Presidential Primary Pulse Poll (Kucinich in the lead!)

Originally posted Oct. 17, 2007 @ 17:47

Just a reminder to vote in this poll if you haven’t already done so. Thanks to everyone who voted for Dennis! He’s in the lead at the moment! Yeah! The poll closes at midnight on Nov 5th. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

Hey Friends,

I wanted to drop you a short note to ask for your help. DFA is holding a Presidential Primary Pulse Poll to decide which candidate deserves their support. I voted for Representative Dennis Kucinich and I need help to move him from 3rd place in the poll.

Could you take just a minute to vote for Dennis Kucinich right now? Here’s the link:


Thanks for your help.

Anita Stewart
Deputy Director of Virtual Outreach
Kucinich for President 2008, Inc.

h/t: Dennis 4 President in 2008!


Look Who Is Leading in the CLOUT! Straw Poll (link)

Olbermann: Rumsfeld Memos + Bush; Mukasey + Diplomat Draft (videos)

Dandelion Salad


Catching Snowflakes

During his time in office Donald Rumsfeld used to write 20 to 60 brief memoes each day to his staff and he called these memoes snowflakes. They gave advice on how to manipulate the press and the public and some of the worst were things like should terrorism be considered a “worldwide insurgency”, “go out and push people back”, “keep elevating the threat” and “link Iraq to Iran”.

My Way or the Die Way

Keith gives his report on George Bush and his demands and scare tactics he’s using to try to get Judge Mukasey confirmed to Attorney General. During a speech at The Heritage Foundation Bush tries to say that if the Democrats don’t confirm Mukasey that Americans will die. Somehow the country managed to survive while Alberto Gonzales was Attorney General and violating the laws. Keith gives his report on the state of the confirmation and that it is in danger and that Bush attacked Congress, protesters and blogs for the problems.

The Diplomat Draft

Keith gives his report on the decision by the State Department’s decision to make up a short fall of 48 volunteers in Iraq by notifying more than 200 employees some of them will have to go there next year and that some have said they’d quit before going. At a contentious State Department meeting the head of foreign service Harry Thomas took questions on the measure which has not been done since Vietnam to a less than happy crowd. Flynt Leverett’s wife Hillary Mann Leverett a former state department diplomat discusses the issue with Keith.

Worst Person Nov. 1, 2007

And the winner is…..Roger Ailes. Runners up and Glenn Beck.


Rumsfeld Urged Staff To “Keep Elevating The Threat”

Action Alert: Do Not Confirm Mukasey!

President Bush Speaks at the Heritage Foundation (video)

When Disasters Become Commonplace by Josh Sidman


by Josh Sidman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Josh’s Blog Post

Nov. 1, 2007

Did you know that the Federal Reserve pumped $41 billion into the US financial system today? Did you also know that this is the largest single-day infusion since September 19th, 2001, when the Fed injected $50 billion following the attacks on September 11th?

The amazing thing is that nothing happened today, yet the Fed needed to pump nearly as much money into the financial system as it did right after the worst terrorist attacks this country has ever seen. This is a startling commentary on the current state of the US economy. As I have observed in previous articles, our financial system is coming more and more to resemble a drug addict in the last stages before hitting rock-bottom – i.e. the stage at which ever increasing amounts of drugs are required just to avert a total collapse. The fact that a cash infusion of similar size to what was required in the immediate aftermath of our country’s greatest disaster is now a commonplace, daily occurrence indicates just how far gone we really are. The image that keeps coming to mind for me is from the Road Runner cartoons of my childhood, in which Wily Coyote runs off the edge of a cliff but doesn’t actually fall until he looks down and notices where he’s at. In a similar manner, the US financial markets continue to chug along with only minor hiccups, still safe in blissful ignorance of the fact that the ground beneath its feet has long since disappeared.

Yesterday the Fed cut rates yet again, and the market predictably staged an anemic rally, only to be followed today by a sharp sell-off. One thing is certain in financial matters – no matter how hard you try to ignore the cold, hard facts, debts don’t just go away (in fact, they grow), and you can’t get something for nothing. Try as we might to ignore these realities, there comes a point at which any remedial measures produce less and less positive results. And, in addition, the measures themselves entail significant costs of their own. After all, where do you think the $41 billion came from? In a monetary system where a rapidly increasing supply of dollars must compete for a stagnant (or slowly increasing) supply of real goods and services, the consequences are obvious. Prices must rise – i.e. inflation. And, no matter how the financial authorities fudge their numbers in order to avoid admitting that inflation is actually occurring (e.g. with the change from use of CPI to PCE as a measure of “core-inflation”, thereby conveniently removing food and energy prices from the official measure of inflation – after all, who needs food, gasoline, and heating oil?), it is becoming increasingly obvious to the average American that the official story just doesn’t add up. After all, when you’ve seen gas prices double, housing costs double, and medical expenses skyrocket, who really cares that the government tells us inflation is under control?

When Wily Coyote will finally look down and realize his plight is anybody’s guess. The ability of the US financial markets to persistently ignore reality has been remarkable, but that does nothing to change the fact that the ground beneath our feet isn’t there anymore. The debts keep mounting, the currency keeps depreciating, and eventually people will start running for the exits. In the meantime, I will reiterate my recommendations from a previous article and add a new one.

I continue to expect gold to appreciate. In an environment where nothing seems safe, a huge amount of money is going to be looking for a safe-haven. Traditionally, gold is considered the safest of safe-havens, and there’s not much of it around in comparison to the amount of money that could soon be looking for a home.

Secondly, buy the yen against the dollar. Other world currencies have already risen to record levels against the crumbling dollar, but the yen hasn’t yet. With US short-term interest rates falling, the “carry-trade” (whereby investors can make easy profits by borrowing yen at low rates and investing in dollar-denominated assets at higher rates of interest) will become increasingly unattractive, and once the dollar begins to fall vis-à-vis the yen, the huge amounts of money that have been put into the carry-trade over the past decade will start to reverse directions, thereby exacerbating the slide of the dollar.

Thirdly, sell US bank stocks short. Despite the fact that everyone now acknowledges that the housing market is crashing, prices haven’t fallen by much yet. Nevertheless, leading financial institutions have racked up huge losses already. Merrill Lynch’s recent write-down of $8 billion and the resignation of its CEO is just the beginning. After all, if firms are feeling this level of pain from a real estate market that has only experienced single-digit declines so far, what’s going to happen if prices fall 20 or 30 percent? (Hint: bankruptcy.)

Lastly, although I am hesitant to bet against the stock market’s persistent ability to rise in the face of bad news, it is my feeling that the Fed has shot its load for the time-being in terms of monetary policy. Yes, the Fed Funds still stands at 4.5%, so they could keep cutting, but at this point they’re not getting any bang for their buck, and its becoming increasingly clear that the costs in terms of undermining the value of the dollar are outweighing the stimulative effects to the financial system. I can’t remember where I read it, but I recently saw someone make the distinction between illiquidity and insolvency, as it relates to the efficacy of monetary policy. The point is that if a crisis is caused by a short-term liquidity crunch but corporate finances are otherwise healthy, an injection of money by the central bank can be an effective remedy. If, on the other hand, firms’ long-term financial positions are fundamentally unsound, measures aimed to shore up short-term liquidity (e.g. cuts in short-term interest rates) can’t do anything to solve the problem. This is why it is my belief that the Fed is becoming increasingly impotent to solve the deepening crisis. Short-term liquidity won’t do anything to bail out companies (or individuals) who have fundamental, long-term financial imbalances. There is nothing in the monetary tool-box that can solve such problems (with the exception of a wholesale devaluation of the currency). Therefore, I believe that the ability of the stock market to hold up based on expectations of future rate-cuts is nearing an end, so I recommend shorting the US stock market at this point.

Good luck…

Season of the Witch by Glitzqueen (aka The Other Katherine Harris)


by Glitzqueen (aka The Other Katherine Harris)

Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Glitzqueen’s blog
Nov. 1, 2007

All Hallows Day – November 1, 2007

Only those who wronged the dead need fear at All Hallowtide, according to atavisms ranging from Celtic to Aztec. We’re meant to rejoice with and honor them on this festal date, variously called Samhain, All Hallows, All Saints and the first of of two Dias de los Muertos. Like the other major festivals, it starts with an eve (poetically contracted to e’en from evening and then to Halloween), thus evoking the primeval knowledge that darkness always comes first. As recently as the 800s, when All Hallows entered the church calendar, liturgical days still began officially at sunset.

In some traditions, this is a time outside time: a 24-hour rift between the year’s light half, which ended two sunsets ago, and its dark half, which commences tonight. It’s a brief span of turning that belongs to no season, anymore than a shoreline belongs to sea or earth, so past and future intermingle now and some glimpse their destinies. As veils between worlds thin to a shimmer, strangers are welcomed at our doors and spirits come home like butterflies to Michoacán.

” ‘We must remember them’, say the elders about the Dead. ‘They want us, they love us,’ ” writes Vera Cala in a luscious overview of the celebrations in Mexico.

And why wouldn’t we welcome our cherished departed: the sainted grannies, fabulous aunts, generous mentors, precious friends and even the older lovers from whom we learned to love, no matter how badly things may have ended? If this room is thick with their spirits, I couldn’t be more pleased.

But what of the dead whom we’ve wronged? It isn’t difficult to picture a Titian skyful of ghosts over the White House and Capitol Dome: skeletons in Iraqi garb and U.S. Army uniforms, plus countless others killed more casually: those slain in conflicts we ignore, seeing no profit in meddling; those fatally infected due to the prissy lies of theocrats; those poisoned by freely toxic trade; those buried alive in mines no longer held to safety standards; those drowned or crushed in infrastructure collapses; and those who starved, froze, succumbed to curable diseases or were despairing suicides, because we exalt the greed that denies them survival.

I seem to hear the prophecies they’re reciting. To Shrub and His Thugs: “You’re untouchable. Grab still more power and grind their faces in it. Bomb the shit out of Iran and Cuba, too, if the mood strikes. Fuck the whining peasants. Soon your gang will own the world, anyway.” To the Dems in Washington: “Don’t make waves, stay in the center and you can’t lose next year. The neocons are hanging themselves.” To the rest of us: “There’s nothing much to worry about. The Fed will fix this financial mess and Democrats will start turning things around after the next election. There’ll be jobs again, fairer taxes, even healthcare finally. So watch some TV or maybe go shopping; you deserve it.”

As Heccate, the expert on bringing hubristic mortals down, told her sous-chef witches:

He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear
His hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace, and fear:
And you all know, security
Is mortal’s chiefest enemy.

Meanwhile their cauldron boils and bubbles a hell-broth worthy of MacBeth. For eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, scale of dragon, gall of goat, finger of birth-strangl’d babe and baboon’s blood, read RUIN spelled in fresh headlines like these:

(Ed. Note: I added links to various posts and/or categories to the following.)

Mideast wars may last 50 years
To Implement Policy, Bush to Turn to Administrative Orders
Bush Defends Mukasey over Waterboarding
CIA Chief Defends Extraordinary Rendition
Rumsfeld Urged Staff To “Keep Elevating The Threat”

Strengthening of Consumer Agency Opposed by Its Boss
Bush Balks at Revised Child Health Bill
Drug firms try to bribe doctors with cars
Chrysler to cut up to 12,000 jobs
Foreclosure filings soar in 3Q
Katrina’s Aftermath: The Continuing Crisis
More Veterans Are Uninsured
Crude Oil Rises to Record Above $96
Survey Ties Biofuels to High Food Costs and Hunger

Indeed darkness is falling all around us. How much darker will it have to get before we change enough to merit better?

Hot, Sexy News with Cleavage to the max! Plus, a Lot of Lies by William Mac (video)

Dandelion Salad

This Week In Time

By William Mac
The Mac Manifesto (William Mac)

featured writer
Dandelion Salad

November 01, 2007

This Week in Time October 22 – 29 2007

William Mac begins by keeping his promise of last week that he will have a hot chick with big boobs and cleavage. So, he had guest director Calvin Klein come over and make some hot steamy commercial segments about how this week in time has been all about complete and utter lies.

But… William Mac has enough of that and decides to just tell you how it is. There are no bombs in Iran, Bush wants World War III, and for some goddamn reason FEMA can’t seem to get it right. Those douche bags.

Double-crossing in Kurdistan By Pepe Escobar

Dandelion Salad

By Pepe Escobar
11/01/07 “Asia Times

The George W Bush administration would not flinch to betray its allies in Iraqi Kurdistan if that entailed a US “win” in the Iraq quagmire. And it would not flinch to leave its Turkish North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies in the wilderness as well – if that entailed further destabilization of Iran. Way beyond the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) vs Turkey skirmish, one of these two double-crossing scenarios will inevitably take place. Washington simply cannot have its kebab and eat it too.

The Bush administration’s double standards are as glaring as meteor impacts. When, in the summer of 2006, Israel used the capture of two of its soldiers by Hezbollah to unleash a pre-programmed devastating war on Lebanon, destroying great swathes of the country, the Bush administration immediately gave the Israelis the green light. When 12 Turkish soldiers are killed and eight captured by PKK guerrillas based in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Bush administration urges Ankara to take it easy.

The “war on terror” is definitely not an equal-opportunity business. That has prompted Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek to mischievously remark, regarding Turkey, “It’s as if an intruder has gatecrashed the closed circle of ‘we’, the domain of those who hold the de facto monopoly on military humanitarianism.”

The US and Israeli establishment regards Hezbollah as a group of evil super-terrorists. But the PKK consists of just “minor” terrorists, and very useful ones at that, since the US Central Intelligence Agency is covertly financing and arming the PJAK (Party for Free Life in Kurdistan), the Iranian arm of the PKK, whose mission is to “liberate” parts of northwest Iran.

Not accidentally, the new PKK overdrive coincides with US – and also Israeli – covert support for the PJAK. Israel has not only invested a lot in scores of business ventures in Iraqi Kurdistan, it has also extensively trained Kurdish peshmerga special commandos, who could easily share their knowledge with their PKK cousins.

The new PKK offensive coincides with a PKK flush with new mortars, anti-tank weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and even anti-aircraft missiles. And most of all, the PKK drive coincides with the mysteriously vanished scores of light weapons the Pentagon sent to Iraq with no serial numbers to identify 97% of them.

The person responsible for this still unsolved mystery is none other than the counterinsurgency messiah and top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus. The suspicion that the Pentagon never wanted these weapons to be traced in the first place cannot be easily dismissed. Either that or the PKK has been very active lately in the black market for light weapons.

The Turkish-Israeli plan

US corporate media totally ignore the US/Israeli coddling of the PJAK – and by extension the PKK. The larger context is lost. No one bothers to ask how come the Bush administration seems to be such a huge fan of a greater Kurdistan.

As much as the PJAK – and the PKK – use American largesse for greater Kurdistan ends, the Bush administration uses especially the PJAK for its wider “war on terror” target: the destabilization of Iran. Turkish-US relations in this case are no more than a casualty of war. Now the Turks are up not only against Massoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), but also the US and the European Union in Brussels. And in addition, the PKK denies it has attacked Turkey out of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Turkey has angrily reacted to the US Senate proposal for “soft” partition of Iraq. This is the famous US “Plan B” for Iraq – more an “A” than a “B” because it was floated years ago. And the authors are Israel and … the Turks themselves.

The plan has been extensively documented, among others, by the Center for Research at the Kurdish Library in New York. According to its “Kurdish Life” newsletter, “Back in 1990, Turkey’s then prime minister Turgut Ozal made a deal with the US and Kurdish leaders Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani. Masterminded by an Israel obsessed with breaking up the ‘sea of Arabs’ in the Middle East, the plan has proceeded apace ever since, influencing and directing virtually all of Washington’s political and military tactics in Iraq. And yet even today it remains nobody’s business.”

The Israeli mastermind was Leslie Gelb, a relatively moderate Zionist. The plan duly featured in the Turkish press at the time. It proposed a federal Iraq, with a Kurdistan, a section of Kirkuk and Mosul for the Turkomans; and the rest, in fact most of the country, for “the Arabs”, Sunni and Shi’ite alike.

To get their autonomous mini-state, the Iraqi Kurds just had to guarantee to smash the PKK. As for Turkish Kurds, the Turkish prime minister’s spokesman said at the time that since “two-thirds of Turkey’s Kurds are scattered through the country” and the rest “fully integrated into Turkish society”, they would have no business dreaming about autonomy.

Barzani and Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Kurdish leaders, rival warlords and wily opportunists, duly fulfilled their part of the deal – especially in October 1992 during a joint offensive with the Turkish army against the PKK. They may have sold out the PKK 15 years ago, but that won’t happen again; at least that’s what the two have vocally promised. For their part, the PJAK-PKK have been tremendously helpful for the Bush administration agenda of “destabilizing” Iran.

The Kurdish Life newsletter argues that the cause of Turkey’s current woes is not the US or the Iraqi Kurds. It’s a self-inflicted wound, all spelled out in Ozal’s plan. “With his untimely death in 1993, the plan was revised, with an autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan to include Kirkuk, and more, and the remainder of Iraq to be divided between Sunni and Shi’ite Arabs. The Republicans of the Bush administration cemented it into the Iraqi constitution under the rubric ‘federation’.”

That’s no less than the “soft” partition the US Senate recently voted for. That’s the future Washington wants for Iraqi Kurdistan. And that’s the scheme the US – and Israel – don’t want their ally

Turkey to spoil by attacking the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan. No wonder the Turkish leadership – not to mention Turkish public opinion – is fuming.

Chronicle of an invasion foretold

To compound this misery, the much-touted Turkish invasion has been in the making for months. As early as March, Bush administration officials were promising the Turks that US special forces would dislodge the PKK from the Qandil mountains. Nothing happened.

In April, Barzani was threatening “to take responsibility for our response” if the Turks interfered with a referendum on the integration of oil-rich Kirkuk into Kurdistan. Also in April, the US prohibited Turkish cross-border raids, according to the Turkish daily Sabah. The massing of Turkish soldiers at the Iraqi border started in May.

Then in June, Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit virtually spelled out in public what this was all about, “There is not only the PKK in northern Iraq. There is Massoud Barzani as well. Turkey cannot afford an independent Kurdish state headed by Barzani on its southern border.” Barzani – who for Turkish popular media is the country’s public enemy number one – answered back with a startling concept; he said that if Turkey invaded, “We would deal with it as an Iraqi issue.”

So what kind of Kurdish “sovereignty” is this? Iraqi Kurds detest, and ignore, the Baghdad government like the plague, and prize their independence; but as soon as they’re threatened, they instantly seek refuge under Baghdad’s (clipped) wings.

Kurdistan and its mountainous 75,000 square kilometers is not really Iraq. Baghdad is an entity far, far away. Iraqi Kurdistan has its own constitution, parliament, anthem, legal code, language, currency and media – and most of all the well-trained peshmerga army. A democracy it is not – because virtually everything is subordinated to the two warlords turned politicians, Barzani and Talabani.

The KRG has paid the price for Kurdistan as a “model” of a functioning Iraq by collaborating no-holds-barred with the US since the early 1990s. In June, Barzani confirmed that the PKK is an Iraqi problem, “A Turkish invasion would be first of all an attack on Iraqi sovereignty, and then an attack on the Kurds.” Following Barzani’s logic, since Iraq is under occupation, the Turks would be actually invading a colonial possession of the US. Thus it should be Petraeus to confront the Turks about what they’re up to. Washington in a way has proved its point: Iraqi Kurdistan is a fragile entity that only exists because it always depended on American protection.

Turkey and Iran, united

Kurdistan’s pull in Washington is guaranteed thanks largely to Qubad Talabani, son of President Jalal Talabani, also known in Kurdistan as “Uncle Jalal”. While dad sells Kurdistan as an indisputable success story, son lobbies furiously, to the extent that Frank Lavin, US under secretary of commerce for international trade, recently went to Kurdistan to promote it as a gateway for US businesses in Iraq.

But to believe that Ankara will tolerate an oil-rich, water-rich Kurdish mini-state on its southeast border, creating a magnet for Kurdish minorities in Turkey, Iran and Syria, is to believe in miracles. Not only Turkey and Iran are vehemently against it, but also Saudi Arabia (the House of Saud believing that a Kurdistan counterpart – Shi’iteistan in southern Iraq – would be subservient to Iran). What the Bush administration’s games have achieved so far is to unite Turkey and Iran on the issue.

Turkey regards the Kurds just like China regards Tibetans and Uighurs; they are part of a unitary Turkish state and have no right to autonomy. If Washington condemns China for its repression of Tibetans and Uighurs, it should behave the same way regarding Turkey. Not only will this not happen, but now the Americans need the Turks more than the Turks need the Americans.

A true measure of White House and neo-conservative desperation to facilitate the relentless surge towards war on Iran is whether it would be willing to plunge Iraqi Kurdistan into war, compromise the Turkish-Iraq corridor (through wich flows 70% of US supplies to Iraq) and future US Big Oil investments in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Barzani keeps insisting he and Washington are in sync, both wanting a peaceful solution for this royal mess; but he always points out “we are a nation” which will not accept Turkish threats.

US plans for Iraqi Kurdistan, stretching back to that 1990 Israeli-devised Turkish plan, are in jeopardy. And once again all because of the enemy within.

Washington played the ethnic card in Afghanistan, pitting Tajiks against Pashtuns; the result, apart from a never-ending war in Afghanistan, was that Pashtuns on both sides of the border united and are now destabilizing even further the US ally, Pakistan.

Washington played the Kurd card to destabilize Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and as a beachhead for its control of the country after the invasion. Not only Iraq turned into a quagmire, Washington helped to plunge Kurdistan into the line of (Turkish) fire.

There’s no evidence these lessons have been learned. No matter what happens in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Bush administration will still insist on the ethnic card to precipitate regime change in Iran.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007). He may be reached at

Copyright 2007 Asia Times Online Ltd.

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tasered Florida Student on Palast Report by Zach Roberts + video (updated)

Dandelion Salad


Due to issues involving Andrew Meyer’s litigation, his attorney has requested we hold off broadcast until Friday evening. As this young journalist has had enough shocks in his life, I see no reason not to comply.

Now that I’ve met Andrew, I can tell you: he’s not some sensationalist fruitcake. He’s a sincere guy with a damn good question: why not count the votes, America? Andrew will be providing on-the-ground reports for us from Florida over the coming election season.
Apologies for the awful puns.

– Greg Palast

“The Palast Report”
on “Clout” with Richard Greene
Air America Radio Network

Continue reading

Cafferty File: 1.8 Million Vets Can’t Get Health Care (video)

Dandelion Salad


Added: November 01, 2007


Why Kucinich Is The Best Candidate (video; health care)

Clinton, Obama, Edwards on ‘the same page’ on health care reform, ‘the wrong page,’ says Kucinich

Biden Breaks Loose in AARP Democratic Debate (video) + Kucinich locked out of debate!

Kucinich: The Great LA Health Care Rally (video)

Olbermann: Dem Debate + Repub Sex Scandal + Worst (videos)

Dandelion Salad


Keith Olbermann Does His Impersonation Of Dana Perino

Added: November 01, 2007

Another Conservative Republican Caught In Gay Sex Scandal

Mort Kondracke Of Fox News Worst Person In The World!!!

Congressional Shame and Duplicity by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, November 1, 2007

The latest October Reuters/Zogby Index shows record low approval ratings for George Bush and Congress – 24% for the president that looks almost giddy compared to the bottom-scraping 11% level for the nation’s lawmakers. It’s more evidence that the criminal class in Washington is bipartisan and hoping November, 2008 will change things is pure fantasy.

A voter groundswell sent a message last November to end the Iraq war and occupation. Instead, the Democrat-led 110th Congress continues to fund it generously. In May, the House overwhelmingly passed HR 1585, the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. It calls for $506.8 billion for DOD plus $141.8 billion (of the $150.5 billion White House request) for ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan operations. The Senate followed with a similar bill on October 1 with only three opposing votes against it. Neither bill proposed an Iraq withdrawal timeline, and final legislation has yet to be sent to the president.

Add on further amounts like George Bush’s latest $46 billion request putting FY 2008 supplemental war-funding above $196 billion and rising. Congress will approve it and more in spite of Democrats signaling a protracted budget showdown ahead. The only showdown will be over how much pork will be added to the final appropriation and for what purpose.

Democrats also back the administration’s push to attack Iran by echoing what the Israeli Lobby calls “The Iranian Threat.” War with Iran is AIPAC’s top priority, and key Democrats in Congress are on board hyping a non-existent threat to prepare the public for what may be coming. Earlier in March, Speaker Pelosi removed a provision from an appropriations bill that would have required George Bush to get congressional approval before attacking Iran. Then in July, the Senate unanimously (97 – 0) passed the Lieberman amendment that practically endorses war if it’s declared. It affirmed George Bush’s baseless charges that Tehran funds, trains and arms Iraqi resistance fighters “who are contributing to the destabilization of Iraq and are responsible for the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces.”

The House added its voice on September 25 by voting 397 – 16 for the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007 that imposes sanctions on non-US companies investing in Iran’s oil sector. The next day the Senate acted again by overwhelmingly (79 – 22) passing the Kyl-Lieberman amendment that calls for US policy to “combat, contain and (stop Iran by use of) diplomatic, economic, intelligence and military instruments.” Other bellicose language in the resolution stated:

— “the United States should designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp as a foreign terrorist organization….and place (it) on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists….it should be the policy of the United States to stop inside Iraq the violent activities and destabilizing influence of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies.”

This measure helped smooth the way for George Bush’s October 25 unilateral imposition of sanctions discussed below. It was an unprecendented move against another nation’s military Senator Jim Webb (voting no) said provides “a backdoor method of gaining congressional validation for military action, without one hearing (or) serious debate (and that the action) is Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream.”

George Bush acted provocatively twice. At his October 17 news conference, he menacingly said he believes Iran “want(s) to have the capacity, the knowledge in order to make a nuclear weapon….it’s in the world’s interests to prevent them from doing so….If Iran had a nuclear weapon, it would be a dangerous threat to world peace….So….if you’re interested in avoiding World War III” this possibility must be prevented implying war (potentially using first-strike nuclear weapons) is the way to do it.

On October 25 Bush acted again to counter China and Russia’s opposition to sweeping UN Security Council measures. He unilaterally imposed harsh new sanctions against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), its Quds Force, three state-owned banks and over 20 Iranian companies. The IRGC was named as “proliferators of weapons of mass destruction,” and the Quds Force was called a “supporter of terrorism.”

Democrats buy this stuff and ignore IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei’s latest October 28 statement that repeated his earlier ones. He said he had no evidence Iran is building or seeks to build nuclear weapons and accused the Bush administration of adding “fuel to the fire” with its bellicose rhetoric. The “loyal opposition” prefers instead to accept White House press secretary Dana Perino’s October 29 charge that Iran “is a country that is enriching and reprocessing uranium and the reason one does that is to lead towards a nuclear weapon.”

This accusation and new administration sanctions ratchet up tension further and amount to what one analyst called “a warning shot across the bow (that stops short of) a signal we’re going to war,” but it’s got other observers thinking the likelihood is greater than ever with Congress on board. The move also caught Vladimir Putin’s attention in Lisbon where he was attending an EU leader summit. “Why worsen the situation and bring it to a dead end” with sanctions or military action,” he said. He then added a pointed reference to George Bush stating: “Running around like a madman with a razor blade, waving it around, is not the best way to resolve the situation.”

Newly imposed sanctions won’t affect US companies. They’re already barred from doing business directly in Iran, but they do target their foreign subsidiaries and other foreign-based ones with threats of penalties and exclusion from the US market. It remains to be seen how effective they’ll be as key EU countries as well as China, Russia, India and others have growing economic ties to Iran. They won’t be eager to sever them or join the US campaign for a wider Middle East war. In addition, Iran is a major oil supplier. With the price of crude touching $96 a barrel on November 1 (and December futures up to $125), any cutoff or severe reduction of supply guarantees it’ll top $100 and make a global economic slowdown or recession much more likely.

Nonetheless, the Bush war machine presses on with congressional Democrats aboard. Presidential candidates from both parties support Bush’s move, and Democrat front runner Hillary Clinton is as hawkish as Joe Lieberman and John McCain. They both endorse attacking Iran, and McCain believes striking Iran’s nuclear sites “is a possibility that is maybe closer to reality than we are discussing tonight.”

Clinton is just as bellicose, is close to AIPAC, and in an earlier speech said: “The security and freedom of Israel must be decisive and remain at the core of any American approach to the Middle East. (We dare not) waver from this (firm) commitment.” She was also quoted in the current issue of Foreign Affairs saying: “Iran poses a long-term strategic challenge to the United States, our NATO allies and Israel. It is the country that most practices state-sponsored terrorism, and it uses its surrogates to supply explosives that kill US troops in Iraq….(Iran) must not not be permitted to build or acquire nuclear weapons. If Iran (won’t comply with) the will of the international community, all options must remain on the table.”

The only give in her position (that’s hardly any at all) is wanting congressional approval for any future military action. Up to now, that’s been pro forma rubber stamp. It’ll be no different if George Bush orders an attack as congressional Democrat leaders, including Hillary Clinton, have already signaled their approval.

John Richardson wrote on October 18 in that two former high-ranking Bush administration National Security Council officials fear the worst. They’re Middle East experts Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann, and they’re reacting publicly. They believe war with Iran has been in the cards for years, and we’re “getting closer and closer to the tripline.” Key for them was the unprecedented move to name Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force a terrorist organization.

Richardson lays out what they think will happen: UN diplomacy will fail because Russia and China won’t agree to harsh sanctions. Iran’s policies won’t change without “any meaningful incentive from the US. That will trigger a….White House (response with) a serious risk (George Bush) would decide to order an attack on the Iranian nuclear installations and probably a wider target zone.” This, in turn, “would result in a dramatic increase in attacks on US (Iraq) forces, attacks by proxy forces like Hezbollah, and an unknown reaction from….Afghanistan and Pakistan, where millions admire Iran’s resistance.” Attacking Iran “could engulf America in a war with the entire Muslim world.” The article also quotes former CIA officer and author Robert Baer (from Time magazine) saying an unnamed highly placed White House official believes “IEDs are a casus belli for this administration. There will be an attack on Iran.”

The London Times raised the betting odds further for one in its October 21 report. Columnist Michael Smith wrote: UK defense sources disclosed that “British (Special Air Service – SAS) forces have crossed into Iran several times (along with other special forces, the Australian SAS and American special-operation troops) as part of a secret border war against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Al-Quds special forces.” They engaged in “at least half a dozen intense firefights” along the Iran-Iraq border in what looks like deliberate US-UK efforts to provoke Iran into providing justification for a major American attack.

Speculation one looms has been around for some time, and if it comes, it won’t surprise observers like Iran expert Gary Sick. He was a military advisor to three US presidents and was recently quoted in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine saying: The recent shift in US emphasis to “Iran’s support for terrorism in Iraq….is a complete change and is potentially dangerous.” That’s because it’s much easier proving (true or not) Iran supports Iraqi resistance fighters than it poses an imminent nuclear threat to the world.

Der Spiegel also reports on a leak “by an official close to” Dick Cheney that he’s “already asked for a backroom analysis of how a war with Iran might begin (and in) the scenario concocted by (his) strategists, Washington’s first step would be to convince Israel to fire missiles at Iran’s (Natanz) uranium enrichment plant.” That would provoke Iran to retaliate and give the Bush administration the excuse it needs “to attack military targets and nuclear facilities in Iran.” That’s OK with Democrats if it comes including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Black Agenda Report writer Margaret Kimberly calls a “Quisling” and an “absolute disaster for the Democrat Party and….the entire nation (because of her) eagerness to cooperate with the Bush regime (and) her incompetence in leading Congress.”

Other key Democrats share those qualities and that assures extremist Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey’s confirmation won’t be challenged. That’s in spite of reports top Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats Chairman Leahy and Majority Whip Durbin say their votes depend on his admitting waterboarding is torture. During his confirmation hearing, Mukasey was evasive and noncommittal.

When asked during questioning, he incredulously claimed not to know what waterboarding is even though it’s been around for centuries and what it entails is common knowledge. Mukasey would only say “IF (waterboarding) is torture, it is unconstitutional.” He then repeated the White House line “We don’t torture” even though he knows DOJ legal opinions confirm the Bush administration condones the practice by endorsing “the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.”

He should also know about the ACLU’s new “Administration of Torture” book based on FOIA requested evidence. It documents that “marching orders” for torture came from Donald Rumsfeld so the White House had to be involved as well. That includes George Bush and Alberto Gonzales, who in 2002 as White House Counsel, called the Geneva Conventions “quaint” and “obsolete” and as Attorney General authorized physical and psychological brutality as official administration policy.

Mukasey promises business as usual as AG and confirmed it by claiming “I don’t think (Guantanamo prisoners) are mistreated.” He also supports the president’s right to imprison US citizens without charge and deny “unlawful enemy combatants” their habeas rights, but that’s OK with Democrats on the Judiciary Committee with a large party majority sure to agree.

In a follow-up letter Senator Leahy requested, Mukasey was just as evasive and noncommittal as during his confirmation hearing. He sidestepped commenting on presidential surveillance powers limits beyond what FISA allows and continued to avoid admitting waterboarding is torture. Instead he said: ….”there is a real issue (whether) the techniques presented and discussed at the hearing and in your letter are even part of any program of questioning detainees.”

He then added if confirmed he’ll concentrate on “solving problems cooperatively with Congress,” advise George Bush appropriately on any “technique” he determines to be unlawful, and the president is bound by constitutional and treaty obligations that prohibit torture. This man and the president defile the law and practically boast about it, but Democrats will confirm him anyway as the next Attorney General.

House Democrats Pass New Terrorism Prevention Law

Almost without notice, the House overwhelmingly (404 – 6) passed the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (HR 1955) on October 23 some are calling “the thought crime prevention bill.” It now moves to the Senate where if passed and signed by George Bush will establish a commission and Center of Excellence to study and act against thought criminals.

The bill’s language hides its true intent as “violent radicalization” and “homegrown terrorism” are whatever the administration says they are. Violent radicalization is defined as “adopting or promoting an extremist belief system (to facilitate) ideologically based violence to advance political, religious or social change.” Homegrown terrorism is used to mean “the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily with the United States or any (US) possession to intimidate or coerce the (US) government, the civilian population….or any segment thereof (to further) political or social objectives.”

Along with other repressive laws enacted post-9/11, HR 1955 may be used against any individual or group with unpopular views – those that differ from established state policies even when they’re illegal as are many under George Bush. Prosecutors henceforth will be able to target anti-war protesters, believers in Islam, web editors, internet bloggers and radio and TV show hosts and commentators with views the bill calls “terrorist-related propaganda.”

If this legislation becomes law, which is virtually certain, any dissenting anti-government action or opinion may henceforth be called “violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism” with stiff penalties for anyone convicted. This bill now joins the ranks of other repressive post-9/11 laws like Patriot I and II, Military Commissions and Protect America Acts that combined with this one are grievous steps toward a full-blown national security police state everyone should fear and denounce.

Blame it on Congress and the 110th Democrat-led one that was elected to end these practices but just made them worse….and there’s still 14 months to go to the term’s end with plenty of time left to vaporize Iran and end the republic if that’s the plan.

Stephen Lendman is Research Associate of the Center for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on Mondays at noon US central time.

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

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The Neocons’ Crazy Dream of World War III by Rodrigue Tremblay

The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn’t Want You to Know By John H. Richardson

On the Eve of Destruction By Scott Ritter

US imposes unilateral sanctions on Iran: One step closer to war by Bill Van Auken

People get ready — one shoe away from war with Iran by Chris Floyd

Kucinich: Bush Wants More War – This Time With Iran

House Passes Thought Crime Prevention Bill by Lee Rogers

Action Alert: Do Not Confirm Mukasey!

Kucinich: Drexel U Debate + Post-debate Interview (videos)

Dandelion Salad


Dennis Kucinich post-debate chat, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, Oct. 30, 2007. The audio on the stream was clipping. I increased the video gain a bit as it was dark.
Added: October 31, 2007

h/t: rjones2818


Kucinich: Dem. Debate, Drexel University


Part 1 of 2
Dennis Kucinich at the Democratic debate, Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, PA 071030

Part 2 of 2

Kucinich: Impeachment! (video)

Now Is The Time to Impeach Cheney

Dems Philly Debate (videos; links)

Action Alert: Do Not Confirm Mukasey!

Dandelion Salad

American Freedom Campaign

Action: Tell your senators to oppose the nomination of Michael Mukasey to be the next attorney general. (Sponsored by the American Freedom Campaign)

From the email:

Within days, the Senate Judiciary Committee is likely to vote on the nomination of Michael Mukasey to be the next attorney general of the United States. During his testimony before the committee, Mukasey made numerous comments that demonstrate his lack of respect for domestic law and international treaties. He went so far as to say that the president could ignore federal law whenever he determined — on his own — that national security interests trumped the laws of the land.

Don’t sit by quietly and allow this man to become the nation’s top law enforcement official. Take a moment and send an email to your senators, urging them to oppose Mukasey’s nomination.

Here is just a sampling of the outrageous assertions made by Mukasey before the Judiciary Committee:

Mukasey refused to acknowledge that “waterboarding,” a technique used to simulate drowning during interrogations, constitutes torture. Despite the fact that waterboarding is an infamous torture technique barred under both international and domestic law, Mukasey said that he was not familiar with the practice. He could only meekly say, “If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.” Given the Bush Administration’s practice of having a flexible definition of torture, confirming a nominee who cannot recognize waterboarding as torture would be like putting an inmate in charge of the asylum.

Mukasey shockingly claimed that the president should not be bound by federal law.
When asked specifically whether the president is required to obey federal statutes, he said, “That would have to depend on whether what goes outside the statute nonetheless lies within the authority of the president to defend the country.” It is that kind of attitude that led to the use of torture, the abuse of signing statements, and widespread and unconstitutional warrantless wiretapping. We are — and we can only hope we will always be — a government of laws, not of man (or woman). It is not up to the president or other members of the administration to determine whether federal laws apply in a given situation.

(For a lengthier discussion of the preceding point, see this recent opinion piece in The New York Times: )

Mukasey indicated that his Department of Justice would likely turn a blind eye to the Bush Administration practice of ignoring congressional subpoenas. He was asked whether he would, as attorney general, direct the U.S. attorney in D.C. to refer contempt charges against Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to a federal grand jury for criminal prosecution, as federal law requires should the House or Senate pass a contempt resolution. Despite the fact that executive privilege is traditionally asserted to protect certain documents or conversations — not to defy completely a subpoena to appear before Congress — Mukasey said that the U.S. attorney would have to determine whether the assertion of privilege was “unreasonable.” If Mukasey does not know that it was unreasonable already, there is little chance that he will object when a Bush-appointed U.S. attorney claims that it was not.

When Mukasey was first nominated, he was widely praised for his balance and intellect. It is now clear that he would be anything but balanced when it comes to the relationship between Congress and the executive branch. With respect to his intellect, it appears that whatever faculties he possesses, they would be employed to further the Bush Administration’s goal of expanding executive power and defying any entity — including Congress — that dares stand in its way.

After the disastrous tenure of Alberto Gonazales, our next attorney general must be committed to upholding the rule of law. Unfortunately, Michael Mukasey has demonstrated that he will place the whims and desires of the executive branch above both domestic and international law. This is simply unacceptable.

Thank you for taking action.


Steve Fox
Acting Campaign Director
American Freedom Campaign

Mike Mukasey Attorney General Senate Confirmation Hearing (videos; links)

Mukasey Attorney General Senate Confirmation Hearing, Day 2 (videos; links)

Waterboarding is Torture… Period + US accused of torture by Ian Munro

Immoral Relativism By Jon Ponder

Torture, Paramilitarism, Occupation and Genocide by Stephen Lendman

The Imperial Presidency by Ralph Nader

Mukasey Defends Bush Admin on Post-9/11 Measures, But Vows Independence (link)

Write To Congress