Democratic Voters: DON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN! by Davis Fleetwood (video)

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Away With The Fairys: Macbeth (music video)

One of my all time favorite bands. Enjoy! ~ Lo

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text rom William Shakespeare´s Macbeth act v scene v sung and performed by Away With The Fairys

Nov. 12, 2007

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Dennis Kucinich is not a joke by Mary Shaw

Dandelion Salad

by Mary Shaw
The Smirking Chimp
Nov 11 2007

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is once again running for president. But you wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media, which have been spending all their time focusing on Clinton, Obama, and sometimes Edwards.

It seems like the only time we hear about Dennis Kucinich is when the talking heads make fun of him. They ridicule Kucinich’s short physical stature and his elfin appearance, and they make creepy comments about Kucinich’s gorgeous young wife.

First of all, this is supposed to be an election, not a beauty contest. Kucinich may not have Obama’s height or Edwards’ good looks. But what he does have are ideas that are often much more in line with what the American people really want. But, for some reason, we can’t get past the jokes and get down to the issues.

Unfortunately, the ridicule took on a new dimension when Kucinich admitted, during a recent debate, that he had seen a UFO — an unidentified flying object. From the reactions I’ve seen, you’d think he had admitted to seeing little green men inside that UFO.

Yes, that’s a little weird, but did that question even really belong in the debate?

Is it any weirder than the fact that former presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan had also seen UFOs?

Is it any weirder than the fact that Ronald and Nancy Reagan consulted an astrologer before making major decisions?

Is it any weirder than the fact that George W. Bush believes that God speaks through him?

No, what’s weird is that the issues are being ignored in favor of schoolyard-style ridicule. If the pundits and the Congress could get past the nonsense and focus on the issues, Dennis Kucinich might have a chance to bring about some of the change that the American people have been more and more impatiently waiting for.

Like bringing our troops home from Iraq.

Like holding the Vice President accountable for his manipulation of the intelligence process to deceive Americans in the run-up to the war in Iraq, and for threatening aggression against Iran absent any threat to the U.S.

Like keeping jobs here in the U.S.

Like protecting consumers.

Like promoting the development of clean, safe, renewable energy sources.

Like taking care of our sick.

And like enforcing our country’s ideal that all persons are created equal.

But those things are hard work. It’s much easier to just sit back, collect money from the special interests, and ridicule Dennis Kucinich.

Because he’s short.

Because he’s not so telegenic.

Because he’s married to a beautiful redhead.

And because he speaks for those of us who have a heart.
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.

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Are They Out There? By David H. Levy h/t: create06

“In a Time of War”: On the Absurdities of Non-Impeachment by Paul Street

Dandelion Salad

by Paul Street
Dissident Voice
November 12th, 2007

“We Have Some Major Priorities”

Here are 49 words to inspire dismay and disgust:

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her lieutenants maneuvered to avoid a floor fight that would have forced Democrats to choose between their liberal base, which might cheer a Cheney impeachment, and a broader electorate, which might view the resolution as a partisan game in a time of war.”

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Tyranny on the march by Sidney Blumenthal

Dandelion Salad

by Sidney Blumenthal
The Smirking Chimp
Nov 12 2007

Every aspect of George Bush’s foreign policy has now collapsed. Every dream of neoconservatism has become a nightmare. Every doctrine has turned to dust. The influence of the United States has reached a nadir, its lowest point since before the second world war, when the country was encased in isolationism.

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin – whose soul Bush famously claimed to peer through – is scuttling arms control agreements and cutting his own deals with the Iranians. The Turkish army is poised to invade northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish militants that the Iraqi government and the US allowed to roam freely. The resurgent Taliban, given a second life when Bush drained resources from Afghanistan for the invasion of Iraq, is besieging the countryside, straining the future of the Western alliance in the form of Nato. Pakistan, whose intelligence service and military contain elements that sponsor the Taliban and al-Qaida, remains an epicenter of terrorism. General Pervez Musharraf’s imposition of martial law in Pakistan on November 3 was his second coup, reinforcing his 1999 military takeover. Facing elections in January 2008 that seemed likely to repudiate him and an independent judiciary that refused to grant him extraordinary powers, he suspended constitutional rule. Toothless US admonitions were easily ignored.

Gone are the days when the stern words of a senior US official prevented rash action by an errant foreign leader and when the power of the US served as a restraining force and promoted peaceful resolution of conflict. In the vacuum of the Bush catastrophe, nation-states pursue what they perceive to be their own interests as global conflicts proliferate. The backlash of preemptive war in Iraq gathers momentum in undermining US power and prestige.

The resignation last week of Bush’s close advisor, Karen Hughes, as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, whose mission was to restore the US image in the world, signaled not only failure but also exhaustion. The administration’s ventriloquism act of casting words into the mouth of the president’s nominee for attorney general, former federal judge Michael Mukasey, who would not declare waterboarding torture, demonstrated that Bush is less concerned with the crumbling of America’s reputation and moral authority than with preventing an attorney general from prosecuting members of his administration, including possibly him, for war crimes under US law.

The neoconservative project is crashing. The “unipolar moment,” the post-Cold War unilateralist utopia imagined by neocon pundit Charles Krauthammer; “hegemony,” the ultimate goal projected by the September 2000 manifesto of the Project for the New American Century; an “empire” over lands that “today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets,” fantasized by neocon Max Boot in the Weekly Standard a month after September 11, have instead produced unintended consequences of chaos and decline.

Dick Cheney’s and Donald Rumsfeld’s presumption that successful war would instill fear, leading to absolute obedience and the suppression of potential rivalries and serious threats – the “dangerous nation” thesis of neocon theorist Robert Kagan – has proved to be the greatest foreign policy miscalculation in US history.

The quest for absolute power has not forged an “empire” but provoked ever-widening chaos. The neocons have been present at the creation, all right. But this “creation” is not another American century, in emulation of the post-second world war order fashioned by the so-called wise men, such as secretary of state Dean Acheson, a consummate realist, who Condoleezza Rice continues to insist is her role model. Squandering the immense influence of the US in such a short period has required monumental effort. Now the fog of war clears. On the ruin of the neocons’ new world order emerges the old world disorder on steroids.

Musharraf’s coup spectacularly illustrates the “Bush effect”. His speech of November 3, explaining his seizure of power, is among the most significant and revealing documents of this new era in its cynical exploitation of the American example. In his speech, Musharraf mocks and echoes Bush’s rhetoric. Tyranny, not freedom, is on the march. Musharraf appropriates the phrase “judicial activism” – the epithet hurled by American conservatives at liberal decisions of the courts since the Warren-led Supreme Court issued Brown versus Board of Education, which outlawed segregation in schools – and makes it his own. This term “judicial activism” has no other source. It is certainly not a phrase that originated in Pakistan. “The judiciary has interfered, that’s the basic issue,” Musharraf said.

Indeed, under Bush, the administration has equated international law, the system of justice, and lawyers with terrorism. In the March 2005 national defense strategy, this conflation of enemies became official doctrine: “Our strength as a nation state will continue to be challenged by those who employ a strategy of the weak using international fora, judicial processes, and terrorism.”

Neoconservative lawyers, in and out of the administration, have strenuously argued that the efforts to restore the Geneva conventions, place detainees within the judicial process and provide them with legal representation amount to what they denigrate as “lawfare” – a sneering reference to “welfare” and the idea that detainees are akin to the unworthy poor. Lawyers for detainees, meanwhile, are routinely insulted as “habeas lawyers,” as though they were agents of terrorists and that arguing for the restoration of habeas corpus proves complicity “objectively” with terrorists.

Rather than cite these neoconservative talking points directly or invoke the authority of Bush, whose feeble protestations he brushed aside, Musharraf slyly quoted Abraham Lincoln, who suspended habeas corpus in Maryland and southern Indiana during the American civil war. (The US circuit court of Maryland overturned his act. In 1866, the Supreme Court ruled in Ex parte Milligan that civilians could not be tried before military tribunals when civil courts were functioning.)

In Musharraf’s version, Lincoln is his model, taking executive action in order to save the nation: “He broke laws, he violated the Constitution, he usurped arbitrary powers, he trampled individual liberties, his justification was necessity.” Musharraf, of course, as he suspends an election, leaves out the rest of Lincoln, not least the difficult election of 1864, which took place in the middle of the civil war.

But where did Musharraf get his warped idea of Lincoln as dictator and America as an example of tyranny? Not quite from diligent study of American history. According to a 2002 interview with Ikram Sehgal, managing editor of the Defense Journal of Pakistan, Musharraf received this notion from his reading of Richard Nixon’s book Leaders, published in 1994, in which Nixon discusses Lincoln’s measures taken under extreme duress with ill-disguised admiration. Thus, for Musharraf, as for Cheney and Bush, Nixon’s vision of an imperial president lies at the root of their actions in creating an executive unbound by checks and balances, unaccountable to “judicial activism”.

Since declaring a state of emergency, Musharraf has rounded up thousands of lawyers and shut down the courts, while halting offensive military action against terrorists. In the name of combating terrorism, even as parts of his government are in league with them, he launches an attack on those who profess democracy.

The Bush administration finds itself devoid of options. Neoconservatives are left, happily at least for some of them, to defend torture. They have no explanations for the implosion of Bush’s policies or suggestions for remedy. Self-examination is too painful and in any case unfamiliar. Bush regrets Musharraf’s martial law, yet tacitly accepts that the US has no alternative but to support him in the war on terror that he is not fighting – and is using for his own political purposes.

On the rubble of neoconservatism, the Bush administration has adopted “realism” by default, though not even as a gloss on its emptiness. Bush still clings to his high-flown rhetoric as if he’s warming up for his second inaugural address. But this is not rock-bottom. There is further to fall.

Sidney Blumenthal is a former senior adviser to President Clinton. sidney_blumenthal@yahoo.com

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. 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.

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The Coup at Home By Frank Rich

Who’ll be first to blink? By Eric Margolis

The Coup at Home By Frank Rich

Dandelion Salad

By Frank Rich
ICH
New York Times
November 11, 2007

AS Gen. Pervez Musharraf arrested judges, lawyers and human-rights activists in Pakistan last week, our Senate was busy demonstrating its own civic mettle. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, liberal Democrats from America’s two most highly populated blue states, gave the thumbs up to Michael B. Mukasey, ensuring his confirmation as attorney general.

So what if America’s chief law enforcement official won’t say that waterboarding is illegal? A state of emergency is a state of emergency. You’re either willing to sacrifice principles to head off the next ticking bomb, or you’re with the terrorists. Constitutional corners were cut in Washington in impressive synchronicity with General Musharraf’s crackdown in Islamabad.

In the days since, the coup in Pakistan has been almost universally condemned as the climactic death knell for Bush foreign policy, the epitome of White House hypocrisy and incompetence. But that’s not exactly news. It’s been apparent for years that America was suicidal to go to war in Iraq, a country with no tie to 9/11 and no weapons of mass destruction, while showering billions of dollars on Pakistan, where terrorists and nuclear weapons proliferate under the protection of a con man who serves as a host to Osama bin Laden.

General Musharraf has always played our president for a fool and still does, with the vague promise of an election that he tossed the White House on Thursday. As if for sport, he has repeatedly mocked both Mr. Bush’s “freedom agenda” and his post-9/11 doctrine that any country harboring terrorists will be “regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

A memorable highlight of our special relationship with this prized “ally” came in September 2006, when the general turned up in Washington to kick off his book tour. Asked about the book by a reporter at a White House press conference, he said he was contractually “honor bound” to remain mum until it hit the stores — thus demonstrating that Simon & Schuster had more clout with him than the president. This didn’t stop Mr. Bush from praising General Musharraf for his recently negotiated “truce” to prevent further Taliban inroads in northwestern Pakistan. When the Pakistani strongman “looks me in the eye” and says “there won’t be a Taliban and won’t be Al Qaeda,” the president said, “I believe him.”

Sooner than you could say “Putin,” The Daily Telegraph of London reported that Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, had signed off on this “truce.” Since then, the Pakistan frontier has become a more thriving terrorist haven than ever.

Now The Los Angeles Times reports that much of America’s $10 billion-plus in aid to Pakistan has gone to buy conventional weaponry more suitable for striking India than capturing terrorists. To rub it in last week, General Musharraf released 25 pro-Taliban fighters in a prisoner exchange with a tribal commander the day after he suspended the constitution.

But there’s another moral to draw from the Musharraf story, and it has to do with domestic policy, not foreign. The Pakistan mess, as The New York Times editorial page aptly named it, is not just another blot on our image abroad and another instance of our mismanagement of the war on Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It also casts a harsh light on the mess we have at home in America, a stain that will not be so easily eradicated.

In the six years of compromising our principles since 9/11, our democracy has so steadily been defined down that it now can resemble the supposedly aspiring democracies we’ve propped up in places like Islamabad. Time has taken its toll. We’ve become inured to democracy-lite. That’s why a Mukasey can be elevated to power with bipartisan support and we barely shrug.

This is a signal difference from the Vietnam era, and not necessarily for the better. During that unpopular war, disaffected Americans took to the streets and sometimes broke laws in an angry assault on American governmental institutions. The Bush years have brought an even more effective assault on those institutions from within. While the public has not erupted in riots, the executive branch has subverted the rule of law in often secretive increments. The results amount to a quiet coup, ultimately more insidious than a blatant putsch like General Musharraf’s.

More Machiavellian still, Mr. Bush has constantly told the world he’s championing democracy even as he strangles it. Mr. Bush repeated the word “freedom” 27 times in roughly 20 minutes at his 2005 inauguration, and even presided over a “Celebration of Freedom” concert on the Ellipse hosted by Ryan Seacrest. It was an Orwellian exercise in branding, nothing more. The sole point was to give cover to our habitual practice of cozying up to despots (especially those who control the oil spigots) and to our own government’s embrace of warrantless wiretapping and torture, among other policies that invert our values.

Even if Mr. Bush had the guts to condemn General Musharraf, there is no longer any moral high ground left for him to stand on. Quite the contrary. Rather than set a democratic example, our president has instead served as a model of unconstitutional behavior, eagerly emulated by his Pakistani acolyte.

Take the Musharraf assault on human-rights lawyers. Our president would not be so unsubtle as to jail them en masse. But earlier this year a senior Pentagon official, since departed, threatened America’s major white-shoe law firms by implying that corporate clients should fire any firm whose partners volunteer to defend detainees in Guantánamo and elsewhere. For its part, Alberto Gonzales’s Justice Department did not round up independent-minded United States attorneys and toss them in prison. It merely purged them without cause to serve Karl Rove’s political agenda.

Tipping his hat in appreciation of Mr. Bush’s example, General Musharraf justified his dismantling of Pakistan’s Supreme Court with language mimicking the president’s diatribes against activist judges. The Pakistani leader further echoed Mr. Bush by expressing a kinship with Abraham Lincoln, citing Lincoln’s Civil War suspension of a prisoner’s fundamental legal right to a hearing in court, habeas corpus, as a precedent for his own excesses. (That’s like praising F.D.R. for setting up internment camps.) Actually, the Bush administration has outdone both Lincoln and Musharraf on this score: Last January, Mr. Gonzales testified before Congress that “there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution.”

To believe that this corruption will simply evaporate when the Bush presidency is done is to underestimate the permanent erosion inflicted over the past six years. What was once shocking and unacceptable in America has now been internalized as the new normal.

This is most apparent in the Republican presidential race, where most of the candidates seem to be running for dictator and make no apologies for it. They’re falling over each other to expand Gitmo, see who can promise the most torture and abridge the largest number of constitutional rights. The front-runner, Rudy Giuliani, boasts a proven record in extralegal executive power grabs, Musharraf-style: After 9/11 he tried to mount a coup, floating the idea that he stay on as mayor in defiance of New York’s term-limits law.

What makes the Democrats’ Mukasey cave-in so depressing is that it shows how far even exemplary sticklers for the law like Senators Feinstein and Schumer have lowered democracy’s bar. When they argued that Mr. Mukasey should be confirmed because he’s not as horrifying as Mr. Gonzales or as the acting attorney general who might get the job otherwise, they sounded whipped. After all these years of Bush-Cheney torture, they’ll say things they know are false just to move on.

In a Times OpEd article justifying his reluctant vote to confirm a man Dick Cheney promised would make “an outstanding attorney general,” Mr. Schumer observed that waterboarding is already “illegal under current laws and conventions.” But then he vowed to support a new bill “explicitly” making waterboarding illegal because Mr. Mukasey pledged to enforce it. Whatever. Even if Congress were to pass such legislation, Mr. Bush would veto it, and even if the veto were by some miracle overturned, Mr. Bush would void the law with a “signing statement.” That’s what he effectively did in 2005 when he signed a bill that its authors thought outlawed the torture of detainees.

That Mr. Schumer is willing to employ blatant Catch-22 illogic to pretend that Mr. Mukasey’s pledge on waterboarding has any force shows what pathetic crumbs the Democrats will settle for after all these years of being beaten down. The judges and lawyers challenging General Musharraf have more fight left in them than this.

Last weekend a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that the Democratic-controlled Congress and Mr. Bush are both roundly despised throughout the land, and that only 24 percent of Americans believe their country is on the right track. That’s almost as low as the United States’ rock-bottom approval ratings in the latest Pew surveys of Pakistan (15 percent) and Turkey (9 percent).

Wrong track is a euphemism. We are a people in clinical depression. Americans know that the ideals that once set our nation apart from the world have been vandalized, and no matter which party they belong to, they do not see a restoration anytime soon.

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.

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Who’ll be first to blink? By Eric Margolis

Our Man in Islamabad By Stephen Lendman

U.S. Aid to Musharraf is Largely Untraceable Cash Transfers By Spencer Ackerman

Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton Interviews Eric Margolis (+ video)

Paul Krugman: The Conscience of a Liberal (video)

Updated: Dec. 21, 2007 as first video became unavailable.

Dandelion Salad

 pdxjustice

Princeton University Professor of Economics and International Affairs, author and columnist for the New York Times, Paul Krugman, talks about his most recent book, THE CONSCIENCE OF A LIBERAL.  Added: December 20, 2007

It’s the End of the World as We know it and I feel FINE #23 (video; Food Riots; Ron Paul)

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This Week

1. Trillionaire Debt
2. Almost $100
3. PetroChina
4. Food Riots
5. Buy Nothing Day
6. No Borders Camp
7. R.A.T.M.
8. Ron Paul, who cares
9. Ward Churchill

Kucinich weekly campaign update 11-12-07 (video)

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Kucinich2008

Kucinich weekly campaign update 11-12-07

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Kucinich’s New Playbook for Speaking to the Media

Dennis Kucinich and Ani DiFranco in Boston (video)

The Courage of Kucinich in Pelosi’s House of Wacks by Linda Milazzo

Howard Zinn Speaking Out About Impeachment & Immigration (link)

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Effort to Impeach Vice Pres Cheney Still Alive (video)

Gore Vidal on Dennis Kucinich + New Poll

Kucinich-Dennis

Impeach

A Tale of One City, Now Two By Ali al-Fadhily

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By Ali al-Fadhily*
IPS

BAGHDAD, Nov 12 (IPS) – The separation of religious groups in the face of sectarian violence has brought some semblance of relative calm to Baghdad. But many Iraqis see this as the uncertain consequence of a divide and rule policy.

Claims are going the rounds that sectarian violence in Iraq has fallen, and that the U.S. military “surge” has succeeded in reducing attacks against civilians. Baghdad residents speak of the other side of the coin – that they live now in a largely divided city that has brought this uneasy calm.

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Never Again by Cindy Sheehan

The Real Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Nov. 12, 2007

The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today:
My own country, I cannot be silent.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is the day that our nation “celebrates” Veteran’s Day. For most people it is a day to sleep in and catch up on shopping, chores and other errands. For me, and too many others, it is just another especially hard day in an endless litany of hard days since Casey was killed in Sadr City on April 04, 2004.

A few days ago, I flew into the Houston Intergalactic airport for an event with the Houston Peace and Justice Center. As I was descending the escalator, I saw a contingent of about 15 people holding a big sign that said: “Welcome Home Anthony.” The excited people were holding flags and balloons and Anthony’s mom, who was fairly jumping up and down with joy, had a t-shirt on that read: “Proud Army Mom.” Although I was very happy for the family, I sat on the floor by my baggage carousel and wept when Anthony finally rejoined his family to the applause and cheers of everyone waiting for their luggage.

I wept because I will never be able to forget Casey’s final homecoming. My family and a few of our closest friends were picked up at our home on Saturday, April 10th by the funeral home’s limo. We followed the hearse to San Francisco International Airport. Normally a gregarious group, we mostly sat in stunned, shocked silence in the back of the limo.

When we arrived at SFO, we had to wait at the United Airlines loading dock while Casey’s cardboard encased body was loaded from a fork-lift onto a conveyor belt that conveyed his senselessly lifeless body into the back of the hearse while we all sobbed. No honor guard. No glove clad pall-bearers treating his remains with respect, just two visibly shaken United employees. Then we sat on the curb for over a half hour waiting for Casey’s First Cav escort who we never saw again. His job was to certify the remains after “they” got to the funeral home. After that, it was the viewing, the vigil, the funeral mass, the burial, the growing feelings of betrayal and bottomless pain.

Even though I have not been silent about our nation’s biggest export, violence, since Casey was killed and I have been on this quest for peace and justice, I have also had to reconcile myself with my part in Casey’s death. I have to beg his spirit for forgiveness for not being a better mom to him and not taking the responsibility to educate myself about the deviousness and callousness of the Military Industrial Complex which runs roughshod and unchecked all over the planet. My son is dead because of my ignorance and that is a fact that I must deal with everyday and will be dealing with until I rejoin him in the only Mother-Child reunion that George has made possible for us. I was among the zombie-like “patriots” who unconscionably and tragically gave one of my children to the murderous elite in this country to kill and be killed to line their already over-flowing pockets.

I have begged forgiveness from the people of Iraq for not doing more to stop my son from being an occupier of their country and an oppressor of their people. If I cared as much for all the children in the world, I never would have raised a child that would have gotten anywhere near the US military. In the Pledge of Allegiance, we robotically recite the line, “One Nation, under God,” as if the USA were divinely appointed to murder other people (From our own indigenous populations to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan) when we should be saying: “Every Nation is under God.”

Part of my Mea Culpa for not being more aggressive in trying to prevent Casey from going to war is to try and enlighten other mothers and fathers to the awful truth before they have to experience the tragedy my family has had to go through.

While the coward Dick was desecrating the Tomb of the Unknowns and George was babbling to a group of Gold Star Parents that he met with in Waco, TX, yesterday, hundreds of thousands of loved ones were in mourning because of their actions. Tens of thousands of our loved ones are injured either mentally, emotionally, or physically and millions of Iraqis are dead, displaced or devastated and the Bush Crime Mob continue to walk freely among good people.

Please take the lesson from Veteran’s Day as “Never again.” Never again will we send our children to fight for the criminal ideals of the war pigs and never again will we allow ourselves to be manipulated by false patriotism and exploitive fear of whomever the war pigs say we should fear.

We should “fear” the pigs of war and never follow them down paths of destruction again!

h/t: After Downing Street

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Faith and War by Cindy Sheehan

The Grand Delusion by Joel S. Hirschhorn

Dandelion Salad

by Joel S. Hirschhorn
Atlantic Free Press
Sunday, 11 November 2007

With an endless, futile and costly Iraq war, a stinking economy and most Americans seeing the country on the wrong track, the greatest national group delusion is that electing Democrats in 2008 is what the country needs.

Keith Olbermann was praised when he called the Bush presidency a criminal conspiracy. That missed the larger truth. The whole two-party political system is a criminal conspiracy hiding behind illusion induced delusion.

Virtually everything that Bush correctly gets condemnation for could have been prevented or negated by Democrats, if they had had courage, conviction and commitment to maintaining the rule of law and obedience to the Constitution. Bush grabbed power from the feeble and corrupt hands of Democrats.

Democrats have failed the vast majority of Americans. So why would sensible people think that giving Democrats more power is a good idea? They certainly have done little to merit respect for their recent congressional actions, or inaction when it comes to impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

One of the core reasons the two-party stranglehold on our political system persists is that whenever one party uses its power to an extreme degree it sets the conditions for the other party – its partner in the conspiracy – to take over. Then the other takes its turn in wielding excessive power. Most Americans – at least those that vote – seem incapable of understanding that the Democrats and Republicans are two teams in the same league, serving the same cabal running the corporatist plutocracy. By keeping people focused on rooting for one team or the other, the behind-the-scenes rulers ensure their invisibility and power.

The genius of the plutocrats is to create the illusion of important differences between the two parties, and the illusion of political choice in elections. In truth, the partner parties compete superficially and dishonestly to entertain the electorate, to maintain the aura of a democracy. Illusion creates the delusion of Americans that voting in elections will deliver political reforms, despite a long history of politicians lying in campaigns about reforms, new directions and bold new policies. The rulers need power shifting between the teams to maintain popular trust in the political system. Voting manifests that trust – as if changing people will fix the system. It doesn’t.

So voters become co-conspirators in the grand political criminal conspiracy. Those who vote for Democrats or Republicans perpetuate the corrupt, dishonest and elitist plutocracy that preferentially serves the interests of the Upper Class and a multitude of special interests – some aligned with the Republicans and some with the Democrats. Voting only encourages worthless politicians and those that fund and corrupt them.

Public discontent leads to settling for less through lesser evil voting rather than bold thinking about how to reform the system to get genuine political competition and better candidates and government.

I understand why sane people would not want to vote for Republicans, based on the Bush presidency. But I cannot understand why politically engaged people think that putting Democrats in power will restore American democracy and put the welfare of non-wealthy Americans above the interests of the wealthy and the business sector. Bill Clinton’s administration strongly advanced globalization and the loss of good jobs to foreign countries. Economic inequality kept rising. Trade agreements sold us out.

And in this primary season talk about reforming our health care system among Democrats never gets serious about providing universal health care independent of the insurance industry. And why should citizens be supportive of a party that favors illegal immigration – law breaking – that primarily serves business interests by keeping labor costs low?

Nor have Democrats stood up to challenge the official 9/11 story that no longer has any credibility to anyone that takes the time to seriously examine all its inconsistencies with what really happened and the laws of physics.

Whoever wins the Democratic presidential nomination will not be free of corruption and lies. He or she will owe paybacks to all the fat-cat campaign donors. Voters will be choosing the lesser-evil Democratic presidential candidate. Is that really the only choice? Is there no other action that can advance the national good?

There seem to be just two other choices. Vote for some third party presidential candidate, but the downside of that is twofold. No such candidate can win in the current rigged system. Worse, voting gives a stamp of credibility to the political system, as if it was fair, when it is not. Voting says that you still believe that the political system merits your support and involvement.

The second option is to boycott voting to show total rejection of the current political system and the plutocratic cabal using the two-party duopoly to carry out its wishes. When a democracy no longer is legitimate, no longer is honest, and no longer serves the interests of ordinary citizens, then what other than violent revolution can change it? When the electoral system no longer can provide honest, corruption free candidates with any chance of winning, what can citizens do? Either stay home or just vote in local and state races and for ballot measures.

I say remove the credibility and legitimacy of the federal government by reducing voter turnout to extremely low levels. Show the world that the vast majority of Americans have seen the light and no longer are deluding themselves about their two-party democracy. A boycott on voting for candidates for federal office is a form of civil disobedience that has enormous power to force true political reforms from the political system. This is the only way to make it crystal clear that the presidency and Congress no longer represent any significant fraction of the people. This is the only way to show that America’s representative democracy is no longer representative and, therefore, is no longer a credible democracy. Just imagine a federal government trying to function in the usual ways when only 20 percent of the eligible voters actually voted.

It takes more courage to boycott voting than to vote for lesser evil Democrats and in the end this is the only way for people to feel proudly patriotic. This is the only way to not contribute to the ongoing bipartisan criminal conspiracy running the federal government.

We have broken government because the spirit of Americans that gave us our revolution and nation’s birth has been broken, in large measure by distractive and self-indulgent consumerism. It is better to recognize that those who vote suffer from delusion than to criticize those who do not vote as apathetic. Non-delusional nonvoters recognize the futility of voting.

Democrats will not restore our democracy. That is the painful truth that most people will not readily accept. Such is the power of group delusion. Voting produces never-ending cycles of voter dissatisfaction with those elected, both Democrats and Republicans. It is time to break this cycle of voter despair. Voters that bitch and moan about Congress and the White House have nobody to blame but themselves, no matter which party they voted for.

Joel S. Hirschhorn observed our corrupt federal government firsthand as a senior official with the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association; reach him through http://www.delusionaldemocracy.com.

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Pentagon Insider Has Dire Warning By Daniel Ellsberg

Dandelion Salad

Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming attack on Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States at a recent American University symposium. What follow are his comments from that speech. They have been edited only for space.

By Daniel Ellsberg
American Free Press

Let me simplify . . . and not just to be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It’s not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9-11. That’s the next coup that completes the first.

The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution . . . what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world—in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.

There have been violations of these principles by many presidents before. Most of the specific things that Bush has done in the way of illegal surveillance and other matters were done under my boss Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans.

All these violations were impeachable had they been found out at the time but in nearly every case the violations were not found out until [the president was] out of office so we didn’t have the exact challenge that we have today.

That was true with the first term of Nixon and certainly of Johnson, Kennedy and others. They were impeachable. They weren’t found out in time. But I think it was not their intention, in the crisis situations that they felt justified their actions, to change our form of government.

It is increasingly clear with each new book and each new leak that comes out, that Richard Cheney and his now chief of staff David Addington have had precisely that in mind since at least the early 1970s. Not just since 1992, not since 2001, but [they] have believed in executive government, single-branch government under an executive president—elected or not—with unrestrained powers. They did not believe in restraint.

When I say this, I’m not saying they are traitors. I don’t think they have in mind allegiance to some foreign power or have a desire to help a foreign power. I believe they have in their own minds a love of this country and what they think is best for this country—but what they think is best is directly and consciously at odds with what the Founders of this country [and the Framers of the Constitution] thought.

They believe we need a different kind of government now, an executive government essentially, rule by decree, which is what we’re getting with ‘signing statements.’

Signing statements are talked about as line-item vetoes which is one [way] of describing them which are unconstitutional in themselves, but in other ways are just saying the president says: ‘I decide what I enforce. I decide what the law is. I legislate.’

It’s [the same] with the military commissions, courts that are under the entire control of the executive branch, essentially of the president—a concentration of legislative, judicial, and executive powers in one branch, which is precisely what the founders meant to avert, and tried to avert and did avert to the best of their ability in the Constitution.”

* * *

Now I’m appealing to that as a crisis right now not just because it is a break in tradition but because I believe in my heart and from my experience that on this point the Founders had it right. It’s not just ‘our way of doing things’— it was a crucial perception on the corruption of power to anybody, including Americans.

On procedures and institutions that might possibly keep that power under control because the alternative was what we have just seen, wars like Vietnam, wars like Iraq, wars like the one coming.

That brings me to the second point. This executive branch, under specifically Bush and Cheney, despite opposition [even] from most of the rest of the branch, even of the cabinet, clearly intends a war against Iran, which, even by imperialist standards, [violates] standards in other words which were accepted not only by nearly everyone in the executive branch but most of the leaders in Congress.

The interests of the empire, the need for hegemony, our right to control and our need to control the oil of the Middle East and many other places. That is consensual in our establishment. …

But even by those standards, an attack on Iran is insane. And I say that quietly, I don’t mean it to be heard as rhetoric. Of course it’s not only aggression and a violation of international law, a supreme international crime, but it is by imperial standards, insane in terms of the consequences.

Does that make it impossible? No, it obviously doesn’t; it doesn’t even make it unlikely.

That is because two things come together that with the acceptance for various reasons of the Congress—Democrats and Republicans—and the public and the media, we have freed the White House — the president and the vice president—from virtually any restraint by Congress, courts, media, public, whatever.

And on the other hand, the people who have this unrestrained power are crazy. Not entirely, but they have crazy beliefs.

And the question is what then, can we do about this?

We are heading toward an insane operation. It is not certain. [But it] is likely.… I want to try to be realistic myself here, to encourage us to do what we must do, what is needed to be done with the full recognition of the reality. Nothing is impossible.

What I’m talking about in the way of a police state, in the way of an attack on Iran, is not certain. Nothing is certain, actually. However, I think it is probable, more likely than not, that in the next 15, 16 months of this administration we will see an attack on Iran. Probably. Whatever we do.

And . . . we will not succeed in moving Congress, probably, and Congress probably will not stop the president from doing this. And that’s where we’re heading. That’s a very ugly, ugly prospect.

However, I think it’s up to us to work to increase that small, perhaps—anyway not large—possibility and probability to avert this within the next 15 months, aside from the effort that we have to make for the rest of our lives.

* * *

Getting back the constitutional government and improving it will take a long time. And I think if we don’t get started now, it won’t be started under the next administration.

Getting out of Iraq will take a long time. Averting Iran and averting a further coup in the face of a 9-11, another attack, is for right now, it can’t be put off. It will take a kind of political and moral courage of which we have seen very little.

We have a really unusual concentration here and in this audience, of people who have in fact changed their lives, changed their position, lost their friends to a large extent, risked and experienced being called terrible names, ‘traitor,’ ‘weak on terrorism’—names that politicians will do anything to avoid being called.

How do we get more people in the government and in the public at large to change their lives now in a crisis in a critical way? How do we get Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for example? What kinds of pressures, what kinds of influences can be brought to bear to get Congress to do their jobs? It isn’t just doing their jobs. Getting them to obey their oaths of office.

I took an oath many times, an oath of office as a Marine lieutenant, as an official in the Defense Department, as an official in the State Department as a Foreign Service officer. A number of times I took an oath of office which is the same oath of office taken by every member of Congress and every official in the United States and every officer in the armed services.

And that oath is not to a commander in chief, which is not [even] mentioned. It is not to a Fuehrer. It is not even to superior officers. The oath is precisely to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Now that is an oath I violated every day for years in the Defense Department without realizing it when I kept my mouth shut when I knew the public was being lied into a war as they were lied into Iraq, as they are being lied into war in Iran.

I knew that I had the documents that proved it, and I did not put it out then. I was not obeying my oath, which I eventually came to do.

I’ve often said that Lt. Ehren Watada—who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional and aggressive war—is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously [the matter of] upholding his oath.

The president is clearly violating that oath, of course. [All the personnel] under him who understand what is going on — and there are myriad — are violating their oaths. And that’s the standard that I think we should be asking of people.

On the Democratic side, on the political side, I think we should be demanding of our Democratic leaders in the House and Senate—and frankly of the Republicans —that it is not their highest single absolute priority to be reelected or to maintain a Democratic majority so that Pelosi can still be speaker of the House and Reid can be in the Senate, or to increase that majority.

I’m not going to say that for politicians they should ignore that, or that they should do something else entirely, or that they should not worry about that.
Of course that will be and should be a major concern of theirs, but they’re acting like it’s their sole concern. Which is business as usual. “We have a majority, let’s not lose it, let’s keep it. Let’s keep those chairmanships.”

Exactly what have those chairmanships done for us to save the Constitution in the last couple of years?

I am shocked by the Republicans today that I read [about] in The Washington Post who threatened a filibuster if we … get back habeas corpus. The ruling out of habeas corpus with the help of the Democrats did not get us back to George the First it got us back to before King John 700 years ago in terms of counter-revolution.

I think we’ve got to somehow get home to them [in Congress] that this is the time for them to uphold the oath, to preserve the Constitution, which is worth struggling for in part because it’s only with the power that the Constitution gives Congress responding to the public, only with that can we protect the world from madmen in power in the White House who intend an attack on Iran.

And the current generation of American generals and others who realize that this will be a catastrophe have not shown themselves —they might be people who in their past lives risked their bodies and their lives in Vietnam or elsewhere, like [Colin] Powell, and would not risk their career or their relations with the president to the slightest degree.

That has to change. And it’s the example of people like those up here who somehow brought home to our representatives that they as humans and as citizens have the power to do likewise and find in themselves the courage to protect this country and protect the world. Thank you.”

(Issue #47, November 19, 2007)

h/t: The Political Junkies

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see
Impeachment: A Message to Iowa Democrats by 35 Percenters (video; Kucinich)

The Obedience Culture, & the Death of the Mind – & Toward a New World by Arthur Silber

Impeach

Full Spectrum Mercenaries: Blackwater Goes to Mexico by John Ross

Dandelion Salad

by John Ross
Global Research, November 11, 2007
Conterpunch.org – 2007-11-09

If and when private security contractor Blackwater USA and its heavily-armed operatives are forced to pull out of Iraq as the result of the September 16th rampage in downtown Baghdad when its employees massacred up to 28 Iraqis, Mexico could be a profitable option for the North Carolina-based company.

Actually, Blackwater is almost in Mexico already. For months, the North Carolina-based corporation has been pressuring local San Diego officials to grant it an operating license for an 824-acre training site to be known as Blackwater West in Potrero California 45 miles east of that bustling port city but only six miles from the Tecate Mexico border crossing. The site, some of which snakes through the Cleveland National Forest, is a favored transit route for undocumented Mexican workers heading north and has been recently scorched by out-of-control wildfires.

Blackwater USA’s plans have drawn the ire of locals who are not happy about having 15 firing ranges in earshot and a coalition of homeowners, local farmers, environmentalists, and peaceniks has been pieced together to oppose the project. Nonetheless, Blackwater has kept up a full court press on county officials, even sailing the company yacht flying a humongous Blackwater flag, into a local marina last spring and inviting members of the planning commission aboard for cocktails.

Blackwater USA is attracted to the San Diego area because of the heavy concentration of military bases such as Camp Pendleton in the environs that could produce a windfall of security and training contracts from its pals in the Pentagon. Blackwater USA was founded by ex-Navy Seal Eric Prince who cultivates close ties with the military.

One of Blackwater’s most rah-rah backers in the Potrero venture is local congressman Duncan Hunter, ranking republican on the House Armed Services Committee and a dark horse candidate for his party’s presidential nomination. Hunter is considered one of the most virulent anti-Mexican immigration voices in congress and is a political architect of the separation wall that now lines California’s border with Mexico.

The dispute over Blackwater’s proposed Potrero training camp is not just a NIMBY-type confrontation. Siting the facility a stone’s throw from the Mexican border internationalizes the proposition. By any stretch of the imagination, Mexican president Felipe Calderon ought to be nervous about the encampment of the world’s largest private army on his conflictive northern border, particularly one that is not accountable to either the Geneva Convention or U.S. and Mexican military and civil law. Yet Calderon has not publically protested the proposal.

Situated in rugged high desert terrain, Potrero is an idyllic hideaway to train a new generation of Rambos – one can imagine guest motivational appearances by Sylvester Stallone and California’s action figure governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The camp which, in addition to multiple shooting ranges, will house an armory and feature both a 33,000 square feet urban counter-insurgency set and a course where armed vehicles seek to evade a paint ball barrage, is expected to train military and law enforcement personnel as well as private paramilitary security forces.

Blackwater USA has trained dozens of police forces at its Moyock North Carolina complex in the heart of that state’s Great Dismal Swamp, including big city (New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Chicago) officers as well as rural forces like the Maricopa County Arizona sheriff’s department. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is a first stop for undocumented Mexican migrants and the local police have been deputized to assist the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to corral the “indocumentados.”

Blackwater USA’s strategic position overlooking the Mexican border in Potrero presents inviting economic opportunities. Testifying before congress in 2005, then-Blackwater president Gary Jackson said that the North Carolina enterprise was prepared to provide assistance on border security and long-time connections inside DHS could generate lucrative contracts training increasingly heavily-armed ICE agents. San Diego congressperson Bob Filner, a Democrat told Salon Magazine’s Elaine Zimmerman last month that he believes Blackwater is positioning itself to move into the border security business.

As the National Guard troops brought back from Iraq by George Bush to patrol the border and appease fellow-republicans like Hunter are drawn down (3000 have already been pulled back), Blackwater USA is poised to fill in the gap. Blackwater would also be useful in strengthening security at troubled immigration detention centers along the border, more than half of which have already been privatized.

In an October 15th Wall Street Journal interview Prince indicated that Iraq-type operations were no longer at the top of Blackwater USA’s business agenda and that he saw his company as going more “full spectrum.” Now, as they move into their new facility on the Mexican border, Eric Prince & Company appear to be set to expand into both border enforcement and the Bush White House drug war with an operational role in Plan Mexico, the $1.5 billion U.S.-Mexico drug war scheme to fuse drug-fighting agencies on both sides of the border under Washington’s control.

Despite repeated advisories from the White House that Plan Mexico is a done deal, Bush and Calderon have yet to formalize the pact, pending approval by the U.S. Congress.

The request for three half billion dollar Plan Mexico pay-outs through 2009 was sent on to congress folded into a near $50 billion supplemental spending bill to finance Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but given Democratic aversion to funding these failed military escapades in an election year, passage is not assured. Plan Mexico has spread widespread suspicion south of the border with many Mexicans condemning the project as a grievous violation of national sovereignty.

Modeled on Washington’s flawed Plan Colombia, which has pumped billions into that South American nation to bolster the right-wing regime of Alvaro Uribe, one of Bush’s few allies in the hemisphere, Plan Mexico will supply this not-so-distant neighbor nation with upgraded military hardware and cutting edge technological savvy – the New York-based Verint Technology is already installing a voice-activated “communication interruption” system that will audit all phone and e-mail traffic in Mexico and to the U.S. The surveillance technology, which is being bankrolled by a U.S. State Department grant, appears to be as much in violation of the Mexican constitution as Bush’s massive, secret surveillance dragnet of his own citizens violates the U.S. magna carta.

Unlike Plan Colombia, Plan Mexico does not contemplate the stationing of U.S. troops on Mexican soil. Such an adventure would be universally unpopular here – the U.S. has invaded Mexico eight times since this country won its independence in 1821. To insure that U.S. military personnel stays on their side of the line, Mexican drug fighters are trained out of country, mainly at the Center for Special Forces in Fort Bragg North Carolina (100 miles as the crow flies from Blackwater’s Moyock complex.)

Nonetheless, as the military pares itself down and outsources its services, training Mexican troops is a role that a new “full-spectrum” Blackwater USA seems perfectly positioned to assume at the Potrero site. Because it is not formally a part of the U.S. military, Blackwater could also infiltrate personnel across the border for on-site engagement inside Mexico.

Coincidentally, according to a recent report in the Army Times (Sept. 14th), Blackwater USA has just been handed a sizeable chunk of a $15 billion USD drug war grant by the Department of Defense (Raytheon is another big winner.) Part of the Blackwater boodle is slated for the design of an unmanned aerostat surveillance platform that has been subcontracted with the Maryland-based Arinc Corporation. The “blimp” project (if that what is being proposed) marks a radical departure for Eric Prince’s conglom, which has never before been a supplier of technology to the military.

According to the Army Times report, the DOD grant mandates Blackwater USA “to deploy surveillance techniques, train foreign security forces, and provide logistical and operational support” for drug war initiatives.

Founded in 1996 by Prince and a handful of ex-Navy Seal buddies, Blackwater USA’s business boomed in the wake of 9/11 and it is heavily invested in Bush’s War on Terror. Drug war operations represent a field in which Blackwater has little experience but which, logistically at least, is not much different from the security firm’s terror war duties. In recent years, the White House has done its damndest to conflate the War on Drugs with the War on Terror.

Blackwater USA’s enlistment in the drug war is a direct challenge to its stiffest competitor, DynCorp – up until now, the Dallas-based corporation has locked up 94% of all private drug war security contracts.

Blackwater USA’s move into combating narco-terrorism will give the North Carolina outfit a foot up in Latin America where the private security industry is flourishing. Blackwater now employs 1200 Chileans, ex-members of dictator Augusto Pinochet’s military, in its international operations – in addition to its contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Blackwater provides security for high officials in Azerbaijan, Jordan, and Bokano Faso among other governments.

But Blackwater USA’s Colombian subsidiary, ID Systems, ran into a storm of criticism when it recruited 20 ex-military officers for the company’s Iraq operation – the recruits now claim that they were paid less than half of what their contracts called for and were kept by Blackwater USA in Iraq against their wills.

Under the U.S.’s post 9/11 security redesign, military protection of the homeland has become the province of the newly created North Command, now housed in a Colorado bunker. Within the North Command’s schema, Mexico forms a major portion of the U.S.’s southern security perimeter but with the U.S. military severely restricted in its abilities to put Special Forces on Mexican soil to combat the terrorists, narco or otherwise, Blackwater USA, perched as it is on the border at its Potrero California training camp and equipped with multi-million dollar DOD grants, stands ready to provide logistical and operational support to further Washington’s designs on Mexico and the South.


Global Research Articles by John Ross

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The Obedience Culture, & the Death of the Mind – & Toward a New World by Arthur Silber

Dandelion Salad

by Arthur Silber
November 10, 2007

At the beginning of February, I wrote about the profoundly heroic stand taken by Lt. Ehren Watada, in “You’re Either With the Resistance — or With the Murderers.” I said that Lt. Watada “is one of those rare heroes who has said, ‘No’ — and he is prepared to go to jail for four years for his refusal.” So part of what happened this past week is wonderful news:

First Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq, won what his backers are calling a “huge victory” in court Thursday.

US District Court Judge Benjamin Settle ruled the military cannot put Watada on trial a second time unless it can prove such a trial would not violate the US Constitution’s prohibition against “double jeopardy.”

In February, Lt. Watada’s first court martial ended in a mistrial just before he was to take the stand in his own defense. Many observers believe the judge, Lt. Col. John Head, ordered a mistrial in that case because he was worried that Lt. Watada’s testimony would lead to him being found not guilty of “missing [troops] movement” and “conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.”

Continued…

h/t: Antiwar.com

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