlene Hooley, Carl Blumenauer, Ellen Tauscher, Loretta Sanchez, Lois Capps, Joe Baca, Maxine Waters and Henry Waxman.

On June 28, Rep. Rahall responded that the Resources Committee has already begun examining “the penchant for this Administration to favor politics over science” in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, as highlighted during a May 9th hearing and in the resignation of the Interior Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks over the fiasco.

“In light of the revelations being made over the situation in the Klamath River Basin, it is my intention to again convene the Committee to delve into the issues raised by the Members of Congress from California and Oregon,” said Rahall. “It certainly appears this Administration will stop at nothing to achieve political gain from natural resources disasters. Ultimately, it will be hardworking Americans and their healthy environment that will lose if we fail to act.”

Representative Thompson was pleased with Rahall’s commitment to investigate the vice president’s involvement in Klamath Basin decisions.

“The courts found that this water policy was in direct violation of the Endangered Species Act,” said Thompson, “and the American public should know if their vice president caused science to be manipulated for petty political gain.”

Hopefully, this hearing will expose the web of political manipulation of science that resulted in the 2002 fish kills ­ and the massive die-offs of juvenile salmon and steelhead that have taken place every year since because of poor water quality conditions in the Klamath system.

Cheney, Norton and others responsible for the Klamath fish disaster should be fully investigated and be held accountable for their actions. If it is determined that administration officials intervened as the Washington Post article contends, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Meanwhile, Klamath Basin Indian Tribes, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen and conservationists are extremely concerned about the possibility of a major fish kill taking place this summer on the Klamath. The Klamath River’s salmon are again in big trouble as river temperatures rise and the region’s below average snow pack continues to recede.

These conditions, coupled with increased observation of disease, mortality, and average run size predictions, recently prompted the Klamath Fish Health Assessment Team (KFHAT) to increase its fish kill readiness alert level to “yellow.” This group is a collaboration of agencies, tribes, and restoration organizations that formed during the summer of 2003 with the purpose of providing early warning and a coordinated response plan to avoid a fish kill.

In recent years massive numbers of juvenile salmon have perished every spring as several fish diseases plague the Klamath’s fish, according to Regina Chichizola, the Klamath Riverkeeper.

“These diseases are particularly lethal in combination with increased temperature and static flow conditions caused by the Klamath Dams. People monitoring the river have already reported seeing dead fish,” said Chichizola.

“These juvenile fish kills show that our salmon are on the road to extinction,” Leaf Hillman, Vice chairman of the Karuk Tribe stated. “If we don’t take bold steps like removing Warren Buffett’s four Klamath dams, we’ll soon be past the point of no return.”

On July 9, Keith Parker, a Yurok Tribal Member who lives in Requa at the mouth of the Klamath River, reported alarmingly high water temperatures in the lower river.

“We are headed for disaster again if something isn’t done immediately!” said Parker. “The Bureau of Reclamation cut our flows again, which raised the water temperature even more. Unbelievably, the water temperature at midnight this morning hit 76.2 degrees F, according to the real-time data from the Klamath Sensor Station (KNK) a few miles upriver from the mouth. As of 11:30 AM the sensor temperature has cooled a little, but is still 73.3 degrees F.”

“This may become another lethal event for these salmon just now entering the river. Some guides are reporting hooking 13 and landing 10 salmon in the estuary, so the salmon are coming in thick. We need help now,” he emphasized.

Warren Buffett in May refused to meet with representatives of Indian Tribes, commercial fishing groups and conservation organizations that traveled all of the way from the West Coast to the annual shareholders meeting of Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway, the parent company that own’s PacifiCorp’s dams on the Klamath, in Omaha, Nebraska. Buffett, the so-called “Oracle of Omaha,” must be held accountable for standing in the way of dam removal and restoration of salmon and steelhead runs in the Klamath Basin.

Dan Bacher can be reached at: danielbacher@hotmail.com
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

The Killing of Khalid W. Hassan – Journalist in the Iraq War Zone By PATRICK COCKBURN

Dandelion Salad

July 16, 2007
Arbil, Iraq.

An Iraqi journalist working for The New York Times was shot and killed in Baghdad yesterday, 24 hours after an Iraqi photographer and driver, working for the London-based news agency Reuters, were killed by fire from a US helicopter.

Iraq has become an extraordinarily dangerous place for journalists, with 110 killed since the US-led invasion in 2003 along with 40 media support workers, more than 80 per cent of them Iraqi. The death toll of 110 in four years compares with 63 in the 20 years of the Vietnam War.

The casualties among Iraqis working for the media are so high because Iraqi insurgents suspect journalists of working against them. US forces have never, in practice, accepted that Iraqis taking film or video footage of combat are simply carrying out their job.

The New York Times journalist killed yesterday was Khalid W Hassan, 23, who was shot by gunmen on his way to work. He called his office to say that he had been stopped by a checkpoint in the Sadiyah district of Baghdad. Half an hour later, he called his mother and said “I’ve been shot.”

A statement from The New York Times said: “The circumstances of his death remain unclear at this time.” He may not have been shot as a journalist but because the gunmen at the checkpoint deemed him to belong to an opposing community.

The Reuters photographer who was killed on Thursday was Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver Saeed Chmagh, 40. They died in eastern Baghdad during a US raid on a Shia district, bringing to six the number of Reuters staff killed in Iraq since 2003.

The killings also illustrate how many Iraqi civilians are killed by US troops spraying fire in all directions in thickly populated areas.

Unlike many incidents in which Iraqis are killed by US soldiers, the manner of the Reuters staffers’ deaths is known fairly precisely.

The US military says US and Iraqi forces engaged “a hostile force” and, after coming under fire, called for air support that killed nine insurgents and two civilians.

The police and witnesses tell a different story. A preliminary police report from al-Rashad police station said Mr Noor-Eldeen and Mr Chmagh were killed along with nine others by a “random American bombardment.”

One witness, Karim Shindakh, said: “The aircraft began striking randomly and people were wounded. A Kia [mini-van] arrived to take them away. They hit the Kia and killed … the two journalists.”

US soldiers then took away Mr Noor-Eldeen’s camera equipment. TV footage shows a hole in the roof of the van.

Reuters has long complained of hostile action against its staff by US troops. A letter from the agency’s editor-in-chief, David Schlesinger, to Senator John Warner, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, dated 26 September, 2005, complains of “a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by US forces in Iraq”.

Journalists arrested by US troops frequently suffered physical and sexual abuse. The letter says: ‘On January 2-5, 2004, three Reuters personnel were beaten, taunted, and degraded by US forces while being arbitrarily detained at FOB [Forward Operating Base] Volturno and St Mere near Fallujah.

“Soldiers laughed, taunted, abused, photographed and degraded them by forcing them to insert their fingers up their anuses and then lick them.”

The four Reuters journalists killed earlier in Iraq by US troops were Taryas Protsyuk, a cameraman killed when a tank fired into the Palestine Hotel on 8 April 2003; Mazen Dana, a cameraman shot dead outside Abu Ghraib prison later that year; Dhia Najim, another cameraman, shot by a sniper in 2004; and Whaleed Khaled, a soundman, killed in 2005.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of ‘The Occupation: War, resistance and daily life in Iraq‘, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for best non-fiction book of 2006.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

One in a Million: More on the Killing of Khalid Hassan by Chris Floyd

Casualties Of Journalistic War Coverage (video)

No Fear: The Next “Terror” Attacks Against America by Mike Palecek + Immortal Technique: Bush Knocked Down The Towers (video)

Dandelion Salad

by Mike Palecek
Sunday, 15 July 2007

Is This Heaven?

Only if you say so.

U.S. Congressman Ron Paul says that America is in danger of a false flag operation. That would be another 911. Because the government wants to invade Iran, wants even more control of us, the nation, the planet.

Even though the birds are chirping and the sun is shining bright on the folks walking lockstep over to the church across the street, this seems more and more like hell, especially after seeing Michael Moore’s “Sicko” on Saturday.

The film starts out with Moore talking about the frivolity of pursuing The American Dream.

Ruth and I both didn’t have to work so we drove over to Sioux Falls.

It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” – George Carlin

Immortal Technique: Bush Knocked Down The Towers


God Bless Michael Moore.

Our country did something right to be able to produce somebody like him.


“Sicko” says a whole lot. It’s about health care, but it’s so well written and conceived. It ends up being a commentary on just a whole lot of things.

And you end up fantasizing about moving to France or Canada or Cuba.

Moore says that one reason the people of France get so much from their government is that the government is afraid of the people, afraid that they will revolt if they are not treated fairly.

In the United States the people are afraid of the government, afraid of their employers, their landlords, afraid that if they say or do anything they will lose the tenuous fingernail grip they have on their lives.

A poll this Sunday morning on the Sioux City Journal website:
Do you fear an Al-Qaida attack on American soil within the next year?

I voted “No” and got to see the results thus far. Sixty percent said yes.

We really don’t have much of a country. We are blubbery, weak-kneed people.

We nap in the bleachers at a tractor pull and call that being rugged individualists.

We don’t care enough to learn what this country is really about, who the terrorists really are.

Moore’s film also included a whole lot of time spent with a former member of England’s Parliament. He says that Democracy is radical, much more so than Socialism or Communism or any of the other isms.

Because it gives power to the poor, if they will vote.

But it is in the interests of those in power, the rich, the Bushes and Cheneys, to keep the poor, the people, ignorant, hoping to just get through the next day, the next week with some semblance of their lives intact, praying every night on both of their knees that somehow their children will grow up and have a chance at life.

That’s perfect.

That is how they want us, on our knees.

We have the power.

If we will get up off our knees and walk out into the street.

Here is the website for Cindy Sheehan’s walk from Georgia to Washington, D.C.


— Mike

This is from “The American Dream,” my most recent novel.

My website, book covers, blurbs, etc: www.mikepalecek.com

My blog, Is This Heaven?: http://isthisheaven-mike.blogspot.com/

“The American Dream,” published by CWG Press: http://www.cwgpress.com, 2007.


The Americans Dream
of marshmallow clouds
and lollipop lanes
and TV towns.

While the world wails,
fists clenched,
eyes blazing,
tears streaming.

The Americans Dream
of rocket ships,
freedom and alleluia.

While they sleep on
through the alarm,
the house afire.

[This is John, a resident of Homeland, a small town in the Midwest where our story takes place. He lives in a little house next to the city park and the war memorial. He is a former protester, went to prison once. The townspeople call him “John The Baptist” because they have caught him peeing in the war memorial flowers after dark. John likes to watch the town through his basement window. He likes to call it being “underground.” Here’s Johnny.]

“There are those in America who knew that this was not the land of the free and the home of the brave long before Abu Ghraib.

Those people are the poor, the prisoner, the activist, the immigrant.

Anyone who has found himself face to face with the real, ugly face of America: the judge, the guard, the policeman, the soldier.

You know, though, you can make most people believe anything.

They’ll swallow the Star Spangled Banner with their Wheaties; they will believe they’ll burn in hell for eating fish on a Friday or not entering the building on the corner at least once every Sunday. Tell ’em there’s this place called Purgatory and tell them they live in a democracy and that everyone in a crowd of rich people in Washington, D.C. has their very own personal best interests on index cards taped to their bathroom mirrors.

And tell them we went to the moon once and never went back, and that the CIA works for them and the peace dividend when Russia folded, well, just didn’t quite work out, but we tried.

Tell ’em the war on drugs is vital to their lives, too, while you’re at it, and then make sure you get the rugs out of the closet for nap time at ten.

You can tell them a million and one things; they will believe it.

Those were drone airplanes that hit those towers and the real ones are at the bottom of the ocean. Where’s my CBS Christmas Special?

Even the poor Americans have their flags waving from the coat hanger antenna duct-taped to the side of the trailer.

Well, if there was any amount of real religion spoken in any of these jillion churches, and if the newspaper reporters actually wanted to find something out, the lies and the rich and the corrupt couldn’t stand up to that tidal wave.

But the churches and reporters are just a dribble, no more’n I leak on myself after I think I’m done peeing in the flowers.

…. I’ve spent considerable time in county jails and prison, nothing that would win any county fair prizes, but plenty enough to my way of thinking.

All for trying to topple the American Empire.

I would, too.

If I could I’d tie a rope around the Statue of Liberty and pull her into whatever bay or river that is. And then ram a flagpole way up her ass and call her Barbara Bush.

If I could will it, every little explosion in my toilet, when I push that silver knob would mean an American military base in Alabama, or a little bullet factory in Iowa, or some fucking high school history propaganda classroom in Indiana is blown to kingdom come.

I wouldn’t have even thought about that if I hadn’t ever gone to prison.

It’s the way you think now.

You are a tourist.

You haven’t really been to the United States.

You flit around and take pictures of all the tinsel and bows.

I’ve walked down the side streets.

Yep. Mount Rushmore, come tumblin’ down.



And I do believe ol’ Jesus would put a hand on the rope along with me.

Yes’m he would.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

On a Journey for Humanity By Cindy Sheehan

Cheney Urges Bush to Strike Iran – Impeachment or War? By GARY LEUPP

Dandelion Salad

July 16, 2007

Cheney Pushes Bush to Act on Iran.” That’s the headline of a very frightening article by Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger in the London Guardian. Sub-heads:

· Military solution back in favour as Rice loses out

· President ‘not prepared to leave conflict unresolved’

What a nightmare Dick Cheney is visiting on our planet! Isn’t it time we awaken to the fact that he’s a crazed monster egging on a vain, cruel, delusional religious fanatic of a president as he inflicts incalculable suffering on the Middle East, sacrificing American blood and treasure in the process? Of course many of us have awakened to that fact, one reason why 54% of us want to see Cheney impeached. Yet he’s still there, operating in his highly secretive fashion, gaining rather than losing influence according to MacAskill and Borger.

“The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months,” they write. They cite a “well-placed source in Washington” as stating “Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo.” The source also states, “The balance has tilted [ towards the advocates of an attack on Iran]. There is cause for concern.”

Surely that concern is felt among the highest ranks of the military as well as the average citizen whom polls indicate feels no enthusiasm for the planned assault. But Congress has cooperated fully by passing every bill or resolution against Iran backed by the horrifically influential AIPAC lobby. Recall how Nancy Pelosi omitted a requirement for Congressional authorization of any Iran attack from legislation at the Lobby’s behest?

The prospect of yet another war-based-on-lies boggles the rational mind. But according to the Guardian, there was a meeting between Bush, Cheney, and Pentagon and State Department officials on Iran last month, and Bush sided with Cheney when the latter “expressed frustration at the lack of progress” on Iran. That is to say, lack of progress in moving ahead with the bombing of Iran. Undersecretary of State Nick Burns, the key State Department official responsible for Iran and an advocate of negotiation, indicated at the meeting that diplomatic talks with Iran would probably continue beyond the end of Bush’s term. For Bush and Cheney that is unacceptable, especially because they don’t believe the next administration will have the guts to bomb.

Patrick Cronin, director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies suggested to the Guardian that Israel is calling the shots. “If Israel is adamant it will attack, the US will have to take decisive action. The choices are: tell Israel no, let Israel do the job, or do the job yourself.” According to the Washington source, the administration is “reluctant for Israel to carry out any strikes because the US would get the blame in the region anyway.”

The handwriting is on the wall here. All these reports from unnamed sources about Iranian support for Iraqi “insurgents” of this or that faction. The display with much fanfare of captured weapons in Iraq identified as of Iranian manufacture. All these confident allusions to a nuclear weapons program Iran denies exists, for which the IAEA finds no evidence. All these assertions that Iran plans to cause a second Holocaust through a nuclear attack on Israel. Norman Podhoretz’s Wall Street Journal op-ed piece praying for the U.S. to bomb Iran. John McCain’s crooning “Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran.” The disinformation, distortion, even vilification of Iran in popular culture. The propaganda barrage is reminiscent of that which preceded the criminal invasion of Iraq.

The uniform support for keeping an attack “on the table” among nearly all presidential candidates. The incessant arm-twisting of governments to back sanctions on Iran. The abuse of the IAEA, forced by a majority vote to find Iran “in non-compliance” with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The huge naval buildup in the Persian Gulf. The provocative arrest of Iranian diplomats in Iraq, protested by the Iraqi puppet government itself. The demand that Iran renounce its legal right to enrich uranium—a demand designed to be rejected and to constitute a pretext for regime change. The handwriting is written in big conspicuous letters on the wall.

That doesn’t mean the attack cannot be stopped. How to do so? By not giving Cheney/Bush the remainder of their term. If 54% want Cheney impeached, he should be impeached. NOW, before he’s allowed to further terrorize the world. Cheney impeachment hearings will weaken Bush and increase the percentage of Americans (now 45%) favoring the president’s own impeachment. All that is required here is political will in a Congress that has seen its approval rating plummet due largely to its failure to stop the administration’s war. Those wishing to reverse that have an easy option: vote to impeach. And while you’re at it, vote to insist on Congress’s exclusive power according to the Constitution to declare war.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.

He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.


Impeach Bush And Cheney Now By Paul Craig Roberts

Reining In an Out-of-Control Executive by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Reining In an Out-of-Control Executive by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Our Founding Fathers created three separate but co-equal branches of government to check and balance each other so no one branch would become all powerful. Indeed, James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, “The preservation of liberty requires that the three great departments of power should be separate and distinct.” Madison warned, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary in the same hands … may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” The American colonists were reacting against a police state.

More than 200 years later, we have another King George. In the last six years, George W. Bush has sought to accumulate all governing powers in the same hands – his. In the Declaration of Independence, the framers charged that the King “refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.” Bush has repeatedly violated the Constitution’s command that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” by breaking some and refusing to enforce others. The Constitution grants Congress the power to make laws; after both houses pass a bill, the President can only sign it or veto it. Bush, however, takes a different tack. He has vetoed just three bills, then quietly attached “signing statements” to more than 1,000 congressional laws, indicating his intent to follow only those parts with which he agrees.

In an end run around Congress and the courts, Bush secretly authorized the Terrorist Surveillance Program to conduct electronic surveillance without a judicial warrant, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the Fourth Amendment. Although two judges on a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the legality of Bush’s spying program for lack of standing, the only two judges ever to rule on the merits declared the program illegal.

The Bush administration lied to Congress to get authority to invade Iraq . Long before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush and his officials were planning to attack Iraq and change its regime. Dick Cheney’s secret energy task force drew up maps of Iraq ‘s oil fields to divvy up the black gold once we occupied that country. They then devised an elaborate scheme to convince the American people that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the United States, notwithstanding overwhelming intelligence to the contrary. Since Bush launched “Operation Iraq Freedom,” more than 3,600 American soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died; many thousands more have been wounded. This invasion is a war of aggression, which violates the UN Charter, because it was neither executed in self-defense nor approved by the Security Council.

During the war, U.S. troops have been acting under rules of engagement – free-fire zones – that have led some to commit war crimes. For instance, the killing, execution-style, of 24 civilians in the Haditha Massacre, the execution of a disabled man, and the shooting of a wounded unarmed Iraqi in a mosque violate the Geneva Conventions which prohibit willful killing of civilians. Commanders, all the way up the chain to the commander-in-chief, could be convicted of war crimes if they should’ve known their subordinates would commit them and the commanders didn’t stop or prevent it.

Bush’s legal eagles, particularly David Addington and John Yoo, concocted elaborate “legal” arguments to justify the torture of prisoners. Never mind that international and American law forbid torture under all circumstances. Pursuant to a common plan to violate the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, prisoners in U.S. custody are being tortured and abused. Prisoners have been subjected to water-boarding, attacks by dogs, sexual humiliation, and excruciatingly painful force-feeding.

The Bush administration has secretly rendered prisoners to other countries to be tortured. One former CIA agent observed, “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan . If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria . If you want someone to disappear – never to see them again – you send them to Egypt .”

Shortly after 9/11, the Bush gang set up a prison camp in Guantánamo, intending to create a legal black hole where they could hold prisoners for the rest of their lives without any judicial oversight. But the Supreme Court didn’t buy the administration’s argument that U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over Guantánamo because it’s in Cuba . And the Court struck down Bush’s original military commissions since they violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions.

The Supreme Court said in Berger v. United States that
a prosecutor’s job is to see that justice is done, not to politicize justice. But Bush’s Department of Justice, the chief law enforcement agency in the government, has been seriously compromised. Several U.S. attorneys who refused to bring frivolous charges that would further Bush’s political agenda, or who brought charges that didn’t, were purged.

The White House is resisting congressional subpoenas that call for testimonial and documentary evidence about the U.S. attorney firing scandal. The deadline for Bush, Cheney and the Justice Department to produce documents in response to Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenas about the warrantless surveillance is July 18. In 1974, when the House Judiciary Committee passed three articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, Article III charged refusal to comply with subpoenas during the Watergate hearings.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and President of the National Lawyers Guild. Her new book, Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, was just published. Her articles are archived at http://www.marjoriecohn.com.

Marjorie Cohn is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Marjorie Cohn

Impeach Bush And Cheney Now By Paul Craig Roberts

Cheney Urges Bush to Strike Iran – Impeachment or War? By GARY LEUPP

To become a Member of Global Research

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com

© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, Global Research, 2007

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6341

Plan Iraq – Permanent Occupation by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, July 16, 2007

Congress is back from its July 4 break and with it more bluster and political posturing on changing course to keep things the same, including everything not working in place. It’s the same old scheme, back again, to fool enough of the people all the time and most all of them long enough to move on to the next change of course mission shift starting the whole cycle over again. Even the blind can see the hopelessness of staying the course in Iraq. Aside from its lawlessness and immorality, pushing on with a failed effort qualifies as a classic definition of insanity – continuing the same failed policies, expecting different results.

The only sensible, honorable option is a full, speedy withdrawal along with providing multi-billions for Iraqis to rebuild what we destroyed and have no intention restoring now or ever beyond what’s needed for permanent occupation. The only other honorable option is owning up to what no one in Washington or the major media will do – that the Iraq and Afghan conflicts are illegal wars of aggression making those responsible for them in the administration and Congress war criminals warranting prosecution for their crimes.

That won’t happen nor will the administration and Congress do anything more substantive than say one thing and do another. It’s been an unbroken pattern since 9/11, and especially on Afghanistan and throughout the run-up to the Iraq invasion. Both wars were sold through lies and deceit. They’re based on a fictitious “outside enemy” threat without which no “war on terrorism” could exist, and no imperial foreign wars could be waged.

They’re possible only by scaring the public enough to believe the threat is still real, and “Enemy Number One” Osama bin Laden (recruited through Pakistan’s ISI as a CIA asset in the 1980s) and Al-Queda represent it. So with Saddam gone and no WMDs found, staying the course is vital to the nation’s security even when, in fact, the truth is the opposite, crying wolf’s wearing thin, and selling snake oil solutions get harder to do. But schemers keep trying with complicit Democrats as much part of the scam as Republicans and Bush loyalists, dwindling down to a precious hard line few but still around in key positions making noise.

With “the walls of Jericho” crumbling around him as the world’s most hated man and the ship of state listing badly, a pathetic caricature of a president keeps pleading for more time. He claims it’s needed to head off the threat of “mass killing on a horrific scale” in Iraq and plenty at home as well. He then continues using the same timeworn line that the war can be won, the “surge” is working, give it a chance, and withdrawing will be disastrous. Be more patient, and we’ll know more in September we’re told.

The Iraqi puppet government gets blamed for what’s gone wrong with no one in Washington pointing the finger where it belongs. George Bush can do no better than keep asking Congress and the public “to give (generalissimo) David Petraeus a chance to come back (September 15) and tell us whether his (unworkable) strategy is working, and then we can work together on a way forward (further over the cliff).”

At his July 12 news conference, he never mentioned and attending shameless journalists never pressed him on CIA Director Michael Hayden’s earlier bleak assessment of things on the ground. He called the Iraqi puppet government “unable to govern” and its inability to do it “irreversible.” Also not discussed was the July UN refugee agency’s plea for doubling its Iraq funding to $123 million for the growing humanitarian needs of an estimated 2000 people fleeing uncontrollable violence in the country daily (60,000 a month) and an estimated four million or more displaced refugees within and outside the country.

No comment or questions were raised either on what journalists Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian (daughter of US political prisoner Sami Al-Arian) reported in the July 30 issue of The Nation. Based on interviews with 50 returning Iraq combat veterans (ranking from privates to captains), they wrote about “disturbing patterns of behavior by American troops” and an indiscriminate use of force (with pictures to prove it) amounting to a “depraved enterprise.” Mentioned were accounts of American troops gratuitously killing Iraqi civilians, including children, that these actions are common, go unreported, are rarely investigated, and almost always go unpunished.

George Bush’s comments (and most others) ignore as well that over 7 in 10 Americans favor a force withdrawal, over 60% say the war was a mistake, only one in five believe the “surge” improved things, and new polls keep showing the numbers getting worse the longer the conflict continues. It’s got the president’s approval rating barely above the lowest ever registered since polling began with Richard Nixon, Harry Truman, during the unpopular Korean war, Jimmy Carter, briefly in 1980, and his own father sharing bottom honors.

Maybe George Bush is kept above rock bottom through some creative manipulation of the data or the result of what questions were asked, to whom, the phrasing used, and the order in which they were presented. It seems likely for the most despised, distrusted and disgraced US president ever. Even clever pollsters, however, can’t salvage Dick Cheney’s rating. At a bottom-scraping 12% reported, it’s the lowest number scored for a president or vice-president ever, by far and then some.

The reason is simple. A decisive majority in the country think the war’s unwinnable, was a mistake, want it ended, and know it was based on lies. People resent being had. Even through heavily filtered mainstream news reports, they know the situation on the ground is out of control and an appalling US-inflicted crime against humanity atrocity of enormous proportions.

No one in Iraq is safe anywhere, even in the heavily secured, fortress-like Green Zone becoming more like a embattled one daily with regular attacks on it causing damage, injuries and deaths. Few are reported, but one on July 10 was with two to three dozen katyusha rockets and mortar rounds striking inside the world’s “ultimate gated community” killing at least three persons and wounding 25 or more. Throughout the country, violence long ago spiraled out of control, and since the “surge” began in February, even the Pentagon admits things are worse, not better, in its quarterly April – June report to Congress.

It contradicts generalissimo Petraeus’ claim of “astonishing signs of normalcy” in Baghdad overall and “breathtaking” progress even though he (and others high up) earlier said repeatedly there’s no military solution to the conflict. The only thing “breathtaking” about Petraeus is his inconsistency and that he’s either more incompetent than Custer at the “Little Bighorn” or a man who’ll say anything to please George Bush. On the ground, in fact, civilian deaths are higher than ever. They number well over 5000 a month known about and countless others never reported, the claimed June numbers notwithstanding that are too low to be believed and should be discounted and ignored as meaningless. In addition, US forces are sustaining more attacks and suffered the highest level of listed fatalities and injuries in the latest three month April – June period since the war began.

Nearly everyone outside the administration and Congress knows the war is lost, but no one’s brave enough to admit it or do anything about it. So shifting mission means “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” with the dominant media always in tow to shape the facts on the ground to fit the policy. Admiral Farragut would be proud.

Now it’s back to the political drawing board with a repackaged new scheme certain to end up little different from the last one. Ideas floating promise a substantial drawdown of troops leaving behind what’s claimed is needed to maintain security for the Iraqi people that’s killing thousands of them every month. All NATO combined can’t contain the hate and growing opposition in both war zones matched against any size occupying force put in place to contain them. Iraq and Afghanistan have a long history of resisting occupiers and a successful record of ousting them in the end. It will be the same this time as earlier after many more lives are lost in a futile effort to prove otherwise.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the struggle for liberation is on the ground. At home, shifting mission is being concocted by scared politicians up for reelection in 2008. They’ll face millions of angry voters fed up with wars they want ended and ready to throw out the bums who won’t do it. So it’s back to political posturing (again) with Democrats and Republicans trying to convince voters this time they mean it, and what they say is what they’ll follow through on. It’s the same old repackaged scam in the nation’s capitol where nothing can be taken on its face. It’s high time the public realized the criminal class there is bipartisan, and nothing short of a new breed of uncorrupted officials will change things. And that won’t happen until enough fed up voters elect them.

For now it’s business as usual, and summer battle lines have the “intrepid” Democrat-led Congress and a few nervous Republican defectors facing off with the Bush administration on the FY 2008 DOD budget. It calls for an astonishing $648.8 billion plus an additional $142 billion war supplemental likely to end up topping $800 billion when the dust settles and usual pork is added in. Debate will play out the same as last year with Democrats in the end failing to use the one constitutional power Congress alone has – the appropriation authority to cut off funding and end the Bush administration’s imperial adventurism once and for all. No money, no wars, that simple.

It’s apparently too simple, and all that’s likely ahead is more disingenuous posturing over restricting troop deployments and setting an open-ended timetable for an unspecified partial withdrawal at the discretion of the administration taking full advantage to do as it pleases. And if that doesn’t work, George Bush promises to veto any legislation setting timelines for withdrawal he’ll ignore even if overridden. On July 10, he repeated his earlier statements that Iraq troop levels “will be decided by our commanders on the ground (obeying White House orders), not by political figures in Washington, DC” (except him, Dick Cheney and their hard line cronies.

The president has no more to fear from “opposition” Democrats and “defecting” Republicans than he had before, but he’s quivering anyway. Their posturing (and his) is as phony now as immediately post-9/11 in selling the Afghan war and enacting police state laws. It’s as bad as in pre-March, 2003, last year’s budget debate, and this spring’s agreement to continue funding through September with George Bush certifying (on his word alone) progress is being made and Iraqis are carrying their share of the burden that’s impossible because the world’s only superpower can’t handle its own.

But note Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s compromising language with a September 15 administration/Pentagon accountability report upcoming: “The war is headed in a dangerous direction, and Americans are united in the belief that we cannot wait until the administration’s September report before we change course in Iraq.” His next statement shows he’s not preaching pullout but only says “We cannot ask our military to continue to fight without a strategy for success (never mind there is none short of full, unconditional withdrawal), and we certainly cannot ask them to fight before they are ready to do so.”

He’s referring to deployment lengths (unchanged after July 11 Senate amendments were blocked) and concern for a broken military the Pentagon already admits to. The likely outcome of current debate will be the same quick fix as before, save for a few dubious amendments achieving nothing. In the end, the compromise solution will be to kick the can down the road and throw lots more money at the problem hoping it will go away. It’ll only get worse. No amount can salvage a lost war, lawmakers and the Pentagon know it, but solutions like last year and this spring are coming with bloated budgets getting more bloated.

Ignore meaningless party line votes like the one the House passed July 12 for withdrawing most combat troops by April 1, 2008. Not while this administration’s in power, and so far, the Senate’s going nowhere. It can’t get the 60 votes needed to prevent a Republican promised filibuster, and votes cast in both Houses are to deceive voters, not get action. They’re made knowing they’re safe with George Bush promising to veto any change of course and can make it stick.

The wars will thus continue to progress in an endless cycle of more spending with no results beyond growing deficits, intensifying public anger, greater violence on the ground, and defeats getting worse as the conflicts drag on. George Bush calls it “progress. I know we can succeed in Iraq, and I know we must” he said on July 12. Incredibly, he claimed it on eight trivial military benchmarks under US control, blaming eight more important political failures on the Iraqi puppet government in charge of little more than cleaning daily rubble and dead bodies off streets. He added results to date are a mixed bag and overall it’s too early to pass judgment – after over four disastrous years of failure and a conflict longer in duration than WW II when war raged on three continents against formidable enemies, and it was no simple task beating them.

It again proves this man is unchallenged as a world champion serial liar. By now, he may believe some of his own lies the way writer Alex Cockburn said Ronald Reagan believed his. “Truth (for the great fabricator) was what he happened to be saying at the time. He (and Bush) went one better than George Washington in that he couldn’t tell a lie and he couldn’t tell the truth, since he couldn’t tell the difference between the two.”

There is a difference, however, between the two deceivers. During his first term at least, Reagan (as a former actor, albeit a B-rated one) did a reasonable job impersonating a president. He could find his “mark” and read his lines. George Bush never rose to that level even as Texas governor or any other time in his life, and when it comes to lying, he can’t stop doing it even when he knows the difference. He proved it July 12 in his ludicrous portrayal of the true state of things in Iraq. It’s part of his desperate effort for new congressional funding in even greater amounts. To get it, he ignores growing public disenchantment and deep revulsion about a criminal lost cause enterprise launched and continued on the basis of lies.

That notwithstanding, Reid and other Democrats have their grandiose notions of mission shift. It’s to avoid “a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq” with legislation he’ll propose calling for permanent occupation forces on the ground for the spurious notion of “conduct(ing) counterterrorism operations, protect(ing) our assets (meaning oil) and train(ing) Iraqi forces.” Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Carl Levin is on board with him. He’ll support a limited troop withdrawal by late year, an end to combat operations on the ground by April 30, 2008 with Iraqi forces taking over, and a large remaining permanent occupation force hunkered down inside fortified super-bases. Never mind what Iraqis want that excludes our presence in their country. And the same is true for the Afghans.

Voices from the administration, Pentagon, Congress and the dominant media assure they’ll be disappointed as the top goal is salvaging America’s imperial adventurism and mission shifting current operations into a workable permanent occupation. Here’s why. The Afghan and Iraq wars are for resources, primarily oil, and in the parts of the world where more than four-fifths of proved reserves are located. Canadian journalist and author Linda McQuaig explains the grandest of grand prizes is “hidden in plain sight” in Iraq. It’s the country’s oil treasure – the planet’s last remaining bonanza of easily harvested “low-hanging fruit” with more potential reserves than Saudi Arabia, the great majority of them untapped.

It makes the country “the most sought after real estate on the face of the earth” according to one Wall Street oil analyst she quoted. Even with dated information on its potential, it’s known Iraq has at least 10% of dwindling world reserves. But it’s potential was “frozen in time” with no new development in over two decades because of intervening wars in the 1980s, economic sanctions following the Gulf war in 1991, and the current war ongoing since March, 2003. If the country’s potential doubles or triples, as Saudi Arabia’s did in the last 20 years, it would, in fact, have the world’s largest (mostly untapped) proved reserves making Iraq too rich a prize for America and its Big Oil allies to pass up. It’s worth trillions of dollars and immense geopolitical power at a time of peak oil in the face of future dwindling supplies, except in this resource-rich country the US won’t ever leave as long as there’s enough of them in the ground and region to justify staying.

It’s why the country is being turned into a giant permanent military base protecting the ocean of oil beneath it Washington intends to control for its Big Oil friends and to have veto power over who gets it, who doesn’t, and at what price. To understand what’s happening, consider Korea. The US arrived in the country in 1950 following Harry Truman’s committing American forces to help the South after Washington’s instigated civil war began there on June 25 that year. Fifty-seven years later, around 37,000 troops still remain with no intention to leave. Washington has the same thing in mind for Iraq. The Pentagon set up shop there and intends to stay.

Below is shown, as best we know, how far advanced we’ve come toward militarizing the country for permanent occupation no matter how debate plays out in Congress. It’s all bluster providing cover for administration policy both parties support.

Plan Iraq – Permanent Occupation

Drawdowns, withdrawal, timelines, mission shifting, building democracy and all the other current and long-standing phony rhetoric aside, America is in Iraq to stay as a conqueror and occupier – that is, until Iraqis finally kick us out as they will in time in a part of the world long a graveyard for foreign invaders. But it won’t happen quickly or before countless more thousands die, are injured, suffer immeasurably, are displaced, and lose everything. This is the ugly dark side of imperialism, nurtured on conquest, unchallengeable control, and keenly focused on destroying and permanently occupying the cradle of civilization now smashed and planned for dismemberment.

In the meantime, a new “peace candidate” will become president in January, 2009 on the strength of distant echos of Richard Nixon’s “peace with honor” 1968 campaign and hopes history would call him a “peacemaker.” Instead, there were five and one-half more years of intense war, thousands more American deaths, and one to two million more Southeast Asian victims in Vietnam and the secret wars in Cambodia and Laos.

Whatever little, if anything, a new president does at home, the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan will remain with plans for Iraqi forces eventually to do most of our killing and dying for us. If or when they’re up to it, the scheme involves US troops staying hunkered down inside their super-bases, used as needed outside them, with massive air power deployed freely to slaughter innocent victims on the ground whenever they resist what no one should ever have to endure. For now, Iraqis have no choice but to bear up and fight back because it’s their misfortune to have an ocean of “our” oil beneath their sand we laid claim to.

Already discussed is Iraq’s importance as the planet’s last remaining “low-hanging fruit” bonanza of mostly untapped oil riches worth trillions of dollars as the key reason America came to stay. The US military arrived in March, 2003 and dug in for the long haul with fixed military installations around the country. Dick Cheney’s former employer, Halliburton, got most of the huge no-bid contracts, worth many billions, to war-profiteer and build them, irrespective of its outlandish record of waste, fraud and abuse.

As of May, 2005, US forces were operating out of 106 bases around the country from an original estimated 120 sites. They range in size from the huge Main Operating Base (MOB) Camp Victory complex near Baghdad airport where thousands of American troops are stationed to smaller ones known as Forward Operation Sites (FOS) that are still major installations. In addition, there are many Cooperative Security Locations (CSL) that are small outposts for as few as 500 personnel, a number of prisons and detention facilities, and an original dozen sites given to Iraqi military or police units that now likely number many more.

Reports vary, and much remains secret, about the administration and Pentagon’s current and future construction plans for Iraq. What is known is $18 billion earlier was allocated for in-country work that includes base installations, the US Embassy and whatever other occupation facilities are intended. The current figure is likely much higher. It’s also known US engineers are focusing on building 14 large “enduring bases” for extended encampments for the tens of thousands of US forces there now and future replacements.

Professor Emeritus Jules Dufour of the University of Quebec, Canada discussed “The Worldwide Network of US Military Bases” in his July 1, 2007 article posted on Global Research.ca. It included detailed information plus maps and much more on what he called “the Worldwide development of US military power (in place) to view the (entire) Earth surface as a vast territory to conquer, occupy and exploit (for giant US corporate behemoths it’s in league with).” He characterizes the scheme as a process of “Humanity….being controlled and enslaved by this Network of US military bases.” He and Chalmers Johnson believe they number 1000 or more that, according to Johnson, were in 153 countries as of September, 2001 and now likely in 160 or more. There are also many other secret, espionage, and other bases jointly used in many countries with their hosts.

Dufour says post-9/11, the US built 14 new bases in the Persian Gulf region. It’s also involved “in construction and/or reinforcement of 20 bases (106 structured units as a whole) in Iraq” plus others in Afghanistan and other Central Asian former Soviet bloc countries and elsewhere to encircle and control both regions’ strategic resources, mainly oil, and the pipeline routes needed to transport it.

Iraq bases are located or are being built around Baghdad, Mosul, Taji, Balad, Kirkuk, Nasiriyah, Tikrit, Fallujah and Irbil. There are also plans to rebuild and improve Baghdad, Mosul and other airfields as well as rebuild roads and other essential infrastructure strategically needed for occupation. There are no plans to help the Iraqi people left on their own. They have the barest of essential services, and infrastructure to provide them, like functioning hospitals, medications, electricity, clean water, safe food to eat, fuel, schools, and most everything else.

Most important for the planned long haul will be four to six or more super-sized bases on the order of small towns with their own neighborhoods and kinds of amenities found in typical US ones. Inside them, it’s hard distinguishing between Iraq and America unless more sophisticated and better aimed rocket and mortar rounds strike nearby that’s becoming more common.

The biggest of these bases so far is the huge Balad one. It houses the major Air Force operation in the country, including its new spacious, state of the art, “Kingpin” air traffic control center dividing the country’s airspace into “kill boxes,” called the Common Grid Reference System. The largest Army logistical support center is here as well, and it’s also where thousands of civilian contractors, in neighborhoods known as “KBR-land,” are based with all the comforts of home for them and military personnel when it’s quiet inside. The so-called secret Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) is also at Balad. It’s kept behind “especially high walls” for privacy and seclusive separation from other operations based there.

The al-Asad airbase is the largest marine encampment in the country located in western Anbar province where resistance to US occupying forces has been stiffest. It, too, has a hometown feel with similar amenities to the country’s other major bases intended to be permanent. While the Pentagon won’t admit it, four super-bases were operating last year with plans likely for at least two more. In addition, it was planned, but now not certain, that British forces would maintain a permanent military presence in the south around Basra where it’s now based. If Britain pulls out, as its public demands, the Pentagon will move in and likely expand the facilities with at least another super-sized one for that strategically oil-rich part of the country. They’ll need it as the Brits are no more in control there than US forces anywhere else. Their 2006 Operation Sinbad flopped with militias on the ground in full control.

Nonetheless, America came to Iraq to stay as long as the Middle East is resource-rich and the greatest untapped portion by far is in Iraq. But history shows the best-laid plans don’t always work out as intended. Occupiers aren’t welcome anywhere with Iraq and Afghanistan particularly adept at expelling earlier ones that tried and failed, including the British from both countries who should know better. Journalist Felicity Arbuthnot notes on Global Research.ca July 14 that on this day in 1958, “the Iraqi army toppled the British (post WW I-imposed) royal regime, which had opened the door wide for Western monopolies to plunder the country’s oil wealth under unjust concession.” Her message to modern-day plunderers: “Listen to history.”

Permanency may only be in the eyes of the beholder and may end much sooner than planned. Our super-bases, with all their size, security and comforts of home, may become no more permanent than their mega-predecessors in Danang, Cam Rahn Bay and the Saigon embassy (a miniature compared to the Vatican-sized behemoth in Baghdad’s Green Zone) where the last remnants of US presence in Vietnam were helicoptered from its rooftop in defeat and humiliation. It forced us to give up what we intending keeping unchallenged with visions as conquerors no different than today.

In the end, we abandoned them because we were beaten and had no other choice. What a determined third-world Asian country did 30 years ago to the world’s strongest superpower, Middle East and Central Asian ones are doing today to the only remaining one slipping fast and running out of excuses why.

It’s just a matter of time before history repeats with the same result. Iraqis and Afghans believe it and intend to prove it again. Too bad Washington hard-liners know little history and haven’t figured it out. One day they will. They’re just slow to catch on. Ruling empires never see the tide turning and that they’re swimming against it. George Bush’s America is no different. It bit off more than it can swallow and will end the same as others wrecked on the shoals of their own hubris.

The scene is playing out in the graveyard of other imperial powers in the Middle East and Central Asia. It just remains for the final chapter to be written ending rest in peace unless Americans locate their cajones and write their own version first. It has to reject corrupted power politics; remove the criminal class; restore the rule of law; place the rights of humanity and democratic values above wealth and privilege; and end forever the hellish wars fought for them.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at www.lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on www.TheMicroEffect.com Saturdays at noon US central time.

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Stephen Lendman


The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness by Chris Hedges & Laila Al-Arian


To become a Member of Global Research

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com

© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2007

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6334

Dennis Kucinich & Duncan Hunter Debate By Manila Ryce (videos; 07.04.07)

Dandelion Salad

By Manila Ryce
Published Sunday, July 15th, 2007, 8:32 pm

On the 4th of July, Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter were allowed to have a mini-debate in the Situation Room. Hunter is obviously out of touch with America and twists Dennis’ position on many issues, but at least he’s not as slimy as the more “serious” candidates. Idiotic or not, he appears to actually believe the words coming out of his mouth. If it were Clinton instead of Kucinich in the situation room with Hunter, we’d be able to see just how little she disagrees with the Neocon ideology. It’d be Gore V Bush all over again.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Questions of Empire by Adam Engel

Dandelion Salad

by Adam Engel
July 16th, 2007

What to you do if you’re a minority and “everyone” hates you? What if you realize that lots of people like or even love you, actually, but none of them are ever on TV? And the TV was the one that told you that you were a minority and everyone hated you in the first place?

What if your country were not the land of opportunity, merely of opportunists?

What if you had not an enemy in the world capable of harming you, and a trillion dollars to spend on housing, schools, hospitals, transportation, and most important of all, preventing as best as possible the dire consequences of a compromised environment?

What if “The Environment” were just the green fields and mountains and stuff you know from postcards, ads, and TV, but have never actually experienced with your other four senses?

What if someone lied to you in order to prevent you from spending the trillion dollars on the aforementioned public necessities so they could spend it on a war against a foreign country which had neither ability nor intention of ever attacking you, but who did harbor a great supply of the oil that is destroying your planet?

What if someone told you that the war was of immediate necessity because the Enemy harbored weapons of mass destruction (just like your country and its “allies”)?

What if thousands of your “countrymen” were wounded, dying, or dead?

What if hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of The Enemy’s children had been killed by bullet or embargo, thousands killed daily or dying in barren hospitals since your daughter, now in college, was born?

How come the number of offenses by Corporate/Military/Political elites against the people outside the Nation and the Nation’s own people cannot be counted by mere men in time, but like the fractal, must undergo millions of iterations by computer, to reach completion?

Why are people dying of cancer in the street, or if not on the street in hospitals or homes and why is everyone always dying of cancer?

Why won’t the Nation treat its cancerized citizens who don’t have health insurance? Why do sick people have no homes? Why does anyone have no home?

Why is the “National Institute of Health” (NIH) taking government money to do research to create drugs that will be sold back to the taxpayer at exorbitant prices? Is there a “National Free Clinic?” Is there a “National Free Aspirin?”

Why is my friend dying because he doesn’t have health insurance? Why am I dying because I don’t have health insurance?

Is that why the “Indians” died, because they didn’t have health insurance? Is that how Lincoln died?

If we’re the “good guys,” why does everyone want to kill us? Are we lone cowboys like Gary Cooper and John Wayne?

What if all these questions were asked of a ten-year-old, the age at which, it seems, the Modern American Mind closes, shutting down all alternatives to racism, corporatism, imperialism, and savage, restless violence?

How many questions about America are there? Enough to fill every database on the Internet?

Adam Engel can be reached at bartleby.samsa@verizon.net. Read other articles by Adam.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Slaves to Christ and Compassion Unite: Free Markets Must Prevail By Jason Miller (satire)

Dandelion Salad

By Jason Miller


[Warning: Satire Ahead]

“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”

–John Maynard Keynes

If you’re nodding your head in agreement with Keynes and expecting validation of your opinion as you read this piece, you’re in for a rude awakening.Forget the humanitarian, bleeding heart nonsense. Let’s reflect on the words of Thomas Sowell instead:

“Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on ‘income distribution,’ the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.”

We live in reality ladies and gentlemen. Not some utopian fantasy dreamt up by the likes of idealistic dreamers like Marx and Engels.

Ours is indeed a cold, cruel world. The sooner each of us accepts our lot, makes the most of it, and moves on, the better off we will all be. The ingenious and industrious Bill Gates deserves every penny he has. By the same token, the dregs of society inhabiting places like Skid Row and eating from dumpsters are reaping their just rewards for their depraved, lazy, and ignorant ways.

In fact, the brilliant thinkers broadly classified as Social Darwinists were “spot on,” as the Brits would say. “Survival of the fittest” is as applicable to humanity as it is to the rest of the animal kingdom. We are not immune to this inevitable aspect of life on Earth. It is time we accept the “law of the jungle” and terminate our puerile efforts to artificially mitigate natural human suffering.

By God, we live in America! We are the bastion of the free market! We’re the uber capitalists and it’s time we began to act accordingly. Reagan, Friedman, Rand, Bush, and a host of other highly lucid thinkers have shown us the way. It seems we are just too damned cowardly to traverse the trail they have blazed.

As Americans, we extol the virtues of freedom and rail against oppression. Yet we allow our hallowed free market to languish, severely crippling it with a host of asinine socialist elements that seriously compromise our opportunity to revel in the glorious splendor of true capitalism.

We have wasted years applying half-measures and giving lip service to free market capitalists, the potential saviors of humanity. Perpetual teases that we are, time and again we lure them into bed with the promise of sexual nirvana. Yet more often than not, we toy with them long enough to satiate our sadistic impulses and then leave them to masturbate their way to carnal bliss.

Sure, eliminating the Cadillac-driving welfare queens was an important step, but if we’re going to right this ship, we have to go all the way. All of us need to get up off our lazy asses, relinquish our infantile dependence on government programs, and slay the beast of socialism once and for all.

Here are the remedial steps that we must implement if we are to unleash the free market and reclaim capitalism’s former glory:

1. Eliminate the public education system. If you don’t have money, you remain ignorant.

2. Immediately cut public funding to maintain roads and highways. A toll booth at every other intersection would be a small price to pay for the reinvigoration of free markets.

3. Close all public libraries. If you want to read, buy your books.

4. Shut down all forms of public transit. Walking is good exercise.

5. Completely deregulate and privatize public utilities. If the market drives prices too high for you, you can buy candles, piss in buckets, sweat, shiver, and boil creek water.

6. Abolish police and fire departments. Settle your own disputes, protect yourselves, and keep your buckets and garden hoses handy.

7. Put the EPA out of our misery. It’s time to end the tyrannical reign of fear mongering environmentalists.

8. Labor laws, EEOC and OSHA? These anachronistic impediments to profit need to go. Let the market dictate wages, hours and working conditions. People need to be thankful to have a job, regardless of how miserable, discriminatory, or dangerous it might be.

9. Eradicate the FDA and USDA. If a food or drug starts killing large numbers of people, distributors and manufacturers will police themselves in order to sustain their profitability.

10. Dismantle the FAA. Plane crashes are simply a cost of doing business. Let’s put a sense of adventure back into flying.

11. Halt all Social Security and Medicare handouts. The programs are insolvent. Our elderly need to start fending for themselves. Wal-Mart needs greeters. And as for those who are too infirm or feeble to work, they’re fortunate to have lived as long as they have.

12. Kudos to Clinton for creating TANF, but he didn’t go far enough. Medicaid and TANF must go. It’s time we introduced our spoiled and lazy rabble to the concept of the workhouse. It worked for the Victorians; it can work for us.Enacting these twelve reforms would go a long way toward restoring the supremacy of free market capitalism. However, our task would not be complete.

Consider an even more critical challenge. To unfetter the free market, we must divorce ourselves from the idiocy of Christianity. Let’s face it. Christ was about compassion, love, generosity, and forgiveness. In the final analysis, Jesus was a loser who provided false hope for misfits, outcasts, incompetents, and weaklings. As free market capitalists driven by greed, selfishness, and hyper-competitiveness, we need to exorcise Christ’s moronic teachings from our society and culture.

Now let’s get busy.

Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor (http://www.bestcyrano.org/) and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. You can reach him at JMiller@bestcyrano.com

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.


Socialism (myspace archive)

Socialism (newer posts)

Don’t Even Start Calling Things Bushian by Mark Drolette (Big Bro; 1984)

Dandelion Salad

by Mark Drolette
July 16th, 2007

I’m sick of lefties snidely comparing the grim totalitarian society of George Orwell’s 1984 to today’s freedom-spewing United States, a country few Americans would dare call dystopian, even if they could define it. The following analysis exposes these aspersions as utterly specious.

Unfounded, even.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. These are the best-known examples of 1984’s “doublespeak,” the deliberate misuse of deceptive language. Some may proffer that George W. Bush calculatingly utilizes doublespeak, but I say no.

His unique linguistic approach comes naturally.

Then, there’s Orwell’s “doublethink”: holding two opposing thoughts simultaneously, which Bush has gone one better by mastering “nothink,” a concept characterized by being devoid of any original thought whatsoever. Unpatriotic types (you know: showoffs who consider intelligence desirable) disparage this, but in reality, it allows our brave decider more freedom to tell the bloody truth, as demonstrated at a February press conference when he boldly pronounced “money trumps peace.”

Cynics who doubt Bush’s sincerity should ask liberty-defending weapons manufacturers if his words ring as true as, say, a non-stop cash register. Admittedly, the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity did announce in 2004 the military industry had given Bush $5.4 million since 1998, tops among politicians, but tellingly didn’t mention somebody’s gotta be number one.

Big Brother is watching you. Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith horrifyingly learns his trysting den has been secretly monitored when a picture crashes to the floor, revealing a previously-hidden telescreen through which his “crimes” have been observed. Among his subversive activities? Making love. (Which, come to think of it, sounds like a plank from the GOP platform.)

In 1984, everyone’s under constant surveillance. Or are they? It doesn’t matter: it’s the thought (crime) that counts. Thinking you’re being watched chills your very core, sorta like how you blanched the morning following yet another spirited night of porn-surfing when it appeared your computer’s history had been searched by your (now ex-) wife.

It’s preposterous, however, to suggest Americans would ever allow impingement of their constitutionally-protected right to privacy. Courageous, magnet-affixing patriots that they are, they’d rabidly fight outrages like cameras at every corner, microchipped passports, a national ID card, no-warrant searches or having the FBI investigate their borrowing of A Marxist History at the library. (Then again, maybe the local field agent should discover why acolytes consider Harpo the funniest of the bunch.)

Two plus two makes five. I’m sure my long-suffering high school algebra teacher was convinced this was my motto. Nevertheless, once I finally comprehended basic addition, I knew Orwell, by having sinister Inner Party member O’Brien inform Smith two plus two makes five if the state says it does, was averring that with enough coercion (or voltage), the government can make one believe even the most absurd notion.

Clearly, no such inane assertions have emanated from the Bush administration.

Which, by the way, had its number of (s)elected office-holders reduced by half recently when Dick Cheney declared the vice presidency isn’t part of the executive branch.

It belongs to Congress, apparently.

Or the Rotary Club.

Or something.

Which makes sense when you do the new (world order) math: Two minus one equals George W. Bush; I’m sorry, check it: a big fat zero.

In 1984, Oceania is always at war. Oceania’s rulers classically rechannel the masses’ potentially dangerous resentment by creating a perennial national foe. Actually, they fashion two, Eastasia and Eurasia, deeming one a mortal enemy and the other an ally before suddenly reversing the roles, thereby keeping the proletariat further off-balance. The similar-sounding names produce additional beneficial confusion.

Obviously, no comparable situation exists here. We know exactly where the enemy lies: in Iraq.

Or is it Iran?

Room 101. In dreaded Room 101, Oceania’s nascent rebels (that is, independent thinkers meaning, thankfully, most Americans would never see the place) are shattered via the ultimate torture: being forced to face the “worst thing in the world.” Smith experiences this literally when a cage, strapped to his head, allows access to his face by his greatest fear: rats.

You’d never see such shenanigans in America: PETA would howl.

Besides, everyone knows torture doesn’t work. A brutalized person admits to anything, true or not, to stop the pain. Threaten any American with credit card (or American Idol) cancellation and just wait for the babbling.

Plus, torture is distinctly un-American even if, as White House counsel in 2002, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tried to make it a project for the new American century when he called Geneva Conventions proscribing it “quaint” and “obsolete” in his attempt to justify its use in the never-ending War on Terror.

Or is it Tarot?

No matter. Bush luckily saved the day by forcefully putting his foot down (almost as if stamping on a human face), stating: “America will never torture, arbitrarily imprison, kidnap, rape, murder people or take their stuff even.”

Didn’t he?

Down the memory hole. In 1984, Smith rewrites history at the Orwellian-named Ministry of Truth, revising old newspaper articles and then slipping the incriminating evidence down a slot leading to an incinerator where old facts go to fry.

Incredibly, some folks claim our government does the same thing! A Web site called The Memory Hole (how’s that for coincidence?) showcases materials it implies prove public information is regularly removed or doctored à la 1984.

OK, so it was interesting to view the headline over a May 2003 White House screen shot of Bush on a carrier that read “President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended” only to see, five months later, the word “Major” had been inserted before “Combat.” America-haters would likely say there’s nothing like a pesky insurgency to make you eat your words (or add one). But, honestly, who could’ve known before the invasion Iraq didn’t really endanger our beloved country?

I mean, besides the millions of protestors proclaiming before the invasion Iraq didn’t endanger our beloved country?

Let’s say the administration does rewrite history. So what? Wouldn’t your very own memory hole have come in mighty handy when you got your last probation report, the one in which you discovered much to your chagrin your supervisor does, indeed, know the meaning of “porcine”?

Personally, I don’t need government assistance to help me forget things. Why, just this morning I –

Uh… what was I saying?

Never mind. I’ve already proved my point, whatever it was. It’s time anyway for my shift over at the Department of Attitude Amendment where we’re finishing our week-long re-education seminars:

“Totalitarianism: Why the bad rap?”

It’s a four-part series.

This is the fifth installment.

Long rule Oceania! I mean, wherever.

(published originally in the Sacramento News & Review)

Mark Drolette is a writer who lives in Sacramento, California, and whose next book, Why Costa Rica? Why the hell not?, will also be his first. It will be available once it’s finished, published and then made available. Mark can be reached at mdrolette@comcast.net . Read other articles by Mark.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.


Big Brother/1984