GMO Seeds: ‘MNCs Gaining Total Control Over Farming’ by Anil Netto

Dandelion Salad

by Anil Netto
Global Research, December 12, 2007
IPS News

Food security campaigners are now more concerned than ever that farmers are turning dependent on large multinational corporations (MNCs) for seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and other inputs while also becoming more vulnerable to pressures to produce genetically engineered crops.

Gathered here over the weekend, for the Pesticide Action Network (PAN)’s 25th anniversary, many expressed concern over the predatory nature of corporate agriculture and its attempts to corner the entire chain of food production from seeds to sales of food products.

PAN is a network of over 600 participating non-governmental organisations, institutions and individuals in over 90 countries working to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives.

Participants said agrichemical sales have become increasingly concentrated in a handful of large MNCs. Syngenta, Bayer, Monsanto, BASF, Dow and DuPont together control 85 percent of the annual pesticide market valued at 30 billion US dollars.

Three companies — Cargill, Archer Daniels and Bunge — control nearly 90 per cent of global grain trade while DuPont and Monsanto dominate the global seed market. Eleven firms account for about half the world sales of seeds, of which about a quarter are sales of genetically engineered seeds.

Genetically engineered seeds are now focussed on soybeans, maize, cotton and oilseed rape (canola).

Such concentration of market control in a few firms has been driven by large research-based firms fighting for market control and profits, higher research and development expenditure (roughly 10 percent of sales) and more demands for data for registration and re-registration of products.

Campaigners have to contend with more aggressive advertising tactics that promote the impression that pesticides are good and safe to use. Agrichemical lobbyists are trying to convince government officials that the industry is “science-based” and that pesticides are safe to use, said Barbara Dinham, an anti-pesticide campaigner from Britain.

Dinham pointed out that the global federation of agrichemical multinational corporations, CropLife International, is now touting itself as representing the ‘plant science industry’.

”We are committed to the safe and responsible use of the industry’s products in order to provide safe and abundant food as well as other benefits back to the consumer,” CropLife claims on its website. ”Through balancing environmental, economic and societal concerns the plant science industry also contributes significantly to promoting sustainable agriculture.”

CropLife’s annual report for 2007 even makes the breathtaking claim that pesticides are actually good for the environment for a host of reasons, including “lower carbon dioxide emissions associated with the switch to no-till/reduced tillage farming systems, and less frequent pesticide applications made possible by biotech crops fuel savings”. Among other claims, it states that increases in agriculture productivity have also protected biodiversity from the encroachment of agriculture.

There has been a growing recognition among campaigners that a broader view of the agrichemical and agribusiness challenge is necessary to take into consideration the new power structures in farming and more aggressive and assertive marketing techniques.

One of the biggest challenges facing campaigners is the corporate takeover of agriculture through a process of ‘vertical integration’. This involves the taking over of the entire food production cycle from the development of proprietary strains of DNA and the sales of seeds to farmers right down to the distribution and retail sales of food products in supermarkets and hypermarkets.

One activist who is deeply concerned over vertical integration and the concentration of market control in a handful of large multinational corporations is Javier Souza Casadinho of the Centre for Studies on Appropriate Technologies in Argentina.

Casadinho pointed to the ‘transnationalisation of capital’ and control of the market by a few large companies in Argentina as a worrying development. ”The transnational corporations are buying up companies that have the potential to create added value,” he said.

”They are also entering into contracts with food producers (farmers) that will determine what is produced, how it is produced, for whom it is produced and at what price and quality,” he told IPS.

”Vertical integration (by the larger companies) thus determines what kind of technology is used in food production and it may be the same companies that are producing the inputs that farmer need,” he said, adding that it would also facilitate the adoption of genetically engineered seeds and crops.

Such integration is based on the law of efficiency similar to economies of scale, and is aided by globalisation, observes Antonio A Tujan, Jr, international director of the Ibon Foundation Inc, a research and educational institution based in Quezon City, Philippines, specialising in socio-economic issues.

Since the global economy as it currently stands favours the multinational corporations and big corporations, vertical integration enhances anti-people and immoral business practices, he pointed out. ”Integration destroys the free market as it becomes increasingly dominated by the giants, which are able to dictate profits and what is produced,” he said.

This turns the market into a sellers’ market, and consumers and farmers have little or no choice. Farmers are forced to accept whatever they are asked to use such as seeds and pesticides.

A democratic market, in contrast, is a consumers’ market, said Tujan.

Vertical integration also restructures the production process and leads to a mono-culture. Self-sufficient family farms and individual livelihoods are integrated into corporations through production and market arrangements, giving rise to increasing dependency among farmers for inputs from the larger corporations.

”It sounds efficient, but it destroys democracy and is destructive of the genuine free market, which can be found in farmers’ markets, hawker centres, and night markets (where everyone is on a level playing field),” Tujan told IPS.

Attempts at vertical integration can also be found in Malaysia, which has unveiled a Northern Corridor Economic Region, in which local multinational firm Sime Darby is seeking to wrest control of the entire food chain from seed production and sales right down to retail sales through British multinational supermarket chain Tesco. Sime Darby has a 30 percent stake in Tesco’s Malaysian operations.

New strategies are now needed to counter these changing power structures, say activists. ”Adapting sustainable/organic farming systems is necessary to stop the dependence on TNCs for inputs and regain control over the seeds and technology,” said Rafael Mariano, the national chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), a nationwide federation of Philippine organisations of peasants, small farmers and farm workers and subsistence fisherfolk.

Tujan, for his part, suggested that consumers should not just ‘buy national’ or even ‘buy local’, but ‘buy small’. They could buy directly from farmers through farmers’ markets, which are expanding in the Philippines and parts of Europe. ”People should be sensitive about how foods are processed and consumers should make a choice.”

Global Research Articles by Anil Netto 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.

For media inquiries:
© Copyright Anil Netto, IPS News, 2007
The url address of this article is:


“Doomsday Seed Vault” in the Arctic by F. William Engdahl (GMO)

Big Brother: DARPA’s Control Freak Technology by Kurt Nimmo

Dandelion Salad

by Kurt Nimmo
Global Research, December 12, 2007

According to Wired, the Pentagon is “about to embark on a stunningly ambitious research project designed to gather every conceivable bit of information about a person’s life, index all the information and make it searchable?. What national security experts and civil libertarians want to know is, why would the Defense Department want to do such a thing?”

Once again, “security experts and civil libertarians” fail to understand the authoritarian, psychopathic mind. Our rulers do these sort of things because they are the ultimate control freaks, paranoid and suspicious of the average person ? or rather what the average person may do in order to get rid of the controllers, the parasites, who are compelled to spend billions of dollars on such projects, that is to say billions fleeced off the people they want to monitor and control. As usual, the excuse is they have to protect us from the terrorists, never mind they created the terrorists, too.

“The embryonic LifeLog program would dump everything an individual does into a giant database: every e-mail sent or received, every picture taken, every Web page surfed, every phone call made, every TV show watched, every magazine read,” Wired continues. “All of this ? and more ? would combine with information gleaned from a variety of sources: a GPS transmitter to keep tabs on where that person went, audio-visual sensors to capture what he or she sees or says, and biomedical monitors to keep track of the individual’s health.”

In fact, a large part of this is already in place, thanks to the NSA’s vacuum cleaner approach to searching for “al-Qaeda phone calls,” cataloguing millions of phone calls each and every day, reading email, snooping internet destinations with the help of the telecoms. As for GPS, you have one in your cell phone, as well as a way for the snoops to listen in on what you say, even when you think the phone is switched off.

If the government had its way ? and it may very well in a few years, thanks to the bovine nature of the average American ? you will be chipped or at minimum have an RFID in your wallet or purse, thus they will be track where you go and when.

This gigantic amalgamation of personal information could then be used to “trace the ?threads’ of an individual’s life,” to see exactly how a relationship or events developed, according to a briefing from the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, LifeLog’s sponsor.

Someone with access to the database could “retrieve a specific thread of past transactions, or recall an experience from a few seconds ago or from many years earlier ? by using a search-engine interface.”

For instance, it could be determined if you harbor “discontent” with the government, in other words if you’re with al-Qaeda.

On the surface, the project seems like the latest in a long line of DARPA’s “blue sky” research efforts, most of which never make it out of the lab. But DARPA is currently asking businesses and universities for research proposals to begin moving LifeLog forward. And some people, such as Steven Aftergood, a defense analyst with the Federation of American Scientists, are worried.

With its controversial Total Information Awareness database project, DARPA already is planning to track all of an individual’s “transactional data” ? like what we buy and who gets our e-mail.

While the parameters of the project have not yet been determined, Aftergood said he believes LifeLog could go far beyond TIA’s scope, adding physical information (like how we feel) and media data (like what we read) to this transactional data.

“LifeLog has the potential to become something like ?TIA cubed,'” he said.

No doubt, the pointy-heads in the Pentagon are particularly interested in this “how we feel” aspect of the program. Not even Orwell was able to imagine such a scary control device.

You see an image of our commander-guy on television or the web, your biomedical implant registers an elevated level or disgust, and the thought police are dispatched in SWAT fashion. It’s off to the re-education camp for you.

Of course, that’s really “blue sky” stuff at this point. Instead, for the moment, we’ll have to settle for DARPA tracking us on the internet, thanks to technology under development at Microsoft.

In the private sector, a number of LifeLog-like efforts already are underway to digitally archive one’s life ? to create a “surrogate memory,” as minicomputer pioneer Gordon Bell calls it.

Bell, now with Microsoft, scans all his letters and memos, records his conversations, saves all the Web pages he’s visited and e-mails he’s received and puts them into an electronic storehouse dubbed MyLifeBits.

DARPA’s LifeLog would take this concept several steps further by tracking where people go and what they see.

Of course, if you know the government is tracking where you go, chances are you may not go there. And that’s why DARPA is spending your hard-earned tax money on technology you can’t get around, just in case you’re with al-Qaeda or a Ron Paul supporter.

That makes the project similar to the work of University of Toronto professor Steve Mann. Since his teen years in the 1970s, Mann, a self-styled “cyborg,” has worn a camera and an array of sensors to record his existence. He claims he’s convinced 20 to 30 of his current and former students to do the same. It’s all part of an experiment into “existential technology” and “the metaphysics of free will.”

DARPA isn’t quite so philosophical about LifeLog. But the agency does see some potential battlefield uses for the program.

Indeed, military types are not normally interested in all that philosophical stuff, as they are too busy finding and eliminating enemies. DARPA concentrates on the battlefield and the battlefield is right here on Main Street. DARPA does somersaults to fit LifeLog into a traditional military context but it fails and fails miserably. Obviously, this system is for us, the commoners, and the real enemies of power.

John Pike, director of defense think tank, said he finds the explanations “hard to believe.”

“It looks like an outgrowth of Total Information Awareness and other DARPA homeland security surveillance programs,” he added in an e-mail.

Sure, LifeLog could be used to train robotic assistants. But it also could become a way to profile suspected terrorists, said Cory Doctorow, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In other words, Osama bin Laden’s agent takes a walk around the block at 10 each morning, buys a bagel and a newspaper at the corner store and then calls his mother. You do the same things ? so maybe you’re an al Qaeda member, too!

Bingo! And as we know, al-Qaeda now encompasses at lot of behavior, as even garden variety criminals are considered terrorists. But the run-of-the-mill pot smoker or bad check writer pales in comparison to those who are walking around experiencing “discontent” with the government. Obviously, a bad check writer will have at best minimal influence on the government while an al-Qaeda terrorist in a 9/11 truth t-shirt is most certainly a direct challenge and threat to the guys in charge, and that’s why DARPA was put on the case.

“The more that an individual’s characteristic behavior patterns ? ?routines, relationships and habits’ ? can be represented in digital form, the easier it would become to distinguish among different individuals, or to monitor one,” Aftergood, the Federation of American Scientists analyst, wrote in an e-mail.

In its LifeLog report, DARPA makes some nods to privacy protection, like when it suggests that “properly anonymized access to LifeLog data might support medical research and the early detection of an emerging epidemic.”

But before these grand plans get underway, LifeLog will start small. Right now, DARPA is asking industry and academics to submit proposals for 18-month research efforts, with a possible 24-month extension. (DARPA is not sure yet how much money it will sink into the program.)

Not that money is an object when the American tax payer is picking up the tab.

Like a game show, winning this DARPA prize eventually will earn the lucky scientists a trip for three to Washington, D.C. Except on this excursion, every participating scientist’s e-mail to the travel agent, every padded bar bill and every mad lunge for a cab will be monitored, categorized and later dissected.

And if the scientists are not extra careful, they may end up dead or missing, like not shortage microbiologists, as secret program like to clean up and stragglers who may cause embarrassment or Nuremberg-like trials down the road.

Kurt Nimmo is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Kurt Nimmo 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.

For media inquiries:
© Copyright Kurt Nimmo,, 2007
The url address of this article is:


New Document Reveals Military Mystery’s Powers By David Hambling (HAARP)

Weather Warfare: Beware the US military’s experiments with climatic warfare by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Darpa’s Latest Innovation In Big Brother Technology (video)

Olbermann: Broken Government + Tales Of The Tapes + Waterboarding + Bushed + Worst + The Right Stuff (videos)

Time for impeachment. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad


Dec. 12, 2007

Broken Government

Keith talks with Author of “Broken government” John Dean.

Torture, waterboarding, obstruction of justice.

Tales Of The Tapes

A continuation of Spies, Lies and videotape.

Keith talks with Richard Wolffe.

Waterboarding Is Torture

Keith talks with Rachel Maddow about torture and waterboarding.


Blackwater-Gate; Commutation-Gate; Gonzo-Gate

Worst Person

Worse: Fred Thompson

Worser: Mitt Romney

Worst: Bill O’Reilly

The Right Stuff 

Keith talks with Eugene Robinson about the GOP debate on PBS.


Dershowitz on Waterboarding – A blatant expansion of state power By Mike Whitney

Waterboarding Torture Demonstration at Justice Department (video; over 18 only)

CODEPINK Shows Senator Feinstein Waterboarding (videos; over 18 only)

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

Sensitive Guantánamo Bay Manual Leaked Through Wiki Site By Ryan Singel

Stossel interviews Ron Paul – Ask ABC to air it Part V (video)

Another issue I strongly disagree with Paul on.  ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

replaced video

John Stossel Interviews Ron Paul 2007.12.07 part 5


John Stossel Interviews Ron Paul on Youth Appeal, Opposition to Medicare, Medicaid
original location:…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “John Stossel Interviews Ron Paul 2007…“, posted with vodpod


Democrats Choice: Corporate or Kucinich Center? by John Buell

American College of Physicians Endorses Single-Payer Health-Care System by Dennis Kucinich

Kucinich on Kucinich health plan Brown & Black Forum (video)

John Stossel interviews Ron Paul – ABC Afraid to put it on TV Part I (video)

John Stossel interviews Ron Paul – ABC Afraid to put it on TV Part II (video)

Stossel interviews Ron Paul – Ask ABC to air it Part III (video)

Stossel interviews Ron Paul – Ask ABC to air it Part IV (video)

Stossel interviews Ron Paul – Ask ABC to air it Part VI (video)

Are Americans Really “Better Than That?” By Ray McGovern

Dandelion Salad

By Ray McGovern
12/12/07 “ICH

A boyish, inquisitive face with an innocent look peered out from the Washington Post’s lead story yesterday on torture. It was well groomed, pink-shirted John Kiriakou, a CIA interrogator who could just as easily pass for the local youth minister.

The report by the Post’s Joby Warrick and Dan Eggen, which describes Kiriakou’s experience in interrogating suspected terrorists, raises in an unusually direct way an abiding question: Should the United States of America be using forms of torture dating back to the Spanish Inquisition?

Nowhere is the mood of that infamous period better portrayed than in the famous Grand Inquisitor chapter of Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. Dostoevsky was unusually gifted at plumbing the human heart. While it has been 127 years since he wrote Brothers Karamazov, he nonetheless captures the trap into which so many Americans have fallen in forfeiting freedom through fear. His portrayal of Inquisition reality brings us to the brink of the moral precipice on which our country teeters today. It is as though he knew what would be in store for us as fear was artificially stoked after the attacks of 9/11.

In the story, Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor (the Cardinal of Seville) ridicules Christ for imposing on humans the heavy burden of freedom of conscience, and explains how it is far better, for all concerned, to dull that conscience and to rule by deceit, violence, and fear:

“Didst thou forget that man prefers peace, and even death, to freedom of choice in the knowledge of good and evil?…We teach them that it’s not the free judgment of their hearts, but mystery which they must follow blindly, even against their conscience…. In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet [and] become obedient…We shall tell them that we are Thy servants and rule them in Thy name…. we shall be forced to lie…. We shall tell them that every sin will be expiated if it is done with our permission.”
The Grand Inquisitor, in Brothers Karamazov

Kiriakou was one of the first interrogators to interview suspected terrorist Abu Zubayda in a Pakistani military hospital, where Zubayda was recovering from wounds suffered during his capture in early 2002. When he refused to provide information about al-Qaeda’s infrastructure, he was flown to a secret CIA prison where, according to Kiriakou, the interrogation team strapped Abu Zubayda to a board, wrapped his nose and mouth in cellophane, and forced water into his throat. In just 35 seconds, viola! Abu Zubayda starting talking. That is called waterboarding.

The 15 & 16 Century Spanish inquisitors were not squeamish, and had little need for circumlocutions or euphemisms like “alternative set of procedures” that are part of President George W. Bush’s lexicon. The Spanish called this procedure, quite plainly, “tortura del agua.” Lacking cellophane, they inserted a cloth into the victim’s mouth, forcing the victim to ingest water spilled from a jar starting the drowning process. Four centuries later, the Gestapo put out several technically improved releases of this operating system of torture, so to speak.

Quick; someone please tell newly confirmed Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who told reporters yesterday he still cannot decide whether waterboarding is torture.

Abu Zubayda: Poster Child

The information from John Kiriakou confirms what has long been a no-brainer but not definitively established before; namely, that President George W. Bush’s “alternative set of procedures” for interrogation by C.I.A. includes waterboarding. Zubayda was given pride of place in George W. Bush’s remarkable speech of Sept. 6, 2006, in which he bragged about the effectiveness of such procedures and appealed successfully for passage of the Military Commissions Act. That law allows a president to define what set of interrogation procedures can be used by the C.I.A. This is Bush on Sept. 6, 2006:

We believe that Zubayda was a senior terrorist leader and a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden…[and that] he had run a terrorist camp in Afghanistan where some of the 9/11 hijackers trained…We knew that Zubayda had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking…And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures…The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful…. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.

Zubayda was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to provide information on key al-Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th. For example, Zubayda identified one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s accomplices in the 9/11 attacks — a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubayda provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. And together these two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Bush claimed that his interrogation program had saved lives, and Kiriakou says the use of waterboarding “probably saved lives.” We cannot know for sure if this is true. Off-the-record interviews with intelligence officials strongly suggest that there is much prevarication and exaggeration in
the president’s claims about lives saved and operations disrupted, and that his assertions merit no more credulity than other claims—for example, that Iran’s nuclear weapons program poses a threat to the U.S., even though it has been stopped for four years.

Other U.S. intelligence officials take issue with the C.I.A.’s version of the questioning of Zubayda. Some say that initially he was cooperating with F.B.I. interrogators using a nonconfrontational approach, when C.I.A. assumed control and opted for more aggressive tactics. After that experience, the F.B.I. reportedly warned its agents to avoid interrogation sessions at which harsh methods were used.

As for credibility, never has a U.S. president’s word been so cheapened as it is today. In late July 2007, we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity joined with Justin Frank, MD, psychiatrist, professor at George Washington University Hospital, and author of “Bush on the Couch,” to search for insight on how President Bush thinks. See “Dangers of a Cornered Bush,”, from which we excerpt the following:

His pathology is a patchwork of false beliefs and incomplete information woven into what he asserts is the whole truth…He lies—not just to us, but to himself as well…What makes lying so easy for Bush is his contempt—for language, for law, and for anybody who dares question him…. So his words mean nothing. That is very important for people to understand.

This Is Oversight?

The past few weeks have witnessed an unseemly square dance in Congress, highlighting conflicting claims about what those who are supposed to be overseeing the intelligence community knew and when they knew it—about torture, about Iran, about many things. It is nothing short of an insult to the Founders that members of the House and Senate can find nothing more useful to do than wring their hands over their largely self-inflicted powerlessness.

Lawmakers have been so thoroughly intimidated by the White House that I get physically ill watching the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harman, Bob Graham, and Jay Rockefeller moan about how secretive and nasty the Bush administration has been. Harman complained recently that when she was ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee some of the material (on interrogations) was so highly classified that she had to take a “second oath” to protect it.

What about the solemn oath they all take to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic? Should not that oath transcend and govern others that an administration might require for access to secret materials?

Senator Dick Durbin of the Senate Intelligence Committee has complained that he was aware that classified information did not justify the conclusion in 2002 that Iraq had unconventional weapons, but he could not say anything because it was classified! Durbin explained:

…We’re duty-bound once we enter that room to respect classified information. Everything you hear is supposed to stay in the room…I certainly had enough to know that the statements that were made about mushroom clouds were not the conclusions of someone in the administration who was really being honest about the full debate. But you really know, walking in the room, what the rules of the game will be.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has admitted knowing for several years about the Bush administration’s eavesdropping on Americans without a court warrant. She was briefed on it when she was ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee when Bush and Cheney took office. One key unanswered question is this: Was she told that within days of their taking office—that is, seven months before 9/11, the National Security Agency’s electronic vacuum cleaner had already begun to suck up information on Americans—the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, not to mention the Constitution, be damned?

In a Washington Post op-ed of Jan. 15, 2006, Pelosi proudly advertised her uniquely long tenure on the Intelligence Committee and acknowledged that she was one of the privileged handful of lawmakers who were briefed. “This is how I came to be informed of President Bush’s authorization for the NSA to conduct certain types of surveillance.” She then proceeded to demonstrate the bowing and scraping characteristic of her subservient attitude toward the Executive Branch:

“But when the administration notifies Congress in this manner, it is not seeking approval. There is a clear expectation that the information will be shared by no one, including other members of the intelligence committees. As a result, only a few members of Congress were aware of the president’s surveillance program, and they were constrained from discussing it more widely.”

And so too, may we assume, with respect to torture? This is oversight?

Neutered Watchdogs: Rockefeller and Reyes

What can we expect from the current Senate and House oversight chairmen regarding the recently disclosed, deliberate destruction of two tapes of harsh interrogations of Abu Zubayda and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri? (Al-Nashiri is thought to have played a role in the attack on the USS Cole.) On the Senate side, expect nothing of Mr. Milquetoast Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who, it is said, is so afraid of his own shadow that he only ventures outdoors at night or in bad weather.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes has a different kind of problem, and should recuse himself. He has been fawning all over José Rodriguez, the former CIA Deputy Director of Operations who ordered the tapes destroyed.

On August 16, 2007 Congressman Reyes told a conference in El Paso he considered Rodriguez “an American hero,” proudly adding that, “with a few liberties that Hollywood takes, the exploits of José Rodriguez are documented in the FOX TV series “24.” I am told that almost every episode of “24” includes at least one scene glorifying torture, usually with lead man Jack Bauer playing a main role. Reyes made it clear he is a big fan of Bauer and “24.”

Were that not enough, after Rodriguez’ role in destroying the interrogation tapes became public, Reyes immediately cautioned against allowing investigations to find just one “scapegoat” (no secret to whom he was referring). And so, unless Reyes does recuse himself, look for a “complete and thorough” investigation of the kind favored by the Nixon White House. (Just when you may have thought it could not get any worse!)

Torture as Technique: Stark Differences in View

On Sept. 6, 2006, the very day Bush bragged about his “alternative set of procedures for interrogation” and appealed for legislation allowing the C.I.A. to continue using them, the head of Army intelligence, Lt. Gen. John Kimmons, took a very different tack. Conducting a Pentagon briefing shortly before the president gave his own speech, Kimmons underscored the fact that the revised Army manual for interrogation is in sync with the Geneva treaties. Then, conceding past “transgressions and mistakes,” Kimmons updated something I learned 45 years ago as a second lieutenant in Army intelligence:

“No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tells us that.”

Grabbing the headlines the following day, was Bush’s admission that the CIA has taken “high-value” captives to prisons abroad for interrogation using “tough” techniques prohibited by the revised Army field manual—and by Geneva, for that matter. Gen. Kimmons displayed uncommon courage in facing into that wind.

How About— Stop Torture Because It’s Wrong?

Have you noticed the shameful silence of our institutional churches, synagogues, and mosques? True, on occasion a professor of moral theology will speak out. Professor William Schweiker of the Chicago Divinity School, for example, has heaped scorn on the scenario of the lone knower of the facts whose torture is thought to be able to save millions of lives. He notes that such is “the stuff of bad spy movies and bad exam questions in ethics courses.” Schweiker warns Christians, in particular:

“Not to fall prey to fear and questionable reasoning and this continue to support an unjust and vile practice that demeans the nation’s highest political and moral ideals, even as it desecrates one of the most important practices and symbols (Baptism) of the Christian faith.”

And, to its credit, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, a coalition of 130 religious organizations from left to right on the political spectrum, yesterday issued a strong call for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the C.I.A.’s destruction of the videotapes of harsh interrogation techniques. NRCAT’s founder, Princeton Theological Seminary professor George Hunsinger told the press that “to acknowledge that waterboarding is torture is like conceding that the sun rises in the east,” adding:

“All the dissembling in high places that makes these shocking abuses possible must be brought to an end. But they will undoubtedly continue unless those responsible for them are held accountable. Clearly a joint probe by the Justice Department and the CIA — agencies that are both seriously compromised — is not enough. A special counsel is an essential first step.”

But where are the official voices of the institutional churches, synagogues, and mosques in this country. In effect, they are ordaining Jack Bauer with their silence.

This Happened Before

With very few exceptions, the institutional churches in Nazi Germany kept a shameful silence, denying believers the moral authority and leadership so needed to stand up to Gestapo torturers. Indeed, many of the bishops—like military leaders, and jurists—swore a personal oath to Hitler. For his part, the Nazi leader moved quite quickly to ensure that there was a pastor—whether Evangelical or Catholic—in every parish in Germany. He saw this as a source of support and stability for his regime. And, sadly, it was.

While the Nazis were systematically torturing and even murdering defenseless victims, they kept repeating assurances that not a single hair of anyone’s head would be harmed. (Shades of the familiar refrain “we do not torture.”) And the propaganda machine under Joseph Goebbels made a fine art of what President Bush calls the need to “catapult the propaganda.”

Sebastian Haffner, a young German lawyer in Berlin during the thirties kept a journal that his children subsequently published in book form as “Defying Hitler.” His fascinating account of Germany in the thirties provides many thoughtful insights into prevailing attitudes and the lack of moral leadership. Haffner’s journal depicted the kind of ambiance in which the approach of the Grand Inquisitor would, and did, flourish—“in the end they will lay their freedom at our feet [and] become obedient:”

“The weather in March 1933 was glorious. Was it not wonderful to…merge with festive crowds and listen to speeches about freedom and homeland? (It was certainly better than having one’s belly pumped up with a water hose in some hidden secret police cellar.)”

Breeding and Breakdown

Haffner closes his chapter on 1933 with observations that, in my view, apply much too aptly to America today:

“The sequence of events is, as you see, not so unnatural. It is wholly within the normal range of psychology, and it helps to explain the almost inexplicable. The only thing that is missing is what in animals is called ‘breeding.’ This is a solid inner kernel that cannot be shaken by external pressures and forces, something noble and steely, a reserve of pride, principle, and dignity to be drawn on in the hour of trial. It is missing in Germans. As a nation we are soft, unreliable, and without backbone. That was shown in March 1933. At the moment of truth, when other nations rise spontaneously to the occasion, the Germans collectively and limply collapsed. They yielded and capitulated, and suffered a nervous breakdown.”

C.I.A.’s John Kiriakou says he is now convinced that waterboarding is torture and he is against it. He adds, “Americans are better than that.”

But Are We Better Than That?

Sadly, that remains to be seen. With virtually all religious institutions, politicians, and educators all squandering what moral authority they have left, the Jack Bauer culture threatens to win out in the end. We cannot let that happen.

The upcoming duel on the missing interrogation tapes will again bring the issue of torture front and center. And, strangely, waterboarding and other Jack Bauer tradecraft tools still enjoy a strong constituency.

Here’s where we come in; for we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. As one of my intelligence alumni colleagues noted recently, this is about our country losing its soul. Let’s rise to the occasion and stop unconscionable policies like torture. True patriotism goes well beyond a flag-on-the-lapel. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. noted, “Sometimes you have to put your body into it.” Besides, we need to keep the water hose from pumping up our bellies and those of our loved ones. I only wish that were as remote a possibility as it was before President Bush and his associates came up with their “alternative set of procedures.”

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. He was an Army officer and then a C.I.A. analyst for 27 years, and now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

This article appeared first on

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.

Kucinich excluded because Rubinstein works from home!?! + Action Alert (video)

Here’s Carolyn Washburn’s email address,, please write to her asking her to reconsider her decision. h/t: gordonkoba  More numbers, info at the end of this post.  Also, Mike Gravel has not been invited either.  ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad



“He is also the only major candidate who has been excluded from Thursday’s debate,” said his campaign. “The Des Moines Register, Iowa Public Television, the Iowa Democratic Party, and other broadcast sponsors should be asked to explain why the leading voice in the progressive Democratic constituency has been denied a presence and a voice in this debate.” Added: December 12, 2007


Dennis Kucinich (the ORIGINAL UNOFFICIAL Page)

Dear Kucitizens of America,

It’s Time to Stop the Censorship of Kucinich:

The Des Moines Register has invited Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Barack Obama, Joesph Biden Jr., and John Edwards, but they have not invited Dennis Kucinich.

Now, If you have been looking to get involved in the Campaign, but don’t happen to have days to devote – this is one way where you can make a difference:

Call the Des Moines Register at 1-800-247-5346 and protest their private decision to censor a public election. The Iowa Caucus has National Implications and the Des Moines Register is excluding Dennis Kucinich from the Debate based on local politics. If that infuriates you, step up and call the Des Moines Register at 1-800-247-5346.

Better yet, call their Editorial Board too:
Carol Hunter – 515-284-8502
Laura Hollingsworth – 515-284-8041

Those of you calling The Des Moines Register to prtest their censorship of Kucinich, should also email their editors at the following…

Carol Hunter – 515-284-8502

Laura Hollingsworth – 515-284-8041

They were scared of having a repeat of this:

Let the Des Moines Register know at 1-800-247-5346


Kucinich, top-rated Democrat, excluded from Des Moines Register debate


12.11.07 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (video; over 18 only)

Dandelion Salad

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

Selected Episode

Dec. 11, 2007


For more:
Suicide Bombings Rock Algerian Capital,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
Bombings Will Not Weaken Bouteflika,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
Seven Palestinians Killed in Israeli Incursion in Gaza,” Dubai TV, UAE
Racism is on the Rise in US & Israel,” Syria TV, Syria
Tehran Welcomes Regional Stability,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
King Abdullah Visits Turkey,” Jordan TV, Jordan
Sale of Recycled Water Bottles Soars in Lebanon,” NBN TV, Lebanon
Tourists Descend on Karbala,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Utterly Bushisms Galore – Stirring Iran – CIA Lies? No Way! (video) + Iran is like the Honey Bees by Wm Mac

Dandelion Salad


This Week in Time

This week in time from December 4th to December 11th has been all about confusion.

William Mac continues talking about the Bush administration’s overall silliness with Iran, and wonders why we keep talking about them so much without even trying to talk TO them. William Mac illustrates this by saying “completely and utterly” like 50 times. Also, a lot of countries have nuclear weapons, and William Mac feels fine.

CIA destroyed interrogation tapes — big surprise. Not really. CIA is private and corrupt, we get it. Stop getting in a big pissy mood about it and start getting educated and start taking action.

NOTE: Intelligence report on Iran says it stopped nuclear weapons program in 2003, not 2005. William fucked up. BOO William!

Added: December 12, 2007


Iran is like the Honey Bees

By William Mac
This Week in Time

featured writer
Dandelion Salad

December 12, 2007

The administration keeps saying we won’t negotiate with Iran and that they’re dangerous. An intelligence Report says maybe they’re not. Israel says they are developing a nuclear weapon. I figure it isn’t smart to throw rocks at a Bee’s nest either way…

Last week we told you about the fact that a new intelligence report came out that stated Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program years ago. Just a day later President Bush basically says that this same report confirms Iran is a threat.

Bush stated that the new assessment underscored the need to intensify international efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, even though the support suggests that they are, in fact, not doing that.

Bush said, “Iran cannot be entrusted to acquire even the scientific knowledge to enrich uranium for peaceful civilian use” during the same press conference. Is Bush afraid of Iran using nuclear weapons? Or is he afraid of enriched uranium for peaceful civilian use? Let’s find out!

“Look,” Bush continued, “Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon”

Now I’m just plain confused. Apparently Iran was and is dangerous… but will also BE dangerous? I thought it was dangerous already. Also, Iran can’t use enriched uranium technology for peaceful civilian use – which doesn’t seem dangerous to me, on the contrary I would think it “peaceful” – but it is also trying to make a nuclear weapon, but maybe not because of an intelligence report – or – er – uh – I give up.

By and by, I would figure we could live with a nuclear-armed Iran as well as one with useful enriched uranium for peaceful civilian use. So, I’m not worried about it in the least. Why is everyone else worried? Why is Iran such a HUGE threat? Why is it all over the news? What’s the big idea?

I seem to remember a few countries that already have developed nuclear weapons and have tested them such as North Korea – an outspoken enemy of the United States with a huge grudge, crazy midget dictator, and staggeringly brain-washed civilization. If anything, I would think countries like that would be getting press and should be worried about. However… all I hear about is Iran, which has done nothing.

Hell, even though North Korea has nuclear weapons, I still feel fine. And maybe because we’re not bothering them at all, or talking about them on the news without actually trying to make any kind of common sense, civil diplomatic gesture instead – then North Korea isn’t bothering us back.

Yet, Bush and many others are talking shit about Iran, hurling rocks and insults over borders and bodies of water, but Bush has not yet tried to negotiate Iran’s security, legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, and its place in the regional order at all. No, Bush has only talked shit and done nothing but threaten war and international scrutiny without even speaking to Ahmadinejad.

Think of Iran as a Bee’s nest. You leave them alone and they leave you alone. Yeah, they’re making honey, taking pollen, and stinging a few people no doubt, but all in all they’re out of everyone’s hair. Does it really make any kind of reasonable sense to start throwing rocks at the Bee’s nest? Last time I checked, you’ll get stung.

So let Iran make its honey if it wants, just leave it alone, be nice, and wear a bee suit. I sure as hell don’t want to be around if and when Iran develops nuclear weapons and we’re still talking smack, throwing rocks and sticking our tongues out. No sir, I surely don’t want to be around then.


Bombed if you do, Bombed if you Don’t By Ron Paul

The Anti-Empire Report by William Blum (NIE; Chavez; Iraq; Conspiracies)

Kucinich calls for Congressional investigation of NIE handling



Resistance and Hope By Charles Sullivan

Dandelion Salad

By Charles Sullivan
12/12/07 “ICH

If we Americans are nothing more than hopelessly addicted consumers who think of ourselves as an exceptional people with special entitlements; if we see ourselves as god’s morally superior chosen people; if we are selfish and greedy beyond redemption—then we are complicit in all of the horrible crimes that government commits in our name.

The United States has a violent history of atrocity and exploitation that began with the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the shores of North America in 1492. It extends all the way to the present and is guided by the same poisoned ideology—Manifest Destiny.

Those who know history understand that we have never come to grips with the horrible past which has led us to the appalling present. We take great pains to suppress a ghastly history of murder and mayhem in order to convince ourselves that we are not the people who exterminated and enslaved the indigenous people of North America; that we were not the practitioners of racism and chattel slavery questing for treasure on the backs of the oppressed or the murderers of striking workers seeking a living wage and decent working conditions.

Americans need to believe that those events and their effects are safely buried in the past, thereby absolving us from culpability for them in the present; but they will not stay buried and they will pursue us to our graves if we do not acknowledge them and comprehend their implications.

Likewise, we suppress our responsibility in unleashing the plague of global warming on the world and we call it a natural cycle so that we do not have to change our ways. Under the unbearable pressure of inconvenient truths, we ignore them in hopes that they will go away rather than fester and multiply. But if that is who we are and if we are incapable of coming to terms with the repulsive past there is no hope for us. Our fate is already cast and a terrible price will have to be paid by billions of people and countless other species. We will reap as we have sown and misery and death will be our just reward.

If that is indeed the case, then everything that follows this paragraph may be an exercise in futility; albeit it a necessary one.

Despite the considerable evidence that suggests we are collectively—like our ancestors also practitioners of Manifest Destiny, history has disgorged some notable exceptions to the idea of American exceptionalism and entitlement. The people who actively opposed injustice throughout American history and offered fierce resistance are a light in the gathering darkness—a beacon of hope to those living in the present and an inspiration to those who will follow us in the future. Most of them were ordinary people who differed from us only in their willingness to resist the injustice and tyranny of their time.

We have only to follow their example to avoid being ship wrecked in a history that endlessly repeats itself. There may be a way out of hell but it will be wrought with difficulty and characterized by individual and collective struggle. The willingness of enough people to engage in that struggle will determine the outcome and define the future.

From thousands of indigenous uprisings against colonial occupation, to Shay’s rebellion and continuing through heroic acts of revolutionary unionism and the courageous peace activists of today’s Code Pink, America has produced a continuous line of revolutionary thinkers and organizers intent on fundamentally restructuring society, including the redistribution of wealth and power.

America is a nation that has always been divided by socio-economic class with the rich and powerful holding the keys to political empire and advancing the agenda of the moneyed gentry over those of everyone else. Yet we persist in calling our republic a democracy—which suggests that we have no idea what a real democracy should look like.

There has always been strong opposition to the tyranny of unjust government and to the prevailing institutions of oppression and inequality. And where there is resistance to evil, no matter how small or seemingly impotent, there is hope. Resistance, apart from being an act of defiance to illegitimate authority, is also an act of faith akin to planting a seed that has enormous potential to change the world.

Resistance creates hope and hope in turn fuels further resistance. Resistance and hope give birth to a faith that believes that just outcomes are possible through struggle and opposition.

Without resistance there is no hope and no possibility of the transformative change that is so desperately needed. No matter how seemingly futile the gesture of resistance—hope is its byproduct. Hope is born of struggle and defiance to unjust authority. It is born of a rebelliousness that refuses to tolerate the intolerable and moves to oppose it. While it is theoretically possible that people can exist without hope, they cannot flourish and become fully human in its absence.

Where hope is abandoned, fear immediately rushes in to fill the vacuum and tyranny quickly ensues. Lacking hope, we are simply biding our time, stealing from the future and waiting for the end to play out. We are passive spectators on the deck of the Titanic awaiting our fate, whistling in the dark and trying to convince ourselves that these menacing waters are safely navigable through blind reckoning and indifference when in fact, they are not.

The great conservationist Aldo Leopold wisely observed: “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” That is also the penalty of having a social conscience. Cultivating a social conscience can be exasperating and it can adversely affect one’s health. But the failure to cultivate a social conscience approaches what Dr. Martin Luther King called, “Spiritual Death.” There are rarely easy ways out of the moral morasses we create. Opposition and struggle are the way but they exact costs that too few are willing to pay. That is why injustice is passed from one generation to the next and injustice so often prevails over justice. Our core beliefs should be non-negotiable. Either we stand by them or we are deluding ourselves.

The situation is exacerbated when our fellow citizens fail to grasp the gravity of the crises and even contribute to the injustice, either deliberately or through unintended ignorance of the important issues. In such times the reward of struggle appears small and the temptation to quit is great. As the flag wavers and prevaricators hold sway and ignorance and darkness, it seems, becomes all pervasive and hope seems like a Utopian dream as dim as the long lost sunlight of a nuclear winter.

In the midst of insidious fear and belligerent nationalism, resistance is never an easy proposition; but it is a critical component of human nature that gives rise to hope and, ultimately, to transformative change and justice. Resistance creates possibilities, whereas capitulation extinguishes them.

There are those who can look the other way in times of peril or during the commission of crimes; and there are those who cannot. We happen to belong to the latter group and we must try to set things right. We are hard-wired that way—it is our nature and it is who we are.

The alternative to resistance is as unthinkable as it is unconscionable. As long as a single voice cries in the wilderness hope exists and better outcomes are possible. It is in our DNA to resist evil and, it is the only principled action available to us. Conscience requires that we act on the knowledge we have, regardless of our numbers or the consequences to ourselves. Other good people will recognize the justice of the cause and a few will join the struggle.

It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So, too, a movement is born with a single act of resistance that is rooted in conscience.

No one knows if enough people will ever care enough to get involved so we can reach the critical mass necessary to evoke transformative change, which is why it is so imperative to continue the struggle. It is impossible to know where we are on our journey, so we must simply continue the excursion by moving forward which is what defines us as progressives and separates us from the crowd.

Humankind is rarely uplifted by its majority or by those who play it safe by looking the other way in the face of injustice. It is advanced by those who see wrong doing and choose to do something about it—the conscientious few that stand on principle and act in accordance with those principles for the betterment of everyone.

Without principled resistance there is no possibility of transformation from an unjust society to a just society; and no possibility of driving a wooden stake through the heart of the imperialist ambition that is killing our children and the children of other people like us in distant lands in war after war.

Fighting injustice is an antidote to the debilitating despair that casts a dark pall over the nation and across the world. Giving in to that despair can only assure its continuation. Opposition to evil is preferable to capitulation to it; and, moreover, it is the only appropriate response. The beauty and joy is in the struggle, in knowing the rightness of the cause; the stubborn refusal to cooperate with evil or to commit crimes against earth and humanity.

While our struggle often feels lonely and futile, we are rarely as isolated as we think. There are almost certainly kindred spirits in our own communities. Put out your hand to see if anyone takes it. You might just be surprised to know who is there.

For every front line activist there are tens of thousands who agree with them in principle but who remain on the sidelines as spectators. As conditions deteriorate and others come to appreciate our position in the same light as we do, more of them are likely to become involved in the resistance. The untapped potential of our moral supporters is both enormous and grossly under appreciated. Fear and uncertainty is all that keeps us apart but they can be overcome through networking and solidarity.

Sweeping change and justice will never come from the inert masses who occupy the safe middle grounds. As corporate fascism spreads across the planet there are no safe places for anyone but the fascists themselves. Nor will transformation come from the neo-conservative regressives occupying the far right, as embodied by the likes of Trent Lott and Rush Limbaugh and their ideological brethren in corporate America. It will not be enacted through neo-liberals such as Hillary Clinton either, or indeed anyone in the mainstream.

Justice will come, as it always does, from the far left that champion the cause of the disenfranchised and the defenseless. It will be derived from ordinary citizens—people like you and I working for justice and accepting nothing less; by standing up and being counted and refusing to sit down and be quiet. Ordinary people must become interested enough and they must care enough to take ownership of government and demand fair and equal representation by it. But awakening is often a painfully slow process and patience is so difficult when urgency is needed.

Government that is not accountable to the people is accountable to no one. That kind of government can only become fascist and prey upon the people it is supposed to serve. Such government must be abolished and replaced by genuine democracy—government of the people, by the people, for the people—all of the people, not just those with wealth and social status.

Obedience to authority that is not derived from the people themselves will ultimately result in injustice and economic inequity. Obedience can only assure the continuation of the established orthodoxy and a future that is significantly worse than the past and the present combined. If we truly believe in what we claim to hold dear we must be willing to fight for those beliefs without compromising them. Faith that is not driven by principled action is useless—it is not real faith at all.

Yet, despite our best efforts, it may well be that the best we can hope for is to slow the spread of the racist dogma of American exceptionalism that, unfortunately, continues to define us as a nation. Perhaps there are simply too few of us actively engaged in resistance to stop the purveyors of hate and extremism. But even if that is the case and resistance is futile, it does not change the moral imperative to resist. Injustice is wrong and it must be opposed. Stepping out of the way or quitting is to cooperate with the evil we rail against. Apathy and hopelessness are the great enablers of tyranny and we must never give in to them.

Given the enormity of the evil that stalks decency everywhere, rage fatigue and depression are the prevalent symptoms that follow. All of us are susceptible to them to various degrees because we feel so alone and understandably frustrated. The few are expected, as they always are, to do the work of many from which all will benefit in the end.

Dealing with the defining issues of our time and the blundering apathy of the multitudes can be infuriating and demoralizing. We cannot do everything but each of us must do what we can to affect the things we can change. Outrage and anger can be powerful tools for motivation or they can become debilitating liabilities. We must take care that they motivate rather than destroy us. Righteous indignation and fury is a just response to what is being done in our name but it must be harnessed and directed.

Continuous resistance is exhausting and necessary work. It is work that will probably never bring us the admiration of our fellow citizens who are more likely than not to hold us in contempt. People fear what they do not understand and most still subscribe to the myth of American exceptionalism. But it is the most important thing that any of us will ever do. It is for us to show the way and keep hope alive.

In these trying times of doublespeak and group think it is easy to feel overwhelmed and demoralized. But action is the antidote to despair. It is vital that we stay connected to other people engaged in related struggles; that we provide mutual support to and encourage one another to continue a spirited resistance that does not know how to quit. We are rarely as alone as we are lead to believe.

It is immensely helpful to know there are other people out there doing the important work that the times require of each of us. Seeing others engaged in resisting wrong doing may inspire others to take up the cause and a powerful movement may someday be born. It is the certainty of that knowledge that keeps hope alive and makes existence not only bearable, but enjoyable.

I am not expecting anyone to do the impossible or to offer oneself up for crucifixion or martyrdom. I am calling upon all good people to simply live a wholesome and simple and decent life and to uphold the principles of fairness, decency, sharing and empathy for others and, most importantly, justice. An injury to one truly is an injury to all.

Charles Sullivan is a nature photographer, free-lance writer and community activist residing in the Ridge and Valley Providence of geopolitical West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at

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.


Why We Resist By Chris Hedges

People Power: It’s Time To Stop The War Ourselves By Aimee Allison & David Solnit

Iowa Republican Debate (videos) (parts 1-10) (12.12.07)

Will be adding the remaining parts as soon as they are available. Stay tuned. Heard that PBS and others will rebroadcast the debate tonight, too. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

researchris2 This is the debate between the Presidential Republican Candidates that aired on 12.12.07.


Ron Paul Interviewed After Iowa Rep Debate + Paul’s Responses (videos)

Kucinich, top-rated Democrat, excluded from Des Moines Register debate

Humpty Dumpty Economics by Josh Sidman


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

Dec. 12, 2007

Lately, it seems that every passing week provides new examples of “emergency medicine” by governments, central banks, and corporations to fix the problems of the financial system. Whether it be interest rate cuts, mortgage bailout schemes, or creative juggling of corporate balance sheets, a pattern is becoming increasingly clear – namely, there is no avoiding the law of cause-and-effect, and any attempts to do so inevitably create larger problems than they are intended to fix.

We must, in one way or another, pay the costs of the excesses we have indulged in over the past decades, and any form of “emergency medicine” aimed to avoid this harsh reality will simply delay (and magnify) the eventual reckoning. If we were smart, we would have learned a lesson from Japan, which experienced a spectacular crash of real estate and financial assets beginning in the early-90s. By failing to acknowledge the extent of their problems and trying to prop up the eroded foundations of their financial system, the Japanese authorities only managed to prolong the suffering, producing a period of economic stagnation that stretched out for over a decade. And, we now face the same daunting choice – i.e. come to terms with the realities of a dangerously overextended financial system and tolerate a period of economic hardship, or continue to administer emergency measures which will solve nothing and will only prolong and magnify the problems. Unfortunately, it seems we are opting for the latter.

The most recent batch of emergency measures includes a three-pronged attack – i.e. rate cuts by central banks, a mortgage bailout scheme, and emergency injections of liquidity into the financial system. None of these measures are likely to have a significant impact in terms of long-term healing of the financial system, and all three present significant risks of causing even bigger problems.

Let’s consider the recent proposal by the US Treasury to freeze rates on adjustable-rate mortgages. As we all know, millions of Americans face the prospect of losing their homes as a result of “exploding mortgages”. It seems to make sense that one way of solving the problem is to defuse the ticking bomb by preventing upward adjustments in mortgage interest rates. However, this logic is superficial and fundamentally flawed. The fact is that many of the millions of jeopardized home-owners never should have bought their homes in the first place. If it wasn’t for the newfangled mortgages introduced in the past decade, these people never would have been able to buy their homes to begin with. Only by means of teaser-rates and negative-amortization were they convinced that they could “afford” to buy their homes. The truth is that they never could afford the homes they bought.

To attempt to paper over this problem by freezing interest rates is another instance of treating the symptom rather than the disease, and, as with all such attempts, the medicine is likely to prove worse than the disease. The long-term effects of such an unprecedented governmental interference with the market could be tremendous and long-lasting. Our whole financial super-structure is based on the rule of law and the stability of the purchasing power of money. Without either of these ingredients, holders of wealth will not feel secure enough to commit large amounts of capital to productive uses and will therefore refrain from long-term investment. When governments step in and simultaneously undermine both of these pillars of the global economy, the likely result is a reduced sense of security and a consequent fall in overall productive investment. So, even if we succeed in preventing some people from losing their homes (homes, keep in mind, that they never should have owned in the first place), the cost in terms of long-term economic prosperity is likely to be far greater than the short-term economic benefit.

Especially at a time when the functioning of the global economy is predicated upon the ongoing ability of the US government to borrow enormous sums of money to service its growing debt, such a measure could send a message to investors that contracts are not inviolable and the US government is willing to change the rules whenever it suits its aims. If the commitment of the US government to honor its obligations were ever to come into serious question, the likely effects would dwarf our current problems.

Likewise with the attempts of central banks to solve our problems by flooding the market with liquidity. I don’t remember where I first heard the distinction made between illiquidity and insolvency, but this is a key point for understanding the nature of the current economic crisis. Illiquidity is when a fundamentally sound economic entity finds itself endangered by a short-term shortage of funds. For example, if a company will be paid for its products a month from now but needs to pay its employees today, this is a liquidity problem, and it can be addressed by means of a short-term financial infusion. Insolvency, on the other hand, is when an entity is built on a fundamentally flawed economic foundation – e.g. when a person earning $30,000 per year buys a $400,000 home by means of a high-risk mortgage. In this case, no amount of additional short-term liquidity is capable of bringing the long-term imbalances back into equilibrium. And, this is exactly what is happening in the realm of central bank policy these days. Entities across the board – from governments, to banks, to private citizens – have built upon flawed economic foundations, and no amount of short-term liquidity can solve these fundamental problems. Additionally, the negative effects of unrestrained liquidity pose an even larger risk to the financial system than the problems it is supposed to fix.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. All of the emergency measures employed by governments and banks have thus far failed to solve the systemic problems we face. The problems remain, while the dollar collapses and central bankers deplete their diminishing supplies of ammunition. A perfect case-in-point is provided by the announcement today that the Fed and the European Central Bank will jointly act to inject $40 billion in emergency funds into the financial system. An Associated Press article describing the measures states, “The European Central Bank said Wednesday it would make as much as $20 billion available to European banks, in part to fill their demand for scarce dollars, as part of coordinated action with the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks.” But, if “scarce dollars” are really the problem, why has the dollar plummeted against other world currencies? The answer is that the problem isn’t illiquidity, it is insolvency, and no amount of additional short-term liquidity can help. The only likely consequence of this move is a further erosion of the value of the dollar.

America is sick right now – everybody knows this. Everybody also knows that long-term health is achieved not by ever-increasing medication, but by treating the causes of disease and restoring the health of the organism. Our current economic sickness may not be fatal, but the medicine may very well be.

Kucinich, top-rated Democrat, excluded from Des Moines Register debate + Action Alert

Here’s Carolyn Washburn’s email address,, please write to her asking her to reconsider her decision. h/t: gordonkoba More numbers, info at the end of this post.  Also, Mike Gravel has not been invited either.  ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

Dennis 4 President
Dec. 12, 2007

DES MOINES, IA – The highest polling Democratic Presidential candidate among the Party’s progressive, grassroots, activist base, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, has been excluded from the Des Moines Register-sponsored Presidential debate here on Thursday because his Iowa field director operates from a home office rather than a rented storefront.

Despite being the top-ranked Presidential candidate in polls conducted by Democracy for America (DFA), Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), and one of the country’s leading progressive publications, The Nation, Kucinich was not invited to participate in the debate because “It was our determination that a person working out of his home did not meet our criteria for a campaign office and full-time paid staff in Iowa,” according to a statement from the newspaper’s top officials, including editor Carolyn Washburn.

The dismissive reference was to Kucinich Iowa Field Director and State Coordinator Marcos Rubinstein, who coordinates campaign activities from his home office in Dubuque, bolstered by a dozen-or-so other senior campaign staff who have traveled the state over the past several months.

Both the DFA and PDA have been extremely active in Iowa in the past few weeks promoting the top vote-getters in their on-line polls. The DFA is planning to run full-page ads featuring Kucinich, as well as second and third-place finishers John Edwards and Barack Obama; and the 90,000-member PDA has been sending emails to its Iowa members advising them that Kucinich scored first with 41% while Edwards came in a distant second at 26%.

The results of those polls, and others showing Kucinich ahead of “invited” candidates – Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd – apparently carried no weight at the Des Moines Register, despite the fact that the newspaper and other national media have been portraying the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses as a national political event that may determine the outcome of the Presidential race.

“The Iowa caucuses have been portrayed as having national implications, and if the Register has decided to use hair-splitting technicalities to exclude the leading voice of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, then the entire process is suspect,” according to a statement from the Kucinich campaign. The Iowa Democratic Party, Iowa Public Television, and well-funded political interests have barred Kucinich from previous public appearances. “The Des Moines Register’s arbitrary and unreasonable exclusion of Congressman Kucinich is consistent with the treatment that the Congressman has received from the entrenched political and institutional interests in Iowa.”

Kucinich, his campaign pointed out, is the only Democratic Presidential candidate who voted against the Iraq war authorization in 2002 and every war-funding measure since. He has been warning for years that the Administration’s belligerence toward Iran is unjustified, and, last week’s revelations in the National Intelligence Estimate confirm that. He is the only Democratic candidate who voted against the Patriot Act, and the only Democratic candidate who has called for the repeal of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because of its disastrous effect on U.S. jobs. Kucinich is also the only candidate pushing for a national, not-for-profit, single-payer health insurance system that will cover all Americans.

“He is also the only major candidate who has been excluded from Thursday’s debate,” said his campaign. “The Des Moines Register, Iowa Public Television, the Iowa Democratic Party, and other broadcast sponsors should be asked to explain why the leading voice in the progressive Democratic constituency has been denied a presence and a voice in this debate.”


Dennis Kucinich (the ORIGINAL UNOFFICIAL Page)

Dear Kucitizens of America,

It’s Time to Stop the Censorship of Kucinich:

The Des Moines Register has invited Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Barack Obama, Joesph Biden Jr., and John Edwards, but they have not invited Dennis Kucinich.

Now, If you have been looking to get involved in the Campaign, but don’t happen to have days to devote – this is one way where you can make a difference:

Call the Des Moines Register at 1-800-247-5346 and protest their private decision to censor a public election. The Iowa Caucus has National Implications and the Des Moines Register is excluding Dennis Kucinich from the Debate based on local politics. If that infuriates you, step up and call the Des Moines Register at 1-800-247-5346.

Better yet, call their Editorial Board too:
Carol Hunter – 515-284-8502
Laura Hollingsworth – 515-284-8041

Those of you calling The Des Moines Register to prtest their censorship of Kucinich, should also email their editors at the following…

Carol Hunter – 515-284-8502

Laura Hollingsworth – 515-284-8041

They were scared of having a repeat of this:

Let the Des Moines Register know at 1-800-247-5346

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Who do you support for U.S. President? Vote in our pre-Iowa caucus readers’ poll: (Nov. 12, 2007)

PDA Rocks! By Steve Cobble (Kucinich)

Poll-obsessed media focus on strategy over substance By Peter Hart

Determined, Steady Kucinich Quadruples Support By Joe Shea & Ted Manna + Kucinich 1st, Edwards 2nd in PDA Straw Poll

Democrats Choice: Corporate or Kucinich Center? by John Buell

Who do you support for U.S. President? Vote in our pre-Iowa caucus readers’ poll: (Nov. 12, 2007)

Dandelion Salad

Vote here.

Who do you support for U.S. President? Vote in our pre-Iowa caucus readers’ poll: (Nov. 12, 2007)

Joe Biden Hillary Clinton Chris Dodd John Edwards Rudy Giuliani Mike Gravel Mike Huckabee Duncan Hunter Alan Keyes Dennis Kucinich
John McCain Barack Obama Ron Paul Bill Richardson Mitt Romney Tom Tancredo Fred Thompson Can’t choose – don’t know


Dennis Kucinich

14014 people voted

h/t: AnnaInUtah


Democrats Choice: Corporate or Kucinich Center? by John Buell

PDA Rocks! By Steve Cobble (Kucinich)

Inside Story: Racism in Israel + Racism on the Rise in US, Israel (videos)

Dandelion Salad


Racism towards Arabs is on the rise and we ask whether it is due to the fear factor. Added: December 12, 2007

Racism on the Rise 



“We—Israeli soldiers—were put there to punish the Palestinians”

The dilemma of a Jewish & a democratic state (video)

Omar Barghouti: “No State Has the Right to Exist as a Racist State” By Silvia Cattori