New Poll at TechCrunch – Open until Jan. 18, 2008

Dandelion Salad

New Poll:

TechCrunch readers are invited to vote for their favorite presidential candidate. One ballot per user per day will be counted in the final vote. TechCrunch reserves the right to discard any and all votes that it reasonably determines to be fraudulent or submitted by bots or other computer-generated voting applications. You do not need to be a US citizen registered to vote or affiliated with a political party to vote. There are no fees to vote.

TechCrunch will endorse one candidate from each the Democratic and Republican party based on the popular results of reader voting open from Tuesday, December 18 through midnight PST Friday, January 18.

Democratic Party

Joe Biden 1% 10 votes
Hillary Clinton 8% 77 votes
Chris Dodd 0% 4 votes
John Edwards 7% 69 votes
Mike Gravel 2% 24 votes
Dennis Kucinich 45% 407 votes
Barack Obama 32% 293 votes
Bill Richardson 1% 13 votes

Republican Party

Rudy Giuliani 0% 25 votes
Mike Huckabee 8% 277 votes
Duncan Hunter 0% 6 votes
John McCain 0% 14 votes
Ron Paul 88% 2917 votes
Mitt Romney 0% 28 votes
Tom Tancredo 0% 8 votes
Fred Thompson 0% 8 votes

h/t: Dennis Kucinich for President (Official)

Updated: 12.28.07

Democratic Party

Dennis Kucinich 37% 1105 votes
Barack Obama 37% 1103 votes
John Edwards 8% 266 votes
Hillary Clinton 6% 203 votes
Mike Gravel 6% 197 votes
Joe Biden 1% 51 votes
Bill Richardson 1% 35 votes
Chris Dodd 0% 14 votes

Republican Party

Ron Paul 72% 5099 votes
John McCain 16% 1166 votes
Mike Huckabee 6% 435 votes
Mitt Romney 2% 167 votes
Rudy Giuliani 1% 98 votes
Fred Thompson 0% 65 votes
Duncan Hunter 0% 20 votes


Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo

Vote at (Kucinich)

YOU ARE Qualified to Run for Congress (video)

Dandelion Salad


Katherine Harris and Ted Stevens demonstrate that intelligence is not a pre-requisite to earning $160,000+ per year as a US Congressperson (or Senator)

These two are not anomalies, but the norm- the US Government is currently populated by ‘useful idiots’, controlled by evil bastards (Cheney and his neocon pals)

If you KNOW that Nancy Pelosi is a fraud, then it is your duty to do something to stop this enabler from further destroying our country.

Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul are the only two that are worthy of an honorable mention.

Added: December 17, 2007

h/t: Nadia_

Politicising Gaza’s Misery by Ramzy Baroud

Dandelion Salad

by Ramzy Baroud
Global Research, December 20, 2007

Intense debate over Gaza is subsiding as the status quo is delineated — predictably — by those with the bigger guns. But to what extent can human suffering be politicised, turned into an intellectual polemic that fails to affect the simplest change in people’s lives?

Hamas’s political advent in January 2006 as the first “opposition” movement in the Arab world to ascend to power using peaceful and democratic means was successfully thwarted in a brazen coup, engineered jointly by the United States, Israel and renegade Palestinians factionalists. Following this, history was rewritten, as is usual, by the victor. Thus Hamas, a party embodying democratic institutions in the occupied territories, became the party that “overthrew” Abbas’s “legitimate” democracy. As strange a notion as that is (a government overthrowing itself), it went down in the annals of Western media as uncontested truth.

All parties involved, directly or otherwise, were expected to determine their position from this fallacious claim, and they did so to meet their own interests. Some had little problem in disowning Palestinian democracy altogether. The United States government, Israel, the European Union, and various non- democratic Arab governments were delighted by the outcome of Palestinian infighting. They celebrated Abbas and his faction as the true and legitimate democrats, and chastised those who disagreed. Countries such as Russia, South Africa and some Arab Gulf states followed suit, with some hesitation and disgruntlement, but too weak or indecisive to confront the status quo.

On the Palestinian front, the choices were harder, but nonetheless those who were previously aligned neither to Fatah nor Hamas now positioned themselves quickly on the side that served them best. Renowned leftists, for example, who normally spoke as though they were representatives of the voice of reason, now couldn’t risk losing what few ineffective NGOs they operated in a management style more reminiscent of “grocery stores” (the actual name that many Palestinians use to mock many of the NGOs in their midst).

Fear of losing freedom of movement and access to US and European financial institutions motivated many Palestinians to disown Gaza completely. The sympathy millions of people worldwide felt towards the perpetually suffering Gazans translated mostly in the realm of the intangible. Helplessness prevailed and quickly joined the prevalent sense of powerlessness and incapacity long affiliated with Palestine in general and Gaza in particular.

To distract from this issue, Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were hurriedly rushed to Annapolis for a badly needed photo-op. Exalted by the self-proclaimed champion of democracy, President Bush, both leaders are on a new quest for peace. The US-sponsored sideshow has achieved its aim. Dates such as January 2006 among others are now completely cast aside; new dates, new rhetoric and new promises are replacing the old ones; all eyes are now on Abbas and Olmert, Ramallah and Tel Aviv, with calls for future conferences and painful compromises. And Gaza is becoming a forgotten or irrelevant footnote.

The Strip is under a harsh and unprecedented siege, with people dying as a result of the lack of medical aid. Israel has cut diesel supplies to 60,000 litres, when 350,000 litres are required daily. How can an already underdeveloped economy run on such a meagre amount of energy, let alone hospitals and schools? Electricity is also being drastically cut, as per the recommendation of Israel’s High Court, and unemployment is at the highest level it has ever been (past the 75 per cent mark). One and a half million inhabitants are literary trapped in a 365-square kilometre prison without any breathing room whatsoever and little food, little energy, and are told, more or less, that they deserve their fate.

If the media mentions Gaza at all, it does so in a politicised context. For example: three militants killed by Israeli missiles; Israeli army says militants were on their way to fire rockets into Israel; Hamas leader remains defiant, and so on. Much of the coverage is now focussed only on augmenting the sins of Hamas, whereby every single conduct or misconduct is blown out of proportion. The bottom line is that whatever suffering Gazans endure, it is caused by the Hamas militant menace and their “forces of darkness”. Whether Hamas’s violations of human rights are at all related to the state of siege, murder and chaos created by the many circumstances that preceded it, remains completely irrelevant. Gaza has become the needed leading precept for Palestinians, and others, reminding them of what they cannot dare do if they want to be spared the same fate. Palestinians in the West Bank are being asked to contrast the images of angry, bearded Hamas police officers cracking down on protesters with the soft-spoken bespectacled Abbas in international conferences brimming amid healthy, overfed faces.

The true reasons behind Gaza’s suffering are entirely omitted, except by a few Arab and progressive newspapers like this one. The debate is now being moved from the immediate concern of media circles into academic conferences, books and long essays; parallels are abundantly invoked between Gaza and other spheres of US influence.

This is not to deny credit to those who have had the courage to take the right stance on the dramatic events unfolding in Gaza. Many possess enough humanity to separate the politics that led to Gaza’s complete isolation from the fact that real people with feelings and hopes and aspirations are suffering, enduring and dying unnecessarily before our very eyes. Israel’s camp is relentless in justifying Israel’s racism and the brutality inflicted on Palestinians, using the same tired arguments, such as Israel’s security and right to exist, and accusing their detractors of anti-Semitism at every turn. But what argument could there be for those who are troubled by human suffering and yet losing sight of Gaza’s misery? I cannot think of any justification for apathy before a dying child, whether black, white, Arab, Jewish or any other.

Let’s not allow inhumanity to become the accepted norm. If we allowed it to triumph in Gaza, we are deemed to repeat it elsewhere.

Ramzy Baroud ( is an author and editor of His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London).

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

For media inquiries:
© Copyright Ramzy Baroud, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is:

Holiday Season Hypocrisy by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, December 20, 2007

Christmas is observed December 25 by Christians and others celebrating the spirit of the season while for those of the Eastern Orthodox faith the holiday falls on January 7. It’s to honor the birth of Jesus Christ even though it’s widely acknowledged not to be his birthday. Along with its religious significance, the season is also for other celebratory events like winter festivals, parties, family get-togethers and Kwanzaa from December 26 – January 1 for Africans Americans to reconnect to their cultural and historical heritage. Jews as well celebrate the season with the Hanukkah Festival of Lights. It’s to commemorate their struggle for survival, but for Jewish children it’s their Christmas with gifts from parents like their Christian friends get. Continue reading

Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo (updated)

Updated: Jan. 21, 2008 Added Independent Primary Poll ~ Lo

Updated: Jan. 16, 2008 Added SoCal Straw Poll ~ Lo

Updated: Jan. 5, 2008 Added the 6th Round of Presidential Idol Poll. ~ Lo

Updated: Jan. 5, 2008

Pick Your Candidate - Take the Survey

Larger view

from: Pick Your Candidate – Take the Survey (updated)

Updated: Dec. 28, 2007 added the VA Dem Poll win. ~ Lo

Updated: Dec. 26, 2007 added a new survey/quiz. ~ Lo

Updated: Dec. 24, 2007 added a new survey/quiz. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

We need to get the word out on Dennis Kucinich and his platform. To quote Dennis, “I am a mainstream democrat.”

Encourage people to vote in their state’s primary and also to go to the caucus. Primaries are the time to vote for who you really want for president.

Here are some surveys to take to find your best choice for president on the issues.


VoteMatch Quiz – On the Issues by Lo

Political Compass by Lo (survey)

New survey: – Presidential Candidates and You

Should You Be President? Take the Survey + Select a Candidate: President

Pick Your Candidate – Take the Survey (updated)

Let your friends and family know that Dennis Kucinich is leading or has a strong 2nd place in many polls.


Vote in the Independent Primary Poll

Kucinich First in SoCal Straw Poll by Meryl Ann Butler

Vote in 6th Round of Presidential Idol Poll

Kucinich Wins Virginia Democratic Party Poll By David Swanson

The results are in! Kucinich won in the IndependentPrimary.Com Poll

New Poll at TechCrunch – Open until Jan. 18, 2008

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

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

Democrat base gives Kucinich third major win in nationwide poll + The Nation Poll

Dennis Kucinich Demands Impeachment Now! During Debate (video + Daily Kos poll)

Kucinich rides wave of improving poll results into Presidential debate

Dennis Kucinich: Democracy For America straw poll (videos; updated with results)

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

Kucinich tops other Dem Presidential leaders in key CA straw poll + video

WTF? A New Poll to Vote for Winner of Iowa Dem Debate (poll; updated results; correction) (8/07)

On the Issues:

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo (updated)

And don’t forget to donate to the campaign:

Dennis Kucinich for President – Contribute

More info:


Dennis Kucinich


Thanks everyone,


Dennis 4 President (official website, also has a list of polls some of which are included above.)

Vote at (Kucinich)

The case for Kucinich By Tom Gallagher

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

Caucus for Kucinich!

Time to join your Dennis Kucinich Statewide Meetup group!

Vote at (Kucinich)

Dandelion Salad

Dec. 20, 2007

Go to and click the candidate’s photo to hear his/her answers to these 10 questions. Then vote. ~ Lo

Here are the very short videos or watch on the site for each question.

Dennis Kucinich: a Democrat’s Democrat + Size and Role of Govt (video) (updated)

Dennis Kucinich: Election Reform + Public Funding of Elections + Corporate Personhood + Open Honest Govt (video)

Dennis Kucinich: The Constitution; Net Neutrality; Medical Marijuana; Religion (videos)

Mirage Of Improvement In Iraq By Dahr Jamail + Iraq set to slash food rations

Dandelion Salad

By Dahr Jamail
12/19/07 “ICH

The November 19 New York Times announces, “Baghdad’s Weary Start to Exhale as Security Improves.”

The Washington Post on November 23 reports, “Returnees Find a Capital Transformed.”

People in the US are willing to believe the establishment media telling them that refugees are returning to their homes in Baghdad in an environment of improved security and new hope.

It is true that there have been fewer American soldiers killed in Baghdad and the number of Iraqis fleeing to Syria has declined. However, this relatively quieter security situation needs to be placed in its proper context, something the Western media steadfastly refuses to do.

We are proudly informed that buying off Sunni militias and resistance fighters at $300 per month is among the latest U.S. military tactics, but we are conscientiously kept uninformed about the implications of such a move. Nor is there any mention of the growing antagonism it has generated in the US-backed Iraqi Government under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. By its own admission, the U.S. military has paid over $17 million, so far, to recruit 77,000 Sunni fighters, many of whom were launching attacks against the Americans a few weeks ago (International Herald Tribune).

Post purchase, the US military has rechristened them “Concerned Local Citizens,” or “Awakening Forces.” The target is to procure another 10,000.

The current recruitment has indeed contributed to a de-escalation of violence in the capital city, and across much of al-Anbar province, which comprises one third of the geographic area of Iraq.

Reiterated Strategy

We are proudly informed that buying off Sunni militias and resistance fighters at $300 per month is among the latest U.S. military tactics, but kept uninformed about the implications of such a move.

After it failed to take control of Fallujah during the April 2004 assault, the US employed a similar tactic. It was a presidential election year in the US (as is 2008) and in order to save face, the U.S. military “handed” over security operations in Fallujah to the very people it had fought in April. Money and weapons flooded the city and strengthened the mujahedeen.

At the time a much larger battle was in the offing, the November 2004 U.S. siege of Fallujah, which left thousands dead, and destroyed approximately 70 percent of the city. It is worth noting that the attack was launched on November 8, 2004, just days after it was determined that George W. Bush would remain in office.

Under the “new and improved” conditions, consider the following:

* the fragility of the political balance in Iraq;

* the Middle Eastern regional instability;

*the ever intensifying U.S. threats of an attack against Iran;

* the likelihood of the “Concerned Local Citizens” staying loyal to their new masters;
and then let us consider what calamity awaits the occupied country.

Political Capital

Both the Maliki government and the Bush administration are using the return of refugees as political capital. This projection bears little relation to the ground reality.

To place an inconsequential fact on record, since the beginning of the US “surge” earlier this year, the number of people displaced from their homes in Iraq has quadrupled, and the number of detentions carried out by both Iraqi and U.S. security forces has escalated astronomically. On November 13, the International Committee for the Red Cross estimated there are around 60,000 people detained in U.S. and Iraqi prisons around Iraq.

Refugees returning to Baghdad have been projected in the West as evidence of the “surge” having brought security to Baghdad. Both the Maliki government and the Bush administration are using them as political capital. This projection bears little relation to the ground reality which indicates a steep decline in the number of returnees.

A recent UN survey, revealing the modest number of families returning to Baghdad, shows that “46 percent were leaving [Syria] because they could not afford to stay; 25 percent said they fell victim to a stricter Syrian visa policy; and only 14 percent said they were returning because they had heard about improved security” (The New York Times).

It crucial to consider, but evidently not by the western media, that as of October 1st the Syrian government has imposed new visa restrictions whereby Iraqis who can prove they need medical treatment or intend to conduct business alone are permitted entry into Syria.

Iraqis who are barred entrance have the option of staying in a refugee camp on the border in the middle of the desert, or returning home.

Not More is Not Less

“It is true that hundreds of fighters were killed or detained by the so-called Awakening Forces, but there are thousands who will never quit fighting until this occupation is ended.”

Let us not discount the fact that the “lower violence rate” being reported by the Western media establishments imply that violence in Iraq is now down to 2005 levels, which at the time was considered catastrophic. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that “nearly 90 percent of US journalists in Iraq say much of Baghdad is still too dangerous to visit.” Those surveyed have admitted that the “coverage has painted too rosy a picture of the conflict” (Reuters).

The not-so-rosy reality is that the resistance has merely shifted location. As Ali Khamees, a former major of the Iraqi army, recently told my Iraqi colleague in Ramadi, Ali al-Fadhily, “it is true that hundreds of fighters were killed or detained by the so-called Awakening Forces, but there are thousands who will never quit fighting until this occupation is ended. I believe it is a new strategy employed by the resistance to reduce the suffering of people in al-Anbar and move somewhere else to fight.”

Attacks against U.S. forces have increased notably in other Iraqi provinces like Diyala, Saladin and Mosul.

On November 28, a female suicide bomber wounded seven US soldiers in Baquba, the capital city of the volatile Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad. The previous day in the same city, another suicide bomber detonated his explosives filled vest in front of the police headquarters, killing six people and wounding seven, according to Iraqi police reports.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a 32 year old Ramadi resident cautioned my Iraqi colleague, al-Fadhily, “those Americans thought they would decrease the resistance attacks by separating the people of Iraq into sects and tribes. They are going deeper into the shifting sand. The collaborators are fooling the Americans right now, and will in the end use this strategy against them.”

Provinces like Saladin, Diyala and the Kurdish controlled north, now under regular bombardment from the Turkish military which is threatening invasion, have become more volatile than ever.

The Bush administration talks of withdrawing up to 5,000 troops from Diyala province, but on November 24 US military officials revealed that the overall number of American troops in Diyala will actually increase since the replacement brigade for the one being removed is larger and will mean more boots on the ground.

Crafting Political Chaos

“Those Americans . . . are going deeper into the shifting sand. The collaborators are fooling the Americans right now, and will in the end use this strategy against them”

The U.S. policy of propping up the Sunni militias whilst backing the Shia government has heightened the volatility of an already precarious political situation. Deep fissures are one fall out of this classic divide and rule tactic.

On November 29, legislators blocked Prime Minister Maliki’s attempts to get approval for nominees to fill the vacant portfolios of justice and communications in the cabinet. This was done by getting legislators from several parties to boycott the session and ensure that parliament did not have the requisite quorum to vote on the nominations.

The cabinet and parliament in Baghdad remain paralyzed thereby effectively derailing US efforts to push legislation for privatization of Iraq’s oil. Over a dozen ministers have quit Maliki’s government this year. These include members of the Accordance Front, the largest Sunni block in the parliament, which withdrew its support in August. The cabinet is presently composed primarily of Shia and Kurds which only underscores the sectarian and ethnic battle lines that the U.S. policies have drawn in Iraq.

Before swallowing the Bush administration rhetoric of things getting better in Iraq today, we would do well to cast a glance at the real picture of the calamitous occupation.

The Just Foreign Policy group in the US places over 1.1 million Iraqis dead as a direct result of the US led invasion and occupation. A conservative estimate of the wounded would be 3 million.

The UNHCR enlists an approximate 2.2 million Iraqis that have fled the country altogether, and another 2.4 million that have been internally displaced. An Oxfam International report released in July found another 4 million Iraqis who were in need of emergency assistance.

Iraq’s population at the time of the US invasion in March 2003 was roughly 27 million, and today it is approximately 23 million. Elementary arithmetic indicates that currently over half the population of Iraq are either refugees, in need of emergency aid, wounded, or dead.

While the US establishment media proffers us the assurance of “Baghdad’s Weary Start to Exhale as Security Improves,” for most Iraqis safe and secure survival remains a distant dream. For Americans it is perhaps time to act on the words of Carl Schurz and “cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country — when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’”

Dahr Jamail is IPS’ specialist writer who has spent eight months reporting from inside Iraq and has been covering the Middle East for several years.


Iraq set to slash food rations

By Abdul-Ilah As-Saadi with Afif Sarhan in Baghdad
Al Jazeera English
15:45 MECCA TIME, 12:45 GMT

Iraq is set to halve essential items covered by rations and subsidies because of insufficient funds and spiralling inflation, in a further threat to an already deteriorating ration system.

The cuts, to be introduced at the beginning of 2008, have prompted criticism from those who have already warned of social unrest if measures are not taken to address rising poverty and unemployment.

Mohammed Hanoun, the Iraqi trade minister’s chief of staff, told Al Jazeera that a request for $7.2bn to cover 10 basic items currently rationed and subsidised by the government had been rejected.

“In 2007, we asked for $3.2 billion for rationing basic foodstuffs. But since the prices of imported food stuff doubled in the past year, we requested $7.2 billion for this year. That request was denied.”

The trade ministry is now set to slash the list of subsidised items by half to five basic food items, “namely, flour, sugar, rice, oil, and infant milk,” Hanoun said.


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Countdown: Neck And Neck And Neck + Up In Smoke + House of Scandal + Bushed! (videos)

Dandelion Salad


December 19, 2007

Neck And Neck And Neck

Hehe, the intro is funny!

Alison Stewart talks with Jonathan Alter.

Up In Smoke

John Yang reports on the fire at the White House.

House of Scandal

Alison Stewart speaks with Richard Wolffe about the take of the tapes.


Countdown’s list of the top three Bush scandals you may have forgotten about because of all of the new Bush scandals. Tonight’s: Gonzo-Gate, Contractor Assault-Gate and Blackwater-Gate.