How Dictators spread Democracy (video; 1940)

Dandelion Salad

Andy McMarsland

This proves more than the old adage “truth is stranger than fiction” A Brilliant observation from yesteryear of just how Dictators parade themselves as the defenders of Democracy.

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Iniquities and Inequities of War By Ray McGovern

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By Ray McGovern
2/08 “ICH

“For the oppressors, what is worthwhile is to have more—always more—even at the cost of the oppressed having less or having nothing. For them, to be is to have and to be the class of the ‘haves.’”
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Finally, the truth is seeping out. Contrary to how President George W. Bush has tried to justify the Iraq war in the past, he has now clumsily—if inadvertently—admitted that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was aimed primarily at seizing predominant influence over its oil by establishing permanent (the administration favors “enduring”) military bases.

He made this transparently clear by adding a signing statement to the defense appropriation bill, indicating that he would not be bound by the law’s prohibition against expending funds:

“(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq,” or

“(2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.”

But, if you have been asleep for the past five years, you may ask, what about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and its ties to al-Qaeda? A recent study by the Center for Public Integrity found that Bush made 260 false claims about these in the two years following 9/11. He was followed closely by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell with 254. Nor can they any longer pretend they were deceived by faulty intelligence, since hard evidence that continues to accumulate shows they knew exactly what they were doing.

Moreover, it has become abundantly clear that the “surge” of 30,000 troops into Iraq was aimed—pure and simple—at staving off definitive defeat until Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are safely out of office. Some, but not all, of those 30,000 troops are slated for withdrawal, but those who still expect more sizable withdrawals have not been reading the tea leaves. It is altogether likely there will still be 150,000 U.S. troops, and even more than that number of contractors, in Iraq a year from now.

In the administration’s view, the oil-and-bases prize is well worth the indignity of refereeing a civil war and additional troop casualties. That view was reflected recently in the words of a well-heeled suburbanite, who suggested to me, “You must concede that a few GIs killed every week is a small price to pay for the oil we need. Many more died in Vietnam, and there wasn’t even any oil there.”

That person was unusually blunt, but I believe his thinking may be widely shared, at least subconsciously, by those Americans who are not directly affected by the war—which is to say he vast majority. It is easier to assimilate and parrot the administration’s dishonesty than to confront the reality that these are consequential lies. They bring untold death and destruction—and not only in Iraq, where several hundred thousand civilians are dead and one out of six families have been displaced—but to thousands of our fellow citizens as well.

The Human Cost

Not only have almost 4,000 American troops been killed, but another 30,000 have been wounded in action. Veterans Administration documents obtained by Veterans for Common Sense show that nearly 264,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans already have been treated at VA hospitals, including more than 100,000 for mental health conditions.

According to a Harvard University report, the VA is projected to spend up to $700 billion over the next 40 years for medical care and disability payments for veterans of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Add the billions sunk every week into the quagmire of Iraq—it is madness.

We are approaching a trillion-dollar war, while our Treasury is bankrupt, our economy is in shambles, and our infrastructure crumbles. The only things on an upward swing are the profits of oil companies…and suicides in the military.

For a fraction of the money wasted on an un-winnable occupation-cum-armed-referee-duty in Iraq, premium health care could be provided to every American, including veterans, whom we owe big time, and the almost 50 million of our brothers and sisters who lack health insurance.

The iniquities of war have widened the inequities in our society, stretching the gap between the haves and the have-nots. It is not right for me, one of the haves, to have so disproportionate a share of the nation’s wealth and opportunity. Nowhere is this more obvious than the access to excellent health care to which privilege has “entitled” me. A recently discovered challenge to my health brought this home to me like a ton of bricks.

Why Me?

The doctors said they needed more tissue from what they called the “mass” in my lower abdomen, so they could determine what kind of cancer had set up shop there. There was some sense of urgency, so just days later a surgeon made room for me at the end of a very busy New Year’s Eve.

The cutting was over; the stitches were in; the pain was slight; and there I was, wide awake in a comfortable hospital room, welcoming 2008 with painful questions.

For the hundredth time I found myself asking, Why me?

But wait—it may not be what you’re thinking.

The troubling question was why was I privileged to have prompt access to the best in medical care, when such is not available to most of our veterans and some 50 million other Americans. We are called to be concerned about our brothers and sisters. It did not seem fair.

Why was it that I could expect excellent doctors to plan a therapy regime that would probably shrink the grapefruit-sized cancerous “mass” and add still more years to my 68? What about the others? Without access to good doctors and advanced medical technology, is it likely that they would not become of their “mass” until it was the size of a melon—and perhaps too late?

Waking Up

The anesthesia had worn off, and the only real discomfort came from the dangling questions. December had brought surprise and new awareness. I needed some quiet time to process it all, and the turn of the year seemed appropriate. So I turned off the TV and scribbled what follows.

To hear I had been invaded by cancer was a bummer. But from the very start that unwelcome surprise was softened by awareness that I was one of the lucky ones. No, not “lucky”—privileged.

A health insurance card lay in the white knapsack full of privilege that I carry around with me, usually without much awareness on my part. The voice of conscience was whispering that it is not right to be unaware. One out of six Americans have no insurance card in their knapsack or in the plastic bag that serves as their chest of drawers. Is that the America of which we were once so proud?

It started with my swollen right leg. No big deal, I thought; I had simply sprained that ankle too many times playing basketball. And besides, varicose veins run in my family. Small wonder my blood was having trouble circulating down that way.

But at my annual physical my doctor saw it differently. We needed to find out what was causing the swelling. Sclerotherapy, a sophisticated, expensive procedure seemed indicated, but would my insurance cover it? It would, so we went ahead.

But the swelling got worse, suggesting some kind of blockage higher up. Enter the world of multimillion-dollar technology—CT-scan, PET-scan, and pinpointing of the mass, followed quickly by a needle biopsy. All covered by insurance.

It looked like lymphoma. But the oncologist wanted to be sure of exactly what variety of lymphoma it was before he decided what the optimum treatment regime might be. Hence, the New Year’s Eve surgery and extraction of tissue immediately dispatched to the Mayo Clinic for a thorough pathology report. See what I mean about privileged?

Stress Tests…

My thoughts went back to the thallium stress test before the surgery. The nurses injected some dye and measured my heart on an accelerating treadmill to induce stress. They encouraged me, and stood ready to catch me if I fell off. I found myself thinking of less benign ways to induce stress—stress positions, sensory deprivation, and what President Bush calls “an alternative set of procedures.” And my thoughts went to Guantanamo and the hundreds of prisoners flown there in shackles with no assurance they would survive the kind of deliberately induced stress they would encounter there.

And then they strapped me onto a narrow gurney where I had to remain still for twenty minutes while another million-dollar machine hovered low over my chest and took pictures. There were two technicians and nurses there to ensure my comfort and allay my concerns. And I thought of the gurneys of Guantanamo and the strapped-in prisoners surrounded by other kinds of folks, including physicians and psychologists who, in a mockery of the Hippocratic oath, do their best to inflict, not alleviate pain.

…and Suicide

I also thought of the two dozen Guantanamo detainees who tried to starve themselves to death two and a half years ago. They, too, were strapped onto gurneys, while thick plastic tubes were forced through their noses to force-feed enough nourishment to keep them alive, lest the Bush administration be embarrassed. On June 10, 2006 three detainees did succeed in hanging themselves, the first successful suicides after 41attempts by some 25 individual detainees.

Those detainees’ hope was for the release that comes with death; I could hope for healing.

The three who killed themselves incurred the wrath of Guantanamo commander, Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., who announced that the suicides were “not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare against us.” In similar spirit, Colleen Graffy, deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, told the BBC that the suicides “certainly (are) a good PR move to draw attention.”

I wonder how Graffy would describe the actions of those U.S. veterans experiencing such suffering that they, too, commit suicide. A CBS study showed that in 2005 alone, 6,256 veterans of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan took their own lives, many of them after experiencing very long waiting lines for medical treatment. That is an average of 17 suicides a day. Shame on us!

As for those on active duty, “Soldier Suicide at Record Level,” a report by the Washington Post’s Dana Priest on Jan. 31, shows that in 2007 suicides among active duty soldiers reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980.

Army 1st Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside, 25, made the most recent known suicide attempt. On Monday evening, as the president gave his State-of-the-Union address, Whiteside swallowed dozens of antidepressants and other pills, after leaving a note expressing the hope that “this will help other soldiers.” Thanks to a Good Samaritan neighbor, who quickly called Walter Reed Army Medical Center authorities, Whiteside’s survived. She has now been transferred from the intensive care unit to the psychiatric ward.

Lt. Whiteside is a high achieving graduate of the University of Virginia and had been given high ratings by her Army superiors. She decided to talk to Dana Priest late last year, after a soldier Whiteside had befriended at the psychiatric ward of Walter Reed Army Medical Center hanged herself after being discharged without benefits.


Many U.S. servicemen and women can blame their cancer on contamination from the depleted uranium used in artillery and other shells and toxic chemicals that have saturated regions of Iraq, including populated areas, leading to a spurt of cancer illnesses.

Against this background, I reflected on how fortunate I was that the cause of the cancer that had invaded me would probably remain a mystery. I wondered how it would feel to be able to trace a fatal disease to the instruments of war; how it would feel to be an Iraqi parent watching a child die of cancer, or living in fear that a new child might be born with serious birth defects.

No, I cannot blame my illness on someone’s negligence, or cavalier disregard of the consequences of highly toxic weaponry. But thousands of Iraqis can. And so, too, can those U.S. troops who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq—including in the virtually “casualty-less” Gulf War in 1991. How many Americans are aware that, of the almost 700,000 deployed to theater during the 1991 Gulf War, roughly one in three has sought medical care from the VA?

You didn’t know that? Please ask yourself why.

Higher Powers and Favorite Philosophers

President Bush has recently taken to talking again about his “higher power” and redemption.

The higher power with whom I try to stay in touch is concerned first and foremost with justice and then (only then) peace. In the biblical sense, peace is no more nor less than the experience of justice.

I would guess the Bush’s higher power was appalled at the Coliseum-type spectacle Monday evening, as the President of the United States played cheerleader for Team America killing still more people—to standing ovations from his supporters in Congress.

Nor would the person President Bush has called his “favorite political philosopher,” Jesus of Nazareth, be likely to endorse the spectacle, much less join in. He had a pretty clear take on all this.

As we reflect on the growing inequality in this country, manifested so clearly in whether or not one has access to quality health care, we might remind the president of what his favorite philosopher had to say about goats—not as in “My Pet Goat,” but goats portrayed as lining up for a serious, long-term “alternative set of procedures.”

And the goats will turn and ask: ‘Lord, when did we see you…ill…and not attend to your needs?’
And he will answer: ‘As often as you neglected to do it for the least of these, you neglected to do it for me.’ (Matthew 25)

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer in the Sixties and then a CIA analyst for 27 years. In Jan. 2003, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

A shorter version of this article was posted Thursday on

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.


The Threat of Section 1222 By James Rothenberg (link)

State of Union Came With a Signing Statement + Signing Statement Silence By David Swanson

Dead For Lies by Cindy Sheehan

Charles Lewis (Center for Public Integrity) 935 Lies (and Counting) (video)

Bob Drogin: Curveball: Spies, Lies & the Con Man Who Caused a War (video)

Would a Democratic President pull out of Iraq? (video)

New analysis ‘confirms’ 1 million+ Iraq casualties by The Opinion Research Business

Cutting carbon: What is the solution? (video)

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Larry Lohmann suggests leaving fossil fuels in the ground

Wednesday January 30th, 2008

Added: February 01, 2008

Does carbon trading really work? + global recession + unions (videos)

The Most IMPORTANT Video You’ll Ever See (videos; Parts 1-4)

The Most IMPORTANT Video You’ll Ever See (videos; Parts 5-8)

How It All Ends: Your Mission (global warming; must-see videos)

How It All Ends (Global Warming; must-see video; links)

Barack Obama Has Me Fired Up & Ready To Go! Or Feed Your Head by Davis Fleetwood

Please watch the entire video. ~ Lo

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Nader takes steps towards another White House bid

Nader considers running for president again (videos)

Sitting Out the Election By Mary Pitt

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By Mary Pitt
01/02/08 “

It looks as if the 2008 Presidential campaign may be over at my house. I am considering what other things I can find to do in order to be busy on election day. The choices have been winnowed down until I can find no reason for hope with any of the remaining candidates. I realize that there is much fodder for the talking heads on television as the pseudo rivalry continues but I have now lost interest.

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In opposition to the Protect America Act By Rep. Ron Paul, M.D.

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By Rep. Ron Paul, M.D.

30 January 2008

Statement of Ron Paul on H.R. 5104

A bill to extend the Protect America Act of 2007 for 30 Days

Madame Speaker, I rise in opposition to the extension of the Protect America Act of 2007 because the underlying legislation violates the US Constitution.

The mis-named Protect America Act allows the US government to monitor telephone calls and other electronic communications of American citizens without a warrant. This clearly violates the Fourth Amendment, which states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Protect America Act sidelines the FISA Court system and places authority over foreign surveillance in the director of national intelligence and the attorney general with little if any oversight. While proponents of this legislation have argued that the monitoring of American citizens would still require a court-issued warrant, the bill only requires that subjects be “reasonably believed to be outside the United States .” Further, it does not provide for the Fourth Amendment protection of American citizens if they happen to be on the other end of the electronic communication where the subject of surveillance is a non-citizen overseas.

We must remember that the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed in 1978 as a result of the U.S. Senate investigations into the federal government’s illegal spying on American citizens. Its purpose was to prevent the abuse of power from occurring in the future by establishing guidelines and prescribing oversight to the process. It was designed to protect citizens, not the government. The effect seems to have been opposite of what was intended. These recent attempts to “upgrade” FISA do not appear to be designed to enhance protection of our civil liberties, but to make it easier for the government to spy on us!

The only legitimate “upgrade” to the original FISA legislation would be to allow surveillance of conversations that begin and end outside the United States between non-US citizens where the telephone call is routed through the United States . Technology and the global communications market have led to more foreign to foreign calls being routed through the United States . This adjustment would solve the problems outlined by the administration without violating the rights of US citizens.

While I would not oppose technical changes in FISA that the intelligence community has indicated are necessary, Congress should not use this opportunity to chip away at even more of our constitutional protections and civil liberties. I urge my colleagues to oppose this and any legislation that violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

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.


Keith Olbermann Special Comment: FISA (video)

The Evolution of Evil By Joel S. Hirschhorn

Dandelion Salad

By Joel S. Hirschhorn
01/02/08 “

Activists and dissidents should understand that evil forces and tyrannical governments have evolved. Just as human knowledge and science expand, so do the strategies and instruments used by rulers, elites and plutocrats. By learning from history and using new technology they have smarter tools of tyranny. The best ones prevent uprisings, revolutions and political reforms. Rather than violently destroy rebellious movements, they let them survive as marginalized and ineffective efforts that divert and sap the energy of nonconformist and rebellious thinkers. Real revolution remains an energy-draining dream, as evil forces thrive.

Most corrupt and legally sanctioned forms of tyranny hide in plain sight as democracies with free elections. The toughest lesson is that ALL elections are distractions. Nothing conceals tyranny better than elections. Few Americans accept that their government has become a two-party plutocracy run by a rich and powerful ruling class. The steady erosion of the rule of law is masked by everyday consumer freedoms. Because people want to be happy and hopeful, we have an epidemic of denial, especially in the present presidential campaign. But to believe that any change-selling politician or shift in party control will overturn the ruling class is the epitome of self-delusion and false hope. In the end, such wishful thinking perpetuates plutocracy. Proof is that plutocracy has flourished despite repeated change agents, promises of reform and partisan shifts.

The tools of real rebellion are weak. Activists and dissidents look back and see successful rebellions and revolutions and think that when today’s victims of tyranny experience enough pain and see enough political stink they too will revolt. This is wrong. They think that the Internet spreads information and inspiration to the masses, motivating them to revolt. This is wrong. They await catastrophic economic or environmental collapse to spur rebellion. This too is wrong.

Why are these beliefs wrong? Power elites have an arsenal of weapons to control and manipulate social, political and economic systems globally: corruption of public officials that make elections a sham; corporate mainstream media that turn news into propaganda; manipulation of financial markets that create fear for the public and profits for the privileged; false free trade globalization that destroys the middle class; rising economic inequality that keep the masses time-poor and financially insecure; intense marketing of pharmaceuticals that keep people passive; and addictive consumerism, entertainment and gambling that keep people distracted and pacified.

The biggest challenge for dissidents and rebels is to avoid feel-good therapeutic activism having virtually no chance of removing evil and tyranny. Idealism without practicality tactics without lofty goals, and symbolic protests pose no threat to power elites. Anger and outrage require great strategic thinking from leaders seeking revolution, not mere change. And social entrepreneurs that use business and management skills to tackle genuine social problems do nothing to achieve political reforms. To the extent they achieve results they end up removing interest in overthrowing political establishments that have allowed the problems to fester.

What is the new tool of tyranny? Technological connectivity achieved through advanced communications and computer systems, especially the rise of wireless connectivity. The global message to the masses is simple: Buy electronic products to stay plugged in. Connectivity may give pleasure, but it gives even more power to elites, rulers and plutocrats. It allows them to coordinate their efforts through invisible cabals, to closely monitor everything that ordinary people and dissidents do, and to cooperatively and clandestinely adjust social, financial and political systems to maintain stability and dominance.

In this dystopian world all systems are integrated to serve upper class elites and the corporate state, not ordinary people. When ordinary people spend their money to be more shackled to connectivity products, they become unwitting victims of largely invisible governmental and corporate oppressive forces. They are oblivious that their technological seduction exacerbates their political and economic exploitation. Though some 70 percent believe the country is on the wrong track, they fail to see the deeper causes of the trend. And if Americans were really happy and content with their consumer culture, then why are they stuffing themselves with so many antidepressants, sleeping pills and totally unhealthy foods? In truth, the vast majority of people are in denial about the rotten system they are trapped in (aka The Matrix). They are manipulated to keep hope alive through voting, despite the inability of past elections to stop the slide into economic serfdom.

Increasingly, the little-discussed phenomenon of economic apartheid ensures that elites live their lavish lives safely in physically separated ways. Concurrently, economic inequality rises, as the rich extract unusually high fractions of global wealth. When the rich get richer, the powerful get stronger. Does some economic prosperity trickles down to the poorest people? Perversely, the middle class is moved into the lower class. In this new physics of evil, wealth transfer is not from the rich to the poor, but from the middle class in wealthier countries to the poor in developing nations, where a few new billionaires join the global plutocracy.

Some data on economic inequality: The after-tax income of the top 1 percent of Americans rose 228 percent from 1979 through 2005, while middle class income remained flat over the last 4 decades. The richest 0.01 percent of earners made 5.1 percent of all income in 2005, up more than 300 percent from just 1.2 percent in 1960. Bad economic times like the present just exacerbate inequality. Even as most Wall Street companies lost billions in the sub-prime mortgage debacle after they had already made billions, they gave obscene bonuses to their employees: the average topped $180,000 for 2007, tripling the $61,000 in 2002. Scholars used to predict that high levels of economic inequality like we have today would lead to rebellion. But there are now insufficient tools and paths for rebellion, because the plutocracy has eliminated them. Instead, citizens are offered elections whose outcomes can be controlled and subverted by the ruling class.

The New World Order is getting what it wants: a stable two-class system, with the lower class serving the elitist upper class. The paradox is that along with rising economic inequality and apartheid is mounting consumerism and materialism that is used to pacify, distract and control the masses. That’s where easy credit and cheap products from low-wage nations are critical. The poor can have cell phones, 24-7 Internet access and increasingly cars, while the bejeweled upper class travel in private jets and yachts, vacation on private islands, and have several gated mansions maintained by servants and guarded by private police. We have a technologically advanced form of medieval society. It is working in the US and China and most other places. Elections just mask economic tyranny and slavery.

The ruling class knows how to maintain stability. Keep the masses distracted, fearful, brainwashed, insecure, and dependent on government and business sectors for survival. Train people to see themselves as relatively free consumers. Maintain the myth that ordinary people can become wealthy and join the ruling class, which theoretically is not impossible, but of no statistical significance for the masses.

There are no easy paths to restore power to the people. But here are three strategies worth considering. First, the real power of the masses is as consumers, not as voters, workers, activists, or Internet users. Weakened unions, globalization, technology, and illegal immigration have sapped the power of workers. National economies, especially the US, depend on consumers. Suspensions in discretionary consumer spending used as a political weapon could force reforms. But curbing personal spending and saving money has become a rare form of civil disobedience. Consumers buy stuff when they want it, not when they can afford it. Rulers have replaced chains with debt and no political leader in a very long time has championed economic rebellion.

Second, because they are more a tool of tyranny than rebellion, the masses should stop giving credibility and legitimacy to faux democracies by boycotting elections. Plutocrats cleverly equate patriotism and good citizenship with voting while at the same time ensuring that no genuine change agents can succeed even if elected. All election results can be subverted by the forces of corruption. Those promising change, like Barack Obama, do not pose a lethal threat to forces of evil and corruption. Sadly, refusing to vote in corrupt political systems is another worthy but unpopular form of civil disobedience. The compulsion to vote is a political narcotic that sustains democratic tyranny.

Third, people must seek forms of direct democracy that give them political power. National ballot measures and initiatives are needed to make laws, impose spending mandates and recall elected officials. A most important tool is constitutional conventions outside the control of status quo preservationists to obtain systemic reforms that governments will never provide, as explained for the US at No greater example of ruling class power exists than the absence of massive public demands for using what the Founders gave Americans in Article V: the convention option to circumvent and fix the federal government that – amazingly – has never been used, and that no presidential candidate has supported, including constitutional champion Ron Raul.

[Joel S. Hirschhorn can be reached through; he is a co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention at]

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.


Sitting Out the Election By Mary Pitt

Seriously, it’s time to not vote in the presidential election by Lo

Much Ado About Ron Paul by Grim

Tyranny Rising (video; 1946)

China and India: Two Models? by Eric Toussaint

Hirschhorn-Joel S.

In Response to NATO Threat: Russian Armed Forces prepare for Nuclear Onslaught by Andrei Kislyako

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by Andrei Kislyako
Global Research, February 1, 2008
RIA Novosti – 2008-01-29

Barely a month into the new year, the military have already attracted a lot of attention. Following a mild verbal skirmish over ABM components after the holidays, Russian and foreign generals have decided to talk in the open.

In a move that mirrors recent discussion amongst Russia’s own top brass, NATO’s April summit in Bucharest is widely expected to discuss a report on a potential pre-emptive nuclear strike.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the authors of the report are convinced there is a real risk that terrorists could lay their hands on weapons of mass destruction in the near or immediate future. To counter this, the alliance may consider suppressing the enemy with nuclear weapons.

Though the report is likely to cause controversy in NATO countries, the authors appear to be merely echoing an idea originally broached by Russian Chief of General Staff Yury Baluyevsky. Speaking at a meeting of the Academy of Military Sciences on January 19, Gen. Baluyevsky declared that force should be used not only in the course of hostilities, but also to demonstrate the readiness of leaders to uphold their national interests. “We are not going to attack anyone,” he reassured his audience, “but we want all our partners to realize that Russia will use armed force to defend its own and its allies’ sovereignty and territorial integrity. It may resort to a pre-emptive nuclear strike in cases specified by its doctrine.”

It is strange that many esteemed domestic military experts consider this statement simply a repetition of Russia’s old military doctrine, which allowed it to use nuclear weapons first. Under the 2000 doctrine, Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons not only in retaliation against a nuclear attack, as was previously the case, but in response to “a large-scale conventional aggression in a situation critical for the national security of the Russian Federation and its allies.” This certainly broadens the rules of engagement, but still does not envisage a pre-emptive nuclear strike without hostilities.

Gen. Balulevsky’s announcement appears to change this, in which case Russia will need a new military doctrine. This is not a new task. In early March last year, the Security Council press service released a statement saying that the Security Council would revise the 2000 military doctrine to account for new realities. The statement added that the new doctrine would be drafted by the Security Council in conjunction with interested government bodies and a number of scientific institutions.

Baluyevsky thus made his recent statement at an organization which is quite suitable for the drafting of the new doctrine.

If the new doctrine endorses the General Staff’s nuclear ideas, we will have new armed forces, with all the ensuing consequences.

First, these forces will become strictly offensive because of the very nature of a pre-emptive strike. This will require totally different mobilization plans and a new approach to recruiting for the Army and Navy. Considering the number and geography of military-political conflicts in which Russia is in some way involved, this will require the deployment of mobilized troops on a territory stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific.

It is not difficult to predict the economic consequences Russia would face in this case. But let’s come back to the Armed Forces. Permanent readiness to resolve tasks militarily – by offensive operations in an indefinitely vast number of directions – implies the permanent enhanced combat readiness of all units, without exception. Otherwise the very idea of a pre-emptive strike will not work. For such a policy to be effective, Russia should be ready to deal this strike from a broad diversity of geographical locations on its own territory, neutral air space, and the world’s oceans.

If Baluyevsky’s words are heeded, Russia will have to equip all services of the Armed Forces with permanently combat-ready nuclear weapons. Nobody can guess who will use them first.

This only concerns tactical, rather than strategic, nuclear weapons. It is clearly impossible to counter terrorist threats in the South-East direction, or neutralize U.S. ABM deployment in Europe with intercontinental ballistic missiles or their submarine counterparts.

In other words, Russia will need a very broad range of non-strategic nuclear weapons. Such weapons are designed to destroy battlefield-targets, rather than entire cities, and could take the form of medium and shorter-range missiles launched from air, land or sea, as well as artillery ammunition and nuclear demolition charges.

Considering that Russia has a huge advantage over the United States in tactical warheads, bilateral relations could become quite complicated if we start deploying our weapons on the ground, in the air and at sea.

It would be natural to ask why Russia is choosing the offensive option, and whether there are alternatives to it. But that is a subject for another discussion. 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.

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How Did Western Civilization Get A Monopoly On “Moral Conscience” When It Has No Morality? By Paul Craig Roberts

Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike a Key Option, NATO Told By Ian Traynor

The New New World Order: A First-Strike NATO Über Alles by Chris Floyd

China and India: Two Models? by Eric Toussaint

Dandelion Salad

by Eric Toussaint
Global Research, January 31, 2008

China, a capitalist country of the modern style

China is presented from the angle of its economic success, in terms of GDP growth and increased exports. GDP growth may well be impressive, but in fact, China has chosen a capitalist model of development, implying increased exploitation of Chinese workers, mass redundancies, privatisation of many public companies, radical reductions in State spending on education, health, social security, and unbridled productivism with total disregard for nature and public health. Over the last ten years, the percentage of wages in the GDP has fallen sharply, going from 53% in 1998 to 41% in 2005.1 It is true that China is a net creditor with regard to the United States but it has accumulated a colossal internal debt. Worse still, social inequalities are growing at a horrendous speed. Various studies show that while the living conditions of the poorest 10% of the population have seriously declined, the richest 10% have seen their income and wealth booming. The number of Chinese billionaires in dollars has shot up from 3 in 2004 to 106 in 2007.2

A severe economic slowdown in the United States may not make too much impact on the economic health of China, as it exports more to Europe than to North America. Nevertheless, it is not impossible that the contradictions of China’s domestic economy combined with an external shock such as a significant slowdown in the USA could lead to major problems. The rise of internal debt both at government level and in companies, the accumulation of unsafe debts in banking, the creation of speculative bubbles on the property market and the stock exchange are some of the factors that could lead to an economic crisis, sooner or later. Not to mention the powder-keg of glaring social inequalities. Quite apart from the risk of a crisis, it is the model adopted that deserves utmost criticism.3

India’s economic miracle – a myth

Another country presented as a success story is India. Economic growth exceeds 9%, the Mumbai (Bombay) stock exchange is booming, and Indian companies are investing in industrialized countries and developing countries alike. With few exceptions, the media fail to report on the changes in living conditions for the majority of Indian citizens. However, the Indian daily Hindustan Times on 14 October 2007 revealed that according to a study by a government institute, 77% of the population – in other words 836 million Indians – live on less than 20 rupees a day (less than 0.5 US dollars). These figures are very different from those of the World Bank, which only attest to about 300 million Indians living on less than one US dollar a day.4 India has a high number of working poor. India’s National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector reveals that 320 million workers live on less than 20 rupees a day.5 The same Hindustan Times article published the findings of a study on world famine carried out by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) according to which 40% of underweight children under the age of five live in India.

In the fight against famine, India lags behind other Asian countries such as Pakistan and China. In a ranking of 118 countries, Cuba and Libya figure among the first while China comes 47th, Pakistan 88th and India 94th. The report states that the situation has seriously deteriorated among India’s peasants. According to other sources, between 1996 and 2003 more than 100,000 small farmers committed suicide, most of them for reasons of over-indebtedness. This translates as one suicide every 45 minutes. According to the Indian newspaper DNA in its 17 September 2007 issue reporting on a government study, 46% of Indian children are underweight. In Mumbai, a city of 14 million inhabitants, where trading on the stock exchange reached unprecedented heights in 2007, 40% of children are underweight. According to DNA, in spite of 9 years of sustained economic growth, famine has declined by only 1% in India. Here we have a perfect example of the fallacy of the trickle-down effect, whereby the enrichment of the richest people is supposed to be automatically beneficial to the poor. According to Forbes, which publishes an annual report on the world’s richest people, in 2006 India became the Asian country with the highest number of billionaires (36 billionaires with a cumulative fortune of 191 billion US dollars, thus displacing Japan with its 24 billionaires together worth some 64 billion US dollars). Of the world’s richest people, Lakshmi Mittal ranks 5th..

According to data provided in October 2007 by the financial press, the Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani has now overtaken Lakshmi Mittal and may well be in a position to vie for first place (currently held by the Mexican Carlos Slim) or second place (currently held by Bill Gates) in the world’s wealthiest line-up. These figures are challenged by other sources: for example, Newsweek’s 12 November 2007 issue predicts that there will be 106 Chinese billionaires in 2007. In this case Chinese billionaires will outnumber Indian billionaires, ousting India from first place. But this is of little matter here. What is certain is that rapid growth in India and China is producing more and more rich people, and at the same time more and more poor people.


1. Newsweek, 12 November 2007.

2. Ibid.

3. See Martin Hart-Landsberg – Paul Burkett, China : Entre el Socialismo real y el Capitalismo, Editorial CIM, Caracas, 2007.

4 It should be noted that to arrive at this figure the World Bank calculates in purchasing-power parity, which enables it to present the situation more positively.

5 Newsweek, 12 November 2007.

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Carolyn Baker Reviews “The Final Empire” Part 1 By William Kotke

Dandelion Salad

by Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Friday, 01 February 2008

My intention in reviewing this stunning book is to share how it has illumined my understanding that collapse and vision are not separate, but that in fact, they travel together and need each other. That is to say that collapse makes vision possible, and vision makes collapse the most desirable option of all as we confront the earth community’s current dilemma.
Continue reading

Myanmar’s dissident monks in hiding (video)

Dandelion Salad


Democracy activists in Myanmar have been biding their time since a crackdown by the military government last year.

In an exclusive report, Al Jazeera’s correspondent travelled to Sittwe, where last year’s anti-government protests began,to speak to one of the dissident leaders.

Added: January 30, 2008

Cyber Warfare on the Rise – Don’t rely on the internet (video)

Dandelion Salad


In a meltdown situation, we should have a better understanding of how to maintain communication between one another. The internet was created by the government. What makes you think they can’t pull the plug on their own Frankenstein? Solutions mean analyzing the real values in your community. It’s people working together.


Journalists, bloggers are threats in terror drill (video link)

A possible Guantanamo on UK soil + More probes into Diego Garcia ‘rendition’ (videos)

Dandelion Salad


British ministers have blocked the release of secret military papers about an Indian Ocean island where the US may be holding prisoners without charge. Diego Garcia is British territory but home to a US military base believed to house so called ‘rendition prisoners’. Al Jazeera’s Mark Seddon reports.

Added: January 31, 2008

More probes into Diego Garcia ‘rendition’ 

Guantanamo Bay, Bagram, and Abu Ghraib …

US military detention facilities around the world have gained a grim reputation over the past few years.

Now, the UK is facing further accusations that it provided territory to host a secret detention centre on the island of Diego Garcia for rendition prisoners.

Mark Seddon reports.


Claims of secret CIA jail for terror suspects on British island to be investigated by Ian Cobain and Richard Norton-Taylor

There Is No “War on Terror” by Edward S. Herman & David Peterson

CIA Torture and other War Crimes By Philip Giraldi

The Iran Threat By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Lest We Forget By John Pilger