New America Foundation: National Intelligence Estimates

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National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) are the nation’s most informed reports on national security issues, but in the wake of miscalculations on Iraq, NIEs have come under increasing scrutiny and skepticism, most recently the December 2007 NIE on Iran. To assess the validity of such concerns, Dr. Thomas Fingar will dissect exactly how these estimates are compiled and key judgments formed.

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Countdown: Clinton to Endorse Obama + McCain Debate Challenge

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I’ll add more videos as they become available. I’m still losing my Internet connection very frequently today/tonight. ~ Lo


June 04, 2008

Clinton to Endorse Obama

Keith reports on Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she will endorse Barack Obama. Howard Fineman weighs in.

Keith reports on Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she will endorse Barack Obama. Eugene Robinson weighs in.

Keith reports on Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she will endorse Barack Obama. Johnathon Alter weighs in.


Tonight’s: Plame-Gate, Change the Judge-Gate and Appeasement-Gate.

McCain Debate Challenge

Keith reports on the McCain campaign’s request to do a series of town hall debates with Sen. Obama. Rachel Maddow weighs in and busts the media meme that town hall events are somehow McCain’s “strong point” since they are exactly where he’s made some of his worst gaffes.

Worst Person

And the winner is…Bill O’Reilly. Runners up Pallo Gomez and Jed Babbin

Network Anchor Song and Dance

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Commentary on last week’s joint appearance on the Today Show by network news anchors Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Charlie Gibson, and their pathetic attempts to shuck and jive their way around charges that they’re all basically media puppets for the Bush administration.

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No Strings Attached? How U.S. funding of the world press corps may be buying influence

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By Jeremy Bigwood
June 4, 2008

Domestic propaganda campaigns like the “Pentagon Pundits” fiasco have been exposed and decried. Mainstream media outlets hired high-ranking military officers to provide “analysis” about the war in Iraq. Turns out they had ties to military contractors with a vested interest in continuing the war.

Below the radar, another journalism scandal is brewing: the U.S. government is secretly funding foreign news outlets and journalists. Government bodies — including the State Department, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and the U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP) — support “media development” in more than 70 countries. In These Times has found that these programs include funding hundreds of foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), journalists, policy-makers, journalist associations, media outlets, training institutes and academic journalism faculties. Grant sizes can range from a few thousand to millions of dollars.


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.

Bernanke’s Speech: “It’s all China’s fault. Really” By Mike Whitney

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By Mike Whitney
06/04/08 “ICH”

He’s at it again. Bernanke, that is. Yesterday the Fed chief delivered a rambling 45 minute speech at the International Monetary Conference in Barcelona, Spain laying out all the reasons why the Federal Reserve is NOT responsible for the present crisis in the financial markets. Here’s what he said:

“In the financial sphere, the three longer-term developments I have identified are linked by the fact that a substantial increase in the net supply of saving in emerging market economies contributed to both the U.S. housing boom and the broader credit boom. The sources of this increase in net saving included rapid growth in high-saving East Asian countries and, outside of China, reduced investment rates in that region; large buildups in foreign exchange reserves in a number of emerging markets; and the enormous increases in the revenues received by exporters of oil and other commodities. The pressure of these net savings flows led to lower long-term real interest rates around the world, stimulated asset prices (including house prices), and pushed current accounts toward deficit in the industrial countries–notably the United States–that received these flows.”

Whew. That’s a pretty long-winded way of saying the Chinese are to blame for everything that’s gone wrong in the markets for the last 10 months. But is it true?

Ask yourself this, dear reader; do “savings” cause massive equity bubbles or are bubbles the result of low interest rates and rotten monetary policy? It is universally agreed that Greenspan created the housing bubble by dropping rates below the rate of inflation for 31 months following the bust. This sparked a multi-trillion dollar speculative frenzy in real estate. Artificially low interest rates distort the market; bubbles appear. “Savings” had nothing to do with it; Bernanke is just trying to dodge responsibility by blaming the Chinese. It’s the old “dog ate my homework” routine.

The Fed is also responsible for the surge in oil prices. As Frank Shostak points out in his recent article “The Oil Price Bubble”:

“There is a high likelihood that the massive increase in the price of oil that we are currently observing is the manifestation of a severe misallocation of resources — a large increase in nonproductive activities. It is these activities that have laid the foundation for the oil-market bubble, which has become manifest in the explosive increase in the price of oil. The root of the problem here is the Fed’s very loose monetary policy between January 2001 and June 2004. (The federal funds rate was lowered from 6% to 1%.)”

As far as Bernanke’s contention that the “unprecedented growth in developing and emerging market economies (China, again)…made the Fed’s job of managing inflation easier”; that’s true. But whose interests did that serve? Certainly not the American people who’ve seen their factories closed and jobs outsourced by a handful of wealthy US industrialists who gutted their country for a pocketful of silver. Globalization is just the public relations mask that conceals the avarice of its main proponents; upper-class parasites. That’s who Bernanke speaks for not the American people.

Besides, the Fed knew from the very beginning that the Chinese were manipulating their currency so they could offload their cheap manufactured goods onto the American market and crush US industry in the process. What’s wrong with that? That’s what America used to do when we had leaders who operated in the national interest rather than serving a global corporate oligarchy and their madcap scheme for a New World Order. It’s called capitalism; and America used to be pretty good at it.

The Fed never cared that the game was being rigged. Why would Bernanke care? After all, China and Japan were reinvesting their massive trade surplus’ in US Treasuries and equities which kept interest rates artificially low while providing Wall Street with a steady flow of cheap capital. It was a “win-win” situation for the investment moguls and their buddies at the hedge funds. They were busy getting rich while the nation was being handed over to foreign creditors lock, stock and barrel. Neither Greenspan or Bernanke ever made a peep of protest while the looting continued for more than a decade.

Bernanke doesn’t even deny this. In his speech he says:

“These net savings flows led to lower long-term real interest rates around the world, stimulated asset prices (including house prices), and pushed current accounts toward deficit in the industrial countries–notably the United States–that received these flows.”

Correct. The $800 billion current account deficit was recycled into US Treasuries and securities creating phony prosperity which the Fed knew was “unsustainable”, but they refused to fulfill their regulatory role. Instead, Greenspan and his Fed-brothers rubber-stamped every hare-brain scheme that Wall Street cooked up including the myriad complex derivatives contracts which ballooned from less than $1 trillion in 2000 to over $580 trillion today; a monstorous bubble which is large enough to send the entire global economy into a decades-long tailspin.

Did anyone at the Fed speak up?

No way.

Bernanke’s speech:

“And, in preparation for the new Basel II capital regulations, supervisors required more-demanding standards for the measurement and management of risk.”

More lies. Basel II allowed the banking giants to estimate their asset values according to their own internal models, in other words, by picking a number out of a hat. It’s a joke. After Glass Steagall was repealed, the whole system was turned over to the crooks in pinstripe suits who quickly ran it into the ground. Booyah Reagan! Hurray for Milton Friedman!

Bernanke again:

“The housing and credit booms were driven to some extent by global savings flows, but they also reflected domestic factors, such as weaknesses in risk management and lax standards in subprime lending. Higher commodity prices are for the most part a global phenomenon, but U.S. dependence on oil imports makes this country quite vulnerable on that score.”

“Risk management? Lax lending standards”?!?

What risk management; what lending standards? Does he mean lending hundreds of billions of dollars to mortgage applicants with no job, no collateral, no down payment and bad credit? Those standards? The whole scam was engineered by the investment banks who thought they could peddle mortgage-backed slop to gullible investors without any risk to themselves. They never expected that Bear Stearns hedge funds would blow up (in July 2007) and leave them holding hundreds of billions in toxic “subprime” bonds.

As far as escalating commodities prices, that all started with the Fed, too. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, clarified this point earlier this week when he accused the Fed triggering inflation around the world by “reducing interest rates” and forcing commodities to rise sharply. (Yes, China does understand the game the Fed is playing)Bernanke pretends that he doesn’t grasp why oil prices are rising even though he’s pegged the Fed Funds rate below the rate of inflation. What’s the mystery? When the dollar is traded below its “after inflation” value; how can oil do anything except go up? This isn’t rocket science.

But the Fed doesn’t give a hoot about inflation anyway. That’s just another myth.The Wall Street Journal summed it up like this on Tuesday:

“Inflation can’t get entrenched without rising wages, which won’t happen in a weak labor market.” That’s what this is really all about; making sure the working stiff never gets another farthing for his labor. That’s why the consumer price index (CPI) is the most “class oriented” of all the economic gages. It purposely factors out food, energy, housing (except rental value) so that the only time the inflation alarm blinks red is when salaries go up; then all hell breaks loose! It doesn’t make a bit of difference to the Fed what working people are paying at the grocery store or the gas pump; just as long as they NEVER get a raise.

The Fed also cares about “Capital flight” which is accelerating because of the Central Bank’s mismanagement of the financial markets. Confidence in US markets is at its nadir and private investors are headed for the exits. That puts more strain on the battered dollar, which is likely to lose its position as the world’s “reserve currency”. That’s why Henry Paulson was in the Middle East on Monday pleading with the oil producing countries not to break their peg with the dollar. If the dollar is delinked from petroleum; the Empire wither overnight; the war will end, the troops will come home, and the United States will have to pay its bills like everyone else.

Is there a downside?

Paulson said, “I am committed to promoting policies that enhance the underlying competitiveness of the U.S. economy and ensure that the dollar remains the world’s reserve currency. The dollar has been the world’s reserve currency since World War II and there is a good reason for that. The U.S. has the largest, most open economy in the world, and our capital markets are the deepest and most liquid. The long-term health and strong underlying fundamentals of the U.S. economy will shine through and be reflected in currency values.

Paulson is a certifiable nutcase. The underlying US economy may be strong but the financial system is built on pure quicksand and is sinking fast. The only thing keeping the dollar afloat is the secret maneuvering of the G-7 and the loyalty of a few venal Arab sheiks who would rather see their people face 14 per cent inflation then cut the umbilical cord to Uncle Sam.

Earlier this year, author Bill Wilby explained the benefits of being the world’s “reserve currency”:

“If America were to lose its reserve currency status because of a continued loss of confidence in the dollar, the cost in terms of jobs and growth would be significant. The real economic benefit conveyed by the right to print the accepted global currency is called seignorage, which results in part from the lower capital cost we derive from foreigners’ willingness to hold dollar cash. This country has taken for granted the benefits of our global seignorage for many years, and it is one of the reasons the U.S. has maintained a higher growth rate than the world’s other mature economies.” (“The Dollar and the Market Mess”, Bill Wilby, Wall Street Journal)

Wilby’s right, foreign investors and central banks would have no reason to keep their treasure-trove of $6 trillion in USD and dollar-backed assets if oil is no longer denominated in greenbacks. That means a flood of dollars would reenter the US causing an inflationary spiral that would make Wiemar, Germany look like a breezy day on the strand.

Thanks to the Fed’s ham-fisted monetary policies, a Force-5 economic hurricane is presently looming right offshore and there’s nothing Bernanke or Paulson can do to stop it from touching down. If Bernanke cuts rates; commodities (and oil) will skyrocket and foreign investors will ditch the dollar. If he raises rates, banks will fail and the housing crash will accelerate. There are no good options.

Economist Nouriel Roubini summed it up like this:

“A contracting economy, falling employment, the worst US housing recession since the Great Depression, collapsing home values, millions of households underwater with an incentive to walk away, a shopped out and saving-less and debt-burdened US consumer buffeted by falling home prices, falling HEW, falling stock prices, rising debt servicing ratios, oil at $130 a barrel and gasoline at $4 a gallon, collapsing consumer confidence and falling employment are taking the toll on the economy, on financial markets, on banks, on the shadow financial system and on money markets and credit markets. We were in the eye of the storm rather than past the storm; and the recent events and developments suggest that the worst is ahead of us, for the economy, for equity markets, for credit markets and for money markets.”

That’s right; doomsday, dead ahead.

You’re doin’ a “heck’uva job, Benny!”

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.

McCain: I’d Spy on Americans Secretly, Too By Ryan Singe

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By Ryan Singe
June 03, 2008

If elected president, Senator John McCain would reserve the right to run his own warrantless wiretapping program against Americans, based on the theory that the president’s wartime powers trump federal criminal statutes and court oversight, according to a statement released by his campaign Monday.

McCain’s new tack towards the Bush administration’s theory of executive power comes some 10 days after a McCain surrogate stated, incorrectly it seems, that the senator wanted hearings into telecom companies’ cooperation with President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, before he’d support giving those companies retroactive legal immunity.

As first reported by Threat Level, Chuck Fish, a full-time lawyer for the McCain campaign, also said McCain wanted stricter rules on how the nation’s telecoms work with U.S. spy agencies, and expected those companies to apologize for any lawbreaking before winning amnesty.

continued at:

h/t: Mariné

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.


Candidate McCain: A Risky Choice by Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay


Mosaic News – 6/3/08: World News from the Middle East

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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.


For more:
“Denmark: Al-Qaida likely behind bomb in Pakistan,” Dubai TV, UAE
“UN Summit on Global Food Crisis,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Olmert’s Last Visit to the White House?,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Dispute Over Construction in Jerusalem,” IBA TV, Israel
“Abbas Calls for Ceasefire in Gaza,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
“Palestinians Criticize PA Talks With Israel,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“Renewing Allegiance to Khomeni,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
“Somali Rivals Divided Over Ethiopian Forces,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“US-Iraqi Security Agreement Causes Controversy,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Lebanese Army Tightens Security,” NBN TV, Lebanon
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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Inside Story: Global food crisis

The WH Politically Motivated Conviction of Siegelman & Rove’s Role

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June 2, 2008


“Rove’s dream was to recreate the landscape of the judicial system, and to install judges that were either pliable, malleable, and/or very, very pro-corporation. Essentially that is what he did in Alabama in the early Nineties. That is what this is all about. If you control the governor in the states where the justices are not elected, you control who gets on the supreme court. And that’s essentially what this is all about for Rove ultimately. But to get those kinds of things done, you have to eliminate the governor you don’t want and install the governor you do want. There are a lot of corporate interests funding this. So it intersects in that sense. It’s buying the law and restructuring the state judiciary.” — Larisa Alexandrovna

Alexandrovna was born in the Soviet Union and knows a thing or two about people getting framed by the state. So, among her many investigative projects, she became drawn to the plight of one Don Siegelman, the former Democratic governor of Alabama, who became an apparent victim of the DOJ “Prosecutor-Gate.” His sin was protesting an election that appears to have been stolen from him, literally, in the dead of night.

If you think that “Prosecutor-Gate” ended with the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, you are wrong. Siegelman is only out of jail after a lengthy campaign to get him released on bond while his case is on appeal. Karl Rove still is at large and free to bloviate for dollars on the corporate media, while Siegelman has to battle to prove that he is an innocent victim of a DOJ that became a tool of partisan prosecutions.

continued at

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.

Choice in November – Nader v. Twiddle Dee or Twiddle Dum

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by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, June 4, 2008

Each election cycle, hope springs eternal. Candidates promise change and voters buy it. Intelligent ones. People who know better or should. The current campaign highlights it. A surge is building for Obama, not for what he is. For what people think or hope he is – a populist, progressive, man of the people, a new course for America.

After the final June 3 primaries and “rush of superdelegates,” according to The New York Times, they’re stuck with him. The Times reports that he crossed “over the threshold (to) the 2118 delegates needed to be nominated….” Obama marked the occasion as his chance to “bring a new and better day to America (as) the ‘Democratic’ nominee for president of the United States of America.”

It’s not how John Pilger sees him. In a recent article, he calls him America’s “great liberal hope.” He compares his campaign to Bobby Kennedy’s in 1968 and says: “Both offer a false hope that they can bring peace and racial harmony to all Americans.” Kennedy spoke of “return(ing) government to the people” and giving “dignity and justice” to the oppressed. “Obama is his echo” with familiar promises of change, charting a new course, sweeping government reforms, addressing people needs, and “ensur(ing) that the hopes and concerns of average Americans speak louder in Washington than the hallway whispers of high-priced lobbyists.”

He claims to be an up from the grassroots activist. In fact, he cashed in on opportunism all the way – to the Illinois Senate in 1996. Then after failing to win a US House seat, it was up a notch to the Senate in 2005 after his November 2004 election. He promised hope but delivered betrayal. He’s beholden to power and doesn’t relate well to ordinary constituents who backed him, including his black community base.

If he’s nominated and wins in November, Marc Crispin Miller’s “Fooled Again” will apply but in this case to promises made, then broken. Miller’s book refers to the stolen 2004 presidential election. Kerry won big, Bush remained president, Kerry admitted to the author he knew he’d been had, then disavowed he ever said it in reverse “profile of courage” fashion.

An Obama victory will go Lincoln one better. It’ll prove that the electorate can be fooled “all of the time” – at least enough of them to matter. And that leaves out election fraud in an age when:

— candidates are pre-selected;

— big money owns them;

— independents are shut out;

— the media ignore them;

— they keep people uninformed;

— issues aren’t addressed;

— voter disenfranchisement is rife;

— machines do our voting;

— losers are declared winners; and

— not just for president. It’s democracy American-style, a long-standing tradition, and Chicagoans know it well. They remember an earlier mayor urging people to “vote early and often.” They also recall the pol who “want(ed) to be buried in Chicago (when he died) so (he could) stay active in politics.”

In an age of technological wonders, why not. The Democrat machine is so entrenched, it hasn’t had real opposition since Republican mayor “Big Bill” Thompson lost to Democrat Anton Cermak in 1931. And the Daleys (father and son) practically own the office it’s controlled for 40 of the last 53 years with no visible contender in sight and a new generation upcoming.

On the national level, it’s just as bad – a one party state according to Gore Vidal: the Property or Monied Party with two wings. Ralph Nader calls them a “two-party (twiddle dee v. twiddle dum) dictatorship.” So do others, yet most people buy the rhetoric and ignore the evidence. The criminal class in Washington is bipartisan. Democrats are interchangeable with Republicans. Differences between them are minor. Not a dime’s worth to matter. Whoever wins in November, the outcome is certain. Voters again will lose. They’ll get the best democracy money can buy but none of it earmarked for them.

Wars of aggression won’t end. Repressive laws won’t be repealed. Corruption will stay deeply embedded. Privatizing everything will be de rigueur. Monied interests will be hugely rewarded. Militarizing and annexing the continent will go forward. Voter interests will go largely unaddressed. And promises made will again prove empty. Here’s a sampling from the Nader-Gonzales ’08 web site. It mentions “Twelve Issues that Matter for 2008,” where the candidates stand on them, and Nader, Obama/Clinton and McCain columns showing “on” or “off” the table:

— National health insurance: Nader on; the others off; Nader favors a single-payer, government-funded, “private delivery, free choice of hospital and doctor, public insurance system;” the need is critical at a time health care costs are soaring; many can’t afford them; millions are uninsured; millions more underinsured; and Democrats and Republicans are dismissive and beholden to providers that fund them;

— Wasteful military spending: Nader on; the others off; America spends more on defense and security than all other nations combined – a conservatively estimated annual $1.1 trillion with all military, homeland security, veterans, NASA, debt service and miscellaneous related allocations included at a time the country has no visible enemies; it threatens world security and the nation by heading it for fiscal insolvency or worse;

— No to nuclear power and yes to solar: Nader on; the others off; Nader opposes Big Oil subsidies and ones for nuclear, electric, coal mining and biofuel interests; he advocates a sustainable energy policy that includes renewables like wind and solar;

— Corporate crime and welfare: Nader on; the others off; the issue – hundreds of billions to corporate coffers; taxpayers fund them; hundreds of thousands “injured and sickened each year by preventable corporate-bred violence;” unsafe products; medical negligence; harmful pollution; public corruption and financial fraud; politicians ignore it; so will the three leading contenders; ordinary people are acutely affected;

— Open presidential debates: Nader on; the others off; independents are shut out; free, fair, and open elections aren’t possible; real democracy is denied; big money assures it; the criminal class is empowered; and people are left out;

— A carbon pollution tax: Nader on; the others off; he fears the planet is overheating; calls the danger great; greenhouse gases must be curbed; and making them more expensive is how;

— Changing Middle East policy; ending two illegal wars; Palestinian repression as well: Nader on; the others off; he proposes rapidly withdrawing troops from Iraq; setting a six month timetable; resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict equitably; ending the Gaza siege; supporting a two-state solution; and being forthrightly committed to Middle East peace;

— Impeaching Bush/Cheney: Nader on, the others off; he cites constitutional law experts saying the president and vice-president are guilty of at least “five categories” of “high crimes and misdemeanors;” they should be impeached and removed from office; Congress is responsible; failing to act affronts the Constitution, international law and citizenry;

— Repealing anti-labor Taft-Hartley law: Nader on; the others off; it harmed workers for 60 years; it undermined the landmark Wagner Act of 1935 that guaranteed labor the right to bargain collectively on equal terms with management for the first time ever; those rights no longer exist; restoring them is essential;

— Enacting a Wall Street securities speculation tax: Nader on; the others off; speculation is rampant; multi-trillions of dollars are involved; public welfare is harmed; instability increased; the economy damaged; and “free market” deregulation allows it; it favors wealth over people;

— Ending ballot access abstructionism: Nader on; the others off; he favors “one federal standard for federal ballot access” in all states; it must be simple and fair to all candidates; efforts to exclude independents must be stopped; current laws obstruct democratic governance; they further disenfranchise voters; and

— Ending corporate personhood; the Supreme Court granted it in 1886; it gave corporations the same constitutional rights as people and allowed them to grow to their present size and dominance: Nader on; the others off.

Nader’s site states that “these twelve issues represent the tip of the political iceberg.” But they show how big money controls both parties. Without change, democratic governance is impossible, and that, for Nader (in a May 31 Wall Street Journal interview), is today’s “central” political issue – “the domination of corporations over our elections, and over so many things where commercial values used to be verboten -commercializing childhood….universities (nearly everything). What’s happened in the last 25 years is an overwhelming swarm of commercial supremacy (and) Obama has bought into that.”

Obama’s Record – The Measure of the Man

He preaches change but supports the status quo. He’s beholden to power as a stealth DLC member that’s essential for any Democrat aspirant. It makes him gallingly disingenuous, deceitful to voters, and “safe” for corporate supporters who back him. He says individual donors supply most of his funding, that he gets none of it from lobbyists, and that they won’t crowd out working Americans if he’s elected.

In fact, big money owns him. He raises over $1 million a day. Wall Street lords love him. So do corporate law firms; other finance, insurance and real estate interests; the health industry; communications and electronics firms; various other businesses; and the Center for Responsive Politics reports that his top five donors are corporate lobbyists – the same ones he claims to take no money from.

He preaches opposition to NAFTA and wants it renegotiated. It’s a “charade” says Nader. “There’s no way he’ll touch NAFTA or WTO.” His health care plan puts insurance companies in charge and lets Big Pharma price-gouge consumers. He’s beholden to corporate interests. “If he wins, his appointments will give “lobbies and PACs (what they) want.” He knows how Washington works; was fully briefed to be sure; and he “made his peace with that.” He’s a political animal like the others. Big money is comforted, and why not. No one gets top Washington jobs unless they’re “safe.” For president, it’s practically a blood oath, and Obama qualifies.

Nader dissects his record. He’s party line all the way, not a “transforming leader,” and his running mate, Matt Gonzales, goes further. He calls his voting record “uninspired.” Appalling would be more descriptive. While still in the Illinois legislature, he opposed the Iraq war. Then as a 2004 US Senate candidate, he switched and claimed “There’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s….” When elected, he proved it. He supported every defense budget and war supplemental and as president will “expand and modernize the military.” He voted to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State despite her falsifying justification for war. There’s more. He:

— supports Homeland Security funding; like the Patriot Act, it centralizes unprecendented military and law enforcement authority under the executive; it subverts constitutional rights and furthers global dominance in the name of “national security;” it created the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) that functions like a national Gestapo;

— backed reauthorizing the Patriot Act in July 2005 with its police state provisions;

— campaigned in 2006 for Joe Lieberman against anti-war candidate Ned Lamont;

— supports permanent occupation of Iraq; stops just short of saying it; refuses to back a timetable for withdrawal; and wants to add 100,000 combat troops to the military;

— caved to Israeli Lobby pressure; receptive to attacking Iran, removing Hugo Chavez, but says he’ll talk to them first; then maybe not; he’s double standard on most issues – rhetoric to voters; assurances to backers;

— in a May 23 speech, showed deference to Miami’s Cuban exile community; one source described him as “electrifying;” a year ago he supported ending the embargo; no longer unless Cuba becomes a willing client state;

— voted with Republicans for the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA); it gives federal courts jurisdiction over fairer state ones for many class-action lawsuits over $5 million; corporations wanted it; Obama obliged;

— equivocates on controversial issues like “No Child Left Behind;” it’s a corporate scheme to privatize education and end a 373 year tradition; he says the law “demoralizes our teachers (but) the goals of this law were the right ones” – translation: he supports ending public education;

— opposed an amendment capping credit card interest rates at 30%; it was wholly inadequate but would have set a precedent to lower them further;

— acted so much like Republicans, he’s one of them on most issues:

— supporting medical providers in wrongful injury cases;

— letting mining companies strip mine everything; practically steal government lands to do it; and cheat taxpayers out of public revenues;

— voted for the Bush administration’s 2005 Energy Policy Act in spite of criticizing it in campaign rhetoric; it was drafted in secret; provides huge industry subsidies; $6 billion to Big Oil and Gas; and a cornucopia of other industry handouts;

— backs nuclear power; loose industry regulation; $12 billion in subsidies; and numerous other benefits to promote a dangerous technology;

— harmful biofuels production and other agribusiness interests, including multi-billion dollar subsidies;

— opposes universal single-payer national health care, the hundreds of billions it would save, and the huge need for it among tens of millions of uninsured and underinsured;

— claims opposition to NAFTA, but campaigned in 2004 for more deals like it;

— voted against a 2005 Commerce Appropriations Bill amendment; it would have disfavored offshoring jobs by stopping companies doing business abroad from denying workers organizing rights, minimum wages, and other protections;

— assured AIPAC he’s uncompromisingly pro-Israel; supports continued annual funding; and backed off from earlier promises about a just end to the conflict;

— supports the death penalty and brutish prison-industrial complex; it affects his people mostly in the world’s largest gulag;

— voted for repressive immigration legislation; it enhances border security; (selectively) penalizes employers; deploys National Guard troops to the border; and imprisons and deports undocumented workers without due process;

— voted to confirm Robert Gates as Defense Secretary, John Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence, and Michael Chertoff as Secretary of Homeland Security – a deplorable roguish threesome;

— voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006 but supports kangaroo court military tribunals for Guantanamo detainees;

— appointed billionaire Penny Pritzker as his campaign finance chairperson; she and her family were involved in predatory lending schemes, including subprime ones; she also served on the Board of the failed Pritzker family-owned Superior Bank in Hinsdale, IL; because of poor lending practices, sloppy bookkeeping and likely fraud, it cost the FDIC $700 million and depositors $65 million;

— equivocates but his rhetoric and body language are clear; he supports the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act (S. 1959); it’s called the “thought crimes” act; it passed the House overwhelmingly last October and awaits final resolution in the Senate;

— firmly opposes impeaching Bush and Cheney, and

— on June 1 matched John Kerry with his own reverse “profile of courage” act; he resigned from Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ; it followed “controversy” over Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s nobility; he spoke truths too “uncomfortable” for Obama to embrace; he demurred at first and now is firm; political opportunism outweighs righteousness as prime time campaign 2008 approaches;

This is the same JFK/RFK incarnate, a fresh new face, the “great liberal hope,” the smooth-talking campaigner who understands who butters his bread. The same goes for Clinton and McCain. Never for Nader, and it’s why he’s disdained. He’s beholden to people, not entrenched interests; the rarest of political candidates – an anti-politician who says what he means and means what he says and has lifetime achievements to prove it. From his web site:

— one of the 20th century’s 100 Most Influential Americans according to Time magazine;

— over four decades of public service; organized millions of citizens; and formed over 100 public interest groups;

— from his 1965 “Unsafe at Any Speed” book (the first of many plus numerous articles), he helped “create a framework of laws, regulatory agencies, and federal standards that have improved the quality of life for two generations of Americans;”

— he was instrumental in enacting OSHA, the EPA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Safe Drinking Water Act;

— in 1969, he founded the Center for Study of Responsive Law; staffed mostly by students, they became known as “Nader’s Raiders” – activists on numerous consumer issues;

— he also founded the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, Disability Rights Center, Pension Rights Center, Project for Corporate Responsibility, and Multinational Monitor on corporate practices internationally;

— for the last decade, he’s been in three presidential races for a common purpose – to empower people over privilege; and

— his achievements are impressive – safer cars, healthier food, cleaner air and water, and safer work environments; yet he’s only scratched the surface and at age 74 keeps working for the public interest and social justice.

He’s what everyone in government should be, but few ever are. It’s why he’s shut out, largely ignored, even insulted like the Journal did on May 31. Disdainfully, it called him a “spoiler” despite its half opinion page interview – but for its low readership Saturday edition with a disparaging dour (somewhat threatening) image to highlight it.

He’s denied participation in presidential debates, and in 2000 was threatened with arrest and expelled from the grounds for even showing up. He’s kept off ballots, and in 2004 filed suit. He charged the DNC with conspiring to keep him from taking votes from John Kerry and trying to bankrupt his campaign by suing to deny him ballot entry in 18 states. It’s how independent candidates are treated when they’re prominent figures like Nader. It reflects the sorry state of democracy and tyranny of a “two-party dictatorship;” of money over people; of empowered interests over public service; of the common good nowhere in sight. It’s a process begging for change, the heart of Nader’s activism, and reason he’s running – to spread the word at the most perilous time in world history. If not here, where? If not now, when? If not him or others like him, who?

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. Programs are archived for easy listening.

© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2008
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Sibel Edmonds Case: ABC News investigates Hastert scandals & the Turkish Connections

by Luke Ryland
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Kudos to ABC News for (belatedly) taking the opportunity of Dennis Hastert’s new lobbying job to give a run-down of some of the scandals Hastert has been involved in.

Despite the benign headline (“Ex-House Speaker Hastert Finds New Home”), Justin Rood mentions the Mark Foley / House Page scandal, Hastert’s (under-reported) involvement in the Abramoff affair, and Hastert’s dodgy land / earmarking deals. Rood’s piece ends thusly: Continue reading