The Constitution, John Yoo, and You

Jennifer Wants Justice and Peace

by Jennifer
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Jennifer’s blog
Justice and Peace
April 4, 2008

The manner in which we seek justice against those accused of harming us will determine whether the United States will be seen at home and abroad as a nation of laws. We must decide whether we live the values of justice that make us proud to be Americans, or whether we will forsake those values and continue down a path of arbitrary rules and procedures more befitting those who are our enemies. Because we are a great nation, true to our founders’ vision, we must uphold our core values even in the toughest of times. The right to a speedy trial in a court of law before an objective arbiter; the right to due process; the right to rebut the evidence against you; the right not to be tortured or waterboarded, or convicted on the basis of hearsay evidence are what truly define America and our commitment to the rule of law and our founders’ aspirations. — Anthony D. Romero

John Yoo, the former Bush Administration lawyer and legal advisor, along with Alberto Gonzales have become infamous in the American psyche as the legal team who deliberately argued the support of torture as well as various Constitutional violations. Shortly after the events of September 11, Americans were told that this was a new kind of war that would require changes in the way America conducted itself.

For most legal scholars, constitutionalists, and human rights activists the ideas of having to redefine or to defend current definitions of torture, cruel and unusual punishment, and whether or not constitutional law applied during wartime became a kind of surreal nightmare that few understood. According to Mark Danner, once Alberto Gonzales had written that “this new paradigm renders obsolete the Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions,” arguments among government officials broke out. The Department of Defense expressed grave concern stating that such a decision “will reverse over a century of US policy and practice in supporting the Geneva conventions and undermine protections of the law for our troops.”

As evidenced by photographs coming from Abu Ghraib and the “Torture Memos”, it has become apparent to any Americans listening that the torture that took place there as well as Gitmo was deliberate, and certainly conducted with the full permission of higher ups in the military and the White House.

In an interview with Phillepe Sands on Democracy Now! Juan Gonzales reported that, “The Bush administration’s treatment of prisoners and interrogation methods is coming under increased scrutiny this week following the declassification of a 2003 memo. The memo shows the Justice Department told the Pentagon that presidential authority overrode numerous laws banning torture or cruel treatment of prisoners in US custody. The memo endorsed assault, maiming and even administering mind-altering drugs on prisoners. The memo was written on March 14, 2003 by attorney John Yoo. At the time, Yoo was a deputy in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. Today, Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Meanwhile, the British attorney Philippe Sands has just published an article in Vanity Fair exposing new details about how Yoo and other high-ranking administration attorneys helped design and implement the interrogation policies seen at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and secret CIA prisons.

According to Vanity Fair, then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales personally visited Guantanamo in 2002, discussed interrogation techniques and witnessed interrogations. Also on the trip was David Addington, then Dick Cheney’s chief counsel, and William Haynes, the general counsel of the Department of Defense.

Remarkably and under reported, disdain for the rule of law does not end on the soil of Iraq and Cuba, according to a recently released memo obtained by the ACLU, through a Freedom of Information Act request, evidence of White House officials contempt for the Constitution becomes more evident. In documents citing the Fourth Amendment (protections against unreasonable search and seizure), titled “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States.” authors point out, “our office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations,”

Even more alarming however, is that this President and Vice President continue to hold their positions in office. It leaves this law-abiding citizen to stare in shock and awe as to how it is possible that United States citizens continue to allow this to happen.

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Olbermann: Commander in Chief Test + McCain & the Economy + Worst + Bushed!

The Green Light: Attorney Philippe Sands Follows the Bush Admin Torture Trail

The Green Light

Torture

The Green Light: Attorney Philippe Sands Follows the Bush Admin Torture Trail

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!
April 3, 2008

A new exposé in Vanity Fair by British attorney Philippe Sands reveals new details about how attorney John Yoo and other high-ranking administration lawyers helped design and implement the interrogation policies seen at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and secret CIA prisons. According to Vanity Fair, then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and other top officials personally visited Guantanamo in 2002, discussed interrogation techniques and witnessed interrogations. Sands joins us in our firehouse studio.

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Economic Cycles & Political Trends in the US (Part II) by Rodrigue Tremblay

Dandelion Salad

by Rodrigue Tremblay
Sunday, April 6, 2008

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3rd U.S. President

“The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right.”

Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804)

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute––where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote–– where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference––and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.”

President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1960

[N.B.: This article is drawn from a conference pronounced by Dr. Tremblay before the Florida Renaissance Academy, Marco Island Yacht Club, on April 4, 2008.]

PART II

There are even much longer political cycles and trends in political philosophies and ideologies, and social trends, some lasting more than 100 years. Thus, some people may live an entire life without encountering their more extreme occurrences. These are the very long trends I am dealing with here.

Indeed, historically, we can identify three major trends and sources of disagreement in American political philosophy. Such swings in political ideas are developed more fully in my book “The New American Empire” (a book which has also been published in French in Canada and in France and which has just been published in Turkish, (in Ankara). I believe it is important to understand the sources of these trends and cycles in order to understand contemporary politics.

I- First, let’s go back to the Mayflower in order to show the tensions that have existed in the U.S., since the very beginning, between the religious view of the world and the business view of the world.

On November 10, 1620, a group of English families left Holland (where some had been living for 11 years, after fleeing England where they had been persecuted for their religion) and landed at what became Plymouth, Massachusetts. For them, American offered them a land of religious freedom where they could freely practice their religion and not be subjected to the exactions of a state-run official religion. — It is therefore no accident that nearly 200 years later, in the first amendment of the Founding Fathers’ Bill of Rights, adopted two years after the 1787 Constitution, the government is expressly prohibited from infringing upon freedom of religion, among other freedoms, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right of assembly, and the right to petition the Government.

What is less well known is the fact that the 104 passengers (some of them called themselves “The Pilgrims”) were divided into two nearly equal-sized groups. *One group of 50 people was composed of the more religious ones. They called themselves the “Saints” and they called the other 54 passengers the “Foreigners” because these were people who had been recruited by London merchants and who essentially were mainly interested in the economic opportunities that the new colony, they hoped, would offer them.

During the trip, there were continuous quarrels between the two groups. This was settled by the signing of an agreement between the two, proclaiming equality among the colonists (whether religious or not) and the establishment of a “Civill body Politick”, governed by “just and equall Lawes” (sic). This agreement, called the Mayflower Compact, represents the beginning of the American civil government. It is fundamentally a compromise between religion and business.

There was also another permanent European colony, which was established by the London Company in Jamestown, Virginia, on May 14, 1607, thirteen years earlier. Captain John Smith was the leader of 105 men, whose principal mission was to find gold and to become rich.

Therefore, among the first 209 Americans of European origin, about one fourth were deeply religious, but the other three quarters came to make money and get rich. —I sort of think that this is about the same thing today between the business-oriented people and the very religious people, although the latter group has been gaining importance and influence over the last half century.

As to the right to free enterprise, it can be said that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution somewhat guarantees such a right since it is says “No State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

As to freedom of religion, this may explain why there is no official state religion in the United States. Even before the War of Independence (1776 to 1783), a majority of American colonists had been anxious to preserve freedom of religion, and they had revolted against British rule, when the British attempted to establish the Anglican Church as the state religion, as they did in the states of Virginia and New York.

That may explain why, after the War of Independence, the leaders of the new nation chose to establish a fundamentally lay republic that is expected to remain neutral on matter of religion. The Preamble to the 1787 United States Constitution states clearly that the new constitution promotes secular political objectives, not religious ones: “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” There is no reference to religion there. And, for good measure and to be clearly understood, the Founding Fathers added Article VI to the Constitution, which says expressly that there should be no religious litmus test to occupy any public function in the United States.

That is why, unlike the constitutions of some other countries, the U.S. Constitution makes no reference whatsoever to a deity. In Canada, which remained within the British Empire much longer, our constitution makes a direct reference to God, declaring that our constitution is based upon “the supremacy of God and the rule of law”.

The United States Constitution is much closer to the French Constitution, which expressly defines France as a secular nation: “France is an indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic, assuring equality before the law of all citizens without distinction of origin, race, or religion, and respecting all beliefs.”

The two constitutions, both the American and the French, derive their inspiration from the same democratic principle of government. Indeed, in a democracy, the right to vote and to engage in political activity changes the balance of power in a country and it opens the door for the establishment of a government, in Lincoln’s famous words, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

The French and the American constitutions have brought democracy to the world because they proclaim the important religion-neutral principle that all political power emanates from the consent of the people, and that, consequently, it is not in the government’s domain to concern itself with religious matters. This is the principle of the neutrality of the state in matters of religion.

While less explicit than the French Constitution, the United States Constitution implies, at least, the principle of laicity and secularism in the First Amendment (the Establishment Clause), which I have already mentioned: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” . Indeed, to make things clear enough, President Thomas Jefferson, on New Year’s Day, 1802, explained in a widely known official letter that the Establishment Clause meant that there should be “a wall of separation between church and state,”—not a door—a wall.

In the past, American courts have interpreted the First Amendment and Jefferson’s explanation to mean that there is an obligation, on the part of the government, not to get involved in churches’ activities, not to spend public money on religions and not to favor any one religion over another. They have also referred, for example, to the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli. The Treaty of Tripoli, initiated by president George Washington (1732-1799) and signed into law by president John Adams (1735-1826), officially proclaimed that: ” the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” — Treaty of Tripoli, Article XI, 1797.

President James Madison (1751-1836) is probably the American president who expressed himself the most clearly on the question, stating that there should be a total separation between church and state: “The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State.” Thus, for James Madison and other American founders, the separation of church and state was not only a requirement of political freedom, it was also a mean to safeguard religion from being encroached upon by politics and politicians.

It is paradoxical, indeed, that in Canada, where the titular head of state is also the head of a church (the Church of England), we have a tradition and a political culture which are decidedly more secular that those of the United States, especially as it has been witnessed in recent years in the U.S. with the establishment of faith-based public programs and in the speeches of American politicians.

Enough of this Church and state stuff. My coming book “The Code for Global Ethics” will deal in much deeper detail on this topic.

II- The second important political tension in the U.S. is between the Jefferson and Hamilton political philosophies of democratic rule versus an aristocratic rule.

Just as some wanted to establish a theocracy in early America, the early American leaders were divided on the question of democracy, and as to whether a popular and decentralized democratic republic was better than a centralized aristocratic republic.

On the question of democracy vs. aristocracy, the two American polar personalities were Thomas Jefferson (Secretary of State in the first Washington government) and Alexander Hamilton (Secretary of the Treasury in the same government). Each was a follower of one of two opposite British political philosophers.

Jefferson (who became the 3rd U.S. President) was a disciple of both the French political thinker Montesquieu (1689-1755), (“The Spirit of the Laws”, 1748), and of the British philosopher John Locke (1632-1704). In his classic book, (“Second Treatise of Government”, 1690), Locke refuted the divine right of kings and who argued that people were sovereign and had the right overthrow their governments. This was of course the credo of most of the 55 “Founding Fathers” who supported and fought the War of Independence against royalist Great Britain and George the 3rd, and who signed the US Constitution.

And, when came the time to write a constitution, the founders did not want absolute power concentrated in one man or one branch of government, but rather they wanted a decentralization of power which would protect individual rights from government, with “checks and balances” within government, first between the states and the federal government (federalism), but also with “checks and balances” or the separation of powers between the Judiciary, the Legislative and the Executive.

For example, they introduced a clause in the Constitution requiring that only Congress could declare a war (Art. I, Sect. 8- cl. 11); that the Right of Habeas Corpus cannot be suspended except for cause (Art. I, Sect.9-cl. 2); that the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States can be removed from Office by Impeachment (Art. II, Sect. 4) and that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” (Art. VI, cl. 3).

On the other hand, there were those, like Alexander Hamilton, who were wary of giving so much power to the people. They feared that the government would be weak and unstable. They were followers of the British political philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679). Hobbes did not believe in democratic rule as such, but rather defended the right of kings and aristocracies to rule the masses, for their own good. For instance, Hobbes wrote that people have no right to revolt against the government, no matter how oppressive, but they should instead, and I quote him, “expect their reward in Heaven.” Thus, long before Karl Marx, the idea that religion is the opiate of the masses was clearly expressed by Hobbes.

For Jefferson, Hamilton was a “monarchist” at heart and an aristocrat. Indeed, Hamilton had argued in favor of a President elected, yes, but for life, and a Senate modeled on the British Chamber of Lords, also elected for life. In his plan, the President would have an absolute veto. Only the House of Representatives would have had to be elected.

If Hamilton were alive today, he would be an ally of President George W. Bush and of Vice President Dick Cheney and he would be in favor of the notion of a Unitary Executive or of an “imperial presidency”, i.e. a president with de facto dictatorial powers and a subservient Congress. (Hamilton even proposed the abolition of state governments and that the federal government should appoint the State governors.) President George W. Bush has added a clause to more than 750 laws passed by Congress that he has signed, stating that they may not apply to the president and that he may bypass them if he chooses to do so.

Hamilton, if no democrat, had other qualities: he fostered the development of capital markets, he encouraged commerce, and he stood for sound fiscal policy. On the whole, he was more interested in the economy than in politics per se.

As we know, Hamilton was killed in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr on July 12 1804, and his portrait is on the $10 bill. Jefferson died the same day as John Adams, on July 1, 1826 and he his portrait appears on the $2 bill and on the 5-cent nickel. Jefferson’s face is also on Mount Rushmore.

III- Americans have also been divided regarding isolationism in international affairs versus active foreign interventionism.

This is the third big trend and dilemma in American political philosophy.

On the whole, America’s Founding Fathers tended to be isolationists and did not want to get involved in the games that European empires (the British, the French, the Portuguese, the Spaniards which all had so-called colonies) were playing around the world. For example, George Washington (1732-1799) said: “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” Besides, they were too busy developing the Louisiana Territory that Jefferson had bought from Napoleon in 1806 for $14 million [$11,250,000 plus cancellation of debts worth $3,750,000]. This was a territory, East of the Rockies and located on both sides of the Mississippi River that went from New Orleans to the Canadian border. That’s 23 percent of the territory of the United States today.

This approach began to change in 1823 with the Monroe Doctrine, when President James Monroe (1758-1831) declared that the USA would not tolerate any European nation trying to establish a colony in the Americas, This had the effect of placing the entire South American continent under American influence.

This was followed by the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846 to 1848, after the U.S. annexed the independent state of Texas in 1845, under President James K. Polk with the emerging doctrine of “Manifest Destiny.”

Most of the Republicans (then called Whigs) in the North and South, including then Congressman Abraham Lincoln, opposed the war on the grounds that Texas was a Mexican province, but most of the Democrats in the South supported it. In the nineteenth century, this became the main feature of American politics: Republicans tended to be isolationists, while Democrats tended to be more interventionists in foreign affairs.

This all changed at the turn of the twentieth century with the Republican administration of William McKinley (1841-1901), a very religious man. McKinley, and one of his principal secretaries, Teddy Roosevelt, crafted an imperialist foreign policy on the commonly held belief that it was America’s duty as a Christian republic to spread democracy throughout the world. Armed with this new ideology, they launched the first American foreign war of aggression against Spain, in 1898.

The U.S. launched the Spanish-American war after the U.S.S. Maine incident in the port of Havana, when an explosion in the visiting battle ship killed 266 American sailors. The explosion took place on February 15, 1898. Although it was most likely an accident, the media empires of Hearst and Pulitzer stoked the fire of war against Spain, and there was a war, even if the pretext was somewhat flimsy. The Spanish-American war allowed the United States to de facto annex the island of Cuba, the Island of Puerto Rico and the Islands of the Philippines. In 1903, Teddy Roosevelt’s administration took over the country of Panama.

Therefore, we can say that the first part of the twentieth century saw the triumph of the ideology of foreign intervention, especially in Central and South America and in the Caribbean. After the McKinley administration, which had an openly imperialistic foreign policy, the Woodrow Wilson administration tried to abandon the previous administrations’ imperialist and unilateralist foreign policy by promoting the right of self-determination for all peoples throughout the world. They believed the people in every country should have the right to choose their own governments. This was the famous Wilsonian idealistic, progressive and multilateralist American foreign policy that many successive administrations would try to adhere to. The last one in line was the Bill Clinton administration (1992-2000).

But even for President Wilson, events that took place in other countries forced him to embark upon foreign interventions to “make the world safe for democracy.” For example, Mexico fell into a bloody revolution in 1913, when Mexican general Victoriano Huerta overthrew and assassinated the duly elected Mexican President Francisco Madero. The next year, Wilson sent troops to Mexico, and peace with Mexico was achieved only in 1916, through complex negotiations.

Wilson also intervened in Nicaragua to fight rebels, and the same happened in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic. American troops ended up occupying these Caribbean islands for many years.

Altogether, it has been estimated that between 1898 and 1934, the United States intervened four times in Cuba, five times in Nicaragua, seven times in Honduras, four times in the Dominican Republic, twice in Haiti, once in Guatemala, twice in Panama, three times in Mexico and four times in Columbia.

During the other two thirds of the twentieth century, the United States was involved somewhat defensively in the two World Wars against Germany, and in the Cold War against the Soviet Union, until the later collapsed in 1991. There was also the involvements in the Korean war and in the Vietnam war, but generally, U.S. foreign policy, while interventionist, was also multilateralist.

And that brings us to the twenty-first century.

The Bush-Cheney administration that came into power on January 20, 2001, has been a direct successor to the McKinley-Roosevelt administrations, of one hundred years earlier. Its 2002 so-called “Bush Doctrine” promoted unilateral foreign interventionism and the self-proclaimed right to launch “preventive wars” against other countries, notwithstanding international law or international institutions such as the United Nations. Here we are today with this “Bush Doctrine” back one hundred years in international relations.—In my book “The New American Empire”, I delve more deeply into this issue.—Of course, the title of my book is somewhat misleading, because the Bush-Cheney’s empire building efforts of today are not new in American history: They are but the old McKinley-Roosevelt imperial foreign policy cloaked in new clothes. Perhaps the book’s title should have been “The New, New American Empire”!

My general conclusion, therefore, is that for two thirds of the twentieth century, various U.S. administrations, beginning with the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration (1932-1945), which was mainly responsible for establishing the United Nations, in 1945, have built a reputation for the United States as a protector of international law, of the right for peoples to self-determination and of international peace. For example, the United States opposed the Soviet Union when it invaded Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, under what came to be known as the “Brezhnev Doctrine.

When the Bush-Cheney administration invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, under a similar “Bush Doctrine” and without the United Nations’ authorization, this had the effect of a shock to a lot of people around the world.

This goes a long way in explaining why President George W. Bush is presently the most unpopular politician around the world that the U.S. has ever had.

A recent Harris Poll taken in Europe gave these dismal figures on Mr. Bush’s approval rating in five representative countries:

In Italy: 8 percent of approval;

In the UK: 7 percent;

In Spain, 7 percent;

In Germany, 5 percent;

In France, 3 percent.

Considering these figures, maybe some American politicians would do well to meditate about what Benjamin Franklin called his seven “great virtues” that politicians should practice in public affairs. They are:

-aversion to tyranny;

-support for a free press;

-a sense of humor;

-humility;

-idealism in foreign policy;

-and, tolerance and respect for compromise.

I leave you to be the judge if many contemporary politicians meet Ben Franklin’s standards.

Finally, I would say that the three fundamental influences that are observed throughout history in American politics seem to be following a very long cycle of occurrence. In fact, they seem to confirm British historian Arnold Toynbee’s one hundred-year cycle. Indeed, Toynbee identified what he called a century-long cycle of colonial or imperialist-like wars over time. And, in this regard, the beginning of the twenty-first century looks like a duplicate of the beginning of the twentieth century: then, Great Britain was involved in the Boer War in South Africa while the U.S. was involved in the Spanish-American War. Today, both countries are involved in the Middle East wars, the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war.

It may not be a complete coincidence that such periods, marked by colonial zeal, are also periods when religious sentiment is running high. And, since wars require a concentration of power, it may not be a coincidence either that it is during such periods that political theories about the need for a strong presidency and the Unitary Executive abound, with the purpose of turning the presidency into a virtual dictatorship. These three powerful social and political trends seem to go parallel to each other.

Therefore, the question seems to be obvious: To what extent do the three main social and political trends that I have observed in American politics tend to reinforce each other at certain periods? This is a question that political scientists and historians should investigate further.

See graph Indexes

Rodrigue Tremblay lives in Montreal and can be reached at rodrigue.tremblay@yahoo.com Visit his blog site at: www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog. Author’s Website: www.thenewamericanempire.com/ Check Dr. Tremblay’s coming book “The Code for Global Ethics” at: www.TheCodeForGlobalEthics.com

© 2008 by Big Picture World Syndicate, Inc.

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Economic Cycles & Political Trends in the US (Part I) by Rodrigue Tremblay

9/11 Contradictions: Bush in the Classroom by Dr. David Ray Griffin

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. David Ray Griffin
Global Research, April 4, 2008
The Canadian

The official story of 9/11 is riddled with internal contradictions. One of these contradictions involves the question of how long President Bush remained in classroom in Sarasota, Florida, on the morning of 9/11.

Bush was there to publicize his education policy by being photographed listening to students read. He arrived at the school at 8:55 AM, at which time he reportedly first learned that a plane had struck one of the Twin Towers. Dismissing the crash as an accident, Bush said that they would go ahead and “do the reading thing anyway.”

Bush entered the second-grade classroom of teacher Sandra Kay Daniels at about 9:03. At about 9:06, the president’s chief of staff, Andrew Card, came in and whispered in Bush’s ear, telling him, Card later reported, “A second plane hit the second Tower. America is under attack.”

What Happened Next

Thanks to Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, which came out in 2004, the world knows what happened next: Bush remained sitting there minute after minute after minute.

Journalists, however, had reported Bush’s strange behavior much earlier. On September 1, 2002, for example, Jennifer Barrs had reported in the Tampa Tribune that, after Card whispered in Bush’s ear, the president picked up his book and read with the children “for eight or nine minutes.” In his 2002 book Fighting Back, Bill Sammon, the White House correspondent for the Washington Times, said that even after the reading lesson was over, Bush continued to linger, leading Sammon to dub him “the dawdler in chief.”

The White House’s First Anniversary Account

On the first anniversary of 9/11, however, the White House, with Andrew Card taking the lead, started giving a radically different account. On September 9, 2002, Card told Brian Williams on NBC News: “I pulled away from the president, and not that many seconds later, the president excused himself from the classroom, and we gathered in the holding room and talked about the situation.” In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 11, Card said that, after he had informed Bush about the second attack, the president “looked up—it was only a matter of seconds, but it seemed like minutes. . . . And he just excused himself very politely to the teacher and to the students and he left.”

That same day, Karl Rove told Campbell Brown of NBC News:

Andy Card walked in to tell the President, and you can remember the famous photograph of him whispering in the President’s ear. And the President was a little—you know, he didn’t want to alarm the children. He knew the drill was coming to a close. So he waited for a few moments just to—literally—not very long at all before he came to the close, and he came into the staff room.

Also that same day, Card and Rove got ABC News, during another program that aired on the first anniversary of 9/11, to endorse their revisionist account. This program contained the following segment:

Andrew Card: I think there was a, a moment of shock and he did stare off maybe for just a second.

Charles Gibson: The President stays calm and lets the students finish.

Karl Rove: The President thought for a second or two about getting up and walking out of the room. But the drill was coming to a close and he didn’t want to alarm the children.

Gibson: Instead Bush pauses, thanks the children. . . and heads for the empty classroom next door.

Help from Mrs. Daniels

Besides putting out this revisionist account, the Bush-Cheney White House also evidently enlisted support from Sandra Kay Daniels, the teacher of the second grade class at the Sarasota school. In a Los Angeles Times story published on September 11, 2002, she said:

I knew something was up when President Bush didn’t pick up the book and participate in the lesson…. He said, ‘Mrs. Daniels, I have to leave now. I am going to leave Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan here to do the speech for me.’ Looking at his face, you knew something was wrong. I said a little prayer for him. He shook my hand and left.

This account by Daniels was radically different from what she had said for the aforementioned article by Jennifer Barrs, which had appeared only ten days earlier. After saying that “Bush, obviously lost in thought, forgot about the book in his lap,” Barrs quoted Daniels as saying: “I couldn’t gently kick him. . . . I couldn’t say, ‘OK, Mr. President. Pick up your book, sir. The whole world is watching.’”

Given the fact that Mrs. Daniels had given this account just ten days earlier, her revisionist account cannot be explained in terms of a bad memory. The only possible explanation appears to be that the White House had convinced her to help spread its revisionist account. What would have been the White House’s motive for spreading a false account and even convincing Mrs. Daniels to help?

The Likely Motive

On the one hand, the Secret Service, which has the responsibility for protecting the president from any possible threat to his life, should have assumed, once it was clear that terrorists were going after high-value targets, that the president might have been one of those targets. As one article put it, “Bush’s presence made . . . the planned reading event a perceived target,” because “the well-publicized event at the school assured Bush’s location that day was no secret.” On the other hand, people observed that the Secret Service had not acted accordingly. The day after 9/11, Canada’s Globe and Mail commented: “For some reason, Secret Service agents did not bustle [Bush] away.”

The background for this comment was explained by Philip Melanson, the author of a book about the Secret Service. “With an unfolding terrorist attack,” Melanson said, “the procedure should have been to get the president to the closest secure location as quickly as possible.” That this indeed would have been standard operating procedure is illustrated by the fact that, as soon as the second strike on the World Trade Center was seen on television, one agent said to Sarasota County Sheriff Bill Balkwill: “We’re out of here. Can you get everybody ready?”

But this agent’s decision was obviously overridden by some higher-level Secret Service agent, as Bush was allowed not only to remain in the classroom for seven or more minutes, but also to remain at the school for another twenty minutes. He was even allowed to deliver a television address to the nation, thereby letting everyone know that he was still at the school.

This behavior seemed especially reckless in light of reports, issued at the time, that as many as eleven planes had been hijacked. The Secret Service should have feared that one of those planes was bearing down on the school at that very moment. The Secret Service’s behavior, however, suggested that it had no fear that the school would be attacked.

This behavior by the Secret Service contrasted strongly with the response, two months earlier, to a report that Islamic terrorists might crash an airliner into the summit of industrialized nations in Genoa, Italy, in an effort to kill President Bush. The Italian government closed the airspace above Genoa and installed anti-aircraft missiles at the airport (David Sanger, New York Times, September 25, 2001). Even with all this protection, Bush stayed overnight on an aircraft carrier, instead of staying, like the other leaders, on a luxury ship (CNN, July 18, 2001). Why so much concern about merely possible terrorist airplane attacks in Genoa in July but no such concern in Sarasota in September, when such attacks were actually in progress?

The Secret Service’s failure to hustle Bush away seemed even stranger in light of the reports that Vice President Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and several congressional leaders were quickly taken to safe locations. Should not protecting President Bush have been an even higher priority? As Susan Taylor Martin of the St. Petersburg Times put it on July 4, 2004: “One of the many unanswered questions about that day is why the Secret Service did not immediately hustle Bush to a secure location, as it apparently did with Vice President Dick Cheney.”

The fact that this question was raised immediately after 9/11, then continued to be raised, could well have been perceived by the White House as dangerous. This question did, in fact, have dangerous implications, because it could—and in some circles did—lead to the inference that Bush was not evacuated from the school because the Secret Service knew that he would not be targeted. The desire to stop this kind of speculation was likely behind the White House’s attempts at getting a revisionist account of Bush’s behavior instilled into the public consciousness.

The 9/11 Commission’s Treatment of the Issue

The strange behavior of Bush and his Secret Service in Sarasota was of great concern to families of the 9/11 victims. One of the central questions raised by the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission was: “Why was President Bush permitted by the Secret Service to remain in the Sarasota elementary school where he was reading to children?” (That this question was asked was admitted by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the chair and vice-chair of the Commission, in their 2006 book, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission, p. 54.) The 9/11 Commission, however, provided no answer. Its only response was to say: “The Secret Service told us they were anxious to move the President to a safer location, but did not think it imperative for him to run out the door” (The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 39). That response, however, implied that the Secret Service had only two options: (a) running the president out the door or (b) allowing him to remain at the school for another half hour. But there was a third option: The Secret Service could have simply walked the president out the door, put him in the presidential limo, and whisked him away.

The Treatment by Press

A Wall Street Journal story in March 2004, “Government Accounts of 9/11 Reveal Gaps, Inconsistencies,” was one of the few stories in the mainstream press to report on contradictions in the official story of 9/11. When the Journal asked the White House about the contradictions about the Sarasota event in particular, spokesman Dan Bartlett, not trying to defend the White House’s revisionist version, confirmed that Bush had remained in the classroom for at least seven minutes after receiving the report of the second crash. Bush did not leave immediately, Bartlett said, because his “instinct was not to frighten the children by rushing out of the room.”

However, even if Bartlett’s statement were an acceptable explanation of why Bush did not do what Card and Rove had claimed he did, the real question, which the WSJ article did not address, was why the White House, through Card, Rove, and Mrs. Daniels, had given a false account. Surely this is a question that the press in general should have explored. Especially ABC News, NBC News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times, which had been used to spread the White House’s false account, should have demanded that the White House explain why it put out a completely false account. These papers and networks owed their readers and viewers a correction and an attempt to find out why the White House had used them to spread a lie.

While discovering why the White House lied, the press should also, of course, seek to discover the answer to the original question: why the Secret Service did not immediately rush Bush to a safe location.

This essay is an abbreviated version of Chapter 1 of David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press (Northampton: Olive Branch, March, 2008.

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 David Ray Griffin, The Canadian, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8555

see

Ted Olson’s Report of Phone Calls from Barbara Olson on 9/11: Three Official Denials by David Ray Griffin

25 Intolerable Contradictions: The Final Undoing of the Official 9/11 Story

Mosaic News – 4/3/08: 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/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

linktv

For more: http://linktv.org/originalseries
“Six Iraqis Killed in a US Airstrike,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“China Rejects AP Report on Iran’s Nuclear Plan,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
“US Congress Passes Resolution on Jewish Immigrants from Arab States,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“1,900 New Settlements’ Units in the West Bank,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Will Israel & Hezbollah Go At it Again?,” IBA TV, Israel
“Settlers Terrorize Villagers,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
“Lebanon’s Army Chief Threatens to Resign,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Lebanese Businesses Suffer Due to Rise in Oil Prices,” NBN TV, Lebanon
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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

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Secretive Pentagon Spy Unit: Closed or Outsourced?

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, April 4, 2008
Antifascist Calling.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the Pentagon is “expected to shut a controversial intelligence office that has drawn fire from lawmakers and civil liberties groups who charge that it was part of an effort by the Defense Department to expand into domestic spying.”

The Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), created by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld after the September 11 attacks, illegally conducted broad domestic operations that targeted antiwar and other dissident domestic groups.

Mark Mazzetti writes,

The move, government officials say, is part of a broad effort under Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to review, overhaul and, in some cases, dismantle an intelligence architecture built by his predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld. …

The Pentagon’s senior intelligence official, James R. Clapper, has recommended to Mr. Gates that the counterintelligence field office be dismantled and that some of its operations be placed under the authority of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the government officials said. (Mark Mazzetti, “Pentagon is expected to close intelligence unit,” The New York Times, April 2, 2008)

Portions of CIFA, notably its Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) database, were allegedly dismantled after documents uncovered by the ACLU through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, revealed in 2006 that the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and local police departments had supplied the Pentagon with information that aided intelligence operations against the antiwar movement.

According to a report published in 2006 by The New Standard,

One of the TALON documents was written to “alert commanders and staff” to a counter-recruitment protest the Broward Anti-War Coalition (BAWC) was staging at the Ft. Lauderdale Air and Sea Show. The alert, submitted by the Miami-Dade police department, said, “BAWC plans to counter military recruitment and the ‘pro-war’ message with ‘guerilla theater and other forms of subversive propaganda.'”

Another document revealed the government is tracking some of the anti-recruitment activities of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker peace organization.

A third TALON report detailed counter-recruitment rallies in Georgia, and cited Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, and Iraq Veterans Against the War as participants.

In December 2005, NBC News obtained part of the TALON database that included reports on about 48 anti-war meetings or protests. (Megan Tandy, “Pentagon Treats Counter-Recruitment Activism as Terrorism,” The New Standard, October 16, 2006)

What the Times reporter failed to mention, is that CIFA is probably the most heavily-outsourced unit in the Pentagon’s intelligence arsenal.

According to national security analyst R.J. Hillhouse, “over 30 corporations provide 90% of CIFA’s staff,” drawn from a bevy of security and defense firms.

An early CIFA recipient of Bush crime family largess was none other than Mitchell Wade, the disgraced former CEO of MZM Inc. who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges in 2006 in connection with the sleazy shenanigans of now-imprisoned Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA).

In a cash-and-hookers-for-contracts scandal, Cunningham oversaw a number of questionable appropriations given by CIFA to Wade’s MZM. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Cunningham chaired the terrorism subcommittee that had authority over CIFA’s operations. He acted accordingly, showering his “friends” with dubious “earmarks” slipped into various Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations.

When CIFA’s two top officials, David A. Burt II and his deputy, Joseph Hefferon abruptly resigned in August 2006, Pentagon officials were quick to deny any link to on-going corruption investigations, claiming their departure was “a personal decision that they both made together,” according to The Washington Post.

In January 2008, Tim Shorrock reported that a crony of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Stephen Cambone, who helped oversee CIFA’s creation, joined a firm when he left the Pentagon that recently, was awarded a multi-million dollar contract to manage the dodgy intel outfit. Shorrock writes,

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

According to Pentagon briefing documents, CIFA’s Directorate of Field Activities “assists in preserving the most critical defense assets, disrupting adversaries and helping control the intelligence domain.” Another CIFA directorate, the Counterintelligence and Law Enforcement Center, “identifies and assesses threats” to military personnel, operations and infrastructure from “insider threats, foreign intelligence services, terrorists, and other clandestine or covert entities,” according to the Pentagon. A third CIFA directorate, Behavioral Sciences, has provided a “team of renowned forensic psychologists [who] are engaged in risk assessments of the Guantanamo Bay detainees.” (Tim Shorrock, “QinetiQ Goes Kinetic: Top Rumsfeld Aide Wins Contracts from Spy Office He Set Up,” CorpWatch, January 15, 2008)

But over and above questionable crony-capitalist Pentagon contracts, is the nature of CIFA’s brief as an outsourced spy agency targeting American citizens exercising their constitutionally-protected right to protest the Bush regime’s illegal “preemptive wars ” waged across Central Asia and the Middle East.

Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Patrick Ryder, claimed that CIFA’s alleged shut-down has nothing to do with its controversial “mission.” Ryder told the Times that CIFA would be folded into already-existing intelligence offices within the Pentagon and that the move is aimed at “‘creating efficiencies and streamlining’ Pentagon efforts to thwart operations by foreign intelligence services and terror networks.”

But a new batch of documents released on Tuesday to the ACLU, revealed that CIFA was coordinating its activities with the FBI, issuing hundreds of national security letters to banks and credit agencies to obtain financial records in “terrorism and espionage investigations.”

When one considers the sordid–and illegal–activities by various intelligence arms of the Pentagon during the 1960s and 1970s, the latest revelations by the Defense Department can hardly be reassuring. According to Peter Dale Scott,

…in April 2002, Defense Dept. officials implemented a plan for domestic U.S. military operations by creating a new U.S. Northern Command (CINC-NORTHCOM) for the continental United States. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called this “the most sweeping set of changes since the unified command system was set up in 1946.”

The NORTHCOM commander, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced, is responsible for “homeland defense and also serves as head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)…. He will command U.S. forces that operate within the United States in support of civil authorities. The command will provide civil support not only in response to attacks, but for natural disasters.” (Peter Dale Scott, “Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps, Pacific News Service, January 31, 2006)

Pentagon “outsourcing” of intelligence operations to corporations provide yet another layer of “plausible deniability” to the DoD as it wages the administration’s odious “war on terror” against the American people.

As with other shut-downs of controversial Pentagon projects, notably former Admiral John Poindexter’s Total Information Awareness spy operation, CIFA’s successor will undoubtedly burrow ever-deeper within the DoD’s opaque bureaucracy–with plenty of assistance from well-heeled security firms–and little oversight from a supine Congress.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

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 Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling., 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8550

40 and 4 by Cindy Sheehan

The Real Cindy Sheehan


by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
April 4, 2008

Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
April 04, 1967

Martin Luther King, Jr, delivered his brilliant speech: Beyond Vietnam at the Riverside Church in NYC exactly one year before he was killed, 40 years ago on April 4, 1968, on that infamous balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. His most famous speech is the brilliant I Have a Dream that he delivered to the mass of people who gathered in front of the Lincoln Monument in DC for a Civil Rights’ gathering in 1963. Dr. King’s Beyond Vietnam speech, however, clearly makes the connections between poverty, racism and militarism and was very threatening to the out of control war machine that was waging a bloody, bloody catastrophe in Vietnam. Dr. King was an effective orator and great organizer, but when he gave his Beyond Vietnam speech, (which many of his colleagues begged him not to give) he became a threat to the pigs of war.

Four years ago on April 04, 2004, my son, Casey Austin Sheehan (24) was killed in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq: A beleaguered Shi’a tenement that has recently been the target of more US war crimes as civilians were killed by the hundreds in recent aerial bombings. Seven other soldiers were killed that tragic day. Sgt. Mike Mitchell of the 1st Armored Division was killed shortly before Casey and our families became entwined in pain and activism as we were all against the occupation and the policies of the Bush Regime. It took a little while for the reality that Casey and Mike were killed on the same day that Dr. King was, 36 years later. One tries to make meaning and sense out of twin tragedies that seem so senseless. Was the date just a coincidence, or something deeper?

Casey was killed just when the insurgency was heating up. L. Paul Bremer, and his Coalition Provisional Authority’s orders which seem to have been calculated to provoke insurrection by disbanding the Ba’athists and putting Saddam’s Army on the streets without money, but with their weapons. The bureaucracy that ran the country were put out of their jobs even if they were low-level workers who kept the lights on and the water running. Bremer used Blackwater paid mercenaries to carve swaths of destruction through the Iraqi people and when Casey was killed, a full-fledged rebellion was being waged against the American occupiers. Hundreds of thousands of Americans and Iraqis have been killed in the interim and millions have had their lives destroyed forever. After Dr. King gave his speech in 1967 the Vietnam War continued for 8 more years and in Iraq there seems to be no discernible end on the horizon.

Since Casey was killed, I too, have been trying to connect the dots. I was against Iraq and I was against George Bush and the rest of the neocons. I soon began to realize that where we were then was only the result of years of collaboration between our “two” political parties and I slowly came to the conclusion that peace is not just the absence of war and anti-war is not the same as pro-peace. As I began my struggle to enlighten America to the pain that the deceit caused, many Vietnam anti-war protesters would approach me after one of my speeches and say almost the same exact thing: “We thought we ended it after Vietnam. We NEVER thought we would be here again.” My question to them now is “Why?” Why, after the last person was pulled off the embassy in Saigon did anyone think that the Military Industrial Complex was going to slink away to lick its wounds? Most of the people in the anti-war movement put their signs in their garages, garbage or attics and went about life relieved that the slaughter in Southeast Asia was finally over.

After many turbulent years, I think the country was ready for some “apathetic conformist thought” while the M.I.C. was growing ever more powerful through many conflicts from Grenada to the Persian Gulf and from Panama to Nicaragua and the Balkans. Since WWII, there has never been a moment when the US hasn’t been spreading its cancer of militant-corporatism. The advent of the “free trade” agreements has just made it easier for the pigs of war to oppress and exploit populations. As Dr. King noted, the poverty of our inner cities has to be equated with the violence in Southeast Asia. Similarly, the continuing poverty and lack of opportunities for anyone but the children of the establishment must be equated with the vileness of the occupation of Iraq.

Racism, elitism, nationalism, imperialism, terrorism, militarism, religious extremism and corporatism all combine forces to feed the voracious war machine while the rich prosper and the poor pay for that prosperity with their very lifeblood. The violence is not going to stop until all of these “isms” are courageously and honestly confronted and overcome. This cannot be done through slogans, sophistry, or patriotic jingoism. Policies to share resources and contain rampant profiteering must be put in place all over the world. Our troops and war-profiteers must be fully removed from the Middle East and most of the US permanent bases must be closed around the world. The Pentagon’s budget must be slashed and our military must be used for defense (as is required in International Law) only and free trade agreements must be abolished and fair trade and fair labor practices must take their places.

My travels have taken me all over the world and I have been confronted in places as diverse as Cuba and S. Korea with what inhumane US foreign policy does to our brothers and sisters. I have stood with people demanding peace and justice, globally, and it is always the same story: the rich stealing from the poor. We do not have to take it. We must not take it.

We are now beginning to feel the impact in our own country of the American “values” of greed, waste, and naked military aggression. Our militarism is draining our communities of needed services, good education and sound infrastructure. What has happened around the world because of our values is now coming home to roost in the USA. It has now been proven that we cannot sustain an economy based on consumerism combined with manufacturing destruction and exporting death. Our paradigms must radically shift to humane domestic and foreign policies and they must shift quickly.

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. (MLK, Jr, Beyond Vietnam)

On April 04, 1968, humanity lost a shining star who courageously faced the challenges of his time that have only been magnified in our time. Nothing has improved since Dr. King’s sacrifice; in fact conditions have only worsened for everyone except the self-appointed banking-political aristocracy.

On April 04, 2004, my family lost our shining star and each of us will mourn Casey until our last breaths are drawn. However, I realize that I am only one of millions of mothers who have had to needlessly suffer because of violence. Yet, we still kill one another, either as individuals or with state-sanctioned murder (which we sanction by our silent complicity).

So many have gone before us (RIP) giving the ultimate gift for humanity and we must not allow their sacrifices to be in vain.

Cindy is writing from Mexico City, Mexico, where she is the Key Note speaker at an anti-NAFTA conference with many other peace and justice advocates from all over North, Central and South America. Her blogs can be read and commented on at: www.CindyforCongress.org

see

A Time to Break Silence By Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967)

Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence By Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967)

https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/

Dr. Martin Luther King giving his "I Have...

Image via Wikipedia

Update: April 9, 2009 added another video; see below

Posted previously on March 13, 2006 and again January 14, 2007 and again January 20, 2008. ~ Lo

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Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

Continue reading

Bush Admin helping Wall Street investment houses rather than people on Main Street America

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, April 3, 2008
AP

Bear Stearns Rescue Backed Amid Concerns

Thursday April 3, 10:21 pm ET
By Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

Bernanke, Bush Admin. Defend Decision to Rescue Bear Stearns Amid Questions by Lawmakers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Bush administration on Thursday defended the decision to rescue Bear Stearns amid questions by lawmakers about why the government was helping Wall Street investment houses but not people on Main Street.

Bernanke and Treasury Department Undersecretary Robert Steel said that the consequences to the U.S. economy and financial system would have been far more serious had the government allowed the nation’s fifth largest investment house to go bankrupt.

“Given the exceptional pressures on the global economy and financial system, the damage caused by a default by Bear Stearns could have been severe and extremely difficult to contain,” Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee.

…continued

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Foreclosure Prevention Act Rewards Giant Homebuilders Complicit in Subprime Scam

Bad Samaritans – The Myth of Free Trade & the Secret History of Capitalism

Dandelion Salad

by Jim Miles
Global Research, April 3, 2008
Palestine Chronicle

Review of Ha-Joon Chang’s Book

Bad Samaritans – The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism. Ha-Joon Chang. Bloomsbury Press, New York, 2008.

Every now and then a ‘prize’ of a book comes along that includes all the elements of good writing. Bad Samaritans is one of them. Using straightforward language that generally avoids using the lexicon of economists, and explains it well when it is used, Ha-Joon Chang writes a strong narrative about the ills of the capitalist world. Continue reading

Olbermann: Worst + Bushed! + Five Years Condensed to 5 Mins 18 Secs

Dandelion Salad

Ryokibin

Apr. 3, 2008

World’s Worst

Worse: Rupert Murdoch

Worser: Glenn Beck

Worst: Representative Darrel Issa (9/11)

Bushed!

Gonzo-Gate

Support The Troops-Gate

Iran-Gate

Five Years Condensed to 5 Mins 18 Secs

Happy Anniversary: Were you there when our special guest was famed San Diego anchorman Ron Burgundy? Were you watching when our special guest fell over backwards in her chair? How about the night we all signed Billo’s petition to get our own show canceled? Five years of Countdown – distilled into five minutes.

see

Olbermann: Why won’t John McCain Support the New GI Bill?