Dennis Kucinich: Soul Meets Body (video)

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CharlestonArtist

Dennis Kucinich for President 2008 fan vid, music ‘Soul Meets Body’ by Death Cab for Cutie. Hope you enjoy!

To learn more about Dennis, please visit
http://www.dennis4president.com

Added: January 18, 2008

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Dennis’ interview with WKOH

Dennis the Menace? The Vegas debate, missing in…Vegas By Megan Garber

Las Vegas Sun: You Won’t See This on TV (link)

Kucinich: NO SACRIFICE

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

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Robert Greenwald fights for the dream (video)

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bravenewfilms

Robert Greenwald fights for the dream with Maria Bartiromo

http://warongreed.org/

There’s something about Maria… and Robert. Sparks fly as they close the bell on greed, greed, greed.

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Robert Greenwald discusses the War on Greed + Winner of the contest (videos) (updated)

Ron Paul: Government Must ‘Preserve Liberty’ (video)

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kcratv

Rep. Ron Paul, a Republican candidate for president, emphasized Friday that “the purpose of government is to preserve liberty.”

Added: January 18, 2008

h/t: Scruffy: Enemy Combatant, Number One Insurgent, [Freedom’s] angel, & liberty_activist

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Ron Paul interview on CNN 1-18-07 (video)

Economy

Paul-Ron

Olbermann: Email Pattern Boldness + Bushed + Change For The Better (videos)

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Ryokibin

January 18, 2008

Email Pattern Boldness

Keith talks with John Dean.

World’s Worst

Worse: Ted Sampley

Worser: Lou Dobbs

Worst: Bill’O

Bushed! 

Blackwater-Gate

Waterboarding-Gate

Thou Shalt Not Touch-Gate

Change For The Better 

Keith plays a video from BlimpTV.net

Hysterical, love that Keith played this on his show!

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FOX Attacks! “Non-Existent” Veterans (video)

Olbermann: See Change + Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Bill’O! + Bushed! + Cleanliness VS. Godliness

Ron Paul interview on CNN 1-18-07 (video)

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ScaningTheWaves

With John Roberts 1-18-07

http://RonPaul2008.com/

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Bush’s “Stimulus” Cash Giveaway; “Gentlemen, Start The Helicopters” By Mike Whitney

Bad Mouthing De-regulation by Ralph Nader

Bush speech on the U.S. Economy Jan.18, 2008

Kucinich: Economic Stimulus Package Needs To Focus On States And Localities That Need Help The Most

George of Arabia: Better Kiss Your Abe ‘Goodbye’ by Greg Palast

Bush’s Voodoo Stimulus Package: $250 “freebie” for every taxpayer By Mike Whitney

Ooooooh Shit! No…. Shit. Economic Rollercoaster by Stephen P. Pizzo

Economy

Paul-Ron

No Peace By Charley Reese

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By Charley Reese
18/01/08 “ICH

To understand the failure of the president’s trip to the Middle East, which is foreordained and doesn’t have to be completed in order to fail, take note of two words that the president will not utter: “occupied territories.”

Let’s review the situation from the standpoint of international law. The West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and a smidgen of Lebanon the Israelis still occupy are officially designated as occupied territories. They were seized in war. Jerusalem is officially an international city, so designated by the United Nations partition resolution that created the state of Israel. The Israelis, of course, long ago declared the resolution null and void.

As occupied territories, they fall under the Geneva Conventions. An occupying power is not allowed to take land or to build settlements in occupied territory. It is not allowed to destroy homes, to uproot olive groves, to deport people, and to wall the area off – all of which the Israelis have done and are continuing to do.

This brings us to the question of negotiations. It is impossible for the Palestinians, whose land is occupied and whose lives are totally controlled by the most powerful military state in the Middle East, to make any concessions. To make a concession, you have to have something. They have nothing. They have no power. They don’t control their land, their borders, their access to the sea or the air, the water or even their movements within the territories. Thanks to the American vetoes, they don’t even have any recourse in the U.N.

The only party, then, that can make concessions is Israel, and Israel is not making any concessions, since it far prefers land to peace with an enemy that is virtually powerless.

Therefore, if the U.S. refuses to pressure Israel, there will be no peace. President Bush’s trip is nothing more than a public-relations ploy to simulate an interest in peace. Bush is, however, unwilling to say or do anything that might actually result in Israeli concessions and therefore in peace. In fact, the main purpose of Bush’s visit is to harangue the Arabs about the alleged dangers of Iran. He refuses to talk to the elected representatives of the Palestinians, who are Hamas members.

I see no change in Bush’s thinking, if you can call it that, at all, but I do notice that he looks depressed. The last two public appearances I’ve watched on television show an unhappy man. The old cockiness and the silly smiles seem to have vanished. It could be that slowly the news is trickling into his brain that his administration has been a flop.

In the meantime, the Palestinians continue to suffer, the world continues to ignore their suffering, and the kettle that is the Middle East continues to simmer. It is never wise for either an individual or a country to believe that because it is powerful today it will always be powerful. The Middle East is an open-air museum of the ruins of past conquerors.

We Americans should pay particular note to the fact that time is not reckoned in the Middle East as it is in the West, where it was shaped by industrial factory life. There is an Arab story about a man who returned to his village after an absence of some weeks.

“Do you remember that man who insulted me 30 years ago?” he asks a friend. “Well, I just killed him.”

“Why were you in such a hurry?” his friend asks.

It’s quite a sad situation for everyone concerned. If I were an Israeli, I’d be concerned about forcing another generation of Palestinians to live in poverty and bitterness. I’d be concerned that another generation of Israeli children is going to have to grow up in a militarized state in the midst of a larger population that hates them. As an American, I’m concerned that cowardly politicians are putting Americans at risk out of fear of a domestic lobby.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

© 2008 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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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America’s “Divide and Rule” Strategies in the Middle East by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Dennis’ interview with WKOH

Wish news people would remember that Mike Gravel is still in this race, too.  Not sure why Kucinich doesn’t mention it either, that does bother me.  Gravel was also excluded from many debates.  ~ Lo

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anniebananiepie

You can click on this link to hear Dennis’ interview with WKOH (posted 1/18/2008):

Audio link

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Open Letter To Leno, Maher & G.E. From Your Anti-Censorship “Disruptors”

Dennis the Menace? The Vegas debate, missing in…Vegas By Megan Garber

Las Vegas Sun: You Won’t See This on TV (link)

Kucinich: NO SACRIFICE

FAIR: NBC Uninvites Kucinich (Action alert)

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

Open Letter To Leno, Maher & G.E. From Your Anti-Censorship “Disruptors”

Dandelion Salad

by Linda Milazzo
After Downing Street
Fri, 2008-01-18

On Tuesday, January 15th, four free speech/fair election patriots visited the set of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (and guest, Bill Maher, who was coincidentally appearing), to voice their displeasure over NBC, MSNBC and parent company General Electric’s refusal to allow Congressman Dennis Kucinich to debate his fellow Democrats in MSNBC’s televised Presidential debate to be held that evening. The four First Amendment advocates, Carol Barbieri, Jennifer Epps, Eva James and Mark Lipman, “interrupted” the Tonight Show airing, exercised their Constitutional rights, and used the people’s airwaves to inform conglomerate G.E. of its failure to appropriately inform American voters of the views and policies of ALL candidates vying for the nomination of the Democratic Party.

Since their brazen challenge to G.E., NBC and MSNBC via their Tonight Show “presence,” there has been wide media speculation as to who the “visitors” were and why they had made so vocal – and perhaps disruptive an “appearance.” The following is their OPEN LETTER in their own words to Jay Leno, Bill Maher, MSNBC, conglomerate General Electric, and the American public to provide an in-depth and informative explanation. (Please view the youtube link of their Tonight Show “appearance”:

Leno Interrupted by Kucinich & Impeachment Supporters

I know these patriots personally and respect their love of nation and their fearlessness. I’ve been provided this letter and substantiating data to publish on their behalf. I’m delighted to do so:

Thursday, January 17, 2008
Dear Jay and Bill:

We hope you understand why we interrupted The Tonight Show taping on Tuesday. It was not a decision taken lightly. We had no idea who was going to be on the show that day, and it wasn’t a protest against either of you. Our beef was with NBC / MSNBC and their agenda-driven censorship.

Our words—“Let Dennis debate”; “GE, NBC, Put impeachment on TV”–should make it clear that we were protesting MSNBC’s barring Presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich from the Democratic debate in Las Vegas that evening, and we were also demanding that the media stop censoring calls for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. (As you probably know, Kucinich has proposed a resolution to impeach Cheney: HR#799; and impeachment is part of his campaign). The four of us who were there included a combination of L.A. National Impeachment Center members, and Kucinich supporters, acting completely independently from his official campaign–and certainly we were not connected with the WGA at all; it never even occurred to us that anyone would think that.

We believe that rather than exercising 1st Amendment principles, MSNBC was actively suppressing speech in the interests of its parent company, GE. Kucinich had met MSNBC’s criteria for inclusion in the Jan. 15th debate and a judge had even ordered them to include him. But his views seem to differ from GE’s so much that MSNBC fought all the way to the State Supreme Court to keep him off the air. That’s a lot of trouble for a news corporation to go to in order to NOT cover someone.

On the same day, the day of your show, House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL, 19th) was arguing in Congress for impeachment hearings for Cheney re. HR#799. (HR#799 has 25 co-sponsors, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), also on the Judiciary Committee, back Wexler’s call.) Wexler has over 203,130 signatures in a petition for hearings and presented them to the House. Yet Wexler’s courageous act was met with a wall of silence in the corporate media just as any serious attention to impeachment has been.

We made the decision soberly, with much thought, to break through that silence. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

We were only 4 people in The Tonight Show audience, but we are part of a much larger group of hundreds of thousands, millions even, of deeply concerned Americans who have spent almost this entire decade trying to curb the criminality of the Bush Administration and to convince the Democratic Party to do their constitutional duty and stop it.

Throughout this time we have used tactics that society sanctions: meeting with our elected representatives, protesting in the streets, writing to Congress and the media, filing suits, working on electoral campaigns, making films, singing songs, and on and on. And look where it has gotten us. Nothing has changed. Not only are we still in Iraq; we may attack Iran.

When we asked you for help, to “save our democracy”, we meant it. In this historic moment the last of our rights is being stripped from us. If we do not stand up now we will have nothing left to stand up for. Jay and Bill, you are in a position to do a lot of good. We ask you for your help. “We ask all Americans to help by acting NOW! We are all in this together.

The time that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about, when silence is betrayal, is upon us. We feel that silence is a betrayal of the 3,900 American troops who have died in Iraq because of Bush and Cheney’s lies, the 1,400-4,000 people who did not survive Katrina because Bush failed in his duty to send federal resources, the 3,000 Americans who died on 9/11 despite the many warnings received by the Bush Administration, and untold others who have suffered and died in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere because of the unchecked criminality of the President and Vice-President. This criminality only continues because corporate-owned media allows it.

NBC’s censorship of Kucinich’s voice epitomizes the extreme peril our democracy faces, when even our bedrock democratic freedom to hear legitimate presidential candidates speak to voters is trumped by corporate power. We know that we disrupted the normal way The Tonight Show runs, but these are not normal times.

Sincerely,

Carol Barbieri

Jennifer Epps

Eva James

Mark Lipman

continued…

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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Randi Rhodes: Wexler: Impeach Cheney interview

Wexler calls for Cheney’s impeachment (video; Spanish subtitles)

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

Impeach

Top Rumsfeld Aide Wins Contracts From Spy Office He Set Up By Tim Shorrock

Dandelion Salad

By Tim Shorrock, Special to CorpWatch
ICH
18/01/07 “CorpWatch

A Pentagon office that claims to monitor terrorist threats to U.S. military bases in North America — and was once reprimanded by the U.S. Congress for spying on antiwar activists — has just awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a company that employs one of Donald Rumsfeld’s former aides. That aide, Stephen Cambone, helped create the very office that issued the contract.

On January 7, QinetiQ (pronounced “kinetic”) North America (QNA), a major British-owned defense and intelligence contractor based in McLean, Virginia, announced that its Mission Solutions Group, formerly Analex Corporation, had just signed a five-year, $30 million contract to provide a range of unspecified “security services” to the Pentagon’s Counter-Intelligence Field Activity office, known as CIFA.

According to Pentagon briefing documents, CIFA’s Directorate of Field Activities “assists in preserving the most critical defense assets, disrupting adversaries and helping control the intelligence domain.” Another CIFA directorate, the Counterintelligence and Law Enforcement Center, “identifies and assesses threats” to military personnel, operations and infrastructure from “insider threats, foreign intelligence services, terrorists, and other clandestine or covert entities,” according to the Pentagon. A third CIFA directorate, Behavioral Sciences, has provided a “team of renowned forensic psychologists [who] are engaged in risk assessments of the Guantanamo Bay detainees.”

The new CIFA contract with QinetiQ expands work that Analex has provided CIFA and its various directorates since 2003. Under its first contract, according to the QinetiQ website, Analex staffers were sifting through information “from traditional to non-traditional providers, ranging from unclassified through top secret classification using sophisticated information technologies and systems specifically designed by CIFA analysts.”

The CIFA contract was awarded just two months after QinetiQ hired Stephen Cambone, the former undersecretary of defense for intelligence and a longtime Rumsfeld aide, as its vice president for strategy. Cambone is the most senior of a savvy group of former high-ranking Pentagon and intelligence officials hired by QinetiQ to manage its expansion in the U.S. market. (See boxes.)

While he was at the Pentagon, Cambone oversaw CIFA and was deeply involved in the Pentagon’s most controversial intelligence programs. It was Cambone, for example, who reportedly issued orders to Major General Geoffrey Miller to soften up Iraqi prisoners for intelligence interrogators in Abu Ghraib in 2003. With Rumsfeld, he also set up a special unit within the Pentagon that alienated the CIA and the State Department by running its own covert actions without seeking input from other agencies.

The new CIFA contract comes on the heels of a series of QinetiQ deals inked with the Pentagon in the booming new business of “network centric warfare” — the space-age, technology-driven intelligence and warfighting policies established by Rumsfeld and Cambone during their six-year tenures at the Pentagon. Other Cambone-pioneered programs that QinetiQ has won (before he went to work at their Crystal City offices that lie just two miles from the Pentagon) include military drones and robots, low-flying satellites and jamming technologies.

Cambone’s appointment at QinetiQ reflects the “incestuous” relationships that exist between former officials and private intelligence contractors, said Steven Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists and a long-time observer of U.S. intelligence. “It’s unseemly, and what’s worse is that it has become normal,” he told CorpWatch.

Aftergood pointed out the similarities between Cambone and the career trajectory of the current Director of National Intelligence, Michael McConnell. Following McConnell’s tenure as director of the National Security Agency, “he went on to receive a seven-figure salary at Booz-Allen Hamilton, a major intelligence contractor,” said Aftergood. “And now he’s back at the helm of the intelligence community (IC). The problem is not so much a conflict of interest as it is a coincidence of interests — the IC and the contractors are so tightly intertwined at the leadership level that their interests, practically speaking, are identical.”

QinetiQ Evolution

QinetiQ was created in 2001 when the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) split up the Defense Evaluation Research Agency (DERA), its equivalent to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). One part of the company remained inside the MoD, but the other half was sold to the private sector and became QinetiQ.

For its first 18 months, QinetiQ was run by the MoD. But in February 2003, control slipped decisively out of government hands when 33 percent of its shares were acquired by the Carlyle Group, the powerful Washington-based private equity fund with close ties to the Bush administration. Carlyle invested $73 million in the company, and the MoD retained the other 66 percent. In an unusual arrangement, however, Carlyle was granted 51 percent of the voting shares, which meant that the investment fund and its appointed executives had effective control over the company. Carlyle sold off its remaining shares in February 2007, making a $470 million profit on its original investment.

Its initial expansion into the U.S. market was led by its first CEO, Graham Love. A ten-year veteran of DERA, where he rose to the position of finance director, Love had left DERA in the late 1990s by taking one of its divisions private. In 2003, he was brought back to head up QinetiQ’s North American operations. With assistance from Carlyle’s managers, Love went on the acquisition binge that made QinetiQ what it is today.

In November 2004, it bought Foster-Miller, which builds what it calls “mobile platforms” for the U.S. military, including the Talon robot, a battery-powered machine loaded with night-vision cameras and sensors that can fire both machine gun bullets and anti-tank weapons. Talons are also used on reconnaissance missions to detect mines and disarm roadside bombs in Iraq; more than 600 have been acquired by the Pentagon, according to Fortune magazine. The Foster-Miller website says Talon robots were initially developed with funds from DARPA and have been used in Special Operations missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq.

In January 2007, QinetiQ acquired Analex Corporation, an information technology and engineering company that earns 70 percent of its revenue from the Pentagon (after the acquisition, Analex was renamed the QNA Mission Solutions Group). Analex, which has received extensive funding from DARPA for its technologies, also holds contracts with SPAWAR, the U.S. Navy intelligence research center in San Diego, and with the U.S. Army’s First Information Operations Command. For the latter, according to Analex, it provides “subject matter experts” in psychological warfare, information security, electronic warfare and general tactics in the war on terror.

With $1.5 billion in defense revenue in 2006, QNA is now the 11th largest U.S. intelligence contractor. The QinetiQ story must be told without speaking to the company, however: QinetiQ officials were not available for comment on Cambone’s appointment or any other matter. As for the former undersecretary of defense, “Stephen Cambone is not interested in an interview at this time,” Sophie Barrett, QNA’s spokesperson, told CorpWatch on January 10.

Stephen Cambone

QinetiQ’s main reason for hiring Stephen Cambone was the fact that he had held the unprecedented job of commanding the full spectrum of defense intelligence agencies controlled by the Pentagon, under the 2002 legislation that created his position as the nation’s first undersecretary of defense for intelligence. For example he had direct line control over the three national intelligence collection agencies, the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

He also oversaw CIFA, which he helped set up in 2003 and transformed into one of the U.S. government’s largest collectors of domestic intelligence. Despite occasional criticism from the U.S. Congress for spying on ordinary U.S. citizens, it has thrived at the Pentagon during the administrations of both Donald Rumsfeld as well as Robert Gates, the current secretary of defense.

Cambone was the chief architect of Rumsfeld’s so-called “transformation” policies at the Pentagon, which fused data flowing from those agencies into the Pentagon’s high-tech war machine. The decisions he made greatly reduced the Pentagon’s acquisitions of large weapons systems like aircraft carriers and radically increased its purchases of space-age war technologies such as communications systems, sensors, robots, low-flying satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

It is precisely these technologies that QinetiQ produces. Its work for CIFA, the company said in the release announcing the deal, reflects QinetiQ’s role “as a pioneer in planning and executing the protection of government personnel, critical infrastructure and sensitive defense programs.” QinetiQ is the largest suppliers of UAVs and robots to the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. It developed the Zephyr, the world’s most advanced UAV, a solar-powered drone that can transmit data and pictures continuously for periods up to three months. QinetiQ also specializes in a jamming technology (called “interference protection”) that protects satellite systems from outside activity. And the company is a major supplier of acoustic microsensors designed to track the movements of “insurgents” or “illegal immigrants.”

For QinetiQ and Cambone, therefore, this is a match made in heaven. Cambone’s insights into “national security affairs and priorities,” said CEO Duane Andrews, will help shape QinetiQ’s ability “to rapidly deliver solutions to the complex challenges that face our defense and intelligence customers.” In other words, there was a natural fit between QinetiQ’s products and Cambone’s inside knowledge of the future plans and strategies behind the U.S. “intelligence enterprise.”

Re-Inventing the Pentagon

Cambone’s early career was shaped by his deep involvement with technologies associated with missile defense. His first job out of school was as a staffer for the director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, the defense and nuclear power research center in New Mexico. After that, he worked for SRS Technologies, a defense consultancy that worked closely on missile defense.

From 1990 to 1993, Cambone worked under Duane Andrews, his future boss at QinetiQ, as director for strategic defense policy in the office of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. There, he advocated for building a laser- and satellite-based missile defense system known derisively by its opponents as Star Wars, a cause he also took up during the Clinton administration as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

During the 1990s, Cambone joined the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), the core advocacy group for the cause of neoconservatism, a radical philosophy that views the U.S. as the political savior of humankind, supposedly through “exporting democracy,” and advocates the use of force to expand U.S. power and influence around the world. There, he associated with many of the officials he would later serve with in the George W. Bush administration, including Rumsfeld (another Star Wars fan), Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, who was deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005.

In 1998, Rumsfeld hired Cambone as staff director of a commission he chaired to study the foreign ballistic missile threat. The commission was created by the Republican-led U.S. Congress specifically as a counterpoint to the CIA, which had downplayed the foreign missile threat in a 1997 National Intelligence Estimate. Among the commission’s members were Wolfowitz and former CIA director R. James Woolsey, a prominent necon with close ties to the defense intelligence industry. The final report, largely drafted by Cambone, flatly contradicted the CIA by warning of an imminent threat from North Korea and Iran, and became the centerpiece of the Bush administration’s initial defense policies.

After Rumsfeld became defense secretary in 2001, he selected Cambone as his special assistant. Cambone quickly became his most trusted trouble-shooter. And in the initial months of the Bush administration, there was plenty of trouble.

Rumsfeld, with Cheney’s support, set out from the beginning to “transform” the U.S. military into a high-tech, computerized fighting force designed specifically to shoot down missiles from “rogue states” and defeat counterinsurgencies and other “low intensive” threats to U.S. national security, primarily in the Middle East. None of this sat very well with the uniformed military and the defense industry, both of which were slow to embrace Rumsfeld’s network centric policies and the accompanying cuts imposed on Cold War-era weapons such as aircraft carriers and artillery systems. But the grumbling stopped after September 11, which provided the opening for Rumsfeld and his allies in the administration to make intelligence the centerpiece of their new “war on terror.”

In 2002, the U.S. Congress embraced a proposal backed by Cheney and Rumsfeld to create a new undersecretary slot at the Pentagon specifically for intelligence, and Cambone was given the job. The position provided enormous powers: under the law, he exercised the Secretary of Defense’s “authority, direction and control” over all DoD intelligence, counterintelligence and security policy, plans and programs. That included the key national agencies, which Rumsfeld and Cambone tenaciously fought to keep within the Pentagon’s command and control system (for more on this struggle, see Foreign Policy in Focus http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4795). By 2004, according to a profile in the New York Times, Cambone was presiding biweekly conference calls that included the three-star generals and an admiral who ran the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the NGA, the NRO and the NSA. In theory, they also reported to Rumsfeld and Tenet. But Cambone, the newspaper noted, “has made himself their most active overseer.”

With their newfound power, Rumsfeld and Cambone set about to give the Pentagon greater authority in the area of human intelligence, traditionally dominated by the CIA. In 2005, Rumsfeld created a new clandestine espionage branch called the Strategic Support Branch, run out of the DIA and under Cambone’s control, to end what he called his “near total dependence” on the CIA. By 2005, under the command of Cambone’s controversial deputy, Army Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin, the support branch was deploying small, covert teams of case officers, interrogators and special operations forces to places like Somalia, Iran and the Philippines, sometimes without contacting the U.S. ambassador or the CIA station chief, to launch covert military operations and prepare for future U.S. action.

Those were heady days for Cambone: in May 2006, the New York Times would comment that Cambone’s “low public profile masks his status as one of the most powerful intelligence officials in the United States.” But other publications weren’t so kind. Within days of the Times piece, C4ISR Journal, a military publication, described Cambone as a grim and determined ideologue. “’Unpleasant,’ ‘deeply unpleasant,’ ‘doesn’t joke much’ and ‘Rumsfeld without the personality’ are just some of the ways other reporters and analysts” describe Cambone, the Journal said.

In expanding the power and influence of the Pentagon’s special forces, Cambone pushed for policies and technologies that would later make him so useful to QinetiQ, which by 2003 was beginning its expansion in the defense intelligence market. Throughout his tenure at the Pentagon, for example, Cambone pushed for increased spending on satellites, lasers and computer networks that would link the national collection agencies with soldiers and commanders on distant battlefields. In 2004, one year into the intensifying war in Iraq, Cambone proposed spending $30 billion — one-third of the Pentagon budget for information technology — on what he called a “transformational satellite system.” This was a laser-based project run by the Air Force that would allow the national agencies and the military to share intelligence data and speed its delivery to bomber pilots and ground troops.

During this time, Cambone was also deeply involved in Pentagon planning for a multi-billion dollar “Space Radar” project, a constellation of satellites designed to detect moving and stationary objects from the skies in any weather condition and in darkness. The U.S. Congress only approved a portion of what Cambone wanted for the Air Force and Space Radar projects, however.

In 2006, Cambone presided over an intelligence community review of major intelligence and reconnaissance programs. It concluded that the Pentagon should increase its use of UAVs such as the Global Hawk, which operated at altitudes of 60,000 feet and could stay in the air for 24 hours and more. By this time, the Pentagon was also operating secret “stealth” UAVs as a substitute for satellites. (By 2008, the Associated Press reported in January, the military’s reliance on UAVs “that can watch, hunt and sometimes kills insurgents” had soared to more than 500,000 hours in the air, mostly in Iraq. Between January and October 2007 alone, AP found, the Pentagon had more than doubled its monthly use of drones).

Revolving Door

When Cambone’s tenure at the Pentagon drew to a close, shortly after the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld in late 2006, the future course of defense spending had already been set: the big money was going to UAVs and low-orbit satellites for the transmission and sharing of intelligence data. (These projects became more crucial in 2007, when the Space Radar was declared a failure and scrapped by Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell.) And, in response to the increasingly sophisticated tactics of the Iraqi insurgents, millions of dollars were plowed into robots and other technologies aimed at curbing the deadly effects of homemade roadside bombs, that the military has dubbed improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

By joining QinetiQ, less than a year after he resigned from the Pentagon, Cambone has been hired to implement the very policies he helped pioneer at the Pentagon, not as a public servant but as a private businessman benefiting from taxpayer dollars. And with Cambone in the driver’s seat in northern Virginia, QinetiQ is set to build on its already thriving business to become one of the premier suppliers of technology to the “intelligence enterprise” that Cambone built.

Duane Andrews

Duane Andrews, QNA’s CEO and Stephen Cambone’s boss, got his baptism in information technology during the first Gulf War in 1991, when he was assistant secretary of defense for communications, command, control and intelligence under Dick Cheney, then defense secretary. His job included managing the Pentagon’s Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance operations.

“Too many people — even today — think of (information) as something IT guys worry about, when really it is something that warfighters and commanders need to worry about,” he told Government Computer News in 2002. “If they pick up the phone to give a command to go to war and there’s no dial tone, or they send an ops order and it gets garbled or misread or doesn’t go to its intended recipients, the war slows down.”

Andrews left the Pentagon in 1993 to become chief operating officer of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). During that time, he was a key figure in developing SAIC’s extensive business — worth about $8 billion in 2006 — with the intelligence community and the Pentagon.

Under Andrews, SAIC won several major contracts involving the management of huge IT systems. One of its largest was the NSA’s Trailblazer project, in which SAIC was hired to create the data-mining and link-analysis tools for the NSA to monitor the huge increase in cell phone and email traffic that occurred during the fiber-optic and communications revolution of the late 1990s. (The project turned out to be a $4 billion boondoggle and was scrapped in 2005, but SAIC was hired again to start building its replacement.)

Another SAIC contract of strategic importance to the U.S. military is its prime contract to run the Joint Intelligence Operations Centers (JIOCs). These centers were established throughout the U.S. military command system by Cambone in 2004 to manage the sharing of intelligence from agencies like the NSA and the NGA to commanders and warfighters on the ground in Iraq and the Horn of Africa as well as major commands in South Korea and elsewhere.

In 2006, Andrews quit SAIC to join QinetiQ. Shortly after Andrews was hired as QNA CEO, former CIA Director George Tenet was elected to QinetiQ’s board of directors. Tenet was undoubtedly brought on to help QinetiQ broaden its reach beyond the Pentagon and its intelligence units into the area of strategic and national intelligence represented by the CIA and the NSA.

Andrews remains close to Vice President Dick Cheney, his former boss at the Pentagon. In a 2002 interview with Government Computer News, he listed Cheney as his hero.

Other QinetiQ acquisitions

In 2005, QinetiQ made one of its most strategic acquisitions: Apogen Technologies, a McLean, Virginia, maker of optical sensors that was deeply involved in “black” (secret) military operations, including anti-submarine warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. At the time, Apogen’s chairman was Phillip Odeen, a longtime friend of Frank Carlucci, the Carlyle Group’s chairman emeritus. Odeen was a key figure in U.S. intelligence after serving in senior positions at the Pentagon and the National Security Council, where he led the Defense and Arms Control staff under Henry Kissinger. Odeen went on to become CEO of TRW and BDM Inc., two major intelligence contractors that were later acquired by Northrop Grumman.

After QinetiQ bought Apogen, it hired Odeen as CEO of its North American division. In 2006, while Cambone was still at the DoD, Apogen won an $11.3 million contract with the U.S. Marine Corps to provide engineering and technical support to Marine intelligence and reconnaissance operations. Other customers include the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Navy.

Other companies in the QinetiQ empire include ITS Corporation, which holds IT and engineering contracts with U.S. military and intelligence agencies, including DARPA, naval intelligence and the NRO; Planning Systems Inc., which calls itself a “leading network-centric technology company,” and includes among its product line ground-penetrating radar for the detection of IEDs; and Westar Aerospace, which specializes in network centric communications and interoperability systems.

Spying on Anti-War Activists

In 2003, the Pentagon’s CIFA launched an electronic database called Talon to collect and circulate unverified reports about people and organizations that allegedly threatened Pentagon facilities. These reports were then fed into a database managed by the agency.

The database was first revealed in December 2005 when NBC News discovered that Talon had collected data on anti-military protesters and peaceful demonstrators. In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union released an internal Pentagon report showing that Talon (which stands for Threat and Local Observation Notices) had about 13,000 entries, of which 2,821 involved reports on U.S. citizens.

For example a February 5, 2005, planned protest against recruiting at New York University by Army Judge Advocate General personnel, was listed by Talon as a “threat.” Another entry, concerning February 14, 2005, involved a demonstration planned outside the gates of the base at Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Talon program was shut down in early 2007, shortly after Rumsfeld and Cambone left the Pentagon, by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his undersecretary for intelligence, retired Air Force General James Clapper. CIFA itself, however, remains in business.

Tim Shorrock’s book on the outsourcing of U.S. intelligence, Spies for Hire, will be published in May by Simon & Schuster.

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.

“Don’t Mess With Us,” Pakistan’s Nukes Are Here To Stay, Get Used To It By Ahmed Quraishi

Dandelion Salad

By Ahmed Quraishi
ICH

18/01/08 “World View

The ‘real’ Pakistani officials in charge of the nation’s vast nuclear and strategic arsenal have spent the past few months quietly laughing at the doomsday scenarios that American politicians and media organizations have been spinning for months now. These Pakistani officials say they are calm because of their confidence in their capabilities. However, this Pakistani calm should not be mistaken for weakness. “My message is: Don’t mess with us,” says Air Commodore Khalid Banuri, with pride.

 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Last November, The New York Times published what many analysts in Islamabad described as a misleading story, claiming that the United States had spent up to $100 million over the past five years to help Pakistan secure its nuclear weapons.

The story coincided with reports alleging that elite U.S. troops already had access to Pakistan’s vast arsenal of nuclear and other strategic weapons.

Pakistani officials preferred to ignore these reports, confident about their capabilities and a little curious about where these bogus stories were coming from. These officials were also content with assurances from the Bush administration it had nothing to do with these reports.

But over the following weeks, Pakistani analysts carefully watched how the U.S. media campaign portraying Pakistan as a nuclear power incapable of securing its weapons grew bigger and was joined by prominent American academics and politicians.

The quality of the ‘media reports’ about Pakistani nukes also changed. Now the American media was talking about actual ‘war games’ conducted by American military institutions and think tanks as a prelude to sending in elite troops to ‘grab’ Pakistani nuclear weapons in case of instability in Pakistan on the pattern of typical Hollywood movie scripts.

The propaganda reached its zenith in January when Mrs. Hillary Clinton, the U.S. presidential hopeful, proposed joint American and British ‘supervision’ of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

But there is a reason why Pakistani responses to these reports remained mostly calm and calculated. It is because the women and men in charge of the Pakistani strategic arsenal were quietly making fun of the American allegations and at first did not even take them seriously.

“It’s laughable,” said Air Commodore Khalid Banuri, a director at the Strategic Plans Division, or the S.P.D., which is the Secretariat of the National Command Authority that controls the Pakistani strategic assets. “We did make the bomb, didn’t we? The world thought we couldn’t do it.”

Nevertheless, one of the founding members of the team that created Pakistan’s National Command Authority, retired Brigadier Naeem Salik, who is currently teaching at Washington’s Johns Hopkins University as a visiting scholar, is advising caution while dismissing the American reports.

“We can’t dismiss it as a media campaign. There is a background to it,” he told me last week during a visit to Islamabad.

I have argued that this U.S. media trial of Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities is not natural. It’s not like a few American journalists suddenly found themselves out of stories and thought, “what the heck, let’s talk about Pakistani nukes.”

This campaign must be seen in the context of a deliberate U.S. strategy to destabilize Pakistan. This strategy includes the war on terror, the American exploitation of late Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, and the situation in Afghanistan.

By early December, 2007, Pakistani officials started watching this American campaign closely.

On 11 December, the chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Tariq Majid, blasted reports by “vested and hostile elements in the international media” about the security of its nuclear weapons, an army statement said.

“Suggestions have been made that our assets could either be neutralized or taken away towards safer places to prevent them from falling into wrong hands,” the statement quoted Majid as saying after witnessing the launch of the Pakistani-developed Babur-Hatf-7 cruise missile.

“Though no responsible state in the world can contemplate such an impossible operation, yet if someone did create such a scenario, Pakistan would meet the challenge strongly,” the statement said.

“Pakistan’s nuclear assets are very safe and secure, and the nation needs not to worry on that account. There is a very strong security system in place, which can ward off all threats, internal as well as external.”
Back at the S.P.D., I interviewed Air Commodore Banuri, on camera, and asked him about all the possibilities, including what Pakistan would do if its strategic installations came under attack.

His answer was simple: “My message is: Don’t mess with us.”

Here are excerpts from the interview. The entire television version is posted on the homepage of this website. A link is also provided below.

Video link

 

 

THE INTERVIEW

Click here to listen to this interview

Ahmed Quraishi: Do we have a logistical problem in handling or managing our strategic assets?

Air Commodore Khalid Banuri: It is laughable. We did make the bomb, didn’t we? The world thought we couldn’t do it. We, too, were always concerned about how to protect it. Since 1998, when South Asia went overtly nuclear … this is 2007, we have consistently augmented our systems, a point that many people forget or overlook.

Ahmed Quraishi: Who holds the authority to push the nuclear button in Pakistan?

Khalid Banuri: The short answer is very easy: Not an individual but the National Command Authority, comprised of all the senior decision makers of the country, [they] would look at all the issues including the deployment, if it ever comes to that.

AQ: Is it possible there could be a scientist on the inside, an extremist with links to terrorists, maybe Osama bin Laden, who could steal a Pakistani weapon …

KB: In a Tom Clancy fiction that could be a possibility. We are very sure of what our systems are.

AQ: What about the reports before 9/11 that mentioned the links between some of the scientists in our strategic programs, names, who met terrorists in Afghanistan?

KB: Those names, when you actually go into the details, had nothing to do with the classified side of our programs,[they might have been] some people from the system who perhaps were power plant engineers who had some sympathies and were doing some charity work.

The key thing here is that Pakistan investigated those situations and now we have a system that takes care of all aspects, even for our very respected scientists who retire. There is a system where they will be occupied in various ways and we will know what they are doing.

AQ: Let’s say there is a violent change of government in Islamabad. Someone hiding in the foothills of Islamabad breaks into one of your facilities, kills 5 or 6 guards, goes inside, picks up one of those nuclear weapons held in a very elaborate security parameter, takes it out, comes out of the building, puts it in the back of a truck or van and speeds away. How possible is this scenario?

KB: Absolutely not possible. But it is a fair question. We have several layers—a multitude of systems of security and technical solutions for security, some of which are non-intrusive and invisible. There are no exceptions for anyone from the outside going into a facility. There are various levels of access. Then there is the issue of insider threat. Not possible. We look at each individual who works within the system very closely. We look at them from various angles, something that the West knows at ‘persona reliability’, the human factor. We look into everything, background checks, medical records, police records, any history of possible impulsive behavior. And if there is anyone who doesn’t have a smooth graph of behavior, they are not put into any sensitive jobs. Even if there is someone in personal distress, for example because of a death in the family, there is a way for relieving them for a few days from sensitive responsibility.

AQ: So the cinematic perception of a Pakistani equivalent of a suitcase carried at all times by the President or the Prime Minister, containing the button for a nuclear missile or something, is not correct?

KB: The decision making about nuclear assets is very carefully thought out. It’s not a hair trigger situation. We all have seen many Cold War movies and many of these idea come from them.

AQ: Well said. Where are we keeping our nuclear bombs?

KB: The response to this question is in two words: Strategic Ambiguity. If anyone even claims he knows where our weapons are, they are wrong. And if they think they do, they are in for a rude shock. Even within the system, if someone doesn’t need to know about sensitive sites, they don’t have that information. So very few in Pakistan would know where they are. And I’m not going to tell you [smiling].

AQ: Really, I was kind of hoping for a hint. Okay, are the safeguards in the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, Israel and India any better than the Pakistani nuclear safeguards?

KB: Even if I sound arrogant, ours are better. We have the advantage of hindsight. We have worked hard, we have trained hard, and we are very sure of what we have. We have learned from the best international practices. We don’t have aircrafts flying around with unauthorized nuclear missiles and we have a short nuclear history compared to some of the countries you mentioned.

AQ: Media reports have suggested that the Americans have helped Pakistan secure its nuclear assets, which implies that the Americans have access to Pakistani nukes?

KB: Ensuring nuclear security is our own interest. We made the bomb, we have the means to protect it, and we’re confident of that security. But we do not mind exposure to education and awareness, but in a completely non-intrusive way.

AQ: So you’re saying you have exchanged ideas with the Americans but not given them any access?

KB: Absolutely. That’s out of the question. That’s the red line that was defined even before we got into this exchange of ideas. We do have some rudimentary equipment and some training [from the U.S.]. And the kinds of figures you have seen in the media [about U.S. financial aid to secure Pakistani nuclear assets] are highly exaggerated.

AQ: The figure quoted was in the tens of millions …

KB: A $100 million was quoted in one report [New York Times, Nov. 2007]. Nowhere in that range.

AQ: Really?

KB: Nowhere.

AQ: Some Pakistanis are concerned and are asking what if the rudimentary equipment handed over to you contained a transmitter that could send out signals to a satellite or something exposing where our installations are?

KB: You have responded to the question yourself. Anyone concerned in Pakistan would have thought about this. The Pakistani nuclear establishment is always concerned about even the remotest of possibilities. We have this responsibility on behalf of this whole nation. It’s a sacred responsibility.

AQ: So let me put this to rest once and for all: you have not given access to the Americans as part of accepting their ‘help’?

KB: No access whatsoever. There are no foreigners who have any access to any Pakistani assets and they will never have. There are very few Pakistanis, even within our policy circle, who have all the information.

AQ: Does everyone concerned inside and outside the region understand there will be consequences if Pakistan’s strategic assets are attacked?

KB: Let me say it in plain words: Those who have hostile intent would know that any endeavor to attack Pakistan in any way will not be successful and it will be disastrous. Our weapons are meant for deterrence and not for [aggression]. But we have the capability to deal with any threat.

AQ: So we will respond if we are attacked?

KB: My message is: Don’t mess with us.

AQ: Late Mrs. Benazir Bhutto had publicly warned a few weeks before her tragic death that extremists could descend on the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, and take control of the nearby nuclear installations at Kahuta. Is this true?

KB: I don’t want to get into the politics of this statement. But I’d like to make two points. One, Pakistan’s nuclear assets are safe and secure. I say this with a lot of confidence. And, Two, I’d request all Pakistanis, wherever they are, that they should not mix politics with nuclear security.

[End of Interview]

 

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.

Bush’s “Stimulus” Cash Giveaway; “Gentlemen, Start The Helicopters” By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
18/01/08 “ICH

The White House is now in full-panic mode. In fact, the falling stock market has the administration so worried that Bush will deliver a speech later today that will lay out the details of a “stimulus package” designed to rev-up flagging consumer spending. The desperation is palpable. Fed chairman Bernanke’s appearance on Capital Hill on Thursday turned out to be a total bust. Bernanke was supposed to calm jittery investors with promises of rates cuts and easy credit. Instead, his gloomy predictions put the market into a tailspin sending the Dow Jone’s down 306 points by day’s end. Now it’s up to Bush and Co. to pick up the pieces and try to restore confidence in Wall Street.

Since we first reported on the proposed “stimulus package” (Bush’s Voodoo Stimulus Package” informationclearinghouse.info) the size of the rebates have increased dramatically. The Democratic-led Congress was only calling for $250 per taxpayer or $500 per married couple. Under the White House plan, taxpayers could receive rebates of up to $800 per individual or $1,600 per couple. The rebates will accompanied by additional cuts to the Fed Funds rate (estimated 50 basis points) which will provide more liquidity to the banking system and easier credit for consumers.

The administration’s desperate actions should remove all doubt that the main problem facing the economy is inflation. It is not. The moves are intended to forestall a deflationary spiral that is the logical corollary of 7 years of intensive neoliberal policies. Ironically, now that Bush has achieved his goal of crushing the middle class and destroying the foundation of America’s consumer-based economy; he has decided to change directions and shower those same over-extended, subprime people with a $150 billion gift from the government. It makes no sense at all.

The negotiations on the stimulus package have produced the Democrats first victory over Bush. The president has agreed “not to push for a permanent extension of his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.” Whoopee. Unfortunately, the Democrats don’t seem to grasp how dire the economic predicament really is or they would have asked for much more. For example, they could have made the rebates contingent on troop withdrawals from Iraq or the closing Guantanamo Bay. But that would mean that the Dems actually knew something about the state of faltering economy, which they don’t. They’d rather spend their time groveling for campaign contributions or applying tooth-whitener than following the collapse in the housing and stock markets.

Earlier today, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson underlined the urgency of the situation on CBS’s “The Early Show” saying:

“What President Bush believes is that we’ve got to do something that is robust. It’s going to be temporary and get money into the economy quickly. It’s going to be focused on consumers, individuals, families — putting money in their pocket. And it’s going to be focused on giving businesses the incentive to hire people, to create jobs.”

Can you sense the panic?

It’s funny in a way. The Bush administration has been warned repeatedly about the disastrous effects of their supply side theories. Of course, they brushed off their critics and carried on with the plundering until they hit a roadblock. Now they’re running around in circles trying to find some way to stop the bleeding. Good luck.

Remember the $2 trillion wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) that could be paid for with “unfunded” tax cuts to the rich?

Remember the cuts to capital gains and corporate taxes that were supposed to “trickle down” to working class Americans creating more jobs and making us all more prosperous?

Remember the low interest rates that were supposed to create Bush’s “ownership society” that, in fact, generated the greatest speculative frenzy in real estate in American history?

Remember Dick Cheney’s brusque assurance that, “deficits don’t matter”?

Remember the myriad corporate giveaways, the lavish “no bid” contracts, and deregulated subprime shenanigans that were supposed to “grow the economy” and strengthen our markets?

The system is failing because it was designed to fail. The impending economic crisis is no accident, but the predictable outcome of deeply flawed policies that are thrusting the country towards a 1930s-type catastrophe.

Still, even disaster has its brighter side; like watching the most-reviled, least-credible President in American history try to stop a crashing market with his miserable offers of “cash rebates”.

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

see

Bush announces “stimulus” plan as recession fears grip Washington

Bad Mouthing De-regulation by Ralph Nader

Bush speech on the U.S. Economy Jan.18, 2008

Kucinich: Economic Stimulus Package Needs To Focus On States And Localities That Need Help The Most

George of Arabia: Better Kiss Your Abe ‘Goodbye’ by Greg Palast

Bush’s Voodoo Stimulus Package: $250 “freebie” for every taxpayer By Mike Whitney

Ooooooh Shit! No…. Shit. Economic Rollercoaster by Stephen P. Pizzo

Economy

01.17.08 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

Jan. 17, 2008

linktv

For more: http://linktv.org/originalseries
“Israel Tests New Missile,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Lebanon Remains Without President,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Al Kathimiya in Baghdad is a Ghost Town,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“US Economy in Crisis,” Syria TV, Syria
“Ahmadinejad Remains Defiant,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
“French Catholic University to Train Muslim Imams,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Women in Egypt Face Obstacles,” New TV, Lebanon
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Bad Mouthing De-regulation by Ralph Nader

Dandelion Salad

by Ralph Nader
Friday, January 18. 2008

It was at a large wedding reception in New York City that I saw Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, sitting down to dinner one spring evening in 2000. Having heard on the grapevine that the Federal Reserve was finally going to do something about predatory lending—an area of enforcement under their jurisdiction—I went over to his table and asked him this question:

“Mr. Chairman, I hear that you are going to crack down on predatory lending practices.” He nodded and said quite firmly, “Yes, Enough is Enough.”

Since it was, after all, a social occasion, those words were enough for me and I returned to my table with the good news. For years, my associates, Jon Brown and Jake Lewis, had been working to document the prevalence of predatory lending and communicate our concern to the federal banking agencies and members of Congress.

Jon Brown developed detailed computerized maps of bank redlining in low-income areas, city by city, which were geographic guides to places where there were plenty of predatory lending practices.

As it turned out, Chairman Greenspan’s Federal Reserve did nothing about either traditional predatory lending or the rise of the latest version of that abusive pattern—the now notorious sub-prime mortgage scandals and mega-losses that are shaking the financial industry to its foundations

Actually, Mr. Greenspan often lauded leveraged, collateralized sub-prime lending as helping lower-income people to get home mortgages. He did not give much weight to the deception and imprudence and gouging of the lenders lurking in the fine print and flowing from the silver tongues of the salespeople.

The Federal Reserve touts itself as the agency where lots of smart people work – economists, statisticians, forecasters—and, of course, the often-described very smart Chairman. Yet as the speculative greed that developed, sold and resold ever more abstract and risky financial instruments comprised of bundled home mortgages went toward its final orbit of collapse, these “best and the brightest,” failed to act. They failed to regulate.

The business assault on regulation and its drumbeat demands for de-regulation over the past quarter century have now caused a burgeoning sub-prime mortgage collapse that is producing hundreds of thousands of home foreclosures. The housing market is plummeting. Giant banks are desperate for infusions of capital from abroad to save them from insolvency. Huge mortgage lenders are teetering on bankruptcy, looking desperately to be taken over by other financial companies.

Foreign banks and municipalities around the world that assumed these risks are marking down big losses.

All this has been caused by a combination of speculative greed, taking on huge risks for higher returns and the refusal to apply financial law and order—i.e. regulation—by the Bush regime. All this was preventable by institutional prudence and a vigilant Federal Reserve.

So what are all these giant financial corporations on their knees begging for these grim days? They are begging the Federal Reserve to use every bit of its authority to save them through lower interest rates and by using a variety of other more abstruse tools the Fed has to rescue the very banks that help fund its budget and dominate the regional Boards of the Federal Reserve.

It is true that corporate heads have rolled—most notably the CEOs of Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. By and large, however, the remaining top culprits who got their banks and mortgage lending firms into such deep losses for investor-share holders are staying put with their enormous compensation packages.

When the big boys get into trouble, they expect Uncle Sam to bail them out. Who pays the ultimate bill? You guessed it. The small taxpayer and the consumer.

So next time your hear the words–deregulation or over-regulation—by the thoughtless think tanks, heavily funded by business money, remind yourself that you believe in tough law and order for big business and your demand that politicians weigh in with a strong enforcement crackdown on corporate crime and fraud.

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.

Bush speech on the U.S. Economy Jan.18, 2008

Hmm, guess our president hasn’t been reading my blog posts on the economy. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

CSPANJUNKIEdotORG

January 18, 2008 MSNBC

see

Bush announces “stimulus” plan as recession fears grip Washington

Kucinich: Economic Stimulus Package Needs To Focus On States And Localities That Need Help The Most

George of Arabia: Better Kiss Your Abe ‘Goodbye’ by Greg Palast

Bush’s Voodoo Stimulus Package: $250 “freebie” for every taxpayer By Mike Whitney

Ooooooh Shit! No…. Shit. Economic Rollercoaster by Stephen P. Pizzo

Economy