Afghan farmers growing poppies to survive + Time to Legalize Drugs? (Ethan Nadelmann) (videos)

Dandelion Salad


AL Jazeera’s James Bays travels to Badakstan where the farmers say the depend entirely on opium for their livelihoods.


Time to Legalize Drugs? Ethan Nadelmann


Ethan Nadelmann appears on FOX report with Shepard Smith discussing his Foreign Policy article on drug legalization, Think Again: Drugs.

Bush Is Turning the USA into a Subprime Borrower By Heather Wokusch (video) (updated)

Heather Wokusch

By Heather Wokusch
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

27 August, 2007


Much in the same way that US investor… Much in the same way that US investors were “steered” into rip-off mortgage loans, the entire country has been “steered” into an economic crisis. The question is how to get out of it.

How the Bush Administration Is Turning the USA into a Subprime Borrower

By Heather Wokusch
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

27 August, 2007

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”- George W Bush

Much in the same way that US investors were “steered” into rip-off mortgage loans, the entire country has been “steered” into an economic crisis. The question is how to get out of it.

In the subprime loan scandal, unscrupulous brokers conned home buyers with poor credit histories into deals designed to profit lenders and bleed borrowers. Contract “teasers” hid ballooning monthly payments while a lack of regulation allowed the scam to continue unabated. Millions more Americans now face losing their homes.

The Bush administration similarly used promises of cakewalks and increased security to con the US public into wars with Iraq and Afghanistan. US taxpayers have spent over $450 billion on Iraq alone, while Bush/Cheney cronies continue making a killing from military contracts. Meanwhile, global security has degenerated and over 4,100 US service members have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with an untold number of coalition troops, contractors and civilians.

Bush’s military adventurism, not to mention his administration’s exorbitant tax cuts for the wealthy, gutted the surplus of $128 billion Clinton handed him in 2001 into a deficit of well over $200 billion today. And Bush has simultaneously increased the national debt by over $3 trillion to roughly $9 trillion, effectively nailing each and every US citizen with a bill for almost $30,000.

While heavy borrowing from Asia has mopped up some stateside red ink, there’s an inherent threat: China, for example, has an estimated $900 billion in US bonds and can increasingly call the shots on the US economy and foreign policy.

Just weeks ago, Beijing warned that if the Bush administration pushed for a revaluation of the Chinese currency, then Beijing would sell dollars, thereby threatening the greenback’s reserve currency status. Washington backed down. It had little other option.

In other words, the US itself has become as vulnerable to its lenders as any other subprime borrower.

Overall, the US debt situation looks so dire that the non-partisan Government Accountability Office Comptroller recently warned, “America is on a path toward an explosion of debt. And that indebtedness threatens our country’s, our children’s, and our grandchildren’s futures. With the looming retirement of the baby boomers, spiraling health care costs, plummeting savings rates, and increasing reliance on foreign lenders, we face unprecedented fiscal risks.”

Financial analysts say credit markets are facing a Minsky moment – the inevitable downward spiral when over-leveraged investors have to sell valued assets just to pay back their loans. Some analysts have even coined a new term, suggesting we are in a “Minsky meltdown” – the prelude to a wider market crash.

But it looks more like a “Minsky massacre,” not an unavoidable economic downturn but rather a coldly-calculated hit, with the intention of transferring wealth from the lower and middle classes to an unaccountable few at the top.

Bottom line, this economic downturn isn’t hurting everyone. Select brokers and lenders made a fortune off the backs of subprime borrowers, and now that the related hedge funds are collapsing, well-leveraged private equity firms can buy assets at fire-sale prices.

And as Jim Hightower recently noted, a “hands-off regulatory ideology” is complicit: “There are no less than five financial agencies at the federal level that could have protected people, yet the subprime surge was allowed to proceed …. The Federal Reserve Board, for example, has direct authority under the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act to ‘prohibit acts or practices in connection with mortgage loans that the board finds to be unfair, deceptive or … associated with abusive lending practices, or that are otherwise not in the interest of the borrower.’ The Fed simply ignored this law.”

The US has been down this road before. The Savings and Loan (S&L) crisis of the late 1980s was also characterized by loose lending requirements, lax regulation, obscene profits for the few – and US taxpayers left holding the bag for $125 billion.

Ironically, the Bush family was involved in that scandal too, with Bush Jr.’s brother Neil serving on the board of the disgraced Silverado Savings and Loan, which went bust and stuck US taxpayers with a $1.3 billion debt. Regulators accused Neil of “multiple conflicts of interest” but he never did jail time – thanks at least in part to the S&L bail out engineered by his father, Bush Sr., who happened to be President at the time.

Just as in the S&L crisis, the poor and middle class have borne the brunt of the current subprime disaster, an especially nasty fact given the nation’s huge wealth gap. As points out, “The richest one percent of U.S. households now owns 34.3 percent of the nation’s private wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 90 percent. The top one percent also owns 36.9 percent of all corporate stock.”

It’s probably no coincidence that terms associated with both corporate and developing country indebtedness are being used to discuss the US subprime meltdown (payment defaults, vulture funds, distressed debt, etc). Perhaps the US hasn’t reached banana republic status yet, but the increasing wealth gap, not to mention ballooning budget deficits, low capital spending and reliance on foreign capital are disturbing signs.

Doesn’t help either that the Federal Reserve stopped releasing M3 money-supply data in 2006. M3 data (covering Eurodollars, repurchase agreements and large-denomination time deposits) is critical in determining how fast the Fed is printing money, which in turn impacts inflation.

So, what further fallout from the subprime scandal can be expected? Millions more Americans will lose their homes, and as The New York Times recently reported, “for the first time since federal housing agencies began keeping statistics in 1950,” the median price of homes in the US will fall.

Ratings agencies, such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, will take some heat for their role in the scandal, but the Bush administration will focus on bailing out predatory lenders rather than helping Americans keep their homes. Congress and most presidential candidates will protect financial services campaign donors by not pursuing true reform.

Meanwhile, Asia and Europe will continue “decoupling” from increasingly volatile US markets, threatening the dollar’s reserve currency status even more. Fresh off its recent war games with China and four Central Asian republics, Russia will more actively confront the US on the world stage. The Bush administration will move closer to a war with Iran.

Of course, these dire predictions don’t have to materialize – we can regroup and fight back. One avenue is by urging Congress members to take action, such as changing foreclosure rules to protect homeowners and supporting Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act (H.R. 2895). Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) push to have the Fed start releasing M3 data again (H.R. 4892) is also urgent.

At the very least, we must frame the Bush administration’s war-making as a direct threat to the US economy, not to mention national security, and just like maxed out home buyers, confront our nation’s culture of debt.

Action Tips:

1. For online videos about the subprime issue and “Money as Debt,” visit Brasscheck TV.

2. Check out two groups working on affordable US housing: the Community Land Trust (“to encourage affordable resident ownership of housing and local control of land and other resources”) and the National Housing Trust Fund (“a dedicated source of funding for the production, preservation and rehabilitation of 1.5 million affordable homes in 10 years”).

3. Learn more about “America’s growing economic divide” at

4. Concerned about predatory lending? So is The Center for Responsible Lending (“a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to protecting homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices”).

Note: Originally published: August 27, 2007

Tomgram: Juan Cole: The Republic Militant at War, Then and Now By Tom Engelhardt + Lessons from Past Western Incursions in the Middle East (video) (updated)

Originally posted: August 23, 2007 @ 07:04

Updated: Aug. 27, 2007 with added video

Dandelion Salad

By Tom Engelhardt
August 23, 2007

[Note for Tomdispatch readers: With this post, I will “vacate” Tomdispatch until Tuesday September 4th. Expect a new post that day. For readers in Washington DC, after checking out the following post by the incomparable Juan Cole, if you have a spare summer moment, rush to the New America Foundation and hear him speak on Friday the 24th at noon.]

It was the highest-tech military of its moment and its invasion of the Arab land was overwhelming. Enemy forces were smashed, the oppressive ruling regime overthrown, the enemy capital occupied, and the country declared liberated… then the first acts of insurgency began…

George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003? No, Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Egypt in June 1798. There are times when the resonances of history are positively eerie. This happens to be one of them. We all deserve a history lesson about the Napoleonic beginnings of our present catastrophe. (Too bad you-know-who didn’t get one before ordering that March 2003 invasion.) I got mine from a man whose blog, Informed Comment, I read every morning without fail and whose flow of commentary on Bush’s war in Iraq has been invaluable. I’m talking, of course, about Juan Cole who (evidently in his spare moments) has completed a history of the Napoleonic moment of “spreading democracy” to Arab lands, just published as Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East.

Some of the parallels are enough to make you jump out of your chair (if not your skin). For instance, Napoleon wrote a letter to one of his generals, well into the occupation, forbidding the beating of insurgents to extract information: “It has been recognized at all times that this manner of interrogating human beings, of putting them under torture, produces nothing good.” Okay, at least Napoleon could learn from experience, an ability our President seems to lack, but the issue, put that way, rings a terrible bell 200 years later.

Napoleon’s Egyptian moment lasted a mere three years. We are already into our fifth year in devolving Iraq with no obvious end in sight. Last Sunday, the New York Times printed a remarkable op-ed by an Army specialist, four sergeants, and two staff sergeants of the 82nd Airborne Division, now on duty in Iraq (one of whom was shot in the head while the piece was being prepared). In it, they wrote, “Viewed from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal… [W]e are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day.” Of the military mission of which they are a part they wrote: “In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.”

Whether these soldiers know the history of Bonaparte in Egypt or not, they have grasped the essence of what lurks behind the fine liberatory words of the leaders of the republic militant. Let’s hope it’s not too late to learn the lesson of Napoleon and slip out of “Egypt,” while it’s still possible. Though it hardly scatches the surface of his new book, here is a little taste from the Napoleonic lesson plan of Juan Cole. Tom

Pitching the Imperial Republic

Bonaparte and Bush on Deck
By Juan Cole

French Egypt and American Iraq can be considered bookends on the history of modern imperialism in the Middle East. The Bush administration’s already failed version of the conquest of Iraq is, of course, on everyone’s mind; while the French conquest of Egypt, now more than two centuries past, is all too little remembered, despite having been led by Napoleon Bonaparte, whose career has otherwise hardly languished in obscurity. There are many eerily familiar resonances between the two misadventures, not least among them that both began with supreme arrogance and ended as fiascoes. Above all, the leaders of both occupations employed the same basic political vocabulary and rhetorical flimflammery, invoking the spirit of liberty, security, and democracy while largely ignoring the substance of these concepts.

The French general and the American president do not much resemble one another — except perhaps in the way the prospect of conquest in the Middle East appears to have put fire in their veins and in their unappealing tendency to believe their own propaganda (or at least to keep repeating it long after it became completely implausible). Both leaders invaded and occupied a major Arabic-speaking Muslim country; both harbored dreams of a “Greater Middle East”; both were surprised to find themselves enmeshed in long, bitter, debilitating guerrilla wars. Neither genuinely cared about grassroots democracy, but both found its symbols easy to invoke for gullible domestic publics. Substantial numbers of their new subjects quickly saw, however, that they faced occupations, not liberations.

My own work on Bonaparte’s lost year in Egypt began in the mid-1990s, and I had completed about half of Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East before September 11, 2001. I had no way of knowing then that a book on such a distant, scholarly subject would prove an allegory for Bush’s Iraq War. Nor did I guess that the United States would give old-style colonialism in the Middle East one last try, despite clear signs that the formerly colonized would no longer put up with such acts and had, in the years since World War II, gained the means to resist them.


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.

Lessons from Past Western Incursions in the Middle East


Aug. 25, 2007

Juan Cole discusses his new book, Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East and the relevance and lessons of Napoleon’s expedition in Egypt to the current American occupation of Iraq. New America Foundation/American Strategy Program Director Steve Clemons offers comments and moderates the discussion.

Juan Cole is a professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan, the President of the Global Americana Institute, and the publisher of Informed Comment, a blog that specializes in providing translations and commentary on the modern Middle East.

h/t: Atlantic Free Press

Truth Now: Interview of Gore Vidal – On Education in America Today by Linda Sutton

Dandelion Salad

by Linda Sutton
Atlantic Free Press
Sunday, 26 August 2007

On Education in America Today

GV: Well, you know, it’s just a country of non-readers. They just don’t read. Everything is too difficult for them. The New York Times is too difficult. So they have no way of getting information, and the New York Times also tells lies for interested parties. So they’re not missing a lot. But you have to have some means of access to the outside world.

Continue reading

A Critique Of US Public Schools – We Can’t Get No Educashion By Emily Spence

Dandelion Salad

By Emily Spence

08/26/07 “ICH

Part One: The Overview

For years, liberals have pointed out the huge gap between funding for military ventures and US public education. Indeed, a motto, floating around for a decade or more, sums it up well: “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

While its a bit overstated, the saying gets the case across and no one can dispute that our federal government spends an inordinate sum for our armed forces, armaments and other military provisions while many needs back in the US get short shrift. Aside from New Orleans never being put back together right, there are the problems of the worn out US infrastructure, the low income housing deficit, the high rate of homelessness and the migration of jobs overseas such that one in seven is expected to disappear over the next ten years. At the same time, there exist many other serious problems needing an immediate infusion of cash and workers (for which returned US military troops could be employed) to provide national relief. Moreover, education, is woefully under funded and could certainly used any help available for its improvement both in terms of building upgrading and many other sorts.

All of the above in mind, the cost of the War in Iraq, alone, has been close to half a trillion dollars [1]. The overall military budget for 2008 is 51 % ($1,228 billion) of US governmental revenue whereas ALL other expenditures amounts to 49 % ($1,159 billion). Meanwhile, Human Resources provisions (from which education receives a modest amount) is set at $748 billion while General Government spending is set at $295 billion from which interest on the government debt commandeers 20 % of funds and Homeland Security another 17 %. Furthermore, Physical Resources (out of which transportation related and environmental needs are funded) receives $116 billion from which another 17 % goes to the physical needs (such as buildings, etc.) for Homeland Security [2].

When the above funding decisions are assessed all together, it is no wonder that the US Department of Education received only $68,084,800 in 2007. It is also not surprising that President Bush wants this amount pared down to $60,220,138 for 2008 [3]. At the same time, this spending is being requested to be all together removed from the US Budget in order to try to help balance the huge debt load, almost nine trillion dollars (approximately $30,000 per US citizen), that our government has driven into place [4]. The totality, certainly, staggers the imagination [5].

Basically. is it any revelation, then, that the quality of education varies vastly from community to community based on the relative wealth that each has? Likewise, is it incredulous that the breach is widening?

All considered, there is no equality in educational provision. For example, current per pupil annual cost in Greenwich, CT is $15,166. In 2004, the average amount spent annually per student in the US was $8,287. with the low at $5,008 (Utah) and the high at $12,930 (New York). In other words, the range is amazing and one can expect that ghetto schools in each state receive less than the average sum whereas more affluent communities get more than ample funding. All considered, property tax valuations, as the primary measure to assess the amount of money that school districts obtain, are bound to create a wide range of highly significant disparities [6].

Furthermore, local school boards further compound this problem by having a large say over the curriculum used in schools. This, too, impacts the quality of education capable of being delivered.

For instance, we can have intelligent design theory taught along side of evolution, no trigonometry or foreign language classes offered, no computers available (as they are too costly to provide when assessed along side of other needs, such as books on the history of the evangelical movement at the exclusion of one focused on the history of minority group contributions to society, and so on). Yet, how much more agreeable would be education as delivered in Canada wherein every teacher in every school uses the same materials (supplemented by ones of local choice) for its core curriculum and every student is on the same page with the same academic expectations regardless of whether they live in British Columbia or Montreal?!

All of these factors taken en toto, education, overall, is poorly delivered in the US. This has been well documented by innumerable educational watchdogs, such as Jonathan Kozol and John Gatto, whose conclusions are both highly alarming and disgraceful.

For example, Jonathan Kozol has construed, after countless studies conducted at a large number of diverse schools, that our educational system creates extreme discrimination based on economic class. On account, those who are advantaged (to receive quality public education) are accorded an unfair advantage in terms of obtainment of money, power privilege, class status, along with other tangible and intangible benefits [7].

As a result, many students, throughout the United States, have no chance of succeeding through no fault of their own. Under the circumstances, the loss to the individual and the society at large is staggering. For a nation that, supposedly, treasures equal opportunity, this is nothing short of intolerable.

In relation, John Gatto elucidates on the findings of a 1990’s ETS conducted national literacy survey:

“Ninety-six and a half percent of the American population is mediocre to illiterate where deciphering print is concerned. This is no commentary on their intelligence, but without ability to take in primary information from print and to interpret it they are at the mercy of commentators who tell them what things mean. A working definition of immaturity might include an excessive need for other people to interpret information for us.

“Certainly it’s possible to argue that bad readers aren’t victims at all but perpetrators, cursed by inferior biology to possess only shadows of intellect. That’s what bell-curve theory, evolutionary theory, aristocratic social theory, eugenics theory, strong-state political theory, and some kinds of theology are about. All agree most of us are inferior, if not downright dangerous. The integrity of such theoretical outlooks— at least where reading was concerned—took a stiff shot on the chin from America. Here, democratic practice allowed a revolutionary generation to learn how to read. Those granted the opportunity took advantage of it brilliantly.” (To have access to more of this assessment, please go to the eighth “[8]” citation below.)

The ramifications of both Kozol’s and Gatto’s finding are multifold. For example, the general workforce, derived from many HS and college graduates, is ill prepared to do much beyond almost thoughtless, menial labor. The disparity between those who’ve been provided a sound education and those who have not will be huge in terms of mental and many other kinds of capabilities. The value of a HS or a college degree, in and of itself, will hold no meaning as the bottom line involves from where the degree originated. The income disparity between those who have sufficient funds and those who do not will increase. Even more awful than these other factors is that the next generation will be poorly prepared, for the most part, to lead America into the next century in any meaningful fashion.

In addition and equally disturbing is the fact that thinking is, thus, curtailed to the most rudimentary types for a large number of Americans. In short, many individuals simply are not able to understand whatever they are not trained to comprehend. In this sense, the lack of knowledge concerning science (i.e., the facts of evolution) and rudimentary mathematics (necessary to balance a check book), language usage (needed to communicate basic information on the job) and much more is predictable.

Indeed, obvious educational shortfalls in the US, in large measure, appear responsible for many people’s inability to grapple with the more complex ethical issues, diminished capacity for critical analysis (i.e., to undertake synthesis and extrapolation to generate clarifications and accurate models of “reality” as, for instance, are the ones posed by transitional frames of reference) limited hermeneutical understandings, incapacity to differentiate logical VS. illogical pattens, etc. Meanwhile TV shows are one of the most popular methods to gain information on the parts of many, it would seem, and simply aren’t set up to impart much of value beyond a fleeting entertainment factor and superficial news coverage of selective topics.

All told, John Gatto, Jonathan Kozol and other critics, repeatedly and disparagingly, point out that public education (in the US and elsewhere across the globe) is guaranteed to keep economic classes in their relative placement and trapped in a basic inability to apply higher level cognitive skill sets to written and heard accounts. Thus, many individuals absolutely have to rely on commentators (i.e., authority figures for the most part) to form their understandings of events. Alternately put, students, in many school districts, are not taught to think independently, nor question the opinions provided by the status quo. How convenient for those in powerful leadership positions! How easy, then, it becomes to keep corrupt systems in operation as many people cannot even conceive of alternatives let alone figure out ways to put them in place!

The results, then, are clear. For example, one in five American adults, supposedly, do not know who the US VP is. Mainstream news commentators and governmental leaders seem credible even when spouting the most audacious lies, and so on [9]. (Stanley Milgram carried out some interesting studies, which indicate that it is easy to influence people to conform to the attitudes and commands of those in power even when these involve injuring or killing another person.[10] How much easier such outcomes must be to achieve when people lack some essential mental skills to form autonomous conclusions.) Lastly, it is hard for people to stand against the underlying norms (i.e., that you will be contented if you just buy this X product that you deserve to have and on which your self-esteem depends) as they cannot see through the propaganda.

All in all, it is easy to quell any discontent with “the way things are” when people cannot conceive of better alternatives, nor question the currently prevalent standards and practices. Thus, the current inequities in schools and society at large will likely continue unchallenged and uncorrected.

At the same time, the current income disparity amongst classes is all but assured to continue such that most members of the lower and upper economic classes will keep in their relative positions, as will their children. After all, who can afford to pay ~ $140,000 dollars for an undergraduate education and ~ $180,000 for four years of graduate school except for the relatively rather wealthy? Who can even meet minimal standards for studies at a school of higher education after learning at one of the glaringly inferior schools?

Moreover, taking on this cost as a student loan is particularly ludicrous in many circumstances in that the Federal minimum wage (currently set at $5.85/ hour) all but assures that many jobs available to new graduates will not be able to be provide sufficient income for them to pay back borrowed money (which, nonetheless, keep accruing interest over time). All considered, is it any wonder that the default rate on student loans is over ten percent, while amounting to many millions of dollars? Is it not assured that myriad related problems for former students, who were unable to repay loans, will subsequently transpire — such as inability to take out a mortgage due to a bad credit rating or, even worse, bankruptcy [11]?

At the same time, the jobs available to the graduates are disappearing. It has been alleged that one in seven US jobs will disappear over the next ten years on account of industrial globalization. The majority of the ones that will be left will be the types that are impossible to outsource — types like food service delivery at fast food chains, construction jobs, clerk positions at mega-malls, health care provision, teaching and the likes.

A further consideration concerns the sort of quality in educators that can be expected with the salaries that many teachers command. For instance, someone with a Ph’ D in education can expect a starting salary of $22,000 in some public school systems. Even if someone with a doctoral degree were to consider accepting such a low income, what sort of person would he be?

It would seem likely to be someone who is either highly dedicated to humanitarian service or, due to some sort of serious flaw, were unable to “make it” in the business world. After all, what other rationale could explain someone willingly taking such a pitiful salary? Who can consider supporting a family or even renting a home with such a ridiculous wage?

All in all, we are a land that supposedly supports “liberty and justice for all” (or so our Pledge of Allegiance, that school children recite every day, states). In practice, though, we have an educational caste system of the worst sort imaginable. It is just one more scandal (along with the treatment of the victims from Hurricane Katrina, our military invasion of Iraq without sufficient provocation and evidence of myriad other woes) plaguing our so-called great country. Emily Spence resides in Massachusetts and deeply cares about the future of our world.

[1] To see the total cost for the War in Iraq, please refer to information provided at:

[2] To review US budgetary figures, please see: The Federal Pie Chart (

[3] This data derives from: U.S. Department of Education Budget News


[4] An overview can be obtained at: Cutting the Federal Budget to Prevent U.S. Bankruptcy: Part …


[5] Debt figures and similar provisions are located at: U.S. National Debt Clock (

[6] This and related information is reviewed at: US Census Press Releases.

[7] A summation of Kozol’s findings can be found at: Still Separate, Still Unequal: America’s Educational Aparthe… (

[8] Please refer to: The National Adult Literacy Survey – John Taylor Gatto (

[9] At these sites, the ease with which this trickery can be executed is shown: Bill Moyers Journal . Buying the War . Watch the Show | PBS ( and Bill Moyers’ “Buying the War” Exposes the Media’s Failure to… (

[10] To learn more, please go to: Stanley Milgram – The Stanley Milgram Website ( and, for an extensive analysis, Obedience to Authority (1960-63) (

[11] Please check information at these links to see definitions of business and personal bankruptcy, as well as number of cases in US for 2005: Bankruptcy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ( and

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.


Part 2: Down In The Trenches, Anecdotal Evidence From The Classroom

Moyers Returns to Airwaves w/Critical Look at How US News Media Helped Bush Admin Sell the War

Bill Moyers: BUYING THE WAR (link) + link to Michael’s blog post

British Army deploys new weapon based on mass-killing technology by John Byrne

Dandelion Salad

by John Byrne
Global Research, August 26, 2007
Raw Story

Parliament not told, minister says

A new ‘super-weapon’ being supplied to British soldiers in Afghanistan employs technology based on the “thermobaric” principle which uses heat and pressure to kill people targeted across a wide air by sucking the air out of lungs and rupturing internal organs.

The so-called “enhanced blast” weapon uses similar technology used in the US “bunker busting” bombs and the devastating bombs dropped by the Russians to destroy the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Such weapons are brutally effective because they first disperse a gas or chemical agent which is lit at a second stage, allowing the blast to fill the spaces of a building or the crevices of a cave. When the US military deployed a version of these weapons in 2005, DefenseTech wrote an article titled, “Marines Quiet About Brutal New Weapon.”

According to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, which released a study on thermobaric weapons in 1993, “The [blast] kill mechanism against living targets is unique–and unpleasant…. What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs. If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents.”

A second DIA study said, “shock and pressure waves cause minimal damage to brain tissue… it is possible that victims of FAEs are not rendered unconscious by the blast, but instead suffer for several seconds or minutes while they suffocate.”

“The effect of an FAE explosion within confined spaces is immense,” said a CIA study of the weapons. “Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness.”

British defense officials told the UK Guardian that British bombs were “different.”

“They are optimized to create blast [rather than heat]”, one said, speaking on the standard condition of anonymity in Britain. The official added that it would be misleading to call them “thermobaric.”

Officials told the Guardian the new weapon was classified as a soldier launched “light anti-structure munition” and that the bombs would be more effective because “even when they hit the damage is limited to a confined area.”

“The continuing issue of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has enormous importance in the battle for hearts and minds,” said Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell in the article. “If these weapons contribute to the deaths of civilians then a primary purpose of the British deployment is going to be made yet more difficult.”

According to Campbell, the deployment of the weapons was not announced to Parliament.

Global Research Articles by John Byrne


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Olbermann: Football Night in America Pigskin Preview + Worst Person + Tug of War (videos)

Dandelion Salad

heathr234 And the winner is….Rush Limbaugh. R…

Football Night in America Pigskin Preview

And the winner is….Rush Limbaugh. Runners up Mike McConnell and Bill O’Reilly.

With a report from Gen. Petraeus coming soon, the political debate over a potential troop withdrawl rages on. Howard Fineman weighs in on the rhetoric that’s likely to come out of Washington DC and how the President will react to it

08.23.07 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (video; 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.

Selected Episode

Aug. 23, 2007

By linktv

“The 1920 Revolution Brigades Fights Al Qaeda,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Bush Compares Iraq to Vietnam,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“140 Iraqis Killed & … “The 1920 Revolution Brigades Fights Al Qaeda,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Bush Compares Iraq to Vietnam,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“140 Iraqis Killed & Wounded,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“Evacuation of Fateh el Islam Families Postponed,” Future TV, Lebanon
“Russia Flexes its Military Muscle,” Dubai TV, UAE
“EU Resumes Fuel Supplies to Gaza,” Syria TV, Syria
“Israel Must Withdraw from the Golan Heights,” IBA TV, Israel
“Israel Wants to Change Names of Towns into Hebrew,” Al Arabiya, TV, UAE
“38 Years after the Burning of Al Aqsa,” Dubai TV, UAE