How Britain Wages War By John Pilger

Dandelion Salad

By John Pilger
07/11/08 “ICH”

John Pilger describes the insidious militarisng of Britain as the effects of two colonial wars and the cover-up atrocities come home.

The military has created a wall of silence around its frequent resort to barbaric practices, including torture, and goes out of its way to avoid legal scrutiny.

Five photographs together break a silence. The first is of a former Gurkha regimental sergeant major, Tul Bahadur Pun, aged 87. He sits in a wheelchair outside 10 Downing Street. He holds a board full of medals, including the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery, which he won serving in the British army.

He has been refused entry to Britain and treatment for a serious heart ailment by the National Health Service: outrages rescinded only after a public campaign. On 25 June, he came to Down ing Street to hand his Victoria Cross back to the Prime Minister, but Gordon Brown refused to see him.

The second photograph is of a 12-year-old boy, one of three children. They are Kuchis, nomads of Afghanistan. They have been hit by Nato bombs, American or British, and nurses are trying to peel away their roasted skin with tweezers. On the night of 10 June, Nato planes struck again, killing at least 30 civilians in a single village: children, women, schoolteachers, students. On 4 July, another 22 civilians died like this. All, including the roasted children, are described as “militants” or “suspected Taliban”. The Defence Secretary, Des Browne, says the invasion of Afghan istan is “the noble cause of the 21st century”.

The third photograph is of a computer-generated aircraft carrier not yet built, one of two of the biggest ships ever ordered for the Royal Navy. The £4bn contract is shared by BAE Systems, whose sale of 72 fighter jets to the corrupt tyranny in Saudi Arabia has made Britain the biggest arms merchant on earth, selling mostly to oppressive regimes in poor countries. At a time of economic crisis, Browne describes the carriers as “an affordable expenditure”.

The fourth photograph is of a young British soldier, Gavin Williams, who was “beasted” to death by three non-commissioned officers. This “informal summary punishment”, which sent his body temperature to more than 41 degrees, was intended to “humiliate, push to the limit and hurt”. The torture was described in court as a fact of army life.

The final photograph is of an Iraqi man, Baha Mousa, who was tortured to death by British soldiers. Taken during his post-mortem, it shows some of the 93 horrific injuries he suffered at the hands of men of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment who beat and abused him for 36 hours, including double-hooding him with hessian sacks in stifling heat. He was a hotel receptionist. Although his murder took place almost five years ago, it was only in May this year that the Ministry of Defence responded to the courts and agreed to an independent inquiry. A judge has described this as a “wall of silence”.

A court martial convicted just one soldier of Mousa’s “inhumane treatment”, and he has since been quietly released. Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers, representing the families of Iraqis who have died in British custody, says the evidence is clear – abuse and torture by the British army is systemic.

Shiner and his colleagues have witness statements and corroborations of prima facie crimes of an especially atrocious kind usually associated with the Americans. “The more cases I am dealing with, the worse it gets,” he says. These include an “incident” near the town of Majar al-Kabir in 2004, when British soldiers executed as many as 20 Iraqi prisoners after mutilating them. The latest is that of a 14-year-old boy who was forced to simulate anal and oral sex over a prolonged period.

“At the heart of the US and UK project,” says Shiner, “is a desire to avoid accountability for what they want to do. Guantanamo Bay and extraordinary renditions are part of the same struggle to avoid accountability through jurisdiction.” British soldiers, he says, use the same torture techniques as the Americans and deny that the European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on Torture apply to them. And British torture is “commonplace”: so much so, that “the routine nature of this ill-treatment helps to explain why, despite the abuse of the soldiers and cries of the detainees being clearly audible, nobody, particularly in authority, took any notice”.

Unbelievably, says Shiner, the Ministry of Defence under Tony Blair decided that the 1972 Heath government’s ban on certain torture techniques applied only in the UK and Northern Ireland. Consequently, “many Iraqis were killed and tortured in UK detention facilities”. Shiner is working on 46 horrific cases.

A wall of silence has always surrounded the British military, its arcane rituals, rites and practices and, above all, its contempt for the law and natural justice in its various imperial pursuits. For 80 years, the Ministry of Defence and compliant ministers refused to countenance posthumous pardons for terrified boys shot at dawn during the slaughter of the First World War. British soldiers used as guinea pigs during the testing of nuclear weapons in the Indian Ocean were abandoned, as were many others who suffered the toxic effects of the 1991 Gulf War. The treatment of Gurkha Tul Bahadur Pun is typical. Having been sent back to Nepal, many of these “soldiers of the Queen” have no pension, are deeply impoverished and are refused residence or medical help in the country for which they fought and for which 43,000 of them have died or been injured. The Gurkhas have won no fewer than 26 Victoria Crosses, yet Browne’s “affordable expenditure” excludes them.

An even more imposing wall of silence ensures that the British public remains largely unaware of the industrial killing of civilians in Britain’s modern colonial wars. In his landmark work Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses, the historian Mark Curtis uses three main categories: direct responsibility, indirect responsibility and active inaction.

“The overall figure [since 1945] is between 8.6 and 13.5 million,” Curtis writes. “Of these, Britain bears direct responsibility for between four million and six million deaths. This figure is, if anything, likely to be an underestimate. Not all British interventions have been included, because of lack of data.” Since his study was published, the Iraq death toll has reached, by reliable measure, a million men, women and children.

The spiralling rise of militarism within Britain is rarely acknowledged, even by those alerting the public to legislation attacking basic civil liberties, such as the recently drafted Data Com muni cations Bill, which will give the government powers to keep records of all electronic communication. Like the plans for identity cards, this is in keeping what the Americans call “the national security state”, which seeks the control of domestic dissent while pursuing military aggression abroad. The £4bn aircraft carriers are to have a “global role”. For global read colonial. The Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office follow Washington’s line almost to the letter, as in Browne’s preposterous description of Afghanistan as a noble cause. In reality, the US-inspired Nato invasion has had two effects: the killing and dispossession of large numbers of Afghans, and the return of the opium trade, which the Taliban had banned. According to Hamid Karzai, the west’s puppet leader, Britain’s role in Helmand Province has led directly to the return of the Taliban.

The militarising of how the British state perceives and treats other societies is vividly demonstrated in Africa, where ten out of 14 of the most impoverished and conflict-ridden countries are seduced into buying British arms and military equipment with “soft loans”. Like the British royal family, the British Prime Minister simply follows the money. Having ritually condemned a despot in Zimbabwe for “human rights abuses” – in truth, for no longer serving as the west’s business agent – and having obeyed the latest US dictum on Iran and Iraq, Brown set off recently for Saudi Arabia, exporter of Wahhabi fundamentalism and wheeler of fabulous arms deals.

To complement this, the Brown government is spending £11bn of taxpayers’ money on a huge, pri vatised military academy in Wales, which will train foreign soldiers and mercenaries recruited to the bogus “war on terror”. With arms companies such as Raytheon profiting, this will become Britain’s “School of the Americas”, a centre for counter-insurgency (terrorist) training and the design of future colonial adventures.

It has had almost no publicity.

Of course, the image of militarist Britain clashes with a benign national regard formed, wrote Tolstoy, “from infancy, by every possible means – class books, church services, sermons, speeches, books, papers, songs, poetry, monuments [leading to] people stupefied in the one direction”. Much has changed since he wrote that. Or has it? The shabby, destructive colonial war in Afghanistan is now reported almost entirely through the British army, with squaddies always doing their Kipling best, and with the Afghan resistance routinely dismissed as “outsiders” and “invaders”. Pictures of nomadic boys with Nato-roasted skin almost never appear in the press or on television, nor the after-effects of British thermobaric weapons, or “vacuum bombs”, designed to suck the air out of human lungs. Instead, whole pages mourn a British military intelligence agent in Afghanis tan, because she happens to have been a 26-year-old woman, the first to die in active service since the 2001 invasion.

Baha Mousa, tortured to death by British soldiers, was also 26 years old. But he was different. His father, Daoud, says that the way the Ministry of Defence has behaved over his son’s death convinces him that the British government regards the lives of others as “cheap”. And he is right.

First published at the New Statesman

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.

Ralph Nader Explains Why Impeachment is Not an Option

Dandelion Salad

Replaced no longer available video with Liam’s video

Updated: July 14, 2008 Found when this video was made. I already posted it on Oct. 12, 2007: Ralph Nader: Things Are a Lot Worse than We Thought! (video) Video made by liamh2.


Ralph Nader, activist, author and lecturer, shared his views in the matter of the “Next Steps for the Peace Movement,” at a panel discussion on Oct. 11, 2007. The event was held at Bus Boys and Poets, in Washington, D.C. It was a fundraiser for DemocracyRising.US. For more information, please go to: Mr. Nader’s latest book is entitled: “The Seventeen Traditions.”


You Know You Want To Vote For Ralph Nader (hip-hop music video; NWO)

Kucinich to Harrold: Repeal the Fed, Impeach the Prez!

Kucinich introduces Resolution for Impeachment of Bush (full video)

Stalling on impeachment

Pelosi Says House Judiciary May Hold Hearings On Kucinich Impeachment Resolution + video

Draft Version of New Article of Impeachment + videos

Hear Rep. Dennis Kucinich on No Lies Radio! Live Activist Conference Call

Kucinich to Hold Press Conference to Discuss Article of Impeachment of President George W. Bush

Kucinich: You’ve spoken. Will Congress listen?

Impeach Now!!!


Nader for President 2008

The Termi-Nader

Ralph Nader: Things Are a Lot Worse than We Thought! (video) (same video as above)

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos

Go To Helms, Regressives By David Michael Green

Dandelion Salad

By David Michael Green
07/11/08 ICH

Among my occasional guilty pleasures is to watch the Friday evening political analysis segment on the PBS NewsHour broadcast.  It’s truly a sickness, I’ll admit.  First, there’s the show itself, which is so politically neutered that it could make Warren Christopher seem exciting.  Then there’s the loose-tooth-wiggling-pleasure-in-pain indulgence of seeing David Brooks in action, dissembling and distracting as his ideological world goes up in flames, on its way to coming down in ruins.  I do have a soft spot, I must admit, for Mark Shields, a good guy with good politics, who personifies a more decent time in American history, absolutely looking the part as well.

Last week Brooks was off somewhere, probably writing another New York Times op-ed about the latest sociological academic treatise he’s stumbled onto.  Anything not to have to admit that ever since he conveniently switched from the left to the right, he’s been wrong on everything.  Along with Norm Coleman and a host of other neocons – even including Ann Coulter (no, I’m not kidding) – look for those surviving the tsunami of 2008 to flip back again afterwards.  Can you say ‘political opportunism’?

Brooks was gone, so they had this other cat on there, instead – a certain Ramesh Ponnuru, who is a senior editor at the National Review.  Besides wearing trendy rectangular glasses that make him seem like he’s trying way too hard, it seems that Ponnuru also wrote a book back in 2006 called “Party of Death”, which I’m guessing is about as thoughtful as its title is subtle.  I’m aided in my estimation by the text from the inside flap, which includes the following choice excerpts:

Is the Democratic Party the ‘Party of Death’?  If you look at their agenda they are. It’s not just abortion-on-demand.  It’s euthanasia, embryo destruction, even infanticide – and a potentially deadly concern with “the quality of life” of disabled people.  If you think these issues don’t concern you – guess again.  The Party of Death could be roaring into the White House … in the person of Hillary Rodham Clinton. … Ponnuru’s shocking exposé shows just how extreme the Party of Death has become as they seek to destroy every inconvenient life, demand fealty to their radical agenda, and punish anyone who defies them.  But he also shows how the tide is turning, how the Party of Death can be defeated, and why its last victim might be the Democratic Party itself.

Say, that does sound shocking now that you mention it!  Well, at least he didn’t use the old Hillary Clinton bête noire gimmick in order to rouse the cave-dwellers on the right.  Oh, wait a sec…  Okay, well at least he showed his acute skills at reading the political landscape, particularly in arguing how the tide is turning against the Democratic Party.  Hey…  Hold on there!  Thanks goodness he mentions the absurdity of someone whose party brought us Iraq, the death penalty, Katrina, poverty and global warming calling the other guys “the party of death”, eh?  Oops.  Okay, okay, cut the guy some slack, wouldya?  Surely he deserves credit for outing all those pro-infanticide Democrats whom the liberal media have been hiding from us for so long now.  You know, like ol’, er, what’s-his-name from Massachusetts, or, um, who’s-her-dinky from California or somewhere, part of the large crowd who ran back in 1998 on a platform of killing babies for sport.  You remember, right?  You certainly see a lot of that in American politics, and, by gum, it’s time we called a spade a spade!

Speaking of which, my real interest in Mr. Ponnuru actually has to do with the last line he uttered on the NewsHour the other night, as he and Shields were dissecting the sorry life of the recently (but not soon enough) departed Jesse Helms, former long-time senator from North Carolina.  Having said nothing particularly positive about Senator No throughout the segment – a guy who, according to Shields “called 1964 Civil Rights Act the single most dangerous legislation ever introduced in the United States Congress” – Ponnuru closed out the discussion with the off-hand remark that “He was wrong on civil rights”.

What?  Really?  Ya think, dude?  I guess maybe if you’re name is Ramesh Ponnuru, and you look just like one would expect a Ramesh Ponnuru to look, even you can overcome your insane ideology long enough to figure out that Jesse Helms was a racist SOB.  Maybe you can even go one step further and note that he wasn’t quite the only one over on your side of the fence who had that tendency, not least your vaunted deity Ronald Reagan, who opened his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, home of civil rights murders, talking about – wait for it, now – “states’ rights”.  Maybe, Ramesh, you might even want to go so far as to note that your folks’ treatment of gays is nothing less than a more acceptable contemporary version of racism, eh?  Or is it perhaps your contention that any semen squirted anywhere besides the inside of a fertile vagina represents the destruction of inconvenient life by the Party of Death?  Masturbation is murder!  Gay sex is genocide!

But I digress.  Oh boy, did I digress.

Okay, then, here’s what really just slays me about remarks by people like Ponnuru.  Thirty, forty, fifty years later, now that all the hard work has been done on civil rights, now that all the blood has been shed so that people named Ramesh Ponnuru can have jobs like senior editor of a leading American journal, only now do conservatives grudgingly admit they were wrong on civil rights.  And, really not even that.  He simply acknowledges that nearly the most odious figure of the entire Jim Crow movement was wrong.  As if Willy Horton hadn’t happened since.  As if Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris hadn’t incorrectly and intentionally purged tens of thousands of African Americans from the voting rolls in Florida.  As if voters in Ohio’s black precincts hadn’t faced massive obstacles in 2004 that whites did not.  As if millions of right-wing racists won’t be caught dead voting for Barack Obama in 2008 because he’s black.

And – most importantly – as if civil rights was the only thing that regressives ever got wrong.

Someone once said that “A conservative is one who enshrines his grandfathers’ revolution and fears his children’s”.  In the end, that’s an accurate perception, though ultimately too generous.  But it certainly points to the tendency of those on the right to be wrong about everything in their own time, only to coopt some of the same themes a generation or two later.  Does anyone remember the right leading the charge on gender equality?  Social Security or Medicare?  Voting Rights?  Environmental protection?  Human rights?  Economic justice?  The promotion of democracy abroad?  The empowerment of international institutions?  The expansion of the franchise?  For that matter, even the abolition of slavery or the American revolution?

Of course not.  Whichever of their grandparents’ revolutions they now pretend to support in full, they not only didn’t support them then, they (or their grandparents) in fact actively blocked them.  Today you might hear a regressive say lovely things about, say, Martin Luther King, but it wasn’t that long ago that they sought to block a holiday in his honor, and it wasn’t that long before that that they were siccing the FBI on him and harassing him and accusing him of being a commie and even murdering him.

Jesse Helms himself touched all the bases of regressive depravity, absolutely including race.  But some lunatic named Jeff Jacoby, a columnist for the Boston Globe, couldn’t even get as far as Ponnuru did, lambasting ‘liberals’ this week for wrongly trashing Helms as a racist monster.  Did you know that Jesse was actually a good guy when it came to race issues?  Here’s Jacoby, quoting Walter Russell Mead, on how Helms went from being a racist to a pioneering reformer on behalf of equality:

Instead of leading his followers into resistance, Helms “disciplined and tamed the segregationist South, prodding it “into grudging acceptance of the new racial order.”  Yet rather than hail his statesmanship and acknowledge his contribution to the civil rights revolution, liberals marked his death by reaching for pejoratives. Helms’s sin was not racism; it was his tenacious political incorrectness. Had he been willing to tack left on other issues, his racial wrongs would have been forgiven.

Thanks a bunch, Jeff, for setting that record straight!  I was particularly confused, because I remembered that, trailing in his 1990 re-election bid against Harvey Gantt, the black former mayor of Charlotte, Helms ran television ads in which a pair of white hands crumpled up a rejection slip from a job that had been lost to affirmative action.

Did I mention this was in 1990?  Yeah, ‘cause that was the same year that the Justice Department found that Helms was behind threatening letters sent to black voters, warning them of arrest if they showed up to vote on election day.

In 1993 he got angry at Carol Moseley Braun, the first black woman to serve in the United States Senate, for blocking a bill of his giving a patent to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which included a confederate flag insignia.  So as he got on an elevator she was riding he said to a colleague “I’m going to sing Dixie until she cries”.

Then, in 1995, he was on Larry King Live, when a caller thanked him for helping to “keep down the niggers”.  You wouldn’t think a fella would say that to a guy who was bringing “statesmanship” in “contribution to the civil rights revolution”, would you?  Nor would you think that such a statesman would respond by saying, “Whoops, well, thank you, I think”.  More likely, that’s just another way of saying, “Hell yes, Brother Cracker!  But don’t forget we’re on national TV, okay?”

No, Jeff Jacobs, you need to lay off Karl’s Kool-Aid, my man.  People doing and saying these kinds of things in the 1990s were unreconstructed racists, nothing else.  What was different about Helms was that he figured out how to play the PC game.  In 1960, he would go on television and say things like, “When you educate a negro, you educate a candidate for the penitentiary or spoil a good field hand”.  Or, “The negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that’s thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic and interfere with other men’s rights”.  By the 1990s, he had learned to speak in code words, like “states’ rights” or “affirmative action”.  That hardly makes him a “contributor” to the civil rights movement.  In fact, it doesn’t even make him a believer in equality.  It just means that he had become a more clever racist.  And, actually, therefore, a more pernicious one as well.

But, wait, there’s more!

Helms was great with presidents.  He idolized Richard Nixon.  He saved Ronald Reagan’s career when that monster was tanking in 1976.  He told Bill Clinton that “he’d better bring a bodyguard” if the president planned on visiting North Carolina.

He fought bitterly to block AIDS research and treatment because it was the product of “unnatural” and “disgusting” behavior.

And, as Mark Shields reminded us the other night, he “embraced every anti-communist dictator, regardless of how ruthless that dictator happened to be”.  And they were plenty ruthless, thank you very much – from the Shah to Pinochet to Marcos to apartheid South Africa.  Helms was also a major force in creating and arming the murderous Contra terrorist force which brought old-fashioned Gringo misery back to Nicaragua, after the Sandinistas had booted it out a few years earlier.  He was famous for tightening the screws ever further on Cuba, and blocking family planning aid overseas if it had any hint of a shadow of a relationship to abortion.

In short, if you want a quick and (very) dirty explanation of the current mess this society is in today, “Jesse Helms” would not be a bad shortcut.

The truth is, though, it’s a bit more complicated than that, and a whole lot more despicable, if that can be imagined.  The truth is that much of the racism and sexism and homophobia and liberal-bashing and all is just a smokescreen for economic raping and pillaging, and for getting your victims to assist you in that effort.  Yeah, Obama got it right at that San Francisco fundraiser, but it was former conservative Michael Lind (once a protégé of William F. Buckley and Irving Kristol who somehow lived to tell the tale) who nailed it best, when he wrote that:

What passes for intellectual conservatism is little more than the subsidized propaganda wing of the Republican Party. … The leaders and intellectuals of the American right [have adopted] a vision of the United States as a low-wage, low-tax, low-investment industrial society like the New South of 1875-1965, a kind of early 20th-century Mississippi or Alabama recreated on a continental scale.

Yeah, that’s right, bro.  It’s all about the Benjamins.  Which can only lead me to wonder what kind of monsters are these, inhabiting otherwise perfectly normal human bodies?  What trauma of their formative years so dehumanized them that they are not only willing to foment such destructive behavior and policies, but even to do so purely on the basis of lies covering up an insatiable greed that justifies every other crime?

And so – speaking of propaganda wings of the Republican Party – what I’d really like to hear Ramesh Ponnuru say is that conservatives were wrong.  Not just about civil rights, but about women’s rights, about environmentalism, about human rights, about foreign policy, about organized labor and fair wages, about taxes, about the whole nine yards.

I’d like to see him admit that neither he, nor his wife, nor so many of the rest of us would ever have had the slightest opportunity in this society if previous members of his conservative family tree had not been roundly defeated in bitter and often lethal struggles, during which they acted neither as ally, nor spineless milquetoast, nor even indifferent bystander – but rather as precisely the obstacle to decency, humanity and progress they entirely were.

And then I’d like to see him quit his job, get down on his knees, beg forgiveness, and promise never, ever, to do this again.

David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.  He is delighted to receive readers’ reactions to his articles (, but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond.  More of his work can be found at his website,

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.

Worse than McCain By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
07/11/08 “ICH”

Every four years, liberals and progressives are expected to set aside their beliefs and stand foursquare behind the Democratic Party candidate. This ritual is invariably performed in the name of party unity. It doesn’t matter if the candidate is a smooth-talking politician who’s willing to toss his Pastor of 20 years overboard for a few awkward comments, or whether he refuses to defend basic civil liberties like the 4th amendment’s right to privacy. All that matters is that there’s a big “D” following his name and that he shows he’s willing to engage in some meaningless verbal jousting with his Republican opponent. Continue reading

Book Cites Secret Red Cross Report of C.I.A. Torture of Qaeda Captives

Dandelion Salad

July 11, 2008

WASHINGTON — Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book on counterterrorism efforts since 2001.


h/t: Just Foreign Policy and CLG

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.


Numerous Bush Admin officials committed crimes involving the torture of prisoners captured in the Middle East

Bill Moyers Journal: The Conservative Heart + Deepening the American Dream

Dandelion Salad

Bill Moyers Journal
July 11, 2008

The Conservative Heart

What’s happened to the conservative movement in America? Conservatives Mickey Edwards and Ross Douthat discuss why they believe their movement has gone off track during the last eight years and what it means for the Republican Party. Douthat is senior editor at THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY and co-author of GRAND NEW PARTY, and Mickey Edwards is a former Republican Congressman and author of RECLAIMING CONSERVATISM.

Part I

Part II

Deepening the American Dream

“That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement.”

The first use of the phrase “American Dream” was in James Truslow Adams’s 1931 book THE EPIC OF AMERICA. Of course, Adams was merely naming a thread in American history that stretched from the City on a Hill to Gold Mountain. But today some critics have charged the dream has become purely materialistic — while others see its reach limited to a lucky few.

Several years ago The Fetzer Institute, a funder of BILL MOYERS JOURNAL, set out on a quest to reassess the definition of The American Dream asking: Is the American Dream a vision or an illusion? Does social change depend on personal change? What values should the U.S. demonstrate in today’s world? Are there ways to think beyond geographic boundaries toward a common dream for our world? BILL MOYERS JOURNAL joins with The Fetzer Institute in continuing this inquiry in a special online feature. We’re asking our guests and our viewers what is their vision for the future of the American Dream — and how we can achieve those visions.

Video link and transcript


BILL MOYERS JOURNAL Deepening the American Dream PBS


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.


Is the Fourth Estate a Fifth Column? By Bill Moyers

Candidates weigh in on new Danish cartoon threat



by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post

July 12, 2008

WASHINGTON – Senator John McCain said Wednesday that Denmark’s continued testing of anti-American political cartoons shows the need for an effective cartoon defense shield system while rival Senator Barack Obama said we need aggressive diplomacy combined with sanctions, if necessary. For the second day, Denmark has tested several new cartoons, poking fun at the Bush administration and America. “It was OK when the Danes aimed their cartoons at the Islamofascists, but now they have sided with the terrorists and are preparing weapons of mass cartoons against us,” said Wayne Parsons, a Pentagon spokesman.

“We must unite the world against Denmark’s cartoon threat,” McCain said, “even if we have to continue the Cartoon war for a hundred years.”

Obama, who has been criticized for being soft on cartoons by wanting to negotiate with cartoonists, said he will push for an incentive package that seeks to deter Denmark from its cartoon goals.

“There’s something rotten in Denmark,” said Vice President Dick Cheney, “and we may have to go to the dark side, if you will, so that cartooning will be in its final throes.”

Danish Cartoons have become a major campaign issue, however neither candidate voted on a March 2008 resolution calling on the Bush administration to call the Danish Cartoon Guild a terrorist organization, a measure that some members of Congress believed could lead to war.

“We need to take an aggressive stand against this world threat,” said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, “because would your rather read the cartoons over there or read them over here.”

President Bush said, “I don’t worry about the cartoons so much anymore. I kinda like them cartoons cause they’re easier to read than memos about Bin Laden planning attacks. Now if My Pet Goat had more cartoons I could have read it faster and reaticated to 911 more quicker and had time to use that cod piece in my pants when I bullhorned my way to ground zero to speak to the American people.”