Will Economic Stimulus Measures Stave Off Recession? by Richard C. Cook

Dandelion Salad

by Richard C. Cook
Global Research, January 20, 2008

      It is not quite true that the U.S. economy is heading into a recession, even though President Bush and most other politicians seem to be discovering it for the first time. It’s like the famous scene in Casablanca where Louis, the Prefect of Police, shuts down Rick’s nightclub while pocketing his winnings for the night, because, “I am shocked, shocked to learn that gambling is going on in this establishment!”

      Actually, as this writer and others have been saying for months, the producing economy—you know, the one where men and women go to work every day to make things of value (not just push paper for financial “services”)—has been in decline for at least a year. This can be measured by the steady decrease of M1, the money available in cash and checking accounts for immediate purchases.

      But if you dig a little deeper, it is easy to see that the U.S. never really got out of the recession of 2000-2002 which followed the bursting of the dot.com bubble at the end of the Bill Clinton presidency. This event was marked by the stock market crash starting in December 2002 that cost Americans over a trillion dollars in retirement savings and other forms of paper “wealth” over a period of a few months.

      The U.S. producing economy never really came back from that debacle. Instead, the Federal Reserve, under “Maestro” Alan Greenspan, facilitated the blowing of three financial bubbles, upon which the Bush/Cheney ship-of-state has sailed along merrily until recent weeks.

      The first of these bubbles, of course, was the housing one, marked by officially-sanctioned fraudulent lending practices leading to the sub-prime mortgage collapse. By 2005, this bubble had been creating fifty percent of all economic growth in the U.S. But now that growth has reversed in a nationwide home price deflation.

      The second was the explosion of leveraged debt in the areas of commercial real estate, mergers and buyouts by equity funds, and hedge/derivative fund speculation. This debt has also begun to unravel which is reflected in declining equity values in the stock market.

      The third bubble has been the less conspicuous trillion dollars in off-budget spending for the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars which has kept the military-industrial complex in clover. Meanwhile government tax revenues have plummeted due to the Bush tax cuts for the rich and the continued erosion of the U.S. job base and our public and private infrastructures.

      It is the bursting of these bubbles, combined with the absence in our economy of an engine to replace the decade-long habit by homeowners of staying afloat by cashing in on their inflated housing equity, which is generating the crisis.

      Let’s look at the solutions various parties are proposing:

      President Bush and many in Congress want to mail all taxpayers a rebate check of a few hundred dollars, cut business taxes, and possibly make the previous Bush tax cuts for the rich permanent.

      An immediate infusion of purchasing power is a very good idea. Of course the amounts under consideration are a drop in the bucket and will do little good for people threatened with unemployment or suffering from stagnant incomes, inflation of food and fuel prices, and out-of-control debt. Also, the stimulus would probably be offset by more inflation and decline in the dollar due to the additional federal borrowing required to finance the rebates.

      The current Federal Reserve Chairman, “Helicopter” Ben Bernanke, couldn’t dream of topping the performance of Greenspan, the greatest bubble-blowing impresario in history, but seems to be willing to keep cutting interest rates toward the theoretical zero where they would barely keep abreast of inflation.

      Trouble is, it’s the massive speculative lending of the banking system which got us in so much hot water in the first place. More bank lending, even using the cheapest possible credit, won’t get us out of it, because this only amounts to rolling over existing debt, not investing money in new production.

      Investment for production in the U.S. is flat, because, supply-siders aside, people can’t afford to purchase the stuff that’s made. That’s why Walmart has become the world’s largest corporation by selling cheap products from China. It’s all most American consumers can afford!

      Cutting interest rates the way Bernanke has started to do has obviously been tried before. But it’s not a cure-all when conditions are really bad. For instance, interest rate cuts at the beginning of the Great Depression in the early 1930s failed, because no one could pay back loans of any kind.

      Japan tried the same thing in the 1990s with ultra-cheap credit, but this too failed to solve the problem of the stagnant Japanese economy. This is why Bernanke, in his wisdom, has also warned against expecting too much of the Federal Reserve when the whole financial system is fatally over-leveraged and when the only question is how big a “thud” the credit dirigible will make when it strikes earth.

      What else? The Republican candidates for president all want more tax cuts along with reductions in federal spending. But the only sizeable expenditures left to cut, if the war machine and interest on the debt are sacrosanct, are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. We’ll see how that plays with the voters in November. The Republican candidates also rant against “pork barrel” infrastructure expenditures, which is one of the few economic stimulus measures the government still has available. In reality, McCain, Romney, et.al. are playing their fiddles to brain-dead conservative melodies while Rome burns.

      On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is every-more-obviously the pick of the elite establishment and the mainstream media as our next chief executive. Now that she, Bill, and their clones have succeeded in raising the racial alarms against Barak Obama, nothing stands in her way.

      Hillary is calling for job stimulation and fiscal austerity, the same program Bill tried under circumstances not nearly as lethal as today’s. Bill Clinton in the 1990s had some success in attracting heavy foreign investment to mend the damage done to the economy by the Reagan Revolution until the post-dot.com recession at the end of his term swept much of that ephemeral and overleveraged progress away.

      If asked, do you think Hillary would be able to tell you where the investment capital would come from for job creation other than by selling more and more U.S. companies and assets to foreigners who have benefited from the run-up of oil prices and the U.S. trade deficit?

      Maybe I’m wrong, but continuing to sell our native land to the Chinese and Japanese and to the Middle Eastern oil sheikhs does not quite sound like good long-range policy for the land of the free and the home of the brave. Nor is it apt to improve “homeland security.” Plus any new job creation program would have to be massive to counter the layoffs that have already begun, paerticularly in the financial and construction industries.

      John Edwards speaks of “green infrastructure” investment in alternative energy sources. Not a bad idea, but again, where is the money going to come from? Plus Edwards’ campaign may be dead after the Nevada caucuses where he got four percent of the vote.

      Barak Obama, as far as I can tell, has no plan at all, except that everybody should be included in debating the solutions and that whatever is decided should help working families.

      Dennis Kucinich has spoken of a “New Deal for the 21st Century,” but his campaign for president has gone nowhere.

      Then there are the assorted libertarians, gold bugs, etc., who it sometimes seems would just as soon see everything crash as long as they have safe investment havens where they can park whatever of value they hope to salvage from the disaster.

      Not too promising, you might say, and you would be right.

      Of course all these half-measures could be swept away if the crisis deepens into a full-blown depression, which is a real possibility. And like the Great Depression of the 1930s, this one could manifest not due to any failure of the producing economy to be able to manufacture just about anything wanted or needed for daily living, but because of a wholesale failure of what British economist John Maynard Keynes called “aggregate demand.” That is, the money in the form of purchasing power simply is not there to float a full-employment economy.

      The trouble is, Keynes’s solution—government deficit spending—is not available anymore. Deficit spending is just another form of debt. The use of debt today as a stimulus goes way beyond federal borrowing. It’s become a way of life for the entire economy. Today our total societal debt is not just the $9 trillion federal deficit but an additional $35-40 trillion for individuals, businesses, and state and local governments. Nixon had it right when he said, “We are all Keynesians now.” But when he said this in the early 1970s, no one anticipated the catastrophic proportions that debt of all types would eventually assume under more than a generation of Federal Reserve monetarist policies.

      The justification for debt, in the Keynesian view, is that it will result in enough economic growth to pay the debt off with some left over allowing us to live off the profits. A usually unspoken corollary is that inflation will erode the debt by allowing the government to pay it off with cheaper currency. But a slow-growth mature economy cannot outrun its debt, even at relatively low interest rates. And inflation eventually becomes a monster that simply eats everyone in the society alive.

      That is where we are today, because the so-called business cycle is nothing but an inflation-deflation roller coaster. Since the 1970s, these cycles have become more severe, leading to today’s “perfect storm.”

      So what should we do?

      The first thing is to realize once and for all that the underlying cause of the looming disaster is the debt-based monetary system.

      Under this system, credit is brought into existence as through bank lending and cancelled when the loans are repaid. The economic activity that results is “taxed” at an unsustainable level not only by the government but by the compound interest accruing to the banks. This is why the banks are the most powerful institutions in the nation, by the way.

      But it’s a sick, rotten, unjust, and essentially medieval system, no different in principle from how the bankers of the old European cities drove their kings and princes into bankruptcy by financing their foolish wars. Eventually it’s a system that results in the drastic shortage of purchasing power as today Bush, Congress, and the rest are waking up to the obvious solution of simply giving people more money to spend.

      In reality, the government should give people much more money to spend than has been proposed or even conceived of—but not through more government borrowing from the Federal Reserve.

      As this writer has argued, the first thing that should be done—today—is to pay each individual in the nation an average stipend of $12,600 as a National Dividend, based on the overall appreciation of the economy due to harnessing the forces of nature and technology.

      This stipend should be tax-free and should be paid now, without further delay. It would not be inflationary, because it would be a credit against the actual productivity of the nation and our ability to produce goods and services at will if people could afford to buy them.

      Such a measure would immediately introduce almost four trillion dollars of purchasing power into the economy, an amount which would also reduce the quantity of debt people currently incur each year just to survive. The theory of a National Dividend has been explained by the Social Credit movement which is active in the British Commonwealth, is fiscally sound, and has been examined in detail by this author in his series of 2007 monetary articles. To see how it might work, take a look at the Alaska Permanent Fund, where each resident receives almost $2,000 per year as a share in that state’s natural resource revenues.

      Secondly, the government should embark on a program of infrastructure restoration at least equivalent to the New Deal—but not for military industrial expenditures. This domestic spending should be financed not by taxation or government borrowing but by direct Treasury payments against a new national recovery account deriving from the use of credit as a public utility. Such a program is sanctioned by the provisions of the U.S. Constitution which give Congress the authority to manage the monetary supply of the nation.

      Both the National Dividend and the infrastructure spending program would be based on direct spending of U.S. Treasury currency from credit accounts maintained in the Treasury Department, not the Federal Reserve System. Transitioning from the existing system of debt-based Federal Reserve notes to direct infusions of cash in the form of Treasury currency would be as simple as flipping a switch.

      At the same time, the banking system should be reined in. Lending should be allowed only under the “real bills” doctrine for the necessary support of daily commerce. Lending for any form of speculation or leveraged investment should be outlawed. Businesses should be unhampered in raising capital in the legitimate investment markets, but the takeover of business by Wall Street speculators that began in earnest during the Reagan administration and which has contributed so strongly to the disaster we are now facing must end.

      How likely is it that the politicians will take these steps? Well, let’s see how bad conditions get. Is there anything we could do to encourage them in this direction? Let’s think about that for a moment. As far as I know, we are beyond the point socially where failure to pay off a loan is a crime. We don’t have debtors’ prison anymore. Yes, creditors can seize your assets, but how many assets do you really own in today’s drastically inflated and debt-ridden economy?

      So suppose everyone just stopped paying those debts that are owed to financial institutions which have created them “out of thin air” through fractional reserve banking?

      The first thing that would happen would be a massive infusion of debt-free money into the economy. This is because a debt repaid is credit cancelled off a bank’s books. If that money is not repaid, it continues to circulate. It helps producers produce and consumers consume. Actually the worst thing a person can do economically to his neighbor is pay his bank-generated debts, because that money then is no longer available to fuel the economy.

      Such a wholesale systemic declaration of bankruptcy at the grassroots level would actually be a patriotic act if people quit paying their loans for the reasons and under the conditions specified above.

      Not that I’m advocating such a course of action, of course, but wouldn’t it be interesting? It would certainly get the attention of those in power who have created such a mess. And it may be what happens anyway as the Depression of 2008 picks up steam.

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

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

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

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© Copyright Richard C. Cook, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7852

see

“Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)” (must see video)

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

Robert Greenwald fights for the dream (video)

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

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

Cook-Richard C.

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North-American Montetary Integration: Here Comes the Amero by Andrew G. Marshall

by Andrew G. Marshall
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
January 20, 2008

Many have now heard rumblings of the “amero”, a proposed North American currency to replace the Canadian loonie, dollar and peso. However, most of the mentions of this concept, when discussed in the mainstream media tend to focus on suggesting that talk of an “amero”, and in effect, the accompanying North American Union, is nothing but a conspiracy theory created by deluded xenophobes afraid of immigration and globalization. The Boston Globe recently wrote such a story, titled, “The Amero Conspiracy”, which stated, “The SPP [Security and Prosperity Partnership] does exist, and its tri-national task forces continue to meet, but its members consider it a way for the United States, Canada, and Mexico to collaborate on issues such as customs, environmental and safety regulations, narcotics smuggling, and terrorism. The amero, on the other hand, appears to be purely theoretical.”1

However, despite being conveyed as “purely theoretical”, a recent article in the national Canadian newspaper, the Financial Post, referred to the amero, not as a theoretical idea or conspiracy theory, but as a potential reality. The article entitled, Fix the Loonie, lays out the process to be undertaken before the adoption of a continental currency known as the Amero.

The article was written as a response to a previous article written in defense of Canada’s flexible exchange rate system, to which it states, “David Laidler’s recent defence of Canada’s flexible exchange rate system misses completely the point made by Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Mundell in his famous article on optimum currency areas. Mundell’s article has been widely credited with providing the intellectual base for the European Monetary Union and merits attention.”2 The article continued elaborating on the previous point made by Mundell, stating, “If flexible exchange rates are best for Canada on the grounds presented by Laidler, why would flexible rates not be best also for Alberta, Ontario or New Brunswick?” It continued, “Milton Friedman’s response to Mundell was that he would not advocate flexible rates for every possible region.”

The article contends that Canada is currently suffering from what the author refers to as the ‘Dutch Disease’, “which is named after the problems that developed in the 1960s when the Netherlands sold natural gas that had been discovered on its coast. The increases in Dutch exports of resources, like those of Canada in recent years, resulted in a strong appreciation of exchange rates, which was reinforced by interest rate policies of central banks and currency speculators.” It further states that, “The disease manifests itself through the loss of domestic manufacturers’ ability to compete abroad and with imports.” The author then contends that, “The disease manifests itself through the loss of domestic manufacturers’ ability to compete abroad and with imports,” and that, “The Bank of Canada can keep interest rates low to discourage capital inflows and thus exchange rate increases, but at the cost of fuelling inflationary pressures.”

The author then states that there is only one true cure for Canada’s ‘Dutch Disease’, “inoculation of the system by fixing the exchange rate at a level that allows manufacturers to be competitive, perhaps at the rate the Bank of Canada research identifies as the long-run equilibrium, around US90¢.” The author goes on to explain the reasoning behind this by giving the example that, “The Netherlands and Austria in the years before the introduction of the euro successfully operated such a system and enjoyed near perfectly stable exchange rates against the German currency. The essential ingredient in this success was the official commitment of the central banks of these two countries to maintain the same interest rate as that of the German central bank.”

So if Canada were to do the same in relation to the US dollar, then Canadian interest rates would be subject to the rates set by the US Federal Reserve, with our Bank of Canada lock in step. The author goes on to say, “An analogous commitment by the Bank of Canada with respect to U.S. interest rates may not be credible, tested by speculators and therefore ultimately doomed to failure.” Then the article continues, and makes a startling announcement:

“However, there is a solution to this lack of credibility. In Europe, it came through the creation of the euro and formal end of the ability of national central banks to set interest rates. The analogous creation of the amero is not possible without the unlikely co-operation of the United States.

This leaves the credibility issue to be solved by the unilateral adoption of a currency board, which would ensure that international payments imbalances automatically lead to changes in Canada’s money supply and interest rates until the imbalances are ended, all without any actions by the Bank of Canada or influence by politicians.

It would be desirable to create simultaneously the currency board and a New Canadian Dollar valued at par with the U.S. dollar. With longer-run competitiveness assured at US90¢ to the U.S. dollar. [Emphasis added].”

In summation, what the author is proposing is to fix the Canadian loonie to the US dollar at US$0.90, create a currency board, which would be an unelected, unaccountable, group of people to handle our monetary policy, creating a route around using the publicly owned Bank of Canada, to ensure the creation of a ‘New Canadian Dollar’, which would be a prelude to the Amero. The author then explains that, “Fluctuations in global demand for natural resources will always result in competition for labour and capital among Canadian manufacturers and producers of resources. But, at least, the firms in these sectors would no longer have to concern themselves with exchange-rate fluctuations and policies of the Bank of Canada.” The article finishes by stating, “There will also always be changes in the U.S. (and Canadian) dollar exchange rate against the euro and other major currencies. But these changes would have minor effects on the Canadian economy because 80% of the country’s trade is with the United States.”

The author of this article is Herbert Grubel, a professor of economics emeritus at Simon Fraser University, who also happens to be a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute, one of Canada’s largest and most prominent pro-big business think tanks.3 Other senior fellows at the Fraser Institute include Eugene Beaulieu, who sits on the Academic Advisory Council to the Deputy Minister of International Trade in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for the Government of Canada, Martin Collacott, former Canadian Ambassador, Tom Flanagan, ho is known as the “man behind Stephen Harper”, and is a member of what is known as the ‘Calgary School’, which is an unofficial group of like minded thinkers who espouse neo-conservative views, and hold significant influence in the current Conservative government, even referring to Flanagan as the “Godfather of Canada’s conservative movement.”4

Flanagan also used to work for Preston Manning, who is also a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, a former Member of Parliament, and former leader of the opposition, and other senior fellows include Gordon Gibson, a former Assistant to the Minister of Northern Affairs and later Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Wilf Gobert, former Director and Vice Chairman of Peters & Co. Limited, “an independent, fully integrated investment firm which has specialized for 35 years in investments in the Canadian oil, natural gas, and oilfield services industries,” Michael Harris, former Conservative Premier of Ontario, Jerry Jordan, former President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Ralph Klein, former Premier of Alberta, Rainer Knopff, a professor and also a member of the ‘Calgary School’, and Brian Tobin, a former Industry Minister.5

The author of the Financial Post article which mentioned the amero, Herbert Grubel, wrote a paper for the Fraser Institute in 1999, entitled, “The Case for the Amero: The Economic and Politics of a North American Monetary Union”, in which he laid out the case for the creation of a regional currency for North America.6 In this paper, Grubel wrote that, “The plan for a North American Monetary Union presented in this study is designed to include Canada, the United States, and Mexcio,” and that, “The North American Central Bank, like the European Central Bank, will have a constitution making it responsible only for the maintenance of price stability and not for full employment.”7

In discussing the issue of sovereignty related to a monetary union, Grubel stated that he thinks that, “sovereignty is not infinitely valuable. The merit of giving up some aspects of sovereignty should be determined by the gains brought by such a sacrifice.”8 He continued in saying, “It is important to note that in practice Canada has given up its economic sovereignty in many areas, the most important of which involve the World Trade Organization (formerly the GATT), the North American Free Trade Agreement,” as well as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.9 Despite admitting to several agreements and organizations of which strip Canadian sovereignty, Grubel suggests that losing sovereignty in these areas is still worth the benefits.

The introduction of the Amero is an integral aspect of the process of creating a North American Union, much like the European Union. This process is being undertaken through the implementation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), which was signed by the leaders of the three North American governments in March of 2005. This agreement is orchestrating the bureaucratic “harmonization” among the three North American nations to pave the way for a North American Community, akin to the previous European Community, and ultimately, a North American Union.

The push for this agenda is being driven by the US-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the preeminent American think tank, and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, as well as the Mexican equivalent, Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales. In May of 2005, the three groups, as a result of their joining forces in a Task Force, released a report entitled, “Building a North American Community,” in which they state that, “The Task Force offers a detailed and ambitious set of proposals that build on the recommendations adopted by the three governments at the Texas summit of March 2005. The Task Force’s central recommendation is establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff, and an outer security perimeter.”10

Thomas P. D’Aquino was the Canadian Co-Chair of the Task Force report and is also the President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, other Canadian members of the Task Force report include Allan Gotleib, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Pierre Marc Johnson, former Premier of Quebec, John Manley, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, and after 9/11, negotiated the Smart Border Agreement with the US Secretary for Homeland Security Tom Ridge, and Wendy Dobson, former President of the C.D. Howe Institute, another one of Canada’s most prominent think tanks, and former Associate Deputy Minister of Finance in the Government of Canada.11

The C.D. Howe Institute has on its board of directors, individuals from Imperial Oil Canada, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil, General Electric Canada, BMO Financial Group, TD Bank Financial Group, Nortel Networks, Manulife Financial, Bank of Nova Scotia, Enbridge Gas Distribution, EnCana Corporation, Ford Motor Company of Canada, HSBC Bank of Canada, Astral Media, Merrill Lynch Canada, CIBC World Markets, and N M Rothschild and Sons Canada.12

In 1999, the C.D. Howe Institute published a report entitled, From Fixing to Monetary Union: Options for North American Currency Integration.13 In the paper, it is argued that, “The easiest way to broach the notion of a NAMU [North American Monetary Union] is to view it as the North American equivalent of the European Monetary Union (EMU) and, by extension, the euro.”14 It continued in discussing the issue of sovereignty, stating, “That a NAMU would mean the end of sovereignty in Canadian monetary policy is clear. Most obviously, it would mean abandoning a made-in-Canada inflation rate for a US or NAMU inflation rate.”15

The concept of a North American currency has not only been the object of discussion within powerful big-business think tanks, but has, in fact, been discussed in government positions. In May of 2007, Canada’s then-Governor of the Bank of Canada, David Dodge, said that, “North America could one day embrace a euro-style single currency,” the Globe and Mail reported. Further, the article stated that, “Some proponents have dubbed the single North American currency the ‘amero’,” and further, “Answering questions from the audience after a speech in Chicago, Mr. Dodge said a single currency was ‘possible’.”16

In November of 2007, the Globe and Mail reported that, “Canada should replace its dollar with a North American currency, or peg it to the U.S. greenback, to avoid the exchange rate shifts the loonie has experienced, renowned money manager Stephen Jarislowsky told a parliamentary committee yesterday,” and quoted Jarislowsky as saying, “I think we have to really seriously start thinking of the model of a continental currency just like Europe.”17 The article continued, “Mr. Jarislowsky, a former Canfor Corp. director, said the loonie’s rise to above par with the U.S. dollar is destroying manufacturing and could devastate the forest sector,” and that, “Mr. Jarislowsky said Canada could either aim for a common North American currency or peg the loonie to the U.S. greenback at about 80 cents (U.S.), allowing it to float within a small band.” Jarislowsky, a billionaire often considered to be Canada’s Warren Buffet, is a member of several corporate boards, and is also a member of the board of directors of the C.D. Howe Institute.18

Appearing on Larry King Live recently, former Mexican President and initial signatory to the Security and Prosperity Partnership, Vicente Fox, when asked a question about whether or not it was possible to see a common currency for Latin America, responded by stating, “Long term, very long term. What we propose together, President Bush and myself, it’s ALCA, which is a trade union for all of the Americas. And everything was running fluently until Hugo Chavez came. He decided to isolate himself. He decided to combat the idea and destroy the idea,” to which Larry King interjected, “It’s going to be like the euro dollar, you mean?” and Fox responded, “Well, that would be long, long term. I think the processes to go, first step into is trading agreement. And then further on, a new vision, like we are trying to do with NAFTA.”19

So clearly, there is a move on toward a regional currency for North America, in conjunction with the formation of a North American Union. Monetary sovereignty, and especially the power to create and issue money, is perhaps more central to the idea of a free, democratic and sovereign nation than the right to vote. If we do not have the power over the issuance of money, it does not matter whom we vote for. It’s the Golden Rule: he who has the gold, makes the rules. We, as Canadians, and other peoples of their respective nations should never relinquish this sovereignty over to regional boards, private banks, or other unaccountable individuals. It is our right, not a privilege, and giving up such a right is akin to giving up the right to vote; it is anathema to democracy and a free society.

1 Drake Bennett, The Amero Conspiracy. The Boston Globe: November 25, 2007:

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2007/11/25/

the_ameroconspiracy/?page=4

2 Herbert Grubel, Fix the Loonie. The Financial Post: January 18, 2008:

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=245165

3 Fraser Institute, Senior Fellows. Found at:  http://www.fraserinstitute.org/aboutus/whoweare/staff/seniorfellows.htm

4 Marci McDonald, The Man Behind Stephen Harper. Walrus Magazine: October, 2004:

http://www.walrusmagazine.com/articles/

the-man-behind-stephen-harper-tom-flanagan/

5 Fraser Institute, Senior Fellows. Found at:  http://www.fraserinstitute.org/aboutus/whoweare/staff/seniorfellows.htm

6 Herbert Grubel, The Case for the Amero. The Fraser Institute: September 1, 1999:

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/Commerce.Web/publication_details.aspx

?pubID=2512

7 Herbert Grubel, The Case for the Amero. The Fraser Institute: September 1, 1999,

Page 4:

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/Commerce.Web/

publication_details.aspx?pubID=2512

8 Grubel, Ibid, Page 17

9 Grubel, Ibid, Page 17

10 Council on Foreign Relations, Building a North American Community. Independent  Task Force on the Future of North America: May, 2005, Page vii:  http://www.cfr.org/publication/8102/

11 Council on Foreign Relations, Building a North American Community. Independent  Task Force on the Future of North America: May, 2005, Pages 42-48.  http://www.cfr.org/publication/8102/

12 C.D. Howe Institute, Board of Directors. Found at:  http://www.cdhowe.org/display.cfm?page=board

13 Thomas Courchene and Richard Harris, From Fixing to Monetary Union: Options for  North American Currency Integration. C.D. Howe Institute, June 1999:

http://www.cdhowe.org/display.cfm?page=research-fiscal&year=1999

14 Thomas Courchene and Richard Harris, From Fixing to Monetary Union: Options for  North American Currency Integration. C.D. Howe Institute, June 1999, Page 22:

http://www.cdhowe.org/display.cfm?page=research-fiscal&year=1999

15 Thomas Courchene and Richard Harris, From Fixing to Monetary Union: Options for  North American Currency Integration. C.D. Howe Institute, June 1999, Page 23:

http://www.cdhowe.org/display.cfm?page=research-fiscal&year=1999

16 Barrie McKenna, Dodge Says Single Currency ‘Possible’. The Globe and Mail: May  21, 2007

17 Consider a Continental Currency, Jarislowsky Says. The Globe and Mail: November  23, 2007:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071123.

RDOLLAR23/TPStory/?query=%22Steven%2BChase%22b

18 C.D. Howe Institute, Board of Directors. Found at:  http://www.cdhowe.org/display.cfm?page=board

19 CNN, CNN Larry King Live. Transcripts: October 8, 2007:  http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0710/08/lkl.01.html

see

NAU North America Union

North American Union (NAU)

Marshall-Andrew G.

McCarthyism Comes to Europe and the Levant By Franklin Lamb & Ann El Khoury

Dandelion Salad

By Franklin Lamb in Beirut and Ann El Khoury in Sydney
20/01/08 “ICH

The Zionist Targeting of Lebanon’s Dr. Ibrahim Mousawi

You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

— Joseph Welch to Senator Joseph McCarthy, April 1954

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People are dying, Help us! Death & Darkness in Gaza By Maan

Dandelion Salad

By Maan
20/01/08 “ICH

A humanitarian crisis is underway as the Gaza Strip’s only power plant began to shut down on Sunday, and the tiny coastal territory entered its third full day without shipments of vital food and fuel supplies due to Israel’s punitive sanctions.

The Gaza Strip’s power plant has completely shut down on Sunday because it no longer has the fuel needed to keep running. One of the plant’s two electricity-generating turbines had already shut down by noon.

This will drastically reduce output to 25 or 30 megawatts, down from the 65 megawatts the plant produces under normal conditions. By Sunday evening the plant will shut down completely, leaving large swaths of the Gaza Strip in darkness.

Omar Kittaneh, the head of the Palestine Energy Authority in Ramallah, confirmed that by tonight, the one remaining operating turbine will be powered down, and the Gaza power plant will no longer be generating any electricity at all.

“We have asked the Israeli government to reverse its decision and to supply fuel to operate the power plant”, Dr. Kittaneh said. “We have talked to the Israeli humanitarian coordination in their Ministry of Energy [National Infrastructure]. We say this is totally Israel’s responsibility, and that reducing the fuel supplies until the plant had to shut down will affect not only the electrical system but the water supply, and the entire infrastructure in Gaza – everything.”

After months of increasingly harsh sanctions, Israel imposed a total closure on the Strip’s border crossings, even preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid. The Israeli government says the closure is punishment for an ongoing barrage of Palestinian homemade projectiles fired from the Gaza Strip.

“Famine”

180 fuel stations have shut down after Gaza residents to buy gas for cooking.

A Palestinian economist Hasan Abu Ramadan said the current humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip will be deepened by the blockade on fuel and food supplies. He warned that Gaza Strip could go from a situation of deep poverty to all out famine, disease, and malnutrition.

Abu Ramadan said that more than 80% of the Strip’s 1.5 million residents have been surviving with the help of food aid from international organizations such as UNRWA for Palestinian refugees.

International condemnation

Most international actors in the region believe there already is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, including the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, the Undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs John Holmes, who said at a press conference at UNHQ in New York on Friday that “This kind of action against the people in Gaza cannot be justified, even by those rocket attacks”.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed particular concern, in a statement issued later on Friday through his spokesperson, about the “decision by Israel to close the crossing points in between Gaza and Israel used for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Such action cuts off the population from much-needed fuel supplies used to pump water and generate electricity to homes and hospitals”.

The UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied territories, John Dugard, also issued a much sharper statement on Friday, saying that Israel must have foreseen the loss of life and injury to many nearby civilians when it targeted the Ministry of Interior building in Gaza City.

This, and the killings of other Palestinians during the week, plus the closures, “raise very serious questions about Israel’s respect for international law and its Commitment to the peace process”, Dugard said. He said it violates the strict prohibition on collective punishment contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention, and one of the basic principles of international humanitarian law: that military action must distinguish between military targets and civilian targets.

www.freegaza.ps

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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Chomsky: The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine/Israel (video)

Chomsky: The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine/Israel (video)

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!

20 min 39 sec – Nov 27, 2007

Professor of linguistics, at MIT, Noam Chomsky speaking at Boston’s historic Old South Church, October 27, 2007.

Chomsky says U.S. backing of continued Israeli occupation and annexation of Palestinian land is the biggest obstacle to peace.

This is from conference The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine/Israel: Issues of Justice and Equality. The video was broadcasted by Democracy Now! on November 27, 2007.

Transcript: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/27/1547221

Continue reading

Biodefense and Bioweapons Research (video)

Dandelion Salad

talkingsticktv

run time: 44:55 min

Ed Hammond director of The Sunshine Project (www.sunshine-project.org) speaking at the forum Biotech Research & the Law before the Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild at the University of Washington Law School November 29, 2007.

Added: January 19, 2008

see

Possible flu pandemic: US government plans to treat sick people “like potential enemies” By Kevin Mitchell

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

America The Beautiful’s Germ Warfare Rash By Sherwood Ross

Pentagon Poised To Resume Open Air Weapons Testing by Sherwood Ross

Plague of bioweapons accidents afflicts the US by Debora MacKenzie

Give the Candidates the MLK Test by Glen Ford

Dandelion Salad

commentary by Glen Ford
A Black Agenda Radio
Wednesday, 16 January 2008

The “hope-la” and “change-la” emanating from the Obama and Clinton campaigns turned sour as Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday approached. The two front-running candidates and their corporate media-megaphones found themselves on shaky ground when the subject turned to the actual history of MLK and his antagonist/ally, President Lyndon Johnson. The vapidity of the debate revealed, once again, the shallowness of American political discourse, which has been stripped bare of relevance to past, present or future realities. Fortunately, Dr. King left a voluminous record of his own political analyses. Rather than allow them to blather further, the candidates should be tested on the question: What would Dr. King do? All but one would fail.

“What would Dr. King do?”

The corporate media-mangled Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton “debate” over the relative contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson coincides with the birthday of the actual Martin Luther King. Since the corporate media is totally incapable of covering or even tolerating the raising of any issues of substance, and because both Obama and Clinton avoid real issues, real facts, and real history like the plague, we urge that thinking voters put the candidates to the Martin Luther King Test. What would Dr. King do, if he were alive?

The only candidate who would pass the Martin Luther King Test is Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, whose platform for peace, truly universal health care, a living wage, and an end to corporate domination of American life harkens back to that “shining moment” in the Sixties that King mentioned, when there were “hopes” and “new beginnings.” But the corporate media has caused the Kucinich campaign to disappear from coverage and televised debate.

continued… plus audio link

h/t: Dennis 4 President

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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What you may not know about Dr. Martin Luther King + Rev. Yearwood on MLK’s dream (videos)

Obama’s Dubious Praise for Reagan By Robert Parry

Dream versus Nightmare: Pick One – An Open Letter to Barack Obama by The Other Katherine Harris

Kucinich Wins Presidential Endorsement From Key Mexican American Organization

Dennis Kucinich: Soul Meets Body (video)

Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

Obama’s Dubious Praise for Reagan By Robert Parry

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Parry
Consortium News
January 19, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama prides himself in transcending the old ideological chasms that have divided the American electorate for decades, so much so that he recently cited Republican icon Ronald Reagan as a leader who “changed the trajectory of America.”

Though Obama’s chief point was that Reagan in 1980 “put us on a fundamentally different path” – which may be historically undeniable – the Democratic presidential candidate went further, justifying Reagan’s course correction because of “all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s, and government had grown and grown, but there wasn’t much sense of accountability.”

While Obama later clarified his point to say he didn’t mean to endorse Reagan’s conservative policies, the Illinois senator seemed to suggest that Reagan’s 1980 election administered a needed dose of accountability to the U.S. government. In reality, however, accountability wasn’t part of Reagan’s medicine for America. Indeed, one could say the opposite.

On the domestic side, Reagan oversaw the dismantling of regulatory structures that restrained the excesses of Wall Street investment banks, the energy industry and other economic powerhouses. Many of today’s problems – from the mortgage meltdown to the nation’s wasteful energy policies – can be traced to Reagan’s contempt for that type of accountability.

Meanwhile, regarding Reagan’s approach to the world, the documentary record reveals a foreign policy that was one of the most brutal, most corrupt and least accountable in American history.

Reagan’s clandestine dealings with Iran and Iraq remain shrouded in secrecy and deception to this day. Also suppressed has been the full story of how Reagan tolerated drug traffickers who operated under the cover of his favorite covert operations (Nicaragua and Afghanistan). [For details, see Robert Parry’s Lost History and Secrecy & Privilege.]

Even more troubling, Reagan aided and abetted mass slaughters in Central America, including acts of genocide in Guatemala, but neither he nor any of his senior advisers faced any meaningful accountability for their actions. [For details, see below.]

Obama’s negative comparison of former President Bill Clinton to Reagan also could be viewed as a slap at the husband of his principal rival.

Hailing Reagan

In the interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal on Jan. 14, Obama said, “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it.

“I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

Veracifier

Obama: Reagan Changed Direction; Bill Clinton Didn’t

 

But Reagan’s election in November 1980 also was welcomed in other quarters. His victory set off celebrations in the well-to-do communities of Central America. After four years of Jimmy Carter’s human rights nagging, the region’s anticommunist hard-liners were thrilled that they had someone in the White House who understood their problems.

The oligarchs and the generals had good reason for optimism. For years, Reagan had been a staunch defender of right-wing regimes engaged in bloody counterinsurgency campaigns against leftist enemies.

In the late 1970s, when Carter’s human rights coordinator, Pat Derian, criticized the Argentine military for its “dirty war” — tens of thousands of “disappearances,” tortures and murders — then-political commentator Reagan joshed that she should “walk a mile in the moccasins” of the Argentine generals before criticizing them. [Martin Edwin Andersen’s Dossier Secreto.]

Despite his aw shucks style, Reagan found virtually every anticommunist action justified, no matter how brutal.

From his eight years in the White House, there is no historical indication that he was troubled by the bloodbath and even genocide that occurred in Central America during his presidency, while he was shipping hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the implicated forces.

The death toll was staggering — an estimated 70,000 or more political killings in El Salvador, possibly 20,000 slain from the contra war in Nicaragua, about 200 political “disappearances” in Honduras and some 100,000 people eliminated during a resurgence of political violence in Guatemala.

The one consistent element in these slaughters was the overarching Cold War rationalization, emanating from Ronald Reagan’s White House.

War Crimes

Yet, even as the world community has sought to punish war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, no substantive discussion has occurred in the United States about facing up to Reagan’s horrendous record of the 1980s.

Rather than a debate about Reagan as a war criminal, the former President, who died in 2004, has been showered with honors as a conservative icon. His name was attached to Washington National Airport as well as to scores of other government buildings around the country.

As part of this rosy view of the Reagan years, the U.S. news media rarely acknowledges the barbarities of the 1980s in Central America. When the topic does come up, it is usually a one-day story about how these little countries bravely are facing up to their violent pasts.

At times, the CIA is mentioned abstractly as a bad supporting actor in the violent dramas. But never does the press corps lay much blame on individual American officials – and especially not Ronald Reagan.

Though Reagan portrayed the bloody conflicts as a necessary front in the Cold War, the Central American violence was always more about entrenched ruling elites determined to retain their privileges against impoverished peasants, including descendants of the region’s Maya Indians, seeking social, political and economic reforms.

One of the most notorious acts of brutality occurred in December 1981 in and around the Salvadoran town of El Mozote. The government’s Atlacatl Battalion – freshly trained and newly armed thanks to Reagan’s supportive policies – systematically slaughtered hundreds of men, women and children.

When the atrocity was revealed by reporters at the New York Times and the Washington Post, the Reagan administration showed off its new strategy of “perception management,” denying the facts and challenging the integrity of the journalists.

Because of that P.R. offensive, the reality about the El Mozote massacre remained in doubt for almost a decade until the war ended and a United Nations forensic team dug up hundreds of skeletons, including many little ones of children.

Skulls as Candle Holders

In January 2007, the Washington Post disclosed another grisly detail. Several months after the massacre, the Salvadoran army returned to the scene and collected skulls of some El Mozote children as novelty items, the Post reported.

“They worked well as candle holders,” recalled one of the soldiers, Jose Wilfredo Salgado, “and better as good luck charms.”

Now, a quarter century later, describing his role piling the tiny skulls into sacks as souvenirs, Salgado acknowledged that he had “lost his love of humanity.”

The Post reported that “witnessing the aftermath of what his colleagues did in El Mozote and reflecting on those skulls changed his mind about how the war was being fought.” Salgada said his mentor, Col. Domingo Monterrosa, who later died in a helicopter crash, had ordered an act of “genocide” in El Mozote.

“If Monterossa had lived,” the Post reported, “Salgada said, he should have been prosecuted for ‘war crimes like a Hitler.’” [Washington Post, Jan. 29, 2007]

But what about the American officials who were the enablers and the protectors of Central America’s mass murderers?

While Monterrosa may have ordered massacres in El Mozote and other towns in El Salvador, President Reagan and other senior U.S. officials collaborated in and covered up those crimes, along with acts of genocide in Guatemala and terrorism in Nicaragua.

Yet, the U.S. officials who supplied the guns, helicopters, advanced technology and political cover have never been called to account. Some, like former State Department official Elliott Abrams, have moved on to oversee the bloody chaos in Iraq.

Criticism also should fall on Bill Clinton, who was the first President elected after the end of the Cold War but rejected suggestions that he authorize an American truth commission to investigate U.S. complicity in the era’s crimes, as was done in Argentina, South Africa and other countries.

Only late in his eight-year presidency did Clinton agree to declassify documents for use by a Guatemalan truth commission examining three decades of political violence that had torn that Central American country apart and claimed some 200,000 lives.

The worst of the Guatemalan violence – like the bloodletting in El Salvador and Nicaragua – came after the election of Reagan in November 1980.

The Guatemalan Genocide

Once in office, Reagan chipped away at an arms embargo imposed on Guatemala by Carter who was offended by its ghastly human rights record. A fundamental part of Reagan’s strategy was to silence criticism of the atrocities whether the accusations were coming from the news media, human rights groups or the U.S. intelligence community.

In April 1981, for instance, a secret CIA cable described a Guatemalan army massacre of peasants at Cocob, near Nebaj in the Ixil Indian territory. On April 17, 1981, government troops had attacked the area, which was believed to support leftist guerrillas, the cable said.

According to a CIA source, “the social population appeared to fully support the guerrillas” and “the soldiers were forced to fire at anything that moved.” The CIA cable added that “the Guatemalan authorities admitted that ‘many civilians’ were killed in Cocob, many of whom undoubtedly were non-combatants.”

While keeping the CIA account secret, Reagan permitted Guatemala’s army to buy $3.2 million in military trucks and jeeps in June 1981. Confident of Reagan’s sympathies, the Guatemalan government continued its political repression without apology.

According to a State Department cable on Oct. 5, 1981, Guatemalan leaders met with Reagan’s roving ambassador, retired Gen. Vernon Walters, and left no doubt about their plans. Guatemala’s military dictator, Gen. Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia, “made clear that his government will continue as before – that the repression will continue,” the cable said.

Human rights groups saw the same picture. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission released a report on Oct. 15, 1981, blaming the Guatemalan government for “thousands of illegal executions.”

But the Reagan administration sought to confuse the American public. A State Department “white paper” in December 1981 blamed the violence on leftist “extremist groups” and their “terrorist methods,” inspired and supported by Cuba’s Fidel Castro.

Yet, even as these rationalizations were sold to the American people, U.S. intelligence agencies in Guatemala continued to learn about government-sponsored massacres. One CIA report in February 1982 described an army sweep through the so-called Ixil Triangle in central El Quiche province, an area where descendants of the ancient Maya lived.

“The commanding officers of the units involved have been instructed to destroy all towns and villages which are cooperating with the Guerrilla Army of the Poor [known as the EGP] and eliminate all sources of resistance,” the report said. “Since the operation began, several villages have been burned to the ground, and a large number of guerrillas and collaborators have been killed.”

The CIA report explained the army’s modus operandi: “When an army patrol meets resistance and takes fire from a town or village, it is assumed that the entire town is hostile and it is subsequently destroyed. … The well-documented belief by the army that the entire Ixil Indian population is pro-EGP has created a situation in which the army can be expected to give no quarter to combatants and non-combatants alike.”

Rios Montt Coup

In March 1982, the violence continued to ratchet up when Gen. Efrain Rios Montt seized power in a coup d’etat. An avowed fundamentalist Christian, he was hailed by Reagan as “a man of great personal integrity.”

By July 1982, Rios Montt had begun a new scorched-earth campaign. In October, he also gave secret carte blanche to the feared “Archivos” intelligence unit to expand “death squad” operations.

The U.S. embassy was soon hearing more accounts of the army conducting Indian massacres. But the political officers knew that such grim news was not welcome back in Washington and to report it would only damage their careers.

So, the embassy cables increasingly began to spin the evidence in ways that would best serve Reagan’s hard-line foreign policy. On Oct. 22, 1982, the embassy sought to explain away the mounting evidence of genocide by arguing that the Rios Montt government was the victim of a communist-inspired “disinformation campaign.”

Reagan picked up on that theme. During a swing through Latin America, he discounted the growing evidence that hundreds of Mayan villages were being eradicated.

On Dec. 4, 1982, after meeting with Rios Montt, Reagan hailed the general as “totally dedicated to democracy” and declared that the Rios Montt government was “getting a bum rap.”

On Jan. 7, 1983, Reagan lifted the ban on military aid to Guatemala and authorized the sale of $6 million in military hardware. Approval covered spare parts for UH-1H helicopters and A-37 aircraft used in counterinsurgency operations.

In February 1983, a secret CIA cable noted a rise in “suspect right-wing violence” with kidnappings of students and teachers. Bodies of victims were appearing in ditches and gullies. CIA sources traced these political murders to Rios Montt’s order to the “Archivos” in October 1982 to “apprehend, hold, interrogate and dispose of suspected guerrillas as they saw fit.”

Sugarcoated Facts

Despite these grisly realities on the ground, the annual State Department human rights survey sugarcoated the facts for the American public and praised the supposedly improved human rights situation in Guatemala. “The overall conduct of the armed forces had improved by late in the year” 1982, the report stated.

A different picture – far closer to the secret government reports – was coming from independent human rights investigators. On March 17, 1983, Americas Watch representatives condemned the Guatemalan army for human rights atrocities against the Indian population.

New York attorney Stephen L. Kass said these findings included proof that the government carried out “virtually indiscriminate murder of men, women and children of any farm regarded by the army as possibly supportive of guerrilla insurgents.”

Rural women suspected of guerrilla sympathies were raped before execution, Kass said. Children were “thrown into burning homes. They are thrown in the air and speared with bayonets. We heard many, many stories of children being picked up by the ankles and swung against poles so their heads are destroyed.” [AP, March 17, 1983]

Publicly, however, senior Reagan officials continued to put on a happy face.

On June 12, 1983, special envoy Richard B. Stone praised “positive changes” in Rios Montt’s government. But, in reality, Rios Montt’s vengeful Christian fundamentalism was hurtling out of control, even by Guatemalan standards. In August 1983, Gen. Oscar Mejia Victores seized power in another coup.

Despite the power shift, Guatemalan security forces continued the killings.

Guatemala, of course, was not the only Central American country where Reagan and his administration supported brutal military operations and then sought to cover up the bloody facts. Reagan’s falsification of the historical record became a hallmark of the conflicts in El Salvador and Nicaragua, too.

In one case, Reagan personally lashed out at a human rights investigator named Reed Brody, a New York lawyer who had collected affidavits from more than 100 witnesses to atrocities carried out by the U.S.-supported contras in Nicaragua.

Angered by the revelations about his contra “freedom-fighters,” Reagan denounced Brody in a speech on April 15, 1985, calling him “one of dictator [Daniel] Ortega’s supporters, a sympathizer who has openly embraced Sandinismo.”

Privately, Reagan had a far more accurate understanding of the contras. At one point, Reagan turned to CIA official Duane Clarridge and demanded that the contras be used to destroy some Soviet-supplied helicopters that had arrived in Nicaragua.

In his memoir, A Spy for All Seasons, Clarridge recalled that “President Reagan pulled me aside and asked, ‘Dewey, can’t you get those vandals of yours to do this job.'” Clarridge also acknowledged that “the people then in power in El Salvador were an unsavory collection of rightist cutthroats with an abominable record on human rights.”

Political Taboo

The election of Bill Clinton – as the first President to take office after the end of the Cold War – offered a unique opportunity to expose the real history of the era and hold American war criminals to account. But Clinton and his advisers saw such investigations as a distraction and chose instead to focus on economic and social legislation.

After 1994, with the Republican congressional landslide, the opportunity was lost. Instead, the Republicans transformed Reagan into an icon, naming scores of buildings and other facilities after him, including National Airport.

An honest accounting of what really happened under Reagan’s presidency became a political taboo in the United States. Even when Clinton finally released incriminating U.S. documents to a Guatemalan truth commission, the evidence never got the attention that it deserved.

On Feb. 25, 1999, Guatemala’s Historical Clarification Commission issued a report on the human rights crimes that Reagan and his administration had aided, abetted – and concealed. The independent human rights body estimated that some 200,000 Guatemalans had died, with the most savage bloodletting occurring in the 1980s.

The report documented that in the 1980s, the army committed 626 massacres against Mayan villages. “The massacres that eliminated entire Mayan villages … are neither perfidious allegations nor figments of the imagination, but an authentic chapter in Guatemala’s history,” the commission concluded.

The army “completely exterminated Mayan communities, destroyed their livestock and crops,” the report said. In the northern highlands, the report termed the slaughter a “genocide.”

Besides carrying out murder and “disappearances,” the army routinely engaged in torture and rape. “The rape of women, during torture or before being murdered, was a common practice” by the military and paramilitary forces, the report found.

The report added that the “government of the United States, through various agencies including the CIA, provided direct and indirect support for some [of these] state operations.” The report concluded that the U.S. government also gave money and training to Guatemalan military units that committed “acts of genocide” against the Mayas.

“Believing that the ends justified everything, the military and the state security forces blindly pursued the anticommunist struggle, without respect for any legal principles or the most elemental ethical and religious values, and in this way, completely lost any semblance of human morals,” said the commission chairman, Christian Tomuschat, a German jurist.

An Apology

During a visit to Central America, on March 10, 1999, President Clinton apologized for the past U.S. support of right-wing regimes in Guatemala.

“For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that support for military forces and intelligence units which engaged in violence and widespread repression was wrong, and the United States must not repeat that mistake,” Clinton said.

But the story of the Reagan-backed genocide of the Mayan Indians was quickly forgotten, as Republicans and the Washington press corps wrapped Reagan’s legacy in a fuzzy blanket of heroic mythology.

Now, as Sen. Obama seeks to portray himself as a new kind of post-partisan politician, he seems to be buying into those old comfortable happy thoughts about Ronald Reagan. To the delight of right-wingers like Patrick Buchanan, Obama is paying deference to their hero.

While that might help Obama politically with some independents and Republicans, it doesn’t exactly define him as a new kind of politician. For a generation now, Democrats – eager to give themselves some cover on the right – have slipped praise for Reagan into their speeches.

If Obama really wanted to be a different kind of politician, he might instead stand for the truth, even when it is politically difficult and unpopular. He might acknowledge that while Reagan did put the United States on a “fundamentally different path,” it was not a path that led to either accountability or to justice.


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


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

see

Dream versus Nightmare: Pick One – An Open Letter to Barack Obama by The Other Katherine Harris

Bad Mouthing De-regulation by Ralph Nader

They Lie! Impeach Bush/Cheney! (music video)

Dandelion Salad

MITYFLEA

We need to get together to impeach these bastards from office. Get informed!

http://www.impeachbush.org

January 20, 2008

see

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

Randi Rhodes: Wexler: Impeach Cheney interview

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

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

Impeach

FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft

Dandelion Salad

The Sunday Times
by Chris Gourlay, Jonathan Calvert and Joe Lauria
January 20, 2008

The FBI has been accused of covering up a file detailing government dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets

THE FBI has been accused of covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt government officials and their dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets.

The assertion follows allegations made in The Sunday Times two weeks ago by Sibel Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower, who worked on the agency’s investigation of the network.

Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office.

She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

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.

see

Nukes, Spooks, And The Specter of 9/11 By Justin Raimondo

Sibel Edmonds, Turkey & the Bomb – A Real 9/11 Cover-Up? by Dave Lindorff

For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets

America’s Road to Tyranny By Vincent L. Guarisco

FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Will Now Tell All – and Face Charges if Necessary By Brad Friedman

Nukes Over America: Just a Stupid Mistake. Sure It Is By Dave Lindorff

Nevada/South Carolina Primaries Update With Stats by Rob Kall

See: SC Democratic Primary Results 01.26.08

Dandelion Salad

by Rob Kall
http://www.opednews.com
January 20, 2008 at 07:53:47

Hillary Clinton defeated Obama in Nevada, in a close race, pulling 51% to Obama’s 45%. Among Nevada Democratic voters, 59% were women, and the 68% of them were over 45– both demographics that favored Clinton.

John Edwards pulled 4% of the vote.

While Clinton grabbed the psychological “win” she actually won one less electoral vote. Obama got 13 to Hillary’s 12 and the Obama camp claimed that Obama “won” the all important delegate count race.

Clinton won with women and Latinos– with Latinos choosing Clinton three to one over Obama.

***

Romney was a clear, huge winner in Nevada yesterday, with 52% of the vote, helped by one of the largest populations of Mormons in any state outside of Utah.

Ron Paul won a solid second place finish with 14% ahead of John McCain, with 13%, and with Huckabee and Thompson each with 8% and Giuliani with 4%. Paul doubled Giuliani’s votes.

52% of Republican voters were male.

***

John McCain won the GOP race in South Carolina with 33%, followed by Huckabee with 30%, Thompson 16%, Romney out of the “medals” in 4th place, with 15%, Paul with 4%, Giuliani with 2%.

McCain got 19 delegates (exceeding the 18 Romney won in NV,) Huckabee got 5 and the rest got none.

Crooksandliars.com reports that McCain won with a little more than half the votes he had in 2000, and that the Republican turnout was 100,000 less than it was in 2000. Not exactly what we’d call enthusiasm for candidates.

In 2000 McCain took 237,888 votes in South Carolina. Tonight he has just over half those number of votes with 134,474 as I write this. Republican turnout will be well below where it was in 2000. More than 100,000 votes short. With five Republican primaries, Rudy Giuliani has half the number of votes of Ron Paul.

Got that? The guy the corpstream MSM give all the attention to– Rudy Giuiliani– has accumulated half the votes of Ron Paul. Do you think that will change the amount of coverage Paul will be getting?

The next hot action will be in SC next weekend for the Dem primary, and in Florida on January 29th. The latest poll puts Hillary Clinton far ahead of Obama in Florida. Based on her performance in Nevada, pulling the Latino vote three to one over Obama, Florida is hers to lose.

Rob Kall is executive editor and publisher of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, inventor and organizer of several conferences, including StoryCon, the Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story and The Winter Brain Meeting on neurofeedback, biofeedback, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology. He is a frequent Speaker on Politics, Impeachment, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero’s journey, Positive Psychology, Stress, Biofeedback and a wide range of subjects. See more of his articles here and, older ones, here.

To learn more about me and OpEdNews.com, check out this article. A few declarations. -While I’m registered as a Democrat, I consider myself to be a dynamic critic of the Democratic party, just as, well, not quite as much, but almost as much as I am a critic of republicans. My articles express my personal opinion, not the opinion of this website.

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

SC Democratic Primary Results 01.26.08

E-Voting Train Wreck 2008: The Horry County, SC Disaster h/t: Dennis Kucinich (the ORIGINAL UNOFFICIAL Page)

Ron Paul: 2nd Place in Nevada (short video)

Paul-Ron

US Weapons Sales: President Bush Arming Fellow Tyrants Globally by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, January 19, 2008

“In the last six years, Washington has stepped up its sales and transfers of high-technology weapons, military training, and other military assistance to governments regardless of their respect for human rights, democratic principles, or nonproliferation,” according to a report in the current(Jan.-Feb.) “Arms Control Today,” published online by the Arms Control Association (ACA). “All that matters is that they have pledged their assistance in the global war on terrorism.”

You read it right. The Bush regime has been using 9/11 as an excuse for the reckless sale of weapons around the globe, working $16.9 billion in new arms deals in 2006, 41.9 percent of the world’s total. This compares to runners-up Russia, $8.7 billion, and Great Britain, $3.1 billion, writes Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information(CDI), which tracks such data.

Despots once banned from getting U.S. weapons and training are being showered with both. “By providing military assistance with a disregard for human rights(HR) conditions, the U.S. is not only giving up the opportunity to use military assistance as leverage to improve (HR conditions), but is also rewarding abusive governments for their unconscionable actions,” Stohl writes.

Noting that U.S. aid is growing “at the same time as human rights conditions are worsening,” Stohl cites the example of Ethiopia, “which is carrying out a brutal counterinsurgency campaign within its own borders” and Nepal, whose security forces “opened fire on peaceful strikers and anti-government demonstrations.” Bush is also funneling millions into Uzbekistan, where thousands of Muslims have been imprisoned without due process and many tortured to death.

One headline-making scandal, of course, is the $10 billion in taxpayer’s money Bush has funneled to the Pakistan military since 9/11, where General Pervez Musharraf has habitually disappeared his political foes, and recently invoked emergency rule, suspended the constitution and jailed thousands. Bush okayed the multi-billion dollar sale to Musharraf of F-16 jet fighters that can pack nuclear warheads, just as he okayed their sale earlier to India, escalating the capability of these long-time antagonists to inflict dreadful atrocities if they go to war.

Since 2001, CDI has tracked skyrocketing U.S. military aid to the following 25 countries that “have a unique role in the ‘war on terror’ through the strategic services they provide the U.S.”: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

CDI documented U.S. aid in foreign military, and direct commercial, sales to the 25 soared 400% over the five years prior to 9/11. This despite a 2006 U.S. State Department finding of “serious,” “grave,” or “significant” abuses committed by them against their own citizens.

CDI summarizes, “the U.S. is sending unprecedented levels of military assistance to countries that it simultaneously criticizes for lack of respect for human rights and, in some cases, for questionable democratic processes.”

According to reporter Stohl, what the U.S. is billing as “counterterrorism training” often is nothing more than “counterinsurgency training.” This results, she says, in the U.S. “involving itself in internal conflicts around the world and is in practice encouraging countries to continue their internal struggles that predate September 11, 2001.”

President Bush is just back from the Middle East where he preached the virtues of “democracy.” His arms sales, though, betray his forked tongue.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based writer who covers military and political topics. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com

Sherwood Ross is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Sherwood Ross

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

www.globalresearch.ca 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: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7850

If the election were today, who would you vote for? LA Times Poll

Dandelion Salad

Vote here.

Campaign ’08: vote now

If the election were today, who would you vote for?

21.7%
Hillary Clinton

(4253 responses)

11.8%
John Edwards

(2309 responses)

1.7%
Rudy Giuliani

(342 responses)

2.5%
Mike Huckabee

(488 responses)

3.0%
Dennis Kucinich

(598 responses)

4.2%
John McCain

(834 responses)

22.4%
Barack Obama

(4390 responses)

28.3%
Ron Paul

(5546 responses)

3.3%
Mitt Romney

(657 responses)

1.1%
Fred Thompson

(207 responses)

19624 total responses

h/t: C.H.A.R.A. & Ron Paul 2008

***

Here’s another one:

http://ourvote.us/

total votes chart

h/t: Lorie, Tina www.Dennis4President.com & Winged Ladye, www.Dennis4President.com

see

Poll-Polls

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo (lots of polls, surveys, etc.)

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

Paul-Ron

Ron Paul on Russian TV (video)

Feel free to repost but be polite and include a link back to the blog post please.  ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

RussiaToday

‘I want to continue peaceful process with Russia’: Ron Paul 

Ron Paul, 2008 U.S. Republican presidential hopeful, is critical of America’s current policy towards Russia. He commented to RT on his political views.

Added: January 20, 2008

see

Ron Paul: 2nd Place in Nevada (short video)

Paul-Ron

What you may not know about Dr. Martin Luther King + Rev. Yearwood on MLK’s dream (videos)

Dandelion Salad

bravenewfilms

What you may not know about Dr. Martin Luther King

http://warongreed.org/dreams.php

Today we honor Dr. King’s birthday. We all know him because of his historic impact on civil rights, but many don’t realize that later in life he fought just as passionately for the rights of workers and against the entrenched institutions of injustice.

“Equality means dignity. And dignity demands a job and a paycheck that lasts through the week.”

The War on Greed is exactly this kind of fight. The livelihoods of families have been directly attacked by the actions of buyout billionaires like Henry Kravis putting Wall Street’s special interests ahead of his 800,000 employees… and pocketing $51,000 an hour in the process.

The first step must be taxing these buyout billionaires at a fair tax rate. It will not solve all the problems, but it is a strong and forceful beginning. With the presidential campaigns underway, it is the perfect time to force this issue into the campaigns the way we did with Wal-Mart and Iraq for Sale.

As our friend Rev. Yearwood, leader of the Hip Hop Caucus, has said: “We are facing a lunch counter moment for the 21st century.”

Please join us at our virtual lunch counter by signing the petition to presidential candidates demanding they pledge to close the loopholes and tax the tax dodgers. Buyout billionaires are a menace to our economy. People are hurting, badly, and we must take beginning steps to bring the issue of corporate greed and economic equality to the nation’s attention.

War on Greed: Rev. Yearwood on MLK’s dream

http://warongreed.org/

see

How the private equity buyout industry works (videos)

“Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)”

Robert Greenwald fights for the dream (video)

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