The Democrats endorse the “Global War on Terrorism”: Obama “goes after” Osama

Dandelion Salad

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, August 29, 2008

Obama’s “American Promise” is War.

Barack Obama has embraced the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT).

The Obama-Biden campaign has endorsed the very foundations of the Bush administration’s foreign policy agenda: “Go after Osama bin Laden, “take him out”.

The rhetoric is softer but the substance is almost identical:

“For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face.  When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.  John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives. [APPLAUSE]

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That’s not the judgment we need.  That won’t keep America safe.  We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.” (The American Promise, August 28, 2008, Democratic Convention. Denver, emphasisi added)

The 9/11 Cover-up

The Democrats have endorsed the “Big Lie”. Bin Laden is upheld as the “outside enemy” who threatens the American Homeland. The fact that bin Laden is US sponsored intelligence asset, created and sustained by the CIA, is never mentioned.

The Obama campaign galvanizes public support for the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT). In the words of Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden:

“The fact of the matter is, al-Qaida and the Taliban – the people who have actually attacked us on 9/11 [note: exactly the same wording as in the Obama speech] — they’ve regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks. And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has echoed Barack’s call for more troops and John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama was right.” (Joe Biden, Democratic Convention, Denver, August 27, 2008, emphasis added)

In contrast to Iraq, the war on Afghanistan is portrayed by the Obama-Biden campaign as a “Just War”, a war of retribution initiated in October 2001 in response to the 9/11 attacks.

This concept of the “Just War” in relation to Afghanistan has been echoed by several prominent Liberal and “Progressive” intellectuals: The war on Iraq, on the other hand, is seen as an “illegal war”. In October 2001, the attack on Afghanistan was supported by numerous civil society organizations on humanitarian grounds.

It is by no means coincidental that the prominent “Leftist” scholars and intellectuals, who failed to address the use of  the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to wage war, have expressed their support for Barack Obama. The Nation Magazine and Progressive Democrats for America are indelibly behind the Obama-Biden ticket.

The Obama-Biden campaign has endorsed the 9/11 cover-up. Without a shred of evidence, Afghanistan, a nation of 34 million people (the size of Canada) is portrayed as the State sponsor of the 9/11 attacks. This basic premise is accepted by the Democrats.

Obama indelibly upholds 9/11 as an act of war and aggression directed against America, thereby justifying a war of retribution directed against “Islamic terrorists” and their state sponsors.

Spiraling Defense Spending

Both Barack Obama and John McCain have signaled that they will increase overall defense spending, while also revamping the system of Pentagon procurement with a view to reducing cost overruns. (See Bloomberg, June 30, 2008 See also Reuters, August 29, 2008).

It is worth noting that for the FY 2009, the US Defense Department is asking for a $515 billion defense budget plus a separate $70 billion “to cover war costs into the early months of a new administration… Those amounts combined would represent the highest level of military spending since the end of World War II (adjusted for inflation).” (csmonitor.com  Febraury 06, 2008)

Obama’s message is crystal clear. He endorses the Bush adminstration’s proposed surge in military spending. He wants to spend more money on weapons and troops. Going after bin Laden and the “Global War on Terrorism” constitue his main justification for increasing defense spending:

“[M]ore resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11…”

But at the same time, Obama promises more resources for education and health.

“Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, …  I’ll invest in early childhood education.  I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. …

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American…. (The American Promise, August 28, 2008, Democratic Convention. Denver, emphasis added)

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Will there be a shift in spending priorities?

Will an Obama administration change the structure of Federal government expenditure, which under the Bush administration favors Defense over all other expenditure categories (See Chart above for FY 2004)

Will he reduce the absolute size of defense spending which constitutes approximately 47 percent of global defense spending (all countries combined)?  The US NATO combined control 70% of global defense spending. (See Chart below)

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Visibly Barack Obama does understand the Guns versus Butter dilemma.

He fails to address a fundamental macro-economic relationship, namely the issue of public investment in the war economy versus the funding, through tax dollars, of civilian social programs. More broadly, this also raises the issue of  the role of  the US Treasury and the US monetary system, in relentlessly financing the military industrial complex and the Middle East war at the expense of most sectors of civilian economic activity.

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More resources to war and weapons, as proposed by both Obama and McCain, favors the Big Five Defense Contractors (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grunman, Raytheon, Boeing and General Dynamics), Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, British Aerospace, not to mention Blackwater, MPRI et al, at the expense of the civilian sectors, including national, regional and local level economies.

Military Spending Creates Unemployment

Tax dollars allocated, as promised by Obama, to National Defense and Homeland Security will result in unemployment.

In contrast to World War II, the war economy in the 21st Century does not create jobs.

The costs of creating jobs in the military industrial complex are abysmally high when compared to the civilian sectors. In turn, the financial resources channeled by the US government to the DoD defense contractors dramatically reduces public expenditure in favor of all other spending categories.

Lockeed Martin together with Northrop Grumman have been involved in developing the Joint Fighter program. Based on initial estimates, 5400 direct jobs were created at a unit cost of $37 million per job. (See Michel Chossudovsky, War is Good for Business, Global Research, September 16, 2001). Similarly at Boeing’s assembly plant, each job created in the Joint Strike Fighter program costs US taxpayers $66.7 million. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 7 September 2001).

With regard to the F22 Raptor fighter, assembled at Lockheed Martin Marietta’s plant in Georgia, the F22 Raptor fighters was estimated to have a unit cost of $85 million. Three thousand (3000) direct jobs were to be created at an estimated cost of $20 million a job. (Ibid)   The cost of the program once completed in 2005 was of the order of 62 billion dollars. According to 2008 company figures, roughly 2000 jobs remain tied to the production of the F22. (See Free Republic, March 2008). Two Thousand Jobs created at  the Lockheed-Marietta’s plant in Georgia at an initial outlay of 31 million dollars per job.

Imagine how many jobs you could create with 31 million dollars invested in small and medium sized enterprises across America.

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These post 9/11 defense expenditures by the Bush administration trigger mass unemployment. Moreover, they are funded by downsizing America’s social programs, which in turn contributes to exacerbating the levels of poverty and unemployment.

Obama’s War Economy

The Obama campaign accepts the logic of a war economy which triggers unemployment and poverty at home while creating death and destruction in the Middle East war theater.

This post 9/11 direction of the US economy has lined the pockets of a handful of defense contractors corporations, while contributing very marginally to the rehabilitation of the employment of specialized scientific, technical and professional workers laid-off by the civilian economy.

Not surprisingly, the defense contractors, while favoring John McCain are also firm supporter of Barack Obama.

America’s largest military contractor Lockheed Martin  (and business partner of Dick Cheney’s Halliburton) was present at the Denver Democratic Party Convention, among a vast array of powerful corporate sponsors and lobby groups. According to a company spokesperson:

“Lockheed Martin strongly supports our nation’s political process and candidates that support in general national defense, homeland security, high technology and educational initiatives,” (quoted by Bill van Auken, Democrats convene in Denver amid police state security and a sea of corporate cash, Global Research, August 2008)

The Big Lie

The Obama lies are perhaps more subtle than those of George W. But again in substance, we are dealing with a continuum.

The “Global War on Terrorism” is an integral part of the Obama campaign. “Islamic terrorists” threaten the American way of life. Al Qaeda and its alleged State sponsors are portrayed as the main threat at home and abroad.

The corporate media applauds.

No shift in direction.

The doctrine of preemptive war against “Islamic terrorists” and their State sponsors remains functionally intact.

The same applies to the post 9/11 nuclear weapons doctrine as first formulated in the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). Nuclear weapons on the drawing board of the Pentagon, for use in the Middle East war theater.

Under the Global War on Terrorism, the Homeland Security apparatus, not to mention the anti-terrorist Patriot legislation, the Big Brother surveillance apparatus would under a Barack Obama administration, remain intact.

9/11 constitutes for Obama the main justification for waging a humanitarian war in the Middle East and Central Asia. In this regard, his position does not differ from that of the Bush Administration.

Withdraw from Iraq, but remain in Afghanistan.

Bring the troops back from Iraq. Move them to Afghanistan. Confront Iran, challenge Russia:

“I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.  I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts.  But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.  I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease.  And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue.  And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.” (The American Promise, August 28, 2008, Democratic Convention. Denver, emphasis added)

“Finishing the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban”  means extending the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) into new frontiers. Concretely, the GWOT, which is central to the Obama campaign, provides a pretext and justification for waging a war of conquest, for expanding US influence in the Middle East, Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

Obama-Biden and The “New Cold War”

The Obama-Biden campaign is committed to reinforcing US-NATO military presence on the Iran-Afghan border, as well as on Afghanistan’s border with China’s Xinjiang Uigur autonomous region as well as within Pakistan.

Afghanistan is a strategic hub in Central Asia bordering on Iran, the former Soviet Union, China and Pakistan. It is a land bridge and potential oil and gas pipeline corridor which links the Caspian sea basin to the Arabian sea.  It is also part of the continued process of militarization and encirclement of the People’s Republic of China.

The Obama-Biden campaign has also endorsed the “New Cold War”. Russia is explicitly identified in Obama’s speech as an Aggressor. Iran is identified as nuclear threat, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Joe Biden, who if elected, would take over from Dick Cheney, considers Russia, China and India as the main threat to America’s National Security:

The Bush foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole, with very few friends to help us climb out. And for the last seven years, the administration has failed to face the biggest the biggest forces shaping this century. The emergence of Russia, China and India’s great powers, the spread of lethal weapons, the shortage of secure supplies of energy, food and water. The challenge of climate change and the resurgence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real central front in the war on terror.

Ladies and gentlemen, in recent years and in recent days we once again see the consequences of the neglect, of this neglect, of Russia challenging the very freedom of a new democratic country of Georgia. Barack and I will end that neglect. We will hold Russia accountable for its action and we will help Georgia rebuild. I have been on the ground in Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms, this administration’s policy has been an abysmal failure. America cannot afford four more years of this failure. (Democratic Party convention, August 27, 2008, emphasis added)

The militarization of Afghanistan and Pakistan under the GWOT is directed against two overlapping military alliances: the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The SCO is a military alliance between Russia and China and several Central Asian former Soviet republics including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran has observer status in the SCO.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which plays a key geopolitical role in relation to transport and energy corridors, operates in close liaison with the SCO. The CSTO regroups the following member states: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

For Obama-Biden, the war on Iran is still on. The New Cold War is directed against China, Russia and its allies, namely the SCO-CSTO military alliance.

Challenge the alleged threats from Russia in the Caucasus and East Europe. In other words, the Democrats have endorsed the New Cold War

What Prospects under an Obama Presidency?

Apart from the rhetoric of “bringing the troops home” from war torn Iraq, which may or may be carried out, what distinguishes the Democrats from the Republicans?

A more articulate, knowledgeable and charismatic President?

A more dignified and diplomatic approach to US foreign policy?

An opportunity to the US ruling elite “to present a different face to the world that could revive illusions in its democratic pretensions, not only internationally but within the United States as well.” (Patrick Martin, Tensions rise in Democratic contest as Obama nears nomination, Global Research, May 11, 2008)

A spurious and counterfeit “humanitarian” approach to Empire, which serves to mask the truth and gain popular support.

A less reckless Commander in Chief, who has an understanding of geopolitics and is capable of taking foreign policy decisions. A more carefully thought out military agenda than that experienced during the Bush administration?  But with no substantive shift in direction.

A means to quelling mounting dissent and opposition to the ruling corporate establishment by providing the illusion that the Democrats constitute a Real Alternative.

A means to sustaining the illusion that African-Americans can move up the social ladder in America and that their fundamental rights are being upheld.

A means to undermining real progressive movements by further embedding civil society organizations, trade unions, grass-roots organizations not to mention “Leftist” intellectuals into the realm of the Democratic Party.

A distraction from the extensive war crimes committed under successive US administrations.

A “human face” to war and globalization?

© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9995

see

Sen. Barack Obama Acceptance Speech 2008 DNC

A Political Alarm Clock Is ringing by Guadamour

Joe Biden: Russia, China, India: “The Real War” + Speech

RNN: Race, Poverty & Obama + The Obama-Biden worldview

DNC – Denver CO

Super Imperialism by Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

Mike Whitney Interviews Michael Hudson
29/08/08 “ICH”

Michael Hudson: “Greenspan saw his job as a cheerleader for people who were able to get rich fast; sort of like a pilot fish for sharks”

1 Mike Whitney: The United States current account deficit is roughly $700 billion. That is enough “borrowed” capital to pay the yearly $120 billion cost of the war in Iraq, the entire $450 billion Pentagon budget, and Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. Why does the rest of the world keep financing America’s militarism via the current account deficit or is it just the unavoidable consequence of currency deregulation, “dollar hegemony” and globalization?

Michael Hudson: As I explained in Super Imperialism, central banks in other countries buy dollars not because they think dollar assets are a “good buy,” but because if they did NOT recycle their trade surpluses and U.S. buyout spending and military spending by buying U.S. Treasury, Fannie Mae and other bonds, their currencies would rise against the dollar. This would price their exporters out of dollarized world markets. So the United States can spend money and get a free ride.

The solution is (1) capital controls to block further dollar receipts, (2) floating tariffs against imports from dollarized economies, (3) buyouts of U.S. investments in dollar-recipient countries (so that Europe and Asia would use their central bank dollars to buy out U.S. private investments at book value), (4) subsidized exports to dollarized economies with depreciating currency, and similar responses that the United States would adopt if it were in the position of a payments-surplus country. In other words, Europe and Asia would treat the United States as its Washington Consensus boys treat Third World debtors: buy out their raw materials and other industries, their export plantations, and their governments.

2 MW—Economist Henry Liu said in his article “Dollar hegemony enables the US to own indirectly but essentially the entire global economy by requiring its wealth to be denominated in fiat dollars that the US can print at will with little in the way of monetary penalties…..World trade is now a game in which the US produces fiat dollars of uncertain exchange value and zero intrinsic value, and the rest of the world produces goods and services that fiat dollars can buy at “market prices” quoted in dollars.” Is Liu overstating the case or have the Federal Reserve and western banking elites really figured out how to maintain imperial control over the global economy simply by ensuring that most energy, commodities, and manufactured goods are denominated in dollars? If that’s the case, then it would seem that the actual “face-value” of the dollar does not matter as much as long as it continues to be used in the purchase of commodities. Is this right?

Michael Hudson: Henry Liu and I have been discussing this for many years now. We are in full agreement. The paragraph you quote is quite right. His Asia Times articles provide a running analysis of dollar hegemony.

3 MW—What is the relationship between stagnant wages for workers and the current credit crisis? If workers wages had kept up with the rate of production, isn’t it less likely that we would be in the jam we are today? And, if that is true, than shouldn’t we be more focused on re-unionizing the labor force instead looking for solutions from the pathetic Democratic Party?

Michael Hudson: The credit crisis derives from “the magic of compound interest,” that is, the tendency of debts to keep on doubling and redoubling. Every rate of interest is a doubling time. No “real” economy’s production and economic surplus can keep up with this tendency of debt to grow faster. So the financial crisis would have occurred regardless of wage levels.

Quite simply, the price of home ownership tends to absorb all the disposable personal income of the homebuyer. So if wages would have risen more rapidly, the price of housing would simply have risen faster as employees pledged more take-home pay to carry larger mortgages. Stagnant wages merely helped keep down the price of houses to merely stratospheric levels, not ionospheric ones.

As for labor unions, they haven’t been any help at all in solving the housing crisis. In Germany where I am right now, unions have sponsored co-ops, as they used to do in New York City, at low membership costs. So housing costs only absorb about 20% of German family budgets, compared to twice that for the United States. Imagine what could be done if pension funds had put their money into housing for their contributors, instead of into the stock market to buy and bid up prices for the stocks that CEOs and other insiders were selling.

4 MW—When politicians or members of the foreign policy establishment talk about “integrating” Russia or China into the “international system”; what exactly do they mean? Do they mean the dollar-dominated system which is governed by the Fed, the World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO? Do countries compromise their national sovereignty when they participate in the US-led economic system?

Michael Hudson: By “integrating” they mean absorbing, something like a parasite integrating a host into its own control system. They mean that other countries will be prohibited under WTO and IMF rules from getting rich in the way that the United States got wealthy in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Only the United States will be permitted to subsidize its agriculture, thanks to its unique right to grandfather in its price supports. Only the United States will be free from having to raise interest rates to stabilize its balance of payments, and only it can devote its monetary policy to promoting easy credit and asset-price inflation. And only the United States can run a military deficit, obliging foreign central banks in dollar-recipient countries to give it a free ride. In other words, there is no free lunch for other countries, only for the United States.

Other countries do indeed give up their national sovereignty. The United States never has adjusted its economy to create equilibrium with other countries. But to be fair, in this respect only the United States is acting fully in its own self-interest. The problem is largely that other countries are not “playing the game.” They are not acting as real governments. It takes two to tango when one party gets a free ride. Their governments have become “enablers” of U.S. economic aggression.

5 MW—What do you think the Bush administration’s reaction would be if a smaller country, like Switzerland, had sold hundreds of billions of dollars of worthless mortgage-backed securities to investment banks, insurance companies and investors in the United States? Wouldn’t there be litigation and a demand that the responsible parties be held accountable? So, how do you explain the fact that China and the EU nations, that were the victims of this gigantic swindle, haven’t boycotted US financial products or called for reparations?

Michael Hudson: International law is not clear on financial fraud. Caveat emptor is the rule. Foreign investors took a risk. They trusted a deregulated U.S. financial market that made it easiest to make money via financial fraud. Ultimately, they put their faith in neoliberal deregulation – at home as well as in the United States. England is now in the same mess. The “accountability” was supposed to lie with U.S. accounting firms and credit rating agencies. Foreign investors were so ideologically blinded by free market rhetoric that they actually believed the fantasies about “self-regulation” and self-regulating markets tending toward equilibrium rather than the real-world tendency toward financial and economic polarization.

In other words, most foreign investors lack a realistic body of economic theory. The United States could simply argue that they should take responsibility for their bad investments, just as U.S. pension funds and other investors are told to do.

6 MW—The Congress recently passed a bill that gives Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson the unprecedented authority to use as much money as he needs to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac solvent. Paulson assured the Congress that he wouldn’t need more than $25 billion but, the 400 page bill allows him to increase the national debt by $800 billion. How will the Fannie/Freddie bailout affect the dollar and the budget deficit? Are interest rates likely to skyrocket because of this action?

Michael Hudson: The Fed can flood the economy with money, Alan Greenspan-style, to prevent interest rates from skyrocketing. Nobody really knows what will happen to FNMA and Freddie Mac, but it looks like the mortgage and financial crisis will get much, much worse over the coming year. We are just heading into the storm where adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) are scheduled to reset at higher rates, and where U.S. banks have to roll over their existing debts in a market where foreign investors fear that these banks already have no net worth left.

So the principle here is “Big fish eat little fish.” Wall Street will be bailed out, and banks will be allowed to “earn their way out of debt” as they did after 1980, by exploiting retail customers, above all credit-card customers and individual borrowers. There will be a lot of bankruptcies, and people will suffer more than ever before because of the harsh pro-creditor bankruptcy law that Congress passed at the behest of the bank lobbyists.

7 MW—A few months ago, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial which said that they could imagine two nightmare scenarios if the current credit crisis was not handled properly; either there would be a run on the dollar causing a sudden plunge in its value, or the unexpected failure of a major financial institution could send the stock market crashing. Last week, the former head of the IMF Kenneth Rogoff triggered a sell-off on Wall Street when he said, “We’re not just going to see mid-sized banks go under in the next few months, we’re going to see a whopper; we’re going to see a big one — one of the big investment banks or big banks.” What happens if Rogoff is right and Merrill, Citi or Lehman go belly up? Is that enough to send the stock market freefalling?

Michael Hudson: Not necessarily. Citibank would be nationalized, then sold off. The principle should be that if a bank is “too big to fail,” it should be broken up.

This should start with a repeal of the Clinton Administration’s repeal of Glass-Steagall.

As for Lehman, that would be given the Bear Stearns treatment, and also sold off – probably to a hedge fund. Merrill is much larger, but it also could be parceled out, I suppose. The stock market’s financial index would plunge, but not necessarily industrial stock prices.

8 MW—According to MarketWatch: “In the three months from April to June, banks posted their second worst earnings performance since 1991…. Earnings for the quarter totaled just $5 billion, compared with $36.8 billion a year ago, a decline of 86.5%.” Also, according to a front page article in the Wall Street Journal: “financial institutions will have to pay off at least $787 billion in floating rate notes and other medium term obligations before the end of 2009.” 
 How are the banks going to pay off nearly $800 billion ($200 billion by December!) when they only earned a measly $5 billion in the quarter!?! And how in the world is the Federal Reserve going to keep the banking system functioning when earnings can’t even cover current liabilities? Do the banks have some secret source of revenue we don’t know about or is the system headed for disaster?

Michael Hudson: The traditional way to pay debt is with yet MORE debt. The interest due is simply added on to the principal, so that the debt grows exponentially. This is the real meaning of “the magic of compound interest.” It means not only that savings left to accumulate interest keep on doubling and redoubling, debts do to, because the savings that are lent out on the “asset” side of the creditor’s balance sheet (today, that of America’s wealthiest 10%) become debts on the “liabilities” side of the balance sheet (the “bottom 90%”).

The banks don’t have a secret source of revenue. It’s right out in the open. They will take their junk mortgages to the Federal Reserve and borrow the money at full face value. The government will be left with the junk.

It then can either take over the bank, as the Bank of England did with Northern Rock when it went bankrupt early this year, or it can let the bank “earn” money by stiffing its customers some more.

9 MW—From 2000 to 2006, the total retail value of housing in the United States doubled, going from roughly $11 trillion to $22 trillion in just 6 years. For the last 200 years, housing has barely kept pace with the rate of inflation, usually increasing 2 to 3% per year. The Federal Reserve’s low interest rates were the main cause of this unprecedented housing bubble and, yet, ex-Fed chief Alan Greenspan still denies any responsibility for what “The Economist” calls “the largest bubble in history”. Did Greenspan understand the problems he was creating with his “loose” monetary policies or was there some ulterior motive to his actions?

Michael Hudson: He simply didn’t care about the problem. He saw his job as a cheerleader for people who were able to get rich fast. These always had been his major clients in his years on Wall Street, and he saw himself as their servant – sort of like a pilot fish for sharks.

Mr. Greenspan’s idea of “wealth creation” was to take the line of least resistance and inflate asset prices. He thought that the way to enable the economy to carry its debt overhead was to inflate asset prices so that debtors could borrow the interest falling due by pledging collateral (real estate, stocks and bonds) that were rising in market price. To his Ayn-Rand view of the world, one way of making money was as economically and socially productive as any other way of doing so. Buying a property and waiting for its price to inflate was deemed as productive as investing in new means of production.

Ever since his days as co-founder of NABE (the National Association of Business Economists), Greenspan has long looked only at GNP and the national balance sheet as an economic indicator, being “value-free.” This is his intellectual and conceptual limitation. He wanted to provide a way for savvy investors to get rich, and the easiest way to get rich is to be passive and get a free lunch. His ideology led him to believe the “free market” ideology that the financial sector would be self-regulating and hence would act honestly. But he opened the floodgates to financial crooks. His set of measures did not distinguish between Countrywide Financial getting rich, Enron getting rich, or General Motors or industrial companies expanding their means of production. So the economy was being hollowed out, but this didn’t appear in any of the measures he looked at from his perch at the Federal Reserve.

So just as journalists and the mass media proclaim every market downturn as “surprising” and “unexpected,” he was as clueless as a lemming running headlong over the cliff. It’s an inherent instinct for free-market boys.

10 MW—The housing market is freefalling, setting new records every day for foreclosures, inventory, and declining prices. The banking system is in even worse shape; undercapitalized and buried under a mountain of downgraded assets. There seems to be growing consensus that these problems are not just part of a normal economic downturn, but the direct result of the Fed’s monetary policies. Are we seeing the collapse of the Central banking model as a way of regulating the markets? Do you think the present crisis will strengthen the existing system or make it easier for the American people to assert greater control over monetary policy?

Michael Hudson: What do you mean “failure”? Your perspective is from the bottom looking up. But the financial model has been a great success from the vantage point of the top of the economic pyramid looking down? The economy has polarized to the point where the wealthiest 10% now own 85% of the nation’s wealth. Never before have the bottom 90% been so highly indebted, so dependent on the wealthy. From their point of view, their power has exceeded that of any time in which economic statistics have been kept.

You have to realize that what they’re trying to do is to roll back the Enlightenment, roll back the moral philosophy and social values of classical political economy and its culmination in Progressive Era legislation, as well as the New Deal institutions. They’re not trying to make the economy more equal, and they’re not trying to share power. Their greed is (as Aristotle noted) infinite. So what you find to be a violation of traditional values is a re-assertion of pre-industrial, feudal values. The economy is being set back on the road to debt peonage. The Road to Serfdom is not government sponsorship of economic progress and rising living standards; it’s the dismantling of government, the dissolution of regulatory agencies, to create a new feudal-type elite.

The former Soviet Union provides a model of what the neoliberals would like to create. Not only in Russia but also in the Baltic States and other former Soviet republics, they created local kleptocracies, Pinochet-style. In Russia, the kleptocrats founded an explicitly Pinochetista party, the Party of Right Forces (“Right” as in right-wing).

In order for the American people or any other people to assert greater control over monetary policy, they need to have a doctrine of just what a good monetary policy would be. Early in the 19th century the followers of St. Simon in France began to develop such a policy. By the end of that century, Central Europe implemented this policy, mobilizing the banking and financial system to promote industrialization, in consultation with the government (and catalyzed by military and naval spending, to be sure). But all this has disappeared from the history of economic thought, which no longer is even taught to economics students. The Chicago Boys have succeeded in censoring any alternative to their free-market rationalization of asset stripping and economic polarization.

My own model would be to make central banks part of the Treasury, not simply the board of directors of the rapacious commercial banking system. You mentioned Henry Liu’s writings earlier, and I think he has come to the same conclusion in his Asia Times articles.

11 MW—Do you see the Federal Reserve as an economic organization designed primarily to maintain order in the markets via interest rates and regulation or a political institution whose objectives are to impose an American-dominated model of capitalism on the rest of the world?

Michael Hudson: Shirley you jest! The Fed has turned “maintaining order” into a euphemism for consolidating power by the financial sector and the FIRE sector generally (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) over the “real” economy of production and consumption. Its leaders see their job as being to act on behalf of the commercial banking system to enable it to make money off the rest of the economy. It acts as the Board of Directors to fight regulation, to support Wall Street, to block any revival of anti-usury laws, to promote “free markets” almost indistinguishable from outright financial fraud, to decriminalize bad behavior – and most of all to inflate the price of property relative to the wages of labor and even relative to the profits of industry.

The Fed’s job is not really to impose the Washington Consensus on the rest of the world. That’s the job of the World Bank and IMF, coordinated via the Treasury (viz. Robert Rubin under Clinton most notoriously) and AID, along with the covert actions of the CIA and the National Endowment for Democracy. You don’t need monetary policy to do this – only massive bribery. Only call it “lobbying” and the promotion of democratic values – values to fight government power to regulate or control finance across the world. Financial power is inherently cosmopolitan and, as such, antagonistic to the power of national governments.

The Fed and other government agencies, Wall Street and the rest of the economy form part of an overall system. Each agency must be viewed in the context of this system and its dynamics – and these dynamics are polarizing, above all from financial causes. So we are back to the “magic of compound interest,” now expanded to include “free” credit creation and arbitraging.

The problem is that none of this appears in the academic curriculum. And the silence of the major media to address it or even to acknowledge it means that it is invisible except to the beneficiaries who are running the system.

Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist specializing in the balance of payments and real estate at the Chase Manhattan Bank (now JP Morgan Chase & Co.), Arthur Anderson, and later at the Hudson Institute (no relation). In 1990 he helped established the world’s first sovereign debt fund for Scudder Stevens & Clark. Dr. Hudson was Dennis Kucinich’s Chief Economic Advisor in the recent Democratic primary presidential campaign, and has advised the U.S., Canadian, Mexican and Latvian governments, as well as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002

New Spy Software Coming On-Line: “Surveillance in a Box” Makes its Debut

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, August 28, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

You’ve heard of the FBI’s “Quantico Circuit” and were outraged by illegal warrantless wiretapping by Bushist minions. To no avail, you flooded Congress with emails and phone calls, angered by the bipartisan “FISA Amendments Act of 2008” and the swell party thrown by AT&T for “Blue Dog” Democrats in Denver this week for the convention.

But just in time for a new administration (and the bundles of cash always at the ready for the expanding homeland security market), comes a complete “surveillance in a box” system called the Intelligence Platform!

According to New Scientist, German electronics giant Siemens has developed software allegedly capable of integrating

…tasks typically done by separate surveillance teams or machines, pooling data from sources such as telephone calls, email and internet activity, bank transactions and insurance records. It then sorts through this mountain of information using software that Siemens dubs “intelligence modules”. (Laura Margottini, “Surveillance Made Easy,” New Scientist, 23 August 2008)

New Scientist reports that the firm has sold the system to some 60 countries in Europe and Asia. Which countries? Well, Siemens won’t say.

However, privacy and human rights advocates say the system bears a remarkable resemblance to China’s “Golden Shield,” a massive surveillance network that integrates huge information databases, internet and email monitoring, speech and facial recognition platforms in combination with CCTV monitoring.

Designed specifically for “fusion centers” or their European/Asian equivalents, the Intelligence Platform promises to provide “real-time” high-tech tools to foil terrorist plots before they’re hatched (or keep tabs on antiwar/antiglobalization activists).

The latest item in the emerging “intelligent” software niche market, Intelligence Platform has been “trained” on a large number of sample documents to zero in on names, phone numbers or places from generic text. “This means it can spot names or numbers that crop up alongside anyone already of interest to the authorities, and then catalogue any documents that contain such associates,” New Scientist avers.

In the UK, the Home Office announced it plans to provide law enforcement, local councils and other public agencies access to the details of text messages, emails and internet browsing. This follows close on the heels of an announcement last May that New Labour was considering building a massive centralized database “as a tool to help the security services tackle crime and terrorism.” According to The Guardian,

Local councils, health authorities and hundreds of other public bodies are to be given the power to access details of everyone’s personal text, emails and internet use under Home Office proposals published yesterday.

Ministers want to make it mandatory for telephone and internet companies to keep details of all personal internet traffic for at least 12 months so it can be accessed for investigations into crime or other threats to public safety. …

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats last night branded the measure a “snooper’s charter”. (Alan Travis, “‘Snooper’s charter’ to check texts and email,” The Guardian, Wednesday, August 13, 2008)

A blurb posted on Siemens’ website claims that the “challenge” is “to foster the well-being of law-abiding citizens” and therefore, “authorized groups need to have direct access to communications between suspects, whether it is individuals, groups or organizations. Only then can they take appropriate action, detect, prevent and anticipate crimes and guarantee peace and security.”

In other words, if you’ve got nothing to hide “trust us:” the shopworn mantra of securocrats everywhere. And in today’s climate, this is an especially burdensome challenge for state security and corporate spies who demand “highly-sophisticated, multi-level voice and data recordings” in order to destroy our rights while transforming our respective societies into Orwellian police states. New Scientist reports,

Once a person is being monitored, pattern-recognition software first identifies their typical behaviour, such as repeated calls to certain numbers over a period of a few months. The software can then identify any deviations from the norm and flag up unusual activities, such as transactions with a foreign bank, or contact with someone who is also under surveillance, so that analysts can take a closer look.

But if the experience of U.S. Fusion Centers are any indication of the accuracy of the Siemens system, false positives will be endemic while thousands, if not millions, of perfectly innocent individuals are forever ensnared in the state’s data driftnet. According to the American Civil Liberties Union,

The Justice Department’s 2006 Guidelines envision fusion centers doing more than simply sharing legitimately acquired law enforcement information across different branches of our burgeoning security establishment. The Guidelines encourage compiling data “from nontraditional sources, such as public safety entities and private sector organizations” and fusing it with federal intelligence “to anticipate, identify, prevent, and/or monitor criminal and terrorist activity.” This strongly implies the use of statistical dragnets that have come to be called data-mining. The inevitable result of a data-mining approach to fusion centers will be:

Many innocent individuals will be flagged, scrutinized, investigated, placed on watch lists, interrogated or arrested, and possibly suffer irreparable harm to their reputation, all because of a hidden machinery of data brokers, information aggregators and computer algorithms.

Law enforcement agencies will waste time and resources investing in high-tech computer boondoggles that leave them chasing false leads–while real threats go unaddressed and limited resources are sucked away from the basic, old-fashioned legwork that is the only way genuine terror plots have ever been foiled. (Michael German and Jay Staley, “What’s Wrong with Fusion Centers,” American Civil Liberties, December 2007)

But perhaps “high-tech computer boondoggles” are precisely the point!

After all, the Boeing Company and their sidekicks at SRI International (which describes itself as “an independent, nonprofit research institute”) were recently criticized by a House Science and Technology Subcommittee for “irregularities” in the government’s Railhead program, a suite of software “upgrades” to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), “a vast database of names that feeds the nation’s terrorist watch list,” the Associated Press reported.

Railhead was touted as a “fix” for a system built by Lockheed Martin in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. According to congressional investigators, the system provides data to all federal terrorist watch lists, including the “no-fly” list run by the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration and the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, a national clearinghouse for federal, state and local fusion centers.

According to the House committee the program is months behind schedule, millions over budget and “would actually be less capable than the U.S. government terrorist tracking system it is meant to replace.” Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported,

When tested, the new system failed to find matches for terrorist-suspect names that were spelled slightly different from the name entered into the system, a common challenge when translating names from Arabic to English. It also could not perform basic searches of multiple words connected with terms such as “and” and “or.” (Siobhan Gorman, “Flaws Found in Watch List for Terrorists, The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2008)

Leaving aside the racist presuppositions of the Journal, to wit, that Arab = terrorist (no small matter when dealing with nativist yahoos here in the “homeland” or elswehere), as Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) said in a statement, “the program appears to be on the brink of collapse after an estimated half-billion dollars in taxpayer funding has been spent on it.” According to the committee,

The Railhead program had been undergoing an internal technical implosion for more than one year. But public statements and sworn public testimony to Congress from senior officials within the NCTC [National Counterterrorist Center] and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) never revealed the mounting technical troubles, poor contractor management or lax government oversight that appears to have been endemic throughout the program and has led to Railhead’s colossal failure. Astoundingly, the Director of NCTC and the Director of National Intelligence have both specifically pointed to TIDE and NCTC Online as hallmarks of the government’s information sharing accomplishments. (“Technical Flaws Hinder Terrorist Watch List; Congress Calls for Investigation,” Committee on Science and Technology, Press Release, August 21, 2008)

In a technical sense, the NCTC and the ODNI may be correct in touting TIDE and NCTC Online as “hallmarks of the government’s information sharing accomplishments,” if by “sharing accomplishments” they meant handing over unlimited bundles of taxpayer’s hard-earned cash to enterprising contractors!

Gorman reports that in “recent weeks, the government has fired most of the 862 private contractors from dozens of companies working on the Railhead project, and only a skeleton crew remains.” Boeing and SRI’s response? According to the Journal, “calls to officials of Boeing and SRI were not immediately returned.”

I bet they weren’t! Especially since the committee said “Railhead insiders” allege that the government paid Boeing some $200 million to retrofit the company’s Herndon, Virginia office with security upgrades so that top secret software work could be performed there. The government then leased the same office space from Boeing. How’s that for hitting the old corporate “sweet spot.”

None of this of course, should surprise anyone, least of all defense lobby dollar-addicted members of Congress who, like Captain Renault in Casablanca are “shocked, shocked” to find their corporate “partners” have failed to deliver–again.

According to Washington Technology’s list of “2008 Top 100 Government Prime Contractors,” Boeing clocked-in at No. 2 with $9,706,621,413 in taxpayer handouts. No slouches themselves, Siemens placed No. 79 with some $186,292,146 in prime government contracts across an array of defense and civilian agencies. With Railhead’s imminent demise, perhaps the German electronics giant has a future in the U.S. “homeland security” market with its Intelligent Platform?

Then again, perhaps not. Computer security expert Bruce Schneier told New Scientist, “‘currently there are no good patterns available to recognise terrorists,’ he says, and questions whether Siemens has got around this.” But since the business of government is business, maybe they do after all.

Meanwhile, the PRISE consortium of security technology and human rights experts funded by the European Union, called “for a moratorium on the development of fusion technologies, referring explicitly to the Siemens Intelligence Platform,” Margottini reported.

According to New Scientist, PRISE analysts told the EU, “The efficiency and reliability of such tools is as yet unknown. More surveillance does not necessarily lead to a higher level of societal security. Hence there must be a thorough examination of whether the resulting massive constraints on human rights are proportionate and justified.”

But here in the United States concern over trivial things such as “massive constraints on human rights,” unlike state attacks against the “quaint” rights of the average citizen are, like the impeachment of a regime studded with war criminals, most definitely “off the table.”

While the Democrats celebrate Barack Obama’s coronation in Denver this week and the Republicans are poised to do the same for John McCain in the Twin Cities rest assured, administrations may change, but the corporate grift is eternal.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9983

With Palin McCain Ups Chances of Beating Obama by Joel S. Hirschhorn

by Joel S. Hirschhorn
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
www.delusionaldemocracy.com
www.foavc.org
August 29, 2008

I applaud John McCain’s choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice president nominee.  In many ways this choice was far more impressive than Barack Obama’s selection of Joe Biden.  Better yet, the McCain selection will make the general election campaign far more interesting and competitive.

I say this on the basis of looking at contradictions that the choices raised.  Here we have Obama proclaiming endlessly that he was running against the politics of the past, but then he picks an extremely long term senator that is clearly a member of the status quo establishment.  Moreover, Obama has kept boasting that he does not take money from lobbyists, but Biden has taken plenty.  And then there is the claim of great judgment by Obama for his opposition to the Iraq war, but Biden played an important role as a Democrat in supporting the Bush war.

Palin is a much, much better match with McCain.  One relatively small contradiction is that she favors more drilling for oil in Alaska’s pristine areas, while McCain has opposed that.  But beyond that Palin brings something to the game that none of the other three principals does: She is the only one with real executive experience.  And in comparison to the other three she has far more solid accomplishments fighting political corruption.  Indeed, while Obama talks a good game, Palin is the only one that showed the courage to personally go after high level corrupt politicians – even better, she did this against office holders in her own party.  I am impressed.  Finally, the whole narrative about the Obamas pulling themselves up from nothing to achieve great things is matched by the Palin story.

During the Democratic convention there was endless talk by the bloviating pundits about their sadness that women have not made it to the top of the political pyramid, even as they kept blabbering about how terrific Hillary Clinton performed.  Now McCain puts a woman in exactly the position that so many Democrats wanted Hillary to be in, with a chance to make it to the White House – a very good chance if all the talk about McCain serving just one term (or dying in office) has any chance of happening.

In sum, the selection of Biden was a betrayal to some very important positions and claims of Obama.  In contrast, except for one relatively minor position, the selection of Palin was in sync with McCain’s political philosophy and positions.  The more leftist, progressive side of the Democratic Party has no reason to be thrilled with Biden (who voted for a bankruptcy law that screwed middle class people).  But the most conservative wing of the Republican Party has plenty of reason to be thrilled with the Palin selection.

Though Palin may not be sufficient to draw very many women Democrats to vote for the McCain ticket, it may be just as important because it cause many women Democrats to not vote for the Obama ticket.  But like most conventional thinkers you are waiting for me to rebut the criticism that Palin has no foreign policy experience.  Excuse me, but we have had a few presidents that were governors – think Carter and Clinton – who also had no particular foreign policy experience.  So Democrats ought to be cautious in making this criticism of Palin.  If McCain wins, she would have ample time and opportunity to become smart about foreign policy.  And, oh yes, also remember a former governor Reagan that did pretty well when it came to foreign policy.  Enough said.

[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.]

see

McCain Chooses Alaska Governor Palin as Running Mate + Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil

A Political Alarm Clock Is ringing by Guadamour

Electronic binoculars from Northrop Grumman team to detect threats through brain activity

RNN: Race, Poverty & Obama + The Obama-Biden worldview

Nader on the Dems’ Corporate Ties, 3rd Parties & Biden

Biden, Obama & The Blood-Dimmed Tide + Tongue of Flame by Chris Floyd

A Political Alarm Clock Is ringing by Guadamour

by Guadamour
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Aug. 29, 2008

Yesterday I received the following bulletin from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s myspace profile:

The idea is this.

If the Obama-Biden ticket is victorious in November, Hillary Clinton can resign her NY Senate seat.

The Governor of Illinois, who is a Democrat, then appoints Hillary Clinton to the Senate seat just vacated by Barack Obama.

After all, Hillary Clinton grew up in Illinois.

Then, Governor Paterson of NY appoints RFK Jr. to the Senate seat just vacated by Hillary Clinton.

Biden will be replaced by a Delaware Democrat.

The Governor of Delaware is Democrat.

Rumor has it, that regardless of the outcome of the Senate race in Maine, either Senator Collins will be replaced by a Democrat, or she will change her party affiliation to The Democratic Party before the new Congress convenes. The same holds true for Senator Snowe of Maine. I expect her to become a Democrat as well. There are a few other Republicans who may switch party affiliations after a Democratic victory across the boards in November.

Continue reading

Mosaic News – 8/28/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad

Warning

.

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

linktv

Mosaic needs your help! Donate here: http://linktv.org/contribute
“Islamic Militias Control Somalia,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Lebanese Helicopter Hit by Gunfire,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Abbas: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon Are Not To Be Naturalized,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Gaza Seige Causes the Death of 140,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Russia After Regime Change in Georgia,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Iraqi Awakening Councils Under Fire in Iraq,” Al Sharqiya TV, Iraq
“DNC: From An Arab Prism,” Link TV, USA
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Federico Fuentes on latest developments in Bolivia (audio)

Dandelion Salad

Posted with permission from:

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal at http://links.org.au

August 27, 2008Federico Fuentes, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal’s and Green Left Weeklys Latin America correspondent based in Venezuela and editor of Bolivia Rising, talks with Latin Radical about the recent referendum in Bolivia. It was called by Bolivia’s Indigenous president, Evo Morales. In spite of right-wing calls to defeat the referendum (and continuing threats from the wealthy eastern provinces to split the country into “autonomous” states) the referendum victory strengthened the position of a president who is introducing reforms that phase out the negative influence of multinational corporations and global privatisation.

[Note: although the voice quality is clear there is some static and radio interference in this interview, which begins about seven minutes into the interview.]

11.6Mb 128kbps mono 12:41 mins

Audio mp3
Part 2

On the situation in Bolivia, Fuentes looks at the role of the military, which after several hundred years of dominating the politics of Bolivia, seems to be changing with a new era of social reform.

9.5 Mb 128kbps mono 10:20 Mins

Audio mp3

Sen. Barack Obama Acceptance Speech 2008 DNC (full video)

Dandelion Salad

For those looking for his speech on Election night: Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech Nov. 4, 2008

C-SPAN

Aug 28, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) accepts his party’s nomination for President and speaks to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Continue reading

McCain to choose Dr. Kevorkian as VP

Satire

Robert

by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post
The Post Times Sun Dispatch
Aug 29, 2008

DAYTON, Ohio – The Post Times Sun Dispatch has learned that presumptive Republican Presidential candidate John McCain will announce that he has chosen Dr. Jack Kevorkian as his running mate. He will make the announcement at an Ohio rally on Friday.

“The Conservative base of the party was very upset at the thought of John choosing former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge or Senator Joe Lieberman because they were too liberal and not tough enough for their taste,” said Rick Davis of the McCain campaign, “so we are excited about John’s choice and believe we have a winner in Dr. Kevorkian.”

“Other than wanting every stem cell to be born,” said Jerome Slydell of the Rand Research Institute, “today’s conservatives favor death. They overwhelmingly support the death penalty, either handed out by a court or by other means, such as death by war, death preferred to government provided health care, death to political enemies, preferring workers die on the job due to unsafe working conditions rather than have government safety regulations. The list goes on. Kevorkian is the natural choice.”

They wanted to continue the winning combination of the current administration,” said Carl Adamson of the Heritage Foundation. “McCain is a charming nitwit just like Bush and now Dr. Kevorkian, well, anything to do with death is just like Cheney.” Michael Peltis of the Washington Post agrees, “Cheney symbolizes a tough guy driving around in a humvee leaving dead bodies in his wake, while Dr. Kevorkian does the same thing with a van. The advantage here for McCain is that he can show he wants to conserve energy, as the van gets better gas mileage than the Hummer.” Political pundits also believe Kevorkian is a wise choice that will help move the doctor’s home state of Michigan into the McCain camp.

“Another reason John likes Dr. Kevorkian, who recently got out of jail for his part in an assisted suicide,” a McCain spokesperson said, “is that John can relate to anyone who was held as a prisoner. In any case, we now think this ticket is strong enough to scare the Democrats to death.”

see

McCain Chooses Alaska Governor Palin as Running Mate + Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil

McCain to announce VP choice by telegraph + McCain to pick Ronald Reagan as VP

Cindy Sheehan at Open The Debates Rally at DNC

Dandelion Salad

bandsforlandsdotorg

Cindy Sheehan talks about the “twins” at the Open The Debates Rally at the DNC on August 27th at the Magness Arena in Denver.

see

The “Experience of Being Wrong” by Cindy Sheehan

Iraq Veterans Against War – DNC Protest + Vets willing to be arrested

DNC – Denver CO

McCain Chooses Alaska Governor Palin as Running Mate + Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Barnes and Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writers
washingtonpost.com
Friday, August 29, 2008; 12:49 PM

Palin Will Be the First Woman Nominated to the Ticket by the Republican Party

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain selects Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Palin, originally from Idaho, was elected the first female governor of Alaska in 2006 after defeating incumbent Frank Murkowski in the Republican primary and former Gov. Tony Knowles in the general election.

DAYTON, Ohio, Aug. 29 — Republican presumptive presidential nominee John McCain announced today that he has chosen first-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, saying she has an “outstanding reputation for standing up to special interests and entrenched bureaucracies.”

McCain Chooses Alaska Governor Palin as Running Mate – washingtonpost.com.

h/t: CLG

***

Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor

Tim Reid in Washington
May 23, 2008

The polar bear should be removed from the endangered species list because its protected status will hamper drilling for oil and gas in Alaska, the state’s Republican Governor has demanded.

Sarah Palin is suing the Bush Administration over its decision last week to place the animal under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, claiming that climate models predicting the continued loss of sea ice – the main habitat of polar bears – are unreliable.

Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor – Times Online.

h/t: CLG

see

US government sued over failure to protect polar bears

Rosa Clemente Green VP at “Open the Debates” Rally in Denver

Dandelion Salad

RunCynthiaRun

Green Party VP candidate and hip hop activist Rosa Clemente speaks at Ralph Nader’s “Open the Debates” rally in Denver on 27 Aug 2008

http://votetruth08.com/

Vodpod videos no longer available.

see

McKinney Recreate 68 Anti-War Rally + Protests with Heavy Police Presence + Sheehan

Ralph Nader: Peace, Love and Hugs + Nader had the answers

Nader: Stewart & Colbert know what REAL News is!

Nader on the Dems’ Corporate Ties, 3rd Parties & Biden

Politics of Avoidance by Ralph Nader

DNC – Denver CO