Olbermann: Obama’s Race Speech + The Audacity of Unity + Love, American Style + Worst + Bushed!

Dandelion Salad

duckofprey

March 18, 2008

Obama’s Race Speech

More at http://www.MaddowFans.com

Rachel Maddow and Eugene Robinson join Keith Olbermann to discuss Barack Obama’s landmark speech on race.

Ryokibin

The Audacity of Unity

Keith speaks with Howard Fineman.

The Audacity of Unity: The dirty little secret of politics, is that those who cover it, dream one day of hearing a speech so significant and so material that it — and they — transcend politics. Our fourth story on the Countdown: put your thesorauses away… since Abraham Lincoln sat down at Gettysburg in 1864, there have been precious few of them, and Barack Obama’s today, was almost certainly not one of them. But as a political speech — and as to its political impact — this was a whopper. And look carefully. If it hadn’t occurred to you already…This may have also been… an audition.

Love, American Style

Keith speaks with Michael Musto.

The Luv Guvs: Three present or former Governors…A singing prostitute…And a menage-a-trois that was dubbed “The Friday Night Special”… My producers say… “Number One Story!” I say… “Stories My Producers Are Forcing Me To Cover.” And oh yeah, trysts at a Days Inn… Could be worse, could be Motel 6… we’ll leave the light on for you.

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

World’s Worst

Keith Olbermann

Rupert Murdoch.

John McCain

Bushed!

Heckuva Job Paulsonie-Gate

Gonzo-Gate

No-Fly-Gate

see

Why the Bush Admin “Watergated” Eliot Spitzer by F. William Engdahl

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Iran: Friends or Enemies? (video)

Dandelion Salad

linktv

The heat is rising and it is time to take a fresh look at our enemy, Iran. Is Iran the new Iraq in U.S. foreign policy? Are the people of Iran anti-U.S. or only the current regime? And, is there an effective difference? An American journalist, an Iranian journalist and a Professor of Iranian culture, politics and history demystify Iran in this expert panel on the so-called “Axis of Evil” member. This panel, which took place at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, features Link TV’s Jamal Dajani, producer of Mosaic: World News from the Middle East, and the weekly Mosaic Intelligence Report.

PANELISTS
Barbara Slavin – Diplomatic Reporter, USA Today; Author, Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies
Abbas Milani – Director of Iranian Studies, Hoover Institute at Stanford University
Jamal Dajani – Director and Producer Middle Eastern Programming, Link Tv — Moderator


see

Iraq Year Six and You + The Day After the Bombing of Iran by David Swanson (videos)

Why the US sees Iran as a threat (video)

Iran

Why the Bush Admin “Watergated” Eliot Spitzer by F. William Engdahl

Dandelion Salad

by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, March 18, 2008

The spectacular and highly bizarre release of secret FBI wiretap data to the New York Times exposing the tryst of New York state Governor, Eliot Spitzer, the now-infamous “No.9,” with a luxury call-girl, had less to do with the Bush Administration’s pursuit of high moral standards for public servants. Spitzer was likely the target of a White House and Wall Street dirty tricks operation to silence one of its most dangerous and vocal critics of their handling the current financial market crisis.

A useful rule of thumb in evaluating spectacular scandals around prominent public figures is to ask what and who might want to eliminate that person. In the case of Governor Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, it is clear that the spectacular “leak” of government FBI wiretap records showing that Spitzer paid a high-cost prostitute $4,300 for what amounted to about an hour’s personal entertainment, was politically motivated. The press has almost solely focused on the salacious aspects of the affair, not least the hefty fee Spitzer apparently paid. Why the scandal breaks now is the more interesting question.

Spitzer became Governor of New York following a high-profile record as a relentless State Attorney General going after financial crimes such as the Enron fraud and corruption by Wall Street investment banks during the 2002 dot.com bubble era. The powerful former head of the large AIG insurance group, Hank Greenburg was among his detractors. He made powerful enemies by all accounts. He was bitterly hated on Wall Street. He had made his political career on being ruthless against financial corruption. Most recently, from his position as Governor of the nation’s second largest state, and home to its financial industry, Spitzer had begun making high profile attacks on the complicity of the Bush Administration in covertly arranging bailout if its Wall Street financial friends at the expense of ordinary homeowners and citizens, paid all with taxpayer funds.

Curiously, Spitzer, who had been elected governor in 2006 defeating a Republican by winning nearly 70 percent of the vote, has been not charged in any crime. However, the day the scandal broke New York Assembly Republicans immediately announced plans to impeach Spitzer or put him on public trial were he to refuse resignation. Spitzer could be asked to testify in any trial involving the Emperors Club prostitution ring. But so far he hasn’t been charged with a crime. Prostitution is illegal in most US states, but clients of prostitutes are almost never charged, nor are their names usually leaked in a case in process. The Spitzer case is in the hands of Washington and not state authorities, underscoring the clear political nature of the Spitzer “Watergate.”

The New York Times said Spitzer was an individual identified as Client 9 in court papers filed last week. Client 9 arranged to meet with “Kristen,” a prostitute who officially charged $1,000 an hour, on February 13 in a Washington hotel. Whatever transpired, Spitzer paid her $4,300, according to the official documents. The case is clearly political when compared with more egregious recent cases involving Republicans. Republican Mark Foley was exposed propositioning male interns in Congress and Rudolph Giuliani was discovered cheating on his wife, but no or few Republican calls for resignations were heard.

Why the attack now?

Spitzer had become increasingly public in his blaming the Bush Administration for the nation’s current financial and economic disaster. He testified in Washington in mid-February before the US House of Representatives Financial Services subcommittee on the problems in New York-based specialized insurance companies, known as “monoline” insurers. In a national CNBC TV interview the same day, he laid blame for the crisis and its broader economic fallout on the Bush Administration.

Spitzer recalled that several years ago the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency went to court and blocked New York State efforts to investigate the mortgage activities of national banks. Spitzer argued the OCC did not put a stop to questionable loan marketing practices or uphold higher underwriting standards.

“This could have been avoided if the OCC had done its job,” Spitzer said in the interview. “The OCC did nothing. The Bush Administration let the housing bubble inflate and now that it’s deflating we’re dealing with the consequences. The real failure, the genesis, the germ that has spread was the subprime scandal,” Spitzer said. Fraudulent marketing and very low “teaser” mortgage rates that later ballooned higher, were practices that should have been stopped, he argued. “When mortgages are being marketed, there is a marketplace obligation to ensure the borrower can afford to pay back the debt,” he said.

That TV interview was only one instance of Spitzer laying blame on the Bush Republicans. On February 14, Spitzer published a signed article in the influential Washington Post titled, “Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers.”

That article, laying clear blame on the Administration for the development of the sub-prime crisis, appeared the day after his ill-fated tryst with the prostitute at the Mayflower Hotel. Just a coincidence? Spitzer wrote, “”In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act pre-empting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks.”

In his article Spitzer charged, “Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which he federal government was turning a blind eye.” Bush, said Spitzer right in the headline, was the “Predator Lenders’ Partner in Crime.” The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet. Spitzer wrote, “When history tells the story of the sub-prime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favourably.”

With that article, some Washington insiders believe, Spitzer signed his own political death warrant.

 

F. William Engdahl is the author of Seeds of Destruction, the Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation recently released by Global Research. He also the author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, Pluto Press Ltd.. To contact by e-mail: info@engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net.

Click to order William Engdahl’s book published by Global Research

Seeds of Destruction

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

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

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright F. William Engdahl, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8376

see

Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime by Former NY Gov Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer

Al-Hajj’s Guantanamo cartoon banned

Dandelion Salad

Al Jazeera English
TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 2008
18:22 MECCA TIME, 15:22 GMT

The US army has banned the publication of four cartoons drawn by Sami al-Hajj, the Al Jazeera cameraman held in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to his lawyer.

The pieces, called Sketches of My Nightmare, include a drawing depicting al-Hajj, who has been on hunger strike for eight months, as a skeleton being force fed by US guards.

The drawings were submitted to the military censor but they would not permit their release.

However, detailed descriptions of the sketches were allowed through the censorship process and Lewis Peake, a political cartoonist, was able to recreate one entitled Scream for Freedom.

…continued and recreated cartoon

h/t: ICH

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.

Cannon Fodder For The Rapture – The Children of Palestine & Israel

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Weitzel
03/18/08 “ICH

Safa Abu Saif, a 12-year-old Palestinian girl, was visiting a friend’s apartment when the bullet fired from an Israeli rifle slammed into her chest, punching a gaping exit wound in her back. No ambulance could reach her because of the fighting. Safa died in her father’s arms three hours after being shot.

Danielle Shafi, a 5-year-old Israeli girl, was killed by the bullet fired from a Palestinian rifle as her mother combed her hair in the child’s upstairs bedroom. Drenched in the blood of her wound, Danielle slowly stopped breathing and died in her mother’s arms minutes after being shot.

According to a United Nation’s report, 971 Palestinian and Israeli children were killed between September 2000—the beginning of the second intifada—and July 2007. Of those destroyed children, 854 were Palestinian. The intifada and the dying continue.

Safa and Danielle are two of the children whose lives the evangelical political action committee, Christians United for Israel, are willing to sacrifice on the alter of their fundamentalist eschatology in the hope of bringing about Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Pastor John Hagee, televangelist to 99 million viewers and pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, established the CUFI in 2005 following the publication of his book, “The Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World.” Hagee envisions CUFI as the Christian version the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobby whose political clout has a significant influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

The late Molly Ivins, a Texas political commentator and author, described Hagee as a “pre-millennial dispensationalist, whose theology focuses on selected apocalyptic passages of the Book of Revelation.” In 1998, Hagee teamed up with Christian filmmakers to produce, “Vanished in the Twinkling of an Eye,” a docudrama about the tribulations following the Rapture.

Despite Pastor Hagee’s obvious interest in eschatology, he insists that CUFI’s support for Israel has nothing to do with end time prophecy. But in an unguarded moment in the intimate confines of his 50,000 sq. ft. multimedia chapel, Hagee set the truth free, “The judgment of the nations is going to happen as soon as Christ returns to earth. As soon as he sets up his throne on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, he’s going to rule the world with a rod of iron. That means he’s going to make the ACLU do what he wants them to … We will live by the law of god, and no other law.”

The problem with Hagee’s version of the truth is the fact that the Temple Mount is Islam’s third most sacred site, upon which sits the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the oldest extant Islamic structure in the world.

According to Judaism, the Mount is where the final Third Temple will be rebuilt before the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Unfortunately for CUFI, the Second Coming of Jesus is on hold until the temple’s completion, and that cannot happen until Islam is destroyed—Hagee’s holy grail.

Predictably then, the good pastor opposes any peace plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, supports Israel’s persecution and “imprisonment” of 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and advocates pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Iran. John Hagee lives, and CUFI exists, to light the fires of the Apocalypse using Israel as the match.

To get a candid look at CUFI and its members, journalist Max Blumenthal took his cameras to the CUFI’s Washington-Israel Summit held last July in the nation’s capital.

His video, Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour opens with Blumenthal cornering disgraced former Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay and asking him how important the Second Coming is in his support of Israel. The “Hammer” replied, “Obviously, it is what I live for. Really, I hope it comes tomorrow. Obviously, we need to be connected to Israel to enjoy the Second Coming of Christ.”

Blumenthal mingled with the 4,500 CUFI rank and file attending the Summit and asked their opinion on Armageddon and the identity of the Antichrist:

Q. “Are you looking forward to Armageddon?”

A. “I’m looking forward to Armageddon and the cleansing of the earth.”

Q. “Who is the Antichrist?”

A. “He will be a man of peace. So he will be one who has promoted peace for many years. The one who forces Israel into a peace treaty with the Arabs is the Beast.”

A. “Another reason that we support Israel is that we have a common enemy, the Muslims. We are fighting what is behind the Muslim people, which is Satan. Satan is actually the one who is trying to destroy the human race.”

After asking Pastor Hagee the “wrong” question during a Summit news conference, Blumenthal and his crew were escorted out of the building by off-duty police officers.

John Hagee is not without fawning friends in Washington. Presidential hopeful John McCain made a campaign stop at the Summit and admitted to the audience that, “It’s very hard trying to do the Lord’s work in the city of Satan …” House Minority Whip Roy Blunt followed McCain to the podium and assured the faithful that “This is a mission, this is a vision that I believe is a vision for God’s time.” Senator Joe Lieberman was there and described Pastor Hagee as an “Ish Elokim,” a man of God.

Never one to be left out of a well-attended Christian Right convocation, President Bush sent his best wishes, “I appreciate CUFI members … for your passion and dedication to enhancing the relationship between the United States and Israel. Your efforts set a shining example for others …”

Cultivating his friendship with the man who believes the U.S. will be in Iraq for the next one hundred years, Pastor Hagee endorsed—and hugged—John McCain for president at a news conference held at the Cornerstone Church. Senator McCain graciously accepted, saying, “I’m very honored by Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement today,” When asked about Hagee’s extensive writings on Armageddon, McCain responded that “all I can tell you is that I am very proud to have Pastor John Hagee’s support.’’

Considering the above, the following should not need to be said. Pastor Hagee’s right-wing Jewish allies will do well to consider that after Islam is destroyed and the Temple rebuilt and Jesus comes and raptures all “true believers,” all non-believers—including Jews—will be hunted down and converted or destroyed … that is, those few who survived the nuclear holocaust that was prayed for and schemed for by the “Ish Elokim” and the CUFI.

In the meanwhile, Palestinian and Israeli children will continue to die singularly or in small groups by the bullets and the bombs and the fire send their way on the wings of CUFI’s prayerful machinations.

Robert Weitzel is a freelance writer and contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Skeptic Magazine, Freethought Today, and on popular liberal websites. He can be contacted at: robertweitzel@mac.com.

see

The Illusion of Democracy – If We Can Keep It By Peter Chamberlin

Bill Moyers Journal: The GOP’s Nominee + Christians United For Israel (CUFI)

Defending Israel to the “End Times” By Bill Berkowitz

Christianity

Zionism

How to Destroy a Country & Get Off Scot-Free By Linda Heard

Dandelion Salad

By Linda Heard
ICH
03/18/08 “Arab News

Someone once told me if you’re going to tell a lie make it a whopper based on the premise the more outrageous the lie the more likely it is to be believed. At the time, I wrote off his advice as hogwash but as we see from the Iraq debacle, he was right. Five years later, the deceit continues undiminished and nobody has been held to account.

Britain’s Gordon Brown yesterday promised to hold an enquiry into the “mistakes” made in Iraq. Sounds good, but don’t hold your breath. All previous inquiries have been labeled “whitewashes”. They can’t afford the truth to come out else they might get a one-way ticket to The Hague.

Ambassador David Satterfield, and adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is doing the rounds of talk shows lauding America’s victories over Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

On one occasion the host interjected to mention the unpalatable fact that Al-Qaeda members only flocked to Iraq once the Americans were in place leaving Satterfield momentarily nonplussed.

It’s obvious that Satterfield is so saturated in the party line he forgot the Pentagon’s recently published study that found with certainty that Saddam Hussein had absolutely no links to Al-Qaeda. And lest we forget Saddam didn’t have WMD either, which means not only was the war immoral the prewar sanctions on that country that contributed to the deaths of over half-a-million Iraqi children were too.

Think about it for a moment. The warmongers invaded, crushed and occupied a country that was no threat to anyone. They stood by as it was looted, exacerbated sectarianism, flattened entire towns, tortured untold numbers of innocents, brought in gum-chewing, tattooed foreign mercenaries and paid crony companies billions of dollars for mythical reconstruction projects.

They then pretended to hand over sovereignty to that country while at the same time constructing permanent bases and the biggest US Embassy in history resembling a small town. They said they had no interest in Iraq’s oil, yet they are putting immense pressure on the Iraqi government (sic) to sign into law a bill that permits foreign (read American) oil companies to lock up decades-long deals. Let’s be frank. Iraq wasn’t a blunder, it was a crime. So how did they manage to get away with implanting their long-conceived plot to do away with Israel’s No. 1 foe, ensure their competitors couldn’t get their hands on Iraq’s resources and entrench their military might in the region? Future historians will no doubt be scratching their heads over this one. You had to live through it to believe it.

First, they cleverly used the politics of fear to sway public opinion. As noted in the Project for the New American Century’s document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”, the warmonger signatories – who later became senior members of the Bush administration – needed “a new Pearl Harbor”. On Sept. 11, 2001 they got it. Americans and their allies were in shock. Almost every country in the world was sympathetic and willing to do anything to help. And, boy, did they capitalize on that empathy even managing to persuade Russia to stay silent as they made deals with Caspian states to allow US bases.

Step one was a country where a giant bogeyman was supposed to be hiding out in a cave presumably equipped with a dialysis machine and a production studio and whose black-turbaned government forced women to wear a burqa and disallowed nail polish. But then Defense Minister Donald Rumsfeld was disappointed because there weren’t enough targets for his bombs. It was no fun bombing a country into the Stone Age when it was already there.

Step two was the insidious demonizing of Muslims, thousands of whom were arrested and held for months without charge or access to lawyers. In that climate of fear, it was relatively simple to persuade the American people that Saddam Hussein was conniving with the people who brought down the World Trade Center. US officials warned of mushroom clouds; Prime Minister Tony Blair said British interests could be attacked within 45 minutes of Saddam giving the order. Then Secretary of State Colin Powell allowed himself to be used as their fall guy. He spouted the most unbelievable scripted codswallop the UN had ever heard…yet, bullied and bribed nation after nation pretended to believe him as IAEA chief Mohammed El-Baradei and UN weapons inspector Hans Blix did little to discredit the hoax.

Step three entailed replacing Osama in people’s minds with Saddam, who overnight morphed into a hydra-headed monster whose idea of a pleasant weekend was gassing and torturing his own people.

Step four was ‘Shock and Awe’ which illuminated the Baghdad skyline on March 19, 2003. As their bombs and missiles rained down on crowded market places scattering limbs, they told us those bombs and missiles were Saddam’s even though the Independent’s Middle East correspondent inconveniently dug up their Made in the USA shards.

As the months went on, we began to wonder what happened to the WMD. They told us it was only a matter of time before it would be unearthed from under the sands or discovered in a tunnel under one of Saddam’s palaces. They even suggested it may have been shipped off to a neighboring country for safekeeping!!

Step five was an orchestrated administration campaign to inject us with mass amnesia. Never mind about the weapons, they said. We are here to liberate the poor Iraqi people from their evil dictator and deliver freedom and democracy. Look, look, they said. The Iraqis have purple fingers! With up to one million dead, Iraqis are lucky they have any fingers at all.

To be fair, they couldn’t have done it without the aid of a compliant, supine media, which embedded its reporters with US battalions and agreed not to show captured US soldiers, flag-draped coffins, military funerals or scenes of blood-soaked Iraqi civilians. Independent reporters who neglected to abide by the script were discredited, refused access to information and even shelled.

I still recall a live report from David Chater of Sky News, who saw the barrel of a US tank slowly turn toward the Palestine hotel – known to be a journalist’s hang-out – before firing its shell killing three reporters. The Baghdad offices of Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya were also hit.

With so much information on tap I’m flabbergasted that so many people still believe the Iraq fairytale. I wish they’d get in touch with me. I’ve got a few pyramids and a sphinx going cheap. Sad, isn’t it!

sierra12th@yahoo.co.uk


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

see

Mosaic News – 3/17/08: World News from the Middle East

Winter Soldier 1971 Clip + Soldiers Testify About the Horrors of War (videos)

Baghdad: City of walls + Death, destruction & fear + Shabby, tired & scared

Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90

Dandelion Salad

BBC
Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 23:19 GMT

British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died in Sri Lanka at the age of 90.

Born in Somerset, he came to fame in 1968 when a short story The Sentinel was made into the film 2001: A Space Odyssey by director Stanley Kubrick.

Once called “the first dweller in the electronic cottage”, his vision of future space travel and computing captured the popular imagination.

A close aide said he died after a cardio-respiratory attack.

…continued

***

Arthur C Clarke dies aged 90

Associated Press
Tuesday March 18, 2008
guardian.co.uk

…continued

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

The Collapse of American Power By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
03/18/08 “ICH

In his famous book, The Collapse of British Power (1972), Correlli Barnett reports that in the opening days of World War II Great Britain only had enough gold and foreign exchange to finance war expenditures for a few months. The British turned to the Americans to finance their ability to wage war. Barnett writes that this dependency signaled the end of British power.

From their inception, America’s 21st century wars against Afghanistan and Iraq have been red ink wars financed by foreigners, principally the Chinese and Japanese, who purchase the US Treasury bonds that the US government issues to finance its red ink budgets.

The Bush administration forecasts a $410 billion federal budget deficit for this year, an indication that, as the US saving rate is approximately zero, the US is not only dependent on foreigners to finance its wars but also dependent on foreigners to finance part of the US government’s domestic expenditures. Foreign borrowing is paying US government salaries–perhaps that of the President himself–or funding the expenditures of the various cabinet departments. Financially, the US is not an independent country.

The Bush administration’s $410 billion deficit forecast is based on the unrealistic assumption of 2.7% GDP growth in 2008, whereas in actual fact the US economy has fallen into a recession that could be severe. There will be no 2.7% growth, and the actual deficit will be substantially larger than $410 billion.

Just as the government’s budget is in disarray, so is the US dollar which continues to decline in value in relation to other currencies. The dollar is under pressure not only from budget deficits, but also from very large trade deficits and from inflation expectations resulting from the Federal Reserve’s effort to stabilize the very troubled financial system with large injections of liquidity.

A troubled currency and financial system and large budget and trade deficits do not present an attractive face to creditors. Yet Washington in its hubris seems to believe that the US can forever rely on the Chinese, Japanese and Saudis to finance America’s life beyond its means. Imagine the shock when the day arrives that a US Treasury auction of new debt instruments is not fully subscribed.

The US has squandered $500 billion dollars on a war that serves no American purpose. Moreover, the $500 billion is only the out-of-pocket costs. It does not include the replacement cost of the destroyed equipment, the future costs of care for veterans, the cost of the interests on the loans that have financed the war, or the lost US GDP from diverting scarce resources to war. Experts who are not part of the government’s spin machine estimate the cost of the Iraq war to be as much as $3 trillion.

The Republican candidate for President said he would be content to continue the war for 100 years. With what resources? When America’s creditors consider our behavior they see total fiscal irresponsibility. They see a deluded country that acts as if it is a privilege for foreigners to lend to it, and a deluded country that believes that foreigners will continue to accumulate US debt until the end of time.

The fact of the matter is that the US is bankrupt. David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the US and head of the Government Accountability Office, in his December 17, 2007, report to the US Congress on the financial statements of the US government noted that “the federal government did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting (including safeguarding assets) and compliance with significant laws and regulations as of September 30, 2007.” In everyday language, the US government cannot pass an audit.

Moreover, the GAO report pointed out that the accrued liabilities of the federal government “totaled approximately $53 trillion as of September 30, 2007.” No funds have been set aside against this mind boggling liability.

Just so the reader understands, $53 trillion is $53,000 billion.

Frustrated by speaking to deaf ears, Walker recently resigned as head of the Government Accountability Office.

As of March 17, 2008, one Swiss franc is worth more than $1 dollar. In 1970, the exchange rate was 4.2 Swiss francs to the dollar. In 1970, $1 purchased 360 Japanese yen. Today $1 dollar purchases less than 100 yen.

If you were a creditor, would you want to hold debt in a currency that has such a poor record against the currency of a small island country that was nuked and defeated in WW II, or against a small landlocked European country that clings to its independence and is not a member of the EU?

Would you want to hold the debt of a country whose imports exceed its industrial production? According to the latest US statistics as reported in the February 28 issue of Manufacturing and Technology News, in 2007 imports were 14 percent of US GDP and US manufacturing comprised 12% of US GDP. A country whose imports exceed its industrial production cannot close its trade deficit by exporting more.

The dollar has even collapsed in value against the euro, the currency of a make-believe country that does not exist: the European Union. France, Germany, Italy, England and the other members of the EU still exist as sovereign nations. England even retains its own currency. Yet the euro hits new highs daily against the dollar.

Noam Chomsky recently wrote that America thinks that it owns the world. That is definitely the view of the neoconized Bush administration. But the fact of the matter is that the US owes the world. The US “superpower” cannot even finance its own domestic operations, much less its gratuitous wars except via the kindness of foreigners to lend it money that cannot be repaid.

The US will never repay the loans. The American economy has been devastated by offshoring, by foreign competition, and by the importation of foreigners on work visas, while it holds to a free trade ideology that benefits corporate fat cats and shareholders at the expense of American labor. The dollar is failing in its role as reserve currency and will soon be abandoned.

When the dollar ceases to be the reserve currency, the US will no longer be able to pay its bills by borrowing more from foreigners.

I sometimes wonder if the bankrupt “superpower” will be able to scrape together the resources to bring home the troops stationed in its hundreds of bases overseas, or whether they will just be abandoned.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand.


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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We Own The World By Noam Chomsky

“Bernankerupted”: Bear Stearns Fire-sale sends Global Markets Plunging; Dollar Routed

Three Easy Pieces: The Dollar, Paulson & Carlyle Capital By Mike Whitney

Massive Debt Default by Mike Whitney

The Illusion of Democracy – If We Can Keep It By Peter Chamberlin

Dandelion Salad

Digg It

By Peter Chamberlin
03/18/08 “ICH

In the name of patriotism, we have participated in a planned deception to create a state of permanent war. In the name of profit, America has been sacrificed on the altar of the god of war, to create a global empire based on the mass-marketing of death.

“We are opposed…by a ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the [war] with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match…” –JFK, 1961 http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical+Resources/

The official version of this speech, is that Kennedy was describing an international communist conspiracy in this address, but then, the official version of the conspiracy that later killed him was that it was the work of a “lone assassin,” firing magic bullets. The alternative view is that Kennedy was giving us a hidden warning of the secret “power behind the throne,” otherwise known as the “military/industrial complex.”

Over the many decades since President Kennedy uttered this warning, “the conspiracy” has undermined American society. In the process it corrupted three major religions and killed millions worldwide, in order to bring us to the precipice of permanent perpetual war. The next war will take us over that threshold. As citizens in the last remaining bastion of democracy on the face of the earth, we have a responsibility to prevent that final war from beginning. All we have to do now is figure out how to do it.

Kennedy always knew that this dreadful day would come, that one day Americans would have to choose between freedom and the illusion of security. He had heard his predecessor President Dwight D. Eisenhower, prophetically warn of the inevitable future danger that would arise from the military/industrial complex and “the disastrous rise of misplaced power.”

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together…avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.” http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

It was as though Ike had personally met the future idiot-in-chief and his vice-idiot-in-chief and psychically sensed the future death and destruction that they would sow throughout the world. In Bush and Cheney, Eisenhower’s nightmare vision is now being realized.

We, along with the rest of the human race, have been set-up in a monumental con job beyond anything the world has ever seen. The “war on terror” is the biggest con of all, being the product of decades of covert actions, utilizing an engineered “terrorist” entity to bring about a state of permanent war. Unraveling the Myth of Al Qaida. Another part of the con is the belief that we are helpless to stop the disaster we see building around us and before us. If we were really powerless to stop them, then why has it proved so difficult for them to start the war upon Iran?

The human race is held hostage to the desires and the plots of American war profiteers. There is no available cash to fund the eradication of human suffering, but there is an endless sea of cash flowing into the dead-end production of weapons, all in the name of “protecting democracy.” A way must be found to interrupt the machinery of war, so that the long-neglected machinery of life can be rediscovered. How many tractors could be made from one tank?

People ask, what democratic action can be taken to stop the runaway military industrial complex from creating a state of perpetual war, to maintain and extend its unjust control over everyman? It seems at first that a clear cut answer would be a massive antiwar movement, but the problem, and therefore the answer, is much broader than that. The ongoing militarization of life is an assault upon all life. The reality is that we are in a fight for all life over the salesmen of corporate death. Understanding this fact ought to make it obvious that our fight should be every sane person’s fight.

The plan being followed is pure evil. The mission of everyman standing for truth, at some point, will bring him into direct contact with some element of this unmitigated form of evil. If stopping this malevolence is not reason enough to risk everything, then nothing is. If we had access to ultimate truth then we might find that this monstrous system is indeed “the Beast” of Revelations. It comes as close to the dark system of total control that is described in that honored book as anything I can imagine. As far as I can tell, the only thing lacking is the “mark” or the chip required to buy and sell.

In order to salvage democracy from the ravages of the military industrial complex, then everyone has to take a personal stand, risking something, in order to contribute personally to saving everything. The solution is for everyone to take a stand for truth, one person at a time, until so many of us rise to our feet that we become a wave. If the masses will not peaceably assemble to preserve their rights, then they will be eaten en masse, by the machine. We must become a force that cannot be ignored.

It is important for individuals in positions of trust, such as newsman to honor their commitments to truth. Anyone who wants to serve as a “watchdog for the people” must be willing to risk his career in defense of the truth, whenever the time comes for him to make his personal stand. When the dust settles, disinformation sources that masquerade as news will be a thing of the past. For the military man, whenever he is given the order to kill, based on reasons which he knows are lies, he must refuse to order his men to do the killing. For the policeman, when his time comes, he must refuse to “taze the bro,” for daring to question the official conspiracy theory of events.

The “war on terrorism” is a euphemism for a war on democracy. The purpose of the entire production is to use democracy, to eliminate democracy. Whether it be here in America, or in England, or in any other country where we have relations, American foreign policy is to use democracy as a tool for burying freedom. The war was created by us (manipulating many foreign players to do our will), to propel a fascist vision of perpetual world war, which will forever justify the militarization of our society and every democracy within reach.

The US war on terror has been, in reality, a machine for sowing terror, intended to force the people who are inclined to self-defense, to [defend themselves] become terrorists. Kidnappings, targeted assassinations, military attacks, and the making of entire populations into refugees, are tactics intended to alienate individuals and drive them to vigilantism. Terrorists are defined as those who take up arms to defend against US attacks and occupation. The driving purpose of the war on terrorism has been to uncover would-be terrorists (those who would resist America), by forcing radicalized men to violently act upon their beliefs. The use of “death squads” and militias to instigate conflicts is a plot to flush-out the hidden commitments to family and country that would drive angry young men to oppose America’s violent designs upon their property.

It is the same wherever this covert foreign policy of fomenting civil war is being implemented. The American War Upon the World by Peter Chamberlin

This policy has been adapted towards every nation, friends and enemies alike Gladio – Death Plan For Democracy by Peter Chamberlin.

The plan is implemented by fomenting division among the targeted people

http://uruknet.info/?p=m41134&hd=&size=1&l=e (Warfare of the Whisper –dividing the people and keeping them ignorant). At the heart of the plan is the elimination of a billion or more poor people. New World Order: Unimaginable Intentional Human Suffering by Peter Chamberlin.

The truth about the great plan for our enslavement is that at least three of the major world religions have been corrupted in the process. According to plan, American Christianity has been corrupted by a contrived false doctrine known as Christian-Zionism, which embraces terrorism and genocide as the “will of God.” This repeats the corruption of Judaism by secular (atheist) and Talmudic Jews, who have promoted their plan as “God’s will” to “restore the land to God’s chosen people,” even though expressed Zionist intentions have always been to kill all those who stood in the way of them stealing another people’s homeland. The “war on terrorism” which emerged from this unholy “Judeo-Christian” union was centered around the creation of a false violent offshoot of Islam, termed “Islamo-fascism,” to serve as an elusive permanent enemy in the grand charade.

The configuration of the power structure that we face, intending to bring it down, is centered on (once again) achieving the next war without the consent of the American people. It is necessary that the “powers that be” are freed from restraints upon their actions, so that they might use all the weapons in their arsenal to reshape the world, by first reshaping the Middle East region. These realignment plans are centered on strengthening Israel’s hand, by undermining or destroying its enemies (all of its neighbors). Stopping the conspiracy requires that we derail these plans at every potential juncture. This requires that we confront all three of the false religions (“straw men”) that have been set-up to mislead the world into submission before the god of war.

The genius of darkness on this scale can be seen in its ability to “masquerade as light.” And we know today that many of the leading voices screaming for Muslim blood and total world war are respected religious leaders. Our greatest national leaders pretend to honor God and country by their outrageous plans for death and outright genocide, even though the apparent outcome of the neocon war will be the end of America as we know it. But that is the goal of the Armegeddon-loving preachers of the Christian-Zionist movement.

We see potential future presidents like John McCain embrace pastor imposters like John Hagee and Rod Parsley, who both teach ideas that should be reprehensible to sane Christians.

“the United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West… a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.” – Hagee http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/48397

“I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam. I know that this statement sounds extreme, but I do not shrink from its implications. The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed.” – Parsley http://www.motherjones.com/

In the egomania that passes for religious doctrine that is spewed by Hagee to his faithful sheep, he apparently even renounces Jesus as the “Messiah,” in order to accommodate Jewish perceptions which deny the nature of Christ: http://youtube.com/watch?v=m8khCJTDD44

If Zionist Israel was “God’s will,” then the “Diaspora” would be returned to the Holy Land and the Zionist experiment would not be threatened by exposure in the media. As it is, its most radical adherents understand that there must be no national debate or discussion of either Israeli actions in Palestine, or American support for these actions. To do so would lead to national exposure of the many war crimes that are being committed there in our name, with our weapons and financial backing. This is Zionism’s “Achilles heel,” the reason so many of us are focusing the debate about the war squarely upon Israel.

“There is now a guerrilla war against Zionism in the U.S. that will one day soon, mark my words, break into the mainstream media.” Mondoweiss

The key to fighting Zionism is simply to acknowledge its nature. The founders and leaders of the political movement have always been realists, meaning that they have openly acknowledged the reality that Palestinians would never willingly surrender their land for Zionist colonization, without the liberal application of enough deadly force to break their will to resist.

In the Zionist ideology, negotiations to end, or to reduce the use of force (before the Palestinians are pounded into complete submission) undermine military efforts, which are the only certain strategy to clear and capture the land. The “peace process” was the Zionist solution, satisfying Israel’s left-wing with sham negotiations that the right-wing was prepared to sabotage by unleashing ever-expanding cycles of violence. The peace process has always been a sham theatrical production, meant to buy time for the colonization of the land and accumulate payoffs (in the form of weaponry) to persuade Israel to not carry-out a “final solution” to its “Palestinian problem.” Israel’s manufactured “war on terrorism” has been a necessary compliment to its idea of a “peace process,” serving as a tool for prying more and more weaponry from America. When new weapons systems become available the cycle of terrorism is ramped-up by brutal Israeli collective punishment on the captive population, until the US reacts, forcing restraining negotiations upon them all.

This long-standing Israeli ploy has been used to milk billions of dollars and all the necessary war machinery necessary for its expansionist plans for “Greater Israel.” The overriding strategy has been to convince the Americans and their allies that Israel feels threatened and is on the verge of unleashing all of its military might against the threat, unless others alleviate the threat for them, either by fighting Israel’s enemies for them, or lessening the fear by increasing Israel’s arms advantage over its neighbors even further. Historically, Israel has used the claim of “existential threats” to its survival to fuel these propaganda ploys. Behind closed doors, Israeli leaders have freely confessed that this strategic deception has been used to justify launching wars in the past, http://www.arabmediawatch.com/ and are being used to justify forcing an American attack upon Iran today. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/916758.html

The US has adapted Israel’s “Iron Wall” doctrine to its “war on terror,” using fear and the perception of threat to manipulate the American people into submission to its demands. The “wall” of fear is supposed to intimidate us into giving-up our freedoms and our rights to the national security state, in order to escape a perceived worse fate. The hyped fear of an imaginary “holy war” between Islam and the world has so far successfully driven the terrorized American herd inexorably towards the precipice, seducing us into surrendering our democracy to escape our pending extinction.

We are supposed to forget that we have the freedom and the power to change our direction. The plan is that we remain as sleeping sheeple, while our trusted leaders slam down the gates around us, until we have no rights left, only the “freedom” to remain alive, if we are willing to remain silent. The war on terrorism is a carefully crafted war on us and upon all life.

The answer to a religion of world-haters is a religion of life. To those who worship death, whether they be apostates of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, the only truth that can win-out is the truth that all life is sacred, every person a part of the same God. Men of God have to reach out to those who see God from a different angle.

The false religions have to be renounced by the true believers. “Islamophobia,” or hatred of Muslims, is the false religion that the American and Israeli secret services have created as the center of the war on terrorism. It is a disgrace to the Jews and Christians alike, who allow this blasphemy into their holy places. If Islamic leaders can denounce the basic principles that are associated with “Islamofascism,” in an attempt to bridge the perceived gulf between religions, then true messengers of the “Prince of Peace” should be man enough to gladly support them.

DAKAR (Reuters) – World Muslim leaders on Friday condemned extremism and terrorism as incompatible with Islam and proposed a high-level international meeting to promote a “dialogue of civilizations” with the Christian world.

Leaders of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which represents 1.5 billion Muslims from across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made the “Dakar Declaration” after a two-day summit in Senegal’s capital.

“We continue to strongly condemn all forms of extremism and dogmatism which are incompatible with Islam, a religion of moderation and peaceful coexistence,” the declaration said.

“We believe that it is important to plan along such lines a preparatory phase by organizing a major international gathering on Islamic-Christian dialogue that involves governments among other players,” http://www.reuters.com/

If Christian and Jewish leaders would follow this example, renouncing extremism and dogmatism, and embracing peaceful coexistence, we would see the formation of life-saving bulwarks begin to take shape. The fight against the worshipers of death is much more than a political fight, or a stand against the immorality of war, it is a stand for the sanctity of all life. The antiwar movement must get over itself and see the greater struggle as a fight for all life, the first step to saving the planet.

If the antiwar movement becomes a pro-life force then we can help create renewed hope in a vision of the future similar to this inspirational last revelation of President Eisenhower:

“We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.” http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

Copyright – Peter Chamberlin – 2008

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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Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, 9/11 victims (video)

Gladio – Death Plan For Democracy by Peter Chamberlin

New World Order: Unimaginable Intentional Human Suffering by Peter Chamberlin

Unraveling the Myth of Al Qaida

The American War Upon the World by Peter Chamberlin

Chamberlin-Peter

Israel Lobby

Christianity

Zionism

Older posts:

Jesus/Y’shua/Christianity

Israel Lobby

Zionism

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Mosaic News – 3/17/08: 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
“Red Cross Paints Grim Portrait of Iraq,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Dick Cheney Visits Iraq,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“20th Conference for Islamic Affairs,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Chancellor Merkel Visits Israel,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Gaza’s Fishermen Banned from Fishing,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Arabs Boycott Paris Book Fair,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Iranians Celebrate Nirouz,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
“MIR- Iraq: Five More Years?” Link TV, USA
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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

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Obama on Race in America + A More Perfect Union (videos + transcript)

Dandelion Salad

Veracifier

March 18, 2008

Obama Speech: ‘A More Perfect Union’

BarackObamadotcom

Barack Obama speaks in Philadelphia, PA at Constitution Center, on matters not just of race and recent remarks but of the fundamental path by which America can work together to pursue a better future.

***

A More Perfect Union

by Barack Obama
Mar 18, 2008
http://my.barackobama.com/

As Prepared for Delivery…

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk – to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination – where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs – to the larger aspirations of all Americans — the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination – and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past – are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Winter Soldier 1971 Clip + Soldiers Testify About the Horrors of War + Democracy Now coverage (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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

Democracy Now!

March 14, 2008 Continue reading

ITN footage of Tibetan students protesting in Beijing

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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

archtotibet

The journalist gets harassed as he tries to get footage of Tibetan students protesting the killings in Lhasa in Beijing by holding a silent sit-in, candlelight Vigil.

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

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Tibet protests spread to Amdho Labrang (videos)

Baghdad: City of walls + Death, destruction & fear + Shabby, tired & scared

Dandelion Salad

Updated: Aug 4, 2008 added videos

by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
guardian.co.uk
Monday March 17 2008

In the first of Ghaith Abdul-Ahad’s extraordinary series of films to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, he investigates the claims that the US military surge is bringing stability to Iraq. By travelling through the heart of Baghdad he exposes how, by enclosing the Sunni and Shia populations behind 12ft walls, the surge has left the city more divided and desperate than ever.

Video link

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msvf2

City of walls

March 18, 2008
US claims that the military surge is bringing stability to Iraq. By travelling through the heart of Baghdad its easy to see by enclosing the Sunni and Shia populations behind 12ft walls, the surge has left the city more divided and desperate than ever.

Killing fields

One Baghdad’s killings fields on the edge of Sadr City. The scene of thousands of sectarian murders over the last three years, it is a desolate and evil place: ‘Only the killers and the killed ever come here’ says Abdul-Ahad. Here in the thousands of unmarked graves lie the victims of militia gangs. Video by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad.

Iraq’s lost generation

An orphanage in Sadr city, where children speak of their hatred of America. A generation of Iraqi children have been radicalised and anti-westernised by the war. Video by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad.

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Death, destruction and fear on the streets of cafes, poets and booksellers

by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
guardian.co.uk
Monday March 17 2008

To mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, the award-winning journalist returns to the city where he was born and lived for 30 years

Baghdad was never a beautiful city. A sprawling sea of low rise, dusty concrete cubes with few green spaces, it is a typical Middle Eastern architectural disaster, expanding without any real urban planning from the 1950s. But if you knew the city you could find your corners: a narrow, zigzagging alleyway, an Ottoman courtyard, the shade of a lemon tree in spring.

One of my favourites was the Mutanabi book market. The cafes and teahouses lining the old street had became a hangout for journalists, poets and artists, and with them had come the book market. It was here that I used to buy my illegal photocopies of Marx’s Communist Manifesto – in Arabic – and Orwell’s 1984.

Last week, I went back to Mutanabi. To reach it I travelled through bullet-pocked Bab al-Mu’adham, past countless checkpoints: Shia police commandos, some carrying newly US-supplied M-16 guns, hunkering behind sandbags, Sunni militiamen in khaki trousers, T-shirts and trainers.

…continued

h/t: After Downing Street

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Shabby, tired and scared – the pupils who know all about the word ‘enemy’

by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
guardian.co.uk
Monday March 18 2008

Ali stands in the middle of the ninth-grade class, holding an English textbook in one hand and resting the other on a battered wooden desk. To his left is a blackboard on which he has conjugated the verb “to play”, and on the other side is a broken cupboard on which someone has scribbled: “Long live Sayed Moqtada. Long live Moqtada … Moqtada … Moqtada.”

In heavily accented English, rounded by Hollywood-flavoured vowels, Ali reads from the textbook: “The great Arab warrior Khaled bin Waleed went to fight the enemies of Islam.” He pauses, looking at the bewildered faces of his young students. “Do you know the meaning of the word ‘enemy’,” he asks.

Two students raise their hands. “It is adou,” says one, giving the Arab translation of the word.

“That’s right,” says Ali. He lowers his eyes to continue reading.

“Just like Amreeka!” another student shouts from the back, referring to the United States.

…continued

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Iraq Year Six and You + The Day After the Bombing of Iran by David Swanson (videos)

US/IRAQ: Rules of Engagement “Thrown Out the Window” by Dahr Jamail

Hillary Clinton Delivers Major Speech About Iraq

Obama Claims He Opposed Occupation While Funding It, Doesn’t Want to Withdraw Fast

Winter Soldier: Jesse Hamilton + Fight to Survive (videos)

Iraq