NOW: Ron Paul and Internet Politics + Moyers Interview with Paul in 2002 (videos; links)

For the first time Ron Paul says he doesn’t want White Supremacists’ money. Good for him, and about time. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

NOW
PBS
Dec. 14, 2007

Video link

At the intersection of the Internet and politics, presidential candidate Ron Paul’s supporters are rewriting the rules of political campaigns. NOW explores how the Texas congressman and his supporters are using the Internet to attract voters—and massive campaign contributions—from across the political spectrum. Supporters include anti-war progressives, anti-tax libertarians, civil libertarians, and even some white supremacists. The common theme is anger over where the country is heading.

“Ron Paul’s campaign is so extraordinary to many of us because even while it was getting massive online traffic, you’d be lucky to get a whisper of his campaign in a lot of media outlets,” said Zephyr Teachout, Howard Dean’s former online organizer and now a Duke University professor.

continued…

***

Internet-Empowered Voters

An Interview With Zephyr Teachout
Dec. 14, 2007

In this extended interview, NOW talks with Zephyr Teachout, the former director of online organizing for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and current Visiting Assistant Professor at Duke University Law School. Teachout compares Paul’s campaign to Dean’s 2004 run. She also explains what Ron Paul’s campaign is doing right with the Internet and what other campaigns can learn from Paul.

NOW: How might Ron Paul supporters change the way a candidate is judged?

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: One of the things I love about the Ron Paul campaign is how it challenges mainstream media’s idea of what are the right metrics of a serious candidate. Typically the mainstream and the blogosphere media says, “Well, somebody’s serious if they raise a lot of money.” Well, Ron Paul’s raised a lot of money. Somebody’s serious if they get over four percent in the polls. When he’s getting over eight percent now in New Hampshire polls. But there’s still this real resistance to calling him a serious candidate.

So he’s challenging our ideas of how we measure seriousness. For the past 30 years we have started to think about measuring seriousness in large part because of measuring seriousness through money, in large part because of the cost of TV ads. But what that’s meant is that you raise money as a candidate in order to get taken seriously by the mainstream media.

And the value of raising money is more in the earned media, than it is in the actual ad buys itself. We saw that with Howard Dean. He raised millions of dollars in a single day. He spent those millions of dollars on ads, but earned tens of millions of dollars in free media and earned what in campaigns you call “earned media.”

And campaigns are very aware of this. And I think it’s sad, because we don’t actually want to live in a polity where how much money you can raise determines seriousness. And I like the challenge that this is posing.

I think it will force all of us to go to different metrics. When Ron Paul’s supporters say, “Well, we have more YouTube views than about else,” and The New York Times says, “Well so and so raised more money than anybody else”, it’s not clear why we should—as democrats—small-“d” democrats value one more than the other. One measures people’s attention online, one measures how much money they’re willing to give. Which is often a proxy for wealth. So maybe we have to reconsider that.

continued…

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Bill Moyers Interviews Representative Ron Paul

In October 2002, Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) talked with Bill Moyers about his stand on the situation in Iraq, and the 35 questions he wanted to see addressed by Congress before going to war. As Paul prepares to speak at the 2004 Libertarian Party Convention, he joins Bill Moyers by satellite to address what he thinks are the key issues in the upcoming election and how he sees the war in Iraq.

Video link

Ryokibin

A piece on Ron Paul on PBS Now.

Part 1.

I apologize for losing about 30secs of footage due to rain fade, I will try to catch it when it is on again later to fill the gap.


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PBS Now Preview: The Ron Paul Phenomenon (video)

Hear Voices? It May Be an Ad By Andrew Hampp

Dandelion Salad

By Andrew Hampp
adage.com
December 10, 2007

An A&E Billboard ‘Whispers’ a Spooky Message Audible Only in Your Head in Push to Promote Its New ‘Paranormal’ Program

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — New Yorker Alison Wilson was walking down Prince Street in SoHo last week when she heard a woman’s voice right in her ear asking, “Who’s there? Who’s there?” She looked around to find no one in her immediate surroundings. Then the voice said, “It’s not your imagination.”

Indeed it isn’t. It’s an ad for “Paranormal State,” a ghost-themed series premiering on A&E this week. The billboard uses technology manufactured by Holosonic that transmits an “audio spotlight” from a rooftop speaker so that the sound is contained within your cranium. The technology, ideal for museums and libraries or environments that require a quiet atmosphere for isolated audio slideshows, has rarely been used on such a scale before. For random passersby and residents who have to walk unwittingly through the area where the voice will penetrate their inner peace, it’s another story.

continued…

h/t: Walter

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Intrusive Brain Reading Surveillance Technology: Hacking the Mind by Carole Smith

On the Need for New Criteria of Diagnosis of Psychosis in the Light of Mind Invasive Technology by Carole Smith

Kosovo: We’re On The Brink Of A Balkans Bloodbath by George Galloway

Dandelion Salad

by George Galloway
Global Research, December 14, 2007
Daily Record (UK)

WHILE most were asleep, we’ve walked to the brink of yet another war in the Balkans.

Kosovo is a part of Serbia. That’s a legal and political fact. It wants to break away and appears to have secured British and American agreement, but not, alas, the agreement of either Serbia, whose land it is, or Russia, which will veto any breakaway in the UN. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) rules the roost and has said it will make a unilateral declaration of independence soon. The Serbs cannot allow Kosovo, sacred to their orthodox Christian heritage for 1000 years, to go without a fight.

Serbia, with Russian help, outguns the KLA, who can only fight with outside help. That’s where we come in.

In the Nineties, we provided the air force for the breakaway KLA, branded as late as 2000 by the US as a “terrorist organisation”. But this time we would have to be their infantry as well. Fancy another war, anyone?

And Serbia is not the only place where there is a substantial Albanian minority.

One quarter of the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia is Albanian. They want independence too.

And 50 per cent of Bosnia-Herzegovina is Serb. If Kosovo declares independence, so might the Bosnian-Serbs. Then we will be back in the bloody Balkan wars.

Moreover, the principle that a state can be dismembered against its will is pregnant with problems all over the world.

The Kurdish people are 20 million strong in Turkey and would like to break away. Would we fight for them? Of course not.

Which goes to show the hypocrisy which has accompanied the break-up of Yugoslavia all along.

Lord George “Bomber” Robertson was one of the chief propagandists for the last Kosovo war. You will remember his sonorous claim that the Serbs had murdered 100,000 Albanians and we must act. In fact, 3000 people died, less than the death toll in Northern Ireland, and picture if you will the outrage in Britain if the US Air Force had started bombing us over that. No one knows how many of the 3000 were Albanians or Serbs, or who killed them and how. Kosovo is a garrison for foreign soldiers, and at the same time Europe’s major hub for gun-running, drug smuggling, people-trafficking and prostitution.

If it becomes independent on the point of our bayonets, don’t say you weren’t warned.

‘In the Nineties, we provided the air force for the KLA. This time we would have to be their infantry as well.’

Global Research Articles by George Galloway
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For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
Copyright George Galloway, Daily Record (UK), 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7614

Reconciling Fascism with Reality By Pervez Dastoor

Dandelion Salad

By Pervez Dastoor
12/14/07 “ICH

Fascist! A word that is thrown around all too commonly in today’s political debates and partisan quibbling that is common among the cable “news networks.” A flip of the channel on any night to CNN, FOX, Headline News or other similar programs reveals time slots devoted to the latest celebrity scandal or any other unimportant story. When not emphatically debating the latest celebrity DUI or child-custody battle, you will frequently see a story or hear a media talking head propagate the fear-mongering about hoards of radical Muslims swimming across both oceans to destroy the very fabric of the North American homeland. Wouldn’t that be an impressive feat of stamina? But these individuals will not be referred to as just fanatics, terrorists or Islamists, but instead the newest trend “Islamofascists.”

Huh, did I miss something? Do these people who spew out rhetoric with that term even consider what fascism stands for or actually means. After all, would you not think that “esteemed” members of the media and their “expert” guests would actually understand what they are saying? Is that too much to ask? Unfortunately, yes. Not only do these individuals not use the term in a proper manner, they purposely distort the term in order to evoke thoughts of fear and insecurity.

Fascism?

So what defines a fascist society? Often times, fascism is subconsciously linked to the grainy black and white pictures of marauding Wermacht and SS troops from the 1940s. However, this shows a mental normalness which is incorrect. While Nazism did have fascist overtones, Nazism is not a form of government. Nazism is political ideology implemented through the use of a fascist government system. It is this system that needs to be understood and not the policy employed through it. This is vital since any form of government – yes, including a democracy – can be operated through a fascist structure. It is not exclusive to a dictatorship. As this article will show, you may be surprised by the results of the analysis.

Now, you reader, may argue that “who cares what the actual meaning of the word is, because it has taken on further societal overtones and inferences which society and it’s people now attribute to the word.” However, this does not do justice to the reality of the word or the reality of the world we live in today. You see, if we were to associate the word Fascist with Nazi, then we consciously set ourselves up to be oblivious to actual fascist tendencies which do not exhibit the racial or genocidal image that one has of Hitler’s master race. In order to analyze the events of the world today, we need a clear understanding of the true nature of Fascism, separate from its societal inferences. When this is done we see surprising results.

So what is fascism ? Lawrence Britt, writing in Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2, summarizes fourteen common traits of a fascist society.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

4. Supremacy of the Military

5. Rampant Sexism

6. Controlled Mass Media

7. Obsession with National Security

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined

9. Corporate Power is Protected

10. Labor Power is Suppressed

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

14. Fraudulent Elections

I recommend a read of his article to gain a deeper understanding of each point. While I wholeheartedly agree with the above delineation of a society crippled by the thrones of fascist power, I differ in the analysis as to how a government becomes fascist. I would to key in on Britt’s point number “9. Corporate Power is Protected.”

Corpofascism?

My argument comes at the issue from a different point of view. Instead of considering the above as traits of fascism, I believe that in fact, the fascist structure of government is what enables these attributes to manifest themselves. That fascist structure of government begins with the co-option of corporate and government interests becoming one in the same. This is the primary transition in the nature and operation of the government apparatus. Corporate power is not so much as protected; it is one in the same as government power. Hence the government is an extension of the corporate powerbrokers in society. Let me elaborate.

It begins with the unfettered control of government by corporate and business interests which leads to the detriment of the well-being of the many for the benefit of the few. Once the corporate and money powers have co-opted government, they are then able to work with government officials – who may have their own self-interested motives and ideologies – to instill policy that meets Britt’s thirteen other points.

So, fascism begins to manifest itself at the point when corporate interests highjack the operations of the government. Yes, business and government have and always been intertwined, it would be naïve not to think so. Yet, while intertwined in history there was a degree of separation and distinction between the functioning of each body. Each worked separately but in mutual respect of the other and would lend a helping hand to the other party. They mutually serve to promote each other. When working within the appropriate checks and balances, this enables a capitalist society to prosper and grow. After all, this is not fascism but capitalism at its very definition. In order for a society and its people to continue to be free and prosper the government must let economies thrive. However, in order for a society and its people to be treated equally and with justice, the government is needed to legislate and regulate the capitalist system so that it does not ultimately devour itself through its own desire for continual wealth. This is the act of mutual balance that is needed in a strong and healthy capitalist system.

A fascist government is one which is terminally ill with an incurable cancer. In a fascist society this system of mutual balance has completely and utterly collapsed to the point where government is not functioning as the representative of the people, but the security guard for the corporate interests. So if “experts” can throw around the word “Islamofacism”, let me make up a term “Corpofascism.”

So what happens when corporate interests rein supreme? We get a government system that exhibits the following:

1. It is a system where business interests and motives are held supreme over the interests of the public – usually leading to detrimental impacts on the public good.

2. It is a system where government has compromised every ounce of its duty, in order to serve the interests of the power brokers and money men through the legislation of laws and policies which benefit the rich and the corporations over those of the society.

3. It is a system where members of the government and the business community are indistinguishable from each other. Thus leading to patronage and cronyism beyond the normal expectations of a government official.

4. It is a system dominated by think-tanks and lobbying groups that influence politicians to act in the benefit of the industries and businesses they represent.

5. It is a system where politicians are corrupted and compromised through significant political contributions by big business (both under and over the table).

6. It is a system where the military, government and business are indistinguishable from each other. Succinctly described by Eisenhower as the “military industrial complex”.

7. It is a system where no distinction can be made between the overall policies and stances taken by opposing political parties within the Corpofascist system. The approach may differ, but the end result is the same.

8. It is a system with a domineering drive to reduce the scope of public services and the continued drive to privatize essential societal needs – health, education, welfare, etc.

9. It is a system where the public is inundated with propagandized rhetoric in order to distract them from the important issues. This maintains resistance to a minimum and enables the corporate interests to be served unabated.

Once a government structure begins to exhibit the above characteristics, it is safe to say that the government is now simply a tool – a very powerful tool at that – to serve the interest of the corporate masters. The checks and balances that once existed to keep government from falling into such a state have effectively been overwhelmed and defeated. The system is effectively broken and replaced with a Corpofascist operating racket.

Once this has occurred the government is used by the business and corporate interests not to further the advancement or well-being of the people, but instead to further the profit making abilities of the corporation. Laws and regulations are passed which benefit business by the same people that only months or a few years ago were commanding figures in industry and business. These “public citizens” now passing legislation were once minions serving as officers or directors for large multinational corporations. Their allegiance does not lie with the commoner, but with the industrial elites to whom they once belonged or to whom they owe their election financing. These same individuals maintain close business relationships and once their terms in office are complete frequently return to serve with the same corporations that they did before office or that they generously assisted while in office. The entire system is structured as a self-perpetuating revolving door that continues to perpetuate the corporate benefactor.

Maintaining the System

But certainly you say that such a corrupt system would be noticeable to the good citizenry of any nation and that they would rise up and demand more of their political masters. They would protest, use the power of their vote and demand a change to the way things are. Oh really? Well, a cursory application of the traits of a Corpofascist society reveals that this isn’t the case. And the reason is because the public is effectively disengaged and distracted from the truth through an ingenious use of a variety of means. This is where I will bring into my analysis Britt’s remaining points.

The Corpofascist government and its handlers know all too well that their power is only derived by the ability to distract the citizenry from the true nature of the racket they are operating. Therefore they employ a number of tools that do just this. These aren’t haphazardly applied, but instead carefully crafted to achieve the results of the corporate state.

It begins with the creation of an enemy upon which to blame all of the country’s problems and to distract the unknowing public from the actual events that are occurring in the echelons of power. These are the scapegoats to blame for all the state’s problems. This enemy is all powerful, all evil and just about ready to strike at the innocent children of the citizenry.

This enemy must be confronted. Alas, a call to arms is made using nationalistic and patriotic overtones that would make even a Nazi giddy with joy. The call to defend the homeland, to snoop on your neighbours and to serve your country becomes the heralded and virtuous duty of the citizen. Such indoctrination can only be completed by the complicit corporately controlled mass media which spews half-truths and utter lies on the television in order to whip the masses into fervor. Those who say that the media is separate and free from the government, forget that the government is not free and separate from the same corporations that control and own the media outlets.

To confront the enemy usually includes two further traits of a fascist society:

  1. the use of military power to attack, invade and “liberate” the threat.
  2. a curb on the domestic freedoms and civil liberties of the governments domestic citizenry in order to contain and monitor dissent.

In its thirst for power and growth the Corpofascist state indulges in the patriotic use of the nations military to secure access to regions, resources and access points that are critical to the profiteering of the business. Innocents on both sides of the military adventure endure the wrath of war while the corporate masters sit back in their air-conditioned offices. Countries are invaded, innocent women and children of brown skin (usually – let’s be honest) are considered “collateral damage” while their husbands, fathers, brothers and uncles are labeled as “terrorists.” Soldiers of the invading force, believing in the nobility of their mission – as a result of the lies they have been fed by their military and corporate masters, are brought home in body bags or on stretchers with arms and legs missing. They and their families suffer the continued mental and physical scars of a war to which they see no purpose.

Human rights, foreign and domestic, are flaunted by the Corpofascist state. In order to denigrate the worth of the people they are bombing wild stories of incomprehensible evil are spun and attributed to the enemy. Extraordinary measures, renditions and torture are employed to fight the enemy all in the name of preserving security. The Corpofascist state citizen is confronted with a perception of a government that is there to protect and genuinely take care of its citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth, but the veil of benevolence must be cast to get the citizen to capitulate their moral and intellectual fiber to the Corpofascist state.

When the veneer of goodwill is removed and dissent within the society begins to stir, the domestic populace is subject to strategies of harm reduction. Dissenters are characterized as unpatriotic, terrorist sympathizers and the all too common anti-semitic. Domestic criticism is quelled and laws are passed by the society to clamp down on citizen protests. The domestic police force is increasingly militarized in order to scare and confront the citizenry. Instead of serving and protecting the people they serve and protect the interests of the elite and the business powers.

While overt action against dissenters is taken the mass populace is kept in a state of ignorance. The corporate media feed them dribble about insignificant events which would be better served to be written on toilet paper. Stories of non-events are pumped, exaggerated and continually reported on by “experts” and “respected” members of the media. Celebrity gossip dominates the airwaves as a way to distract the individual from their own lives and important events. This is just fine for the Corpofascists.

Political discourse and debate is drawn down to severe partisan lines, whereby perceived differences are introduced within the political parties, despite the fact that the overall goal – the advancement of the corporate interest – is still paramount. Issues of debate between the political parties in the respective house of government focus on “distracting issues.” While important issues in their own rights – abortion, gay-rights, women’s rights, minority rights, etc. – these bear no relation to the prevailing problem with the sick society. No mention is made or attention paid to the domineering influence of the corporation within all aspects of the society. Corporate interests at all levels are hidden, minimized or protected by the Corpofascists even though vital areas of the citizenry are impacted – food, water, health, education, civil rights, human rights, domestic policy, foreign policy, energy security, and on and on.

The facade of fair and free elections is propagandized to the public. The citizen is made to feel like their vote counts. Little do the people realize that the “nominees” and “contenders” within the electoral process have already been pre-selected by the Corpofascist masters – the business elite. Despite theres being nominal differences between political parties, the interests of the Corpofascist elite will continued to be served. Nevertheless, elections are still tampered with. Fraud, corruption, intimidation and other immoral methods are used move the elections in the way the masters want them to go.

And thus, the cycle maintains its continuance. More and further enemies – real and imagined, mainly imagined – are constructed, and the entire cycle perpetuates itself. This is the essence of living in a Corpofascist state. The perpetuation is not infinite as the weight of the corruption and demagoguery will eventually erode the system from within. It will be a classic case of the cancer killing the host and itself in the process. How long and how terrible the suffering of the people under the system is a matter of how much of a fight the beast puts as it is being destroyed.

So What?

Given the above analysis, one has to ask, does the term “Islamofascist” even make any sense. The simple answer is no.

The main reason is that by nature fascism is a form of government, not an incurrence of political ideology like Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism, Arabism or Islamism. Therefore, a non-stateless entity is incapable of being fascist by the very nature that a system of government is lacking.

So are there governments in the world today which meet the criteria for a Corpofascist state? Yes, of course. To varying degrees there are numerous nations across the globe that meet the criteria. Is it unexpected? Not at all. Is it worrying? Yes. However, I propose an increasingly worrisome proposal. A certain nation, the richest and most powerful in the world, founded on the principles of freedom, liberty and justice has succumbed to the sweet nectar of Corpofascism.

A cursory look at the operations and characteristics of the United States Government reveals that the good ole US of A meets each and every one of the criteria mentioned above. The United States is a great nation in theory and on paper; the great experiment in liberty, freedom and democracy. And it still can be. However, in actuality the once proud banner of freedom and justice has been hijacked. The USA is a thriving example of a Corpofascist state. I will not go into presenting detailed facts in this narrative. That is not my objective. My objective was to highlight the traits of a Corpofascist state in order to engage the reader to follow up and apply the criteria for themselves.

Nonetheless, a look at the application of the Corpofascist criteria against readily available information – out there in the public domain – would lead even a fleeting reader in agreement. The only problem is that majority of the American people are not aware of this.

The solution is not too late. There is still time to change, but time is running out and a shift in the public consciousness and awareness is imperative. The first step is becoming aware of the issues and realizing the problem. It is important to realize that the problem is deeper and is more than solely the cause of one administration over another. It is a pervasive problem that has clung itself at the roots of government. Informed citizenry must come together to make people aware about the depths of corporate influence and corruption within the American government. Focus must be paid to the root case (corporate influence) and this issue must be confronted head-on through activism, information programs, and ‘spreading the gospel.’ Only then can real change be brought into the system.

The ultimate goal is not to reach a state of utopia. No government system is perfect, to believe so would be irrationally naïve. However, there is a point in time where the threshold between the checks and balances of a society can only be stretched so far. The line has been crossed, and now it is time for individuals to exercise their social conscious and fulfill their obligation as a citizen. And this matters not only for the American people. Being the only superpower and current imperialistic nation in the world, the functioning of the American government apparatus has far-reaching consequences on the livelihood and lives of all individuals that inhabit the planet. Most will say that the fate of the world depends on it.

As President Eisenhower stated in his farewell address, Jan. 17, 1961:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.

May I add guard against the unwarranted influence of any industrial or corporate complex. Only then can the American dream of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” be achieved.

© Copyright – Pervez Dastoor, – 2007.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Fascism (myspace blogs)

The Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism (video link)

Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism By Dr. Lawrence Britt (same as the above video)

Fascism (dandelion salad posts)

The 2008 Presidential Election: Concepts Progressives Must Know About Monetary Policy & History by Richard C. Cook

Dandelion Salad

by Richard C. Cook
Global Research, December 14, 2007

The 2008 presidential election campaign starts in earnest on January 3 with the Iowa caucuses, followed a few days later by the New Hampshire primary. While all of the Republican candidates except Ron Paul have totally ignored economic issues, the Democrats are all sounding more “populist” than at any time since the Great Depression. Nevertheless, with the exception of Dennis Kucinich, they all swallow in its totality the debt-based monetary system overseen by the Federal Reserve which is at the root of the escalating crisis.

Progressives who are trying to figure out whom to support are handicapped by the fact that they know little of monetary policy and history. Usually they are in favor of some form of wealth distribution, so solutions rarely go beyond tax increases. The Democratic candidates are responding to this perception by pledging in some form or another to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that began in 2001 and ensured that the Clinton balanced budget of 1998-2000 would once again dissolve in an ocean of red ink as had happened in the 1980s under Republican President Ronald Reagan.

But tax increases are not an answer to a disastrously flawed system. Without gaining control of the U.S. monetary system, any Democratic president, no matter how reform-minded, will be outsmarted and outflanked by the Money Power every time.

In order to help progressives who seek a benchmark to assess the economic and monetary proposals that are likely to be forthcoming during the run-up to the November 2008 election, the following list of concepts is presented. The list is an adaptation of a paper the author has utilized for briefings he has given on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

 

  • Money should be viewed by progressives as a) a medium of exchange, b) created by law, c) to serve the needs of the individual and the nation’s physical economy. Under the progressive definition, money is the servant of man.

  • Money is viewed by conservatives as a) a commodity, b) having intrinsic value, c) equivalent to “wealth,” d) properly usable for anything the owner desires, including usury and speculation. Under the conservative definition, man is the servant of money.

  • While conservatives view money as “wealth,” progressives should view “wealth” as the present value and future potential of the physical economy as it operates under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

  • In American history, the progressive definition of money has prevailed when the government has controlled or strongly influenced the creation of money. The conservative definition has prevailed when private bankers have controlled or strongly influenced the creation of money, particularly during the century since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.

  • The principle underlying cause of the American Revolution was refusal by the British Parliament to allow the colonies to issue their own paper money.

  • The right of the federal government to issue money is contained in the Constitution but is not clearly defined. It was more clearly defined under the Articles of Confederation. This indicates that financiers were influential in the drafting of the Constitution.

  • Today it is taken for granted that the only two ways the government can acquire and spend money are taxation and borrowing. Minting and issuing coinage is often overlooked, because it is such a small part of today’s economy. But there have been times in American history when the government has spent money directly into circulation. The best example was the Greenbacks of the Civil War era.

  • Direct spending of money into circulation by the government is derided by financiers and conservatives as inflationary. Actually, it is no more inflationary than bank-issued credit and may actually be less so.

  • Throughout history, it has been the Democrats who have held a more progressive view of money. It has been the Federalists/Whigs/Republicans who have held the conservative view of money and have been largely pro-bank.

  • All banks in the United States have operated under a governmental charter, either federal or state. U.S. law does not recognize an inherent right for anyone to operate a bank.

  • All banking in the United States has been fractional reserve banking, where a bank is allowed to lend more money than it holds in deposit. This is a relic of medieval times and grants the banks a privilege which is undeserved. Essentially the banks are the owners of the money supply.

  • Until around 1873, banks were required to hold their reserves in specie; i.e., gold or silver, until silver was demonetized by Congress, contracting the currency. Until then, Congress had maintained by legislation the legal ratio between gold and silver. From 1873-1933, gold was the only metallic reserve allowed. The U.S. went off the gold standard in 1933 though the dollar was pegged to the price of gold until 1972.

  • Thousands of banks in U.S. history failed due to runs, panics, overextended loans, etc., despite the metallic standard. This included large numbers during the early years of the Great Depression. A gold standard cannot prevent bank failures or guarantee the value of the currency.

  • Fear of bank failures under fractional reserve banking was a major reason banks were opposed by President Andrew Jackson and other early Democrats.

  • There were no banks in colonial America. The first one was the Bank of Philadelphia chartered during the Revolutionary War by the Continental Congress, followed soon after by the Bank of North America. After the war, state banks began to be chartered along with the federally-chartered First Bank of the United States. Some state-chartered banks were also state-owned.

  • The First and Second Banks of the United States were the hottest political issue during the early years of the U.S.

  • From the time of the First Bank of the United States until today, U.S. bankers have been strongly allied with the financiers of Great Britain and continental Europe. They are the real controllers of what has been called the Anglo-American Empire.

  • After the Civil War and until 1900, the money supply was again the hottest political issue in the U.S., with the progressives being splintered among several political movements. The banks supported the Republicans. The Democrats were not able to unite until 1900 but by then had discarded Greenback-type solutions in favor of returning to the already-outdated bimetallic standard. Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan gave his famous “cross of gold” speech at the Democratic National Convention but lost the 1900 presidential election to William McKinley.

  • Many progressives strongly opposed the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913, which centralized banking power under the Wall Street Money Trust which was allied with British and European bankers. The main argument in favor of the Federal Reserve was to prevent bank failures by being able to support them through rapid movement of reserves to cover shortages. It was supposedly a bank insurance plan but had as an underlying purpose the creation of a massive public debt to finance wars.

  • One of the strongest opponents of the Federal Reserve Act was Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr., of South Dakota, the father of Charles Lindbergh, Jr., the aviator. Some of the politicians who supported the Federal Reserve Act later regretted it, including President Woodrow Wilson and his secretary of state, William Jennings Bryan.

  • Numerous Democratic congressmen opposed the Federal Reserve System during the twentieth century, including several chairmen of the House Banking and Currency Committee: Louis McFadden, Wright Patman, and Henry Gonzales. McFadden drew up articles of impeachment against the leaders of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. Patman and Gonzales introduced legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve.

  • In 1933, Congress authorized President Franklin Roosevelt to reissue Greenbacks, though he did not do so.

  • Neither banks nor government are needed to have money. During the Great Depression, over 300 communities began to print their own money until the federal government outlawed the practice. Throughout American history there have been many systems of private or local use of manufactured currency, or scrip. Today’s use of stock certificates as money is a kind of scrip.

  • The original purpose of banks in the U.S. was to facilitate commerce, with a modest profit for its shareholders. This was reflected in the “real bills doctrine,” whereby lending supports only identifiable commercial transactions.

  • The main justification for laissez-faire economics is the unsupported assertion found in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations that a hidden hand—“Hand, the Invisible”—will benefit the common welfare if individuals within the economic system pursue their own individual interests. This fallacy is the basis of so-called “classical” or “liberal” economics and is also a part of the ideology of the conservative branch of the Republican Party and the theology of its fundamentalist constituency. It is reflected in the view of the “Austrian School” of economics and was the basis for the monetarist policies of the 1970s and the “Reagan Revolution” of the 1980s. It has been disproved countless times by progressive economists. The main problem is that money in a complex economy is so easily manipulated by insiders.

  • Opposing laissez-faire economics was what was called in the nineteenth century the “American System.” This was based on Renaissance ideas of nationalism, reflected in Europe by the German and Italian cameralists, who said that the central government had the right and obligation to regulate economic and financial affairs for the benefit of the nation. The most cogent expression of these views was Emmerich Vattel’s The Law of Nations, used as a manual of government at the First Continental Congress in 1775. The New Deal, which created the modern American physical economy until it was wrecked by the Federal Reserve-induced recession of 1979-83 and the “Reagan Revolution,” was a modern expression of the American System.

  • The American System was based on actions by government to direct investment into infrastructure development, including health and education. This included government purchase of shares in development corporations and direct funding of projects through tax revenues and government borrowing.

  • During the early to mid-19th century, the American System was funded at the state level of government and saw the building of canals and railroads, improvement of waterways and harbors, turnpikes, etc. The federal government first became involved with infrastructure through the Army Corps of Engineers, then, during the Civil War, with the building of the transcontinental railroad and funding of land-grant colleges. The American System was copied in Germany, Japan, China, and Russia and elsewhere around the world. It was viewed as completely contrary to the British imperialist model.

  • The American System as manifested through the New Deal saw the TVA, WPA, CCC, Hoover Dam, funding of school and hospital construction, public water and sewer systems, municipal gas and electric systems, rural electrification, etc. More recent examples were the interstate highway system, R&D investment, the manned space program, and creation of the internet. Today there are no more such projects serving as economic drivers for the U.S.

  • Infrastructure constitutes approximately fifty percent of the entire physical economy of a modern nation. The other fifty percent is the industrial/consumer economy which is most efficiently operated by the private sector.

  • Bank financing is suited neither to investment in the private sector nor to the building of public infrastructure. This is because both are relatively long-term, low-yield investments. Bank financing, originally intended to facilitate commerce, has expanded to finance 1) consumption, due to a lack of societal purchasing power, and 2) asset speculation through a host of methods including mortgages, purchase of securities on margin, derivatives, and leveraged mergers and buyouts.

  • Free market economics when taken to an extreme, where the direction of monetary capital is almost exclusively allocated by the banks, inevitably leads to under-funding of both private sector investment and public infrastructure.

  • Major ongoing federal expenditures on the military-industrial complex also lead to under-funding of public civilian infrastructure and are largely a form of corporate welfare that benefits the rich.

  • World War II resulted in a huge level of savings by the working population that was financed by federal deficits. The deficits were paid down after the war when the savings were released into the peacetime economy, leading to economic growth and increased tax revenues. This experience disproves the contention of bankers that an influx of money held by individual consumers is necessarily inflationary.

  • Industrial expansion can take place without bank financing through retention and reinvestment of profits and rapid, large-scale technological innovation. However, this removes purchasing power from the economy that the existing system makes up for through lending to consumers by banks. It is a self-defeating system.

  • The federal government can encourage and enhance industrial expansion through judicious use of tax and fiscal policy, including deficit spending, but supply-side tax cuts for the upper brackets have resulted in more spending on imported consumer products and asset bubbles rather than domestic industrial growth. In the long run, both deficit spending and taxation should be minimized.

  • Compound interest is great for the lender but terrible for the borrower. Over an extended period of time, interest at current rates can double the price of assets. This is ruinous for consumers who today are trapped in a cycle where they cannot live without extensive borrowing.

  • The federal government deliberately causes inflation to reduce the cost of the national debt and generate more tax revenues. COLAs compounded annually produce a major devaluation of the dollar over a period of several years.

  • The American Society of Civil Engineers estimated in 1998 that we have a current infrastructure maintenance deficit of $1.8 trillion. The deficit has grown considerably since then.

  • Direct government funding, as through Greenbacks, is uniquely suited for infrastructure investment without the need to use tax- or debt-based funding. It is the least expensive method of public finance.

  • A federal infrastructure bank could lend on a basis of manufactured Greenback-type credit. Capitalization is not required except for purchase of state and local low-interest bonds.

  • Failure to adequately fund infrastructure leads to deterioration of the private industrial sector, as it depends on infrastructure for its efficiency and ability to operate and innovate. This is one reason U.S. industry has declined and we now buy so many manufactured products from abroad.

  • The Federal Reserve System is skewed away from infrastructure investment toward private sector speculation. It sets up a monetary system suitable for a military empire, not an industrial democracy. Because the Federal Reserve System has wrecked American manufacturing, the only way we can maintain our standard of living is to be the financier for the rest of the world. But this means lending money at high rates of interest which is essentially unjust. So to protect our profits we must continually engage in military conquest. This is a leading cause of “dollar hegemony” and the long record of U.S. aggression since the Vietnam War.

  • There have been several important movements during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in support of monetary reform based on direct government issuance of money and the control of credit as a public utility.

  • A program of direct government funding would prove favorable to the banks in the long-run, since it would leave them to do what they do best; i.e., provide liquidity for private sector commercial purposes. But it is difficult for the banks to see these advantages due to their prejudices. As things now stand, the banks are parasites, and the host is dying. They do not understand that a dead host equals dead parasites.

  • Direct government funding reflects the progressive definition of money in contrast to the conservative definition of money.

  • Direct government funding of infrastructure can provide a large number of jobs to people, stimulate domestic industry, and introduce debt-free money into circulation. This would result in a major revitalization of the U.S. economy.

  • The U.S. could easily use direct government expenditures to provide everyone a basic income guarantee and a National Dividend, as suggested by British author C.H. Douglas and the Social Credit movement that has existed for decades in British Commonwealth nations. This would stimulate the economy, reduce debt, and eliminate poverty and homelessness. Such a system would give the nation that adopted it the strongest economy on earth. (For more information on Social Credit and the National Dividend, see the new Wikipedia article on Economic Democracy).

  • The Constitution of the United States creates a commonwealth of citizens which has a right to control its own money supply like any other public utility.

  • The main policy objective of the Federal Reserve is price stability. This protects the investments and income of the banks. The chief weapon of producing price stability is wage and salary constraints. This is done by maintaining a pool of unemployed or underemployed workers.

  • The term “price stability” when used by conservatives is code for “class warfare.” Prices are actually much too high because they do not credit the economy with appreciation of the overall physical plant due to technological innovation. This could be remedied by a comprehensive system of price subsidies as part of a National Dividend policy.

  • The policies and programs of the Federal Reserve are structurally, operationally, and ideologically in favor of the wealthiest classes and opposed to workers, farmers, and small businesspeople.

  • It is the Federal Reserve, more than any other institution, which is responsible for the tremendous concentration of wealth among the richest people.

  • Despite the lip service paid by the Federal Reserve to price stability, inflation has increased steadily since 1965. Price stability has mainly referred to stagnant wages.

  • High inflation coincides with periods of war or war mobilization and the deliberate creation of financial bubbles. This is reflected in the current price inflation of petroleum products.

  • The U.S. physical infrastructure has declined not only with the infrastructure investment deficit, but also with the export of manufacturing jobs under NAFTA, WTO, etc.

  • The banking system, through the Federal Reserve, has an almost unlimited ability to increase cash in circulation by producing more debt. However, at a certain point, the debt burden will become unsustainable and the system will crash. This is what the business cycle consists of. It is what is leading to the coming worldwide recession.

  • Escalation of loaning against assets increases the price of those assets, so contributes to inflation. Ballooning of credit and inflation go hand-in-hand, as with housing prices which are now crashing as the downside of the recent bubble.

  • Low interest rates that cause a ballooning of credit and inflation may look good in the short run but are exceedingly destructive to the economy. The problem would be reduced if banking adhered to the “real bills” doctrine which bases lending on actual economic transactions, not speculation. The problem would be eliminated with a new monetary system based on direct government spending for infrastructure and a monetary system that included a National Dividend.

  • Ninety percent of the members of Congress know nothing about monetary policy. With a handful of exceptions, the ten percent who do work on behalf of the banks.

 

Richard C. Cook is a retired U.S. federal government analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites, and he is cited in the Wikipedia article on “Economic Democracy” as one of the world’s leading monetary reformers. He is the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His website is at www.richardccook.com.


 


ANNEX

As a last word, herein follows the text of a letter to the editor by Mr. Wallace M. Klinck of Alberta, Canada, on the application of Douglas’s Social Credit system to the current tax and utility rate crisis in that province. The letter illustrates the potential for Social Credit in dealing with major economic problems. Mr. Klinck is one of the world’s leading spokesmen for Social Credit ideas:

Tax increase in county defies natural law

by Wallace M. Klinck

The outrageous increase in property taxes and utility rates proposed by Strathcona County for 2008 is largely justified because of the escalation of price inflation. I submit that inflation is a violation of natural law and that public officials accept it as a natural phenomenon to which society must passively adjust is a major error leading to increasingly calamitous consequences.

Moreover, the goal of a balanced budget under the existing system of banking and cost accountancy is a fundamental error which makes a growing tax burden unavoidable. Technically, it implies that the economy is static, that we consume all of our physical capital currently and that the issuer of credit, i.e., the banking system, owns all capital. Further, blaming price inflation on monetary demand overlooks the faulty financial accountancy underlying the fundamental problem which is excess financial cost accumulation which results in a non- self-liquidating price system. Consumer prices include allocated capital charges, additions to price which are necessary from an accountancy standpoint but which do not distribute equivalent incomes within the same cycle of production. That is, money is collected from consumers prematurely, and cancelled in repayment of bank debt incurred previously by loans issued to producers, as if to represent that our real capital is being consumed currently, whereas it is actually consumed or depreciated over a considerable period of time. The resultant disparity, i.e., “gap”, growing increasingly as capital replaces labour as a factor of production, between final consumer prices and distributed effective consumer income, is currently ‘bridged’ by ever expanding issues of credit issued, or created, via repayable bank loans. This is the faulty approach bequeathed to us by the late economist John Maynard Keynes.

Of course, it means that financial costs in respect of one cycle of production are not fully liquidated within that cycle but merely passed on, or ‘carried over,’ as an inflationary charge to be recovered from future cycles of production. That is, one cannot liquidate, formally and finally, financial charges of today by issues of bank credit (i.e. debt) which become a further charge carried forward against future cycles of production.

Such issues of credit may allow a large measure of consumer access to final consumer goods, at the expense of exponentially burgeoning debt with decreasing financial liquidity and progressive price inflation, but they do not cancel the financial costs of production as currently accounted–even though the real, i.e., physical, costs of production have been fully met when consumer goods take their finalized form and are ready for purchase.

The essential problem is that the consumer is charged in prices, quite properly, with capital depreciation, but, quite wrongly, not credited with capital appreciation, which latter historically greatly exceeds the former. Realistically, we should have over the passage of time a falling price-level with a growing source of income received independently of any incomes earned through paid work by participation in commerce or industry.

The core mechanisms proposed by the late Clifford Hugh Douglas to rectify this revealed progressive error in national accountancy were the National Dividend and the Compensated Price (compensation of consumer prices at point of retail sale) financed by non- cost-creating consumer ‘credits’ issued, without being recorded as repayable debt, from outside the price-system to increase financial independence for the individual citizen and to effect a continuously falling price-level as the true physical cost of production falls over time.

The true cost of production is the mean ratio, measured in monetary units, of national consumption divided by that of production–always becoming increasingly less than a numerical value of one, as real efficiency increases with the use of new technology. Inflation of prices thus will be seen to be a fundamental misrepresentation of physical reality.

Money is essentially an information system. Inflation of prices is an indication of inefficiency or economic failure and is an abstract financial denial of the magnificent real advances which modern civilization has made in the realm of actual physical production efficiency.

These new “Social Credit” consumption credits advocated by Douglas would as always already have previous debt claims against them in retail prices and will be cancelled, just as money issued via consumer bank loans at present is cancelled, when businesses receive them via retail sales and use them to repay their issuing banks in settlement of their earlier commercial loans contracted in the usual manner for the facilitation of business operations.

Money recovered by industry via price and replaced to capital reserve has an effect similar to its use for repayment of existing bank loans inasmuch as it is no longer available as consumer income and can only again become so by reissue for a new cycle of production which creates a whole new and additionalset of financial costs.

Social Credit challenges the historic orthodox acceptance of Say’s Law which states axiomatically that for every financial cost of production incurred an equivalent amount of financial purchasing power is issued and no overall deficiency of income can exist.

While it may be true that “at one time or another” in the past an equivalent amount of financial payments may have been issued, this is of little help or consolation to consumers driven into increasing reliance on debt because an increasing proportion of such income has been prematurely cancelled as effective income and is no longer available for purchase of goods which are currently emanating from the production system.

How long is the suffering general public going to tolerate the burden of escalating debt, price inflation and increasing taxation without demanding a reversal through implementation of a realistic financial policy?

Published by:

T he Sherwood Park – Strathcona County News

Sherwood Park, Alberta

Canada


Richard C. Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Richard C. Cook

 

see

Billionaire Bailout: Central Bank Socialism and America’s True Values by Chris Floyd

Einstein and Socialism by Rich

 

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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What Is Probably in the Missing Tapes by Naomi Wolf

Dandelion Salad

by Naomi Wolf
Commondreams.org
The Huffington Post
Friday, December 14, 2007

To judge from firsthand documents obtained by the ACLU through a FOIA lawsuit, we can guess what is probably on the missing CIA interrogation tapes — as well as understand why those implicated are spinning so hard to pretend the tapes do not document a series of evident crimes. According to the little-noticed but extraordinarily important book Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond (Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh, Columbia University Press, New York 2007), which presents dozens of original formerly secret documents – FBI emails and memos, letters and interrogator “wish lists,” raw proof of the systemic illegal torture of detainees in various US-held prisons — the typical “harsh interrogation” of a suspect in US custody reads like an account of abuses in archives at Yad Vashem.

More is still being hidden as of this writing — as those in Congress now considering whether a special prosecutor is needed in this case should be urgently aware: “Through the FOIA lawsuit,” write the authors, “we learned of the existence of multiple records relating to prisoner abuse that still have not been released by the administration; credible media reports identify others. As this book goes to print, the Bush administration is still withholding, among many other records, a September 2001 presidential directive authorizing the CIA to set up secret detention centers overseas; an August 2002 Justice Department memorandum advising the CIA about the lawfulness of waterboarding [Italics mine; nota bene, Mr. Mukasey] and other aggressive interrogation methods; documents describing interrogation methods used by special operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan; investigative files concerning the deaths of prisoners in U.S. custody; and numerous photographs depicting the abuse of prisoners at detention facilities other than Abu Ghraib.’

What we are likely to see if the tapes documenting the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah and Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri are ever recovered is that the “confessions” of the prisoners upon which the White House has built its entire case for subverting the Constitution and suspending civil liberties in this country was obtained through methods such as electrocution, beating to the point of organ failure, hanging prisoners from the wrists from a ceiling, suffocation, and threats against family members (”I am going to find your mother and I am going to fuck her” is one direct quote from a US interrogator). On the missing tapes, we would likely see responses from the prisoners that would be obvious to us as confessions to anything at all in order to end the violence. In other words, if we could witness the drama of manufacturing by torture the many violently coerced “confessions” upon which the whole house of cards of this White House and its hyped “war on terror” rests, it would likely cause us to reopen every investigation, including the most serious ones (remember, even the 9/11 committee did not receive copies of the tapes); shut down the corrupt, Stalinesque Military Commissions System; turn over prisoners, the guilty and the innocent, into a working, accountable justice system operating in accordance with American values; and direct our legal scrutiny to the torturers themselves — right up to the office of the Vice President and the President if that is where the investigations would lead.

By the way: “The prohibition against torture [in the law] is considered to be a jus cogens norm, meaning that no derogation is permitted from it under any circumstances.”

This is what the FOIA documents report, belying White House soundbites that “we don’t torture” and explaining the intent pursuit on the part of the CIA and the White House of the current apparent obstruction of justice:

Late 2002 — the FBI objects to the illegality of abuses being put into place by the Defense Department in its “special interrogation plan” to use isolation, sleep deprivation and menacing with dogs against prisoners.

Dec 2, 2002 — Defense Secretary Rumsfeld personally issues a directive authorizing the use of stress positions, hooding, removal of clothing, and the terrorizing of inmates at Guantanamo with dogs.

Dec 3, 2002 — at Baghram, interrogators kill an Afghan prisoner “by shackling him by his wrists to the wire ceiling above his cell and repeatedly beating his legs. A postmortem report finds abrasions and contusions on the prisoner’s face, head, neck, arms and legs and determines that the death was a “homicide” caused by “blunt force injuries.”

April 16, 2003 — Rumsfeld approves yet another directive for abusive interrogation.

This directive for Afghanistan restores to the interrogators’ arsenal many forms of torture that had been resisted by the FBI. [Notably, the FBI had resisted complying with the direct commission of torture since as early as 2002 because, as its Behavioral Analysis Unit complained to the Defense Department at that time in an internal email, “not only are these tactics at odds with legally permissible interviewing techniques [italics mine: in other words, all concerned know these are apparent war crimes]…but they are being employed by personnel in GTMO who have little, if any, experience eliciting information for judicial purposes.” In other words, as any trained interrogator knows, the abuses are both doubtless illegal and certainly ineffective for getting real intelligence. [Jaffer and Singh, Timeline of Key Events, pp. 45-65,op. cit.]

Oct 22 2003 — Final autopsy report relating to death of “52 y/o Iraqi Male, Civilian Detainee” held by U.S. forces in Nasiriyah, Iraq. Prisoner was found to have “died as a result of asphyxia…due to strangulation.”

November 14, 2003 — a sworn statement of a soldier stationed at Camp Red, Baghdad, states that “I saw what I think were war crimes” and that “the chain of command….allowed them to happen.”

May 13, 2004 — a sworn statement of the 302nd Military Intelligence Battalion recounts an incident in which “interrogators abused 17-year-old son of prisoner in order to ‘break’ the prisoner.”

May 18, 2004 — a Privacy Act statement of an Abu Ghraib sergeant notes that prisoners had been forced to stand “naked with a bag over their head, standing on MRE boxes and their hand[s] spread out…holding a bottle in each hand.”

May 24, 2004 — Sworn statement of interrogator who arrived at Abu Ghraib in October 2003, discussing use of military dogs against juvenile prisoners.

June 16, 2004 — Marine Corps document describing abuse cases between September 2001 and June 2004, including “substantiated” incidents in which marines electrocuted a prisoner and set another’s hands on fire.

Undated: Sworn statement of screener who arrived at Abu Ghraib in September 2003, indicating that prisoners at Asamiya Palace in Baghdad had been beaten, burned and subjected to electric shocks.

Subsequent internal documents record prisoners being stripped, made to walk into walls blindfolded, punched, kicked, dragged about the room, observed to have bruises and burn marks on their backs, and having their jaws deliberately broken. Still other reports document further incidents classified by the military itself as probable murders committed by US interrogators.

The book also reveals an extraordinary original transcript of a Dept. of the Army Inspector General interview with Lieutenant General Randall Marc Schmidt. Lt. Gen. Schmidt had interfaced with MG Geoffrey Miller on the one hand — the most brutal overseer of such abuses, the one who was sent to “Gitmo-ize” other prisons — and the honorable JAG military lawyers on the other hand, over the abuses under investigation at that time. [Lt. Gen. Schmidt advised MG Miller of his rights under Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice at that time — in other words, those involved know something serious is at stake, p. a-16].

The transcript of this internal document reveals Lt. Gen. Schmidt’s own words that it was his understanding that the directives to commit these acts, many of which are apparently war crimes, came right from the top.

The interview was not primarily intended to be a public document:

“An Inspector General” notes the document, “is an impartial fact-finder for the Directing Authority Testimony taken by an IG and reports based on that testimony may be used for official purposes. Access is normally restricted to persons who clearly need the information to perform their official duties. [italics mine]. In some cases, disclosure to other persons may be required by law or regulation or may be directed by proper authority.” As in the case, clearly, here — though the immense implications of this privately taken testimony have not reverberated fully yet in a public forum: “I thought the Secretary of Defense in good faith was approving techniques,” testified Lt. Gen. Schmidt. “In good faith after talking to him twice. I know that — and these weren’t interrogations or interviews of him. This was our hour and forty-five minutes and then another hour and fifteen kind of thing were [sic] we sat in there and had these discussions with him.” [Testimony of Lt. Gen. Randall M Schmidt, Taken 24 August 2005 at Davis Mountain Air Force Base, Arizona, Dept. of the Army Inspector General, Investigations Division, pp. a-30 to a-53, Jaffer and Singh, op. cit].

So what should Congress know as it decides what is to be done?

We torture, illegally, by directive; the directives come from the top; those who torture know it is probably criminal; when we torture prisoners, the guilty and the innocent, they will tell us anything they think we want to hear — including implicate themselves falsely, as many reports from Human Rights Watch and other rights organizations testify to — to make the torture stop; and the White House routinely uses that faked or coerced unverifiable “intelligence” to buttress its wholesale assault on our liberties.

As the CIA tries to spin its apparent crimes and claim that its waterboarding and other forms of criminal torture “saved lives” — while conveniently offering no evidence to back that up, and while the administration withholds evidence to the contrary from the lawyers of the detainees — we should bear in mind that the decades of research on torture summarized in the magisterial survey “The Question of Torture” show beyond the shadow of a doubt that prisoners being tortured will indeed “say anything.” When American prisoners were tortured by the North Vietnamese, their confessions were phrased in Communist cliches.

We should note too — as the White House tries to muddy the waters by pretending that there has ever been a “debate” about such acts as these — that the US in the past prosecuted waterboarding itself: when the Japanese had waterboarded US prisoners they were convicted with sentences of fifteen years of hard labor.

We should also bear in mind that the Bush White House has deliberately crafted its memos and laws — such as the Bybee/Gonzales “torture memo” and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 — with a keen eye to seeking indemnification of its own guilt regarding having committed evident crimes, because those involved know quite well that acts committed could be criminal acts. (An historical note worth mentioning, when we consider how hyperalert the Bush White House has been to the issue of seeking retroactively to protect itself and its subordinates from prosecution for war and other crimes, is that the Nuremberg Trials eventually swept up influential Nazi industrialists such as Fritz Thyssen of IG Farben — who relied on Auschwitz slave labor — and with whom Prescott Bush had collaborated in amassing the Bush family millions; some of the sentences given to those industrialists found guilty in the postwar trials were severe.) For a moment postwar, the legal spotlight was also about to search out and hold accountable the several prominent US investors who had partnered with Nazi industrialists (see the exhaustively documented study of US/Nazi corporate collaboration, IBM and the Holocaust.)

Prosecution for war crimes and other criminal acts, which the administration so clearly recognizes that it may well have committed — which its legislation so clearly shows it realized it may well commit in advance of the commission — is the only consequence the Bush team seems to be really afraid of as it attempts its multiple subversions of the rule of law. This is why the nation’s grassroots call for a truly independent investigation into possible criminality is so very urgent and so necessary to restore the rule of law in our nation.

Mr. Mukasey could look up his own department’s files and understand that waterboarding is a war crime; not only that, the US Military prosecuted waterboarding as a war crime itself in 1902 — it had been used against prisoners in the Phillipines — and those Americans who had committed it received convictions from the military. It is hopeless to rely on the Justice Department.

An independent special prosecutor must be appointed. The people who are found guilty, in America, must face justice.

Let the investigations begin.

Naomi Wolf is an author whose books include The Beauty Myth

Copyright © 2007 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

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3 House Judiciary Members Want Cheney Impeachment NOW! by Dave Lindorff + A Case for Impeachment Hearings

Dandelion Salad

by Dave Lindorff
After Downing Street
Fri, 2007-12-14 16:43

Faced with an obstructionist leadership in the House, and a mainstream media that have forsaken their role as a Fourth Estate monitor of government abuse, three Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee are calling on the public to demand that the Congress initiate impeachment hearings immediately against Vice President Dick Cheney.

Speaking at a telephone press conference Friday organized by Democrats.com, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) said that following a bi-partisan vote Nov. 7 by the full House to send Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s Cheney impeachment bill (H Res 799, formerly H Res 333) opinion article penned by himself and two Judiciary Committee colleagues, Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), which was sent to a number of leading newspapers, including the Miami Herald, the Washington Post and the New York Times, was rejected for publication—an astonishing act of censorship for a document authored by three members of congress on an issue of such significance as impeachment of the vice president.

In that article, Wexler, Gutierrez and Baldwin write:

The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

Now that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has indicated that the Vice President and his staff purposefully gave him false information about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent to report to the American people, it is even more important for Congress to investigate what may have been an intentional obstruction of justice. Congress should call Mr. McClellan to testify about what he described as being asked to “unknowingly [pass] along false information.” In addition, recent revelations have shown that the Administration including Vice President Cheney may have again manipulated and exaggerated evidence about weapons of mass destruction — this time about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Asked why he thought leading publications had refused to publish the op-ed piece calling for an immediate start to impeachment hearings, Wexler says, “I think the mainstream media, at least thus far, have bought the notion that impeachment hearings are outside the bounds of what Congress ought to be doing.”

He adds that there may be a fear, on the part of corporate media executives and editors, and on the part of Democratic Party congressional leaders, of having been “complicit” in many of the administration’s constitutional crimes. “There may be some significant conflicts of interest,” he says, that could make them feel uncomfortable about the idea of impeachment hearings.

To push back against this unseemly resistance Rep. Wexler and his two House colleagues have decided to go public with their message. Wexler has set up a website, called WexlerWantsHearings. He is urging Americans from across the country to go to the sign and sign on to his call for an immediate start to hearings. “I want to be able to go to my colleagues in the house and say I have 55,000 people calling for hearings,” he says.

People should also be contacting their local and national media outlets—and especially the New York Times, Washington Post and Miami Herald—demanding that they report openly and honestly on the growing impeachment movement, and that they publish the Wexler, Gutierrez Baldwin op-ed.

While he does not say where he thinks House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) stands at this point on the subject of starting hearings on the long-stalled Kucinich impeachment bill, which has languished in a subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee for over half a year, Rep. Wexler said he has spoken with Conyers about the matter. “I have a lot of confidence in John,” he says.

Wexler’s, Gutierrez’s and Baldwin’s new push on impeachment comes just as Kucinich, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has announced that he is preparing to file a major bill of impeachment against President Bush. Kucinich is reportedly working on a sweeping 50-page impeachment bill containing over 20 counts of high crimes and misdemeanors against the president.

Asked about this, and whether it would alter his push for early hearings on Cheney’s impeachable crimes, Wexler says no. While pointedly agreeing that the president is likely guilty of the same abuses of power that are being alleged against Cheney, “and probably others in addition,” he says it makes sense to focus first on the vice president. “Strategically, I think we are on stronger ground pursuing the vice president.”
________________

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

***

A Case for Impeachment Hearings

by Robert Wexler (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Commondreams.org
WexlerWantsHearings.com
Friday, December 14, 2007

On November 7, the House of Representatives voted to send a resolution of impeachment of Vice President Cheney to the Judiciary Committee. As Members of the House Judiciary Committee, we strongly believe these important hearings should begin.

The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

Now that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has indicated that the Vice President and his staff purposefully gave him false information about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent to report to the American people, it is even more important for Congress to investigate what may have been an intentional obstruction of justice. Congress should call Mr. McClellan to testify about what he described as being asked to “unknowingly [pass] along false information.” In addition, recent revelations have shown that the Administration including Vice President Cheney may have again manipulated and exaggerated evidence about weapons of mass destruction — this time about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Some of us were in Congress during the impeachment hearings of President Clinton. We spent a year and a half listening to testimony about President Clinton’s personal relations. This must not be the model for impeachment inquires. A Democratic Congress can show that it takes its constitutional authority seriously and hold a sober investigation, which will stand in stark contrast to the kangaroo court convened by Republicans for President Clinton. In fact, the worst legacy of the Clinton impeachment – where the GOP pursued trumped up and insignificant allegations – would be that it discourages future Congresses from examining credible and significant allegations of a constitutional nature when they arise.

The charges against Vice President Cheney are not personal. They go to the core of the actions of this Administration, and deserve consideration in a way the Clinton scandal never did. The American people understand this, and a majority support hearings according to a November 13 poll by the American Research Group. In fact, 70% of voters say that Vice President Cheney has abused his powers and 43% say that he should be removed from office right now. The American people understand the magnitude of what has been done and what is at stake if we fail to act. It is time for Congress to catch up.

Some people argue that the Judiciary Committee can not proceed with impeachment hearings because it would distract Congress from passing important legislative initiatives. We disagree. First, hearings need not tie up Congress for a year and shut down the nation. Second, hearings will not prevent Congress from completing its other business. These hearings involve the possible impeachment of the Vice President – not our commander in chief – and the resulting impact on the nation’s business and attention would be significantly less than the Clinton Presidential impeachment hearings. Also, despite the fact that President Bush has thwarted moderate Democratic policies that are supported by a vast majority of Americans — including children’s health care, stem cell research, and bringing our troops home from Iraq — the Democratic Congress has already managed to deliver a minimum wage hike, an energy bill to address the climate crisis and bring us closer to energy independence, assistance for college tuition, and other legislative successes. We can continue to deliver on more of our agenda in the coming year while simultaneously fulfilling our constitutional duty by investigating and publicly revealing whether or not Vice President Cheney has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.

Holding hearings would put the evidence on the table, and the evidence – not politics – should determine the outcome. Even if the hearings do not lead to removal from office, putting these grievous abuses on the record is important for the sake of history. For an Administration that has consistently skirted the constitution and asserted that it is above the law, it is imperative for Congress to make clear that we do not accept this dangerous precedent. Our Founding Fathers provided Congress the power of impeachment for just this reason, and we must now at least consider using it.

For more info on this campaign go to www.WexlerWantsHearings.com.

© 2007 Wexler for Congress

h/t: Nadia_

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Kucinich Welcomes Support from Judiciary Committee Members on Impeachment

House Judiciary Trio Calls for Impeach Cheney Hearings By John Nichols

Kucinich and Obama on Impeachment in Interviews with Christiane Brown (audio)

Wexler to Dems: Want a healthcare plan for children? Try impeachment hearings (link)

Billionaire Bailout: Central Bank Socialism and America’s True Values by Chris Floyd

Dandelion Salad

by Chris Floyd
Empire Burlesque
Thursday, 13 December 2007

It is not exactly news that the Western world’s fetishized “free market” is actually a mixed economy, combining cradle-to-the-grave socialism for the rich with ball-breaking, bomb’s-away capitalism for everyone else. This truism was on naked display once again this week as the central banks of the United States, Britain, Switzerland, Canada and the Eurozone announced plans to provide almost $100 billion in taxpayer money to save their banking brethren from the consequences of their own greed and stupidity.

The bailout is, indirectly, a response to the mortgage crisis that has seen whole neighborhoods across America depopulated and abandoned as dodgy loans come home to roost. For years, the bankers shilled the “American Dream” of home ownership to people who couldn’t really afford it, via a plethora of gussied-up con jobs which were then repackaged as various complex “financial instruments” and sold on down the line to other rubes. The financial elite made untold billions from shuffling this worthless paper around, touting it to pension funds, state investment funds, schools, small-scale investors, etc. It was a house of cards standing on a one-legged table, and it finally fell, as anyone except a highly educated, well-remunerated investment banker could have foreseen.

Now many of the world’s most august financial houses are having to write off tens of billions of dollars in bad debt, with mountains more still lurking out there in the shadows. As a result, they have suddenly – and inevitably – turned on each other. Strapped for cash as they cover their losses – and mistrustful of how much bad paper their compadres might be holding – they have been choking off the inter-bank loans that lubricate the credit system. And so the Money Lords of the West have made an unprecedented collective intervention, proffering the $100 billion boodle to induce banks to start lending to one another again – “a move designed to prevent the worsening credit crunch [from] derailing the world economy,” as the Guardian reports.

And indeed, the action has been widely touted as a bold, altruistic measure to save the common folk from the ravages of recession. But read a little further in the fine print, and you will find, as the New York Times notes, that “the move was intended to deal with specific problems in the interbank lending market and would not allay the biggest problems in the credit markets related to the weakening American housing market, where prices are falling and defaults and foreclosures are rising.”

Now, if you or I had made a stupid investment, been reckless and greedy with our money, gambled it away in Vegas – or even just hit a patch of bad luck (ill health, unemployment, etc.) – and ended up in the red, that would just be our tough luck. It’s a free market, right? You have to take responsibility for your actions; the Invisible Hand sorts everything out in the long run and gives people their just desserts. But if Big Money craps out playing craps with crap “instruments” they’ve concocted to squeeze a few more coins out of a few more suckers, they must be swaddled and coddled to cushion the blow.

And it is highly unlikely that this injection for the credit crunch will be the last ladling of public money for the gilded poltroons whose blind, rapacious greed has put multitudes at risk. (Indeed, the UK government has just pledged up to £40 billion in public money to bail out the upper-class crap-shooters at Northern Rock bank, after steep losses from the sub-prime orgy led to an honest-to-God, Depression-era run on the bank by customers trying to save their money from the crap-shooters’ folly.) While there will certainly be consequences – dire consequences – from the growing bad debt crisis, they will not be borne by those responsible for the mess.

(And yes, I know the money on offer from the Central Banks are “loans,” not cash guarantees like the Northern Rock deal; but when was the last time your friends ponied up $100 billion when you were a bit short for the rent? And where are the government-backed loans for, say, families whose finances have been devoured by catastrophic illness, or a PTSD-afflicted vet thrown out on the street by Pentagon “experts” who find that his suicidal, night-sweating dreams of Baghdad alleys are a “pre-existing condition”?)

The socialist solidarity shown by the politburo of high finance in the face of the credit crisis was announced on the same day that George W. Bush vetoed legislation that would have extended medical insurance coverage for the children of working families – and on the same day that House Democrats announced their abject surrender to the much-despised popinjay in the White House, giving up their transparently bogus bid for more domestic spending while giving Bush billions more for the never-ending war crime in Iraq. (Glenn Greenwald has a good round-up on the latter story. For more background, see this recent post. )

Billions for billionaires, billions for carnage, chaos and death…and zilch for the health of the nation’s children – all in one day. A clearer snapshot of the actual values of our society could hardly be imagined.

Unless of course we add this piece of “news analysis” from the New York Times: a story about how poor little CIA agents are being “whipsawed” by all this folderol about Bush’s torture regime. They were just doing their job, damn it, and they had “legal cover” for everything they did! Now they are suffering from all kinds of wiggly anxieties over their “professional reputation.” It’s just not fair! (And these image woes are the full extent of their worries, by the way; as the story makes clear, they will never face any criminal charges for carrying out their Master’s brutal commands.)

Now the picture is complete: socialism for the rich, bare-knuckle capitalism for the poor and weak, unlimited money for illegal war – and government officials evoking the Führer-prinzip, defending torture, and echoing precisely the Nazis in the dock at Nuremberg: “We were only following orders.” Behind all the preening, self-righteous rhetoric about America’s greatness that pours forth in a relentless stream from every direction of the political compass, this is the reality; this is what we are.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Einstein and Socialism by Rich

Einstein and Socialism by Rich + Why Socialism? by Albert Einstein

by Rich
Featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Thumb Jig
December 14, 2007

Capitalism isn't working

Image by SusanAstray via Flickr

1949. How young we were then; so innocent, so simple, so monochromatic. Looking back, it appears as though those times are long gone, who could have predicted the mess we’d eventually get ourselves into? Try, one of the smartest men to have ever lived. It will take you about 10-15 minutes to read Einstein’s essay “Why Socialism?” but afterward you’ll see he understood more than theoretical physics, he could editorialize about social organization and modernity. Continue reading

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

Dandelion Salad

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

Selected Episode

Dec. 13, 2007

linktv

For more: http://linktv.org/originalseries
Lebanon: A History of Assassinations,” LBC TV, Lebanon
Plans to Repair Palestinian Economy,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
13 Somalis Killed in Mortar Attacks,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
Iraqi Refugees Want to Return to Iraq,” Dubai TV, UAE
Trade With Russia Doubles,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
Morocco Demands Polisario Hands Off Saharans,” 2M TV, Morocco
Pakistani Army Needs More Funds to Fight Taliban,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

The Death Of Democracy – Silence The Opposition! by Michael O’McCarthy

Dandelion Salad

by Michael O’McCarthy
LA Free Press
Dec. 13. 2007

Today it happened in Des Moines, Iowa. The Des Moines Register, owned by the corporate controlled media monster, Gannet, and Iowa Public Broadcasting, yet another dumbed down version of the Peter’s Principle PBS, banned Dennis Kucinich from its debate.

Not One. Not One of the pretenders to democracy from the Democratic Party hierarchy protested.

The petty reason given for the Kucinich ban was: 1- his state campaign headquarters was located in the home of the state coordinator. There are now hundreds of thousands of professionals who tele-commute, housing their offices in their homes. Approved by both state and federal tax agencies.

2- He didn’t have a full time paid campaign employee. This is not the rich persons campaign of Clinton, Obama and Edwards. This is a people’s campaign where every penny counts. This is simply class war now being played by the Democrats against their own ‘base.”

What we have is a perfect example of what that “progressive” change candidate Edwards touts as his dissenting theme: a “rigged” government that is totally “corrupt.” Thanks John. Not a peep about the rigged debate.

Not a peep from any of them: this served their interests. No more squirming in their thousand dollars designer suits next to the humbly dressed candidate from the working class. It was yet another time when they didn’t need to sit silently by as TV anchor after TV anchor avoided including Kucinich in the debate. One more time when they could avoid the obvious: when he answers questions the audience knows the difference between the truth he speaks and the lies they spin. One more time when they could play pass the ball amongst their peers to the exclusion of anyone outside the club.

These pols represent that very worst of the Democratic Party Machine that wants power for itself and its clients: the corporate controllers of the United States government. And the cowards they are, they will easily consent to anything that will limit the chance that Kucinich might be “electable” too if his message is heard. And its not just shame on them. Because these parasites have no shame.

Its shame on the progressive community for not standing up for both principle and ethical politics. AND lastly, shame on the Kucinich campaign for not taking this issue to the streets. If they won’t fight the fight, then there is no fight left in this campaign.

h/t: Dennis 4 President in 2008!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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

Kucinich fans wanted him in debate h/t: zeitgeistboheme

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

Dandelion Salad

By Jean Hay Bright
jeanhaybright’s diary
Daily Kos
Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:15:52 AM PST

I want to let you know what’s going on in Iowa.

The Des Moines Register put out a press release last week announcing that six of the eight Democratic candidates for President had “accepted invitations” to debate this Thursday. Congressman and Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich was not among them.

What the Des Moines Register press release should have said is that they offered invitations to this debate to only six of the eight nationally recognized Democratic presidential candidates and that all six who were invited accepted.

The Des Moines Register is a prominent newspaper. Their editors and writers know how to turn a phrase. And the way they turned that phrase in that news article, the implication is that Dennis Kucinich did not accept the invitation they offered to him. That phrasing by the Des Moines Register implied that Kucinich declined their invitation to debate.

That is not true.

In phrasing its news article the way it did, the Des Moines Register did not tell voters in Iowa — and voters across the nation, since this debate will be nationally televised — the whole truth.

Here’s the truth. Here is the arbitrary list of criteria for inclusion in this debate, and in other debates held in Iowa this fall:

Eligible Participants for Des Moines Register Debates will include Presidential Candidates who:

1. Have filed an FEC Form F-2, “Statement of Candidacy,” with the Federal Election Commission; (CHECK)

2. Have publicly announced an intention to run for the nomination of the Republican or the Democratic Party for President of the United States; (CHECK)

3. Have employed at least one paid campaign staff representative to perform full-time campaign duties in the State of Iowa on behalf of the candidate since at least October 1, 2007. (CHECK – Kucinich has had a full-time staffer – an Iowa resident – on board since April)

4. With at least 1% in the Des Moines Register October, 2007, Iowa Poll (CHECK)

5. And lastly, have a Campaign Office inside the State of Iowa as of October 1, 2007 (to which the Kucinich campaign says CHECK, but the Des Moines Register says CHECK-OUT)

The whole truth, the truth the Des Moines Register is not telling you, is that Dennis Kucinich has a political organization in Iowa. It is small, but it is energetic and energized. His paid state coordinator, Marcos Rubenstein, works out of his home. Dennis and his wife Elizabeth have campaigned in Iowa many times.

The Federal Elections Commission recognizes that the Kucinich campaign has paid staff in Iowa. The IRS recognizes the legitimacy of a home office. Across the country, the Kucinich campaign has at least 15 high-ranking paid campaign staff members who work out of their homes. Their offices are campaign offices.

The Des Moines Register, however, does not recognize a home office as a campaign office.

This is what they sent to the Kucinich campaign when it protested his exclusion from Thursday’s (Dec. 13) debate:

“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.”

So is a full-time person on salary and working well more than 40 hours a week not a full-time person because he doesn’t waste time and energy lugging his cell phone and laptop from one address to another twice a day?

Yes, the Des Moines Register has determined, arbitrarily, that a campaign must have real estate in Iowa, a storefront, to be a legitimate campaign.

Two things wrong with that. The concept that only landed gentry should be eligible to participate in the political process is an idea that we threw out, not in the last century, but in the century before that.

And if a storefront is necessary before you can do business in Iowa, then Amazon.com is ineligible to do business in Iowa. Ebay is ineligible to do business in Iowa.

You see what I mean?

The Kucinich campaign is a very internet-connected effort, which does not spend money needlessly. It is, in fact, running the kind of energy-efficient campaign most of the American public wants.

The criteria used to keep the Kucinich message from Iowa voters, and from the American people, is arbitrary, capricious, and downright silly. But also dangerous. We cannot as a nation have corporations such as the Des Moines Register determining our political dynamic.

Why would the Des Moines Register do that?

For the same reason that the AARP excluded Kucinich from its Presidential Health Care forum earlier this fall here in Iowa. The AARP did not want people to hear his message of national, not-for-profit health care, already embodied in a bill before Congress (HR 676). Why? Because AARP sells health insurance. The Conyers/Kucinich plan to guarantee health care to everyone in America excludes private health insurance, because that is the only way a national health care plan can work financially. And that makes that plan a direct threat to that part of AARP’s business.

I might add that AARP’s willingness to hear about the health care plans of the other presidential candidates tells you that none of those health care plans would be a threat to AARP. Okay?

And clearly the Des Moines Register newspaper likewise does not want people to hear Dennis’ other messages –

— on how he is the only Democratic presidential candidate to vote against the Iraq War and against every funding bill for that war;

— that he has introduced articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney (now in committee for review) and that he is drawing up similar ones against President Bush;

— that he has promised that ALL of our troops will be out of Iraq within three months of his becoming President, but also that the United States will be withdrawn from NAFTA and the WTO by the summer of 2009, to name a few.

For some reason the Des Moines Register does not want Iowa voters or voters across America to hear that message.

But that message is getting out.

Kucinich polled second in a California straw poll earlier this fall, behind John Edwards. Edwards received 29% of the total votes cast, Kucinich received just under 24%, and Obama and Clinton came in third and fourth, with 22.5% and 16.8% respectively. The other Democratic candidates were all in the low single digits.

Kucinich polled first in both the ABC and MSNBC “who won the debate” polls a few months ago, to the extreme embarrassment of ABC, who put up a second poll, which he also won, which forced them to drop the internet links to those results. Now, that link is still up, but it opens to a blank white page, the color of whitewash.

Dennis Kucinich is first in the online vote taken by The Nation Magazine a few weeks ago, with 35%, nine points above Barack Obama, and 22% points above John Edwards. (Edwards polled 13% to Hillary Clinton’s 5%.)

In last month’s Democracy for America poll, Kucinich received almost 32% of the 150,000-plus votes cast, more than Edwards and Obama combined. He polled first in 47 states, including both Iowa and New Hampshire.

He polled first in the Progressive Democrats of America online poll of its membership last week, with 41%. Broken down by states, in that poll he came in first in 46 states, including both Iowa and New Hampshire. Edwards was second with 26%, topping out in four states, beating Kucinich by one vote in Utah and two votes and the District of Columbia.

And when people go to various sites, non-partisan internet issue sites — several of them are out there – internetstrawpoll.com/, dehp.net/candidate/, Minnesota Public Radio
where you can list your issues and find out which candidate most closely matches your own ideas and ideals, Dennis Kucinich has consistently come out as the leading candidate, as the candidate whose views are most closely aligned with the vast majority of Americans. Not second, third, fourth, or fifth. First.

So why do you only hear that Dennis Kucinich is polling in the single digits in national or statewide polls? I don’t know. You tell me.

I do know the mainstream media does not report it when Kucinich wins these other polls. They want to foster the idea that he is “unelectable” because they don’t want him and his “radical” ideas to be front and center in the White House:
– like protecting Social Security
– like establishing a Department of Peace,
– like his Works Green Administration plan for energy independence, a revitalized manufacturing base and a sound infrastructure,
– like national health care,
– like competency and accountability,
– like protecting the Constitution,
– like rejecting war as an instrument of foreign policy.

One traditional poll last week said that 55 percent of Iowa voters are undecided in this race. Fifty-five percent undecided less than a month before the Iowa caucuses. Perhaps it’s that way because the media has yet to focus on the issues of this campaign.

I would love it if Dennis Kucinich suddenly decided to go to Iowa tomorrow (Thursday) and show up at the debate site. I want him to accept their implied invitation, since he did not have an actual invitation to accept. I’d love to see what the Des Moines Register would do about that.

And here’s what I want you, the voters in Iowa, and across the nation, to do.

I want you to protest the exclusion of Dennis Kucinich from this debate. Write letters to the Des Moines Register. Email them. Give them a call. Give them a piece of your mind. Also contact Iowa Public Television, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, C-SPAN 3, who are all televising this debate.

And, even more importantly than this one debate, I want you, Iowa voters, to stand for Dennis Kucinich in your caucuses on Jan. 3. I want you to send the nation a message that you will not tolerate this manipulation of our political system.

The caucus system is fascinating and complicated. It’s what my sixth grade math teacher called a “story problem.” You caucus-goers know what I mean.

So, in those caucus rooms, I want you to stand for Dennis Kucinich. But, if the numbers in that particular room are such that he falls short of a delegate, or a second delegate, stand for “uncommitted.”

I’m asking you to vote Kucinich or to vote uncommitted. Work to get as many of either as you can.

You see, if, on the second round, you vote for another candidate instead of uncommitted, the impact of the support for Dennis Kucinich disappears.

The way the caucus system in Iowa works, those people you elect to be uncommitted delegates will get another chance to vote, at the Iowa county caucuses on March 15, after much of the dust has settled in this race.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the uncommitted Iowa delegates elected at the Jan. 3 caucuses mirrors the “undecided” in that poll I mentioned, and turns out to be half the Iowa delegation. And that means Iowa is still a player after Jan. 3. Because the presidential candidates will be back in town in early March, pitching for those uncommitted votes.

Why? One analysis I heard said that a single candidate would have to win 90% of all the votes in all the primaries and caucuses held from now through super-Tuesday on Feb. 5 to seal the Democratic nomination. With this race as tight as it is, that just isn’t going to happen. If Iowa has a large “uncommitted” delegation, Iowa will still be in play in mid-March.

This will be an exciting nomination process. Please help Dennis Kucinich in any way you can to get that nomination. Please help him become the Democratic candidate for president in 2008.

Spread the word. Contribute to his campaign (http://www.dennis4president.com). Volunteer. Collect petition signatures for him, if your state requires that.

His nomination is our first step on the way to winning back the White House, to bringing back America to its greatness, to the fulfillment of its promise of justice, equality, peace and prosperity for us all.

h/t: Dennis Kucinich for President (Official)

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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

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

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

How to Vote in Primaries and Not Be an Idiot by David Swanson

Caucus for Kucinich!

Poll-Polls

Dennis Kucinich for President – Contribute

http://december152007.com/

Kucinich-Dennis

The many problems of today – and a solution (video; Kucinich)

Dandelion Salad

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

askantik

This video outlines some of the problems of today, nationally and globally, and recommends a solution that is easy. Electing Dennis Kucinich is the single best (and easiest) thing that I believe we, as citizens of the United States of America, can do to help save the world in just about every single way. I sincerely believe that highly of him.

We need a man of vision, clarity, intelligence, wisdom, and integrity to restore the greatness of America and make us part of the world community once again. We need to be the RESPECTED America, not the feared America and not the loathed America.

IF YOU SUPPORT DENNIS KUCINICH, PLEASE DONATE TO HIS CAMPAIGN.

WWW.DENNIS4PRESIDENT.COM
WWW.DECEMBER152007.COM
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Disclaimer: I know that Ron Paul didn’t vote to authorize or fund the Iraq war. This video is geared toward Democratic-minded voters and I don’t really feel that it’s necessary to go back and waste the time to insert the word “Democratic.” Ron Paul differs on just about everything else I said in the video, so it really is not all that important. If it bothers you, I’m sorry. Added: December 13, 2007

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Dennis 4 President

Dennis Kucinich for President – Contribute

http://december152007.com/

Kucinich-Dennis

Red State Update Recaps The Iowa Democratic Debate (video)

Dandelion Salad

travisandjonathan

Jackie and Dunlap on the last democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses. Added: December 13, 2007

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Iowa Democratic Debate (videos) (12.13.07)

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

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

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

Debate-Debates

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