All the Propaganda That’s Fit to Print: The New York Times, Again, Tells It Like It Ain’t

Dandelion Salad

Sent to me by Jason Miller from Thomas Paine’s Corner. Thanks, Jason.

by Sean M. Madden
Thomas Paine’s Corner

‘Can even the New York Times, propaganda-arm-extraordinaire, print this with a straight face? Bush –the million-plus-mass-murderer from Connecticut, I mean Crawford — is pointing out to Russia that it is risking its place in the “the diplomatic, political, economic and security structures of the 21st century,” by which he can only mean the New World Order, the very nature of which the world’s citizens have observed throughout the Bush years (I and II) is nothing if not diabolical.’

The New York Times’ top story this morning — entitled “Bush, Sending Aid, Demands That Moscow Withdraw” — leads with the following three propaganda-packed paragraphs:

President Bush sent American troops to Georgia on Wednesday to oversee a “vigorous and ongoing” humanitarian mission, in a direct challenge to Russia’s display of military dominance over the region. His action came after Russian soldiers moved into two strategic Georgian cities in what he and Georgian officials called a violation of the cease-fire Russia agreed to earlier in the day.

Mr. Bush demanded that Russia abide by the cease-fire and withdraw its forces or risk its place in “the diplomatic, political, economic and security structures of the 21st century.” It was his strongest warning yet of potential retaliation against Russia over the conflict.

The decision to send the American military, even on a humanitarian mission, deepened the United States’ commitment to Georgia and America’s allies in the former Soviet sphere, just as Russia has been determined to reassert its control in the area.

But the propaganda is already at work, before we even get to these lead paragraphs, within the headline itself, splashed as it is across the front page of America’s oft-called “newspaper of record,” along with the Gray Lady’s hundred-plus-year-old motto “All the News That’s Fit to Print”. The headline is accompanied, or vice versa, by a photograph of a “humanitarian aid” shipment being unloaded, we’re told, from a U.S. military cargo plane at an airport in Tbilisi, Georgia.

But to be sure that all concerned — that is, we historical-fact-deprived Americans, you god-help-you Georgians, and the rest of “the free world” — get the point at a glance, the U.S. State Department seal, apparently color-coordinated for the occasion, graces the side of the shipment.

As part of an all-out Western media campaign to bury the simple fact that Georgia invaded South Ossetia a week ago today — an act of aggression which led, subsequently, to Russia’s response — today’s NYT’s top headline helps to further instill the lie, at home and abroad, that Bush and the U.S government are truly concerned about the welfare of Georgians and human beings generally.

American and international readers are spoon-fed their daily dose of sanctioned thought within the very first sentence of the article. Bush, and by extension, the U.S. government and its military are not in Georgia to further U.S. (or the global elite’s) geopolitical interests.

Don‘t you dare think such a forbidden thought, the NYT goads its readers (of whom, on the whole, it can be said could do with a fair bit of goading to wake them from their psyop slumber).

Bush, the U.S. government and its military — who, lest we forget, are guilty of murdering more than a million Iraqi civilians by way of their very own and very indisputable act of overt aggression, to say nothing of atrocities in Afghanistan or the ceaseless drumbeat toward a prefabricated war with Iran — are in Georgia on a “humanitarian mission”.

A “vigorous and ongoing” one at that, should we have considered that it could be otherwise.

Gee whiz, what swell folk they are, off on a sticky humanitarian venture, risking life and limb for liberty and justice for all, when they could be vacationing during the final throes of summer. Worse yet, some of the American men and women deployed to Georgia may actually believe that they’re doing just that, risking life and limb (as they most certainly are) for liberty and justice for all.

Mike Whitney wrote the following in an article which headlined yesterday’s Information Clearing House newsletter:

The attack was unprovoked and took place a full 24 hours before even ONE Russian soldier set foot in South Ossetia. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Americans still believe that the Russian army invaded Georgian territory first. The BBC, AP, NPR, the New York Times and the rest of the establishment media has consistently and deliberately misled its readers into believing that the violence in South Ossetia was initiated by the Kremlin. Let’s be clear, it wasn’t. In truth, there is NO dispute about the facts except among the people who rely the western press for their information. Despite its steady loss of credibility, the corporate media continues to operate as the propaganda-arm of the Pentagon.

Whitney’s article popped into my inbox at 1:35 BST (British Summer Time) this morning. The New York Times daily headlines email arrived at 9:31, giving me time, first, to read, share and comment on (in correspondence) Whitney’s ICH article before coming upon the NYT’s daily dose.

But let’s return to those first three paragraphs and see if we can’t sift through the propaganda that the New York Times has the never-ending gall to heap upon its readers, despite or in continuation of its deep complicity in smoothing the way within the hearts and minds of the American people for the U.S. to wage its criminal war in Iraq, as it did in the lead up to the invasion of Afghanistan, as it has been doing with feverish abandon concerning Iran, and is doing now within the article at hand in order to provide pseudo-intellectual cover for U.S. aggression-by-proxy in the Caucasus.

President Bush sent American troops to Georgia on Wednesday to oversee a “vigorous and ongoing” humanitarian mission, in a direct challenge to Russia’s display of military dominance over the region.

The U.S. already had troops in Georgia, reportedly to train the Georgian military. Considered in this light, the first sentence of this NYT article is, at best, a half-truth, at worst, a lie of omission.

On July 15, Reuters reported (and published, though the page has since “expired“) that “one thousand U.S. troops began a military training exercise in Georgia on Tuesday against a backdrop of growing friction between Georgia and neighbouring Russia.” The report continues: “The main purpose of these exercises is to increase the cooperation and partnership between U.S. and Georgian forces,” Brigadier General William B. Garrett, commander of the U.S. military’s Southern European Task Force, told reporters. This was reported on July 15, one month ago.

But this fact must be relegated to the memory hole. We are meant only to remember that U.S. forces are on a humanitarian mission and that Georgia was attacked, unprovoked, by Russia in a “display of military dominance over the region.” Never mind that U.S. forces did, in fact, invade and presently occupy both Iraq and Afghanistan in a display of military dominance. Russia, on the other hand, was meant to stand by as their citizens were being attacked and killed by Georgia military forces which General Garrett has told us were working in cooperation and partnership with U.S. forces in July.

Given this fine example of international cooperation and partnership, are even Americans and other gullible New York Times readers meant to swallow the obvious conclusion that Georgia would never have attacked South Ossetia without prior U.S. knowledge and approval?

His [Bush’s] action came after Russian soldiers moved into two strategic Georgian cities in what he and Georgian officials called a violation of the cease-fire Russia agreed to earlier in the day.

We’re meant to believe that Russian soldiers just decided, devoid of any cause whatsoever, to move into two Georgian cities. Russia, not Georgia, must be seen to be the aggressor. Not a hint of reality must be allowed to seep in and cause good ol’ American patriotic resolve to waver.

All must be black and white, even if what passes for black is, indeed, white or vice versa.

Mr. Bush demanded that Russia abide by the cease-fire and withdraw its forces or risk its place in “the diplomatic, political, economic and security structures of the 21st century.” It was his strongest warning yet of potential retaliation against Russia over the conflict.

Can even the New York Times, propaganda-arm-extraordinaire, print this with a straight face? Bush — the million-plus-mass-murderer from Connecticut, I mean Crawford — is pointing out to Russia that it is risking its place in the “the diplomatic, political, economic and security structures of the 21st century,” by which he can only mean the New World Order, the very nature of which the world’s citizens have observed throughout the Bush years (I and II) is nothing if not diabolical.

In closing, and in brief, let us take a look at the third paragraph in this New York Times piece:

The decision to send the American military, even on a humanitarian mission, deepened the United States’ commitment to Georgia and America’s allies in the former Soviet sphere, just as Russia has been determined to reassert its control in the area.

The New York Times now asserts — in case we missed it being gently shoved down our throats the first time — that only in retrospect did the U.S. decide to deepen its “commitment to Georgia and America’s allies in the former Soviet sphere”. A bald-faced lie if ever there was one.

But, note, this isn’t a U.S. official lying to the American public via the New York Times. No, this is the New York Times, itself, lying directly to its readers, worldwide, as it does day in and day out.

And, finally, the spoonful of sugar, to either help it go down or to make you regurgitate the whole:

“Even on a humanitarian mission.”

— — —
Sean M. Madden is an American writer presently living in the UK. He edits and writes for his and blogs, and welcomes correspondence from readers. His email address is

© copyright 2008 by Sean M. Madden


Putin Walks into a Trap By Mike Whitney

The Daily Show Live From The White House By Paul Craig Roberts + The Daily Show

There May Be Many Mushroom Clouds In Our Future By Paul Craig Roberts

Russia-Asia cooperation a nightmare for US hawks

“Gori in ruins”? See for yourself + Paul Craig Roberts on Russia Today + Georgia is a US Project

Inventing Your Own History As It Happens By John Steppling

Wag the Dog: How to Conceal Massive Economic Collapse

RNN: Nuclear war by miscalculation (Part 2)

Georgia – Another Pawn in the ‘Great Game’ By William Bowles

Will American Insouciance Destroy the World? By Paul Craig Roberts


There May Be Many Mushroom Clouds In Our Future By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
08/15/08 “ICH”

The success of the Bush Regime’s propaganda, lies, and deception with gullible and inattentive Americans since 9/11 has made it difficult for intelligent, aware people to be optimistic about the future of the United States. For almost 8 years the US media has served as Ministry of Propaganda for a war criminal regime. Americans incapable of thinking for themselves, reading between the lines, or accessing foreign media on the Internet have been brainwashed.

As the Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, said, it is easy to deceive a people. You just tell them they have been attacked and wave the flag.

It certainly worked with Americans.

The gullibility and unconcern of the American people has had many victims. There are 1.25 million dead Iraqis. There are 4 million displaced Iraqis. No one knows how many are maimed and orphaned.

Iraq is in ruins, its infrastructure destroyed by American bombs, missiles, and helicopter gunships.

We do not know the death toll in Afghanistan, but even the American puppet regime protests the repeated killings of women and children by US and NATO troops.

We don’t know what the death toll would be in Iran if Darth Cheney and the neocons succeed in their plot with Israel to bomb Iran, perhaps with nuclear weapons.

What we do know is that all this murder and destruction has no justification and is evil. It is the work of evil men who have no qualms about lying and deceiving in order to kill innocent people to achieve their undeclared agenda.

That such evil people have control over the United States government and media damns the American public for eternity.

America will never recover from the shame and dishonor heaped upon her by the neoconned Bush Regime.

The success of the neocon propaganda has been so great that the opposition party has not lifted a finger to rein in the Bush Regime’s criminal actions. Even Obama, who promises “change” is too intimidated by the neocon’s success in brainwashing the American population to do what his supporters hoped he would do and lead us out of the shame in which the neoconned Bush Regime has imprisoned us.

This about sums up the pessimistic state in which I existed prior to the go-ahead given by the Bush Regime to its puppet in Georgia to ethnically cleanse South Ossetia of Russians in order to defuse the separatist movement. The American media, aka, the Ministry of Lies and Deceit, again accommodated the criminal Bush Regime and proclaimed “Russian invasion” to cover up the ethnic cleansing of Russians in South Ossetia by the Georgian military assault.

Only this time, the rest of the world didn’t buy it. The many years of lies–9/11, Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, al Qaeda connections, yellowcake, anthrax attack, Iranian nukes, “the United States doesn’t torture,” the bombings of weddings, funerals, and children’s soccer games, Abu Ghraib, renditions, Guantanamo, various fabricated “terrorist plots,” the determined assault on civil liberties–have taken their toll on American credibility. No one outside America any longer believes the US media or the US government.

The rest of the world reported the facts–an assault on Russian civilians by American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian troops.

The Bush Regime, overcome by hubris, expected Russia to accept this act of American hegemony. But the Russians did not, and the Georgian military was sent fleeing for its life.

The neoconned Republican response to the Russian failure to follow the script and to be intimidated by the “unipower” was so imbecilic that it shattered the brainwashing to which Americans had succumbed.

McCain declared: “In the 21st century nations don’t invade other nations.” Imagine the laughs Jon Stewart will get out of this on the Daily Show. In the early years of the 21st century the United States has already invaded two countries and has been beating the drums for attacking a third. President Bush, the chief invader of the 21st century, echoed McCain’s claim that nations don’t invade other nations.

This dissonant claim shocked even brainwashed Americans, as readers’ emails reveal. If in the 21st century countries don’t invade other countries, what is Bush doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what are the naval armadas and propaganda arrayed against Iran about?

Have two of the worst warmongers of modern times–Bush and McCain–called off the US/Israeli attack on Iran? If McCain is elected president, is he going to pull US troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan as “nations don’t invade other nations,” or is President Bush going to beat him to it?

We all know the answer.

The two stooges are astonished that the Americans have taught hegemony to Russians, who were previously operating, naively perhaps, on the basis of good will.

Suddenly the Western Europeans have realized that being allied with the United States is like holding a tiger by the tail. No European country wants to be hurled into war with Russia. Germany, France, and Italy must be thanking God they blocked Georgia’s membership in NATO.

The Ukraine, where a sick nationalism has taken hold funded by the neocon National Endowment for Democracy, will be the next conflict between American pretensions and Russia. Russia is being taught by the neocons that freeing the constituent parts of its empire has not resulted in their independence but in their absorption into the American Empire.

Unless enough Americans can overcome their brainwashed state and the rigged Diebold voting machines, turn out the imbecilic Republicans and hold the neoconservatives accountable for their crimes against humanity, a crazed neocon US government will provoke nuclear war with Russia.

The neoconservatives represent the greatest danger ever faced by the United States and the world. Humanity has no greater enemy.


The Daily Show Live From The White House By Paul Craig Roberts

Will American Insouciance Destroy the World? By Paul Craig Roberts

Alisa Miller: Why we know less than ever about the world

Russia-Asia cooperation a nightmare for US hawks

“Gori in ruins”? See for yourself + Paul Craig Roberts on Russia Today + Georgia is a US Project

Inventing Your Own History As It Happens By John Steppling

Wag the Dog: How to Conceal Massive Economic Collapse

RNN: Nuclear war by miscalculation (Part 2)

Georgia – Another Pawn in the ‘Great Game’ By William Bowles

Will American Insouciance Destroy the World? By Paul Craig Roberts

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The Daily Show Live From The White House By Paul Craig Roberts + The Daily Show

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
08/15/08 “ICH”

The Bush Regime imbeciles don’t know when to stop. With the world still rolling in laughter from John McCain’s claim that “in the 21st century nations don’t invade other nations,” the moronic US secretary of state declared: “This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can threaten a neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it. Things have changed.” Continue reading

Alisa Miller: Why we know less than ever about the world

Dandelion Salad

This is exactly why I do what I do each day bringing the news of the world to Dandelion Salad.  ~ Lo

TEDtalksDirector Alisa Miller, head of Public Radio International, talks about why — though we want to know more about the world than ever — the US media is actually showing less. Eye-opening stats and graphs.

Continue reading

Mosaic News – 8/14/08: World News from the Middle East

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This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


Mosaic needs your help! Donate here:
“Lebanon & Syria Establish Diplomatic Ties,” Dubai TV, UAE
“A Look at the Rocky Syrian-Lebanese Relations,” Future TV, Lebanon
“Lebanese Army Restores Calm in Tripoli,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Iran’s VP in Trouble,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Ahmadinejad Visits Turkey,” Press TV, Iran
“Israel Plans to Build Synagogue at Al Aqsa,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Yemen Will Not Deport Iraqis,” Al Sharqiya TV, Iraq
“Arab States Open Embassies in Baghdad,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Continue reading

Russia-Asia cooperation a nightmare for US hawks

Dandelion Salad


More at…
F. William Engdahl: The Geopolitics of Georgia (3 of 3)


Missile Defense: Washington & Poland just moved the World closer to War

“Gori in ruins”? See for yourself + Paul Craig Roberts on Russia Today + Georgia is a US Project

Inventing Your Own History As It Happens By John Steppling

Wag the Dog: How to Conceal Massive Economic Collapse

RNN: Nuclear war by miscalculation (Part 2)

Georgia – Another Pawn in the ‘Great Game’ By William Bowles

Will American Insouciance Destroy the World? By Paul Craig Roberts

Putin Walks into a Trap By Mike Whitney

Russian envoy to NATO speaks out + Justin Raimondo on Russia Today


Nader: Taking Impeachment Off the Table + Corporate Tax Cheats

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Ralph’s Daily Audio

Ralph Nader for President in 2008



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Nader for President 2008

The Termi-Nader

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos

Ron Suskind: Bush Admin forging documents that led to war (Part 2)

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Democracy Now!

Aug 14, 2008

After Ron Suskind Reveals Bush Admin Ordered Iraq-9/11 Fakery, House Judiciary Chair John Conyers Opens Congressional Probe

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind joins us for part two of an interview on his new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism. Suskind reports that in 2003 the White House ordered the CIA to forge and disseminate false intelligence documents linking al-Qaeda and Iraq. While much of the attention on the book has focused on the forged letter, Suskind also reveals that the Bush administration and the British government knew prior to the war that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. We also speak to Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating some of the explosive findings in Suskind’s book.

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Ron Suskind: Bush Admin forging documents that led to war (Part 1)

Missile Defense: Washington & Poland just moved the World closer to War

Dandelion Salad

by F. William Engdahl
Global Research
August 15, 2008

The signing on August 14 of an agreement between the governments of the United States and Poland to deploy on Polish soil US ‘interceptor missiles’ is the most dangerous move towards nuclear war the world has seen since the 1962 Cuba Missile crisis. Far from a defensive move to protect European NATO states from a Russian nuclear attack, as military strategists have pointed out, the US missiles in Poland pose a total existential threat to the future existence of the Russian nation. The Russian Government has repeatedly warned of this since US plans were first unveiled in early 2007. Now, despite repeated diplomatic attempts by Russia to come to an agreement with Washington, the Bush Administration, in the wake of a humiliating US defeat in Georgia, has pressured the Government of Poland to finally sign the pact. The consequences could be unthinkable for Europe and the planet.

The preliminary deal to place elements of the US global missile defense shield was signed by Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer and US chief negotiator John Rood on August 14. Under the terms, Washington plans to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland coupled with a radar system in the Czech Republic, which it ludicrously claims are intended to counter possible attacks from what it calls “rogue states,” including Iran.

To get the agreement Washington agreed to reinforce Poland’s air defenses. The deal is still to be approved by the two countries’ governments and Poland’s parliament. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in televised remarks that “the events in the Caucasus show clearly that such security guarantees are indispensable.” The US-Polish missile talks had been dragging for months before recent hostilities in Georgia.

The Bush White House Press spoksperson, Dona Perino stated, officially, “We believe that missile defense is a substantial contribution to NATO’s collective security.” Officials say the interceptor base in Poland will be opened by 2012. The Czech Republic signed a deal to host a US radar on July 8.

The signing now insures an escalation of tensions between Russia and NATO and a new Cold War arms race in full force. It is important for readers to understand, as I detail painstakingly in my book, to be released this autumn, Full Spectrum Dominance: The National Security State and the Spread of Democracy, the ability of one of two opposing sides to put anti-missile missiles to within 90 miles of the territory of the other in even a primitive first-generation anti-missile missile array gives that side virtual victory in a nuclear balance of power and forces the other to consider unconditional surrender or to pre-emptively react by launching its nuclear strike before 2012. Senior Russian lawmakers said on Friday the agreement would damage security in Europe, and reiterated that Russia would now have to take steps to ensure its security.

Andrei Klimov, deputy head of the Russian State Duma’s international affairs committee, said the deal was designed to demonstrate Warsaw’s “loyalty to the US and receive material benefits. For the Americans, it is an opportunity to expand its military presence across the world, including closer to Russia. For NATO, this is an additional risk…many NATO countries are unhappy with this, including the Germans and the French.”

Klimov called the agreement “a step back” toward the Cold War.

Russian response

The US plans to deploy a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in northern Poland as part of a US-controlled missile shield for Europe and North America, has been officially sold under the ludicrous argument that it is against possible attacks from “rogue states,” including Iran. Last Spring then Russian President Vladimir Putin exposed the shallowness of the US propaganda line by offering a startled President Bush that Russia would offer the US use of Russian leased radar facilities in Azerbaijan on the Iran border to far better monitor Iran missile launches. The Bush Administration simply ignored the offer, exposing that their real target is Russia not “rogue states like Iran.” Russia rightly views deployment of the US missile shield as a threat to its national security.

The latest Polish agreement advances a Russian response.

Russian officials earlier said Moscow could deploy its Iskander tactical missiles and strategic bombers in Belarus and Russia’s westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad if Washington succeeded in its missile shield plans in Europe. Moscow also warned it could target its missiles on Poland.

Russia is also discussing to put in place an orbital ballistic missile system in response to US missile defense plans for Central Europe, according to a senior Russian military expert.

“A program could be implemented to create orbital ballistic missiles capable of reaching US territory via the South Pole, skirting US air defense bases,” said Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, former chief of staff of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, now vice president of the Academy of Security, Defense and Law Enforcement Studies.

Previously as part of the post Cold War agreements with the US, agreements which have been ´significantly ignored by Washington as it pushed the borders of NATO ever closer to Moscow’s doorstep, the Soviet Union had abandoned such missiles in accordance with the START I Treaty.

Obama backs missile defense too

The deal would further divide European countries into what Barack Obama’s foreign policy adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski calls openly, US “vassals” and those pursuing more independent policies.

Any illusions that a Democratic Obama Presidency would mean a rollback of such provocative NATO and US military moves of recent years should be dismissed as dangerous wishful thinking. Obama’s foreign policy team in addition to father Zbigniew Brzezinski, includes Brzezinski’s son, Ian Brzezinski, current US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Affairs. Ian Brzezinski is a devout backer of US missile defense policy, as well as Kosovo independence and NATO expansion into Ukraine and Georgia.

© Copyright F. William Engdahl, Global Research, 2008

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RNN: Nuclear war by miscalculation (Part 2)

RNN: The geopolitics of Georgia (Part I with Engdahl)

The Caucasus – Washington Risks nuclear war by miscalculation

Bolivarian Socialism: Corporate Media Bashes Hugo Chavez Enabling Law Decrees

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research
August 15, 2008

In January 2007, Hugo Chavez announced his “Bolivarian Socialism” project for the 21st century and explained its dependence on five revolutionary “motors:”

— constitutional reform;

— “Bolivarian popular education;”

— redefining and changing the organs of state power;

— an explosion of communal power at the grass roots; and

— the “mother (Enabling) Law to make all other “motors” possible.

Under Venezuelan constitutional law, Enabling Law power is legal but limited. So despite media and opposition claims, it doesn’t grant Chavez sweeping “rule by decree” authority or make him a “dictator.” When the National Assembly (AN) passed the law (unanimously), even US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas Shannon, admitted that it’s “valid under (Venezuela’s) Constitution. As with any tool of democracy, it depends how it is used.” Chavez had it two other times and used it responsibly by any standard or measure. He’s also the fifth Venezuelan president to request it under the 1961 Constitution and the 1999 one under Article 203. It runs for 18 months and then expires.

The current one ended July 31 and empowered Chavez in the following areas, all related to the country’s internal functioning:

— to transform sclerotic bureaucratic state institutions to make them more efficient, transparent, honest and allow for greater citizen participation;

— reform the civil service and eliminate entrenched corruption – still, a major problem;

— advance the “ideals of social justice and economic independence” through a new social and economic model based on equitable national wealth distribution in areas of health care, education and social security;

— modernize Venezuela’s financial sectors, including banking, insurance and tax policy;

— upgrade science and technology areas to benefit all sectors of society;

— reform public health, prisons, identification, migration regulations, and the judiciary to improve citizen and judicial security;

— upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, transport and all public services;

— improve and enhance the nation’s military;

— establish territorial organization norms in states and communities relating to voting and constituency size; and

— permit greater state control over the nation’s vital energy sector.

In all the above areas, Chavez was given limited constitutional power for 18 months – over only National Assembly (AN) authorized areas. He had no power to harm civil or human rights, weaken or remove his opponents, expropriate private property, or interfere with the legal right of citizens to rescind all laws by popular referendum if 10% or more of registered voters request it and only 5% for laws passed by decree. In addition, the AN may change or rescind decree-passed laws by majority vote. Unlike in America, checks and balances work in Venezuela – but not according to the hostile US media. More on that below.

On the Enabling Law’s final day, Chavez enacted 26 new laws by decree – related to the armed forces, public administration, social security, agriculture, tourism, reform of the National Banking and Finance Law, and to nationalize the Bank of Venezuela. It was privately owned until 1994 at which time the government became its majority stockholder. Then in 1996 it was again privatized when Banco Santander, Spain’s largest bank, bought a controlling interest.

The company wanted to sell it and asked permission as required by law. Chavez responded by reclaiming the bank’s resources for all Venezuelans. He assured Santander it will receive fair compensation as was done for previous nationalizations and told bank depositors not to worry: “You will be more than guaranteed in the hands of the Republic (and) You know the banking sector of Venezuela is one of the most solid in the world.” Perhaps good as gold compared to shaky US banks in serious trouble.

Chavez announced that the new laws will enhance the “great public sector,” long “subordinated” in the past, to prioritize social areas in line with national and international standards. But opposition leaders weren’t convinced. They called the measures “autocratic” and “non-consultative” and urged their followers to respond in the upcoming November regional and local elections.

Despite opposition claims, all the new measures comply fully with constitutional provisions and are entirely legal. Many were proposed early in the Enabling Law period, debated for over a year in the AN, and 16 additional laws weren’t enacted because they’re still under consideration. In all, 67 new laws were decreed from January 2007 through July 2008 covering a broad range of areas, including:

— monetary conversion;

— steel, cement, oil, banking, and electricity sector nationalizations;

— the new Law on Intelligence and Counterintelligence – now revoked and to be rewritten to eliminate potentially controversial provisions;

— promoting small and mid-sized industries as well as new types of state and community-run enterprises;

— reorganizing the military;

— national finance institutions as well;

— reforming public administration laws; as well as measures on

— price controls, agricultural policy, and food security and sovereignty.

Staged Venezuelan Street Protests Erupt

In what’s now common under Chavez, “Venezuelans protest(ed his) new socialist push,” according to the AP, but it was hardly a resounding denunciation. In Caracas, at most 1000 turned out chanting “freedom,” and “Riot police used tear gas as they blocked hundreds of Venezuelans protesting what they call new moves by President Chavez to concentrate his power.” Their charges were baseless and ludicrous and cited “blacklists barring key opposition candidates from elections and socialist decrees destroying what’s left of their democracy.”

The so-called “blacklist” was, in fact, a Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) August 5 ruling barring 272 government and opposition candidates from running in the November elections because of corruption charges and convictions. The Court held that their ruling “is acceptable in accordance with the laws that are given for reasons of general interest, for the safety of others of society and for the common good, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 30 and 32.2 of the American Convention on Human Rights. This requirement is fully compatible with the provisions of Articles 19 and 156….of the National Constitution.” The TSJ also affirmed the constitutionality of Article 105 regarding the Comptroller General’s office because it assures defendants have full due process rights.

Comptroller Clodosbaldo Russian is legally empowered as Venezuela’s top anti-corruption watchdog. He submitted a list of 368 names to the country’s National Electoral Council (CNE) and asked that they be barred from running in November because they’re being investigated for or were found guilty of corruption and misuse of public funds. CNE approved the list and asked the Supreme Court to rule on it. The Court then disqualified 272 of them.

The (2005-launched) UK-based Venezuela Information Centre (VIC) stands “in solidarity with the people of Venezuela.” Its members include NGOs, academics, students, members of the media and trade unionists. It aims to provide “objective and accurate information about all trade union, social movement and political organisations in Venezuela,” counteract distorted reporting, and “support the right of the Venezuelan people to determine their own future free from external intervention.”

VIC’s assessment of the Comptroller General’s disqualification process was as follows:

— it was “conducted strictly on legal and administrative grounds;

— carried out as part of the constitutional and legal obligations of the Office of the Comptroller General;

— taken following” TSJ 2005 rulings;

— authorized under Venezuela’s Organic Law of the Comptroller General’s Office and Venezuelan Constitution; and

— those on the list were kept fully apprised throughout the process.

The Corporate Media Responds – Hostile As Always

In the lead was The New York Times and its on-the-scene reporter Simon Romero in an August 5 article headlined “New Decrees From Chavez Mirror Spurned Measures.” Romero reported that Chavez “is using his decree powers to enact a set of ‘socialist-inspired’ measures that seem based on a package of constitutional changes” voters previously rejected. It sets the stage for new “confrontation between his government and the political opposition.”

He quoted opposition publisher Teodoro Petkoff saying: “When the government acts, as it has now, without respecting the Constitution, and the word of the president is the law, then an act of tyranny is being committed.” Romero seemed to agree.

He then objected to “a wave of takeovers of private companies,” including nationalizing “a large Spanish-owned bank.” He was unconcerned about “relatively minor” decrees but took aim at more far-reaching ones and some he called efforts to “formalize socialist-inspired policies on the margins of the formal economy, like a measure declaring barter a legitimate system of payment.” Romero seems hopeful that “the coming regional elections have the potential to erode the president’s power base,” and we’ll be hearing more from him in its run-up.

AP reporter Fabiola Sanchez criticized Chavez’s “move(s) toward a social economy,” plans “to set up neighborhood-based militias….state control over agriculture,” new powers over the military, small business loans, and quoted critics saying laws were “pushed through” without “consult(ing) major business groups.”

AFP reporter Carlos Diaz referred to “Chavez enact(ing aggressive) new laws with (an) iron fist increasing the state’s power over the economy ahead of key regional elections.” It’s a resumption of his “drive to create a socialist state, significantly increase his power and resemble proposals included in a constitutional reform narrowly rejected by voters in a December referendum.”

Even the Financial Times (FT) weighed in with Caracas reporter Benedict Mander headlining “Chavez accused of reviving old reforms” and citing government opponents “up in arms over a raft of decree laws they say replicate constitutional reforms” that voters rejected. He mentioned critics “warn(ing) that they’ll “further scare off private investment,” claimed they’re “typical of Mr. Chavez’s authoritarian streak (and will let him) expropriate private property without the need for the (AN’s) approval.” Mander also (on August 2) criticized the disqualification of opposition candidates and quoted Carter Center director of the Americas Programme, Jennifer McCoy, worrying about perceptions of clearing the way for government-backed candidates.

The Wall Street Journal was even more hostile in a Jose De Cordoba, Darcy Crowe article headlined “In Enacting Decrees, Chavez Makes New Power Grab.” They called them “ambitious….decrees which formalize the creation of a popular militia and further consolidate state control over key areas of the economy such as agriculture and tourism.” They referred to his “bypass(ing) Congress in making laws (and being) back on the offensive after suffering a humiliating defeat in December (that might have let him) stay in power for life.”

They cited “accusations that Mr. Chavez is evading the will of the people” and quoted opposition figure Luis Miquilena saying “We are in the presence of a dictatorial government which has given a coup d’etat to the constitution. Here we have no constitution, no law and the president does exactly what he wants.” It sounds like he’s confusing Chavez with George Bush because he describes conditions under him accurately in stark contrast to Venezuelan democracy.

The Journal writers see things differently. They compare Chavez’s government to Iran and take him to task for it. They also cite public opposition to the “Cuban Model,” suggest he follows it, and quote Peter Hakim of the Inter-American Dialogue saying “Everything (he’s doing) is related to the upcoming election, and it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t see this as important in his efforts to keep power.”

Far and away the most outlandish and unfounded Journal diatribes show up in Mary O’Grady’s columns. Her latest was on August 11 headlined “Chavez Sees Cuba as a Model” in which she states “The Venezuelan dictator acts more and more like Fidel” and lots more. Her accusations include “annihilat(ing)” his political competition, “put(ting) down all challengers to (his) power forcibly if necessary,” transforming the country into “a centrally planned economy,” using “his own version of the law,” declaring opponents “guilty (of corruption) by fiat,” “expanding (his) collection of political prisoners,” and near excoriating Jimmy Carter and Senator Chris Dodd for calling “Chavez’s Venezuela a democracy.” According to O’Grady: “Get in the way of Mr. Chavez’s caudillo aspirations at your peril.”

These type comments aren’t surprising from someone with her background: years at Wall Street as an options strategist for Advest, Inc., Thomas McKinnon Securities, and Merrill Lynch & Co. She also once worked at the hard-right Heritage Foundation before joining the Wall Street Journal in 1995 and becoming a senior editorial page writer in 1999 for her weekly America’s column. It’s long on the worst kind of agitprop and very short on reporting the truth.

No wonder then that neither O’Grady or other Chavez critics explain Venezuelan law or how TSJ rulings interpret it. Nor do they report how the Enabling Law works, that the nation’s Constitution authorizes it, that four other presidents used it, that Chavez scrupulously complies with its provisions, and that the National Assembly (by majority vote) and Venezuelan people (by referendum) can override his decrees. How can they? It would expose their false accusations and discredit their entire argument that will heat up soon again in the run-up to November’s state and local elections. Stay tuned.

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

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

© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is:

If Rice Peace Talks Fail, Bush To Send Troops To Georgia Via Iran (satire)



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

Aug 15, 2008

WASHINGTON – President Bush stepped up his pressure for Russia to cease all hostility toward the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. “I am prepared to lead a mission accomplished against you if you do not cease firing with a cease fire,” Bush told Russian leaders. Bush has sent Condoleezza Rice, John Bolton and Eric Pomoroy, better known in wrestling circles as the Mad Russian to broker a peace between Russia and Georgia.

“If I can’t kick those idiot Commie asses into a peaceful solution,” Bolton said, “we will have no choice but to send our troops to blow up some Ruskie booty.” The Bush Administration has indicated that it has troops ready to invade Georgia after they travel through Iran to get there. “The idea of going to Georgia through Iran has a two fold purpose,” said Vice President Dick Cheney, “it saves fuel to go on a more direct route, and we can also look for those weapons of mass destruction we know Iran has.”

The original cease fire, brokered by the French does not seem to be holding. “Them French are so good at surrendering you’d of thought all that peace and appeasement they were talking about would have worked,” Bush said yesterday, “but listen to me, you Frenchies, if we want Brie we’ll call you, otherwise, butt out.”

Barack Obama said he was against any American military action in the dispute. John McCain said that he was ready to lead the troops into battle no matter how much the boarder had changed since the last time he looked at the map of the Soviet Union. Besides,” McCain said, “Randy will know what to do in that region.” McCain was referring to Randy Scheunemann, his top foreign policy advisor who is also the top Washington lobbyist for the Republic of Georgia. When asked if his advisor had a conflict of interest, McCain said, “you should know it’s good for America to be interested in conflicts.”

“Gori in ruins”? See for yourself + Paul Craig Roberts on Russia Today + Georgia is a US Project

Dandelion Salad


Media outlets including CNN jumped on Georgia President Mikhail Saakashvili’s claim to have witnessed “first hand” two Russian planes bombing the city, and reported it as fact. Footage shot by RT shows a ghost town, where a statue of Stalin towers over the main square. Russia’s UN ambassador said the allegations were part of a “disinformation campaign.”

Washington sanctioned assault on South Ossetia

Georgia wouldn’t have attacked South Ossetia without the green light from the U.S, believes Paul Craig Roberts, a former assistant secretary to the treasury in Ronald Reagan’s administration.

Georgia is a U.S. Project – Russian FM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has criticised Georgia’s relationship with the U.S. in the aftermath of the trouble in South Ossetia. In a news conference he addressed a wide range of issues surrounding the future of the Caucasus region including Abkhazia, the role of the U.S. and media coverage of the conflict.


Inventing Your Own History As It Happens By John Steppling

All the Propaganda That’s Fit to Print: The New York Times, Again, Tells It Like It Ain’t

Wag the Dog: How to Conceal Massive Economic Collapse

RNN: Nuclear war by miscalculation (Part 2)

Georgia – Another Pawn in the ‘Great Game’ By William Bowles

Will American Insouciance Destroy the World? By Paul Craig Roberts

Putin Walks into a Trap By Mike Whitney

Russian envoy to NATO speaks out + Justin Raimondo on Russia Today


Dissing Cousins: The Dysfunctional Disparity between Vegetarianism and Environmentalism

Dandelion Salad

Sent to me by Jason Miller from Thomas Paine’s Corner. Thanks, Jason.

By Dr. Steve Best
Thomas Paine’s Corner

Currently, it is estimated that in the US “somewhere between two percent and five percent of the nation’s eaters classify themselves as vegetarians, of that number perhaps five percent are strict vegans” (Koerner 2007). Although “vegetarians” renounce animal flesh, they consume animal fluids (milk and milk-derivates such as cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream) and/or eggs. The vegetarian tribe is divided into “lacto-ovo” vegetarians who eat dairy products and eggs, “lacto-vegetarians” who eat dairy but no eggs, and “ovo-vegetarians” who eat eggs but no dairy. Some describe themselves as “vegetarians” who eat fish (“pescetarians”) or chicken (“pollo-vegetarians”) or both (“pesco-pollo vegetarians”). In truth, these oxymoronic hybridists are carnivores whose pretense to vegetarianism depends on the double fallacy of equating “meat” with “red meat” and conflating sentient beings (e.g., chicken and fish) with nonsentient things (plants).

But vegetarianism itself has been criticized as inadequate and inconsistent by a more radical approach known as “veganism” (pronounced “vee-gun-ism). For every reason vegetarians renounce meat-eating, vegans find it necessary also to repudiate dairy, cheese, eggs, and honey; clothing items such as fur, leather, wool, and silk; and animal-tested products including shampoo, cosmetics, and, drugs. Vegans believe that vegetarians only partially – and therefore inconsistently — break from a health-destroying, violent, and ecocidal system. For, like meat and the livestock industry, dairy and egg products are toxic and disease-promoting; milk cows, birds in battery cages, and veal calves are confined and killed for “lacto-ovo” consumption; and dairy and egg farms pollute the air and water. Thus, vegan pioneer Donald Watson (1910-2005) disparaged vegetarianism as “but a half-way house between flesh eating and a truly humane, civilised diet” (1944). As with vegetarianism there are sub-categories of veganism, including fruitarianism, raw food veganism, and freeganism (a minimal consumption lifestyle).

“Vegetarianism” (which I will use here to include veganism) has a long and rich history as old as Western society itself (see Berry 1998, Iacobbo and Iacobbo 2004, Spencer 2002, Walters and Portmess 1999 and 2001, Spencer 2004, Tristram 2007, and Phelps 2007. As a health-promoting diet and an ethic rooted in compassion for all living beings (ahimsa), vegetarianism emerged over three thousand years ago as a philosophy and practice of the ancient religions: Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. From this matrix, vegetarianism migrated into Western society through the Greek philosopher, Pythagoras (ca 496-552 BCE), whose vegetarianism and animal protectionist ethics spread throughout the ancient world and resurfaced in the seventeenth century (indeed, until 1847, those who abstained from meat were called “Pythagoreans”). At the dawn of modernity, vegetarianism became increasingly influential throughout European society, such that radicals deployed its non-violent and egalitarian outlook as a critical weapon against class rule and Western barbarism and prominent medical figures espoused it as ideal for health and morality as well (Stuart 2007).

Deep Vegetarianism, Radical Holism, and the Omnicidal Juggernaut of Corporate Agriculture

In the turn to the twentieth century, however, the influence of vegetarianism in the US began to wane as the livestock industry became increasingly powerful and meat became an affordable staple for working-class families (Rifkin 1992). Amidst a culture believing that meat promotes strength and vegetarianism encourages weakness, a dramatic revival, growth, and broadening of vegetarianism began in 1971, with the publication of Francis Moore Lappe’s book, Diet for a Small Planet. In this and subsequent books (1977, 1998, 2003), Lappe described a corporate-controlled, industrialized, factory-farmed system of animal agriculture that was inefficient, wasteful, cruel, and destructive to every facet of the environment. The global livestock industry was, as well, a vehicle of Western imperialism that displaced millions of people from the land, destroyed independent farmers, exacerbated poverty and inequality, and aggravated world hunger by diverting resources into producing feed rather than food. To this destructive, unethical, unjust, and unsustainable system of agriculture, Lappe contrasted a vegetarian mode of farming that produced maximum output with minimum input; that promoted health, rights, justice, and democracy; and that was environmentally sound and sustainable.

Lappe’s work — along with Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation (1975), Singer and Jim Mason’s Animal Factories (1990 [1980]), and John Robbins’ Diet for a New America (1998 [1987]) — vividly portrayed the human, animal, and environmental costs of the global meat culture and inspired the vegetarian environmentalism movement. The panoramic outlook advanced here fused issues of health, animal rights, social justice, world hunger, violence, globalization, and environmentalism into a holistic theory unrivalled in depth, comprehensiveness, and awareness of the multidimensional crisis – health, moral, social, and environmental – facing humanity. Since these theorists’ pioneering lead, a number of significant books have documented the central role of the livestock industry in the devastation of the social and natural worlds (see Mason and Singer 1990 [1980], Jacobs 1992, Rifkin 1992, Hill 1996, Robbins 2001, Lyman 2001, and Jacobson 2006). Beginning in the 1990s, vegetarian environmentalists described how the livestock industry was the principle cause of the most serious threat confronting humanity: global warming.

By 2000, growing alarm over the human, animal, and environmental toll of the global meat, dairy, and egg industries percolated into scientific sectors, international government bodies, and – in a bewilderingly slow and hesitant way – some mainstream environmental groups such as the Sierra Club. Throughout 400 startling pages, a landmark 2006 United Nations report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” identified the livestock industry “as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global” (Steinfeld et. al. 2006). The data compiled in this report and countless thousands of corroborating studies leave little room for doubt in identifying the livestock industry as the main planetary threat. The number of farmed animals in the world has quadrupled in the last 50 years, putting an incredible strain on air, land, and sea. Livestock uses 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface (Steinfeld et. al. 2006). Crops grown for animal feed rather than human food consume 87 percent of the nation’s fresh water, 90 percent of the soy crop, 80 percent of its corn, and 50 percent of all grains (Vesterby and Krupa 1997, Pimentel 1997). Compared to a vegetarian diet, meat production demands 7 times more land (Leckie 2007), 8 times more fossil fuel energy (Pimenel 1997), and ten times as many crops (Cornel University Science News, 1997, Robbins 1998 and 2001, Horrigan et. al. 2002). In this grotesquely irrational, inefficient, indirect system of carnivorous consumption, 41 million tons of plant protein for cows returns a paltry 7 million tons of protein for humans (Pimentel 1997).

Not only inefficient and wasteful, the livestock industry is a key cause of air pollution, soil erosion, and desertification, and the main source of water pollution. Agriculture produces two-thirds of the ammonia gases that produce acid rain. US farms generate 130 times as much excrement as the nation’s entire population (Worldwatch Institute 1998). Factory farm effluvia – a toxic brew of manure, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and fertilizers — poison water supplies, decimate fish populations, degrade coral reefs, and have generated over 150 oxygen-starved “dead zones” in the oceans (Larsen 2004).

Moreover, 70 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been slashed and burned to graze cattle and much of the remainder goes to producing feed. In addition to being a principle cause of forest destruction and species extinction, the livestock industry is the primary cause of global warming (Steinfeld et. al. 2006). Meat, dairy, and egg industries emit 18 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, 37 percent of the methane gas (20 times stronger a heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide), and 65 percent of nitrous oxide gases (300 times more potent than carbon dioxide). The UN report concluded that the livestock industry produced more greenhouse gases than the world’s transportation systems combined (Steinfeld et. al. 2006).

The Missing Piece to the Puzzle

These alarming facts clearly demonstrate the importance of vegetarianism and animal rights for environmentalism and the urgency of finding the common ground for a triangular alliance. Yet rather than uniting in the war to prevent massive die-offs, catastrophic breakdown, and irreversible climate change, vegetarian and environmental camps divided, torn apart by deep differences in philosophy and lifestyle (see Motavalli 2002, Sapontzis 2004). Both camps break with the domineering and dualistic mindset of anthropocentrism, but whereas vegetarians and animal rights advocates reject its mirror image in speciesism, environmentalists cling to speciesist ethics that privilege human interests and frame animals as resources for human use.

Environmentalists promote the need for a new “ecological consciousness” and “land ethic,” but rarely if ever champion vegetarianism and a new ethic to govern our relation with other species. Whereas vegetarians identify themselves as environmentalists, few environmentalists embrace vegetarianism. At stake are competing views on animal rights, whether or not hunting and meat-eating are ethical and compatible with environmental values, and how to balance the values of individuals and ecosystems.

Thrill Kill Cult

Ethical vegetarians shift the criterion for having rights from rationality to the far broader characteristic of sentience, such that a necessary and sufficient condition of having rights is the capacity to experience pleasure and pain (Singer 1975, Regan 1983). Given the fundamental moral axiom that it is wrong to cause injury, suffering, or death to another individual unless there is a compelling reason to do so, ethical vegetarians argue that — except in very rare cases such as self-defense or “subsistence” hunting — we never have adequate reason to harm animals. This is true not only for exploiting animals for “sport,” “entertainment,” and fur, but also killing them for food.

Many environmentalists opposed to industrial agriculture agree that factory farming is cruel and unethical, but nonetheless assert that animals raised on small “family” farms without intensive confinement and manipulation is acceptable and good. Their justifications for raising animals for slaughter include the argument that animals would not live at all if not bred for food, that they live a satisfying and worthy life on non-industrial farms, that killing and consuming others is a natural fact of life, and that animals exist to serve the interests of human beings. This position turns on a “welfare” rather than “rights” position (see Regan 2004), such that the moral wrong is in causing animals severe or unnecessary suffering (such as on factory farms) rather than exploiting them for human purposes. On the welfare view, slaughtering animals for food is ethical, so long as it is done “humanely” – a concept ethical vegetarians dismiss as Orwellian doublespeak, insisting that there is nothing “humane” about violent killing.

Whereas vegetarians view hunting as unnecessary and therefore unjustifiable killing, environmentalists support hunting as a recreational lifestyle. Indeed, they argue that hunting has positive ecological benefits by stabilizing game populations such as deer that would otherwise overpopulate (Lott 2007, Miniter 2007). Vegetarians respond that hunting in fact is the prime cause of deer overpopulation, and argue that hunters’ predilection to kill large healthy males over weaker individuals and females disrupts ecological and evolutionary dynamics (Pickover 2005). Unlike the animal rights ethic, which defends the rights of sentient individuals as inviolable, environmentalism is a holistic ethic that values ecosystems and species populations over individuals. Whereas many environmentalists champion Aldo Leopold’s “land ethic” (1970) as the most comprehensive embrace of the biotic community (Callicott 1993), animal rights philosopher Tom Regan (1983) denounced it as “environmental fascism” that sacrifices the individual to the whole. Others still worked to reconcile these contrasting positions (Jamieson 1997).

While some environmentalists might agree with vegetarians that factory farming is cruel, they support obtaining meat from non-commercial wild sources through “sustainable” hunting and fishing. Moreover, environmentalists argue that small-scale, organic farming is “humane” and beneficial for the environment (Eisenstein 2002, Pollan 2007). Whereas low value land – such as prairie and steppe regions – is unsuited for plants, it can be used to graze cows and sheep and thereby improves land efficiency and productivity (Science Daily 2007, Land 2007). Rebutting vegetarians who boast the ecological virtues of a plant-based diet, environmentalists point out that a frugal organic farmer who consumes modest amounts of meat from his own cows can leave a lighter “ecological footprint” than a vegetarian who drives a Hummer, is a frequent flyer, and buys produce from global rather than local sources.

Such a scenario could indeed be true, but vegetarians respond that they have not taken an innocent life to satisfy their need to eat and they resent the glib and clichéd responses by environmentalists concerning the value of an animal’s life. As the world has yet recognize a global ecological crisis spiraling out of control (Agence-France Presse 2007), vegetarians rightly argue that environmentalists have been slow to grasp the disastrous impact of meat consumption. Vegetarians point out that environmentalists have not explained how their vision of a global network of small farms can satisfy the competitive need for profits (Collin 2003), let alone the surging demand for meat — especially in the world’s most populous nations, China and India – and a burgeoning population projected to double to 12 billion by 2050 (Worldwatch Institute 1998, Steinfeld et. al. 2006, Freston 2007). Moreover, they argue, environmentalists’ uncritical praise for “organic farming” as the alternative to factory farming confuses hype for reality and increasingly is yet another form of mass production and killing of animals (Cienfuegos 2004, Davis 2007, PETA).

Now or Never

In sum, environmentalists’ work on behalf wilderness preservation benefits animals and ecological holism is a necessary broadening of ethics beyond the “sentientism” of ethical vegetarianism. Animal rights campaigns to protect species are crucial for sustaining ecological systems, and vegetarians promote a comprehensive vision for a new world. These are fertile grounds for alliance politics, and yet there are deep if not incommensurable differences over the ethics of meat-eating and hunting, a sentientist ethic opposed to a land ethic, and the value of ecosystems and populations contrasted to the rights of individual animals. While it remains to be seen whether these differences can be negotiated in favor of a strategic alliance, but it is certain that productive working relationships among the vegetarian, animal rights, and environmental communities would give humanity more of a fighting chance to confront the greatest challenge it has ever faced.

Vegetarianism is not a panacea for ever-worsening social and environmental crises, but it is a crucial part of major changes that people — in the developed worlds above all — must make. These include reducing their population numbers and consumption levels and shifting from industrial to local agriculture, from chemically-intensive to organic farming, and from fossil-fuel to alternative energy. Yet the shift from a meat-based to a vegetarian or plant-based diet would benefit not only the environment in every facet, but also endangered species, billions of animals suffering in factory farms and slaughterhouses, farmers displaced from their land, and billions of people suffering from diseases of excess (in the developed world) and of lack (in the undeveloped world).

Moving from a carnocentric diet is especially important in the US, whose citizens consume 260 pounds of meat per year, more than any other nation. The mountain of meat quaffed by glutinous Americans is 1.5 times the industrial world average, three times the East Asian average, and 40 times the average in Bangladesh. Some researchers are optimistic that even small reduction in meat consumption by enough people in the US and other Western nations could have a significant regenerative impact on the earth. Leo Horrigan of the Center for a Livable Future writes: “One personal act that can have a profound impact on these [environmental] issues is reducing meat consumption… Considering [the tonnage Americans consume] even modest reductions in meat consumption … would substantially reduce the burden on our natural resources.”

If true, small changes can have large consequences if enough people accept the responsibility and take the initiative. Vegetarians can considerably lighten their ecological footprint by going vegan; vegans can always waste, consume, and pollute less; and both should be active in social movements rather than being lifestyle environmentalists trying to heal the planet one tofuburger at a time. And if environmentalists are not changing their ideas, lifestyles, policies, platforms, and priorities to address the issues engaged head-on by the vegetarian communities, I cannot think of a more momentous failure in their professed calling to defend the earth.

Dr. Steve Best is Cyrano’s Journal Special Editor for Animal Rights, Speciesisim and Human Tyranny over Nature.

Award-winning writer, noted speaker, public intellectual, and seasoned activist, Steven Best engages the issues of the day such as animal rights, ecological crisis, biotechnology, liberation politics, terrorism, mass media, globalization, and capitalist domination. Best has published 10 books, over 100 articles and reviews, spoken in over a dozen countries, interviewed with media throughout the world, appeared in numerous documentaries, and was voted by VegNews as one of the nations “25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians.” He has come under fire for his uncompromising advocacy of “total liberation” (humans, animals, and the earth) and has been banned from the UK for the power of his thoughts. From the US to Norway, from Sweden to France, from Germany to South Africa, Best shows what philosophy means in a world in crisis.


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US boasts of laser weapon’s ‘plausible deniability’

Dandelion Salad

by David Hambling news service
12 August 2008

An airborne laser weapon dubbed the “long-range blowtorch” has the added benefit that the US could convincingly deny any involvement with the destruction it causes, say senior officials of the US Air Force (USAF).

The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) is to be mounted on a Hercules military transport plane. Boeing announced the first test firing of the laser, from a plane on the ground, earlier this summer.


Plausibly deniable


As the term suggests, “plausible deniability” is used to describe situations where those responsible for an event could plausibly claim to have had no involvement in it.


US boasts of laser weapon’s ‘plausible deniability’ – tech – 12 August 2008 – New Scientist Tech.

h/t: CLG

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Inventing Your Own History As It Happens By John Steppling

Dandelion Salad

Sent to me by Jason Miller from Thomas Paine’s Corner. Thanks, Jason.

By John Steppling
Thomas Paine’s Corner

Simulposted with the Greanville Journal

THE NEW CONFLICT ALONG THE RUSSIAN BORDER suggests direct US support and perhaps even planning. But who knows to what extent. What is significant is the narrative being imposed on this event by western corporate media. Continue reading