Hillary Clinton at the Compassion Forum (videos)

Dandelion Salad

The forum is at Messiah College, Grantham, PA. I stayed at Messiah College for a little over a week back in 2000, some of the best times of my life were there.

Topics include: domestic and international poverty, global AIDS, climate change, genocide in Darfur, and human rights and torture. ~ Lo


April 13, 2008
CNN Compassion Forum


Letter to Hillary about Monsanto connections (02.03.08)

Bill Moyers Journal: Hunger in America + Exposé Farm Subsidies + Soup Kitchen


Barack Obama at the Compassion Forum (videos)

Dandelion Salad

The forum is at Messiah College, Grantham, PA. I stayed at Messiah College for a little over a week back in 2000, some of the best times of my life were there.

Topics include: domestic and international poverty, global AIDS, climate change, genocide in Darfur, and human rights and torture. ~ Lo


April 13, 2008
CNN Compassion Forum


Rich vs Right by The Other Katherine Harris

Countdown: “Small Town” comments + Obama Responds + Worse than Watergate

Bill Moyers Journal: Hunger in America + Exposé Farm Subsidies + Soup Kitchen

Hillary Clinton at the Compassion Forum (videos)


More than 3 billion people condemned to premature death from hunger & thirst

Dandelion Salad

By Fidel Castro
04/13/08 “Granma

THAT is not an exaggerated figure, but rather a cautious one. I have meditated a lot on that in the wake of President Bush’s meeting with U.S. automobile manufacturers.

The sinister idea of converting food into fuel was definitively established as an economic line in U.S. foreign policy last Monday, March 26.

A cable from the AP, the U.S. news agency that reaches all corners of the world, states verbatim:

“WASHINGTON, March 26 (AP). President Bush touted the benefits of ‘flexible fuel’ vehicles running on ethanol and biodiesel on Monday, meeting with automakers to boost support for his energy plans.

“Bush said a commitment by the leaders of the domestic auto industry to double their production of flex-fuel vehicles could help motorists shift away from gasoline and reduce the nation’s reliance on imported oil.

‘“That’s a major technological breakthrough for the country,’ Bush said after inspecting three alternative vehicles. If the nation wants to reduce gasoline use, he said “the consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice.”

“The president urged Congress to ‘move expeditiously’ on legislation the administration recently proposed to require the use of 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels by 2017 and seek higher fuel economy standards for automobiles.

“Bush met with General Motors Corp. chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner, Ford Motor Co. chief executive Alan Mulally and DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group chief executive Tom LaSorda.

“They discussed support for flex-fuel vehicles, attempts to develop ethanol from alternative sources like switchgrass and wood chips and the administration’s proposal to reduce gas consumption by 20 percent in 10 years.

“The discussions came amid rising gasoline prices. The latest Lundberg Survey found the nationwide average for gasoline has risen 6 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $2.61.”

I believe that reducing and moreover recycling all motors that run on electricity and fuel is an elemental and urgent need for all humanity. The tragedy does not lie in reducing those energy costs but in the idea of converting food into fuel.

It is known very precisely today that one ton of corn can only produce 413 liters of ethanol on average, according to densities. That is equivalent to 109 gallons.

The average price of corn in U.S. ports has risen to $167 per ton. Thus, 320 million tons of corn would be required to produce 35 billion gallons of ethanol.

According to FAO figures, the U.S. corn harvest rose to 280.2 million tons in the year 2005.

Although the president is talking of producing fuel derived from grass or wood shavings, anyone can understand that these are phrases totally lacking in realism. Let’s be clear: 35 billion gallons translates into 35 followed by nine zeros!

Afterwards will come beautiful examples of what experienced and well-organized U.S. farmers can achieve in terms of human productivity by hectare: corn converted into ethanol; the chaff from that corn converted into animal feed containing 26% protein; cattle dung used as raw material for gas production. Of course, this is after voluminous investments only within the reach of the most powerful enterprises, in which everything has to be moved on the basis of electricity and fuel consumption. Apply that recipe to the countries of the Third World and you will see that people among the hungry masses of the Earth will no longer eat corn. Or something worse: lend funding to poor countries to produce corn ethanol based on corn or any other food and not a single tree will be left to defend humanity from climate change.

Other countries in the rich world are planning to use not only corn but also wheat, sunflower seeds, rapeseed and other foods for fuel production. For the Europeans, for example, it would become a business to import all of the world’s soybeans with the aim of reducing the fuel costs for their automobiles and feeding their animals with the chaff from that legume, particularly rich in all types of essential amino acids.

In Cuba, alcohol used to be produced as a byproduct of the sugar industry after having made three extractions of sugar from cane juice. Climate change is already affecting our sugar production. Lengthy periods of drought alternating with record rainfall, that barely make it possible to produce sugar with an adequate yield during the 100 days of our very moderate winter; hence, there is less sugar per ton of cane or less cane per hectare due to prolonged drought in the months of planting and cultivation.

I understand that in Venezuela they would be using alcohol not for export but to improve the environmental quality of their own fuel. For that reason, apart from the excellent Brazilian technology for producing alcohol, in Cuba the use of such a technology for the direct production of alcohol from sugar cane juice is no more than a dream or the whim of those carried away by that idea. In our country, land handed over to the direct production of alcohol could be much useful for food production for the people and for environmental protection.

All the countries of the world, rich and poor, without any exception, could save millions and millions of dollars in investment and fuel simply by changing all the incandescent light bulbs for fluorescent ones, an exercise that Cuba has carried out in all homes throughout the country. That would provide a breathing space to resist climate change without killing the poor masses through hunger.

As can be observed, I am not using adjectives to qualify the system and the lords of the earth. That task can be excellently undertaken by news experts and honest social, economic and political scientists abounding in the world who are constantly delving into to the present and future of our species. A computer and the growing number of Internet networks are sufficient for that.

Today, we are seeing for the first time a really globalized economy and a dominant power in the economic, political and military terrain that in no way resembles that of Imperial Rome.

Some people will be asking themselves why I am talking of hunger and thirst. My response to that: it is not about the other side of the coin, but about several sides of something else, like a die with six sides, or a polyhedron with many more sides.

I refer in this case to an official news agency, founded in 1945 and generally well-informed about economic and social questions in the world: TELAM. It said, and I quote:

“In just 18 years, close to 2 billion people will be living in countries and regions where water will be a distant memory. Two-thirds of the world’s population could be living in places where that scarcity produces social and economic tensions of such a magnitude that it could lead nations to wars for the precious ‘blue gold.’

“Over the last 100 years, the use of water has increased at a rate twice as fast as that of population growth.

“According to statistics from the World Water Council, it is estimated that by 2015, the number of inhabitants affected by this grave situation will rise by 3.5 billion people.

“The United Nations celebrated World Water Day on March 23, and called to begin confronting, that very day, the international scarcity of water, under the coordination of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with the goal of highlighting the increasing importance of water scarcity on a global scale, and the need for greater integration and cooperation that would make it possible to guarantee sustained and efficient management of water resources.

“Many regions on the planet are suffering from severe water shortages, living with less than 500 cubic meters per person per year. The number of regions suffering from chronic scarcity of this vital element is increasingly growing.

“The principal consequences of water scarcity are an insufficient amount of the precious liquid for producing food, the impossibility of industrial, urban and tourism development and health problems.”

That was the TELEAM cable.

In this case I will refrain from mentioning other important facts, like the melting ice in Greenland and the Antarctic, damage to the ozone layer and the growing volume of mercury in many species of fish for common consumption.

There are other issues that could be addressed, but with these lines I am just trying to comment on President Bush’s meeting with the principal executives of U.S. automakers.

March 28, 2007

Fidel Castro.

Translated by Granma International

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.

Wanta Save the Economy? Give Workers a Raise By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
04/13/08 “ICH

“The bright new financial system, with all its talented participants, with all its rich rewards, has failed the test of the marketplace.” Former Fed Chief, Paul Volcker

A specter is haunting Wall Street—the specter of insolvency. One major player, Bear Stearns, has already gone under, and from the looks of it, another may be on the way. It’s getting ugly out there. The so-called TED spread—which measures the willingness of banks to lend to each other—has begun to widen ominously suggesting that the money markets believe another body will be floating to the surface any day now.

The ongoing deleveraging of financial institutions and the persistent downgrading of assets has the Fed in a tizzy. Bernanke has backed himself into a corner by stretching the Fed’s mandate to include anyone on Wall Street with a mailing address and a begging bowl. Now he’s taken on the larger task of fixing the plumbing that keeps credit flowing between the various investment banks. Good luck. He’s already burned through nearly half of the Fed’s balance sheet of $900 billion and the banking meltdown has just begun.  The IMF expects the final tally will be $945 billion, that means $3 trillion in lost loans for the banks. Bernanke better pace himself; this mess could last for years.

The US subprime fiasco has spiraled into what the IMF is calling “the largest financial shock since the Great Depression.” America’s capital markets are on the fritz. The corporate bond market is frozen, the banks are buckling from their losses, and the housing market is in a shambles. No one is buying and no one is lending; that’s a deadly combo. Private equity deals are off 75% from last year and no one will go near a mortgage-backed security (MBS) with a ten foot pole. The mighty wheel of modern finance is grinding to a standstill and no one’s quite sure how to rev it up again.

The US consumer is feeling the pinch, too. His credit cards are maxed out, his student loans are overdue, his car payment is in arrears, his mortgage is entering foreclosure, and the home-equity ATM has been shut down. Now that the credit spigot has been turned off; he’s really hurting, but no one is offering him a bailout or a even helping hand; just a few table-scraps from Bush’s “surplus package”. 500 bucks will just about fill the tank of a normal-sized SUV; that’s it. A new survey from the Pew research Center “Inside the Middle Class—Bad Times Hit the Good Life”, shows that working families are in debt up to their ears and that fewer Americans “believe they are moving forward” than anytime in the last half century. The study also shows that most people believe “it’s harder to maintain a middle class life style” and that “since 1999, they have not made economic gains.” Average families are struggling just to make ends meet.

That’s why so many people bought homes when they should have opened savings accounts. They thought that speculating on housing would get them a piece of the American dream. What’s wrong with that? It looked like a good way to make up for the stagnant wages and crappy hours. The cheer-leading TV pundits offered assurances that “housing prices never go down”, but it was all baloney. Now 15 million homeowners are upside-down on their mortgages and the very same experts are scolding them for fudging the facts on their income. It’s all backwards.

No wonder consumer confidence has dropped to record lows. The trust is gone. Working people have been hoodwinked one too many times. They don’t need lectures on saving money; they need a raise. The big-wigs who scuttled Bear Stearns are still dining on crab-cakes at the Four Seasons while the working slob is just trying to make his way through Greenspan’s nuclear winter living on beef jerky and Big Gulps. Where’s the justice?

Volumes have been written about the current crisis; subprime-this, subprime that. Everything that can be said about collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) credit default swaps(CDS) and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) has already been said. Yes, they are exotic “financial innovations” and, no, they are not regulated. But what difference does that make? There’s always been snake oil and there’s always been snake oil salesmen. Greenspan simply raised the bar a notch, but he’s not the first huckster and he won’t be the last. What really matters is underlying ideology; that’s the root from which this economy-busting hydra sprung. 30 years of trickle down, supply-side gibberish; 30 years of idol worship for the waxy-haired reactionary, Ronald Raygun; 30 years of unrelenting anti-labor, free market, deregulated orthodoxy which inflated the biggest equity-Zeppelin in history. Now the bubble has sprung a leak and the escaping gas is wreaking havoc across the planet. There’s food riots in Haiti, Egypt, and Kuwait. Wherever the local currency is pegged to the falling dollar, inflation is soaring and trouble is brewing. Also, European banks are listing from the mortgage-backed garbage they bought from trusted brokerages in the US and need central bank bailouts to stay afloat. It’s just more fallout from the subprime swindle. Finance ministers in every capital in every country are getting ready for a 1930’s-type typhoon that could send equities crashing and food and energy prices rocketing into the stratosphere. And it can all be traced back to the wacko doctrine of unlimited personal accumulation and its evil-spawn, neoliberalism. These are the theories that guide America’s “bugger-thy-neighbor” monetary policies and spread financial turmoil to every city and hamlet around the world.

The present stewards of the system, Paulson and Bernanke, are incapable of fixing the problem because they represent the interests of the people who benefit most from the disruptions. Paulson’s latest “blueprint” for the financial markets just proves the point; a more pro-business, self-serving scheme has never been put to paper. Gary North sums it up in his article “Really Stupid Loans”:

“With the Federal Reserve System’s latest proposal, presented to the public by Secretary of the Treasury Henry “Goldman Sachs” Paulson, the FED is asking the United States government to make it the Great Protector of Capital….The new proposals will centralize power over finance in the hands of an agency that is officially run by the government but in fact is run by agents of the largest fractional reserve banks. …Regulation by tenured staff economists will not make the system less fragile. It will make it more top-heavy and less flexible..

Some version of this plan will probably pass in the next Congress. No matter whether it does or does not, the direction is the same: toward an economy controlled by the federal government in conjunction with titular private ownership of the means of production, that is, toward fascism. (Gary North, “Really Stupid loans” lewrockwell.com)

That’s right; Paulson and his flock of investment bank alchemists, who cooked up the poisonous stew of derivatives that paralyzed the bond market, now want congress to put the whole kit and kabootle under their authority. Right.
Michael S. Rozeff sums it all up his article “ The American Form of Government and the Paulson Plan”:

“The main result of the Paulson Plan will be increased government power over capital markets and their institutions. Certain large players will be cartelized under the enhanced regulatory umbrella. They will be under the government’s thumb. In subsequent crises, the government will move further toward capital controls and find it easier to do so.

To be totalitarian, a State needs to control investment, that is, the allocation of capital. Controlling the direction of finance is a means to control investment. That is the ultimate stopping point of government control over capital markets.” (The American Form of Government and the Paulson Plan, Michael S. Rozeff, lewrockwell.com)

And that’s the whole point, to put the markets in the Fed’s control so when the next financial crisis arises the Fed can bailout the bankers and hedge fund managers without consulting Congress.

Paulson’s plan is a power-play pure and simple. The investment Mafia wants to control the financial system lock, stock and barrel. They want to liquidate the SEC and any other government watchdog agency and put the investment banks, hedge funds and brokerages on the honor system. It’s the end of transparency and accountability which, of course, are in short supply already.

Comrade Paulson’s blueprint fixes nothing. It’s just another freebie for the parasite class. What the country really need is a few honest men who’ll ride-herd on the Ken Lays and Jeffrey Skillings who presently run Wall Street. That doesn’t require centralized power; just a rule book and a bullwhip.

Currently, Paulson and Bernanke are expanding the balance sheets of the GSEs so that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will underwrite 85% of all mortgages while FHA will cover 10% more. The mortgage industry is being nationalized to save banking fellowship while the taxpayer is on the hook for another $4.4 trillion of dodgy loans. It’s a risky business and, once again, it’s all ideologically driven. Paulson doesn’t care if the taxpayer gets stuck with the bill. It’s no skin off his nose. What bothers him is the prospect that, somewhere along the line, workers will demand higher wages to keep pace with inflation. Then all hell will break loose. Paulson and Co. would rather see the economy perish in a deflationary holocaust than add another farthing to a poor man’s salary. He and his ilk take class warfare seriously; that’s why they are winning. But their strategy also creates problems. When wages don’t keep pace with production, demand decreases and the economy falters. That’s what’s happening now and Paulson knows it. Workers are over-extended and can’t buy the things they make. They barely have enough to feed the kids and fill the tank for work. All the fat has been trimmed from the bone; there’s nothing left. The only thing that’s kept us from sliding into recession so far, has been the kookie banker’s scam to maintain growth by easing lending standards and expanding credit. That turned out to be a real doozie; the whole thing blew up and left the banks’ balance sheets ravaged and workers deeper in debt than anytime in history. Now consumer spending is nosediving at the same time the Fed’s equity bubble is plummeting to earth. It looks like the plan to eliminate the standard criteria for lending money wasn’t such a great idea after all. The global financial system has never been under greater strain.

Was it all part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy?”

Maybe or maybe not; it’s hard to say. But neoliberalism does have a twenty-year record of producing the very same economic calamities. That’s more than just a coincidence. What makes this crisis so different? The bankster globalists aren’t bound by any silly feelings of patriotism. They would just as soon march the good old USA to the chopping block as any other unsuspecting nation; it makes no difference to them. It’s just business as usual.  After the equity bubble bursts and asset prices fall, the corporate vultures will swoop down and buy up vital resources and industries for pennies on the dollar. Its the same everywhere; Darwinian capitalism. Leave nothing but the bones behind.

Economist Michael Hudson anticipated many of the present-day developments in the financial markets in an amazingly prescient interview in counterpunch in 2003 called “The Coming Financial Reality”:

Michael Hudson: “Free enterprise under today’s financial conditions threatens to bring about an unprecedented centralization of planning, not in the hands of government but by the financial conglomerates and money managers. Whatever government planning power is destroyed becomes available for them to appropriate, with plenty of vigorish left for the politicians whose campaigns they back and who will “descend from heaven” into high-paying private-sector jobs, Japanese style, after having performed their service for the new regime.

Question; Standard Schaefer: The financial regime is nothing but parasites?

Michael Hudson: “The problem with parasites is not merely that they siphon off the food and nourishment of their host, crippling its reproductive power, but that they take over the host’s brain as well. The parasite tricks the host into thinking that it is feeding itself.
Something like this is happening today as the financial sector is devouring the industrial sector. Finance capital pretends that its growth is that of industrial capital formation. That is why the financial bubble is called “wealth creation,” as if it were what progressive economic reformers envisioned a century ago. They condemned rent and monopoly profit, but never dreamed that the financiers would end up devouring landlord and industrialist alike. Emperors of Finance have trumped Barons of Property and Captains of Industry.” (Michael Hudson, “The Coming Financial Reality”, counterpunch)

Bingo. Hudson not only explains how finance capitalism is inserting itself into the governmental power structure but, also, predicts that “industrial capital formation”–which is the production of things that people can really use to improve their lives—will be replaced with complex debt-instruments and derivatives that add no tangible value to people’s lives and merely serve to expand the wealth of an entrenched and increasingly powerful investor class.

Finance capitalism has “devoured landlord and industrialist alike” and created a galaxy of seductive liabilities which masquerade as assets. Derivatives contracts, for example, represent over $500 trillion of unregulated counterparty transactions; a “shadow banking system” completely disconnected from the underlying “real” economy, but large enough to send the world into a agonizing depression for years to come.

The goal of liberals should be to dismantle this corrupt Ponzi-system, which merely wraps debt in a ribbon, and rebuild the economy on a solid foundation of productive labor, worker solidarity and the making of tradable goods. That will restore competitiveness and reallign the political system.

Political power has to be taken from the financial mandarins or the disparity of wealth will continue to grow and democracy will wither. We’ve already seen our main institutions— the courts, the congress, the media, and the presidency—polluted by the steady flow of corporate contributions which only serve the narrow interests of elites.

Henry Liu expands on this idea in his excellent article “A Panic-stricken Federal Reserve”:

“In the 1920s, the wide disparity of wealth between the rich and the average wage earner increased the vulnerability of the economy. For an economy to function with stability on a macro scale, total demand needs to equal total supply. Disparity of income eventually will result in demand deficiency, causing over supply. The extension of credit to consumers can extend the supply/demand imbalance but if credit is extended beyond the ability of income to sustain, a debt bubble will result that will inevitably burst with economic pain that can only be relieved by inflation…..More investment normally increases productivity. However, if the rewards of the increased productivity are not distributed fairly to workers, production will soon outpace demand. The search for high returns in a low demand market will lead to consumer debt bubbles with wide-spread speculation….Today, outstanding consumer credit besides home mortgages adds up to about $14 trillion, about the same as the annual GDP. ”

Voila. A strong economy requires a strong workforce and an equitable distribution of wealth. Otherwise, demand decreases and growth slows to a crawl. When money is concentrated in too few hands, the political system atrophies and becomes unresponsive to the needs of its people. That’s when the nation’s laws and institutions are reshaped to reflect the ambitions of rich and powerful.

Liu continues:

“A 2002 study released by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Children’s Defense Fund reveals that under the Bush tax cut, over the next 10 years, the top 1% income recipients are slated to receive tax cuts totaling almost half a trillion dollars. The $477 billion in tax breaks the Bush administration has targeted to this elite group will average $342,000 each over the decade. By 2010, when (and if) the Bush tax reductions are fully in place, an astonishing 52% of the total tax cuts will go to the richest 1% whose average 2010 income will be $1.5 million.” And, this; “In 2006, the chief executives of the 500 biggest US companies averaged $15.2 million in total annual compensation, according to Forbes business magazine’s annual executive pay survey. The top eight CEOs on the Forbes list each pocketed over $100 million.” “A Panic-stricken Federal Reserve; The shape of US Populism” Henry C. K. Liu, Asia Times)

The financial system is doing exactly what it was designed to do, it is crumbling from the decades-long trickle-down experiment. Social programs have been gutted, civil infrastructure is in tatters, legal protections have been savaged, and workers rights have been trounced. Is it any wonder why we’re embroiled in an unwinnable war and the financial system is on its last legs?

None of this is accidental; it is the inevitable decline of a fatally flawed ideology; the Golden Calf of neoliberalism. But what will take its place? Where are the leaders who will fill the vacuum?

Here’s an excerpt from Bernard Chazelle’s article “Saving the American Left; A New Progressive Creed”:

“By virtually any measure, the United States is the least progressive nation in the developed world. It trails most of Western Europe in poverty rates, life expectancy, health care, child care, infant mortality, maternity leaves, paid vacations, public infrastructure, incarceration rates, and environmental laws. The wealth gap in the US has not been so wide since 1929. The Wal-Mart founders’ family owns as much as the bottom 120 million Americans combined. Contrary to received opinion, there is now less social mobility in the US than in Canada, France, Germany, and most Scandinavian countries. The European Union attracts more foreign students than the US, including twice as many from China. Its consensus-driven polity, studies indicate, has replaced the American version as the societal model to which the developing world aspires.”

America has lost its luster; it no longer attracts freedom-loving young people seeking openness and a brighter future. There are better opportunities elsewhere and less hassle. The country needs a major face-lift. Restoring liberal values is pointless without a strong commitment to economic justice; the two are inseparable. The only way to break the stranglehold of Wall Street’s financial Politburo is to level the playing field through greater wealth distribution. That’s the best way to rekindle democracy and make America the land of opportunity again. And it all starts with giving America’s workers a raise.

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.

Pope to tell Bush to spend less on war: Bush to tell Pope he’s an Islamofascist by R J Shulman (satire)

Welcome to my latest featured writer, Robert. Hope you enjoy his humor as much as I do. ~ Lo


by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post
April 13, 2008

Pope to tell Bush to spend less on war: Bush to tell Pope he’s an Islamofascist

WASHINGTON – In his visit to the United States next week, Pope Benedict XVI has indicated he will tell President Bush he hopes the US will spend less on the war and more to help the poor. “If he asks me,” the President told the Post Times Sun Dispatch, “to waste our money on poor folks who want to be poor instead of wasting it on our noble cause to fight Democracy and spread the global war on terror, then I’ll have no choice but to tell him he is an Isamofascist and a Communist to boot.” “That will essentially be the President’s message,’ said Presidential Press Secretary Dana Perino, “except he will say we should fight the war on terror and spread democracy, not the other way around.”

“Hasn’t anyone told the Pope that Kennedy isn’t the President anymore?” said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “This President gets his orders from a different God, a God who is bigger and more full of shock and awe than anyone else’s God.” “Actually, I look forward to the Pope’s visit, as I will expedite the opportunity for him to enlighten us first hand,” said Vice President Dick Cheney, “as to whether waterboarding is really torture.”

The Pope will visit New York and Washington in his first visit to the United States since becoming Pope three years ago. “At first I thought we should let the Pope visit America,” said Senator John McCain, “but now that I am a true conservative, I believe we should build a fence around the country to keep this subversive German foreigner out as he seems to have forgotten the true meaning of ‘onward Christian soldier.'”

Garden Girl TV: Vertical Gardening + City Vineyards

Dandelion Salad


Patti shows you more innovative ways to vertical garden. Check out her website at  http://www.gardengirltv.com/

City Vinyards

Patti, the Garden Girl, shows you how easy it is to grow grapes in the city.


NightShades: Potato and Tomato (video)

Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza (1999)


Rich vs Right by The Other Katherine Harris

The Other Katherine Harris

by The Other Katherine Harris
Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Other Katherine Harris’s blog
April 13, 2008

It’s become fashionable to rail about how dumb Americans are – and, yes, we do tend to share some collective impairments (notably in world geography and languages) – but I’m struck again and again by the collective wisdom of my compatriots.

I often learn more from comments on a blog than from the original essayist, even if highly credentialed, and some who call talk show hosts on AirAmerica and NovaM reveal similarly transcendent insight. Radio being such an ephemeral medium, I can’t attribute this remark to a particular speaker or even recall precisely what show was airing, but here are perhaps the pithiest words ever spoken about our nation’s partisan disjuncture: “Republicans want to get rich and Democrats want to be right.”

That nails it in one, doesn’t it?

For some, personal gain is quite simply the highest value. We on the other side find this hard to believe – but it’s demonstrably clear that we’ll never win an argument with them, by appealing to their better nature. It isn’t that they don’t possess a better nature, but it’s kept firmly in its place, restricted to benefiting kith, kin and self-aggrandizing philanthropies. The only occasions on which they’ve ceded any advantage on a broad basis have been when they’d weakened the rest us so much that they’d effectively killed the Golden Goose, so had to fatten it up for a while. (Think Great Depression, for instance.)

By contrast, those of the greed contingent have grasped that the majority of people honestly place principle ahead of wealth. That makes us suckers, in their book, and they’ve managed to play us like suckers by mincing it up – extolling a few token precepts to gain followers. Mind you, these have no bearing on their all-important financial aims. Trumpeting biblical strictures costs them nothing and fools believers into thinking they also buy into the rest of the doctrine (those icky parts about service to others, fairness, peace and the spiritual perils of privilege). Likewise, it costs them nothing to bray about “the right to bear arms” and fools believers into thinking they also buy into the rest of the Constitution (those icky parts about governmental checks and balances, restrictions on war-mongering, even-handed justice and the primacy of individual freedom and conscience).

Thus, our would-be Masters of the Universe have exploited their fellow-citizens ideologically, as well as economically. In high political circles, it’s now considered bad form to point this out, but Barack Obama has been doing it – more gracefully when he spoke of our need to unite against the real enemy than when he spoke specifically of impoverished Americans clinging to God and Guns. In each case, however, he was expressing essentially the same thought. I’d like to see him broaden it to embrace these people as persons of principle, who were deliberately misled by being tossed a scrap of what they value. There’s a great affinity waiting to be tapped into, in that they placed something higher than their own pecuniary best-interest – which you’ll never see a True Republican do.

U.S. May Not Release Guantanamo Prisoners: Even If Found Innocent of Charges Against Them

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, April 12, 2008

Even if a Guantanamo prisoner is acquitted on all counts at his trial, the Pentagon may still not release him on grounds he might return to the battlefield, according to an article in the April 14th issue of The New Yorker.

The magazine’s Jeffrey Toobin quotes Brig. General Thomas Hartmann, legal adviser to the Pentagon’s Office of Military Commissions, as saying, “What’s unusual about what we’re doing is that we’re having the commissions before the end of the war. The Nuremberg trials (of accused Nazi war criminals) were after World War Two, so there was no possibility of the defendants going back to the battlefield.”

But, Hartmann continued, “We still have that problem. We are trying these alleged war criminals during the war. So, in order to protect our troops in the field, in general we are not going to release anyone who poses a danger until the war is over.”

By this reasoning, Toobin writes, “even those Guantanamo detainees who are acquitted of the charges against them are analogous to Nazi war criminals.”

Curiously, hundreds of Guantanamo prisoners — once depicted by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as “the worst of a very bad lot” — have already been released. This raises the suspicion they were innocent victims of dragnet arrests or sold to the U.S. by Afghan bounty hunters to enlarge the picture of thousands of Islamist terrorists seething to attack America. As historian James Carroll put it in “House of War” (Houghton Mifflin), the jails of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are “emblems of a new system of legally dubious incarceration that involved more than eleven thousand detainees held in mostly secret (black site) locations around the world…”

As Clive Stafford Smith, a detainees’ lawyer, told The New Yorker: “Now that it’s clear that Guantanamo is such an embarrassment, they are just shipping as many of them (captives) out the door as they can, and just keeping enough of them to save face. It’s a political process that has little to do with terrorism.”

Only one prisoner since Gitmo first opened on January 11, 2002 — ex-kangaroo skinner David Hicks—has been actually brought to trial. He plea-bargained a nine-month term which he served out in his native Australia and is now free.

About 275 prisoners remain in Gitmo, down from an estimated peak of 680 from 43 countries. According to Toobin, about 60 have been approved for transfer, if countries can be found to take them, and Hartmann anticipates there is sufficient evidence to bring commission trials against only 80. “In sum,” Toobin writes, “there are more than 130 detainees for whom Administration officials acknowledge they have no plan, except indefinite detention without trial.” Toobin’s article is titled “Camp Justice.”

After years of delay, a trial was actually scheduled to open May 5th against Omar Ahmed Khadr, a Canadian who was 15 years of age when detained on charges of hurling a hand grenade that killed an American GI. According to The New York Times of April 12, military judge Col. Peter Brownback III, pushed back his trial date and instead set May 8th to hear more lawyers’ arguments on pre-trial issues. Khadr’s lead lawyer, Navy Lt. Comdr. William Kuebler, is quoted as saying, “I don’t believe anyone can get an acquittal at Guantanamo Bay.” He said some witnesses to the firefight say the U.S. soldier may have been killed by friendly fire — a charge Khadr’s prosecutor claims will be disproved.

Yet what does it matter? Even if proved innocent before his all-military panel, Khadr could be held as long as the occupant of the White House says the War on Terror continues! For many in the Middle East and elsewhere, the legalized duplicity shaping up at Gitmo won’t just give America one black eye but two, plus a broken nose, a fat lip, and a mouthful of loose teeth — as George Bush whacks away at the Statue of Liberty with his war club.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Fl.-based writer and public relations consultant that may be reached at sherwoodr1 [at] yahoo [dot] com. Ross has worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a weekly “Workplace” column to Reuters America for 10 years.

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 Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8664

Middle East Conflict: No Middle Ground By Liam Bailey


By Liam Bailey
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Bailey Mail
April 13, 2008

2008-04-10 20:51:13 **opinion**

The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the greatest injustices in the history of mankind. Middle East Conflict: No middle ground is my outlet to release my true feelings on the matter, and hopefully achieve readership wide enough to educate some people of the up-coming generations who might be able to do something about it.

This was originally going to be the first part of a series covering all the apparently unsolvable issues in the conflict, but I was out walking and thinking, and now it is going to be an opinion piece, about Israel’s government not wanting peace, what they do want, and their strategies for making sure they get it.

Download (right click, save target as) Middle East Conflict: No Middle Ground as a PDF ebook.

Mistaken Perceptions of Israel’s Intentions:

In the Israel-Palestine conflict, Israel is perceived as the good guy, it is assumed the all Israel’s violent acts are in self-defence and that all Israel wants is peace.

Meanwhile the Palestinians are seen as the bad guys, and while some, the so called moderates are portrayed in a better light, it is generally perceived that the Palestinian’s main cause is to wipe Israel off the map.

All the above perceptions exist because that is the way Israel wants it, and Jewish lobby groups around the world make sure the view is carried around the world. This is an aim helped by the fact that every U.S. President must be pro-Israel to get ahead, and especially by the current truly pro-Israel President, who has become a squawking box for Israeli lies. Bush is not necessarily taken in by them, but pushes them because the mis-conceptions Israel wants to become reality about the Palestinians, tie in with the U.S’ desire to maintain global fear of Islamic terrorism, allowing them to invade oil rich countries, like Iraq and Iran.

What Israel Really Wants:

  • To make sure the world continues to believe their main desire is for two states coexisting in peace.
  • To maintain the global perception that they are in genuine fear for the existence of Israel and any barbaric acts and contraventions of international law are acceptable in self defence.
  • All with the overall aim: to maintain Jewish predominance and supremacy in the territory currently belonging to them, and to take possession of further land including all of Jerusalem by any means necessary. Currently the favoured method is settlement building, and forced evictions with trumped up charges on incorrect building permits, as these methods attracts less international resentment.

On top of that there is the millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Israel in its constant state of attack, which Israel would surely lose a hefty chunk of should a peace deal be reached.

Israel’s Methods for Achieving its Aims:

To ensure success in their aims Israel must keep provoking the Palestinians: by causing internal rivalry and violence, and if Palestinian violence towards Israel lulls, by launching (perfectly acceptable to the international community) arrest raids. Both of course, alongside constant provocations like the wall and the Gaza blockade, which also causes exacerbation and desperation within Palestinians, as well as removing their will to live, thus causing continual desperation fuelled violence and possibly even further suicide attacks.

Closing Statement:

So, as I have said before, and I will say again, until the world realises that it cannot be assumed that all Israel’s intentions are completely honourable and based on a desire to find peace, and the Israeli engineered misconceptions stop being treated as fact by U.S. administrations, in short until the conflict stops being viewed in a pro-Israel light by U.S. administrations, there will be no peace, no middle ground.

Fasting for impeachment “The Southfield/12 Mile situation”

Dandelion Salad

Reposted with permission by Impeach. Fast. Check out his blog: Impeach. Fast. ~ Lo

by Erox
April 8, 2008

Since I handed off my fast to local members of Code Pink, I have been in a nearly constant state of protest. Each morning from 8 to 9, I continue to stand in front of Conyers’ office although I respect his request that I no longer go up to talk to his people. Continue reading

Letter to Hillary about Monsanto connections (02.03.08)

Linoleum Block Print Shows Monsanto No Love

Image by Stephen Melkisethian via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

by Linn Cohen-Cole
Speaking Truth to Power
Sunday, 03 February 2008

Original post: An Open Letter To Hillary Clinton From A Wellesley College Alumna

Submitted by a Truth To Power Subscriber From Yahoo News Groups

[This letter was written by a woman who has clearly done her homework, and confirms that no sane human being in good conscience can cast a vote for Hillary Clinton–CB]

Continue reading

Kissing Worms In Springtime

Dandelion Salad

Reposted with permission by radioroxanne.

by radioroxanne
Saturday, 12 April, 2008

~For Hannah~

Spring is back—Happens once a year for a few months. It means my nieces and I can start going out for walks again. Most every Friday I go to my mom’s for dinner. Truthfully, I go mostly to see my nieces and because usually, by Friday night, my day job, which is manual labor, has kicked my butt by Friday, there are only two reasons I tolerate my family that night. One is because they forgive that I’m so tired that all I’m capable of is being propped up and having food shoveled into me… But the second reason contradicts that, and that reason is that my nieces make sure I’m capable of more, like walking and dancing and playing at the playground and answering very good questions. While I was spring-cleaning my scraps of notes recently, I re-found this story from last year… Continue reading