Kucinich Garners $10 Million For Gulf War Veterans Illness Research

Dandelion Salad

by Dennis Kucinich

Amendment Will Expand On Studies For Treatment, Bringing Us Closer To Identifying A Cure

Washington, Dec 12 – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) declared victory for veterans of the first Gulf War by garnering $10 million for Gulf War Illness (GWI) research in the Department of Defense Authorization bill that passed the House today.

This is the second victory for Gulf War veterans this year. Kucinich won the same amount of money in the Defense Appropriations bill on August 5, 2007. Together, the two victories lock in the research funds.

“This research will build on previous studies on Gulf War Illness, which have recently yielded promising results,” Kucinich said. “This funding will take giant steps forward in identifying a treatment or a cure for Gulf War Veteran’s illness.”

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ most recent study, 175,000 Gulf War veterans continue to suffer from serious and persistent health problems – typically multiple symptoms that include severe headaches, memory problems, muscle and joint pain, severe gastrointestinal problems, respiratory problems, skin disorders and other problems. These conditions are often called “Gulf War illnesses” or Gulf War syndrome. Gulf War veterans suffer from ALS – or Lou Gehrig’s disease – at double the rate of their non-deployed peers.

“There are currently no effective treatments for these conditions. While the research possibilities are opening up, the funding for research has been on a steady downward spiral. Without these victories, there would be no dedicated funding to this essential research,” Kucinich said.

The Kucinich authorization victory comes on the heels of a letter sent by Kucinich and the bipartisan leadership of both the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Health Subcommittee of the Veterans Affairs Committee. The appropriations victory was also bipartisan, resulting from a request by Kucinich and Congressman Chris Shays (R-CT). Both efforts had the support of major veterans’ organizations.

“As we consider the sacrifices of young men and women in uniform today, we must not abandon those who have served previously. This amendment will have a wide-reaching impact on veterans who rely on the government to take care of them after they have taken care of us.”

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Radioactive Ammunition Fired in Middle East May Claim More Lives Than Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Sherwood Ross

Depleted Uranium — a Way Out? by Felicity Arbuthnot

Olbermann: Rudy: Prophet Or Profit? + Who’s Sorry Now? + Bushed + Worst (videos)

Dandelion SaladRyokibin

Dec. 13, 2007

Rudy – Prophet Or Profit?

Oh Rudy… Do we really need someone like this in the highest branch of government?

Who’s Sorry Now?

Keith talks with Craig Crawford.

Clinton campaign attacks Obama over drug use.

Bushed

Lunatics-Gate; Attorneys-Gate; Blackwater-Gate

Worst Person

Worse: Don Imus

Worser: Rush Limbaugh

Worst: Bill O’Reilly

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Iowa Democratic Debate (videos) (12.13.07)

Sign The Petition To Keep The Debates Open!! (Kucinich; Gravel; Paul)

Dandelion Salad

Sign The Petition To Keep The Debates Open!!

This week the Des Moines Register decided to exclude Congressman Dennis Kucinich from the Iowa debate — despite the fact that he met all of their published criteria.

Senator Mike Gravel and Congressman Ron Paul have also faced debate exclusions as well.

Petition For Democracy

To: Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee Chair
Mike Duncan, Republican National Committee Chair

Chairmans Dean and Duncan,

We are asking for your help to KEEP THE DEBATES OPEN!

Candidates like Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and Mike Gravel have raised important issues in the debates. This type of debate and dialogue is critical to the future of America — even if it riles the party leadership and fellow candidates.

42% of Americans consider themselves independent — and many Democrats and Republicans consider themselves independent-minded — precisely because of these partisan attempts to close down our democratic process.

We need your intervention to keep the presidential primaries competitive – KEEP THE DEBATES OPEN!

Sign the Petition

h/t: d018019c

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Dennis Kucinich and Thursday’s Iowa Debate By Jean Hay Bright

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

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

New poll reveals how unrepresentative neocon Jewish groups are by Glenn Greenwald

Dandelion Salad

by Glenn Greenwald
Salon
Wednesday December 12, 2007 06:36 EST

(updated below – Update II)

A new survey of American Jewish opinion, released by the American Jewish Committee, demonstrates several important propositions: (1) right-wing neocons (the Bill Kristol/Commentary/AIPAC/Marty Peretz faction) who relentlessly claim to speak for Israel and for Jews generally hold views that are shared only by a small minority of American Jews; (2) viewpoints that are routinely demonized as reflective of animus towards Israel or even anti-Semitism are ones that are held by large majorities of American Jews; and (3) most American Jews oppose U.S. military action in the Middle East — including both in Iraq and against Iran.

It is beyond dispute that American Jews overwhelmingly oppose core neoconservative foreign policy principles. Hence, in large numbers, they disapprove of the way the U.S. is handling its “campaign against terrorism” (59-31); overwhelmingly believe the U.S. should have stayed out of Iraq (67-27); believe that things are going “somewhat badly” or “very badly” in Iraq (76-23); and believe that the “surge” has either made things worse or has had no impact (68-30).

When asked whether they would support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran, a large majority — 57-35% — say they would oppose such action, even if it were being undertaken “to prevent [Iran] from developing nuclear weapons.” While Jews hold views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which are quite pessimistic about the prospects for Israel’s ability to achieve a lasting peace with its “Arab neighbors,” even there, a plurality (46-43) supports the establishment of a Palestinian state.

In the realm of U.S. domestic politics, it is even clearer that right-wing neoconservatives are a fringe segment of American Jewish public opinion. By a large margin, American Jews identify as some shade of liberal rather than conservative (43-25), and overwhelmingly identify themselves as Democrats rather than Republicans (58-15). And, most strikingly, by a 3-1 margin (61-21), they believe that Democrats, rather than Republicans, are “more likely to make the right decision about the war in Iraq,” and by a similarly lopsided margin (53-30), believe that Democrats are “more likely to make the right decision when it comes to dealing with terrorism.” They have overwhelmingly favorable views of the top 3 Democratic presidential candidates, and overwhelmingly negative views of 3 out of the top 4 GOP candidates (Giuliani being the sole exception, where opinion is split).

Contrary to the bottomless obssession which most neocon pundits and office-holders have with All Matters Israel, the principal political concerns of most American Jews have nothing to do with the Middle East. Thus, they identify “economy/jobs” (22) and “health care” (19) — not Terrorism — as “the most important problem facing the U.S. today.” Still, most American Jews agree that “[c]aring about Israel is a very important part of [their] being a Jew” — a common, innocuous and indisputable attribute that typically triggers noxious charges of anti-Semitism if pointed out by those who oppose the neoconservative agenda.

One of the defining traits of war-loving neoconservatives is that their unrelenting and exclusive fixation on the Middle East places them loudly at the center of any foreign policy debates. That tenacity — combined with their reckless exploitation of “anti-Israel” and anti-Semitism accusations as instruments in their political rhetoric and their corresponding, deceitful equation of their own views with being “pro-Israel” — often casts the appearance that they are some sort of spokespeople for the “pro-Israel” agenda or the Jewish viewpoint.

Manifestly, they are nothing of the sort. Even among American Jews, they comprise only a small minority, and their generally discredited militarism is widely rejected by most Jews as well. It is always worth underscoring these points, which are so frequently (and deliberately) obscured, and this comprehensive poll provides potent — actually quite conclusive — evidence for doing so.

UPDATE: Speaking of unrepresentative, fringe, war-loving right-wing neocons, here is the latest installment — titled “Jeepers Creepers” — in the perversely riveting and revealing melodrama chronicled in yesterday’s updates

UPDATE: The drama concludes just as predictably and lamely as they all do: War cheerleader beats chest (“Give War a Chance”). War cheerleader panics and cries for help over a “threat” compelling great “security” to protect him from scary things. Threat is exposed as completely non-existent, a by-product of the neurosis and paralyzing fear of the war cheerleader. Repeat endlessly.

h/t: ICH
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Syria denies killing General in car-bomb attack By Robert Fisk

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Fisk
ICH
12/13/07 “The Independent

So, they assassinated another one yesterday. A general, Francois El-Hajj by name, not known in Europe but a senior officer and the chief of the Lebanese general army staff, whose battle for the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camps earlier this year made him an obvious target for the Syrians, for the Iranians, for the Palestinians, for just about anyone else you care to note.

Although he was an obvious target, the implications for the current army chief and possible future president – General Michel Suleiman – were devastating.

General El-Hajj was blown to pieces with three of his colleagues at about seven o’clock in the morning as he moved through Baabda, a Christian and supposedly safe suburb of Beirut. He was looked after by his own bodyguards and he was lost by them.

There was no way in which he was going to be saved from the blast. His vehicle was passing a car packed with 35 kilos of TNT when the parked car exploded. The force of the blast, in front of the Baabda municipality buildings, threw the bodies 15 yards and shook the diplomatic quarter. The General, his driver and one bodyguard were confirmed dead. A fourth man is believed to have been killed in the explosion and seven were wounded.

The Lebanese Information Minister Ghazi Aridi blamed the Syrians for the assassination although, interestingly, and with great concern for his use of words, Walid Jumblatt, who has constantly blamed the Syrians for attacks on democratic politicians in Lebanon did not do so. Nor did Marwan Hamadi, one of Mr Jumblatt’s parliamentary colleagues.

It seems, therefore, that Lebanese politics are changing once again and that those who were enemies of the Syrians are no longer necessarily so.

But Lebanon’s appalling pseudo-civil war nonetheless continues. The last assassination was the anti-Syrian member of parliament Antoine Ghamem, murdered in his car on a Beirut street in a Christian area not far from Baabda. Almost every other week we are faced with an assassination. And, much worse, we are supposed to expect it.

When I had dinner with Mr Jumblatt, I made the point that what was terrible about the assassinations was we are beginning to expect them, they are part of our daily life. Every day we are expected to endure an assassination or an attempted assassination, and what is it meant to mean? Syria denied involvement in yesterday’s bombing, accusing “Israel and its Lebanese instruments” in a statement from Damascus, of benefiting from the atrocity.

But if this was a warning from Syria, and if General El-Hajj was meant to die – which he did – what is the message for General Suleiman and for all Lebanese?

© 2007 Independent News and Media Limited

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Kucinich Decries Assassination of Lebanese General; Met Briefly with Hajj After Meeting With Suleiman

Offshoring Interests and Economic Dogmas Are Destroying the US Dollar By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
December 11, 2007

On December 8, Chinese and French news services reported that Iran had stopped billing its oil exports in dollars.

Americans might never hear this news as the independence of the US media was destroyed in the 1990s when Rupert Murdoch persuaded the Clinton administration and the quislings in Congress to allow the US media to be monopolized by a few mega-corporations.

Iran’s oil minister, Gholam Hossein Nozari, declared: “The dollar is an unreliable currency in regards to its devaluation and the loss oil exporters have endured from this trend.”[ Iran completely stops selling oil in U.S. dollars, Xinhuanet.com, December 8, 2007]

Iran has proposed to OPEC that the US dollar no longer be used by any oil exporting countries. As the oil emirates and the Saudis have already decided to reduce their holdings of US dollars, the US might actually find itself having to pay for its energy imports in euros or yen.

Venezuela’s Chavez, survivor of a US-led coup against him and a likely target of a US assassination attempt, might follow the Iranian lead. Also, Russia’s Putin, who is fed up with the US government’s efforts to encircle Russia militarily, will be tempted to add Russia’s oil exports to the symbolic assault on the dollar.

The assault is symbolic, because the dollar is not the reserve currency due to oil exports being billed in dollars. It’s the other way around. Oil exports are billed in dollars, because the dollar is the reserve currency.

What is important to the dollar’s value and its role as reserve currency is whether foreigners continue to consider dollar-denominated assets sufficiently attractive to absorb the constant flow of red ink from US trade and budget deficits. If Iran and other countries do not want dollars, they can exchange them for other currencies regardless of the currency in which oil is billed.

Indeed, the evidence is that foreigners are not finding dollar-denominated assets sufficiently attractive. The dollar has declined dramatically during the Bush regime regardless of the fact that oil is billed in dollars. Iran is dropping dollars in response to the dollar’s loss of value. This is a market response to a depreciating currency, not a punitive action by Iran to sink the dollar.

Oil bills are only a small part of the problem. Oil minister Nozari’s statement about the loss suffered by oil exporters applies to all exporters of all products.

A quarter century ago US oil imports accounted for the US trade deficit. The concerns expressed over the years about “energy dependence” accustomed Americans to think of trade problems only in terms of oil. The desire to gain “energy independence” has led to such foolish policies as subsidies for ethanol, the main effect of which is to drive up food prices and further ravage the poor.

Today oil imports comprise a small part of the US trade deficit. During the decades when Americans were fixated on “the energy deficit,” the US became three to four times more dependent on foreign made manufactures. America’s trade deficit in manufactured goods, including advanced technology products, dwarfs the US energy deficit.

For example, the US trade deficit with China is more than twice the size of the US trade deficit with OPEC. The US deficit with Japan is about the size of the US deficit with OPEC. With an overall US trade deficit of more than $800 billion, the deficit with OPEC only comprises one-eighth.

If abandonment of the dollar by oil exporters is not the cause of the dollar’s woes, what is?

There are two reasons for the dollar’s demise. One is the practice of American corporations offshoring their production for US consumers. When US corporations move to foreign countries their production of goods and services for American consumers, they convert US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) into imports. US production declines, US jobs and skill pools are destroyed, and the trade deficit increases. Foreign GDP, employment, and exports rise.

US corporations that offshore their production for US markets account for a larger share of the US trade deficit than does the OPEC energy deficit. Half or more of the US trade deficit with China consists of the offshored production of US firms. In 2006, the US trade deficit with China was $233 billion, half of which is $116.5 billion or $10 billion more than the US deficit with OPEC.

The other reason for the dollar’s demise is the ignorance and nonchalance of “libertarian free market free trade economists” about offshoring and the trade deficit.

There is a great deal to be said in behalf of free markets and free trade. However, for many economists free trade has become an ideology, and they have ceased to think.

Such economists have become insouciant shills for the offshoring interests that fund their research and institutes. Their interests are tied together with those of the offshoring corporations.

Free trade economists have made three massive errors:

  1. they confuse labor arbitrage across international borders with free trade when nothing in fact is being traded,
  2. they have forgot the two necessary conditions in order for the classic theory of free trade, which rests on the principle of comparative advantage, to be valid, and
  3. they are ignorant of the latest work in trade theory, which shows that free trade theory was never correct even when the conditions on which it is based were prevalent.

When a US firm moves its output abroad, the firm is arbitraging labor (and taxes, regulation, etc.) across international borders in pursuit of absolute advantage, not in pursuit of comparative advantage at home. When the US firm brings its offshored goods and services to the US to be marketed, those goods and services count as imports.

David Ricardo based comparative advantage on two necessary conditions: One is that a country’s capital seek comparative advantage at home and not seek absolute advantage abroad. The other is that countries have different relative cost ratios of producing tradable goods. Under the Ricardian conditions, offshoring is prohibited.

Today capital is as internationally mobile as traded goods, and knowledge-based production functions have the same relative cost ratios regardless of the country of location. The famous Ricardian conditions for free trade are not present in today’s world.

In the most important development in trade theory in 200 years, the distinguished mathematician Ralph Gomory and the distinguished economist and former president of the American Economics Association, William Baumol, have shown that the case for free trade was invalid even when the Ricardian conditions were present in the world. Their book, Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests, first presented as lectures at the London School of Economics, was published in 2000 by MIT Press.

While free trade economists hold on to their doctrine-turned-ideology, the US dollar and the American economy are dying.

One of the great lies of the offshoring interests is that US manufacturing is in trouble because of poor US education and a shortage of US scientists and engineers. Pundits such as Thomas Friedman have helped to spread this ignorance until it has become a dogma. Recently, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt lent his weight to this falsehood. (See “The US No Longer Drives Global Economic Growth,” Manufacturing & Technology News, Nov. 30, 2007.)

The fact of the matter is that the offshoring of US engineering and R&D jobs and the importation of foreign engineers and scientists on work visas have combined with educational subsidies to produce a surplus of American scientists and engineers, many of whom are unable to find jobs when they graduate from university or become casualties of offshoring and H-1b visas.

Corporate interests continue to lobby Congress for more foreign workers, claiming a non-existent shortage of trained Americans, even as the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology concludes that real salary growth for American scientists and engineers has been flat or declining for the past 10 years. The “long trend of strong US demand for scientific and technical specialists” has come to an end with no signs of revival. (See “Job and Income Growth for Scientists and Engineers Comes to an End,” Manufacturing & Technology News, November 30, 2007.)

What economist has ever heard of a labor shortage resulting in flat or declining pay?

There is no more of a shortage of US scientists and engineers than there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The US media has no investigative capability and serves up the lies that serve short-term corporate and political interests.

If it were not for the Internet that provides Americans with access to foreign news sources, Americans would live in a world of perfect disinformation.

Offshoring interests and economic dogmas have combined to create a false picture of America’s economic position. While the ladders of upward mobility are being dismantled, Americans are being told that they have never had it better.

COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.

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The Lies at the End of the American Dream – The Shortage Myth By Paul Craig Roberts

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

Dandelion Salad

Why He Says No to Subsidies.

replaced video

John Stossel Interviews Ron Paul 2007.12.07 part 6

peacespeech

John Stossel Interviews Ron Paul on the Role of Government 2007.12.05
original location: http://www.abcnews.go.com/2…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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

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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 V (video)

Is junk media making you sick??? (video; Action Alert)

Dandelion Salad

videofreepress

http://StopBigMedia.com

Added: December 13, 2007

Tell Congress to Stop Big Media

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is rushing through plans to remove decades-old media ownership protections. And he’s trying to do it without public scrutiny.

Senators Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) have introduced groundbreaking bipartisan legislation that would hold the FCC accountable and put the people ahead of Big Media. Letters like this — millions of them — stopped media consolidation in 2003. Send a letter to your Senators and tell everyone you know.

Take Action

Do you live in California, Illinois, Maine, or Washington? Your senators are co-sponsors. Click here to send a thank you message

More action alerts

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More Media Disinformation? FCC Proposes Greater Media Consolidation by Stephen Lendman

Imagine a Campaign that Called for Slashing Military Spending 75% by Dave Lindorff

Dandelion Salad

by Dave Lindorff
After Downing Street
Thu, 2007-12-13

While the Democratic and Republican candidates for president blather on about non-issues like who will be meaner to immigrants, who will use the most water on torture victims, who wanted to be president at the youngest age, who’s the best Christian and other such nonsense, and while Congress and the president dance their meaningless dance of pretend conflict, let’s for a moment ponder something more momentous.
What if the US just packed up and left Iraq and Afghanistan, and brought the troops all home, shut down the 750-odd overseas bases we operate around the globe, and slashed our military budget by 75 percent?

That would be an instant savings of roughly $365 billion per year.

Now, the first thing we need to do is address the criticism that such an action would be abandoning the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, whose countries we have been systematically destroying for the last four to six years.

Okay. I agree we have an obligation here. So let’s allocate say $50 billion in annual aid to those two countries, to be funneled through international aid organizations, from the U.N. to CARE and the Red Cross/Red Crescent.

That still leaves $315 billion in funds to play with.

We also have to address those who will ask fearfully if we aren’t opening ourselves to attack from our many enemies abroad.

But hold on a minute. If we cut the US military budget down to a paltry $115 billion a year, that would still leave us with by far the largest military budget in the entire world. The next biggest spender on its military is China, at $62.5 billion, followed by Russia, at $62 billion. That is to say, our military budget, if slashed by three quarters, would still be about equal to Russia’s and China’s military budgets combined. And that only tells part of the story. Most of China’s army is a repressive police force, required to keep order in what is a widely despised dictatorship, and would never be available for foreign adventures. (That’s why China, with a million or more soldiers, hasn’t ever invaded Taiwan, with a population of just 23 million. The army China could spare for an invasion would probably be no larger than the one little Taiwan could field to defend itself.) The same can be said for Russia, which is eternally in danger of splitting apart into myriad smaller states, and has to be held together by threat of force. Figuring that neither China nor Russia is likely to attack us anyway, given that one needs us to buy all the junk they make, and the other needs us to buy their oil, maybe we should look at those “axis of evil” states and their ilk, that might think we’re easy pickin’s if we were to slash our military spending.

Well, maybe not. It turns out if you add up all the military budgets of America’s other “major” enemies—those so-called “rogue” states like Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria—and throw in a few extra possible hostiles for good measure like Myanmar, Somalia and, oh, what the heck, Grenada (you never know when that troublesome little island might have another revolution!), it comes to a grand total of $15 billion spent on military stuff. That’s less than one-seventh of what we’d still be spending.

And of course we wouldn’t be alone. Our allies—Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Israel, Holland, Canada, Italy, Australia, South Korea and Spain for example, though there are surely more who would come to our aid in a crisis—collectively spend another $258 billion on their militaries (and yet even today we have our military based in many of those countries. Go figure!). So we would hardly be at anybody’s mercy.

We could even take a few billion of that $115 military budget and shift it productively from our huge and useless strategic nuclear program (you know, the one that just lost six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles for 36 hours, and flew them across the country, unprotected and unnoticed) over to operations like border patrol, satellite monitoring, and the Coast Guard, where it might actually help protect us, instead of just funding futuristic weapons that will never be used for anything but helping generals justify their stars by having units to command.

So here we would be with still, by a factor of two, the largest and most advanced military in the world, but at peace and with $315 billion a year suddenly freed up and at our disposal.

What might we do with all that money?

Well, for starters, if we accept for argument’s sake that the Social Security System is running at a deficit and will eventually be defunded (which, by the way, I do not for a minute believe), actuaries say that injecting about $130 billion a year into the fund (the equivalent of increasing everyone’s SSI payroll tax by 2 percent) would solve the alleged problem indefinitely, allowing all current and future Americans to count on an inflation-adjusted secure retirement forever. So let’s do that. Then there’s education. Currently, the federal government spends about $58 billion a year on education. That gives us classroom sizes in our cities of 30-35 kids (40 here in Philadelphia). That’s not education—that’s child abuse (and teacher abuse). So what say we boost that amount by 50 percent—a much better educational reform than a lot of stupid “No Child Left Behind” testing regimens. Then there’s healthcare, on which the government spends a paltry $52 billion, leaving us with declining life expectancies and infant mortality rates, particularly among our poorest citizens, that are a scandal. Let’s boost that spending by 50 percent, too.

Geez! We still have another $130 billion left!

The federal government right now only spends some $40 billion a year on science, energy and the environment. That includes nuclear power and waste containment, and the entire NASA budget. Given the global climate change disaster we’re facing, we should probably double that, with the added $40 billion going all to environmental research, don’t you think?

Now we’re left with $90 billion.

Well, it turns out that’s about what the government spends on “social programs.” You know, like welfare—the thing that we were supposedly ending? Truth is, of course, that over the last decade, the number of poor people and hungry people in the US has been rising, not falling, so maybe we should rethink that “ending welfare as we know it” mantra, and start thinking about improving the lives of those at the bottom of the ladder. That extra $90 billion, by doubling social programs—especially if it was spent on housing and job creation—would go a long way towards making America a better place for all. It would also reduce crime significantly, meaning we’d have a whole lot of money freed up that currently goes to police and prisons, so we could spent that money on other good stuff too.

So who’s going to make this eminently sensible proposal?

I’m frankly sick to death of hearing about how “tough” our next president is going to be.

Our current president has shown just what being tough is good for: nothing. The country is less safe, we’ve got 80,000 returned soldiers suffering from life-long injuries, we’ve made enemies out of friends all over the world, and this country’s been going down the tube, with joblessness rising, the economy teetering and the once mighty dollar headed for Third World currency status.

Until I hear political candidates start talking about slashing military spending—and I mean on the order of 75 percent, none of this nickel-and-dime stuff, and about funding the things that really need funding—I’m not even listening to these moronic campaigns.
—————–

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). His work is available at http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

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.

Boeing Installs High-Energy Laser On Laser Gunship Aircraft

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, December 13, 2007
SPX

Boeing Installs High-Energy Laser On Laser Gunship Aircraft

by Staff Writers
St. Louis MO (SPX) Dec 11, 2007

Boeing has installed a high-energy chemical laser aboard a C-130H aircraft, achieving a key milestone for the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program. Boeing completed the laser installation Dec. 4 at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The laser, including its major subsystem, a 12,000-pound integrated laser module, was moved into place aboard the aircraft and aligned with the previously-installed beam control system, which will direct the laser beam to its target.

With the laser installed, Boeing is set to conduct a series of tests leading up to a demonstration in 2008 in which the program will fire the laser in-flight at mission-representative ground targets to demonstrate the military utility of high-energy lasers. The test team will fire the laser through a rotating turret that extends through the aircraft’s belly.

“The installation of the high-energy laser shows that the ATL program continues to make tremendous progress toward giving the warfighter a speed-of-light, precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. “Next year, we will fire the laser at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon.”

The program achieved two other major milestones earlier this year. “Low-power” flight tests were completed in June at Kirtland; the ATL aircraft used its flight demonstration hardware and a low-power laser to find and track moving and stationary ground targets. The flight demonstration hardware includes the beam control system; weapon system consoles, which display high-resolution imagery and enable the tracking of targets; and sensors.

The low-power laser, a surrogate for the high-energy laser, hit its intended target in each of more than a dozen tests. Also, in late July, the high-energy laser concluded laboratory testing at the Davis Advanced Laser Facility at Kirtland, demonstrating reliable operations in more than 50 firings.

ATL, which Boeing is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations. Boeing’s Advanced Tactical Laser industry team includes L-3 Communications/Brashear, which made the laser turret, and HYTEC, Inc., which made various structural elements of the weapon system.

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© Copyright, SPX, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7608

 

Iowa Democratic Debate (videos) (12.13.07)

Kucinich and Gravel are missing from this debate! The debates are a farce.  Please see: Sign The Petition To Keep The Debates Open!! (Kucinich; Gravel; Paul)  ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

researchris2

http://researchris.blogspot.com This is the debate between the Presidential Democratic Candidates that aired on 12.13.07.

Added: December 13, 2007

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUkISjxEUL8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlYpOZ7QK_k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEXMb8E-Jmo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWLHN5VNiGw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRKa2-Zb_GU

see

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

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

NPR Iowa Public Radio Democratic Debate (audio link) + Iran Sparks Fireworks

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

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

Debate-Debates

http://december152007.com/

Kucinich-Dennis

The liberties stripped from the weak today could be lost to us all tomorrow by Natasha Walter

Dandelion Salad

Natasha Walter
The Guardian
Monday December 10, 2007

Plans to extend pre-trial detention have sparked opposition – yet many are already locked up for months without charge

It’s more than 40 years since a bunch of young protesters broke into a government bunker and published the documents about the state’s secret preparations for the possibility of nuclear war they found there. The Spies for Peace, as they called themselves, were cheered on by many in the press and in the peace movement. As they included my late father, I grew up knowing their identities – although none of them broke cover while they were alive. When I wrote about them in the past, I mused on whether they had actually achieved anything. What I concluded was that, although they and other protesters of the 60s never achieved all they had set out to do, they did help to change the culture. The difference, politically, between the pre-60s generation and the post-60s generation was partly a shift from deference to intransigence.

Once upon a time people protested vehemently that the government should not act secretly and repressively against its own people. It is vital to continue that tradition, but it is just as vital to state clearly that our government should not act secretly and repressively against any individual in this country. Civil liberties must be for everyone, or we will find one day that they are for nobody.

continued…

h/t: ICH

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.

Mobile Labs to Target Iraqis for Death By Robert Parry

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Parry
Consortium News
December 13, 2007

U.S. forces in Iraq soon will be equipped with high-tech equipment that will let them process an Iraqi’s biometric data in minutes and help American soldiers decide whether they should execute the person or not, according to its inventor.

“A war fighter needs to know one of three things: Do I let him go? Keep him? Or shoot him on the spot?” Pentagon weapons designer Anh Duong told the Washington Post for a feature on how this 47-year-old former Vietnamese refugee and mother of four rose to become a top U.S. bomb-maker.

Though Duong is best known for designing high-explosives used to destroy hardened targets, she also supervised the Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facilities project, known as a “lab in a box” for analyzing biometric data, such as iris scans and fingerprints, that have been collected on more than one million Iraqis.

The labs – collapsible, 20-by-20-foot units each with a generator and a satellite link to a biometric data base in West Virginia – will let U.S. forces cross-check data in the field against information collected previously that can be used to identify insurgents. These labs are expected to be deployed across Iraq in early 2008.

Duong said the next step will be to shrink the lab to the size of a “backpack” so soldiers who encounter a suspect “could find out within minutes” if he’s on a terrorist watch list and should be killed.

Duong justified this biometric-data program as a humanitarian way of singling out “bad guys” for elimination while sparing innocent civilians.

“I don’t want My Lai in Iraq,” Duong said. “The biggest difficulty in the global war on terror – just like in Vietnam – is to know who the bad guys are. How do we make sure we don’t kill innocents?”

In Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. military units already are operating under loose rules of engagement that allow them to kill individuals who are identified as suspected terrorists or who show the slightest evidence of being insurgents. American forces also have rounded up tens of thousands of Iraqi military-age males, or MAMs, for detention.

During a summer 2007 trip to Iraq, Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was briefed on U.S. plans to expand the number of Iraqis in American detention by the end of 2008.

“The detainees have risen to over 18,000 and are projected to hit 30,000 (by the U.S. command) by the end of the year and 50,000 by the end of 2008,” Cordesman wrote in his trip report.

The sweeps have enabled the U.S. military to collect biometric data for future use if and when the Iraqis are released back into the general population.

Test Tube

In effect, the Bush administration is transforming Iraq into a test tube for modern techniques of repression, which already include use of night-vision optics on drone aircraft, heat resonance imaging, and firepower that is both deadly and precise.

The new techniques represent a modernization of tactics used in other counterinsurgencies, such as in Vietnam in the 1960s and in Central America in the 1980s.

In Vietnam, U.S. forces planted sensors along infiltration routes for targeting bombing runs against North Vietnamese troops. In Guatemala, security forces were equipped with early laptop computers for use in identifying suspected subversives who would be dragged off buses and summarily executed.

Now, modern technologies are updating these strategies for the 21st century’s “war on terror.”

The U.S. news media mostly has reacted to these developments with gee-whiz enthusiasm, like the Post story about Duong, which breezily depicts her complicated life as a devoted mom whose personal history as a Vietnamese refugee led her to a career developing sophisticated weapons for the U.S. government.

The Post feature article expressed no alarm and no criticism of Duong’s comment about shooting Iraqi suspects “on the spot.” [Washington Post, Dec. 1, 2007]

Similarly, U.S. newspapers have consigned stories about U.S. troops engaging in extrajudicial killings of suspects mostly to pages deep inside the newspapers or have covered the news sympathetically. While some harsh criticism has fallen on trigger-happy Blackwater “security contractors,” U.S. troops have been given largely a free pass.

For instance, no furor arose this fall when the U.S. military, in effect, endorsed claims by members of elite Army sniper units that they have been granted broad discretion in killing any Iraqi who crosses the path of their rifle scopes.

On Nov. 8, a U.S. military jury at Camp Liberty in Iraq acquitted the leader of an Army sniper team in the killings of three Iraqi men south of Baghdad during the early days of the troop “surge” this year.

Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley was found not guilty of murder, though he was convicted of lesser charges that he had planted an AK-47 rifle on one of the dead men and had shown disrespect to a superior officer.

In an e-mail interview with the New York Times, Hensley complained that he should not have even faced a court martial because he was following guidance from two superior officers who wanted him to boost the unit’s kill count.

“Every last man we killed was a confirmed terrorist,” Hensley wrote. “We were praised when bad guys died. We were upbraided when bad guys did not die.” [NYT, Nov. 9, 2007]

Asymmetric Warfare

The case of Army sniper Jorge G. Sandoval Jr., who served under Hensley, also revealed a classified program in which the Pentagon’s Asymmetric Warfare Group encouraged U.S. military snipers in Iraq to drop “bait” – such as electrical cords and ammunition – and then shoot Iraqis who pick up the items, according to evidence in the Sandoval case. [Washington Post, Sept. 24, 2007]

(Like Hensley, Sandoval was acquitted of murder but convicted of a lesser charge, the planting of copper wire on one of the slain Iraqis to make it look as if the dead man were involved in making explosive devices.)

Another case of a targeted killing of a suspected insurgent surfaced at a military court hearing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in mid-September. Two U.S. Special Forces soldiers took part in the execution of an Afghani who was suspected of heading an insurgent group.

As described at the hearing, Staffel and Anderson were leading a team of Afghan soldiers when an informant told them where a suspected insurgent leader was hiding. The U.S.-led contingent found a man believed to be Nawab Buntangyar walking outside his compound near the village of Hasan Kheyl.

While the Americans kept their distance out of fear the suspect might be wearing a suicide vest, the man was questioned about his name and the Americans checked his description against a list from the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan, known as “the kill-or-capture list.”

Concluding that the man was insurgent leader Nawab Buntangyar, Staffel gave the order to shoot, and Anderson – from a distance of about 100 yards away – fired a bullet through the man’s head, killing him instantly.

The soldiers viewed the killing as “a textbook example of a classified mission completed in accordance with the American rules of engagement,” the International Herald Tribune reported. “The men said such rules allowed them to kill Buntangyar, whom the American military had designated a terrorist cell leader, once they positively identified him.” [IHT, Sept. 17, 2007]

According to evidence at the Fort Bragg proceedings, an earlier Army investigation had cleared the two soldiers because they had been operating under “rules of engagement” that empowered them to kill individuals who have been designated “enemy combatants,” even if the targets were unarmed and presented no visible threat.

In effect, Duong’s mobile labs would streamline the process for identifying suspected insurgents like Buntangyar.

Rather than relying on physical descriptions, U.S. forces could scan a suspect’s eyes or check his fingerprints — and instantaneously cross-check it with data stored in West Virginia — before deciding, in Duong’s words, “Do I let him go? Keep him? Or shoot him on the spot?”

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Bush’s Global ‘Dirty War” and “Iraq’s Laboratory of Repression”]

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

see

Iraq’s Laboratory of Repression By Robert Parry

Bush’s Global ‘Dirty War’ by Robert Parry

Conservative Military Journal Slams Giuliani And Mukasey’s ‘Tacit Support For Waterboarding’ + House passes ban on waterboarding (video)

Dandelion Salad

Think Progress
Dec. 13, 2007

When asked about the practice of waterboarding at a recent debate, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani declared that he would allow “every method [interrogators] could think of and I would support them in doing it.” Attorney General Mike Mukasey consistently refused to render a legal opinion on the matter.In its December issue, the military magazine Armed Forces Journal chastises Giuliani and Mukasey for “their tacit support for waterboarding”:

Let AFJ be crystal clear on a subject where these men are opaque: Waterboarding is a torture technique that has its history rooted in the Spanish Inquisition. In 1947, the U.S. prosecuted a Japanese military officer for carrying out a form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian during World War II.

Waterboarding inflicts on its victims the terror of imminent death. And as with all torture techniques, it is, therefore, an inherently flawed method for gaining reliable information. In short, it doesn’t work. That blunt truth means all U.S. leaders, present and future, should be clear on the issue.

continued…

***

House passes ban on waterboarding

Think Progress
Dec. 13, 2007

In a 222-199 vote, the House today passed the FY2008 Intelligence Authorization bill, which bans waterboarding and confines the CIA “to the interrogation tactics permitted by the Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) remarked, “[This] means no more torture, no more waterboarding, no more clever wordplay, no more evasive answers, no more dishonesty.” Watch it:

Rep. Nadler – Intelligence Authorization Bans Torture

NancyPelosi

The House is currently debating the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report, which will make new investments in intelligence personnel and enhance oversight of how intelligence is carried out. The conference report authorizes the largest amount for intelligence programs ever authorized. It would also ban torture, including waterboarding, by extending the Army Field Manual to cover all US intelligence agencies. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Chairman of Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, speaks in favor. Added: December 13, 2007

Yesterday, 30 retired generals and admirals wrote to Congress and urged lawmakers to ban waterboarding.

UPDATE: Full roll call vote HERE.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material s 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.

see

Washington Post Gets it Wrong on Torture by Larry C. Johnson