Olbermann: The Ferraro Comment(s) + Gridiron Dinner + Obama winner in MS

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Ryokibin

Mar. 11, 2008

The Ferraro Comment(s) 

Keith speaks with Howard Fineman.

The politician who first broke the glass ceiling that had kept women off the Presidential tickets… Has answered criticism about her startling conclusion that Senator Obama is only “in the position he is in” because he’s a black man… By bristling that anybody who quote “says let’s address reality and the problems we’re facing in this world, you’re accused of being racist, so you have to shut up. Racism works in two different directions. I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?” Our third story on the Countdown: It is not clear who is the “they” in the follow-up statement from Geraldine Ferraro, the 1984 Democratic nominee for Vice President, and now a fund-raiser and speaker for the Clinton Campaign. But among those who criticized her depiction of Obama as some sort of “Equal Opportunity Hire” in the presidential race — was Senator Clinton. Though Senator Clinton has not fired former Congresswoman Ferraro.

The Gridiron Dinner

Keith speaks with Rachel Maddow.

What a sad, sad song…

Obama Projected Winner Of Mississippi 

Keith speaks with Chuck Todd.

World’s Worst 

Worse: Bob Novak Ann Coulter.

Worser: James Tedisco

Worst: Steve Doocy

Bushed!

Halliburton-Gate

Dissent Is Disloyalty-Gate

You Lied, The Troops Died-Gate

see

MS Primary Results 03.11.08

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KQED Spark – Mark Fiore (video)

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KQEDondemand

Spark visits with political cartoonist Mark Fiore as he creates a cartoon riffing on Hillary Clinton’s emotional moment before the 2008 New Hampshire primary. Original airdate: February 2008.
http://www.kqed.org/arts/people/spark…

Added: February 08, 2008

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Chemtrails: A Call to Action

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by Kate Mucci
opednews.com
March 11, 2008 at 14:32:29

When first I arose this morning, the sky was a beautiful blue. No clouds, no pollution, nothing suspended in the air between the sun and me. Wanting to take advantage of this rare and beautiful situation, I went out to putter in the yard a bit. After about an hour, I stood up to stretch the back that was reminding me I was no longer 25 years old and saw, to my dismay, that the blue sky was gone.

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Nationalism and Culture by Janet Surman

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by Janet Surman
From the March 2008 issue of the Socialist Standard

Nationalism is a perversion of a shared identity in the interest of some local elite.

Home – where the heart is; the place with overtones of permanence, belonging, security, comfort, childhood memories, bonds between people, familiarity with how things are done, habits and customs taken for granted. People go home, go back to family, village, mountains woods, familiar streets, smells, sounds, to the things that framed them and in doing so strengthen the impressions of who they are and what they stand for. Different worldwide communities share a culture of ‘going home’ for high days and holidays, religious festivals or annual visits. Airports, seaports, train and bus stations are crowded at certain times with passengers loaded with their symbols of how good it will be to be together again. Home is where differences and similarities are known; not automatically accepted, respected or approved but understood without explanation; the background culture, the very fabric of the culture being so second nature that words aren’t necessary to express fundamental emotions.

For millions living in exile with only memories of home, painful memories of seeing family members taken away, tortured, killed, for children born in refugee camps and now old enough to be parents themselves in the same camps, never having seen anything of their homeland, home conjures up images of lost and stolen lives, physical pain and deep emotional scars. Traditions and places only heard of now and little expectation of ever being able to reclaim them. In these situations home for the child is not the home of the parent. However hard the parent tries, however passionate their ties to their original life, the child’s impressions can only be second hand, severely lacking in emotional sustenance, expectations manufactured out of hope. For migrants, both forced and voluntary, ‘home’ may be different for parents and children. Having emigrated or relocated internally the parents’ notions of home are ‘there’ but for the children born in a new place it is ‘here’. Which team shall they support? Where shall their allegiance lie?

In a broader context home may be perceived as a wider geographical area, a country, a homeland standing for something more than a family’s local community. The ‘one-world’ home, in common to all of the human species, has 200 or so artificially created entities called ‘nations’, almost all armed and ready to arrest or attack anyone who crosses a boundary without permission, the same boundary showing little or no obstacle to trade or capital or wealth. What is it a nation offers its individual inhabitants and what is their offering to it? What do they require from their country and it from them? The country is a geographical, physical place; large, small, populous or sparse, barren or lush, mountainous, coastal, frozen, earthquake-prone, temperate, fertile or harsh, requiring nurture, husbandry, protection. Physically it can offer minerals and crops depending on its situation and in proportion to the care given it. The shared identity of the inhabitants of the nation will be as has developed over generations – history, customs, religion, community relations, occupations, way of thinking – something impossible to enforce as empire builders and nation creators have been reluctant to accept. A shared identity with universal, mutual respect and acceptance cannot be enforced. It is surely the shared identity, that elusive quality, love of one’s birthplace, hopes, dreams, aspirations, that people feel when they talk of ‘their country’, the tangible and intangible connections.

Mark Twain said that the country is the real thing to be watched over, cared for, that the institutions, the government are extraneous. Confusion of the country with its institutions brings the problems of nationalism and patriotism, “my country, right or wrong”. One of the (ill)-effects of nationalist thinking is a loss of sense of proportion as in the justification of the invasions responsible for the killing of tens of thousands in Afghanistan and Iraq because around 3,000 people died in U.S. on 9/11/2001. Fighting for a country, dying for what? – the pursuit of happiness? – brings grief and despair to both sides. One nation’s moral purpose, promoting democracy, saving lives, eliminating threats, is recognised by another nation merely as expansionism, access to vital resources, a way of diverting attention from domestic issues. One side’s vision of globalisation for humanity’s sake is felt as rape, plunder and aggressive war by the other. Nationalism, whilst a powerful tool of oppression, was created in part as a defence against imperialism and colonialism, against dominance from outside and in fear of being denied the rights of self-determination. It manifests itself like a sophisticated tribalism, with pride, tradition, attitudes of superiority, patriotism, national security, enemies real and imagined, flag-draped buildings, glorification of all things military and biased history tying populations into misconceptions of themselves and others.

Xenophobia becomes a useful ally in promoting nationalism. In the early 1700s Jonathan Swift recommended it in “The Examiner” thus – “the first principle of patriotism is to resent foreigners.” This method, of setting one section of population against another, has been used ultra-successfully all around the world – so successfully that great swathes of people can now rouse themselves, with no apparent external cue, against the newest threat, the most recent immigrant group, asylum seekers, anyone who looks or sounds like they may be from a group that’s not their own. In one part of the world Arab look-alikes are held to be suspicious – in another an American accent is not welcome. Groups engineered to see themselves in opposition to others, in manufactured fear. Or fear of fear. And those who dare question the status quo become unpatriotic internal defectors. Enemies are required by the state elites. Enemies within and without, social, cultural, economic enemies to keep the population vigilant against all possible threats, to keep them fully occupied, suspicious of each other, divided, protecting the national interest against any wayward individual or group – including themselves.

Under constant construction are barriers of one sort or another, the US/Mexico wall mostly through desert where hundreds die every year seeking a better life but where the wealthy aren’t hunted by vigilantes; the Israeli/Palestinian wall and multiple check-points favouring one group and harassing and humiliating the other; the entry to countries at airports, ports and road crossings. Stand in line, don’t step over this line. For some apply weeks in advance for a visa – or just for an interview to seek permission to apply for a visa – the rich may pass, for the poor it’s a lottery.

Within our communities are guarded apartment blocks, electronically monitored residential enclaves, embassies on distant, secure sites, schools with guards and alarms, tourist sites with armed guard protection, 5 star hotels with walled-in grounds denying visitors the view to the local residents in their shanty towns on the other side of the wall, living in the seeping filth from the hotel sewage system.

Chop up society into more and more pieces, more separate entities, create more divisions, more fears and suspicions and when the globe is totally criss-crossed with walls, fences, barricades and border posts shall we allow ourselves to become so paranoid, afraid and suspicious of each other that we finally close the door to our minds? What hope for humanity when imaginations are so closed to the others’ humanity that they can’t even see, aren’t even aware of, the physical barriers all around them? Ill-considered rhetoric needs to be confronted, contested at any and every opportunity. Self-replicating, regurgitated mantras built on lies, fears and hatred need overturning without hesitation.

The frontierless world begins with frontierless minds. The challenge is to dismantle the barriers which deafen, blindfold, shackle and dehumanise us. A mind without barriers can step over any line, has endless possibilities, unlimited potential, can acknowledge and appreciate the diversity and congruent value of humankind. The frontierless mind can value the vision in which all have their own, inalienable home.

h/t: Socialist Standard

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.

Mumia Abu-Jamal: NAFTA Democrats (audio link)

Dandelion Salad

By Manila Ryce
The Largest Minority
Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Award-winning journalist and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal asks why Hillary really won Ohio, a state so decimated by the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Audio link (website unavailable)

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MS Primary Results 03.11.08

Dandelion Salad

source

Mississippi Democratic Primary Results
Candidate Votes %
Barack Obama 214,253 59%
Hillary Clinton 140,296 39%
John Edwards 3,463 1%
Joe Biden 1,549 0%
Bill Richardson 1,129 0%
Dennis Kucinich 768 0%
Chris Dodd 615 0%
Mike Gravel 485 0%
Key: Red Checkmark Winner
Precincts: 89% | Updated: 11:01 PM ET | Source: AP

source

Mississippi Republican Primary Results
Candidate Votes %
John McCain 102,547 79%
Mike Huckabee 16,333 13%
Ron Paul 5,083 4%
Mitt Romney 1,982 2%
Fred Thompson 1,911 1%
Rudy Giuliani 870 1%
Alan Keyes 756 1%
Duncan Hunter 369 0%
Tom Tancredo 228 0%
Key: Red Checkmark Winner
Precincts: 88% | Updated: 11:01 PM ET | Source: AP

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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Democrat and Republican Delegates

Results

Alabama Democrats are Under Attack By Larisa Alexandrovna

Dandelion Salad

By Larisa Alexandrovna
Huffington Post
Mar 11, 2008

If you are not familiar with the Don Siegelman case, then you have some catching up to do. See HERE and read through the links.

Now for the latest nightmare – the brown-shirts arrive. Honestly, this is so unreal, I have no words (emphasis mine):

“Montgomery, AL — Alabama Democratic Party Executive Director Jim Spearman today called into question the method by which U.S. Marshals attempted to serve legislators subpoenas to appear to testify in a grand jury proceeding. Reporters were apparently tipped off by calls stating U.S. Marshals were coming to the Alabama Statehouse to serve some legislators. “The drama surrounding these actions and the U.S.

Department of Justice’s disruption of a legislative session for the routine serving of a summons to appear in court sends a poor signal to Alabama citizens who are already complaining about partisan political interference into the federal prosecution of former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman,” says Spearman.

These ladies and gentlemen have not been charged with a crime and could have been served by other means in their local communities, not in Montgomery during a legislative session in front of TV cameras and reporters.” Spearman stated. State law actually prohibits serving members of the legislature while they are in session. Section 29-1-7 of the Alabama Code protects members from this kind of action by U.S. Marshals yesterday. In fact, the Marshals could have violated this law by their disruption of the session and have been charged with a misdemeanor.

Thursday’s action only strengthens our resolve to insist that the U.S House and Senate as well as the U.S. Attorney General immediately launch an inquiry into Alabama’s federal justice system to assure Alabama citizens that politics and partisanship have not been used in prosecutions or in the serving of subpoenas. If Republican operatives had any advance knowledge of yesterday’s serving of subpoenas at the Statehouse, they should have to testify before Congress under oath.” Spearman concluded.”

Exactly. This a subpoena to appear before a grand jury (and strangely, for quite a few Democratic state legislators). This is NOT a failure to comply with a subpoena (like Miers, Rove, and Bolton have done). So why were US Marshals used as part of this spectacle and on whose authority?

Once again I ask, why are Democrats the target of these investigations? Where the hell is Congress? When will these police-state tactics be enough finally? Or do we just wait for the rest of the brown shirts to arrive?

Time to head to Alabama folks, a state in our union that appears to be under siege.

I am not very good at organizing anything, but perhaps this request might just be enough. Let’s go to Montgomery and occupy every corner of it with our peaceful bodies and shut the city down. No business. No government. No school. Nothing, but orange scarves and ourselves, just simply sitting it out until Congress finally acts. If you care even just a little about defending the Constitution — as is your duty as a citizen of this country — I ask that you now show your patriotism in a peaceful way and get up, get in your cars, get on a plane, get on a train, but just get going. If you do not, then your words of outrage are nothing but hollow complacency and you deserve to lose the most precious of freedoms. I am not a Democrat. But I am an American. Are you?

h/t: After Downing Street

see

Mr. Blackledge’s Black Helicopters By Scott Horton

A Brain-Dead Press by Scott Horton (Siegelman)

Journalism interrupted, The Right Wing Attack Machine Churns… (Siegelman)

Scott Horton on Democracy Now: Don Siegelman case & FCC Probe

Dan Abrams: Call For Don Siegelman Release Pending Appeal

Don Siegelman is a Political Prisoner of the Bush Administration

The Siegelman Case — A Political Prosecution Exposed

It Does Happen In America – The Political Trial of Don Siegelman + Siegelman Updates

60 Minutes: Don Siegelman (vids) + Parts of Broadcast Blocked in Alabama…

Siegelman-Don
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 War and the Recession By Dean Baker

Dandelion Salad

By Dean Baker
ICH
03/11/08 “Commondreams

With the release of the February jobs numbers, everyone except for the economists now acknowledges we are in a recession. The economy is shedding jobs at a rapid pace and it is only a matter of time until we see the unemployment rate rising. In addition to greater difficulty finding jobs, workers can look forward to falling wages and reduced access to health care insurance and pension coverage.

Naturally, people are looking for an explanation for the cause of the recession, and many have turned to the Iraq War. This view is wrong. The war is a drain on the economy, but it is not the cause of the recession. The recession is due to the collapse of the $8 trillion ($110,000 per homeowner) housing bubble.

It is understandable people would look to the war as the villain in this story. After all, the war is costing around $180 billion a year (at 1.2 percent of GDP). This is a substantial drain on the federal budget and the economy. This money could have gone to productive uses that would have benefited people and made the economy stronger.

For example, the proposed expansion of the state children’s health insurance program (SCHIP) would have cost $7 billion a year, an amount equal to what we spend on the war in two weeks. A proposed $2 billion a year increase in childcare subsidies is equal to four days of spending on the war. The hundreds of millions of dollars each year the federal government devotes to energy conservation amounts to less than a day’s spending on the war.

In short, there is a nearly endless list of areas that can be identified in which the money spent on the war could have been spent in ways that would have made the economy stronger. Since the money was diverted from better uses, the war spending has hurt the economy.

There is another way in which war spending hurts the economy: We have to pay for the war. We could have paid for the war with tax increases, but instead, President Bush chose to pay for it by borrowing, making the deficit considerably larger than it would otherwise be. This additional borrowing makes interest rates somewhat higher than they would be otherwise. Higher interest rates can raise the value of the dollar, which makes the trade deficit larger. (A high dollar makes US-made goods relatively more expensive both here and abroad.) Higher interest rates can also reduce investment and homebuilding.

However, the increase in borrowing associated with the war is actually not very large relative to the size of the economy. It can be expected to have a negative effect, but it is relatively modest and only begins to be felt over time. Last year, the Center for Economic and Policy Research commissioned Global Insight, one of the country’s leading economic forecasting firms, to project the impact of the war on the economy.

Their model projected the impact would be initially positive (war spending generates demand), but eventually the effect of higher interest rates imposes a drag on growth. By the sixth year, the effect is negative; and by the tenth year, the economy was projected to have lost about half a million jobs, mostly in manufacturing and construction.

This is bad news, but it is not the recession that we are seeing now. This recession has a different group of villains. First and foremost on this list is Alan Greenspan, who at least ignored the housing bubble, if he didn’t actively promote it. The list also includes regulators at both the state and federal level who tolerated abuses in the mortgage industry that were completely visible at the time they took place. And there is a long list of politicians and community leaders who encouraged low- and moderate-income families to buy homes in the middle of a housing bubble. And, of course, there are the incompetent economic forecasters (is that redundant?), who could not see an $8 trillion housing bubble in front of their face.

These are the people who deserve the blame for what is likely to be the most severe recession in the post-war period. The public’s wrath should be focused on the Fed, the regulators, the Wall Street crooks, and the others responsible for letting a housing bubble wreck havoc on the economy.

There are plenty of good reasons to be opposed to the war and its negative impact on the economy is one of them. But we should not allow the war to be misused to allow some big-time villains to get off the hook. If we had better spent our money over the last five years, we would be better able to withstand the effects of the housing crash – just as a person who eats well and exercises can more quickly recover from a bout of pneumonia. But laziness and a bad diet are not the cause of pneumonia, and the war is not the cause of this recession.

Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer (www.conservativenannystate.org). He also has a blog, “Beat the Press,” where he discusses the media’s coverage of economic issues. You can find it at the American Prospect’s web site.


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 World As It Is By Chris Hedges

Dandelion Salad

By Chris Hedges
Truthdig
03/11/08

War creates a world without empathy. Those who have empathy cannot, as did Palestinian gunman Alaa Hisham Abu Dheim, coldly murder students in a Jerusalem library. Those who have empathy cannot drop tons of iron fragmentation bombs on crowded Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza, killing more than 120 Palestinians in a week, of whom one in five were children and more than half were civilians. Those who have empathy do not, as Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai did, thunder at the Palestinians that they face a shoah, meaning catastrophe or holocaust. Those with empathy are unable to rejoice, as many leaders of Hamas did, over slaughter, as if the murder of the other’s innocents is justified by the murder of your innocents.

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Defense Sec Gates Announces Resignation of Admiral Fallon + More on Fallon’s Resignation

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Veracifier

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, March 11, 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

.

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More on Admiral Fallon’s Resignation

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

March 11, 2008 CNN Lou Dobbs

see

http://www.esquire.com/features/fox-fallon

Defense chief says Fallon’s leaving is not precursor to war with Iran

Nadler Disses Voters on Impeachment By Ray McGovern

Dandelion Salad

By Ray McGovern
Consortium News
March 11, 2008

You would not know it for the news blackout, but New Yorkers of Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s district held a Town Hall/Impeachment Forum on Sunday to encourage Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, to begin impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney.

Panelists included former congresswoman Liz Holtzman, former Reagan Justice Department attorney Bruce Fein, human rights attorney and Harpers commentator Scott Horton, and John Nirenberg, the activist who at the turn of the year walked from Boston to Washington, D.C., in a futile attempt to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on impeachment.

The organizers had asked me to be on the panel, but I had to send regrets and submitted a statement instead (see below).  A video of the proceedings will be posted on After Downing Street.

Taking Stock

In a post mortem Sunday evening, the organizers reportedly painted a mixed picture of good and bad news.

On the positive side, Judson Memorial Church was crammed to overflowing, with 300 folks to hear the panelists. And this, despite the fact that most were already aware that Nadler had announced (late Friday afternoon) that he would be a no-show. He did not even send a representative.

The panelists’ remarks were compelling. Blame for inaction on impeachment was laid squarely on our invertebrate Congress (but, I’m sorry, that familiar whining can get a bit tiresome). The audience was described as well-educated, non-fringe, and polite.

On the negative side, despite Herculean efforts to interest the “mainstream media,” no one showed.

And the enthusiasm of those trying to spur action on impeachment was dampened by continuing frustration at the obstacles, as politicians like Nadler continue to put political expedience above their sworn duty to protect and defend the Constitution.

Tories Back in Charge

It took some 230 years, but the Tories are back in charge—I mean the Nadlers, the Conyers, the Pelosis, who so clearly lack the courage of our forebears to defy a new King George, preferring to let him dis us the people and trash the Constitution.

Remember the final words of the Declaration of Independence?  “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Many of our forebears were also well-educated and non-fringe; fortunately, they were NOT polite.

Is it not clear, finally, that the time for politeness is over?

It is up to us, now, whether we shall have Constitutional separation of powers or shall have kings. It is up to us whether an unrestrained Executive will be able to march our children and grandchildren off to an endless series of resource wars likely to dominate this century.

The time for talking is over. Impeachment proceedings must begin. And no one is going to get that done but we.

One of the hurdles is outrage fatigue; it is hard to decide where to start among the many high crimes and misdemeanors of which Vice President Cheney is demonstrably culpable.

From my perspective as a former intelligence analyst, we certainly cannot allow to escape censure his conjuring up false “intelligence” to justify what Nuremberg defined as the “supreme international crime”—a war of aggression—in Iraq.

The Founders knew that, human nature being what it is, such abuses would be inevitable somewhere down the line. That’s why they took such pains to provide an orderly political procedure to enable us to deal promptly and responsibly with such high crimes and misdemeanors.

The process is called impeachment; the rules are clear.

All it takes is courage. And I do not refer here to the invertebrates in Congress.

I mean us.

The statement I prepared for Sunday’s event follows:

Is Impeachment Necessary to Protect the Constitution?
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NYC
March 9, 2008

Statement by Ray McGovern

Congressman Nadler, I am Ray McGovern, born and bred in the Bronx a bit north of your district.

I regret not being able to be with you in person to give my perspective on whether impeachment is necessary to protect the Constitution—and specifically, whether the manufacturing of false intelligence to “justify” an unprovoked war fits the category of “high crime or misdemeanor.”

I was an analyst at the CIA for 27 years, after serving as an Army infantry/intelligence officer in the early Sixties. You may recall that we first met on June 16, 2005, in the basement of the Capitol, the only room made available to Congressman John Conyers to take testimony on the Downing Street Minutes.

The minutes were the official British record of a briefing of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 23, 2002. At that briefing, the chief of British intelligence reported on his discussions with his counterpart in Washington, who told him three days earlier that, President George W. Bush had decided to make war on Iraq, and that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

In my testimony in the Capitol that day I drew attention to the words of Vice President Dick Cheney on August 26, 2002—words that framed the discussion for the next 45 days during which Congress was deliberately misled into giving the president approval to make war on Iraq.

This is what Cheney said:

“We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we’ve gotten this from the firsthand testimony of defectors—including Saddam’s own son-in-law.”

This was a lie.

Saddam’s son-in-law told us just the opposite when he defected in 1995.

You can find it on page 13 of his debriefing report. He said: “All weapons – biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed.”

Cheney continued:

“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction…Many of us are convinced that [Saddam] will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon.”

In a memoir published last year, then-CIA director George Tenet complained that Cheney did not follow the usual practice of clearing the speech with the CIA, and that what Cheney said “went well beyond what our analysis could support.”

Tenet added his “impression” that “the president really wasn’t any more aware of what his number-two was going to say.” Yet, Tenet admits that he did not raise the issue with either the president or vice president. Tenet was all too well aware that the intelligence was being “fixed around the policy.”

The Power to Intimidate

Intimidated by the vice president, Tenet ended up ordering his analysts, my former colleagues, to prepare a National Intelligence Estimate to Cheney’s terms of reference—you remember, the one that said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and ties with al-Qaeda; the NIE that appeared just ten days before Congress voted to give the president the power to make war on Iraq.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, and who chaired the preparation of Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003, speech at the UN, was asked about all this when Wilkerson testified before Congress on June 26, 2006.

The question came from Republican Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina: Why was it that a small number of individuals got so much power in the administration that they “had more influence than the professionals?”

Wilkerson gave a three-word answer: “The Vice President.”

Torture

It is an open secret that Vice President Cheney was, and continues to be the prime mover behind torture. As some will recall, speaking on open radio Cheney called the use of waterboarding a “no-brainer.”

It was his lawyer, David Addington, who prepared the Jan. 25, 2002, memorandum signed by then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales recommending that the laws against torture could be circumvented.

George Bush applied that advice in his own presidential memorandum of Feb. 7, 2002, launching our country onto “the dark side,” as Cheney has put it.

That memorandum opened the gaping loophole through which the administration drove the Mack truck of torture.

High crimes? Misdemeanors? Who will argue the point?

The Constitution

Congressman Nadler, articles of impeachment for Dick Cheney have sat in your in-box since last November. You are Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution; you have refused to take action.

As an Army officer I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. You took that same basic oath as a congressman.

With all due respect, let me suggest you have a duty to act on that oath—and not on some promise you may have made to avoid anything that could be viewed as divisive and thus jeopardize Democratic Party election wins in November.

I hope you will agree that the transcendent value is to protect the Constitution, and for that, impeachment is indeed necessary. Please take the articles of impeachment regarding Dick Cheney out of your in-box and launch the investigation.

Thank you.

Ray McGovern
Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC.  He was an Army intelligence officer before joining the CIA where he had a 27-year career as an analyst.  He is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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.

Another Milestone on the Road to Serfdom By Scott Horton

Dandelion Salad

By Scott Horton
ICH

08/03/08 “Harpers

This weekend, the darkness continues to descend in Washington, the powers of the state continue to grow and the mechanisms of accountability rot away unused. Americans are focused on the selection of a new president. Many of them share the naïve assumption that on January 20, 2009, when a new leader takes the oath of office from the south steps of the Capitol Building, the Founders’ constitutional order will once more be set aright and the extra-constitutional excesses of the Bush years will be but a bad memory. But whoever is installed as the new guardian of presidential power will not likely part with many of the rights that Bush claimed and was allowed to use, unchallenged.

And this weekend, we should regard the three remaining candidates from a more skeptical predicate. This weekend, the curtain of tyranny descends further in Washington. The Bush regime, bolstered by a surging 17% public acceptance in one poll, moves more closely towards a façade of legality for its national surveillance state. It acknowledges its abuse of other legislation and will suffer no consequences for that abuse, and in a symbolic coup de grâce, Bush will veto the latest Congressional prohibition on torture–for indeed, torture is the very talisman of his unchecked rule and his arrogant indifference to the rule of law. And in the midst of this, where, this weekend, are the three presidential finalists? They busy themselves with the accumulation of delegates for their march on the White House. They will mutter fine sounding words on the campaign trail—sentences will glimmer with “freedom” and “liberty”—but they will offer no action that shows those words have content.

The FISA Farce

In 2006, a Democratic Congress was elected with a mandate to hold Bush’s excesses in check—indeed to roll many of them back. But this, it appears, was little more than campaign sloganeering. When it comes to the gravest challenges, the Democratic leadership knows only surrender. Here is Glenn Greenwald’s glance behind the scenes at the planning of the Democratic leadership:

The current draft does not contain telecom immunity (solely for temporary strategic reasons — see below), but incorporates every substantive warrantless surveillance provision of the Rockefeller/Cheney bill passed by the Senate, with several small and worthless exceptions that they’ll try to sell to what they obviously think is their stupid base as some vital “concessions”:

-The House bill has a 4 year-sunset provision rather than the Senate’s 6 years;

-It provides for an audit by the DOJ’s Inspector General of the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” (the only change that I would describe as something other than worthless);

-It contains a provision stating that the bill is the “exclusive means” by which the President can conduct electronic surveillance (the same provision that FISA has now which the President violated, and which the Senate refused to insert into its bill); Nancy Pelosi was trying just yesterday, lamely, to sell this provision as some sort of vital safeguard;

-The bill mandates some minimal re-review of some of the provisions in 2009; and,

-It contains some mild changes to some of the definitions (the specifics of which I don’t know).

The plan of the House leadership is to pass this specific bill in the House, send it to the Senate (where telecom immunity will be added in by the same bipartisan Senate faction that already voted for immunity), have it go back to the House for an up-or-down-vote on the House-bill-plus-telecom-immunity (which will pass with the support of the Blue Dogs), and then compliantly sent on to a happy and satisfied President, who will sign the bill that he demanded.

The bill was drafted with the participation of, and input from, Nancy Pelosi and Silvestre Reyes, at the very least. Reyes, of course, was last seen on CNN meekly pleading with Wolf Blitzer to give him a few more days to come up with a capitulation plan, and is now making good on his commitment to Blitzer (while violating all of the tough, defiant statements he had been making when pretending to take a stand against warrantless eavesdropping and for the rule of law).

So the bill is not far removed from the White House’s request, and even the telecom immunity provision will emerge through some carefully choreographed maneuvers (the main object will be, of course, to obscure exactly how it got into the legislation—the Democratic leadership is conscious of the strong grassroots opposition to this provision, and keen to avoid a backlash. Not, of course, that this will do more than slow them down a few weeks in catering to the interests of their telecom friends.)

And all of this occurs as another engineer has come forward to blow the whistle on the lawless surveillance of telecommunications by the Bush National Surveillance State.

Babak Pasdar, a computer security consultant, has gone public about his discovery of a mysterious “Quantico Circuit” while working for an unnamed major wireless carrier. Pasdar believes that this circuit gives the U.S. government direct, unfettered access to customers voice calls and data packets. These claims echo the disclosures from retired AT&T technician Mark Klein, who has described a “secret room” in an AT&T facility.

The name of the wireless carrier that collaborated in the installation of the “Quantico Circuit,” allowing the Bush Administration to spy on every phone conversation, text message and other communications it transmits, with no warrants or prior approval? Verizon.

Michael McConnell will of course insist that the intelligence community is looking only at foreign communications involving suspect terrorists. And that statement is a lie. In fact the technology employed allows the indiscriminate filtering of all communications of all types. And as to what portion is actually examined with any particularity, on that particular point, we’re told “trust us.” But why? I suggest we repose our trust elsewhere, namely: in the Constitution.

Surveillance is not outlawed. But it is bound to a system of constraints and checks. The Administration must justify its targets and must be subject to the oversight of a magistrate. That is what the Founding Fathers provided. And there is no reason to move from this system; what has transpired over the last six years provides only more evidence of its wisdom.

The NSL Scam

One of the extraordinary powers expanded in the USA PATRIOT Act relates to a device called a “National Security Letter” by which the Justice Department was effectively granted the power to issue its own warrants, unchecked by courts, cloaked by immense secrecy, and divorced from the duty to account. It was a formula for abuse, and indeed, the abuse has been rampant. First, Attorney General Ashcroft insisted that secret warrants had only ever been used a handful of times, and never with respect to libraries. That, of course, was untrue. Ashcroft knew even as he uttered those words that the number of uses had stretched into the thousands. He was counting on a Congress that no longer took its oversight function seriously, and he was right.

Then, FBI Director Robert Mueller came forward to correct Ashcroft’s “mistake” and to insist that the problems had since been cleaned up with internal accountability mechanisms. That also sounded like a silver-tongued lie.

And on Thursday, Mueller again came before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and again acknowledged that abuse was widespread. Here’s how the Washington Examiner reported it:

The FBI improperly used national security letters in 2006 to obtain personal data on Americans during terror and spy investigations, Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday. Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the privacy breach by FBI agents and lawyers occurred a year before the bureau enacted sweeping new reforms to prevent future lapses.

Details on the abuses will be outlined in the coming days in a report by the Justice Department’s inspector general. The report is a follow-up to an audit by the inspector general a year ago that found the FBI demanded personal data on people from banks, telephone and Internet providers and credit bureaus without official authorization and in non-emergency circumstances between 2003 and 2005.

Mueller, noting senators’ concerns about Americans’ civil and privacy rights, said the new report “will identify issues similar to those in the report issued last March.” The similarities, he said, are because the time period of the two studies “predates the reforms we now have in place.” He added: “We are committed to ensuring that we not only get this right, but maintain the vital trust of the American people.”

Mueller offered no additional details. Several other Justice Department and FBI officials familiar with this year’s findings have said privately the upcoming report will show the letters were wrongly used at a similar rate as during the previous three years.

So, more promises unkept. The abuse festers, and indeed, there is not even a down-turn in the rate of abuse. And how do the argus-eyed guardians of the public weal in the Senate Judiciary Committee react to all of this? Condemnation? Demands for new hearings? No. They react with total silence. They don’t even venture a few extra questions.

The Torture President

And all this simply clears the path for Bush’s shining act of glory set for later today. He will veto the intelligence authorizations act of 2008 because it clarifies, for the third or fourth time now, that acts of torture are a violation of the law. But George W. Bush is the law, and he will not hear any differently from this Congress. Indeed, Bush’s claim to be the law is manifested in one thing above all others, and that is his power to torture. By defending and upholding this right, Bush shows that unlike generations of predecessors in the White House, he is King. He sets the law, and his will determines how it will be enforced and against whom. That is his own, very personal vision of “justice,” measured in terms of personal prerogative and power. Torture is the measure and definition of his authority as a President with monarchical pretense.

So Bush will veto the latest anti-torture legislation, and it will have no effect. Or rather, his veto will be cited as yet another instance in which his personal will triumphs over the Law.

The curtain continues to fall over American democracy. Americans understandably are sickened by the tragi-comedy that spreads itself across this stage. But their faith in another presidential election and another leader is misplaced. They need to reserve their faith not for the new, but for the old: for the constitutional model that the Founders left. It needs to be forced to work. And all those who undermine it must be held to account. That includes the should-be watchdogs, who slobbering at the prospect of a few drug-drenched sirloins hurled their way, are failing in their duty to protect their true masters: the American people.

We live in the age of the Great Betrayal, in an age in which too few are willing to state the obvious. There is still time to check the progress of tyrannical power, but the hour grows late, and the sounds of alarm no longer seem to register with a somnolent populace

© The Harper’s Magazine Foundation


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.

Mosaic News – 3/10/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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

linktv

For more: http://linktv.org/originalseries
“Sader Extends Freeze on Mehdi Army,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“45% of Iraqi Oil Goes to U.S.” New TV, Lebanon
“Truce in Gaza?” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Israel Returns Terrorist’s Body for Burial,” IBA TV, Israel
“Pakistanis Demonstrate in Support of Palestinians,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“Will Lebanon Attend Arab Summit,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Sixteenth delay for Lebanon’s Presidential Elections,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Pakistan Rivals Share Power,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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U.S. may add Venezuela to list of terrorist states

Dandelion Salad

By Pablo Bachelet
ICH
03/11/08 “McClatchy Newspapers


WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has launched a preliminary legal inquiry that could land Venezuela on the U.S. list of nations that support terrorism, following reports of close Venezuelan links with Colombian rebels, a senior government official has confirmed.

The investigation is the first step in a process that could see Venezuela join North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Iran as countries designated by the State Department as supporters of terrorism.

U.S. laws give some leeway on what economic activity is subject to such sanctions, but experts say adding Venezuela to the list would force U.S. and even foreign firms to sever or curtail links with one of the world’s largest oil producers.

The legal review comes after Colombia captured four computers belonging to a guerrilla leader in a March 1 raid into Ecuador. The documents suggest the Venezuelan government was in the process of providing $300 million to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The U.S. and Colombian governments and the European Union have officially designated FARC as a terrorist organization, but Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said publicly that he considers it a legitimate insurgency.

A senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the subject, said government lawyers had been asked to clarify “what goes into effect in terms of prohibitions, or prohibited activities,” with the state sponsor designation.

The official was reluctant to predict if the FARC computer discoveries will lead to sanctions, noting U.S. investigators first must corroborate their veracity. The lawyers have not yet returned their opinions, the official added.

But if the captured documents are shown to be true, the official said, “I think it will beg the question of whether or not Venezuela, given Chavez’s interactions with the FARC, has … crossed the threshold of state sponsor of terror.”

Aware of the weighty impact of declaring a country a state sponsor of terrorism, officials say a designation occurs only after careful deliberation. Rhonda Shore, a spokeswoman for the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Terrorism, said in an email that a government must have “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.”

Venezuela already is subject to a U.S. weapons sale ban and other sanctions as a country that refuses to cooperate on terrorism matters. Chavez has established warm relations with Iran. Bush administration officials also complain that Venezuela refuses to cooperate on drug trafficking issues and has lax standards for controlling identity documents.

But declaring Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism would take the sanctions to a much higher degree.

Such a designation “immediately imposes restrictions on the abilities of U.S. companies to work in Venezuela,” said James Lewis, a former State Department arms trafficking expert now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It would make it very hard for Venezuela to sell oil to the U.S.”

The State Department’s website cites four categories of sanctions for countries on the terror list, including restrictions on U.S. aid, a ban on weapons sales, tightened controls over items that have dual military and civilian purposes and “miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.”

Lewis said the last category is “the killer.” Those sanctions, often implemented by the Treasury Department’s Office of Asset Control, prohibit U.S. companies and banks from dealing with countries on the list. Even non-U.S. companies are reluctant to do business with Iranian companies for fear of running afoul of U.S. sanctions, he added.

The designation could reach far beyond the oilfields. Boeing, for instance, would need to be careful in its dealings with Venezuelan airlines, Lewis added. Assets belonging to specially designated entities linked to the country could see their financial assets in U.S. banks frozen.

But Lewis and other U.S. officials cautioned that the harsh sanctions against Iran, which was declared a state sponsor in 1984, would not necessarily be replicated on Venezuela.

“There’s not a standard template” for sanctions, said John Rankin, a spokesman for the Office of Asset Control.

But even a more gentle menu of sanctions would have strong economic and foreign policy implications, given Venezuela’s position as the hemisphere’s third largest exporter to the United States, after Canada and Mexico. In 2007, it was the fourth largest supplier of petroleum to the United States, after Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. The government-owned PDVSA oil company also owns CITGO Petroleum, which has several refineries in the United States and is the country’s third-largest supplier of gasoline.

Chavez, who often rails against President Bush and U.S. policies, has repeatedly threatened to cut off oil shipments to the United States in response to what he views as a possible U.S. attack against his government.

But few believe he can carry out his threat, given that he needs U.S. refineries to process his heavy crude. Chavez recently has been looking to expand his sales to places like China.


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.

Chemical brain controls nanobots + Nanotechnology Takes Off (video)

Dandelion Salad

By Jonathan Fildes
Science and technology reporter
BBC News
11 March 2008, 10:32 GMT

A tiny chemical “brain” which could one day act as a remote control for swarms of nano-machines has been invented.

The molecular device – just two billionths of a metre across – was able to control eight of the microscopic machines simultaneously in a test.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say it could also be used to boost the processing power of future computers.

Many experts have high hopes for nano-machines in treating disease.

“If [in the future] you want to remotely operate on a tumour you might want to send some molecular machines there,” explained Dr Anirban Bandyopadhyay of the National Institute for Materials Science, Tsukuba, Japan.

“But you cannot just put them into the blood and [expect them] to go to the right place.”

Dr Bandyopadhyay believes his device may offer a solution. One day they may be able to guide the nanobots through the body and control their functions, he said.

“That kind of device simply did not exist; this is the first time we have created a nano-brain,” he told BBC News.

…continued (plus pics)

h/t: Raw Story

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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Nanotechnology Takes Off – KQED QUEST

KQEDondemand

From Lawrence Berkeley National Labs to Silicon Valley, researchers are manipulating particles at the atomic level, ushering in potential cures for cancer, clothes that don’t stain, and solar panels as thick as a sheet of paper.

http://www.kqed.org/quest

Added: May 08, 2007

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h/t: • jim •