The Rest Is Marketing By Sidney Blumenthal

Dandelion Salad

By Sidney Blumenthal
The Guardian UK
Go to Original
Thursday 19 July 2007

President Bush tries to sell the latest US intelligence estimate as part of his grand victory narrative. The only things standing in the way are the facts.

    One of the more memorable and revealing statements explaining the nature of the Bush administration build-up to the invasion of Iraq was offered in September 2002 by then White House chief of staff Andrew Card. “From a marketing point of view,” he said, “you don’t introduce new products in August.” Five years later, a period longer than the Civil War and World War II, the administration is preparing to present its case for continuing the surge in Iraq. But rather than waiting for September, when General David Petraeus is scheduled to deliver his report, the administration has moved up the marketing to July.

    The familiar props are rolled out, like the well-worn and peeling painted backdrop for a production of a travelling Victorian theatrical troupe, and members of the audience are expected to watch with rapt fascination, as though they had never seen this show before. The negative response to the preview does not alter the same old script.

    The usual atmospherics are pumped up – sudden panic and fear, an elusive and ubiquitous enemy that assumes many guises and shapes, cherry-picked information to provide a patina of verisimilitude to the danger, followed by a march of authority figures to rescue us. Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, held a press conference on July 11 to announce that he had a “gut feeling” that the terrorist threat was dire. General Peter Pace, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on his final tour of Iraq Tuesday, proclaimed a “sea change”. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice frantically telephoned moderate Republican senators, urging them not to defect from support of the president’s position.

    Even Rosencrantz-and-Guildenstern supporting players wander through, like Frances Townsend, President Bush’s homeland security advisor, who, Tuesday, entered right into the White House press room to declaim about the terrorist threat, only to confirm the administration’s failure to destroy al-Qaida and expose her own bafflement: “You’re assuming it’s a zero-sum game, which is what I don’t understand.”

    General Petraeus is heralded as the dramatic hero who will stride to triumph in the last act. The author of a recent study of counterinsurgency who has not previously fought such a war, he has been thrust into the spotlight partly because his halo is yet untarnished. Bush’s unpopularity disqualifies him from the “Mission Accomplished” moment. So he pushes out his handpicked general and walks behind his chariot, hoping the cheering of the crowd will be also for him. In his July 12 press conference, Bush mentioned Petraeus 11 times, his name flourished as a talisman for victory. The generals with the greatest experience with the Iraq insurgency, who opposed Bush’s surge, such as General John Abizaid, an Arabic speaker, have been discharged or reassigned. The burden on the ambitious general to produce a military solution is unbearable and his breaking inevitable. But for now, Petraeus’ tragedy foretold is being cast as the first dawn of a happy ending.

    At his July 12 press conference, Bush elevated al-Qaida to enemy number one in Iraq and mentioned it 31 times, asserting that not supporting his policy would lead to “surrendering the future of Iraq to al-Qaida”. Asked about the soon to be released National Intelligence Estimate on al-Qaida, Bush claimed it would state, “There is a perception in the coverage that al-Qaida may be as strong today as they were prior to September the 11th. That’s just simply not the case.”

    One day later, on July 13, Bush held a meeting at the White House for a small group of conservative pundits, giving them a glimpse into his state of mind. David Brooks of the New York Times described his “self-confidence”. Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard quoted him saying, “I’m optimistic,” even though he also said, “I understand the polls. This is an unpopular war!” At his press conference, Bush had said, “There is a war fatigue in America.” And he pointed to his head. “It’s affecting our psychology.” During his meeting with the conservative writers, he mocked his critics. Kate O’Beirne and Rich Lowry of the National Review quoted him as saying: “How can he possibly do this? Can’t he see? Can’t he hear?” The son of a president explained that no one could really understand what it meant to be president. “You don’t know what it’s like to be commander in chief until you’re commander in chief,” he said, according to participants. His critics could not possibly understand him. But he was obviously peeved. Washington, he complained, was filled with “a lot of talkers”. Yet Bush pledged, unbidden, that he would not listen to these critics. “I’m not on the phone chatting up with these people writing these articles, ascribing motives to me.” Such are the reflections of the so-called self-confident president.

    On Tuesday, the executive summary of the new NIE on al-Qaida was made public. But it did not fit the administration’s marketing campaign. Al-Qaida, the report stated, has “protected or regenerated” itself in the northern provinces of Pakistan. It also said that the terrorist group would “probably leverage” its contacts with the group known as al-Qaida in Iraq, an “affiliate”, and “the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland”.

    The next day, Wednesday, the US military made a timely announcement of the capture of Khaled Abdul-Fattah Dawoud Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a courier for al-Qaida in Iraq. After two weeks in detention, he confessed to hand delivering messages from al-Qaida leaders Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, suggesting that the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques vociferously defended by the administration indeed work.

    The latest NIE, however, is a strange product. According to highly reliable sources in the intelligence community, no new intelligence at all is reflected in the NIE. Its conclusions, on one level, are a rehash of obvious facts that anyone who reads a daily newspaper could glean, such as the protected status of al-Qaida in frontier regions of Pakistan. Other conclusions lack contextual analysis, partly because of the continuing pressure from the administration to politicise information and cherry-pick intelligence. The NIE, for example, does not explain that al-Qaida in Iraq, while lethal, is a very small part of the Sunni insurgency, and that a number of Sunni insurgent groups are its sworn enemies. Nor did the NIE note how few foreign fighters are in Iraq and what a small percentage of insurgents they constitute. (A Los Angeles Times story published on July 15 reported that of the 19,000 Iraqi prisoners held by the US military there, only 135 are foreign fighters, and nearly half are Saudis.) The NIE is utterly devoid of political analysis.

    According to intelligence sources, CIA director Michael Hayden has been under attack within the administration from Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives since testifying frankly to the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group that urged a strategic redeployment of US forces and new diplomatic efforts in the region, which were rejected by President Bush. A virtual paralysis is setting in within the intelligence community. Analysts are even anxious about putting their names on their reports. While they are homogenising information, the administration is still unhappy with the result, as it was with the new NIE.

    For the embattled president, filled with “self-confidence”, the “motives” he doesn’t wish critics to examine turn out to be far more utopian than the military success of the surge, as he explained to his conservative interlocutors. “There is such a thing as the universality of freedom. I strongly believe that Muslims desire to be free just like Methodists desire to be free.” Beneath the seething chaotic violence, beyond the tribal and religious strife, past the civil war, the Iraqis, according to the president, under their robes are no different from American Methodists. There’s nothing more to understand. If only we can prevail, they can be just like us. The rest is marketing.

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.

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Rand’s $400,000 Marketing 101 Text & Research Sales Pitch by Glitzqueen


glitzqueen

Featured writer

Dandelion Salad

by The Other Katherine Harris

Here’s what American taxpayers bought from the Rand Corporation for the Pentagon, in the formerly secret report titled Enlisting Madison Avenue: The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation

1. an enormous amount of boilerplate available free at any library and online, which undoubtedly serves as the spine of all preliminary reports from Rand (intoducing basic concepts like positioning, branding, types, audience analysis factors, principles of community and media relations, advertising reach and frequency, contingency planning and damage control, the importance of message consistency, yada-yada, and citing well-known examples from business);

2. a unifying “now you need to buy our research” theme;

3. deceptive bulk created by excessive white space, overlarge type and 38 pages of essentially dead air (15 in titles and other introductory and acknowledgment material, a three-page glossary of military abbreviations well-known to the readers and a 20-page bibliography, all in huge type); and

4. a few reasonable ideas, based on interviews with military personnel and/or simple common sense.

How do I know?

1. I just plowed through the whole damn thing (a 241-page pdf); and

2. I’ve worked in marketing communications and journalism for more than 30 years.

At least half of the document is boilerplate familiar to anybody who’s taken one class or spent a few months in the industry, so we paid $200,000 to give communications officers a Cliffnotes summary that they don’t need (or that we’d better hope they don’t need).

At least 20 percent of the document is filler, even if we allow for the usual title page, a table of contents, acknowledgments and a small-type biblio, so filler cost us $100,000.

Of course it isn’t entirely fair to analyze the cost on a per-page basis, but it does disgust me that 60 percent of what’s in print required no real work to produce –- not to mention the fact that much of the rest is a sales pitch (sometimes thinly veiled and sometimes bare-faced). They did have to spend some time interviewing people, whose complaints and suggestions led to 11 primary recommendations, summarized as follows. For $36,363 per recommendation, we got these:

1. Pursue anticipatory shaping — which means building a fund of goodwill in advance, by doing good things (training the locals, building relationships, aiding humanitarian work). This is a DUH, apart from the advice to spend more on anticipating public perceptions of military contingencies).

2. Better leverage CA/CMO activities — which means mainly aim for more and better publicity and word-of-mouth accounts, but does have some meat to it. They earned a few bucks here.

3. Manage use of force for shaping — meaning “try to kill fewer innocent people” even if it means using different weapons sometimes. This is a DUH.

4. Establish and preserve credibility — meaning “don’t try to deceive anybody but the enemy when necessary”. This is a DUH.

5. Integrate communication — the ultimate DUH, except that they’re so far from actually doing it, in large part due to organizational structure. Consistency is something you preach to every client, about how every aspect of what they’re doing and saying needs to cohere, instead of conflict.

6. Improve communication-resource allocation, joint training and processes — meaning in this case bring marketing into absolutely everything, at all levels, which would actually require changing some laws. Not a DUH, but dubious practice.

7. Address shaping intelligence requirements — in other words, “buy our research” to understand and influence your indigenous audiences. That it’s important to understand one’s targets is a DUH, but a sales pitch didn’t belong here and would be silly even in a separate document at this late date.

8. Establish and maintain the relationships that shaping requires — meaning “be nice” whenever you can. This is a DUH, apart from the specific suggestion of making those who’ve formed good relationships with the locals stay longer (which could easily backfire into more brutality, don’t you think?).

9. Respond better to mistakes — clearly a DUH, apart from suggesting more accountability for those who screw up.

10. Better counter adversaries’ shaping efforts — more or less a duplication of Item 11.

11. Improve relations with news media — more or less a repeat of Item 4. Items four, 10 and 11 would be better thought of as a unit. (Ah, but then the cost per recommendation would be $44,444.)

Yesterday Jeffrey Feldman offered a piece on this subject: called Secret “Madison Ave” Iraq Report Will Enrage Public at Frameshop and How Ketchup Can Stop the Killing at Huffington Post. Dr. Feldman is outraged that “the same techniques used to sell breakfast cereal and hardware” have been applied to shaping public perceptions of a military campaign.

As you can tell from my approach, that isn’t what gets my goat. It’s been done for decades by huge military departments devoted to public information, recruitment and whatnot. Marcom principles can be legitimately applied to almost anything. A lot of it is common sense “duh” stuff and ethical practitioners of the craft tell clients to do the right thing, not just pretend to. I’ve never knowingly lied for a client or advised any sort of devious behavior, and I’m certainly not alone in that.

Rand sometimes appears to take this line — for instance, in counseling more transparency, accountability and respect for Iraqis’ privacy, as well as in the title phrase about “earning” the desired support. What makes me question their own “positioning” is that you don’t get a sense of integrity across the board. Padding their ripoff report to make it seem more substantial, aka worth the money, is one aspect of that. Their constant sales pitch is another. A third, even more troubling, is the tone. There’s a lot of doublespeak, like calling violent attacks “kinetic operations” almost without exception.

Mr. Feldman seems most offended by the report’s opening line, “Counterinsurgency (COIN) and other stability operations are prominent in the contemporary operating environment and are likely to remain so in the future,” which he called a “stunning and cynical” betrayal of the public will with respect to the future.

It is. However, my nominee for top honors in cynicism comes from page 79:

Ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have included several situations in which U.S. forces have made some kind of substantial error with potentially negative shaping consequences. The burning of Taliban corpses; the reputed mass murder in Haditha, Iraq; and the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib are examples of mistakes with adverse shaping consequences.

While one has to be sensitive to clients’ sensibilities, calling war crimes “mistakes with adverse shaping consequences” is a new low.


HR 676 Universal Healthcare: Don’t Stop Believin’ (video; Kucinich; 35 percenters)

Dandelion Salad

Also check out the Dennis Kucinich Action Center. Add me as a friend: Dandelion-Salad, thanks. ~ Lo

Provided By: 35percenters
July 22, 2007

Blue Gal meets up with Former President Clinton to discuss Dennis Kucinich’s single-payer, not-for-profit health care plan which would provide every man, woman, and child with comprehensive coverage from whatever doctors they choose. This would be achieved through a tax on employers that is lower than what employers who now provide coverage pay on average. Unlike other Democratic presidential candidates, Kucinich doesn’t simply say, “Forget about it” when it comes to basic human rights. He has the courage to entirely eliminate private insurance companies from the equation.

Davis Fleetwood also makes an appearance in this video, continuing his noble quest to offer free advice to Mrs. Clinton about her campaign.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCOtUt…

Hillary’s unofficial campaign song, “Cancer In My Backyard,” was created by 1.6 Band.
http://www.myspace.com/16band

Tell your representatives to support HR 676.
Leave your own health care related video response.
Tell the other Democratic candidates how you feel.
For more info on how you can GET INVOLVED, visit our website:
http://www.35percenters.com

The 35 Percenters is comprised of the following bloggers:

The Largest Minority
http://theLargestMinority.com

Blue Gal
http://BGalrstate.Blogspot.com

Blue Man
http://BuildOurParty.Blogspot.com

Monkey Muck
http://MonkeyMucker.Blogspot.com

Dandelion Salad
https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com

Peace Garden
http://www.Peacegarden.Blogspot.com

Quaker Dave
http://theQuakerAgitator.Blogspot.com

Phydeaux Speaks
http://www.Phydeauxpseaks.Blogspot.com

The Hermit with Davis Fleetwood
http://thehermitwithdavisfleetwood.bl…

Dennis Kucinich for Prez in 08
http://www.myspace.com/kucinich2008

Modern Musings
http://taureandevi.blogspot.com

Freida Bee
http://freidabee.blogspot.com

Cause for Concern
http://utteroutrage.blogspot.com

Unofficial Kucinich Youtube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/kucinich2008

Please also visit:
Dennis Kucinich’s Official Youtube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/Kucinich2008

see:

Impeach Cheney: Peaceman vs The Chenguin by the 35 Percenters (video; Kucinich)

Are you a 35 Percenter? You can be. by Lo (Kucinich)

Time To End The Dirty War In Iraq By Tom Hayden

Dandelion Salad

By Tom Hayden
unpublished

A new stage for the peace movement

Under current law, the Leahy amendment of 1997, US security assistance is prohibited to foreign security forces “against whom exist credible allegations of gross human rights.” The Bush Administration refuses to enforce the Leahy Amendment, citing “extraordinary circumstances.” But nothing prevents the Congress from suspending or cutting off funds for the training and equipping of Iraqi units that violate human rights.

Continue reading

Say No to Nukes By Ralph Nader

Dandelion Salad

By Ralph Nader
Fri, July 20, 2007

Here they go again. After thirty years without a firm order, the atomic power companies are pushing their radioactive, costly technology for a comeback on the backs of you the taxpayers.

The old argument in the Seventies was that nuclear powered electricity would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. With only three percent of our electricity coming from burning petroleum, the pro-nuke lobby is now jumping on the global warming bandwagon. Uranium, they argue, does not release greenhouse gases like coal or oil.

What nuclear lobbies ignore is all the coal and oil that needs to be burned to enrich uranium, to transport radioactive wastes with protective highway and rail convoys and provide security since they would be a priority target for sabotage.

Apart from that, let’s start with the technological insanity of the nuclear fuel cycle—from uranium mines and their deadly tailings, to the refining and fabrication into fuel rods, to the multi-shielded dome-like nuclear plant, to the necessity for perfect operation of the facility, to the still unresolved problems of the location and containment of hot radioactive wastes and contaminated material for the next 200,000 years!

All this for one objective—to boil water into steam. A pretty complex chain of events in order to boil water. There are far better, cheaper ways to meet the electricity needs of today’s generation without burdening future generations for centuries with the deadly waste products.

Back in the Seventies, before the public rose up and said no to nuclear power, helped by Wall Street’s reluctance to finance these trouble-prone plants, the Atomic Energy Commission projected the construction of 1000 atomic power plants in the U.S. by the year 2000. There are today 103 plants.

Placing the predicted 100 plants up and down the California coastline would have been an act of peerless recklessness, especially given the earthquake faults.

Just this week, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck Kashiwazaki, Japan and disabled a gigantic nuclear power plant which the New York Times reported, “raised new concerns about the safety of the nation’s accident-plagued nuclear industry.” It turns out that this plant, owned by Tokyo Electric Power, may be sitting directly above an earthquake fault line.

Each day, reports show damage greater than believed the day before, including radiation leaks, damage to exhaust ducts, burst pipes and other “malfunctions” beyond the fires. Several hundred barrels of radioactive waste were toppled.

The problem with nuclear power is that it gets one bite of the apple. Just one major meltdown could provoke a demand to close the industry down by overwhelming adverse public outrage. You see, way back in the Fifties and Sixties, the Atomic Energy Commission, a booster-regulatory agency for atomic power plants, estimated that an “area the size of Pennsylvania” would be contaminated in such a disaster.

Remember, Chernobyl in Ukraine is still surrounded by vacant towns and villages following the 1986 tragedy. Radioactivity found its way as far as sheep in England, nuts grown in Turkey and elsewhere.

Do you know any other industry producing electricity that has to have specific evacuation plans for miles around it, is inherently a national security risk, cannot be privately insured without Congress mandating severe limited liability in case of massive casualties and requires massive taxpayer subsidies?

A most concise, authoritative case against the electric atom was recently released titled “Why a Future for the Nuclear Industry is Risky” by a group of environmental health and social investment groups. (See http://www.cleanenergy.org)

In the introduction to the report, the case against nuclear energy was summarized this way: “Wind power and other renewable technologies, combined with energy efficiency, conservation and cogeneration can be much more cost effective and can be deployed much sooner than new nuclear power plants.”

Yes indeed, efficiency or conservation, with a national mission, can cut in half the waste of energy, using currently available technology and know-how, before the first privately capitalized nuclear plant opens. One scientist once described the primary output of electric generating plants as “heating the heavens.”

If this insensitive industry cannot be revived by Uncle Sam’s tax treasury, Wall Street certainly has given no indication that private investment would take on the risk. Investment money is pouring presently into wind power, solar and other renewables and this is just the early springtime for these benign sources of energy.

The International Energy Agency sees a 25% cost reduction for wind power and a 50% cost reduction for solar photovoltaics from 2001 to 2020. Without Wall Street’s private capital and with rising construction and operating costs in other countries, the prospect for nuclear power being competitive, even deducting decommissioning costs, and the many millennia of waste storage costs, is not there.

Add a major accident and you’ll see, in addition to casualties and contaminated land and property, every private investor running for cover while the bill is passed on to taxpayers.

Here is a suggestion to put the industry’s propaganda to rest. Will any high nuclear industry executive debate physicist Amory Lovins at the National Press Club filled with electric company leaders? If so, please visit http://www.rmi.org and contact Mr. Lovins.

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.

America’s next big blunder By Eric Margolis

America’s next big blunder

Dandelion Salad

By ERIC MARGOLIS
Sun, July 22, 2007
Fears are growing the U.S. may be planning to attack Pakistan’s “autonomous” tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The Bush administration is ready to lash out at old ally Pakistan, which Washington now blames for its humiliating failures to crush al-Qaida or defeat Taliban resistance forces in Afghanistan. Limited “hot pursuit” ground incursions, intensive air attacks, and special forces raids by U.S. forces into Pakistan’s tribal are being studied.

The U.S. claims the 27,200- sq.-km region, home to 3.3 million Pashtun tribesmen, is a safe haven for al-Qaida and Taliban, and a hotbed of anti-American activity. Indeed it is, thanks mostly to the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan.

I spent a remarkable time in this wild medieval region during the 1980s and ’90s, travelling alone where even Pakistani government officials dared not go, visiting the tribes of Waziristan, Orakzai, Khyber, Chitral, and Kurram, and their chiefs, called “maliks.”

These tribal belts are always called “lawless.” Pashtun tribesmen could shoot you if they didn’t like your looks. Rudyard Kipling warned British Imperial soldiers over a century ago, when fighting cruel, ferocious Pashtun warriors of the Afridi clan, “save your last bullet for yourself.”

Law and honour

But there is law: The traditional Pashtun tribal code, Pashtunwali, that strictly governs behaviour and personal honour. Protecting guests was sacred. I was captivated by this majestic mountain region and wrote of it extensively in my book, War at the Top of the World.

The 40 million Pashtun — called “Pathan’ by the British — are the world’s largest tribal group. Imperial Britain divided them by an artificial border, the Durand Line, now the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Pakistan’s Pashtun number 28 million, plus an additional 2.5 million refugees from Afghanistan. The 15 million Pashtun of Afghanistan form that nation’s largest ethnic group.

The tribal agency’s Pashtun reluctantly joined Pakistan in 1947 under express constitutional guarantee of total autonomy and a ban on Pakistani troops entering there.

But under intense U.S. pressure, President Pervez Musharraf violated Pakistan’s constitution by sending 80,000 federal troops to fight the region’s tribes, killing 3,000 of them.

In best British imperial tradition, Washington pays Musharraf $100 million monthly to rent his sepoys (native soldiers) to fight Pashtun tribesmen.

As a result, Pakistan is fast edging towards civil war.

The anti-communist Taliban movement is part of the Pashtun people. Taliban fighters move across the artificial Pakistan-Afghanistan border, to borrow a Maoism, like fish through the sea. Osama bin Laden is a hero in the region.

The U.S. just increased its reward for bin Laden to $50 million and plans to shower $750 million on the tribal region to try to buy loyalty.

Can’t be bought

Bush/Cheney & Co. do not understand that while they can rent President Musharraf’s government in Islamabad, many Pashtun value personal honour far more than money, and cannot be bought.

Any U.S. attack on Pakistan would be a catastrophic mistake.

First, air and ground assaults will succeed only in widening the anti-U.S. war and merging it with Afghanistan’s resistance to western occupation.

Second, Pakistan’s army officers who refuse to be bought may resist a U.S. attack on their homeland, and overthrow the man who allowed it, Gen. Musharraf. A U.S. attack would sharply raise the threat of anti-U.S. extremists seizing control of strategic Pakistan and marginalize those seeking return to democratic government.

Third, a U.S. attack on the tribal areas could re-ignite the old movement to reunite Pashtun parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan into independent “Pashtunistan.” That could begin unravelling fragile Pakistan, leaving its nuclear arsenal up for grabs.

The U.S. military has grown used to attacking small, weak nations like Grenada and Iraq. Pakistan, with 163 million people, and a poorly equipped, but very tough 550,000-man army, will offer no easy victories.

Those Bush administration and Harper government officials who foolishly advocate attacking Pakistan are playing with fire.

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.

CNN/YouTube debate set (video)

Dandelion Salad

Watch the CNN/YouTube debate on MONDAY NIGHT at 7 PM ET on CNN!

Then come here to youtube.com/debates to see clips of the debate, behind-the-scenes footage, and upload your own video analysis of how the debate went.

see:

YouTube Debate VI (videos) + Davis Fleetwood: Call to Bush to resign

YouTube Debate V (videos)

YouTube Debate IV (videos)

YouTube Debate III (videos)

YouTube Debate II (videos)

YouTube Debate I (videos)

YouTube Debate: Will you support gay marriage? (video)

YouTube Debate: Kucinich as President? (video; Davis Fleetwood)

The terrorists aren’t coming, they’re here . . . in Washington By Bev Conover

It’s time to put impeachment back on the table.
Write to Pelosi or call her: (202) 225-0100 and leave her a message. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

By Bev Conover
Online Journal Editor & Publisher
Jul 20, 2007, 01:04

Forget Osama and the bin Laden family friends of the Bushes. The real names of the terrorists are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and company, plus a complicit Congress that, thus far, refuses to use its constitutional powers to impeach and remove these criminals.

Yet, it’s “al Qaeda,” “al Qaeda,” “al Qaeda,” according to the corporate media parrots who spew it 24/7. “Al Qaeda” is responsible for every act of resistance to outright criminality in this world — from fighting the US occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan to attempting to cause mayhem with vehicular Molotov cocktails in London and Glasgow (erroneously called “car bombs” by the corporate media).

If you think 9/11, cooked up by the Bushies’ friends at the Project for the New American Century, who said a “new Pearl Harbor” was needed, was bad enough, now you have Michael Dual Citizenship (US and Israeli) Chertoff saying he feels in his “gut” that another 9/11 is coming to the US this summer.

And the corporate media ate that one, too, along with the dessert served up by the latest National Intelligence Estimate that “the base” (“al Qaeda”) is reconstituted and stronger than ever. Wow!

Meanwhile, the wannabe presidential candidates in both wings of the Corpocratic Party, with the exception of Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel and Ron Paul (all written off by the corporate media as “can’t win” third tier candidates), are flexing their jaw muscles about what they will do to those “al Qaeda terrorists” — from bombing Iran to flattening what is left of Afghanistan — if they become the next occupants of the White House. Also, bear in mind that, with the exception of the aforementioned three, all are salivating over the prospect of exercising the power Bush has granted to himself as the “unitary executive” and “the decider,” which is why they aren’t calling for Cheney and Bush’s impeachment.

What is completely ignored by both the corporate media and the wannabe presidents is that if the Bushies pull off their next 9/11, George W. will have his “catastrophic emergency” in order to invoke his National Security and Homeland Security Directive, thereby making himself and Cheney dictators for life. In that event, will all those who stuffed the campaign coffers of the 2008 hopefuls want a refund?

Continued…

h/t: Global Research

see:

My Wake-up Call: Watch For Another 9/11-WMD Experience By Paul Craig Roberts

Bill Moyers: Tough Talk on Impeachment (video link; Fein; Nichols)

Thom Hartmann interviews Paul Craig Roberts (audio link; executive orders; Police State)

Bush Pens Dictatorship Directive, Few Notice by Kurt Nimmo

Bush To Be Dictator In A Catastrophic Emergency by Lee Rogers (Martial Law; Police State)

National Security & Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51 (2007)

US government fans homeland terrorism fear-plans for martial law, nuclear terror by Larry Chin

Police State

Facing the Truth By Monica Benderman


Dandelion Salad

By Monica Benderman

07/21/07 “ICH

It’s about time Americans faced the truth.

A Marine not only convicted of conspiring to commit kidnapping, larceny, and making false statements; but the murder – MURDER – of an innocent Iraqi man, was given his sentence. He is to receive a reduction in rank and a bad conduct discharge.

THIS is what America has become.

It is now considered “bad conduct” to murder an unarmed man, knowingly return to the scene to fabricate the appearance of self-defense and hide the facts after the fact.

Murdering an innocent Iraqi is now considered “Bad Conduct.”

In 2004 my husband, a ten-year US Army veteran, made a conscious decision to no longer participate in war – he spoke openly of the bad conduct of his commanders in giving orders to soldiers in his unit which not only jeopardized the lives of innocent Iraqis, and children, but also those of the soldiers he served with.

For his decision to no longer be part of the destruction, wanton killing, and unjust, immoral action this war has shown itself to be, my husband was accused of being a deserter, faced trumped up, fabricated charges of intentionally missing his unit’s movement, and when the first court-martial attempt failed, was handed additional trumped up charges of larceny for combat pay his command erroneously placed in his paycheck. During a second court-martial attempt he was found guilty of missing movement or not getting on a plane and was sentenced to 15 months in prison, loss of all pay, reduction in rank and a dishonorable discharge.

A veteran with ten years of honorable service, who took a stand to no longer participate in an action in which murdering innocents is acceptable is now considered “Dishonorable.”

How low do you intend to go, America?

How far are you going to let your values dip before you stop the slide?

We don’t need to see the documents “executive privilege” is denying us the right to see. Their content is evident in the actions of our military courts – Justice in America no longer has a conscience, and the travesty continues as Americans sleep through the reality of what it is they are about to lose.

The United States Congress spent an entire night – wasted an entire night – in a public display of ridiculous bantering over a war which has now caused the deaths of almost 4000 US military personnel and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians – CHILDREN are dying every day in Iraq because of what this country has allowed to happen, and our Congress has the foresight to remember to place cots in the Senate chambers in case one of the illustrious elite might grow weary of their repetitious “pillow talk” and need a rest.

I am weary of the talk – the Iraqis are weary of the talk – and I know for a fact that American soldiers are weary of the talk.

Continued…

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.

Trouble in Hedgistan: “Its gonna get a lot worse” By Mike Whitney


Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney

07/21/07 “ICH

Two columns of black smoke can be seen rising over Wall Street and disappearing into the ice-blue New York sky.

Terrorism?

Not quite. The plumes of smoke are all that’s left of two major hedge funds which blew up just weeks ago leaving nothing behind but a few smoldering embers and a mound of black soot.

The compiled assets of the Bear Sterns High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Fund—nearly $20 billion—have vanished into the miasma of cyber-space where they will soon be joined by $1.4 trillion of other, equally worthless, Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO).

If you look carefully, you can almost see the mangled and bloodied bodies of the CDOs, the CSDs, the RMBS and the other shaky debt-instruments being pulled from the wreckage and tossed unceremoniously on the bonfire.

Is this how it all ends? The first whiff of trouble in the housing market and then—in a flash–all the funds in “Hedgistan” begin teetering towards earth?

“No Value”-“No Bids”

According to Bloomberg News, Bear Sterns announced last week that there’s “little value left” in one of its funds and “no value left” in the other.

Nothing, nada, zippo.

The news was like a bucket of cold water dumped on the stock market leaving slack-jawed traders shuddering in trepidation.

What does it all mean?

Does that mean that the entire hedge fund empire—which is built on a foundation of dodgy loans and quicksand—may be headed for the crapper?

No one really knows. But a pall has settled-in over downtown Manhattan where gloomy-looking men in pinstriped suits are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Y’see, the hedge fund industry is based on the bizarre notion that one does not have to produce anything of value to make boatloads of money. You don’t even need assets any more—just a risky loan that can be transformed into an investment grade security through the magic of “securitization” a sprinkling of Wall Street snake oil.

Abrah Kadabra—presto-chango!

It’s like taking shards of bottle-glass and selling it as the Hope Diamond. Who’s gonna notice?

The only catch is that–now that these toxic CDOs are going to auction–there are no bids. That’s a bad thing.

“No bids” means that $1.4 trillion of shaky investments have no discernable market-value. The CDOs were graded “mark to model” which translates into “mark to fantasy”. It means that the investment bankers and hedge fund managers got together over Martinis one night and pulled a number out of a hat.

Now no one wants to buy them. They’re worthless.

The skydiving hedge funds just pulled the CDO rip-chord and nothing came out but confetti.

Aaaaaaaahhhh!

And that’s just half the story. There’s trillions of dollars in derivatives riding on these shaky CDOs. That’s enough to bring down the whole market in a heap once interest rates rise or liquidity dries up. Now it’s just a matter of “when” now, not “if”.

This illustrates an important point, though. It shows what it takes to be a good hedge fund manager:

Take a shabby sub-prime mortgage; chop it into “investment”, “mezzanine” and “equity” tranches. Bundle it with other equally suspect mortgage backed securities (MBS). Decide (arbitrarily) what the CDOs are worth Tell your banker. Leverage at a ratio of 10 o 1. Take 2% “off the top” plus salary for your efforts. Buy a summer home in the Hampton’s and a Lexus for the wife. Wait for the crash. Then repeat.

Congratulations; you are now a successful hedge fund manager!

Oh yeah; and don’t forget to prepare a few soothing words for the investors who just lost their entire life savings and will now be spending their evenings squatting beneath a nearby freeway off-ramp.

“We’re so very sorry, Mrs. Jones. Can we get you some cardboard-bedding to keep off the rain?”

The problems that are appearing in the stock and bond markets all started at the Federal Reserve when Fed-Chief Alan Greenspan opened the sluice-gates in 2003 and lowered interest rates to 1%. (Way below the rate of inflation) Since then, trillions of dollars have flooded into the markets creating multiple equity bubbles in real estate, stocks and credit.

Serial bubble-maker Greenspan is to finance-capitalism what Wrigley is to chewing gum. The greatest flim-flam man of all time.

The Fed has tried to conceal the massive increase to the money supply, but the evidence is everywhere. (Many analysts now calculate that inflation is running at roughly 13%) Food and energy have skyrocketed. Housing prices have soared. Everything has gone up except the cheapo imports which the Fed uses to manipulate the inflation stats.

The gigantic housing bubble is mostly Greenspan’s doing. After printing-up mountains of cash and creating artificial demand through low interest rates; he promoted his product-line with the typical huckster sales-pitch. “Maestro” advised us that the extension of credit to all-God’s creatures, worthy or not, is a good thing.

Here’s a clip of Alan praising subprime lending in a speech on April 8, 2005:

“With these advances in technology, lenders have taken advantage of credit-scoring models and other techniques for efficiently extending credit to a broader spectrum of consumers. . . . As we reflect on the evolution of consumer credit in the United States, we must conclude that innovation and structural change in the financial services industry have been critical in providing expanded access to credit for the vast majority of consumers, including those of limited means. . . . This fact underscores the importance of our roles as policymakers, researchers, bankers and consumer advocates in fostering constructive innovation that is both responsive to market demand and beneficial to consumers.”


Yes, of course, with all these “advances in technology” and new-fangled “credit-scoring models” why would we need to verify a loan-applicant’s income or require that he scrape together a measly $5,000 for a $450,000 mortgage?

That’s all so 20th Century!

Now that foreclosures are mushrooming at an unprecedented pace, the Fed is trying to distance itself from the problem by blaming the banks for their shoddy underwriting practices. But the guilt lies with the Central Bank. Its all part of their whacko plan to crush the dollar and create a police state.

It may sound trite, but “inflation is theft”. Unfortunately, inflation is also part of the ruling class’ strategy to rob the poor, fuel the stock market with cheap credit, and move jobs overseas. It is the autocrat’s method of “social engineering”—shifting wealth from one class to another by simply printing more money and pumping it through the system via low interest rates. Remember, bankers know that people will ALWAYS borrow money if lending standards are relaxed and the money is cheap enough. At 1%, the Fed was basically losing money on every transaction, but persisted with their plan anyway.

Anyone who cares to go back and trace interest rates moves for the last 7 years will see that the Fed is really a political organization that decides monetary policy entirely on the basis an elite agenda that supports endless war, outsourcing of American jobs, and domestic repression.

Are you surprised?

Now, a bad situation is about to get a whole lot worse. Consumer credit rose last month by a whopping 12.9%—credit card debt by 9.8%! Since housing prices have flattened out, homeowners can no longer borrow on their dwindling equity (Mortgage Equity Withdrawal; MEWs) which is forcing the maxed-out American consumer to use plastic even though rates are averaging from 18% to 27% monthly.

Automobile repos have also hit historic highs. But the real damage is showing up in the subprime market where the percentage of defaults continues to rise unabated.

In itself, a correction in real estate is not enough to bring down the whole economy. Unfortunately, the contagion from the subprime meltdown has spread to the stock market, the insurance industry, banking and pensions. Not even Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson or Fed-master Ben Bernanke are claiming that the subprime problems are “contained” anymore. Just this week, the scholarly looking Bernanke said to Senators on the Hill that the housing market has “deteriorated significantly”.

It’s about time. If anyone still has any doubts about the magnitude of fiasco, I recommend they look over these eye-popping charts which tell the whole story. The housing blowdown will spread the carnage from “sea to shining sea”. http://www.itulip.com/

The faltering housing market has drawn attention to an even more colossal credit bubble that is limping towards earth as loan requirements tighten and liquidity dries up.

The prevailing fear on Wall Street is that we may be seeing the beginning of a global credit crunch.

The danger is not just the subprime loans or even the mortgage companies that made the loans, but the overall risk to the secondary market where these loans have been sold as CDOs to the tune of $1.8 trillion.

In this new deregulated environment, the banks don’t have to rely on savings anymore to make the loans. They simply originate the loans, take their commission, and sell the debt as CDOs. They’re even allowed to sell the risk of default through credit default swaps (CDS) which are a form of insurance that minimizes the banks exposure. These weird innovations have spawned riskier and riskier loans and increased the likelihood of damage to the broader market.

The Toxic Cycle of Debt?

Economics correspondent, Stephen Long, explains it like this:

“The problem that arises from the subprime mortgage collapse is that it creates a toxic cycle of debt. Banks originate loans or bundle up loans that mortgage companies have made and sell the risk on to the hedge funds. Then the hedge funds say, ‘Hey, we’ve got this product that has an investment grade rating so we’ll borrow against it from the banks.’ (oftentimes leveraged at a ratio of 10 to 1) Now the hedge funds are trying to buy the original loans to stop them from going into default.”(The hedge funds are forced to slow the rate of foreclosures so they won’t go bankrupt.)

So, what happens when these shaky bonds (CDOs) are “down-graded”?

Will the hedge funds fall like dominos just like the subprime mortgage-lenders? Will we see liquidity evaporate in the broader market triggering a plunge in the stocks and a massive sell-off in the bond market?

CDOs were conjured up with the idea that vast amounts of money could be made on very meager assets through a complex expansion of leverage. They were promoted as “limiting risk” by spreading it to a greater number of investors and providing extra protection through derivatives. Mortgage Backed Securities were sliced and diced into “more risky” and “less risky” tranches depending on investor appetite. Only now—to everyone’s surprise—“collateralized debt obligations with stellar Triple-A ratings have been getting hit by the subprime market’s woes.” (Wall Street Journal, “Bernanke revises subprime outlook”) On top of that, the ABX derivative index “has started showing pronounced weakness at the top of its ratings structure.” (ibid WSJ, 7-19-07)

Get it? In other words, even the VERY BEST of these multi-trillion dollar investments are beginning to falter. The contagion is spreading through the entire market. The CDOs are worthless. No one wants them. In fact, the whole new regime of exotic debt-instruments which emerged from 2000-on, is barely hanging on by a thread. One minor downturn in the stock market and the hedge funds will go freefalling through open space.

A speech by Robert Rodriguez of First Pacific Advisors (CFA) gives us a good idea of the enormity of the money involved. In his “Absence of Fear” address in Chicago on June 28, 2007 he states:

“Since 2000 hedge funds have more than doubled in number, while their assets have tripled. They too are using elevated levels of leverage, as are PE (Private Equity) firms and investors in highly leveraged fixed income securities. These funds are heavy users of derivatives. The Global derivatives market grew nearly 40% in 2006–the fastest pace in the last nine years–to $415 trillion, per the Bank of International Settlements. The amount of contracts based on bonds more than doubled to $29 trillion. The actual money at risk through credit derivatives increased 93% to $470 billion, while that amount for the entire derivatives market was $9.7 trillion. The International Monetary Fund, in its April 2006 Global Financial Stability Report, estimated that credit-oriented hedge fund assets grew to more than $300 billion in 2005, a six-fold increase in five years. When levered at 5-6x, this represents $1.5 to $1.8 trillion deployed into the credit markets. Fitch, in their June 5, 2007 special report, “Hedge Funds: The Credit Market’s New Paradigm,” says that despite the upward trend in maximum allowable leverage, “notably, no prime broker reported raising margin requirements in response to historically tight credit spreads and growing concerns about the general level of risk-complacency in the credit markets.”
If Rodriguez’s “eye-popping” numbers are accurate and the market slumps a mere 5%, “the value of a hedge fund’s assets could lead to a forced sale of as much as 25% of its assets”. If the market falls just 10%, the fund would get a 50% haircut!

Yikes! That just shows how over-exposed the industry really is.

As the requirements on mortgages gets tougher and the subprime market continues to languish; bankers will naturally become more hesitant to loan zillions of dollars to hedge funds and private equity firms. When credit gets tighter, the hedge funds will begin to nosedive which will send the stock market in a long-term swoon. That’s what happens when a market is this over-leveraged. It’s unavoidable.

The markets are now perfectly poised for a full-system breakdown. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair expects a CDO time bomb. She summed it up like this:

“Its going to get worse before it gets better. How much worse, I don’t know.”

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.

Working for the Clampdown By James Bovard + The Clash: Clampdown/Janie Jones/Complete Control (music video)


Dandelion Salad

By James Bovard
ICH

07/21/07 “
ZNet

How many pipe bombs might it take to end U.S. democracy? Far fewer than it would have taken a year ago. The Defense Authorization Act of 2006, passed on September 30, empowers President George W. Bush to impose martial law in the event of a terrorist “incident” or if he or other federal officials perceive a shortfall of “public order” or even in response to antiwar protests that get unruly as a result of government provocations.

The media and most of Capitol Hill ignored or cheered on this grant of nearly boundless power. But now that the president’s arsenal of authority is swollen and consecrated, a few voices of complaint are being heard. Even the New York Times recently condemned the new law for “making martial law easier.”

It took a few paragraphs in a $500 billion, 591-page bill to destroy one of the most important limits on federal power. Congress passed the Insurrection Act in 1807 to severely restrict the president’s ability to deploy the military within the United States. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 tightened these restrictions, imposing a two-year prison sentence on anyone who used the military within the U.S. without the permission of Congress. But there was a loophole: Posse Comitatus is waived if the president invokes the Insurrection Act.

Section 1076 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 changed the name of the key provision in the statute book from Insurrection Act to Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act. The Insurrection Act of 1807 stated that the president could deploy troops within the United States only “to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.” The new law expands the list to include “natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition”—and such “con- dition” is not defined or limited.

These new pretexts are even more expansive than they appear. FEMA proclaims the equivalent of a natural disaster when bad snowstorms occur and Congress routinely proclaims a natural disaster when there is a shortfall of rain in states with upcoming elections. A terrorist “incident” could be something as stupid as the flashing toys scattered around Boston last fall.

The new law also empowers the president to commandeer the National Guard of one state to send to another state for up to 365 days. Bush could send the New York National Guard to disarm the residents of Mississippi if they resisted a federal law that prohibited private ownership of semiautomatic weapons. Governors’ control of the National Guard can be trumped with a simple presidential declaration.

The story of how Section 1076 became law demonstrates how expanding government power is almost always the correct answer in Washington. Some people have claimed the provision was slipped into the bill in the middle of the night. In reality, the Administration signaled its intent and almost no one in the media or Congress tried to stop it.

The Katrina debacle appears to have drowned Washington’s resistance to military rule. Bush declared, “I want there to be a robust discussion about the best way for the federal government, in certain extreme circumstances, to be able to rally assets for the good of the people.”

His initial proposal generated only a smattering of criticism and there was no “robust discussion.” On August 29, 2006, the Administration upped the ante, labeling the breached levees “the equivalent of a weapon of mass effect being used on the city of New Orleans.” Nobody ever defined a “weapon of mass effect,” but the term wasn’t challenged.

Section 1076 was supported by both conservatives and liberals. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, co-wrote the provision, along with committee chair Sen. John Warner (R-VA). Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) openly endorsed it and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), then-chair of the House Armed Services Committee, was an avid proponent.

Every governor in the country opposed the changes and the National Governors Association repeatedly and loudly objected. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned on September 19 that, “We certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law,” but his alarm got no response. Ten days later, he commented in the Congressional Record: “Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy.” Leahy further condemned the process, declaring that it “was just slipped in the defense bill as a rider with little study. Other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals.”

Congressional Quarterly’s Jeff Stein wrote an excellent article in the December issue on how the provision became law with minimal examination or controversy. A Republican Senate aide blamed the governors for failing to raise more fuss: “My understanding is that they sent form letters to offices. If they really want a piece of legislation considered they should have called offices and pushed the matter. No office can handle the amount of form letters that come in each day.”

Thus, the Senate was not guilty by reason of form letters. Plus, the issue was not on the front page of the Washington Post within the 48 hours before the Senate voted on it. Surely no reasonable person can expect senators to know what they were doing when they voted 100 to 0 in favor of the bill? Apparently, they were simply too busy to notice the latest coffin nails they hammered into the Constitution.

This expansion of presidential prerogative illustrates how every federal failure redounds to the benefit of leviathan. FEMA was greatly expanded during the Clinton years for crises like the New Orleans flood. It, along with local and state agencies, floundered. Yet the federal belly flop on the Gulf Coast somehow anointed the president to send in troops where he sees fit.

“Martial law” is a euphemism for military dictatorship. When foreign democracies are overthrown and a junta establishes martial law, Americans usually recognize that a fundamental change has occurred. Perhaps some conservatives believe that the only change when martial law is declared is that people are no longer read their Miranda rights when they are locked away. “Martial law” means obey soldiers’ commands or be shot. The abuses of military rule in southern states during Reconstruction were legendary, but they have been swept under the historical rug.

Section 1076 is Enabling Act-type legislation—something that purports to preserve law-and-order while formally empowering the president to rule by decree. The Bush team is rarely remiss in stretching power beyond reasonable bounds. Bush talks as if any constraint on his war-making prerogative or budget is “aiding and abetting the enemy.” Can such a person be trusted to reasonably define insurrection or disorder?

Bush can commandeer a state’s National Guard any time he declares a “state has refused to enforce applicable laws.” Does this refer to the laws as they are commonly understood—or the laws after Bush fixes them with a signing statement? Some will consider concern about Bush or future presidents exploiting martial law to be alarmist. This is the same reflex many people have had to each administration proposal or power grab, from the USA PATRIOT Act in October 2001 to the president’s enemy-combatant decree in November 2001 to setting up Guantanamo prison in early 2002 to the doctrine of preemptive war. The Administration has perennially denied that its new powers pose any threat even after evidence of abuses—illegal wiretapping, torture, a global network of secret prisons, Iraq in ruins—became overwhelming. If the Administration does not hesitate to trample the First Amendment with “free speech zones,” why expect it to be diffident about powers that could stifle protests en masse?

On February 24, the White House conducted a highly publicized drill to test responses to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) going off simultaneously in ten American cities. The White House has not disclosed the details of how the feds responded, but it would be out of character for this president to let new powers he sought to gather dust. There is nothing to prevent presidents from declaring martial law on a pretext than there is to prevent them from launching a war on the basis of manufactured intelligence.

Senators Leahy and Kit Bond (R-MO) are sponsoring a bill to repeal the changes. Leahy urged his colleagues to consider the Section 1076 fix, declaring, “It is difficult to see how any Senator could disagree with the advisability of having a more transparent and thoughtful approach to this sensitive issue.”

He deserves credit for fighting hard on this issue, but there is little reason to expect most members of Congress to give it a second look. The Section 1076 debacle exemplifies how the Washington establishment pretends that new power will not be abused, regardless of how much existing power has been mishandled. Why worry about martial law when there is pork to be harvested and photo ops to attend? It is still unfashionable in Washington to worry about the danger of the open barn door until after the horse is two miles down the road.

James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy and eight other books.

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.

***

I couldn’t resist adding The Clash’s Clampdown video to this post. Enjoy! They are one of my all-time favorite bands. I met Joe Strummer back in 1999 when I just happened to see him walking down the street in the afternoon before his show at The Blue Note later that night, which of course, was a fabulous show. ~ Lo

 

The Clash: Clampdown/Janie Jones/Complete Control

Live @ Capitol Theatre, Passiac NJ USA
18 March 1980
Black & White


Away With The Fairys: Here Come the Comets (music video)

Dandelion Salad

deeplyconcerned on Jun 25, 2007

What is the chance of an asteroid hitting Earth and how do astronomers calculate it? We think there is evidence to show that such visitors are cyclic, and that their return shouldn’t be long.
http://www.signs-of-the-times.org/sig…

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