Cafferty File: Unite the Country Impeach Now! (video)

Dandelion Salad

August 14, 2007



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

Are You Scared? By Craig Winters (Sept 15) + Join Myspacers in Wash, DC for the Sept 15 March

Dandelion Salad

By Craig Winters
08/14/07 “ICH

Multinational corporations sell our jobs to the lowest overseas bidders. The credit industry preys on our poor. The for-profit healthcare system is the leading cause of bankruptcy while hospitals dump indigent patients on skid row. Our country’s infrastructure is breaking down from New Orleans levees to Minnesota bridges even as we are mired in a war that drowns us in debt and advances only the interests of big oil and arms merchants. The Medicare prescription drug law leaves an enormous hole in coverage while it forbids the government from negotiating lower prices on behalf of the people. Bush signed into law a bill making bankruptcy harder and more expensive for people who need relief and now he threatens to veto health insurance for poor children.

How can the government ignore such obvious and immediate needs?

The regulatory and general welfare roles of the government have totally succumbed to the unassailable wealth that corporations have amassed over many generations. Blind quest for personal wealth and power now bind government officials (as well as universities, NGOs and think thanks) into an integrated corporate dominated power structure. Corporations use their money and vast resources to control every aspect of our public institutions. More than just campaign contributions and cash bribes, they offer a rich array of incentives to “team players” including private jets, resort vacations, in kind services, indulgence of vices, and obscenely high paying private positions when they leave government. Corporations use their influence over government officials not just to buy their vote or a favorable ruling, but to seduce them into playing the power game, a life-long pursuit of power and wealth at the expense of principles, allegiances, and common decency. Politicians have neither the will nor the capacity to dismantle this system.

So what can desperate citizens do in the face of a captured government?

Some suggest that efforts to reshape today’s world are pointless when today’s world will not exist in ten years. This view holds that “peak oil” will impose an inescapable world-changing transition to the “post-carbon” era. Without abundant cheap oil we will all be living local existences. Washington will be far away and insignificant in our lives. Wal-Mart will cease to exist due to the rising costs of materials and transportation. Sporadic or absent electricity will place a premium on manual skills and hand labor. The food we eat and much of the material goods we use in daily life will come from our local economy, and the Washington power crowd will be a vanishing relic of the past.

While I respect this view and believe that peak oil will drastically change all our lives, I also believe that there is time before the worst effects are felt. Now more than ever we need responsible collective action to begin making preparations, investing in alternative energy, and promoting sustainable living. The ruling class also sees these changes coming, but their response is to secure maximum assets for themselves, squeeze our economy for their short-term gain, and leave the common people to scrap among themselves.

The electoral process has failed us – it failed us in Florida, it failed us in Ohio, and it is failing us in Congress today. Seeking change through the political system will beget the usual political response – cosmetic reforms for us, and fat contracts for the corporate overlords. Our government no longer represents our interests so we must speak for ourselves, en mass, not asking but demanding change. For examples of true substantive change look back to the trust busting of Roosevelt and Taft that followed the Populist uprisings in the late 19th century, or the Civil Rights legislation following massive nationwide demonstrations by everyday people. History shows us that a popular uprising will bring about meaningful change. As recently as March of last year HR 4437 criminalizeing undocumented immigration was stopped in its tracks when a million people joined public protests across the country. If we want change now we need people in the streets, lots of angry people, not merely to get the attention of the powerful or to gain their respect, but to put them in fear for their opulent lives.

September 15th could be the day when the people declare they will no longer quietly suffer these corporate and political abuses. Protest events in Washington invite a massive outpouring of pent-up anger from people with many political concerns including issues of war, civil liberties, economic justice, climate change, and 9-11 truth, and it’s going to feel damn good to get out in streets and tell the world how we feel. United, we have sufficient power to threaten the existing structure, and I expect their enforcement machine will respond with disproportionate violence and large scale round ups and detention. The media will then be forced to cover these events and the public will awaken to the true face of the authoritarian system under which we live.

I think the best thing we can do to promote this day is to share with others the thoughts we have late at night when we are alone with our fears and hopes. As we find more like-minded people in our communities we gain confidence and clarity so that when that day comes we will not be cowed by authority but will rise to our feet and join our voices and our strength in challenging this illegitimate government. Politicians will rail and police will crack heads, but I pray we will stand our ground and demand a new balance of power that puts the needs of the people ahead of the insatiable desires of the wealthy few.

Craig Winters <> is a civil engineer and software professional in Las Cruces, NM who suffered a political awakening while trying to make sense of the US invasion of Iraq.
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.


Join Myspacers in Wash, DC for the Sept 15 March

I am inviting you to join me and others from MySpace at the Holiday Inn Capitol hotel on C Street SW before the Sept. 15 march for peace and impeachment. We are meeting in that hotel’s lobby at 10:30 a.m. Then, we will walk to the starting point of the rally and march, and we’ll join hundreds of thousands of others in protest. (Maybe millions)

If you have the chance to get to Washington DC on Saturday Sept. 15, come and meet up with other MySpacers.

Oh, and please forward this to others who might be interested. We’ll see you there.


Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned By Jeremy Grant

Dandelion Salad

By Jeremy Grant in Washington
08/14/07 “

The US government is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.

These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.

Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”.

“Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said. “In my view, it’s time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time.”

Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress. While most of its studies are commissioned by legislators, about 10 per cent – such as the one containing his latest warnings – are initiated by the comptroller general himself.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Walker said he had mentioned some of the issues before but now wanted to “turn up the volume”. Some of them were too sensitive for others in government to “have their name associated with”.

“I’m trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call,” he said. “As comptroller general I’ve got an ability to look longer-range and take on issues that others may be hesitant, and in many cases may not be in a position, to take on.

“One of the concerns is obviously we are a great country but we face major sustainability challenges that we are not taking seriously enough,” said Mr Walker, who was appointed during the Clinton administration to the post, which carries a 15-year term.

The fiscal imbalance meant the US was “on a path toward an explosion of debt”.

“With the looming retirement of baby boomers, spiralling healthcare costs, plummeting savings rates and increasing reliance on foreign lenders, we face unprecedented fiscal risks,” said Mr Walker, a former senior executive at PwC auditing firm.

Current US policy on education, energy, the environment, immigration and Iraq also was on an “unsustainable path”.

“Our very prosperity is placing greater demands on our physical infrastructure. Billions of dollars will be needed to modernise everything from highways and airports to water and sewage systems. The recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis was a sobering wake-up call.”

Mr Walker said he would offer to brief the would-be presidential candidates next spring.

“They need to make fiscal responsibility and inter-generational equity one of their top priorities. If they do, I think we have a chance to turn this around but if they don’t, I think the risk of a serious crisis rises considerably”.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007
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.

Mattel Recalls Another Nine Million Toys! (video)

If you have kids, or buy toys for kids, invest in Playmobil. ttp://

~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

August 14, 2007



Why the Government Tests Few Chinese Imports by Joel S. Hirschhorn

Et tu, Fisher-Price? by glitzqueen

Fisher Price Recalls 1 1/2 Million Toys! Lead Paint! (video)

Imports Cause Consumer Safety Concern by Ralph Nader

Olbermann: THOMAS THE TRAIN COVERED IN BRAIN DAMAGING LEAD PAINT! (vid) plus commentary by Lo (Playmobil Toys)

Hardball: Should We Bring Back the Draft? (video no longer available)

Dandelion Salad

August 14, 2007
From: heathr234

Chris Matthews discusses the issue with Mark Finelli an Iraq War veteren and John Bruhns from Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. Finelli actually says that we needed to go into Iraq to establish military bases there since the Saudi’s were kicking us out.


Pentagon Contradicts War Czar: No US Draft h/t:

Bush’s Booming Economy . . . For the Rich by Sheila Samples

Dandelion Salad

by Sheila Samples
Dissident Voice
August 14th, 2007

Sometimes I’m amazed at how much I know about the financial markets and the economy. I don’t understand any of it, but I know a lot of stuff, thanks to my friend and mentor Richard Walrath, who’s been to the market more than once. He says when George Bush brags that the economy is booming, he’s probably right. The economy is exploding with a big boom, and Walrath says now we are engaged in a great battle to see how long this country can endure.

The Fed just poured a bunch of money into the market, which was news to me, but Walrath said the Fed has been manipulating the market for years, especially during the Bush years.

“There was great fear the United States was going to follow Japan into a period of deflation and recession — maybe even a depression,” Walrath said. “Interest rates were cut close to zero while hundreds of billions of dollars were added to the National Debt through tax-cuts for the rich and ‘Big Bidness.’ And it gets worse just at the time the National Debt limit has to be raised again.”

With things as bad as they are, Walrath says it’s going to be interesting to see how this crisis is handled. Congress may have to return early to pass legislation to raise the National Debt. But it makes more sense to me — since the bulk of our lawmakers were so eager to get out of school for recess, that Bush could decide to handle the whole thing like he does everything else to avoid partisan jawboning or oversight — just dash off an Executive Order.

But the National Debt is just one of many problems battering our economy. Walrath points out a major problem is “all those margin accounts out there with people getting calls to come up with some real money because their stock is down. As you might expect, this led to speculation in housing — let’s flip it — and millions of people who couldn’t afford to pay their rent bought houses.”

Wait a minute…Let’s flip it? What does that mean? Nothing comes to mind — okay one thing does — but Walrath never takes such a cavalier attitude about economics.

Let’s flip it, Walrath says is when “–you buy the house with no intention of ever living in it. You add a kitchen, spruce up a bathroom, and “flip” it, or put it back on the market, hoping to make a profit.

This goes on all the time, Walrath says, but there were more flippers than buyers this time around because it cost almost nothing to own a house while you were waiting to sell it. That’s sub-prime credit. You could buy a house with no money down, no income, no job, no assets.

Of course! Now I understand. If you buy a house with no money down, you have little or nothing invested. Just walk away. Let the banks worry about selling them.

But to whom will banks sell them? What are the banks going to do? “That’s why houses for sale are now piling up all over the country,” Walrath said. “It’s a terrible situation.”

Donald Trump begs to differ. When you’re in a hole, keep digging as hard and as fast as you can. Trump’s advice, according to Walrath is to “just go back and make another deal with whoever holds the mortgage. Trump says you’ll get a better deal this time than the one you had before. Don’t walk away from it — go make another deal. The last thing the bank wants is your house. What are they going to do with it? They can’t find anybody to buy it.”

So, who’s flipping whom in this credit seizure?

According to an unsigned editorial in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, the root cause of this credit correction was the Federal Reserve’s willingness to keep money too easy for too long.

The Journal warns an “emergency rate cut, as some in the market seem to be anticipating or hoping for — carries the risk of introducing even greater moral hazard into the financial system.”

We can’t have immorality in our financial system, now can we? Oh, the horror!

While chiding Democrats such as Senator Hillary Clinton for proposing a $1 billion federal bailout fund for homeowners at risk of default and foreclosure, the Journal goes on to channel Barbara Bush’s flash of morality when speaking of homeless Katrina victims — “No one wants to see someone lose his home to foreclosure. But many of those most at risk bought their homes with little or no money down, and so have very little at stake economically. Bringing in the feds to bail them out would send precisely the wrong message — that risky or overly aggressive borrowing will be rewarded by the government rather than punished in the marketplace. To the extent that bad loans were made, the market needs to clear, not be propped up by federal-aid programs.”

Unfortunately, despite what the Journal and the endlessly bleating “Money Heads” on TV would have you believe, millions of Americans are in deep trouble. CNBC’s Jim Cramer “flipped out” last week in a torrent of truth about the current economic situation.

Walrath agrees, and says if we continue in the direction we’re headed, Bush’s “boom” will make the Savings and Loan bail-out look like a Girl Scout Cookie Sale.

According to Walrath, there are four sets of losers in this housing meltdown…

* Those caught with the homes they bought for flipping purposes are not going to be able to find buyers. They are going to lose whatever they have invested, plus whatever mortgage payments they make. It may be cheaper for them just to walk away.

* Those who own homes will see the value of their houses go down because of the current oversupply due to overbuilding when interest rates were lower and people were buying homes with little or nothing down with the idea of flipping the houses as soon as possible.

* Those who bought homes with variable-rate mortgages are having trouble making payments because those payments keep going up, and there’s nothing they can do about it. Many did not even realize they had such a mortgage. Millions are going to lose their homes.

* And then, there’s the murky many — the banks and the hedge funds which ended up with mortgages used as collateral for junk bonds, which ended up as holdings by French and German and English banks, not to mention those in this country.

“This is the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built, and we ain’t seen nothing yet,” Walrath says.

“When it comes to saving the rich from losing money, no expense will be spared.

Actually,” Walrath mused, “the economy is good — if you’re rich. For the rest of us, there’s not much to write home about.”

Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. She can be reached at: Read other articles by Sheila.

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.

Reporters Assassinated in Somalia as Report Documents Widespread War Crimes (video link)

Dandelion Salad
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Democracy Now!

Listen to Segment || Download Show mp3
Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript
Help Printer-friendly version Email to a friend Purchase Video/CD

As two journalists are assassinated in Somalia, Human Rights Watch releases a 113-page report concluding that all sides have committed war crimes in Somalia’s conflict this year. The report says the worst abuses have been by US-backed Ethiopian soldiers, who are supporting the transitional Somali government against insurgents. [includes rush transcript]

Amidst continuing violence in Somalia the international advocacy group Human Rights Watch is accusing the US-backed Ethiopian government, the transitional Somali government it brought to power, as well as insurgent groups of committing war crimes in the capital city of Mogadishu. The report was released Monday, just as the UN Security Council began deliberations over sending a peacekeeping force to Somalia. It documents the indiscriminate bombing, shooting, and summary executions that took place at the height of the violence and caused hundreds of deaths and over 400,000 people to be displaced.The armed conflict in Somalia has escalated since the Ethiopian government and US forces ousted the Union of Islamic Courts last December and helped install the Somali Transitional Federal Government in January of this year. Insurgent groups began attacking Ethiopian troops and the transitional government. Ethiopian forces responded with two major bombing raids in March and April of this year that Human Rights Watch estimates could have killed up to 1,300 civilians.The space for dissent and independent voices has been severely curtailed in this period. On Saturday two prominent radio journalists were assassinated in Mogadishu. They were leading figures at the independent broadcaster HornAfrik that has been critical of both the Islamists and the pro-US interim government. In April of this year HornAfrik’s studios were destroyed by shelling from Ethiopian forces.

  • Steve Crawshaw, UN Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch.
  • Said Sheikh Samatar, professor of African history at Rutgers University with a specialty in Somalia. He is also executive director of the independent journal Horn of Africa and author of numerous books including “Somalia: a Nation in Turmoil.”

Mahed Ahmed Elmi was one of the two HornAfrik journalists killed this weekend. Elmi was the director of Capital Voice radio, a private station owned by HornAfrik media and also worked as a freelance reporter for McClatchy newspapers. He was shot four times in the head on his way to work on Saturday morning.

We are now joined on the phone from Nairobi by Shashank Bengali, the Nairobi Bureau Chief for McClatchy Newspapers. He worked with Mahed Ahmed Elmi.

  • Shashank Bengali, the Nairobi Bureau Chief for McClatchy Newspapers.


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.

08.10.07 & 08.13.07 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (videos; over 18 only)

Dandelion Salad


This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

August 14, 2007
From: linktv

Aug. 10, 2007

For more episodes and other Link TV programs:
“Attacks in Kirkuk Aimed at Creating Divisions,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Shiites Brave to Commemorate Imam Kathem,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Bush Cannot Resolve Problems in Iraq,” ANB TV, England
“Aoun Accuses US of Destabilizing Lebanon,” Future TV, Lebanon
“Abbas Rejects Yemeni Initiative for Peace with Hamas,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Palestinian Shot by Israeli Security Guard in Jerusalem,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Border Police Trains Elite Anti-Terror Unit,” IBA TV, Israel
“Mosque Taken Over by Settlers,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
“Mosaic Intelligence Report: Maliki Wins in Tehran,” Link TV, USA

Aug. 13, 2007

“Taliban Free Two Korean Hostages,” Jordan TV, Jordan
“Britain’s Foreign Policy to Diverge from America’s,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“US Launches Operation Phantom Strike,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Iraqi Security Forces Receive Hi-tech Detecting Devices,” Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
“Iran & Algeria Lay Ground Work for Islamic Economic Union,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“A Look at the Executive Forces of Hamas,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Exclusive Interview with Sudanese Rebel Leader,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar

Exclusive Report: “LOOK! A CARROT!” by William Mac (FISA; spying)

William’s blog: The Mac Manifesto

This Week In Time

by William Mac
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
August 14, 2007


Americans are prideful people, especially us down home Southern folk. That’s right, we ain’t gonna take no flack from nobody, ‘specially not them Yankees up ther’. So, instead of reading them ther’ New York Times and Washington Post, we’re reading the local newspapers that be talkin’ ‘bout stuff we can understand, ya hear? Well, unfortunately, my Southern kind down here — and all of the other Americans sprinkled throughout this great land — are being led around by the same giant carrot on a string. Of course, there isn’t a giant carrot out there, not that I know of, but I’m using a metaphor like a good writer should. Metaphors are fun, and make people sound smart and witty, so I’ll use some more metaphors: Americans are chasing after the same dollar bill on a string; Americans are chasing after the promise of change… on string. Oh hell, I’ve got nothing. The point is, it doesn’t matter what newspaper you’re reading, because chances are that the bulk of the national and international news stories you’re reading in any popular and readily available newspaper (both local and national) are stories wired in by the AP (Associated Press).

So, even my uncontrollable and incredibly independent southern kin ‘round these parts are being lied to, mislead, and entertained so that congress can pass another bill that they, and most other Americans, will not like. So, what is that entity that is toting around all of those giant witty metaphors on a string? That would be the Associated Press, along with the corrupt and self-interested owners of newspapers like The Washington Post or New York Times. Our daily bread for news—the almighty AP—is nothing more than a manipulative and vague tool to get Americans thinking that they are being informed, when really they’re being hyped up by the “big” news stories, then becoming distracted, and tricked into allowing themselves to be lead around by a ___(insert metaphor here)____ on a string. While the Associated Press is doing its job, Congress will take advantage of the people’s distraction and pass an unpopular bill or law. Wait, what just happened? We ask out loud, why weren’t we told? Well ladies and gentlemen, you were told, but you were distracted by that giant goddamn…whatever-it-is.

One such example of this can be found in a story posted today on Dandelion Salad entitled “New Spy Law Broader Than Thought By Robert Parry”. The article states:

Before the Democratic-controlled Congress caved in on George W. Bush’s warrantless-wiretapping powers, White House lawyers slipped in two provisions to give the President even more authority – and less accountability – than he claimed on his own. And the U.S. press corps largely missed that part of the story.

Robert is on the right track here, but I’ll tell you right now that the U.S. press corps did not miss that part of the story. In fact, I wrote about this on the day of July 31st, 2007, which was a full week before the FISA update was passed. In the blog I predicted the passing of the bill by stating the following:

Now, here is President Bush trying to update FISA with “four new key reforms” and urging congress to pass the bill. This would effectively make these illegal wiretapping acts seemingly legal. This is the same thing that people are fighting against, and while everyone is concentrating on the Gonzales allegations and court activity, President Bush is trying to pass a bill effectively making these crimes legal. This is how congress and administrations have ALWAYS gotten away with unpopular bills that rape our rights. They either wait for or create a diversion that they can hide behind, and while no one is paying attention, they pass the bill, it then falls behind in the news reports due to the “bigger” stories in circulation, and no one ever even knows what happened. Well, not this time.

Unfortunately it did happen this time. How did I find out about this? Well, through the AP of course. Just listen to this recording released several days before I even wrote about it:

Video of Bush’s Radio Address

Yet, now what are we doing? We’re complaining. As soon as this FISA update was passed by congress on a Friday, I woke up the next morning to scathing criticism and loud complaints resounding throughout the blogosphere. Everyone was throwing in their 2 cents. It was another Bush Bashing marathon “Down with that evil tyrannical son of a bitch!” and of course “why didn’t I know about this?” You didn’t know about it because you allowed yourself to be drawn in by the glitz and glamour of the bigger stories in circulation. You followed the giant carrot just like you’re supposed to, and congress screwed you just like they wanted. Because, at the end of the day, you don’t matter; all that matters is what the corporations and manipulators want to do. Worse yet, the Associated Press writers, and the corrupt newspapers aren’t going to give you the straight story, especially not when they’re syndicated with, owned by, or paid off by corporations, economic hit men, and government officials in order to ensure that the story will not be circulated… or, at least so the story will wind up in some obscure location, in a tiny little space where no one will think to look.

Don’t follow the big news stories so blindly; don’t be led around by the headlines. Look deeper into what you hear on the television and read in the newspapers. Hang on every word, and when you hear something that seems odd don’t dismiss it, research it. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, our government may be lying, Bush may be a bastard, the Associated Press may be making us its bitch, but the responsibility and blame lies in you, and me. The responsibility lies in the American people to get up and do a little more leg work, because if all we can do is complain after the fact, then nothing will change.


Bush’s Radio Address
July 28, 2007

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week I visited with troops at Charleston Air Force Base. These fine men and women are serving courageously to protect our country against dangerous enemies. The terrorist network that struck America on September the 11th wants to strike our country again. To stop them, our military, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals need the best possible information about who the terrorists are, where they are, and what they are planning.

One of the most important ways we can gather that information is by monitoring terrorist communications. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — also known as FISA — provides a critical legal foundation that allows our intelligence community to collect this information while protecting the civil liberties of Americans. But this important law was written in 1978, and it addressed the technologies of that era. This law is badly out of date — and Congress must act to modernize it.

Today we face sophisticated terrorists who use disposable cell phones and the Internet to communicate with each other, recruit operatives, and plan attacks on our country. Technologies like these were not available when FISA was passed nearly 30 years ago, and FISA has not kept up with new technological developments. As a result, our Nation is hampered in its ability to gain the vital intelligence we need to keep the American people safe. In his testimony to Congress in May, Mike McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence, put it this way: We are “significantly burdened in capturing overseas communications of foreign terrorists planning to conduct attacks inside the United States.” To fix this problem, my Administration has proposed a bill that would modernize the FISA statute. This legislation is the product of months of discussion with members of both parties in the House and the Senate — and it includes four key reforms: First, it brings FISA up to date with the changes in communications technology that have taken place over the past three decades. Second, it seeks to restore FISA to its original focus on protecting the privacy interests of people inside the United States, so we don’t have to obtain court orders to effectively collect foreign intelligence about foreign targets located in foreign locations. Third, it allows the government to work more efficiently with private-sector entities like communications providers, whose help is essential. And fourth, it will streamline administrative processes so our intelligence community can gather foreign intelligence more quickly and more effectively, while protecting civil liberties.

Our intelligence community warns that under the current statute, we are missing a significant amount of foreign intelligence that we should be collecting to protect our country. Congress needs to act immediately to pass this bill, so that our national security professionals can close intelligence gaps and provide critical warning time for our country.

As the recent National Intelligence Estimate reported, America is in a heightened threat environment. Reforming FISA will help our intelligence professionals address those threats — and they should not have to wait any longer. Congress will soon be leaving for its August recess. I ask Republicans and Democrats to work together to pass FISA modernization now, before they leave town. Our national security depends on it.

Thank you for listening.

New Spy Law Broader Than Thought By Robert Parry

Dennis Kucinich: Desapparacido! by Dave Lindorff

Dandelion Salad

by Dave Lindorff
Monday, August 13, 2007

Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has been “disappeared.”

Not in the sense of victims of America’s so-called War on Terror. He hasn’t been carted off in an orange jumpsuit to some black site in Kazakhstan. But he has been “disappeared” by the reporters and editors of the New York Times.

In an article by Jeff Zeleny and Mark Santora on Sunday headlined “Democrats Say Leaving Iraq May Take Years,” the Times reports that Democratic candidates, with only candidate Bill Richardson “standing apart,” are saying that troops will have to stay in Iraq and the area around Iraq for a long time.

But wait. Kucinich, who in many polls does as well as, or better than Biden and Richardson (in a new straw poll of Democratic activists in California, he ranked right behind Edwards and Obama, and ahead of Clinton and the rest of the crowd), not only wants the U.S. out of Iraq; he has submitted an actual bill in Congress (HR 1234) calling for a removal of all US troops within three months’ time, and barring the expenditure of any funds on future military activity in the region except for the purpose of orderly withdrawal.

So why was Kucinich left out of the Times article on Democratic candidates’ positions on the Iraq War?

The answer seems clear.

The Times has decided that Kucinich isn’t a candidate. He doesn’t exist.

He has been disappeared.

The same is true on the issue of impeachment. The Times has only twice mentioned the bill, H Res 333, for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, which Kucinich filed on April 24. The first mention was a three-sentence “National Brief” item that ran the day Kucinich filed the measure, half of which was taken up with a Cheney spokeswoman’s mocking response, and the second and only other was phrase tucked within a parenthetical comment in a April 27 article reporting on a lackluster candidate’s debate.

Americans who get their news from the Times—and that would include millions who read or watch news that itself is produced by organizations whose editors’ opinions are shaped by the Times—would not know that over the course of the last three and a half months, some 20 members of Congress, including six members of the crucial 23-member House Judiciary Committee, have signed on to Kucinich’s Cheney impeachment bill. That is roughly 10 percent of the House Democratic caucus.

So what’s going on here?

Apparently, given the Times’ famously inflated slogan “All the News that’s Fit to Print,” news about Rep. Kucinich (D-OH), including about his carefully laid out plan to end the Iraq War and about his bill to impeach the vice president, are somehow not “fit” to print.

The self-referential nature of Times reporting would be laughable if it were not so damaging to public knowledge and discourse and to the democratic process. It would also garner an “F” in any decent journalism class.

Take that April 27 article, by Zeleny and Adam Nagourney on one of the earliest Democratic candidates’ debates. The two reporters refer to Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton as “the two most closely watched candidates of the night,” though most observers, not to mention the audience, clearly most appreciated the blunt comments of Kucinich and former Alaska senator Mike Gravel. “Most closely watched” apparently refers to the two reporters, who had already decided that the race for the Democratic nomination had been winnowed down to those two candidates, with former senator John Edwards as a dark-horse possible challenger. They certainly don’t mention any other source for their conclusion that Obama and Clinton are the most “closely watched.”

Kucinich, who had not yet been “disappeared” by the Times, was relegated in this piece by Zeleny and Nagourney to the role of “long-shot rival.”

This, remember, is before most people in the country could even name all the candidates running for the nomination for either party.

For that matter, I suspect that most people would have a hard time even today naming all the candidates running for the nomination of the two parties. And if the Times has its way, they never will, because candidates like Kucinich (and Gravel, and eventually, no doubt, most of the others except for those anointed as “serious” contenders by the Times “news fitness” gatekeepers), will be banished from all mention.

It makes you wonder why we bother with this whole primary process… except that without them, how would corporate interests get a chance to pour money into campaigns and buy he eventual presidents and members of Congress.

Anyhow, so long Dennis! We hardly knew ye.

h/t: Kristin

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

Vote for the best Labor Candidate in MSNBC’s poll by Lo

Vote for the best Labor Candidate in MSNBC’s poll by Lo (updated again)

Dandelion Salad

Updated 08.25.07: Kucinich is No. 1. Yeah! ~ Lo

If you haven’t already voted, please do so in the MSNBC Poll (the AFL-CIO Debate). Dennis Kucinich is 3rd now! Yeah! Let’s bump him up a bit, shall we? ~ Lo

Which Democrat will best represent labor interests? * 10832 responses (updated: 08.19.07)

Sen. Joe Biden
Sen. Hillary Clinton
Sen. Chris Dodd
Former Sen. John Edwards
Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Fmr. Sen. Gravel
Sen. Barack Obama
Gov. Bill Richardson

Updated: 08.25.07

11421 responses
Sen. Joe Biden
Sen. Hillary Clinton
Sen. Chris Dodd
Former Sen. John Edwards
Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Fmr. Sen. Gravel
Sen. Barack Obama
Gov. Bill Richardson


h/t: and Dennis Kucinich Rocks Brad’s Socks!

Kucinich’s replies @ AFL-CIO Dem. Pres. Debate (video)

AFL-CIO: The Candidates Spar Over Lobbyist Money + Pakistan + Health Care + Parts 1-8 (video + links)

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

Dandelion Salad

August 14, 2007
From: 35percenters

54% of American adults are in favor of impeaching Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a recent American Research Group poll. Amongst Democrats specifically, 76% favor impeachment, yet for some reason Dennis Kucinich is the only Democratic presidential candidate willing to represent this overwhelming majority. The great disparity between public support and political support is also evident with regards to universal not-for-profit healthcare, of which Dennis is again the only candidate to stand for the vast majority of Americans who favor such a system.

Visit to show your support for HR Res 333, Dennis Kucinich’s resolution to impeach Vice President Cheney on three charges. Congressman Kucinich’s clear case for impeachment can be found at the link below:…

Director: Ev Boyle
Narration: Edan
Voice Direction: Monte Jernigan
Art Direction: John Harrison
Animation: Bill Wesley

The 35 Percenters is comprised of the following bloggers:

The Largest Minority

Blue Gal

Blue Man

Monkey Muck

Dandelion Salad

Peace Garden

Quaker Dave

Phydeaux Speaks

The Hermit with Davis Fleetwood…

Dennis Kucinich for Prez in 08

Modern Musings

Freida Bee

Cause for Concern

Unofficial Kucinich Youtube Channel

Unofficial Kucinich MySpace Page

Please also visit:
Dennis Kucinich’s Official Youtube Channel


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

Dennis Kucinich is so Nice I’d Vote for Him Twice (vid)

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

Dennis Kucinich: Desapparacido! by Dave Lindorff

Vote for the best Labor Candidate in MSNBC’s poll by Lo


New Spy Law Broader Than Thought By Robert Parry

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Parry
Consortium News
August 13, 2007

Before the Democratic-controlled Congress caved in on George W. Bush’s warrantless-wiretapping powers, White House lawyers slipped in two provisions to give the President even more authority – and less accountability – than he claimed on his own. And the U.S. press corps largely missed that part of the story.

U.S. news reports mostly parroted the White House claim that the law “modernizes” the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance of 1978 and “narrowly” targets overseas terror suspects who call or e-mail their contacts in the United States. But the “Protect America Act of 2007” actually casts the wiretapping net much wider.

The law applies not just to terror suspects abroad who might communicate with Americans at home, but to anyone who is “reasonably believed to be outside the United States” and who might possess “foreign intelligence information,” defined as anything that could be useful to U.S. foreign policy.

That means that almost any American engaged in international commerce or dealing with foreign issues – say, a businessman in touch with a foreign subsidiary or a U.S. reporter sending an overseas story back to his newspaper – is vulnerable to warrantless intercepts approved on the say-so of two Bush subordinates, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell.

Beyond the breathtaking scope of this new authority, the Bush administration also snuck in a clause that grants immunity from lawsuits to communications service providers that comply with spying directives from Gonzales and McConnell.

Before the “Protect America Act” won final approval from Congress on Aug. 4 and was signed into law by Bush on Aug. 5, one of the few safeguards against Bush’s warrantless wiretaps was the concern among service providers that they might be sued by customers for handing over constitutionally protected information without a warrant.

Compromise Talks

In earlier Capitol Hill discussions of a compromise bill, the administration reportedly had agreed to delete this immunity provision for service providers. However, when negotiations broke down – and Bush made clear he would accuse the Democrats of endangering the nation’s safety – Republicans put an immunity clause back into the final bill.

Then, in the chaotic hours before Congress left for its August recess, Democratic leaders allowed the Republican-authored bill to be rushed through the Senate and the House with centrist Democratic votes ensuring passage.

Though getting almost no attention in the U.S. press coverage, the immunity paragraph reads: “Notwithstanding any other law, no cause of action shall lie in any court against any person for providing any information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with a directive under this section.”

In other words, U.S. citizens, who believe that warrantless surveillance has violated their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, will have no legal recourse against the service provider that collaborated with the government.

This immunity provision is important, too, because the only meaningful safeguard against abuse of the new spying power was that service providers could challenge a wiretap directive through a secret court proceeding.

That process already was weighted heavily in the Bush administration’s favor since the service provider would not know the classified basis for the wiretap directive. That evidence only would be shared ex parte in a secret conference between administration lawyers and the judge.

So, the service provider would have to file a costly lawsuit on behalf of an unknowing customer who might or might not be a legitimate target of government surveillance. In filing the suit, the service provider also risked angering the U.S. government, which often is a major customer with the same service provider.

Now, the new law tilts the scales even further, making the warrantless surveillance legally cost free for a collaborating service provider.

These two features – the expansive wiretap coverage and the immunity provision for service providers – were cited in our Aug. 5 article at [See “Bush Gets Spying Blank Check.”]

But most major U.S. news outlets, at least initially, followed the lead of the White House in describing the law’s goal as simply tinkering with an outdated law to permit warrantless surveillance of terror suspects communicating with each other overseas (if their conversation went through a U.S. switching station) or to some American.

Insider Stories

A week after the bill’s passage, however, the New York Times and the Washington Post published front-page stories explaining how the Bush administration had ambushed the Democrats and pushed through a more expansive law than earlier compromise versions, which had been discussed with congressional leaders.

The Times reported that in late July “the administration lowered its sights, slimming its original 66-page proposal to 11 pages and eliminating some of the controversial plans like broad immunity from lawsuits for telecommunications companies that aided the eavesdropping. …

“By Aug. 2, the two sides seemed relatively close to a deal. Mr. McConnell had agreed to some increased role for the secret [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] court, a step that the administration considered a major concession, the White House and congressional leaders said.

“But that night, the talks broke down. With time running out, the Senate approved a Republican bill … omitting the stronger court oversight” and other “compromises hashed out over the previous few days.” Pressed up against the start of an August recess, the House followed suit. [NYT, Aug. 11, 2007]

In its account, the Washington Post reported that McConnell had objected to Democratic attempts to limit the new surveillance powers to cases in which the overseas communications involved at least one person suspected of terrorism.

“McConnell wanted no such limits,” the Post wrote. “‘All foreign intelligence’ targets in touch with Americans on any topic of interest should be fair game for U.S. spying, he said.” [Washington Post, Aug. 12, 2007]

In other words, the law’s broad language was not an accident; it was intentional and substantive. The Bush administration’s goal was to scoop up any information that might be interesting to the intelligence community, not just what was needed to protect the nation from a terrorist attack.

It’s also unclear what restrictions apply to the year-long surveillance directives if the target enters – or reenters – the United States. Under the law as written, there’s no indication that the service provider must be notified that the 12-month order should be suspended if the target steps onto U.S. territory.

Conceivably, therefore, a directive aimed at an American traveling overseas might stay in effect after the target returned home, with the service provider continuing to give the National Security Agency access to the target’s phone calls and e-mails.

Angry Base

The Democratic congressional cave-in provoked an uproar among rank-and-file Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office reported receiving more than 200,000 angry e-mails. Stung by the reaction, Democratic leaders promised that the spying law will be revisited in September, rather than waiting around for a required reauthorization in February 2008.

But the Democrats will face the same dilemma that has stymied their attempts to force an end to the Iraq War. The Republicans will be in the driver’s seat because they can filibuster a bill in the Senate, forcing the Democrats to round up 60 votes. Even if a new bill is passed, Bush can veto it, requiring two-thirds majorities in both houses to override.

When the surveillance law expires in February 2008, Republicans will have the leverage of an election year to again frighten Democrats with taunts of “soft on terror.”

The Bush administration also has made clear that it will seek an even more advantageous version, including an amnesty provision that would void lawsuits already filed against service providers “who are alleged to have assisted our Nation following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,” according to a White House fact sheet.

With the fear card still working on congressional Democrats, President Bush retains hope that he can advance his goal of an all-powerful Commander in Chief, despite political reversals and low opinion polls.

Even with the Democrats in control of the House and Senate, very little appears to have changed in Washington. [For a fuller examination of Bush’s dark vision, see our new book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush.]

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

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.


Bush Gets a Spying Blank Check By Robert Parry