Obama’s posse headed for Middle East; McCain furious



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

July 19, 2008

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The capital of this war torn country is getting ready for the big event, the arrival of Barack Obama and his ever growing Posse, which now includes the news anchors from the major television networks.

“Dis tour gonna outdo anything I done,” said rapper Kanye West.

“Forget the east coast rappers versus the west coast rappers,” said record mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs, “the no coast rappers from the Midwest, like Obama is hittin’ everybody upside the head.”

“The bias of the liberal media is astounding,” said John McCain at a rally in Flint, Michigan. “All the reporters are hovering around Obama like he is something shiny and new and all about hope and change instead of coming here to cover me as I tell bad jokes to these out of work auto workers and explain to them that I don’t know anything about the economy. I would just like to get my hands on the idiot who gave Obama the idea to go to Iraq. Why, I’d punch him in the…ooops, I told him to go to Iraq.”

When asked why she was leaving New York to go to the middle east to cover Obama, CBS anchor Katie Couric said, “I want to be there in case they need someone perky, you know, for the video.” Obama’s historic journey to the Middle East is expected to get wall to wall news coverage, except for Fox New, who will continue to run footage of Reverend Wright saying “god-damn America.”


US & Iraq Agree To Set Vague Goals On Hopeful Drawndown Of US Troops Perhaps In Some Kind Of Future

Obama outlines policy of endless war + Obama’s Speech

Countdown: McCain Leaking Obama’s Travel Plans + Goals vs Timelines In Iraq

Air Force Cyber Command: Building the Infrastructure for High-Tech War Crimes

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, July 19, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

What do you get when you combine U.S. militarism, fantasies of domination and an administration that views the internet as a hot-bed of “evil-doers” and “subversives”? Cyber Command, of course! Only this scheme has the potential of inflicting massive suffering on civilian populations across the planet.

Currently situated at the secretive Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, Air Force Cyber Command, the newest Pentagon command since the 1990s, is dedicated to the notion that the “next war” will be fought in the electromagnetic spectrum, one that envisions computers as “network-centric” weapons.

With a unified organizational structure and a $2 billion budget for the first year of operations, Cyber Command is touted as the next “big thing.” According to a recent piece in Air Force Times, Cyber Command “has established 17 new enlisted and officer Air Force Specialty Codes — creating major changes in the career paths of more than 32,000 airmen.”

Eventually, if Air Force securocrats have their way, it “will grow into one of the service’s largest commands.” With a mission to “deceive, deny, disrupt, degrade, and destroy” an enemy’s information infrastructure, the potential for mischief on the part of American “warfighters” and “public diplomacy” black propaganda specialists shouldn’t be underestimated.

Although the “Strategic Vision” proffered by the Air Force is couched in defensive language, by its very nature Cyber Command represents a qualitative leap by the Pentagon towards creating an offensive capability, one with far-reaching and potentially catastrophic consequences for societies that fall under the baleful gaze of American cyberwarriors.

This is clearly spelled out by Air Force theorists. In their view, the “strategic environment” confronting imperialism is described as “unpredictable and increasingly dangerous,” characterized “by the confluence of globalization, economic disparities, and competition for scarce resources.”

And as “economic disparities” grow ever-more glaring, newer and more effective means for obtaining “compliance” are required by our corporate masters and their militarist attack dogs. This is underscored by Cyber Command’s stated goal “to achieve situational dominance at a time and place of our choosing.” [emphasis added] According to the Air Force,

Global vigilance requires the ability to sense and signal across the electromagnetic spectrum. Global reach requires the ability to connect and transmit, using a wide array of communications networks to move data across the earth nearly instantaneously. Global power is the ability to hold at risk or strike any target with electromagnetic energy and ultimately deliver kinetic and non-kinetic effects across all domains. These cyberspace capabilities will allow us to secure our infrastructure, conduct military operations whenever necessary, and degrade or eliminate the military capabilities of our adversaries. (Air Force Cyber Command, “Strategic Vision,” no date)

According to Wired defense analyst Noah Shachtman,

The Air Force wants a suite of hacker tools, to give it “access” to — and “full control” of — any kind of computer there is. And once the info warriors are in, the Air Force wants them to keep tabs on their “adversaries’ information infrastructure completely undetected.” …

Traditionally, the military has been extremely reluctant to talk much about offensive operations online. Instead, the focus has normally been on protecting against electronic attacks. But in the last year or so, the tone has changed — and become more bellicose. “Cyber, as a warfighting domain . . . like air, favors the offense,” said Lani Kass, a special assistant to the Air Force Chief of Staff who previously headed up the service’s Cyberspace Task Force. (“Air Force Aims for ‘Full Control’ of ‘Any and All’ Computers,” Wired, May 13, 2008)

How might this play out in the megacities of the global south, identified by Pentagon planners as “the strategic high ground” of the 21st century?

Durham University geographer Stephen Graham describes the ideological mind-set guiding contemporary Pentagon doctrine thusly: On a theoretical level military strategists, particularly proponents of “network-centric warfare”–the Rumsfeldian “Revolution in Military Affairs” (RMA)–believe that dominance can be achieved through “their increasingly omnipotent surveillance and ‘situational awareness’, devastating and precisely-targeted aerial firepower, and the suppression and degradation of the communications and fighting ability of any opposing forces.”

An integrated process in other words, that draws from contemporary corporate management theory to create “continuous, always-on support for military operations in urban terrain.” Call it the deranged “battlespace” where Wal-Mart morphs into The Terminator. Graham writes,

The overwhelming rhetoric in such efforts emphasises that new military techno-science, specifically developed to address cities, will turn global south urban environments into areas that US forces can completely dominate, using their technological advantages, with minimum casualties to themselves. New weapons and sensor programmes, specifically designed to enhance the ability of future US forces to control and dominate global south cities through network-centric means, are already emerging from the wider efforts at physical and electronic simulation, wargaming, and the evaluation of the experience of the Iraq insurgency. These centre, first, on unveiling global south cities through new sensor technologies, and, second, on developing automated and robotic weapon systems linked to such sensors. (“From Space to Street Corner: Global South Cities and US Military Technophilia,” Unpublished paper, 2007)

How might Cyber Command fit into the mix? Under the heading “Cyberspace Attack Operations,” Air Force theorists aver,

Cyberspace effects gained from emerging technology, such as directed energy, include: sensor disruption, data manipulation, decision support degradation, command and control disruption, and weapon system degradation. Cyberspace attacks can be conducted on an adversary’s terrestrial, airborne, and space-based communication infrastructure as well as his forces, equipment and logistics.

Indeed such operations are fully theorized as a means of achieving “full-spectrum dominance” via “Cyberspace Offensive Counter-Operations,”

Cyberspace favors offensive operations. These operations will deny, degrade, disrupt, destroy, or deceive an adversary. Cyberspace offensive operations ensure friendly freedom of action in cyberspace while denying that same freedom to our adversaries. We will enhance our capabilities to conduct electronic systems attack, electromagnetic systems interdiction and attack, network attack, and infrastructure attack operations. Targets include the adversary’s terrestrial, airborne, and space networks, electronic attack and network attack systems, and the adversary itself. As an adversary becomes more dependent on cyberspace, cyberspace offensive operations have the potential to produce greater effects. (“Strategic Vision,” op. cit.) [emphasis added]

“Greater effects” in this context mean nothing less than the capability of rendering “target” societies completely vulnerable to imperialist attack. Nearly a decade ago, NATO forces dropped what was described as a graphite “blackout bomb,” the BLU-114/B “soft-bomb” on Belgrade and other cities during its aggressive war against the remnants of the former Yugoslavia–with devastating effects. Marty Mclaughlin wrote:

A particularly dangerous consequence of the long-term power blackout is the damage to the water systems in many Yugoslav cities, which are dependent on pumping stations run by electrical power. Novi Sad, a city of 300,000 which is the capital of the Vojvodina province of Serbia, has been without running water for eight days, according to residents. Families have been compelled to get water from the Danube river to wash and operate the toilet, and a handful of wells to provide drinking water.

Sewage treatment plants have also been shut down, with the result that raw, untreated sewage has begun to flow into the network of rivers that feed into the Danube, central Europe’s most important waterway. (“Wall Street celebrates stepped-up bombing of Serbia,” World Socialist Web Site, May 5, 1999)

With technological advances, imperialist cyberwarriors believe they can simply turn an adversary’s networked infrastructure into a “zombie” system under its control to achieve the same, if not greater, devastation. As Marty Graham reported in Wired,

Comparisons between nuclear and cyberweapons might seem strained, but there’s at least one commonality. Scholars exploring the ethics of wielding logic bombs, Trojan horses, worms and bots in wartime often find themselves treading on ground tilled by an earlier generation of Cold War nuclear gamesmen.

“There are lots of unknowns with a cyberattack,” says Neil Rowe, a professor at the Center for Information Security Research at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, who rejects cyberattacks as a legitimate tool of war. “The potential for collateral damage is worse than nuclear technology…. With cyber, it can spread through the civilian infrastructure and affect far more civilians.” (“Welcome to Cyberwar Country, USA,” Wired, February 11, 2008)

Which is precisely why the Air Force has expressed an interest in building a robust Cyber Command!

According to an Air Force Fact Sheet, “Cyberspace 101,” they conceive their “mission” as one that will “afford us offensive capabilities and deliberate target sets.”

With an official launch date set for October 1, 2008, Cyber Command as yet has no permanent home but one can predict that the congressional “leader” who can deliver the goods for his “constituents” will reap the rewards of a long-term basing agreement. From Hampton, Virginia to Yuba City, California, local “leaders” are falling all over themselves with sweetheart deals negotiated behind the backs of their citizens.

And according to Wired, prospective local “stakeholders” are “throwing in offers of land, academic and research tie-ins, and, in one case, an $11 million building with a moat.”

With billions of dollars in “outsourced” government contracts hanging in the balance, Cyber Command is no laughing matter. Back in December, Aviation Week reported that “U.S. Air Force leaders working on the nascent cyber command believe there will be a ‘huge’ need for contracted services to support the embryonic effort as it faces personnel, technology and funding headwinds.” Michael Bruno wrote,

“There’s going to be a huge contracting requirement,” said Maj. Gen. Charles Ickes II, Air National Guard special assistant to the deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements.

“I don’t think anyone can tell you how big,” he told the Northern Virginia chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s Air Force information technology conference Dec. 5. (“New Cyber Command to be ‘Huge’ Business Opportunity,” Aviation Week, December 6, 2007)

In May, Washington Technology reported that the Air Force “is calling for white papers on how it might conduct successful offensives against cyberspace adversaries.” And to back-up its call, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is offering $11 million in funding for the proposed two-year project.

If past Pentagon projects are any indication of where AFRL proposals may lead, the estimated $30 billion cost for its initial 5-year project has the all the hallmarks of another massive taxpayer-funded black hole for enterprising defense contractors.

Indeed, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will play a critical role for the Air Force and is currently designing a “National Cyber Range” that “will create a virtual environment where the Defense Department can mock real warfare, both defense and offense,” according to Wired defense analyst Sharon Weinberger.

According to an announcement posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the project, designed by DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, is described as a test zone that will enable the state “to conduct cyber operations by providing a persistent cyber range.” Many of the program details are classified.

Envisioned as a force conducting “sustained offensive and defensive operations throughout the electromagnetic spectrum fully integrated with air and space operations,” Air Force Cyber Command will “leverage…cyberspace capabilities…in all domains, to create global and theatre effects in support of the Joint warfighting team.”

War crimes at the push of button? The future is now and its looking mighty grim.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9619


Attention Geeks & Hackers: Uncle Sam’s Cyber Force Wants You!

Homeland Security’s Space-Based Spiesby Tom Burghardt

Air Force Aims for ‘Full Control’ of ‘Any and All’ Computers

Global Gridlock: How the US Military-Industrial Complex Seeks to Contain & Control the Earth & it’s Eco-System

Brown unveils civil defence plan + ‘Dads’ Army’ to protect against security threats

Kucinich to Investigate Police Surveillance of Peace Groups

Dandelion Salad

by Dennis Kucinich

Washington, Jul 18 – “I think that most people would be upset to know that police were spying on lawful citizens and infiltrating peaceful organizations, rather than chasing down real criminals.  At a minimum, such police spying is clearly a waste of taxpayer dollars and a diversion from the mission of protecting and serving the people.   I want the subcommittee to determine how widespread these activities are and who ordered them,” Kucinich said.

Congressman Kucinich is Chairman of the House Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Yesterday, it was revealed that Maryland State Police officers infiltrated Maryland peace and justice groups engaged in peaceful, non-violent activities.  The documents were made public through a lawsuit.

Mother Jones magazine uncovered evidence of surveillance of environmental groups by Beckett Brown International on behalf of several large corporations.  The information and documents were provided by a former investor.

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.


State police spying is dangerous repression

Maryland troopers spied on activist groups

Black Ops on Green Groups (video link)

Cops and Former Secret Service Agents Ran Black Ops on Green Groups

O-Bummer by Bruce Gagnon


by Bruce Gagnon
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Bruce’s blog post

July 19, 2008

I had a phone call from a friend in Maine yesterday. He was very upset about the recent passage of the FISA surveillance bill in the Senate and wanted to know what should be done about it. He cares very much about civil liberties issues. He mentioned that he was disappointed that Obama had voted in favor of the bill.

I listened to him for some time. When I finally spoke I told him that I was losing patience with my progressive friends who keep complaining about how badly the Democrats performed (on Iraq occupation, possible Iran attack, no impeachment hearings, civil liberties, etc) and then turn right around and vote them back into office without a mumbling word.

He acknowledged that he, like many, has donated to Obama and volunteered for his campaign. He said he fears that John McCain would be a dangerous president – after all just look what McCain had said when he spoke at the recent AIPAC convention……..

I told my friend that in the end the right to vote is a sacred thing. We each must be free to do what we have to do and friends must remain friends. But with that said I told him I needed to tell him a story.

I voted for Jimmy Carter when he ran for president (1977-1981) largely because of his statement during his campaign that the “arms race was a disgrace to the human race.” Then he went and built the huge Trident nuclear submarine base in St. Marys, Georgia right on the Florida-Georgia border. I spent many days and nights protesting at this base in the years thereafter.

I told my friend that after the Vietnam War the American people were suffering from the “Vietnam syndrome” which meant the people were not eager for any more “foreign entangling alliances”. David Rockefeller at the Trilateral Commission sent the executive director of that high-brow organization, Zbignew Brzezinski, out to find a fresh face, someone who could offer “change” to the public. He recruited Jimmy Carter, the unknown Georgia governor and peanut farmer, to run for president. With the support of this hidden elite Carter became president. I fell for the trap. Brzezinski became Carter’s national security adviser and is the one who helped us arm the Taliban in Afghanistan so they could give the former Soviet Union their own version of a Vietnam quagmire. The U.S. has now built six permanent military bases in Afghanistan.

Zbignew Brzezinski went on to write a book called The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives that was published in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. In this book Brzezinski talks about the importance of the Middle East and Central Asia because of their vast supplies of oil and natural gas. He says, “… But in the meantime, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.”

He continues, “In that context, how America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is the globe’s largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75% of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60% of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.”

How though, Brzezinski asks, will we be able to convince the American people to expend the enormous amount of money it would take to secure Eurasia on behalf of the American corporate empire? How can we talk the American people into giving up their favorite social programs (Medicare and Social Security) so that permanent bases can be established in this region in order to control the extraction of resources?

He answers the question by saying, “Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”

Translation – terrorism. The war on terror. Endless war to protect us from the dark, hard to find, cave dwelling forces of evil.

Today the American people are beginning to suffer from the Iraq and Afghanistan syndrome. Since 2001 we have been in a perpetual state of war which has been supported by both the Republicans and Democrats. How can we ever convince the American people to press on, to keep our feet in “Eurasia” when they have begun to show such a proclivity to tire of these foreign entanglements?

A new fresh face is needed.

I recently read an interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski that was published in a British progressive journal. In the interview Brzezinski, who is now one of Obama’s chief foreign policy advisers, brags that he had early on “vetted” the potential presidential candidate and was quite certain that he was the right man for the job at hand.

The official definition of the word vetted: to evaluate for possible approval or acceptance.

I told my friend that the fresh face of change was a facade. A false, superficial, or artificial appearance. A trick. A lie. A humiliation.

I told my friend that I cannot spend my life doing the work I do and then turn around and betray my own being by voting for someone that I know in my heart is pulling a fast one on us – pulling the wool over our eyes.

The great black abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass said it back in the 1880’s. “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”


Obama outlines policy of endless war + Obama’s Speech

Memo to Obama, McCain: No One Wins in a War By Howard Zinn

Nader on Obama and Israel (video)

Worse than McCain By Mike Whitney

History Made Today In Chicago by Bruce Gagnon + video

The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War by Zbigniew Brzezinski

The two winners of the 2008 presidential election: fear and war by Larry Chin

Terrorized by ‘War on Terror’ By Zbigniew Brzezinski

Behind Obama and Clinton: Who’s whispering in their ears says a lot by Prof. Stephen Zunes

Escobar: Obama vs Clinton foreign policy advisers (video)

Vote for Change? Atrocity-Linked US Officials Advising Dem, GOP Pres Frontrunners (videos)

2008 presidential charade promises deepening of government criminality and expansion of war by Larry Chin


Companies Change Hands in Fantasyland by The Other Katherine Harris

Digg It

The Other Katherine Harris

by The Other Katherine Harris
Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Other Katherine Harris’s blog
July 19, 2008

An intended corporate buyout in the billions has been announced with utterly no reference to where either firm is based.  For all we’re told, both parties to the deal are extra-cartological — off in Terra Incognita or “Here Be Dragons” land.

Simple case of sloppy journalism, one might think — except that the source was The New York Times, citing Reuters.  The story informs us that a giant pharmaceutical company called Teva purchased one of its rivals, Barr, for $7.46 billion in cash and stock — representing $66.50 a share, a generous 42 percent premium over Barr’s closing price at mid-week.  The author also bothers mentioning “a wave of consolidation in the generic-drug sector that some analysts suspect will result in only a handful of major global players” and says that Teva – already world leader in generics — will now command a staff of 37,000 and operate in more than 60 countries, gaining the foothold in Eastern Europe that Barr acquired in 2006 with the Croatian firm Pliva.  (Presumably, the location of a company was still regarded as newsworthy two years ago.)

Now, however, we have to click the right links for investment information to learn that Teva’s home base is in Israel and Barr’s in the USA.  Thus we can determine that the most likely immediate cuts to that staff of 37,000 will be in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

With a little further sleuthing, we can determine who’s to blame for this extraordinary omission.  It wasn’t Reuters. THEIR STORY is greatly detailed and raises the possibility of other suitors vying for Barr, as well as the issue of anti-trust risk (although unnamed “analysts” deemed both chances remote).

Interestingly, Reuters points out that Teva has bought three other US drug companies in the past two years: Ivax (for $7.4 billion), CoGenesys (for $400 million) and Bentley (for $360 million).

Had The Times put forward more complete information, perhaps the idea of anti-trust action wouldn’t be such a non-starter.  Could this be why they don’t even state in passing that yet another American company is slated to bite the dust?

Beyond the fact that it’s high time for the leaders of governments to climb out of the pockets of transnational grillionaires and protect their citizens’ livelihoods, imagine what will happen to generic drug pricing, if only a few firms soon control them all.



Money Bomb For The Peace Mom Aug 6th! + Help Cindy Sheehan Get On The Ballot

Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Cindy Sheehan for Congress

July 19, 2008

Money Bomb For The Peace Mom August 6th!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

August 6th is Hiroshima Day and the 3rd anniversary of the day Cindy first sat down in the ditch outside of George W. Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch to get him to answer the question, “For what noble cause,” did he send her son Casey to die in Iraq? Stand with Cindy again on August 6th!

You don’t have to live in the 8th District of California to see that Nancy Pelosi is not interested in PEACE and you have a stake in Cindy’s race for Congress!  Anyone can donate!

Send a message to Nancy Pelosi that she was wrong to take impeachment off the table and continue to fund BushCo’s war!

Support Cindy Sheehan for Congress in her run against Nancy Pelosi in the 8th district of California!

Add Cindy on myspace at: Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Start setting aside to donate to Cindy For Congress on August 6th

Tell your family and friends!

Sign up for the newsletter at www.cindyforcongress.org for updates on the money bomb…

Send Cindy a comment letting her know you are participating in the money bomb and signed up for the newsletter!

Thank you!!

Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


from an email from Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Help Cindy Sheehan Get On The Ballot For Congress

July 18, 2008

We made a commitment to you that when the time came, we would do everything we could to help Cindy Sheehan.  That time is now.

Cindy Sheehan is making a courageous run for the Congressional seat in San Francisco, to challenge Nancy Pelosi, who has done nothing but cave in to the Bush/Cheney criminal war agenda, while the approval rating of Congress drops into single digits for the first time ever.

But FIRST Cindy needs to get on the ballot, and to do that as an independent she still needs another 6,000 petitions signatures in the next couple weeks.

Even with her many valiant volunteers, you can really help now by making a donation to put more paid signature gatherers for Cindy Sheehan on the street to give the voters of San Francisco a pro-courage choice.  Help put Cindy safely over the top with enough margin of petition signatures that they cannot keep her off the ballot.

Cindy Sheehan Petition Donations: http://www.usalone.com/donations_cindy.php

You will remember we told you that unless we defeated Nancy Pelosi in the June Democratic primary that not only would impeachment remain “off the table”, but that Congress would wave through yet another 200 billion for illegal war profiteering.  That’s why we worked out hearts out for that race.  It’s worse than that, they threw in telecom immunity with the omnibus surrender.

The fact is that unless and until Congress sees a downside to their despicable cowardice there will be NO policy change.  We’ll repeat that.  No policy change whatsoever.  Their whole self-justification is they point to the elections they are winning.  Unless and until we defeat one of their own, one of the biggest of them all, we can send emails and make phone calls until we’re blue in the face, and they will must keep lying to us and stalling.  Yeah, sure they’re just about to impeach.  Sure.

Now some people (defeatists) will say, “Oh, you’ll never defeat the Speaker of the House”.  Well guess what, until we do they will never take the voice of the people seriously.  We HAVE to win.  And we have to do everything we could have done to make that a reality.  So we are calling on all of our participants to throw everything they have behind candidates who will fight for the issues, the real issues.

And there is no better investment in time, energy or money we can make now than to give Cindy Sheehan the biggest platform possible to advocate for us.

Paid for by Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at http://www.usalone.com/in.htm

A Government of People, After All By David Michael Green

Dandelion Salad

By David Michael Green
07/18/08 “ICH”

So, did you hear about the latest bipartisan commission report?

Bet you can’t guess who’s on the thing! James Baker? Check. Warren Christopher? Check. Lee Hamilton? Check. Ed Meese? Check. Brent Scowcroft? Check.

(What, no Henry Kissinger? Guess he was busy fighting war crime extraditions.)

These guys should just go get a room and get it over with, already, eh? Anytime anyone in government needs some mind-numbingly anodyne cover story for the latest word in power consolidation, they bring in this crew – The Center-Right Dinosaur Club. Six words out of Warren Christopher’s mouth alone is guaranteed to render comatose any formerly sentient being. The guy is a human anesthesia.

They did Iraq. They buried 9/11, leaving the Bush administration not only completely unscathed, but completely off the record as well. Explain to me again, wouldya, why the president would only testify with Dickie holding his hand, and not under oath?

In the wake of the imperial establishment’s utter humbling in Mesopotamia, the latest commission project concerns the sticky old question of national war powers: Who’s got ‘em, who doesn’t, and how to deal with that in a supposed to democracy. (Hint: The short version is this: The president does whatever he wants to, and all you other people should go sit in the corner and just shut up.)

This is nothing new. The Founders grappled with it in the same fashion they did most everything else. Their goal was to create a government with just enough power to govern effectively, and no more. So they split powers up as often as they could, and this case is no exception. Congress got the power to declare war and the president got to be commander-in-chief of the military. Not bad, except nobody bothers to declare war anymore. That concept sorta went out with the horse and buggy.

After the lengthy but undeclared war in Vietnam, Congress realized it was holding the short end of a very long stick, and attempted to reel in the imperial presidency’s war-making powers with the War Powers Resolution of 1973. Nixon vetoed the thing, and Congress then mustered a rare and difficult veto override to make it into the law of the land. Well, kinda. You see, the problem is that every president since that time, Democratic or Republican, has rejected as unconstitutional its central provisions requiring the president to withdraw deployed forces within 60 days (90 days maximum), unless authorization for their continued presence has been obtained from Congress.

How can we ever know who is right – those presidents or Congress? To find out, it would require the rather unique situation of a president continuing to pursue a war in defiance of Congressional opposition. Sound familiar? Oh yeah, I guess I forgot one other necessary factor. In such a situation you’d also have to have a Congress with the stones to do something about such an imperious president and his unpopular war. They’d have to at least have the courage to bring a challenge in the federal courts, whereupon the constitutionality of the War Powers Act would then finally be resolved, one way or another. Call me crazy, but somehow I don’t see this as being on Nancy Pelosi’s or Harry Reid’s agenda.

So, now, along comes this Baker-Christopher Commission to recommend legislative changes, supposedly to avoid another Iraq fiasco. They propose to repeal the War Powers Act (which they describe as unconstitutional) and replace it with “The War Powers Consultation Act of 2009″, which would require the president to “consult” with Congress prior to deploying troops into a “significant armed conflict” (generally, combat operations likely to last more than a week), and would create a new Joint Congressional Consultation Committee comprised of leaders from both houses, and a permanent bipartisan staff with access to national security intelligence. The proposed legislation also calls on Congress to vote yes or no on ‘significant conflicts’ within 30 days. If such a resolution fails, Congress may then legislate against the war, which legislation the president may veto, and Congress may override. Or it may take other actions, such as defunding the war.

This is clearly a step backward. It’s clearly a step in the direction in further empowering an out-of-control executive, at precisely the moment when conditions call for just the opposite tack. And it’s clearly what you’d expect from James Baker and Warren Christopher. Ugh.

It’s all well and good to force consultations, but they mean only as much as the participants want them to, which can range from the pro-forma ticking off of a box on the official Federal War Consultation Checklist Form to genuine negotiations in which assent by both sides is required by both sides in order to move forward. To get a very real and very proximate sense of just how toothless an idea this is, one need only ask oneself how the Bush administration would have conducted such negotiations over Iraq. You know, the very same people who withhold everything from Congress? The ones who refuse to even testify or provide any documentation in cases involving clear wrongdoing, including now the highest law-enforcement official in the land? Yeah, that’s right, Congress is now thinking about holding Attorney General Michael Mukasy in contempt for refusing to turn over information about the politicization of the Justice Department. And he’s the ‘good guy’ who was brought in to clean up after Alberto Gonzales (thanks a lot to ‘liberal’ New York senator Chuck Schumer for arranging that particular disaster).

Yeah, forcing consultations is a wonderful prescription, but no better than forcing a robust round of Kumbaya. Once it’s done and the box checked, the president will proceed to war, laughing all the way down Pennsylvania Avenue as he returns from the Capitol. Think of Warren Christopher, late at night, dentures soaking in the glass of water, gumming up some of the finest plain vanilla ice cream available, and you’ve got a pretty good image of the actual bite of this resolution.

Similarly, in what sense can this legislative formula be considered an improvement over the War Powers Act or the Constitution itself? Let’s just take the most ambitious outcome possible under this scenario, where Congress fails to approve the war, then passes a resolution condemning it, which of course would be vetoed by the president, and then Congress musters enough votes for an override. First of all, what slightest change does that represent from the current scenario, other than to force Congress to vote on the war within 30 days? It already has the power to legislate its disapproval, the president already has the power to veto that bill, and Congress already has the power to override the president’s veto. So what is gained here?

Second, what possible effect does this have on the current impasse over the War Powers Act? The next step which will follow a congressional override will always be the president flipping a finger in the direction of Congress, and I don’t mean a big thumb’s-up. Now Congress would find itself in precisely the same place it does today – quite literally, at the moment (sans the override part) – having to make hard choices in the face of presidential defiance, of which there are pretty much only three. One is to follow the Harry Reid / Nancy Pelosi approach to tough situations, which means to whimper and whine a lot while doing absolutely nothing. The second is to go to the Supreme Court to force the issue, whereupon the president will claim it as an unconstitutional infringement on his or her commander-in-chief powers, regardless of whether a previous president (or even the current one) had signed the legislation that Baker and Christopher propose. (By the way, chances are good that Congress would lose such a suit. If it was brought before the current court, chances are a whole lot better than good. Congress would be about as likely to prevail as would the opposition party in a North Korean election.) The third option is the one ultimately resorted to in the case of Vietnam, which would be to simply de-fund the war.

But if we want to take the full measure of how toothless Baker and Christopher seek to render Congress, we should consider their Trojan Horse in forcing Congress to take a position on the war during its first thirty days. That’s a bit like trying to sell abstinence right in the middle of some rowdy good sex. Let’s just say the incentives are all loaded in one direction. Remember how much bogus noise the right ginned up about ‘supporting the troops’ years after the Iraq invasion was launched, let alone weeks? There is hardly any time when politicians are less likely to oppose a war than the first thirty days after it’s begun. Then what happens after Congress has taken its mandatory vote and, of course, approved some foreign adventure launched by an insane president? It will only have a much harder time, not easier, to shut it off later, when it comes to its senses, or at least when its senses tell it that it is now safe to oppose the war. The president will surely argue that Congress has no business opposing a war it once supported.

Is it possible that the Commission didn’t realize all this? Sure. But it’s also possible that Dick Cheney doesn’t much care for money or power. Is it possible that James Baker – the guy who gave us the Bush Junior presidency by breaking all the rules of democracy in Florida and at the Supreme Court – would use the current desire to reign in a loose cannon presidency to present this plan as an improvement, knowing in fact that it would actually increase presidential power over war policy? Nah. Not Jimmy.

Clearly, this represents a step backward rather than a step forward when it comes to avoiding another Iraq scenario. Just replay the events of the last six years, with the same cast of characters – but this time under the plan proposed by the Baker-Christopher Commission – to see what would happen. The same members of Congress who voted for a bullshit war because they were afraid of the consequences to their careers if they didn’t would be far more inclined to vote for the war three weeks after the invasion began. And they would then have had an even harder time later climbing down off the limb they’d perched themselves on than they already do now. Beautiful. That’s just what we need.

In a very profound way, though, all of this is moot anyhow. So, okay, the president has the commander-in-chief power which is broadly supported (even in Congress), and unlikely to ever be even remotely diminished. This country fought brutal and massive wars in Korea for three years, Vietnam for a dozen, and Iraq will be for easily seven before the earliest we’d possibly get out – all without a declaration of war or any serious question of the presidential prerogative to deploy forces without one. Get the picture? Likewise, however, the one power that Congress possesses in an equally undiluted and uncontested form is the power of the purse. Congress can shut down any expensive war it wants whenever it wants by using that power, as it did finally in the case of Vietnam. All that’s necessary is the will to do so. Purses can be used in many different ways, depending on one’s commitment to doing what is right and one’s courage to follow though on that path, even at the personal cost of career or likability amongst the Cro-Magnon set. Harry Reid’s purse seems to have little use other than for transporting around a bit of eyeliner, some lipstick and maybe a few sanitary napkins. In better hands, it would be used it to flatten George W. Bush and end his Mesopotamian nightmare, pronto.

Which really brings us, ultimately to the heart of questions like these. You can spend an entire lifetime, and fill an entire library wing, with treatises and legal commentaries on these grand constitutional questions regarding the distribution of power in a government such as ours. (Most democracies use a parliamentary system, where the issue is moot. There are no checks and balances because there are no separate branches to check or to balance.) At the end of the day, though, you’re ultimately left with words written on ink in parchment. It doesn’t even require a single struck match to destroy their power (indeed, if they have such power, burning the documents will have zero effect). All that is necessary is for good people to do nothing, while monsters like Bush and Cheney drive freight trains through the edifices of Constitutional law constructed over centuries.

And that is precisely what has happened. There will always be Bushes and Cheneys, and history shows there always has been. This was perhaps the single most profound insight the Founders brought to Philadelphia as they engaged in their experiment in political engineering. They sought to design a government that was powerful enough to hold together and to act when necessary – unlike the one provided for in the Articles of Confederation – yet also sufficiently limited so as to protect their liberties – unlike George III’s regime. The Constitution really is a pretty amazing achievement from that engineering perspective. In any case, this concern for finding the correct concentration of power is certainly the motivation for the otherwise fairly bizarre decision they made to divide the government and set the pieces of it against one another.

The Founders also sought to create a government of laws, not men. A great aspiration, to be sure, though inevitably flawed at the end of the day. (I wish, for starters that they had aspired to a government not of people – rather than not of men, but of course it would be 150 years before fully half the population began to get its legal rights.) But their more critical flaw, for purposes of this particular discussion, is the belief that you can somehow take people out of government and leave only laws in their place to govern.

Unfortunately, people are not only the subjects of those laws, but also the keepers, promulgators and implementers. Laws, principles, rules, codes – these are all ultimately what people make of them, not what’s written on paper. If George W. Bush says that it is legal to waterboard detainees at Guantánamo and nobody stops him, that is what’s going to happen. If the majority on the Supreme Court abandon all their vociferously articulated prior principles of states’ rights, judicial restraint and hostility to equal protection claims in order to justify crowning Bush president – and, again, no one objects too strenuously – then off to the White House he goes. And if Congress is supposed to be an equal partner in war-making decisions but hasn’t got the guts to do its job, well then, welcome to Baghdad, soldier.

The whole matter was put rather succinctly by President Andrew Jackson once, when he was angered at a decision made by John Marshall’s Supreme Court holding that the state of Georgia could not impose its laws on Cherokee tribal lands. Jackson is quoted as saying “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!”, thereby shredding the notion of a government of laws in a mere eleven-word sentence.

The truth is that there is no such thing as a government without people. There is no main-frame somewhere which can dispassionately compute matters of law and policy. It’s up to us, at the end of the day.

Either we stick to our principles – especially in moments of duress – or we don’t.

No oceans of ink applied to mountains of parchment, and certainly no new scheme concocted by James Baker and Warren Christopher, could ever save America’s Congress, or its press, or its opposition party, or its people, from the historical stain which has attached to them forever by virtue of their abdication of responsibility when it came to Iraq.

We had, in October of 2002, and in March of 2003, and today, and on every date in-between, a government of laws. The principles and codes and Constitution were all there.

It’s just the people who were missing.

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 (dmg@regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website, www.regressiveantidote.net.

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.

Bill Moyers Journal: Mortgage Mess + Wall Street + Justice & the American Dream

Dandelion Salad

Bill Moyers Journal

July 18, 2008

Mortgage Mess

THE JOURNAL travels to ground zero of the mortgage meltdown — Cleveland, Ohio. Correspondent Rick Karr takes viewers to Slavic Village, one of the hardest hit neighborhoods in the nation when it comes to the spate of foreclosures caused by the subprime mortgage crisis.

Video link

William Greider on Wall Street

Veteran journalist William Greider on the current financial crisis and what he calls “the great deflation of Wall Street.”

Video link

Justice and the American Dream

Take part in our Web-only project that features essays and videos of some of Moyers’ notable guests laying out their vision for the future of the American dream.

Video link

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.


Deep in the capitalist doo-doo by William Bowles

Economic Collapse by Norman Livergood

Swan Song for Fannie – Eulogy For The “Ownership Society”

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Atty General John Ashcroft: I’m Not Gonna Answer!


US & Iraq Agree To Set Vague Goals On Hopeful Drawndown Of US Troops Perhaps In Some Kind Of Future



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

July 19, 2008

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have agreed to set a “time horizon” for reducing U.S. forces in Iraq. “This is not a timetable or timeline for unsurging our troops,” said Bush. “It is a time horizon, like horizon wireless where you have a minutes limit but you can go over it if you need to.”

After citing a decrease in violence in Iraq in the last month, Maliki had expressed a strong desire to set a time table for US troops to leave and allow his government to take over. “I was insisting on letting us run our own country,” Maliki said, “but I got, how you say, an offer I could not be refusing from the esteemed Vice President Cheney.”

“We did have a little face off after we went hunting for some common ground,” Cheney said, “of course, it wasn’t going to be my face off.”

In a secure video shown on Youtube, Myspace and Facebook, Bush and Maliki agreed that there could be discussions of reducing the number of US troops when, as Bush stated, “the propaganda has succeeded in telling us that we no longer need such a large troop surgery over there.”

“There will be no arbitrary time set for removal of US troops,” said Presidential Press Secretary Dana Perino. “Any troops will be removed only when the decider decides.”


Obama outlines policy of endless war + Obama’s Speech

Countdown: McCain Leaking Obama’s Travel Plans + Goals vs Timelines In Iraq

Memo to Obama, McCain: No One Wins in a War By Howard Zinn

NYT Op-Ed: Israel Will Attack Iran

Dandelion Salad

By Steven D., Booman Tribune
Posted on July 18, 2008, Printed on July 19, 2008

Yes, you read my title correctly. Today’s New York Times includes an op-ed piece by Benny Morris, a Professor of Middle Eastern history at Ben Gurion University. He claims Israel will most certainly attack Iran within the next 4 to 7 months, and if conventional weapons are unsuccessful to knock out Iran’s nuclear program, than Israel will escalate to the use of nuclear weapons.

By all accounts Professor Morris is no Likudist or neoconservative stalking horse, but a leading figure among Israel’s “New Historians” movement which has portrayed the history of the creation of Israel and the genesis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms traditional Israeli historians deem revisionist and flawed because it claims to present a more balanced view of the history of the Palestinian conflict, one at odds with the traditional Israeli narrative of the “Palestinian Exodus” from Israel on the eve of the 1948 war.

All this as context for what is a deeply disturbing essay by Professor Morris, for his concerns cannot be brushed aside lightly as the ravings of a right wing Israeli figure, or as propaganda from someone connected to the current Israeli government. If accurate, the next President of the United States will face the beginning of his first term in office with a Middle East in flames with all that portends for the world.


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.


Who can and who can’t have nuclear weapons?

This Weekend: Speak Out Against War on Iran

Is Iran a “threat to peace and security”?

Israel’s War with Iran and The Zionist Power Configuration in America

Kucinich Decries Iran Saber Rattling in House Legislation

Israel threatens to wage illegal, pre-emptive military attack on Iran

Will Israel And/Or The U.S. Attack Iran? By Uri Avnery

War, war, war or jaw, jaw, jaw? by William Bowles

President Bush Backs Israeli Plan for Strike on Iran

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh


Obama outlines policy of endless war + Obama’s Speech

Dandelion Salad

by Bill Van Auken
Global Research, July 18, 2008
www.wsws.org, 16 July 2008

Any misconception that Barack Obama is running in the 2008 election as an “antiwar” candidate should have been cleared up Tuesday in what was billed by the Democratic presidential campaign as a “major speech” on national security and the US war in Iraq.

Speaking before a backdrop of massed American flags at the Reagan Building in Washington, Obama made it clear that he opposes the present US policy in Iraq not on the basis of any principled opposition to neo-colonialism or aggressive war, but rather on the grounds that the Iraq war is a mistaken deployment of power that fails to advance the global strategic interests of American imperialism.

What emerges from the speech by the junior senator from Illinois is that the November election will not provide the American people with the opportunity to vote for or against war, but merely to choose which of the two colonial-style wars that US forces are presently fighting should be escalated.

As in his op-ed piece published in the New York Times on Monday, his call on Tuesday for the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq was linked to the proposal to dispatch as many as 10,000 troops to Afghanistan to escalate the war there.

The thrust of Obama’s speech was a critique of the Bush administration’s incompetence in pursuing an imperialist strategy, combined with an implicit commitment to advance the same basic strategy in a more rational and effective manner once he enters the White House.

He summed up his policy as “a responsible redeployment of our combat troops that pushes Iraq’s leaders toward a political solution, rebuilds our military, and refocuses on Afghanistan and our broader security interests.”

Obama reiterated his campaign pledge to bring US “combat brigades” out of Iraq within 16 months of his inauguration. After this “redeployment,” however, a “residual force” would remain in Iraq carrying out counter-insurgency operations, protecting US facilities and training and supporting Iraqi puppet forces—tasks that would undoubtedly keep tens of thousands of American troops occupying the country indefinitely.

Obama stressed that he would make “tactical adjustments” to his plan based upon consultations with “commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government,” suggesting that even the partial withdrawal he proposes would unlikely unfold as quickly as promised.

The speech was scheduled in advance of a “fact-finding” tour that Obama is set to embark upon in the next week, visiting both Iraq and Afghanistan and conducting meetings with US military commanders in both countries.

Obama began his speech by invoking the legacy of US imperialism’s strategy in the aftermath of World War II, when it acted to “foster new international institutions like the United Nations, NATO and the World Bank” and rebuilt shattered European capitalism through the Marshall Plan. He contrasted that six-decade policy with what he presented as the squandered opportunity for Washington to again seize global leadership following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“The world, too, was united against the perpetrators of this evil act, as old allies, new friends and even long-time adversaries stood by our side,” said Obama. “It was time—once again—for America’s might and moral suasion to be harnessed; it was time to once again shape a new security strategy for an ever-changing world.”

The starting point for seizing this golden opportunity, according to Obama, was to “have deployed the full force of American power to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and all of the terrorists responsible for 9/11, while supporting real security in Afghanistan.”

Instead, he charged, the Bush administration diverted these military resources into the war against Iraq, “a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.” He continued: “By any measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe.”

This presentation is a gross and deliberate distortion of the motives underlying both the war in Afghanistan and the one in Iraq. Neither of them was launched with the aim of “keeping America safe,” but rather to advance definite strategic interests of American imperialism.

The central aim of the war in Afghanistan—planned well before the attacks of 9/11—was to take advantage of the power vacuum in Central Asia created by the Soviet Union’s dissolution to assert US domination over a region containing the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world.

As for the supposed targets of this operation—Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban—all of them are, in the final analysis, the products of US imperialism’s own bloody history of intervention in the region, particularly in the 1980s, when Washington poured billions of dollars into funding the Mujahedin forces fighting the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan and the Soviet army when it intervened there. Among these forces were bin Laden and those who went on to set up both Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The legacy of this CIA-directed war was the devastation of Afghanistan and protracted political chaos, which Washington sought to curb by supporting the Taliban’s coming to power.

Now, nearly seven years after the US invaded Afghanistan, Obama proclaims, “As president, I will make the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win.”

To that end, Obama vowed to send “two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan” and to press Washington’s NATO allies to make “greater contributions—with fewer restrictions” in terms of deploying their own troops.

He continued by vowing to expand the intervention in Afghanistan into neighboring Pakistan.

“The greatest threat to that security lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train and insurgents strike into Afghanistan,” he warned. “We cannot tolerate a terrorist sanctuary, and as president, I won’t. We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO to secure the border, to take out terrorist camps and to crack down on cross-border insurgents. We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights.”

There is no evidence that US forces are fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan or that the bulk of those attacking American and NATO forces are following orders issued by the remnants of the Taliban. The Pentagon has not reported the capture of Al Qaeda operatives in the stepped-up fighting that has claimed the lives of 69 US and NATO soldiers in the months of May and June.

The reality is that the resistance to the US-led occupation has grown dramatically as a direct product of the escalating slaughter of civilians, as seen in the July 6 US air strike that killed 47 members of a wedding party, the vast majority of them women and children. Anger has also been generated by the arbitrary detention and frequent torture of those picked up by US units and Afghan puppet troops, as well as by the gross corruption of the US-backed regime of President Hamid Karzai.

In the attack on a US base last Sunday that claimed the lives of nine US soldiers, local villagers reportedly participated, providing direct support to the insurgents who carried out the assault.

With “more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones,” Obama is proposing to escalate this slaughter, which will generate greater resistance and an expanded war involving more US troops and, inevitably, their deployment across the border into Pakistan.

Obama vowed to beef up the US military for a war that threatens to prove far more intense than the one in Iraq. He called for an overall increase of American ground forces by 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 marines, and “investing in the capabilities we need to defeat conventional foes and meet the unconventional challenges of our time.”

Much of the media reaction to Obama’s speech centered on speculation over whether it was aimed at reassuring his Democratic base that he is still committed to effecting a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, or if it indicated a further “move to the center” by stressing his willingness to use force as the US commander-in-chief.

In reality, the speech reflected what is becoming a consensus position within much of the American political establishment, Democratic and Republican alike. There is a growing conviction that the US can secure its strategic interests in Iraq with fewer troops and without expending the more than $10 billion a month that is compounding the deepening economic crisis of American capitalism.

To underscore this message, Obama was introduced Tuesday by former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, who, together with Republican ex-Secretary of State James Baker, chaired the Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan panel that called for a revamped US military and diplomatic policy aimed at salvaging the American intervention in Iraq.

Both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, have expressed concern that there are insufficient troop levels in Afghanistan to secure US domination of the country. They have indicated that they would like to deploy another 10,000 there—the same number proposed by Obama.

Even Bush, in a White House press conference Tuesday morning, sounded this theme, claiming that Washington and its NATO allies were already initiating a “surge” in Afghanistan.

As for the speech signaling a shift to the right, the reality is that Obama has sounded the same themes repeatedly since initiating his run for the presidency. While in the Democratic primaries he stressed his opposition to the 2002 Senate vote to grant Bush authorization to launch the Iraq war—a resolution that was supported by his principal rivals Hillary Clinton and John Edwards—he always made it clear that he embraced the ideological framework of the “global war on terrorism” used to justify both the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions.

Given this position and his subsequent votes to fund the war once he entered the Senate in 2005, there is little reason to believe that he would not have joined his rivals in giving Bush a blank check for an Iraq invasion had he been a US senator at the time.

Writing in Foreign Affairs a year ago, Obama stressed that the lesson of the Iraq debacle was the necessity to prepare for new US wars. “We must use this moment both to rebuild our military and to prepare it for the missions of the future,” he stressed. “We must retain the capacity to swiftly defeat any conventional threat to our country and our vital interests. But we must also become better prepared to put boots on the ground in order to take on foes that fight asymmetrical and highly adaptive campaigns on a global scale.”

While Obama’s “left” apologists will no doubt excuse the blatant militarism and warmongering in the candidate’s speech as a mere political device aimed at winning over “centrist” voters, the reality is that the candidate is spelling out what can be expected from an incoming Democratic administration in 2009.

Its policies will be determined not by the hollow campaign rhetoric about “change” that has been Obama’s specialty, but rather by the deepening economic and social crisis of American capitalism and the determination of the American ruling elite to continue using military force as a means of offsetting its economic decline.

© Copyright Bill Van Auken, Global Research, 2008 The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9616


Obama Speech on Iraq and Bush/McCain Foreign Policy


July 15, 2008 MSNBC


Memo to Obama, McCain: No One Wins in a War By Howard Zinn

Obama’s Brave New World + Ex-CIA Ray McGovern on Obama’s ‘new world’

Nader on Obama and Israel (video)

Worse than McCain By Mike Whitney

Deep in the capitalist doo-doo by William Bowles

by William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Monday, July 19, 2008

“The current market jitters are centred on disturbances in the world’s credit markets. Worries about the viability of sub-prime mortgage lending have spread around the financial system, and the central banks have been forced to pump in billions of dollars to oil the wheels of lending.” — ‘Financial crises: Lessons from history’, Analysis By Steve Schifferes Economics reporter, BBC News[1]

Thus runs the opening para from the BBC’s missive (written in September 2007) on the ‘credit crisis’. The piece purports to explain a series of economic meltdowns going back to the 1860s, but explanations of why these periodic collapses occur there are none. One has to read very carefully between the lines to gain some inkling of what links the crises together: in a word, speculation, but the word gets mentioned only once in the entire piece, in relation to the Crash of ‘29.

“After a huge speculative rise in the late 1920s, based partly on the rise of new industries such as radio broadcasting and carmaking, shares fell by 13% on Thursday, 24 October.” (ibid)

“Speculative rise”? “Partly”? What’s the other part? Conveniently, we are not told.

Contrast this with the huge investment in Internet companies toward the end of the 1990s, which too was caused by speculation in what investors then thought was a license to print money (note the parallel with the 1920s, one that is not made by the BBC nor it must be noted, with the latest and most severe of crises),

“During the late 1990s, stock markets became beguiled by the rise of internet companies such as Amazon and AOL, which seemed to be ushering in a new era for the economy.

“But in March 2000, the [Internet] bubble burst, and the technology-weighted Nasdaq index fell by 78% by October 2002.”

78%, that is to say, over three-quarters of the value of hi-tech stocks was wiped out almost literally overnight. “Beguiled”? What kind of an explanation is this? The key sentence in the BBC’s ‘explanation’ is,

“But the Federal Reserve, the US central bank, cut interest rates throughout 2001, gradually lowering rates from 6.25% to 1% to stimulate economic growth.” (ibid)

But making money cheaper by lowering the interest rate only fuels inflation. ‘Growth’ may well occur but it was achieved by increasing the credit debt and devaluing the money supply which sooner or later would bite the hand that fed it.

In fact, aside from the ‘29 Crash, the piece, which uses six examples scrupulously avoids any mention of the central role not only of gambling (or speculation) but of the crucial role of government in propping up a bankrupt capitalist system. Instead, state intervention in the market is described as the “central banks” that is to say, ‘socialism’ for the capitalist class.

Speculation played an enormous role in the latest crisis but was not the underlying cause, rather it is a symptom of the system brought about by the falling rates of profit which could only be solved (in the short term) by the complete deregulation of the financial sector, a process initiated in the 1970s which enabled retail banks to operate like commercial investment companies (using ordinary depositors money rather than investors).

Deregulation opened the floodgates of speculation that started with the Savings & Loans companies which were the first to go belly-up back in the 1980s. Billions were stolen and a vast bailout by central government followed. (See ‘Bush Family Connections: Silverado Savings & Loan Scandal’ and ‘Bush Family Connections: The Family That Preys Together’)

Words like “jitters” “worries”, and “central banks” pepper the piece, innocuous descriptions of fundamental contradictions that underly the latest “disturbance”. Thus the BBC would have us believe that the fundamental problem is caused essentially by what the marketeers call ‘sentiment’, that is to say, individuals who fear losing money. But come on folks, is this any way to run an economy, on the subjective feelings of a bunch of parasites?

According to the BBC, the following are the ‘lessons’ to be learned from past financial crises,

  • Globalisation has increased the frequency and spread of financial crises, but not necessarily their severity
  • Early intervention by central banks is more effective in limiting their spread than later moves
  • It is difficult to tell at the time whether a financial crisis will have broader economic consequences
  • Regulators often cannot keep up with the pace of financial innovation that may trigger a crisis. (ibid)

It’s not only a brilliant piece of double-speak but it also tells us nothing about the underlying causes of periodic crises. Take the first ‘lesson’,

“Globalisation has increased the frequency and spread of financial crises, but not necessarily their severity”. Oh really? The million-plus people who have lost their homes in the US or the food riots in over forty-seven countries and the rising unemployment are not severe enough for the BBC?

“About 8.5 million Americans actively seeking work are unemployed, an increase of about 21.4 percent over one year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The unemployment rate of 5.5 percent is up from 4.6 percent a year ago. More important, about 1.5 million of the 8.5 million unemployed have been unemployed at least six months, a 37 percent increase over the past year, according to the BLS. Not included in the numbers are the “1.6 million people who are ‘marginally attached’ to the workforce, who had looked for work in the previous 12 months, but not in the last month,” according to Andre Damon of Global Research. Damon also reports that the BLS data does not include about 420,000 “‘discouraged workers’, who had given up looking for work because they think that there is no work available.” — ‘US: It’s Still the Economy, Stupid’, By Walter Brasch

‘Early intervention’?

What, like Northern Wreck or Fanny Mae and Freddy Mack in the US? The sheer irrationality of the BBC piece is revealed when it tells us that a “It is difficult to tell at the time whether a financial crisis will have broader economic consequences”. A crisis by its very definition is something that is far-reaching in its effects but obviously the BBC has a different definition of the word.

And just in case we still don’t get it, the final ‘reason’ that, “Regulators often cannot keep up with the pace of financial innovation that may trigger a crisis” is pure dissembling. After all, in theory the entire point of ‘deregulation’ was to get government off the backs of the financial sector and let the ‘market’ do its thing.

“Innovation” is BBC-speak for deregulation which led to speculation, thus avoiding the fact that the financial sector has been ‘deregulated’ for almost thirty years, during which period there have been four major financial crises each with disastrous consequences for millions of people, so to say that the regulators can’t keep pace with innovation is simply a lie of grand proportions (see Silverado above).

What emerges is the fact that the BBC’s ‘analysis’ is nothing more than a clever coverup that masks the fundamental contradiction of an economic system that operates to make a tiny handful of people disgustingly wealthy by stealing from working people. It ignores the fact that such periodic crises are intrinsic to capitalism and the result of nothing more than the pursuit of private profit regardless of the consequences.


1. Also of interest is why this article, which is getting on for a year old, is listed as an important link to its piece ‘Banking rally boosts US markets’, dated 16 July, 2008, especially so given the current reality which bears no resemblance to the ‘analysis’ (any more than it did when it was written) but then the BBC hedges its bets by telling us that “It is difficult to tell at the time whether a financial crisis will have broader economic consequences”, a finer piece of double-speak is difficult to find.

The BBC only gets away with this kind of rubbish by completely ignoring any analysis that proposes an alternative cause for the periodic crises of capital, over-production/under-consumption, falling rates of profit, competition, loss of markets and so forth.

This essay is archived at: http://www.creative-i.info/?p=296


Economic Collapse by Norman Livergood

Swan Song for Fannie – Eulogy For The “Ownership Society”

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

War, war, war or jaw, jaw, jaw? by William Bowles

Countdown: McCain Leaking Obama’s Travel Plans + Goals vs Timelines In Iraq

Dandelion Salad


July 18, 2008

McCain Leaking Obama’s Travel Plans

Keith reports on John McCain possibly leaking when Barack Obama is due to arrive in Iraq and his campaign criticizing Obama for not going, and then going to Iraq. Richard Wolffe weighs in.

Goals vs Timelines In Iraq

Keith reports on the continually shifting dialog about what “winning” in Iraq means, and the government of Iraq wanting us to leave and what time line as opposed to “timed horizon” means. E.J. Dionne weighs in.

Phil Gramm stepping down

Keith reports on Phil Gramm stepping down from his job as co-chair of the McCain campaign, and his role in many of our economic woes we’re facing right now. Chris Hayes weighs in on Gramm’s responsibility with the economic problems we’re having now and what it took to finally have him thrown under the Straight Talk Express.

The Right’s Choice

Keith talks to Larry Hunter who served as former advisor to Ronald Reagan who was one of the authors of the Contract With Americe and has said he’s voting for Barack Obama, and who explains why he’s chosen to do so in this interview.


Tonight’s: Gas-Gate, Torture-Gate and Halliburton-Electrocution-Gate.

Worst Person

And the winner is…Col. Bud Day.Runners up Dominic Carman and Bill O’Reilly.