Olbermann: McCain’s “100 Years” War + Worst + Bushed! + Elizabeth Edwards

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videocafeblog

April 9, 2008

McCain’s “100 Years” War

Keith and Eugene Robinson discuss the latest from the campaign trail and McCain’s saying it would be okay to stay in Iraq for 100 years.

Worst Person

And the winner is….Joe Lieberman. Runners up Monique Davis and Ari Fleischer.

Bushed!

Keith Olbermann’s report on all of the Bush scandals you may have forgotten about because of the latest Bush scandals that have your head over loaded. Tonight’s: Blackface-Gate, This Isn’t a Game of Battleship-Gate and Corporate Credit Card-Gate

cmdrgmh

Elizabeth Edwards Interview

Keith Interviews Mrs. Edwards about who her or her husband are endorsing.

Rep Ron Paul: Gen Petraeus Iraq Surge Hearing

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VOTERSTHINKdotORG

April 09, 2008C-SPAN General Petraeus Iraq Hearing

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

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see

Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq by General Commander David H. Petraeus

Dennis Kucinich: What Are We Waiting For?!!!!! (video)

Did Petraeus part ways with the neocons? + Sadr will disarm Mahdi Army if US leaves

Tomgram: Patrick Cockburn: Petraeus’s Ghost

Ayatollahs Decline to Ban Militia – Hundreds Flee Baghdad Clashes

Iraq Hearings: Questions + Petraeus’ & Crocker’s Presentations

Jimmy Carter to meet Khalid Meshaal in Syria (video)

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AlJazeeraEnglish

Al Jazeera has learned that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is planning to meet with Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal in Damascus.

As Clayton Swisher reports, it’s a visit that won’t win him many friends back home.

Continue reading

Dennis Kucinich: What Are We Waiting For?!!!!! (video)

Dandelion Salad

replaced video Aug. 22, 2012

on Jan 4, 2009

April 09, 2008
C-SPAN Congress Morning Speeches

“What are we waiting for” Dennis Kucinich on Iraq War (2008)

see

Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq by General Commander David H. Petraeus

Rep Ron Paul: Gen Petraeus Iraq Surge Hearing

Did Petraeus part ways with the neocons? + Sadr will disarm Mahdi Army if US leaves

Tomgram: Patrick Cockburn: Petraeus’s Ghost

Ayatollahs Decline to Ban Militia – Hundreds Flee Baghdad Clashes

Iraq Hearings: Questions + Petraeus’ & Crocker’s Presentations

Spying on Americans: The FBI’s “Quantico Circuit” – Still Spying, Still Lying

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by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, April 9, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

Tuesday’s Washington Post reports that FBI investigators “with the click of a mouse, [can] instantly transfer key data along a computer circuit to an FBI technology office in Quantico.”

Last month I wrote that evidence of the Bureau’s massive spying operations on Americans had been uncovered and “that a new FISA whistleblower has stepped forward with information about a major wireless provider apparently granting the state unrestricted access to all of their customers’ voice communications and electronic data via a so-called ‘Quantico Circuit’.”

According to whistleblower Babak Pasdar, a telecom carrier he worked for as a security consultant, subsequently named as Verizon by the Post, said the company maintained a high-speed DS-3 digital line that allowed the Bureau and other security agencies “unfettered” access to the carrier’s wireless network, including billing records and customer data “transmitted wirelessly.”

Verizon denied the report that the FBI has open access to its network; a denial belied by documents obtained by the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation describing the Bureau’s Digital Collection System.

When these allegations first surfaced they were stonewalled by major media. Nevertheless, the reports continued and we now have learned that electronic connections between major telecom firms and FBI personnel scattered across the country provide the Bureau with real-time access to who is speaking to whom, the time and duration of each call as well as the locations of those so targeted.

Despite half-hearted protests by Congress, the FBI’s budget for these operations have increased significantly. According to Post reporter Ellen Nakashima,

“The bureau says its budget for the collection system increased from $30 million in 2007 to $40 million in 2008. Information lawfully collected by the FBI from telecom firms can be shared with law enforcement and intelligence-gathering partners, including the National Security Agency and the CIA. Likewise, under guidelines approved by the attorney general or a court, some intercept data gathered by intelligence agencies can be shared with law enforcement agencies.” (Ellen Nakashima, “FBI Transfers via Telecoms Questioned,” The Washington Post, Tuesday, April 8, 2008; A03)

But who’s “watching the watchers,” or in this case, the listeners?

Since 1994, under rules mandated by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), passed by the “liberal” Clinton administration, federal rules are in place “to make clear a telecommunications carrier’s duty to cooperate in the interception of communications for Law Enforcement purposes, and for other purposes.” [emphasis added]

These rules specify that telecom carriers and manufacturers design their equipment, facilities and services so as to guarantee they have the necessary surveillance capabilities. This onerous piece of legislative flotsam specifies that common carriers, broadband internet access providers and providers of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service are designated “telecommunications carriers” under federal law and thus, are capable of interception by the state’s “security” bureaucracies. (For an historical analysis of CALEA’s civil liberties implications see: “Big Brother in the Wires: Wiretapping in the Digital Age,” ACLU, March 1, 1998)

The FBI has since created a network of links and electronic hubs for collection purposes amongst the nation’s largest telecom carriers and internet providers “and about 40 FBI offices and Quantico, according to interviews and documents describing the agency’s Digital Collection System,” according to the Washington Post.

These revelations mirror those of AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein, who revealed that the super secretive National Security Agency had been given access by AT&T management to install “splitters” for the Agency hard-wired to an NSA “secure” room in the company’s central office in San Francisco. According to Klein,

“In short, an exact copy of all internet traffic that flowed through critical AT&T cables–emails, documents, pictures, web browsing, Voice over-internet phone conservations, everything–was being diverted to equipment inside the secret room. In addition the documents reveal the technological gear used in their secret project, including a highly sophisticated search component capable of quickly sifting through huge amounts of digital data (including text, voice and images) in real time according to pre-programmed criteria.

It’s important to understand that the internet links which were connected to the splitter contained not just foreign communications but vast amounts of domestic traffic, all mixed together. Furthermore, the splitter has no selective abilities–it’s just a dumb device which copies everything to the secret room. And the links going through the splitter are AT&T’s physical connections to many other internet providers (e.g., Sprint, Qwest, Global Crossing, Cable & Wireless, and the critical West Coast Internet Exchange Point known as Mae West). Since these networks are interconnected, the government surveillance affects not only AT&T customers but everyone else–millions of Americans.

I also discovered in my conversations with other technicians that other “secret rooms” were established in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. One of the documents I obtained also mentions Atlanta, and the clear inference in the logic of this setup, and the language of the documents, is that there are other such rooms across the country to complete the coverage–possibly 15 to 20 or more.” (Mark Klein, “Reject Amnesty for Telecoms,” Electronic Frontier Foundation)

As a key networking hub of the national security state’s electronic driftnet, the “Quantico circuit” enables the FBI and their CIA and NSA partners in crime to literally target any one or any group with highly-intrusive and silent monitoring of all electronic communications. Under the Bush administration’s repressive “public-private” police state architecture, privacy rights join Geneva Convention prohibitions against torture as yet another “quaint” notion, a “phantom of lost liberty,” in the memorable phrase uttered by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2001.

While the Bureau claims that the content of a phone call or e-mail must be authorized by a court order showing “probable cause,” as with other abusive FBI practices such as the issuance of so-called “national security letters” to obtain financial or other private records, the legal bar undoubtedly is set very low.

These latest revelations of FBI abuse of Fourth Amendment protections, follow on the heels of new initiatives undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security to utilize U.S. spy satellites for domestic “law enforcement and counterterrorism” investigations.

According to Nick Juliano,

“DHS plans to create a new office that would expand law enforcement and other civilian agencies’ access to data gathered by powerful intelligence and military satellites orbiting the earth. The National Applications Office [NAO] will oversee who can access such satellite data, which is typically used to monitor climate change and track hurricane damage, among other uses.

DHS still has not laid out legal frameworks or standard operating procedures for the office, according to a letter from three members of the House Homeland Security Committee.” (Nick Juliano, “DHS Ignores Civil Liberties in Domestic Spy Satellite Plan, Lawmakers Say,” The Raw Story, Monday, April 7, 2008)

First floated last August, then delayed over civil liberties concerns, DHS is now moving full speed ahead with the project. In a letter to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, Reps. Bennie G. Thompson, Jane Harman and Christopher P. Carney wrote, “merely mentioning Posse Comitatus and other laws in the NAO Charter does not provide needed assurances that the Department will not transform NAO into a domestic spying platform.”

Tepid protests by congressional Democrats who have systematically enabled these repressive measures by granting unlimited budgetary increases to Bushist spymasters, will have virtually no effect on an administration hell-bent on turning the entire country into a “free spy zone.”


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=8622

Mosaic News – 4/8/08: 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
“Al Sader Threatens to End Ceasefire,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Journalists Targeted in Iraq,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Suspected Qaeda Members Escape during Clashes in Mauritania,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Low Turnout in Egyptian Elections,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Female Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“Israeli President Goes to Court,” IBA TV, Israel
“Arafat’s Look-alike,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Southern Lebanon Watches the Israeli Military Maneuvers,” New TV, Lebanon
“National Nuclear Day in Iran,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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see

Secret US Plan for Military Future in Iraq

Returning to Nablus: Collateral damage

Dandelion Salad

by Alice Rothchild writing from Nablus, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine
2 April 2008

Since 2003, a health and human rights project developed by members of Jewish Voice for Peace has organized yearly delegations to Israel and Palestine, joining with partners such as Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and Palestinian Medical Relief Society. We document conditions on the ground, bring our stories home, and work on moving the political conversation towards a change in US policy. We focus on issues related to the occupation, its impact on the civilian populations, and the consequences of Israeli incursions, restrictions of movement, and collective punishment. In mid-October 2007 our delegation visited an apartment in Nablus that was the site of an attack by Israeli soldiers days earlier. While we were aware that there are almost nightly Israeli incursions into Nablus, the reality was still jarring and painfully surreal. We walked past a dusty cement-mixer, through a gate and down cracked stone steps to reach the entry to the top floor of a five-story white stone house, built into the hilly landscape in the neighborhood of Ras al-Ein. Potted plants, shattered tiles, and glass were strewn along the path. Men lumbered by, cigarettes in hand, carrying panes to repair fractured windows and the air echoed with the sounds of hammering and electric machinery.

The delegates were ushered into one apartment after another, richly upholstered living room furniture, formal dining room tables, long white draperies, decorative wooden head boards, posters in a child’s room, a blinking TV, now all splattered with bullet holes. The curtains were shredded and burned by gunfire, walls, floors, and ceilings fissured and pock-marked in every direction. In one apartment we were shown a neat pile of rocket parts, bullet casings, mortar shells, and empty flares, the English lettering clearly visible: “White Star Parachute.” Later, a quick check on an internet weapons reference guide revealed that these flares as well as other munitions in the pile were made in the US. There was a sense of grim determination and horror in the faces of the people who belong to this place and everywhere, wide-eyed, terrified, crying children. One teenage boy played on his computer, seemingly oblivious to the destruction around him, American pop music drifting through the open rooms. On the first floor, we were told that a 70-year-old man had been shot and killed when he opened his door for the Israeli soldiers.

…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.

Honouring The ‘Unbreakable Promise By John Pilger

Dandelion Salad

By John Pilger
09/04/08 “ICH

Almost fourteen years after South Africa’s first democratic elections and the fall of racial apartheid, John Pilger describes, in an address at Rhodes University, the dream and reality of the new South Africa and the responsibility of its new elite.

On my wall in London is a photograph I have never grown tired of looking at. Indeed, I always find it thrilling to behold. You might even say it helps keep me going. It is a picture of a lone woman standing between two armoured vehicles, the notorious ‘hippos’, as they rolled into Soweto. Her arms are raised. Her fists are clenched. Her thin body is both beckoning and defiant of the enemy. It was May Day 1985 and the uprising against apartheid had begun.

The fine chronicler of apartheid, Paul Weinberg, took that photograph. He described crouching in a ditch at the roadside as the hippos entered Soweto. People were being shot with rubber bullets and real bullets. “I looked around,” he said, “and there in the ditch next to me was this bird-like woman, who suddenly pulled out a bottle of gin, took a swig, then went over the top and marched straight into the moving line of vehicles. It was the one of the bravest things I’ve seen.”

Paul’s photograph brings to mind one of my favourite quotations. “The struggle of people against power,” wrote Milan Kundera, “is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” Moments such as that woman’s bravery ought to be unforgettable, for they symbolise all the great movements of resistance to oppression: in South Africa, the Freedom Charter, Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia Trial, the heroism of Steve Biko, the women who somehow kept their children alive on freezing hillsides in places like Dimbaza where they had been removed and declared redundant, and beyond, the Jews who rose against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto and the Palestinians who just the other day smashed down the walls of their prison in Gaza.

Unforgettable? For some, yes. But there are those who prefer we celebrate a system of organised forgetting: of unbridled freedom for the few and obedience for the many; of socialism for the rich, and capitalism for the poor. They prefer that the demonstrable power of ordinary people is committed to what George Orwell called the memory hole. You may ask how we can possibly forget when we live in an information age?

The answer to that is another question: Who are “we”? Unlike you and me, most human beings have never used a computer and never owned a telephone. And those of us who are technologically blessed often confuse information with media, and corporate training with knowledge. These are probably the most powerful illusions of our times. We even have a new vocabulary, in which noble concepts have been corporatised and given deceptive, perverse, even opposite meanings.

“Democracy” is now the free market – a concept itself berefet of freedom. “Reform” is now the denial of reform. “Economics” is the relegation of most human endeavour to material value, a bottom line. Alternative models that relate to the needs of the majority of humanity end up in the memory hole. And “governance” – so fashionable these days – means an economic system approved in Washington, Brussels and Davos. “Foreign policy” is service to the dominant power. Conquest is “humanitarian intervention”. Invasion is “nation-building”.

Every day, we breathe the hot air of these pseudo ideas with their pseudo truths and pseudo experts. They set the limits of public debate within the most advanced societies. They determine who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. They manipulate our compassion and our anger and make many of us feel there is nothing we can do. Take the “war on terror”. This is an entirely bogus idea that actually means a war of terror. Its aim is to convince people in the rich world that we all must live in an enduring state of fear: that Muslim fanatics are threatening our civilisation.

In fact, the opposite is true. The threat to our societies comes not from Al Qaeda but from the terrorism of powerful states. Ask the people of Iraq, who in five years ago have seen the physical and social destruction of their country. President Bush calls this “nation-building”. Ask the people of Afghanistan, who have been bombed back into the arms of the Taliban – this is known in the West as a “good war”. Or the people of Gaza, who are denied water, food, medicines and hope by the forces of so-called civilisation. The list is long and the arithmetic simple. The greatest number of victims of this war of terror are not Westerners, but Muslims: from Iraq to Palestine, to the refugee camps of Lebanon and Syria and beyond.

We are constantly told that September 11th 2001 was a day that changed the world and – according to John McCain – justifies a 100-year war against America’s perceived enemies. And yet, while the world mourned the deaths of 3,000 innocent Americans, the UN routinely reported that the mortality rate of children dead from the effects of extreme poverty had not changed. The figure for September 11th 2001 was more than 36,000 children. That is the figure every day. It has not changed. It is not news.

The difference between the two tragedies is that the people who died in the Twin Towers in New York were worthy victims, and the thousands of children who die every day are unworthy victims. That is how many of us are programmed to perceive the world. Or so the programmers hope. In the information age, these children are expendable. In South Africa, they are the children of the evicted and dispossessed, children carrying water home from a contaminated dam. They are not the children in the gated estates with names like Tuscany. They are not covered by the theories of GEAR or NEPAD or any of the other acronyms of power given respectability by journalism and scholarship.

It seems to me vital that young people today equip themselves with an understanding of how this often subliminal propaganda works in modern societies – liberal societies: societies with proud constitutions and freedom of speech, like South Africa. For it says that freedom from poverty – the essence of true democracy – is a freedom too far.

In South Africa, new graduates have, it seems to me, both a special obligation and an advantage. The advantage they have is that the past is still vividly present. Only last month, the National Institute for Occupational Health revealed that in the last six years deadly silicosis had almost doubled among South Africa’s gold miners. There are huge profits in this industry. Many of the miners are abandoned and die in their 40s – their families too poor to afford a burial.

Why is there still no proper prevention and compensation? And although Desmond Tutu pleaded with them, not one company boss in any of the apartheid-propping industries ever sought an amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They were that confident that for things to change on the surface, things would remain the same.

For young graduates these days, there is a temptation to set themselves apart from the conditions I have described and from the world some have come from. As members of a new privileged elite, they have an obligation, I believe, to forge the vital link with the genius of everyday life and the resourcefulness and resilience of ordinary people. This will allow them, in whatever way you choose, to finish the job begun by Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko and the brave woman in the photograph. In a nutshell, it means standing by one’s compatriots in order to bring true freedom to South Africa.

Those who led the struggle against racial apartheid often said no. They dissented. They caused trouble. They took risks. They put people first. And they were the best that people can be. Above all, they had a social and political imagination that unaccountable power always fears. And they had courage. It is this imagination and courage that opens up real debate with real information and allows ordinary people to reclaim their confidence to demand their human and democratic rights.

Oscar Wilde wrote: “Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue”. I read the other day that the South African police calculated that the number of protests across the country had doubled in just two years to more than 10,000 every year. That may be the highest rate of dissent in the world. That’s something to be proud of – just as the Freedom Charter remains something to be proud of. Let me remind you how it begins: “We, the people of South Africa, declare that our country belongs to everyone…”. And that, as Nelson Mandela once said, was the “unbreakable promise”. Isn’t it time the promise was kept?

This is edited version of an address in March 2008 by John Pilger to graduating students at Rhodes University, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in literature.

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 Fading American Economy – Government is the largest employer By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
04/09/08 “ICH”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy lost 98,000 private sector jobs in March, half of which were in manufacturing. Today 13,643,000 Americans are employed in manufacturing, of which 9,849,000 are production workers.

Government employs 22,387,000 Americans, 8,744,000 more than manufacturing. Even the category leisure and hospitality employs 13,682,000 Americans, slightly more than manufacturing. There are as many waitresses and bartenders as production workers.

Wholesale and retail trade employ 21,467,000 Americans. Professional and business services employ 18,036,000 Americans of which 8,368,000 are in administrative and waste services. Education and health services employ 18,699,000 Americans.

Financial activities employ 8,228,000 Americans. The information sector employs 3,010,000. Transportation and warehousing employ 4,532,000. Construction employs 7,338,000, and natural resources, mining and logging employ 751,000. Other services such as repair, laundry, and membership associations employ 5,516,000 Americans.

This is the portrait of the US economy according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is an economy in which government is the largest employer. Manufacturing employment comprises just under 10% of total employment and about 12% of private sector employment. Everything else is services, and not particularly high level services.

Is this a portrait of a super economy?

To help answer the question, consider that US imports in 2007 were 17% of US GDP, according to the National Income and Product Account tables provided by the Bureau of Economic Affairs. In contrast, the BEA industry tables show that in 2006 (2007 data not yet available) US manufacturing comprised only 11.7% of US GDP.

If US imports actually exceed total US manufacturing output by 5% of GDP, it does not seem possible that the US can close its massive trade deficit. Even if every item manufactured in the US was exported, the US would still have a large trade deficit.

The NIPA and industry tables from which the percentages come are not calculated identically, and I do not know to what extent differences might exaggerate the differences between the percentages. However, it seems unlikely that mere calculation differences would account for US imports exceeding US manufacturing output.

If the US cannot close its trade deficit, it is unlikely that the US dollar can remain the world reserve currency. If the dollar were to lose the reserve currency role, the US government would not be able to finance its annual red ink budget by borrowing from foreigners, as the US saving rate is about zero, and the US would not be able to pay its import bill in its own currency. The rest of the world continues to hold depreciating US currency, because the dollar is the world reserve currency. The dollar is certainly not a good investment having declined dramatically against other traded currencies.

From March 2007 to March 2008 the US economy created 1.5 million new jobs (in services). Legal and illegal immigration and work visas for foreigners exceed US job creation.

During the current school year, 3.3 million high school students are expected to graduate. If we assume that half will go on to college, that leaves 1.6 million entering the work force. College enrollment in 2007 totaled 18 million. If we assume 20% graduate, that makes another 3.6 million job seekers for a total of 5.2 million. Clearly, immigration, work visas, and high school and college graduates exceed the 1.5 million jobs created by the economy. Unless retirements opened up enough jobs for graduates, the unemployment rate has to rise.

The US unemployment rate is creeping up, and according to John Williams, the official unemployment rate greatly understates the real rate of unemployment. Williams has followed the changes that government has made to the official indices over the years in order to spin a more politically palatable picture. Williams uses the original methodology prior to the decades of spin. The original way of measuring unemployment indicates the current rate of unemployment in the US to be 13%, much higher than the 5.1% official number.

Williams also calculates the CPI according to the same way it was officially calculated prior to the recent decades of spin. Williams estimates the current CPI at 12%, three times higher than the official 4% figure.

Williams reports that upward growth biases built into GDP modeling since the early 1980s “have rendered this important series nearly worthless as an indicator of economic activity.” Williams estimates that US GDP growth has been in negative territory during almost all of the 21st century. The notion that the US is just now entering a recession is nonsense if we have in fact been in recession for most of the 21st century.

America’s post-World War II economic dominance was based on the destruction of other economies by war and socialism. It is a different world now, and Americans have given little thought to the economic challenges of the 21st century.

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] 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. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.

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 Proper Questioning Of General Petreaus by Guadamour (humor)

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GUADAMOUR

by Guadamour
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Guadamour’s blog post
Apr. 9, 2008

“The Chair yields to Senator Lotzballz from the Great State of Disbelief.”

“I thank the Chair, and I would also like to thank all my esteemed colleagues for this opportunity to question the General.”

“And General Petreaus I would like to personally thank you for the service that you have performed for this great country of ours, and for the service that you continue to provide.”

“I would also like to take time to thank all the brave men and women in uniform serving in the armed forces who continue to perform admirably in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.

“Recently Admiral Fallon retired as the chief of staff for the armed forces. Did you, General Petreaus, admire and respect Admiral Fallon?”

“I have a deep and abiding respect for Admiral Fallon. He has much more experience than myself. His experience goes all the way back to having served as an officer in Vietnam.”

“Thank you General. I also have a great respect for Admiral Fallon. He is a man not afraid to call the shots as he sees them.”

“That is correct Senator. He is very forthright in his opinions, and is generally correct. As a matter of fact, I have never known him to be incorrect.”

“That is very interesting General. Then you will probably understand and agree when he calls General David Petreaus, and I’m reading a direct quote here, “A kiss ass chicken shit.”

General Petreaus sits there stunned. Ambassador Crocker jumps up and shouts, “This is an outrage. I demand an apology.”

“Ambassador, I am not speaking to you. You don’t warrant speaking to. You are an administration lackey intellectually on par with the President, which is a polite way of saying you are a complete idiot. Sit down and shut up until I’m through.”

“This is highly disrespectful,” says the chair.

Senator Lotzballz smiles and says, “But it is totally accurate.”

“General Kiss Ass Chicken Shit, could it be that the highly distinguished, respected and extremely honest Admiral refers to you in these terms, because you are also a political lackey, willing to do anything to please his superiors, even if it involves lying to the American public, putting a positive spin on things that are not easily or rightly spun. We, Sir, have had recent testimony here in these chambers from members of the military who have spoken out against the war, both in military and political terms. These men, Sir, have much more accumulated experience than yourself. I grant you, they may not be as intellectually astute or adroit as yourself, and surely they don’t speak as well as you. You, who seem to be a master at only answering what you want to hear. Even after you have been prodded any number of times.”

“You, Sir, bring to mind something I heard that is attributed to Harry Truman. When asked how it felt to be a Senator, he is supposed to have said, ‘When I first arrived in the Senate, I wonder how I managed to get there. And after I was there a while, I wondered how the other Senators managed to get there.”

“I, Sir, wonder how you managed to get to be where you are. Since I’m not a military man, and have great respect for Admiral Fallon, as you yourself do, I will have to assume that you arrived at your current position because, in the Admiral’s words, “You are a Kiss Ass Chicken Shit.”

“I would like to thank the Chair, and my colleagues. I have no further questions.”

see

Did Petraeus part ways with the neocons? + Sadr will disarm Mahdi Army if US leaves

Tomgram: Patrick Cockburn: Petraeus’s Ghost

Ayatollahs Decline to Ban Militia – Hundreds Flee Baghdad Clashes

Winter Soldier posts listed on: It’s March 19 and Blogswarm Day! Posts on Iraq War by Lo

Iraq Hearings: Questions + Petraeus’ & Crocker’s Presentations

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Did Petraeus part ways with the neocons? + Sadr will disarm Mahdi Army if US leaves

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

April 09, 2008

More at http://therealnews.com/c.php?c=080401YT
The Real Story examines General Petraeus’ testimony and the contending forces in Iraq.

Sadr will disarm Mahdi Army if US leaves

More at http://therealnews.com/c.php?c=080401YT
As Petraeus talks to Congress, families flee Basra and Sadr calls off million man march.

Are the US and Iran backing the same horse?

More at http://therealnews.com/c.php?c=080401YT
Raed Jarrar on why both Iran and the US are supporting the same players in Iraq.

see

Iraq Hearings: Questions + Petraeus’ & Crocker’s Presentations

US military withdrawal from Iraq questioned + BBC: General Petraeus Reports

Olbermann: Reality on the Ground in Iraq + Race Re-Introduced

Iraq Hearings: Questions to Petraeus (Obama; Dodd; Feingold; Biden)

Iraq Hearings: Questions to Petraeus & Crocker

Iraq Hearings: McCain’s + Gen. Petraeus’ Opening Statements + Questions (videos)

Tomgram: Patrick Cockburn: Petraeus’s Ghost

Dandelion Salad

By Tom Engelhardt
April 08, 2008

Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who emerged triumphant from an Iraqi government assault on his Mahdi Army militia in Basra (and Baghdad) has called for a “million-strong” march in Baghdad tomorrow to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. The demonstration just happens to fall on one of the days that General David Petraeus is to report to Congress on post-surge “progress” in Iraq. This is unlikely to be pure happenstance. Despite being regularly labeled “hot-headed,” a “firebrand,” and the like in the American press, Sadr, as Patrick Cockburn shows in his new book Muqtada, is a canny, cautious, strategically savvy political leader. In fact, he has turned out to play the life-and-death game of Iraqi politics better than any of the teams of American and Iraqi officials sent up against him, including most recently Gen. Petraeus, American Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

As you watch Petraeus and Crocker go through their paces today and tomorrow, don’t imagine them alone at that table in front of a Senate committee. There’s a ghostly figure beside them, that “hot-headed” “radical cleric,” who has made a mockery of their plans for a pacified Iraq. For those of us who don’t know enough about that shadowy figure, Patrick Cockburn is, at this second, riding to the rescue. When it comes to timing, you couldn’t ask for better. His book on Sadr, Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq is being published this very day as the cleric fights for news space with the general. As with so much else in these last years in Iraq, Cockburn was taking Sadr’s true measure while others, including actual hot-headed figures like that Bush administration viceroy in Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer III, continued to look elsewhere or radically underestimate him.

Seymour Hersh has called Cockburn, who writes for the British paper, The Independent, “quite simply, the best Western journalist at work in Iraq today.” It’s hard to disagree with that. In a war of reportorial embedment, he’s been a unilateral, an almost recklessly, daringly free agent. He’s had some good company over the years: Robert Fisk in looted Baghdad amid the ashes of the royal archives of Iraq in April 20003 (“…and the Americans did nothing…”); Anthony Shadid of the Washington Post wandering the backstreets of Baghdad in somewhat better days; freelancer Nir Rosen in Fallujah in 2004; the British Guardian’s correspondent Ghaith Abdul-Ahad with the Sunni resistance and recently in embattled Baghdad; various correspondents for Knight-Ridder (now McClatchy), including Leila Feidel, and a host of barely credited or uncredited Iraqi reporters working for Western outfits (whose normal journalists can hardly circulate in Iraq). But Cockburn, who never seems to stop circulating, is still sui generis.

The following piece on Muqtada al-Sadr is the final chapter of Cockburn’s new book and appears at Tomdispatch.com thanks to his publisher, Scribner, and his fine editor Colin Robinson. It’s the perfect antidote to Petraeus’s assessment of the Iraqi situation. Too bad our senators won’t hear Muqtada al-Sadr’s version of the same. Cockburn’s book, by the way, is eye-opening. Tom

Riding the Tiger

Muqtada al-Sadr and the American Dilemma in Iraq

By Patrick Cockburn

Muqtada al-Sadr is the most important and surprising figure to emerge in Iraq since the U.S. invasion. He is the Messianic leader of the religious and political movement of the impoverished Shia underclass whose lives were ruined by a quarter of a century of war, repression, and sanctions.

From the moment he unexpectedly appeared in the dying days of Saddam Hussein’s regime, U.S. emissaries and Iraqi politicians underestimated him. So far from being the “firebrand cleric” as the Western media often described him, he often proved astute and cautious in leading his followers.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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.

Ayatollahs Decline to Ban Militia – Hundreds Flee Baghdad Clashes

Dandelion Salad

By Juan Cole
04/08/08 “ICH

I am always astounded at the combination of unrealistic optimism and foolish gullibility that marks political discourse on the Right in Washington. We were being told by Rich Lowry at the National Review that Sadr was on the ropes and on the verge of disbanding the Mahdi Army because the other political factions had turned on him, and that the others had had their militias join the regular security forces.

So let us get this straight. Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army fought off thousands of regular Iraqi army troops in Basra and Baghdad, and perhaps thousands of those troops deserted rather than fight. So the Mahdi Army won big and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki lost. Also the US military trainers of the Iraqi troops lost face.

So the next thing we hear is that al-Maliki is talking big and demanding that the Mahdi Army be dissolved. Usually you get to talk big if you win the military battle, not if you lose.

The Sadrists have no intention of dissolving the Mahdi Army, according to this Arabic source, quoting Sadrist spokesman Salah al-Ubaidi. They point out, pace that great Iraq expert Lowry, that there are 28 militias in Iraq. The Badr Corps of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) still exists as a stand alone organization. In fact it ran as a political party in the elections and holds both provincial and federal seats. It hasn’t been complete merged into the state security forces as Lowry alleged. And anyway, painting a sign on a militia saying ‘this one is legitimate because its party won the last election’ is not going to convince any real Iraqis.

As it happens, the parliamentary representatives of Mosul demanded Monday that the Kurdish Peshmerga be dissolved. (Hint: Hell will freeze over first).

Then the US press went wild for this supposed report that Muqtada al-Sadr said he would dissolve his militia if Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani ordered it. Folks, he always says that when there is a controversy. (He said the same thing in spring, 2004). He says it because he knows it makes him look reasonable to the Shiite public. He says it because he knows that the grand ayatollahs are not going to touch the matter with a ten foot pole. They are not so foolish as to take responsibility for dissolving a militia that they had nothing to do with creating. And that is probably the real meaning of this CNN report that they ‘refused’ when asked. I doubt the grand ayatollahs in Najaf actively commanded Muqtada to keep his militia. They just declined to get drawn in.

So the idea that, having lost militarily, al-Maliki and his political allies (who are a minority in parliament now) could just a couple of days later jawbone Muqtada into giving up his paramilitary was always absurd.

As for the the threat that the Sadrists would not be allowed to run in the provincial elections in the fall unless the Mahdi Army was dissolved, it is either empty or very dangerous. First of all, not only Sadrists but also other observers have pointed out that excluding parties from running in elections is not the prerogative of the prime minister. It is a matter that would have to be passed by parliament. And since the parliamentarians who would be voting to dissolve all militias ahead of elections are all in parties that maintain militias, it would be political suicide for them to vote that way. Of course, they could just play the hypocrite card and declare, as Lowry did, that their militias are not militias, whereas the Mahdi Army is a militia.

But if the Sadrists are really excluded from civil politics, and they are the majority in the South, then you will have just pushed a majority of Iraqis out of the political process and potentially into civil violence. Isn’t that the opposite of the goal here?

As for the real Iraq, Monday was a difficult day.

Guerrillas killed 4 US troops in Iraq on Monday, bringing the 2-day total to 9.
Robert Reid of AP reports that hundreds of Iraqis fled the Shiite districts of Baghdad that are under siege by American and Iraqi government forces. The US and its Iraqi allies engaged in firefights on several fronts in the Shiite neighborhoods. US helicopter gunships and fighter bombers also fired missiles into the civilian neighborhoods. The attacksleft 14 dead in the Baghdad area. The US military denies that its bombing of civilian neighborhoods kills innocent civilians. While I know they try hard to minimize collateral damage, the blanket form of the assertion is not plausible.

The Baghdad fighting is the worst in about a year.
A huge explosion in the southern port city of Basra destroyed a house and killed at least 8 persons. The origin of the blast remains controversial.

The disposition of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk remains a ticking time bomb in Iraq’s north. The Kurds intend to annex it to Kurdistan. Most Turkmen and Arabs are violently opposed to this step, as is neighboring Turkey. The referendum scheduled for last December was postponed six months, but seems unlikely to take place in June, either. Some Iraqis, including some Kurds, are talking about a negotiated settlement of the question rather than a referendum (which the Kurds would win since they have flooded Kirkuk province with Kurds).

Not every place in al-Anbar Province is yet “calm,” the CSM points out.

With regard to the kidnapping of 42 students from a bus near Mosul, who were later released, I received this from a US military observer in the area:

‘Mr. Cole,
You should check your sources closer before you report on the “impunity” of the insugents to operate in the Mosul area. My unit was involved in the location of the college students mentioned in your blog. They were not released by the insurgents at their leisure. They were found by coalition forces, engaged to disable the dump truck that the students were being transported and then freed by combined coalition, Iraqi Army and police forces. The four individuals that were driving the dump truck were all detained by Iraqi Army and police units after firing at U.S. helicopters and then hiding among women and children to avoid being fired upon. I know these items are facts as the operation occured a mere three hours after I completed my mission for the day and was briefed by the aircrews that were responsible for the capture. Please know that everyday we see dispicable acts that are perpetrated upon the Iraqi people in the name of the “insurgency”. They dare not engage directly because they have learned of the swift and deadly consequences that will occur to them if they do. Also realize that I see the Iraqi security forces taking a larger role in every operation that we conduct here in Ninevah provence of which Mosul is a part. I know that the axiom “if it bleeds it leads” is more true now than ever, but yesterday was a win in the books for the Iraqis and the coalition. Yesterday yielded 42 students that are home with their families, 4 bad guys that are not on the streets, and not a single bystander hurt by coalition or Iraqi forces alike. That is a good news story, not a bullet to show how impotent we are to what is occurring on the ground. ‘

It is great to have some background on the way the release was accomplished, information that was to my knowledge not reported in the wire services. And it was certainly good news that the students were released. But I didn’t say the US military was impotent; what I said was that if people can be kidnapped like that in broad daylight, security can’t be very good. And while it is welcome that security was restored for these victims, it still seems like a high crime area. . .

What I can’t understand is why I don’t get more letters like this one. I take eyewitness accounts seriously. I’m a classic political liberal and I think the maximization of information is intrinsically good for a republic.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Monday:


‘ Baghdad

– Around 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. two roadside bombs targeted Iraqi police vehicles in Zayouna injuring 5 policemen and 5 civilians in both attacks.

– Around 9 a.m. a mortar shell hit the Green Zone.

– Around 2 p.m. a roadside bomb targeted a police vehicle in Al Mashtal injuring 5 policemen.

– Two mortar shells hit the air force soccer club in Palestine Street, causing no casualties.

– Clashes between Mahdi army militiamen and the Iraqi army in Sadr city took place today; Iraqi police said and gave no figures for the casualties.

– Around 3 p.m. three mortar shells targeted the Green Zone, one hit Karrada neighborhood injuring two civilians and two hit inside the Green Zone. – Around 4 p.m. two mortar shells hit the Green Zone.

– Around 5 p.m. a mortar shell hit the cars’ parking area in the ministry of foreign affairs causing damages to three parking cars with no casualties.

– Around 5:30 p.m. three mortar shells hit Al Rustamiyah military camp. Minutes later the sources of fire were targeted in Al Ameen neighborhood east of Baghdad, killing 9 civilians and injuring 31, Iraqi police said. No military reepsonse was available by the time of publication of this report.

– A fire in Al Eatiman bank building in Saadon started yesterday night.

– Police found four dead bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Baladiyat, one in Jisr Diyala, one in Amil and one in Dora.

Basra

– Seven men were killed in Al Asdiqa neighborhood (5 miles north of Basra) as an explosion took place in their house.

– A roadside bomb targeted the convoy of General Abdul Kareem Khalf, the spokesman of the ministry of interior, in Al Nashwa area (about 37 miles north of Basra) injuring four body guards.

Diyala

– A roadside bomb targeted an army vehicle in Al Bu Khamis area (about 8 miles south of Baquba) killing one soldier and injuring another.’

Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute

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.

Lee Hamilton denies Michael Mukasey’s claim about 9/11 By Glenn Greenwald

Dandelion Salad

By Glenn Greenwald
SALON
April 9, 2008

I just received the following statement from the Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Rep. Lee Hamilton, in response to my inquiries last week (and numerous follow-up inquiries from readers here) about Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s claims about the 9/11 attack and, specifically, about Mukasey’s story that there was a pre-9/11 telephone call from an “Afghan safe house” into the U.S. that the Bush administration failed to intercept or investigate:

I am unfamiliar with the telephone call that Attorney General Mukasey cited in his appearance in San Francisco on March 27. The 9/11 Commission did not receive any information pertaining to its occurrence.

…continued

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

see

The DOJ comments on the Mukasey controversy + The US establishment media in a nutshell

Why doesn’t the 9/11 Commission know about Mukasey’s 9/11 story? By Glenn Greenwald