Rachel Maddow: And That’s Why Democrats Are Worried!

Dandelion Salad


September 08, 2008 MSNBC Rachel Maddow

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Country Last By David Michael Green

“Modern Debt Peonage”? Economic Democracy Is Turning Into a Financial Oligarchy

Jim Rogers: Socialism for the Rich

Why The Fannie-Freddie Bailout Will Fail

US Waves Goodbye to Prosperity and Democracy

US government takes over mortgage giants to stave off financial meltdown

Take A Load Off Fannie: Bailout Or Nationalization For The Mortgage Giants?

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

ABC News’ Gibson Reveals Questions He Will Ask Palin In First Interview



by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post
The Post Times Sun Dispatch
Sept 8, 2008

NEW YORK (PTSD News) – To calm fears that he will not ask softball questions of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on her first interview since being selected to run with John McCain, ABC’s Charles Gibson has released the questions that he will ask the Alaska Governor. “There have been rumors on the internet,” Gibson told the Post Times Sun Dispatch, “that in order to land this first interview with Sarah Palin, that I had to agree to ask softball questions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Miss Sarah will be asked the same tough, non-biased questions I would be asking any candidate regardless of whether or not they were the first woman to be nominated for Vice President by the Republican Party and regardless of whether or not I got a late night call from Dick Cheney.”

The following is a sample of the hard-hitting questions Gibson will ask Governor Palin:

1. What shade of lipstick is best for hockey moms?

2. When do you think the American people will realize you have more administrative experience than Obama and Biden combined?

3. How hard is it going to be to convince the American people that they don’t want a Muslim President like Barack Obama?

4. How dangerous would it be for America and especially little children if a former community organizer becomes President?

5. Just how long have you known that Michelle Obama hates America?

6. Do you think the terrorists will hit us again and hit hard if we elect a Democrat President?

7. Just how many of our children will be turned gay if Obama is elected?

8. Just how was it revealed to you by God that he chose you to be one tired old heartbeat away from being leader of the free world?

9. When Judgment day arrives, will I be left behind?

10. And finally, when you are in the White House, just what will you do to Maryline Blackburn who beat you to take the Miss Alaska crown in 1984?

Gibson will conduct the interview this week with Palin in Alaska. ABC News spokesman Jeffery Schneider said he did not believe Gibson’s announced questions were the key to securing the interview. “She is not scared to answer questions,” said Rick Davis, McCain campaign manager, “not even from a hard-line liberal reporter such as Charles Gibson.”


No Wolf Whistles for Sarah Palin’s Compassion by Walter Brasch

From “Dominion” to Domination: The Duplicity and Complicity of Matthew Scully

God Does Love the Republicans By Steven Jonas + Bible Thumper

The Daily Show: Sarah Palin Gender Card

Palin, a bold move or reckless choice? + Palin blackens Russia’s name

Sarah Palin’s Speech at the RNC

US Election Campaign: National Security and Permanent Wars. Vying to Be Toughest

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, September 8, 2008

Ignoring public sentiment, both party nominees stress “national security” and face off on who’s toughest on “terrorism.” For 2009, expect more of the same. A continued right wing agenda. Bigger budgets for militarism. Police state repression for enforcement. Little attention to public needs. No end to wars and occupation. Possible new ones against Iran, Pakistan, elsewhere in Eurasia, and a resurgent confrontation with Russia.

Welcome to the future. Securing it for capital. More of the same after eight years under Bush. New policies the same as failed ones. Hopes again raised and then dashed. Repeating November 2006. Everything changed but stayed the same. New faces, same agenda. All parts interchangeable. A two party duopoly assures it. Get prepared. The new incumbent will disappoint, and if it’s John McCain consider Chalmers Johnson’s advice about a Vancouver condo for safety.

No guessing about a man who even scares some in the Pentagon. Extremists on the right advise him. He’s comfortable with a 100 year Iraq occupation. Militarism as a way of life. American boots on the ground everywhere. An enlarged military to achieve it – 150,000 more troops for starters. Endless wars. For their own rewards. Imperialism for its own sake. Colonizing everything. Committed to the most extremist Israeli – Christian Right agenda. Unilateralism. Nationalism. Patriotism’s dark side. Americanism as expansionism. Unlimited federal power. Civil liberties sacrificed for security. One-sided support for privilege. A future most Americans oppose. A man to make Cheney look like Gandhi, according to Pat Buchanan. A de facto third Bush term or worse. GW on steroids some believe. Absolute executive power. Rock hard-line. A neo-con’s neocon. Unparalleled dangers under him. No different than most dictators. No one to trust with the presidency. Think it can’t happen here. Think again.

The Obama Alternative

Many see him as change. The “Obama Moment” for The Nation magazine. “Electric” when he was nominated. A “historic candidacy.” A “new generation (with) new possibilities.” A “sea-change election.” A “stark ideological contrast.” A clear “change of course.” Progressive-driven reform. The “end of the Reagan era” if he wins. “An end of the occupation of Iraq.” Committed to “affordable healthcare for all….holding corporations and banks more accountable…empowering labor….challenging our trade policies….a social liberal.” He’ll tax the wealthy, avoid right wing judicial nominees, and launch a whole new direction for America under his leadership.

A shameful Nation magazine display that turns reality on its head and echoes its 19th century roots. It was once unapologetic about slavery. Later failed to advocate for black and other minority rights, labor, women’s suffrage and more. It championed 19th century laissez faire. Attacked the Grangers, Populists, trade unions and socialists.

In 1999, it called the US-led NATO Serbia-Kosovo aggression “humanitarian intervention.” After 9/11, it backed the official explanation in spite of huge amounts of evidence debunking it. Initially supported the Afghan war. The Iraq war early on. “No evidence” the 2004 election was stolen. Attacks Hugo Chavez. In January 2006, ran a repugnant full-page anti-Muslim ad titled “Arabian Fables” claiming Palestinians are prone to violence and deception. Then in March 2006, ran an article titled “The Fight for Haiti” in which it attacked Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Called him “feared and despised,” and blamed Haitians for their occupation and Washington-inflicted misery.

No surprise their editorial position would endorse a candidate and party supporting privilege over beneficial social change and ending foreign wars and occupation. They’re gatekeepers and hide the truth about Democrats. Misrepresent them as offering change. Betray their readers and deceive them about a party and their multi-millionaire machine politician favorite – no populist, liberal, or for real progressive change. Just business as usual for his establishment backers picking him to lead his party because he’s “safe.”

Still he’s called different. Less risky. Progressive. Hopeful change. A new direction. A man of the people. Anyone but Bush. The alternative to McCain. A pragmatist. A realist. Non-ideological or less so. Middle-of-the-road. A Kennedy type figure. His natural heir. Inheriting the “torch.” Measured, not impulsive. Thoughtful. A good communicator. Think again. Maybe another opportunist like Kennedy was viewed and about whom his biographer, Robert Dallek, wrote: “He never said a word of importance in the Senate,” and according to some never did much there either.

Even so, he shunned aggressive wars and opposed a Vietnam escalation. But 1960 was different than today’s new millennium world with McCain in the wings to extend it. Would Obama be as bad or worse? Likely not. Just the lesser of two evils or what Ralph Nader calls the “evil of two lessers.” No choice to settle for in his judgment. Especially when both candidates support global militarism, backing Israel and the Christian Right against Iran, unilaterally attacking Pakistan, staying in Iraq for the duration, upping the ante in Afghanistan, and risking a dangerous Eurasian confrontation with Russia.

Both conventions are over. It’s Obama v. McCain, and expect the winner to disappoint like always and on what voters say matter most – ending aggressive wars and addressing long-neglected social needs, made all the worse given capitalism’s global crisis and both parties’ commitment to privilege.

After the Democrat convention ended, author, media activist, critic, and independent filmmaker Danny Schechter wrote: “You won’t hear a call for a national crackdown on the corporate crime, fraud, and abuse that, in just the last few years, have robbed trillions of dollars from workers, investors, pension holders, taxpayers and consumers….Democrats will not shout for a payback of ill-gotten gains, to rein in executive pay, ending corporate personhood, or to demand corporate sunshine laws.”

Instead of embracing change, Obama has a rogue’s gallery for advisors. He’s largely dismissive. Assures business as usual, and wants to prove he’s toughest on national security. He’s for expanding the military – for starters, 65,000 more Army troops and 27,000 more Marines along with bigger supportive budgets. He also wants more counter-insurgency and intelligence resources and funding for language and cultural skills.

His new running mate, Joe Biden, advocates larger special operations forces and a new civilian corps to respond to post-conflict emergencies worldwide. He favors “universal national service” that sounds very much like conscription, but he won’t say. He’s also a six-term senator and:

— longtime defender of privilege;

— backer of military adventurism;

— Bush’s foreign wars;

— partitioning Iraq into Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish areas;

— now critical of failure in Iraq, not the war he supports; just the way it’s run; “a deep hole” in his own words;

— eliminating “fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan;”

— confronting Russia and China;

— enlarging NATO;

— supporting Georgia over Russia;

— securing US dominance in Eurasia; and

— recommending the Saakashvili government get $1 billion in emergency aid – for weapons and munitions, but he won’t say.

He also supports:

— a tightened Cuba embargo;

— US intervention in Darfur;

— repressive laws like the USA Patriot Act;

— tough RICO ones; and

— big business interests foremost at the expense of beneficial social change.

In the 1990s, he backed Clinton’s Balkans aggression. In a 2007 (American Jewish cable) Shalom TV interview he called Israel “the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East” and said: “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” AIPAC responded with praise and called him “a strong supporter of the US-Israel relationship….and the pro-Israeli community.”

He also supported anti-consumerist laws like the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, now hurting homeowners in trouble and facing foreclosure. Others including the 1996 Telecommunications Act. It was grand theft media. A colossal giveaway. The loosening of ownership rules for further consolidation, and the problem of today’s journalism compounded – all propaganda all the time, carefully filtered news, hundreds of irrelevant cable channels, and the reason a free and open society isn’t possible. Reason also why both party candidates support it.

Reason as well why media pundits hail Obama’s choice, according to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). USA Today called him “pragmatic.” His foreign policy depth makes up for what Obama lacks. The Washington Post agreed that Biden “shores up Obama’s inexperience on national security issues.” The New York Times, AP, ABC News and others echo the same theme with some adding that the choice highlights Obama’s weakness, and ABC’s George Will saying: “When you pick a running mate to correct a defect in your resume….you underscore the defect. Now the thinness of Mr. Obama’s resume is as clear as putty.”

What about McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin – Alaska’s (population 684,000) governor since December 4, 2006, former two-term mayor of (Anchorage suburb) Wasilla (population 9800), and before that on its City Council for four years and PTA. Another Dan Quayle – Geraldine Ferraro moment. Maybe a Tom Eagleton one. A woman only notable for having been chosen. Clearly with no qualifications for the job. Done to appease the Christian Right. A thumb-in-the-eye to other Americans.

The New York Times said her selection “astonished the political world….a little-known governor of Alaska and self-described “hockey mom” with almost no foreign policy experience.” Putting a brave face on a surprise pick, The Times called her “a kindred spirit to Mr. McCain (who) play(s) especially well among evangelicals and other social conservatives, who have always viewed (McCain) warily and who have been jittery in recent weeks because of reports that (he) was considering naming a running mate who favors abortion rights.”

The Times added that “Many conservatives (believe Palin) would energize them,” and according to former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, “They’re beyond ecstatic.” The AP was less enthusiastic saying “In two short years (Palin) moved from small-town mayor….to the governor’s office and now….the first female running mate on a Republican presidential ticket. She has more experience catching fish than dealing with foreign policy or national affairs.”

No problem for the Wall Street Journal that called Palin “a surprise stroke aimed at attracting Hillary Clinton supporters (with) solid conservative positions (and a) reputation as a reformer.” Its editorial page referred to “A Reform Ticket” responding to the “public want(ing) change (and that shows) Mr. McCain is serious about changing his party.”

As for experience, the Journal says “Palin’s credentials as an agent of reform exceed Barak Obama’s….(a man who) rose through the Chicago Democratic machine without a peep of push-back….Obama slid past the kind of forces that Mrs. Palin took head on.” She represents “a new generation of leaders….Mr. McCain (aims) to offer himself to voters as a reformer.” With a “genuine” one in Palin, he “may have found the right idea and the right person to make his run.”

More neutral observers have different views:

— about a Republican party in crisis; more than ever being run by its most extremist elements;

— a questionable vice-presidential choice;

— a woman allied with Big Oil; favoring drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; opposing the Interior Secretary’s decision to list polar bears as endangered species as it might anger the state’s oil interests;

— opposes government-funded healthcare;

— up to her nomination had no stated positions on war and peace; foreign policy; the economy; “free” trade; immigration; and various other world and national  issues; nor ones of public concern; now, of course, she’s for permanent war, a homeland police state, ending social services, “work(ing) to expand and deepen the strategic (US – Israeli) partnership,” and placing corporate interests above all others;

— supports red meat Christian Right issues – pro-life, creationism, and against gay rights and same-sex marriage;

— also an enlarged military, the death penalty, school vouchers, tough drug laws, and for churches to provide welfare services, not government;

— her lifetime NRA membership and right to bear arms;

— her ethics problem over her controversial firing of Alaska’s public safety commissioner; also her attempt to remove Wasilla’s librarian for refusing to ban books with views she opposes;

— her lightweight political credentials;

— her past membership (with her husband) in Alaska’s Independence Party (AIP) – a right wing advocacy group favoring secession from the US in contrast with McCain’s campaign slogan: “Country First;” also AIP’s affiliation with the far-right Constitution Party and its extremist theocratic fascist agenda;

— in her 2006 gubernatorial campaign, supported Alaska’s controversial “bridge to nowhere;” for spending hundreds of millions of dollars connecting mainland Ketchikan with its Gravina Island airport – a scheme John McCain opposed in the Senate and ridiculed in his campaign;

— the disturbing media makeover of an extremist political lightweight; giving her star treatment on TV and major magazines; highlighting post-convention rallies with crowds chanting “Sa-rah! Pa-lin;!” turning her into an instant celebrity and “main attraction for many voters “at joint campaign stops with McCain, according to AP; suggesting “McCain-Palin (may) becom(e) Palin-McCain;” and if Republicans win

— she’ll be a heartbeat away from the presidency under a man, now 72, and in questionable health;

As for McCain, there’s:

— a “passion gap” among conservatives for his candidacy;

— his unpredictable temperament;

— explosive temper;

— unimpressive intellect;

— questionable health;

— a lack of a coherent message and strategy;

— up and down standing in the polls;

— being noticeably uninspiring, mean-spirited, and bumbling on the stump, and

— a genius for making enemies among the faithful he needs for support.

National Security and Permanent Wars to Secure It

Defying public sentiment, both parties (and their standard-bearers) support “Global Wars on Terrorism.” But it’s unknown if either backs a draft at a time the Pentagon struggles to fill its ranks and only manages through tour extensions, high-pressure tactics, lowered standards, ignoring past criminal records, recruiting non-citizens, offering attractive reinlistment bonuses, and relying on paramilitaries to make up for shortfalls. It’s clear a “back door” one exists and that under “emergency” conditions Congress will support conscription. So will a new president.

Obama is noncommittal and about-faced on his earlier pledge for a 16 month Iraq combat troop withdrawal. He claims he “always said (he’d) listen to the commanders on the ground….that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain security.” He also wants 10,000 more forces for Afghanistan (two additional combat brigades) to bolster our 36,000 in place. In a New York Times July 14 op-ed, he pushed for our “long-term success in Iraq” and a need to confront “Al Queda and the Taliban” in Afghanistan. “(O)ur first priority” he told the Veterans of Foreign Wars (on August 20) as he vies with McCain on toughness. He suggested that he’s not opposed to aggressive wars so long as they’re winnable and “strategic errors” are avoided.

In commenting on his piece, The Times cited Democrat criticism for his “shift to the political center on a variety of issues, including the Iraq war.” Others see populism on the rocks. A lurch to the right as well as war, militarism and homeland repression. It particularly turns off young voters and those comprising his base. They fear this type presidency. Its support for the status quo. Continued “Global Wars on Terrorism.” Outsized budgets to fund them – over $1 trillion annually with everything factored in. Multi-billions more in secret add-ons. The DLC agenda. The forces of wealth and power. Wall Street and the bankers. Imperialism abroad. Selling out American workers. Neglected social needs. Rhetoric over substance, and special privilege over beneficial social change.

Then there’s redeploying from Iraq. First his about-facing on a 16 month timetable. Adding he wants many troops to remain. Permanent he won’t say, but it’s clear he’s for it. He wants “a residual (tens of thousands) force to target remnants of Al Qaeda, to protect our service members and diplomats, and to train Iraq’s Security Forces if the Iraqis make political progress.” He’s for other troops freed up to pursue American militarism globally. To advance US strategic interests everywhere. To assert our dominance in Eurasia. To “support the people of Georgia.” To respect its “territorial integrity.” To back its NATO membership. To ignore how that angers Russia. To say Russian “aggression” has “consequences.” To sound as belligerent as McCain, and, if fact, go all out to outdo him.

The Democrat convention was scripted for him. To highlight his toughness. His embrace of aggressive wars and militarism. Allegiance to the Israeli Lobby. Homeland repression for enforcement. Supporting Wall Street and the right. Telling CNBC “I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.” Selling out his base and supporters. Assuring once again he’ll disappoint. Using false promises, deceptive rhetoric, and bread and circuses for cover.

Presenting an illusion of democracy. Convincing some  progressives to buy the charade. Suggesting elections give Americans choice. Selling Democrats as offering “change you can believe in.” Making them look toughest on “security” and Obama the right man at the right time. The new JFK.

His acceptance speech theme was quite opposite and ominous in its implications. High-sounding rhetoric for change. Hollow and empty at its core. People issues to go unaddressed. Business as usual instead. “Securing America’s Future” most of all. Wars without end. Controlling Eurasia. Confronting Russia and China. Risking armageddon for imperial gain. Militarizing America to quash dissent. Making it a de facto police state. Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul streets heading everywhere.

Militarizing Denver and Minneapolis – A Metaphor for America and Beyond and Exposing A Two-Party Duopoly’s Dark Side

Silencing dissent. Pummelling protesters. Institutionalizing violence. It’s now de rigueur against the right to assemble, free expression, and to petition for redress of grievances. Even address them peacefully on Denver and Minneapolis-St.Paul streets. Police responded harshly.

Denver’s Rocky Mountain News writer Daniel Chacon called it “Cop and Awe” with “hundreds of heavily armed officers, (from 52 police agencies) some clad in riot gear or hanging off SUVs (saturating) Denver’s streets in unprecedented numbers; on foot, horseback, bicycles and motorcycles; armed with black batons and pepperball guns that resemble assault rifles.”

They moved quickly to isolate protesters. Formed what he called “cop sandwiches.” Targeted the Unconventional Denver protest coordinating center. Seized equipment. Destroyed materials. Made arrests. Contrived charges for justification. Arrested an ABC producer filming the “wrong” things. Working on a “Money Trail” series on influence peddling and how corporate lobbyists work. Stopped a 5000 “Iraq Veterans Against the War” march. Allowed right wing counter-demonstrators free reign on city streets.

On August 25, about 300 peaceful protesters were assaulted about a mile from Denver’s Pepsi Center. Pepper spray and balls, truncheons, and rubber bullets were used. About 100 were arrested. More followed Tuesday through Thursday. Charged with failing to disperse, obstructing public streets and areas, and throwing rocks and other projectiles. Totally false, according to independent People’s Law Project and National Lawyers Guild observers. They disputed the claims and said police instigated confrontation. Assaulted protesters with SWAT teams. Blocked and surrounded them. Brought in reinforcements and two armored vehicles. Held them in place for 90 minutes, then began making arrests. Kept them in detention. Brought them to special “kangaroo courts.” Denied them access to counsel. Kept the press away. Turned the DNC and DHS into Gestapo. Made the nominating process a sham. Showed America to be a police state, and had powerful video images for evidence.

Working alongside police were National Guard, US Secret Service, FBI, other federal agencies, and the Pentagon:

— the US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM);

— North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD);

— US Customs and Border Protection (CBP);

— the Transportation Security Administration (TSA);

— Coast Guard; and

— various intelligence agencies operating covertly.

This for a designated DHS “National Special Security Event.” In Minneapolis as well. Intimidating. Lawless. A show of power. Overkill. Denver under siege.  Minneapolis-St. Paul also. Police distributing provocative warning pamphlets. Like Chicago ’68. Planned a year in advance. Multi-millions budgeted. Big corporate funding as well. Spoiling for a fight at the least sign of disruption, peaceful or otherwise. Justified in the name of “national security.” Monitored with high-tech surveillance from secret Multi-Agency Command Centers (MACCs). Police State America – upfront and belligerent from a two-party duopoly.

Denying ACLU and various advocacy group protests, US (Colorado) District Judge Marcia Krieger (as expected) ruled that federal and Denver security plans could proceed, in spite of clear First Amendment infringements. They include denying protesters proximity to the Pepsi Center. Invesco Field for Obama’s acceptance speech. Restricting them to a so-called “free speech” zone. Making it an isolated parking lot surrounded by two black steel security fence rings. Diverting parade routes from it, and arranging for what one writer called a “Gitmo on the Platte” – referring to central Denver’s river and an empty warehouse converted to holding cells (“cages”), topped with razor wire as backup for city jails. Inside are signs warning prisoners of stun-gun use.

Absent are bathrooms, phones to call families and lawyers, or any attentiveness to detainee needs. A replay of 2000 and 2004 and the subsequent lawsuits. Similar to global justice crackdowns in Seattle, Washington, Miami, Montreal, Genoa, Prague and elsewhere. Heavy use of violence and mass arrests. All to support business as usual. Betraying the public trust. The latest in Denver and Minneapolis-St.Paul. Selling out the country to the highest bidders. Corporations buying favors. Donating millions to get them. A display of organized bribery and influence-peddling. Democrats on the take like Republicans. Each outdoing the other’s promises. Too many willing to buy them. Preparing to be fooled again in 2008. A repeat of 2000 and 2004.

Orchestrated Minneapolis-St.Paul Repression

National Lawyers Guild President Marjorie Cohn explained that it was planned months ago. That “the FBI-led Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force actively recruited people to infiltrate vegan groups and other leftist organizations and report back about their activities.” Even ran a Minneapolis City Pages piece called “Moles Wanted.” This is how Police State America works. Now on Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul streets and neighborhoods. Heading everywhere across the country to quash dissent. Mocking the political process, a democratic America, the rule of law, and justice.

Preemptively on August 29, around the (late 9PM) dinner hour and with no warrants or bogus ones, police (in masks and black swat gear) broke down doors and raided the St. Paul Convergence Center with guns drawn. It’s a public gathering place and where activists’ meetings are preparing protests. Claiming to be looking for “bomb-making” materials, they ordered everyone on the floor, face down – around 50 people. They then photographed and handcuffed them. Seized laptops, hard drives, journals and political pamphlets. Held them against their will. Released them around midnight, and shut down the space due to “fire code” violations. According to City Council member Dave Thune, only Fire Department officials have that authority.

Coincidentally, raids were conducted on houses where activists are staying – bursting in the same way without cause, again with no warrants or bogus ones, and making arrests. Issuing false charges as well of “probable cause conspiracy to riot, conspiracy to commit civil disorder, and conspiracy to damage property.” Claiming items seized included “assorted edged weapons, including a machete, hatchet and several ‘throwing’ knives.” Plus a gas mask, empty glass bottles, rags, flammable liquids, an army helmet, and even “weaponized urine.”

In an August 30 statement, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said raids targeted the RNC Welcoming Committee – a group he called “a criminal enterprise made up of 35 self-described anarchists….intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention.” Specifically: “to blockade and disable delegate buses, breach venue security and injure police officers.”

Activists denied any criminal intent and called the actions “terrorism” and state-directed “violence” – a hint they said of what’s planned throughout the convention week. They were right.

Minnesota National Lawyers Guild President Bruce Nestor represents several of those arrested. He described the raids as “anticipatory” and designed to frighten people planning to be on the streets protesting. One group calls itself the “RNC Welcoming Committee.” Others are “Food Not Bombs” and “I-Witness Video,” there to videotape police violence.

They were on the streets Monday, September 1, and met by “police in riot gear (battling) hundreds of protesters with pepper spray and smoke bombs,” according to Reuters. Rubber bullets, water cannons, concussion grenades, and squad cars driving into crowds to disperse them as well. Tear gas also, according to a brief New York Times account that featured reports of “breaking windows and blocking traffic” over real issues and peaceful protests.

Over 160 were arrested, according to AP, (independent reports said around 300) and charged with street violence, vandalizing police cars, punching an officer, and trespassing. Among them, Democracy Now (DN) host Amy Goodman (charged with “obstruction” and released) and two DN producers (on felony riot charges and also released). AP photographer Matt Rourke as well (briefly and then released) for photographing police violence against protesters.

Thousands marched on the “heavily barricaded Xcel Center” demanding an end to the Iraq war and other issues like immigrant rights and the country’s need for change. It was only day one, and Gustav commanded the spotlight. St. Paul resembled an armed camp “to intimidate demonstrators and silence dissent,” according to one independent report.

New York’s WNBC reported “Violence Follows Second Day of RNC Protests.” Police targeted anti-protest marchers “outside the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.” They used flash grenades, smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Made arrests. Sustained violence to force thousands from the downtown area. The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign organized the march. Its leader, Cheri Honkala, told protesters she would “march to the steps of the Xcel (Energy) Center to serve Republicans with a citizen’s arrest.” Inside, business as usual proceeded, with delegates insulated from mass public opposition to their agenda. Dismissive as well with one calling protesters “goons” and Republicans “acting like adults.”

Day three saw continued repression with more arrests and dozens charged and detained for offenses like “conspiracy to commit riot.” Independent reporters covered it and explained that convictions may mean prison terms of up to seven and a half years. Others arrested the previous weekend face charges of plotting to kidnap delegates, assaulting police officers, and airport attacks. False, an abuse of the criminal justice system and intimidation, according to Bruce Nestor who represents them. He called the charges “an effort to equate publicly stated plans to blockade traffic and disrupt the RNC” with terrorism.

The dominant media was largely silent, except for editorials like the September 2 Minneapolis Star Tribune one praising “an appropriate show of police force (against) rogue protesters who traveled to the Twin Cities for no other reason than to damage property, abuse the police and disrupt the business of the Republican National Convention.”

Inside the Exel Center, business went on as usual. Accepting her nomination, “Palin Assail(ed) Critics and “Electrifie(d) the Party,” according to The New York Times.

A final day on Thursday featured more street protests, police violence, arrests (200 according to AP and over 800 for the week), and a large late afternoon Capitol Mall anti-war rally. Twin Cities Indymedia reported that police interrupted rally speakers and “tried to provoke the audience into a confrontation. At one point the cops stormed into the center of the crowd (and) continued to intimidate the protest by surrounding the back of the stage….”

Following the rally and without a permit, protesters marched toward the Exel Center, but police stopped them violently – for over three hours with concussion grenades, smoke bombs, pepper spray, and tear gas.

Inside the Center, protesters interrupted McCain’s acceptance speech that The New York Times described as “seem(ing) low on energy, and the crowd responded less enthusiastically (than) for Mrs. Palin.” The Chicago Tribune called it “one of the quietest acceptance speeches in presidential campaign history – quiet crowd, quiet candidate, quiet rebukes of the opponent he has bombarded for months.” But the Tribune hailed it anyway. Called it “much like the candidate: calm, forceful and blunt; (highlighted) a roaring arena’s response to his call to ‘stand up, stand up, stand up and fight,’ ” and gave most of its front page to that headline, including a near-half page McCain-Palin photo after he concluded.

“Political preseason is over. Let the games begin (CNN)”

Dateline September 5. Two months to November 4. Putting it in focus after Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Proving Lincoln right that “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time,” but enough of them every time it counts most. November 4. Obama v. McCain. One interchangeable with the other. Differences between them are minor. Not a dime’s worth to matter. A two-party duopoly assures it. Whoever wins, the outcome is certain. Voters again will lose out. Their interests will go unaddressed. Democracy will again prove fantasy. Big money runs things, so everything will change yet stay the same. The way it always works.

Democracy in America. The best that money can buy. Real change awaits a new order. One wanting America the Beautiful for everyone and not just the privileged few alone.

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

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


© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10118


Neo-Progressives Sell Out To Democrats, by Joel S. Hirschhorn

9/11’s Accomplices vie for US Presidency by Larry Chin

Bill Moyers Journal: RNC Recap + NJ National Guard + A.R.M.S.

The U.S. 2008 Presidential Election: An Evaluation by Rodrigue Tremblay

RNC in Twin Cities: Eight protesters charged with terrorism under Patriot Act

RNC – St Paul-Minneapolis MN

DNC – Denver CO




Country Last By David Michael Green

Dandelion Salad

By David Michael Green

09/08/08 “ICH

Hey, did you know that John McCain was a POW?

Did you also know that he was a POW, and that he was a POW?

Now that I’ve recapped seventy percent of the Republican Convention last week, let me fill in the remaining 30 percent: hypocrisy, arrogance, lies and bullshit.

What an unbelievable ride the last week has been, though that will be the fundamental question of this election: Will it be believable? Can Republicans use the old magic successfully one more time? Has the American public, even an angry American public, been dumbed down sufficiently in recent decades to vote against its own interests, yet one more time, even under conditions like those of 2008?

Really, nothing less than American democracy lies in the balance, and the fact that so many folks are still susceptible to this horror show is dispiriting in the extreme. Watching the Rovoclones at the RNC in action was such a scary sight. Orwell had it so right. Of course we’re at war with Eurasia. We’ve always been at war with Eurasia. If you can fool people under these conditions with patriotic peacocks and über-elite fake outrage over ‘liberal elitism’, you can basically fool them anytime.

McCain began the week with an act that, in any healthy democracy, would have instantly disqualified him to be the city dogcatcher in Wasilla, Alaska, let alone leader of the free world. He has been telling us for years that the fight against Islamofascism is the transcendental struggle of our time. He has been telling us the most important job of the Vice President is be qualified to run the country at a moment’s notice (not least because this particular dude is a seventy-two year-old four-time cancer survivor). He’s been telling us over and over that Iraq is the central front in the war against terrorism. Then he chooses someone who has admitted that she doesn’t really know anything about Iraq, ‘cause she’s been focused on Alaska state government. Given that the war has been the premier foreign policy issue for America for half a decade now, we also can safely assume, I’m sure, that she knows even less about the rest of the world.

This definitely demonstrates two things about John McCain. First, that his judgement is deeply impaired. We know, for example, that he had hardly vetted Sarah Palin at all, other than within the last couple of days before the announcement. We know, from Alaskan Republicans no less, that no one from the McCain campaign was up there asking questions prior to the choice (but they are now!). We know that McCain had met her all of once before making the choice. Americans really need to ask themselves, do we truly want another four years of a president who goes on gut hunches and politicizes every decision?

Even more importantly, though, this choice tells us that McCain was more than willing to do something that would benefit his personal career ambitions, regardless of the consequences for the country and the world. Palin may help him have a shot at winning the presidency — perhaps by attracting the votes of unsophisticated women, certainly by rallying the regressive freakoids in his party — but it is ludicrous to believe that she is remotely qualified, let alone most qualified, to handle what McCain himself says is the most important project of our time. The man who sickeningly implies that his opponent is less patriotic than he is has exacerbated that base assault on decency and the fabric of American democracy by hypocritically doing exactly the opposite of what he claims as his campaign theme. The Palin pick was definitive proof that McCain puts country last — even by the standards of his own formulation.

Equally dispiriting was to see the regressive robots in action this week. Within hours of McCain choosing a candidate they had never heard of before, they were giddy with fanatic support for her, and foaming at the mouth with indignation that anyone might actually have the temerity to apply the rules of Republican sexual morality and gender rights to a Republican. Those are meant strictly for other people, don’t you know?

Palin’s speech was also nauseating in its condescending and disrespectfully mocking attitude. Indeed, she, herself, as the nominee supposed to attract women voters, is condescending in the extreme to those very women, just by her existence on the ticket. What an insult. One can only hope that they see it that way themselves, but after the last eight years I can’t put any insanity past the American public anymore. The fact that McCain is essentially tied with Obama in the polls right now is a really scary thought. After all this, are people still so lacking in critical faculties to discern the choices here? Can they really be so readily fooled, yet again?

The rest of the convention was an otherworldly experience for me. Often, I felt as though I had fallen through the looking glass into some alternative universe. Did you know that regressive Republicans are actually big-time feminists? You could have easily reached that conclusion watching this convention, and the indignation directed toward anyone who dared question Palin’s qualifications or challenge the lies her handlers were peddling about her. Did you know that these GOP folks are big supporters of Hillary Clinton? McCain actually ran television ads criticizing Obama for supposedly dissing Hillary when he picked Biden as his running mate. Amazing. Like McCain really gives a shit about Hillary. Like his ideological clan hasn’t spent the last two decades absolutely savaging her mercilessly at every opportunity. Like McCain really, really wants the Democrats to pick the ‘best’ VP nominee they can to run against him. Like the guy and his movement, who oppose equal pay legislation for women, is genuinely offended that Obama would pick someone else. I shudder to think what it says about America that the McCain camp didn’t see it as a ridiculous waste of money to run those ads.

An equally mind-bending episode from the theater of the absurd was Mitt Romney’s hallucinatory rhetorical journey in which he savaged liberals for putting America in the sad state it’s in now. My goodness, have I ever been deluded. All these years I was thinking that the right-wing controlled all three branches of government. I can now see how wrong I am, what with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid ending the Iraq war, jamming national healthcare through Congress, dealing aggressively with global warming, forcing Christian girls to have abortions, impeaching the president, and so on. And Mitt, too, what a reliable source he is! There’s a guy of principle who never, for instance, would radically change his political stripes depending on, say, whether he wanted to be governor of Massachusetts versus win the GOP nomination for president. You can take it from him, that’s for sure.

Often this week, I felt like I had been fully immersed in a John Lennon song, circa 1967 (though the remarkably uptight GOP rank-and-file – afraid of every conceivable bogeyman out there, but nothing so much as their own sexual urges – was usually sufficient to snap me back to the awful present). What a little LSD trip of a convention this was. Mitt! You’re such an eggman! Lieberman! What a freaking plasticine porter you are, dude! Goo Goo G’joob on all you corporation tee-shirts.

I’m crying. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I really am.

But truly the most bizarre event of all at the convention was the one that didn’t happen. Once again, one could certainly be excused for thinking that control of the government has been in the hands of some Baader-Meinhof Provisional Revolutionary People’s Movement Vanguard Government, or such, this last decade. Oddly, though, it turns out that America has in fact been controlled by the most reactionary government ever in American history. Strange, then, that a convention chock-a-block with reactionaries didn’t stop a moment to sing the praises of the good lads Bush and Cheney. A sitting president from your own party who has delivered on ninety-five percent of your agenda, and what – no gaudy, gauzy tribute video with swelling background music? No valedictory address before the raving party faithful? Hmmm. Why do you suppose that might be?

Perhaps Bush was just too modest to highlight all the accomplishments of his eight years. You know. The great economy, the capture of Bin Laden, two wars well managed and brought to a swift conclusion, the tightening of relations with our allies, the rise in home values, the fall in gas prices, the drop in unemployment, the lowering of the national debt, the strength of the dollar, the responsible efforts addressing global warming, the emergency management response to Hurricane Katrina, the personal freedoms defended like those of the Terri Schiavo family, the protection of the Bill of Rights, the restoration of the balance of power between the branches of government, the steadfastness against human rights violations in Darfur and Guantánamo, the blocking of nuclear proliferation in North Korea and all over the world by Pakistan, the solving of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the creation of universal healthcare coverage in America, the investment in rebuilding our infrastructure, the popular success of No Child Left Behind, the unifying of our country, and so very, very much more. Indeed, perhaps it is simply because the list of accomplishments is just so long that they decided to forego this ritual that is part of every convention where there is an incumbent president.

Peronally, I was hoping that Bush would reprise his 2000 nomination acceptance speech this year. You know, the one where he derided Al Gore for arguing that Bush’s policies would be “risky”. The one with the repeating riff, “They have not led. We will.” I thought a catalogue of all the ways in which Bush has led these last eight years, and all the successes he’s had compared to his Democratic predecessor would have really helped John McCain, don’t you? I wonder why they missed such an obvious opportunity to help their campaign.

There were so many lowlights to the Republican convention this year, it’s hard to know which was the ugliest episode of all. Was it Joe Lieberman whoring for a cabinet position? Was it Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin condescendingly mocking Barack Obama because he was once a community organizer? Was it McCain, himself, going on endlessly about his POW days, trying to guilt-trip us into giving him a little ride into history because he was once shot down while bombing Vietnamese peasants into oblivion? I think my favorite had to be Fred Thompson’s not-so-subtle questioning of Obama’s patriotism by saying we need a president who won’t apologize for America abroad, and one who won’t give teleprompter speeches designed to appeal to America’s critics overseas. Wow. Such brass. And such a pathetically immature society we are, where comments such as these could be remotely effective.

What all of this signals clearly is that McCain has fully given himself over to the win-at-any-cost, Karl Rove acolyte Steve Schmidt and his team, who have been running his scorched earth campaign for several months now. These are the very same people who ate McCain himself alive in 2000, using the most vicious techniques found anywhere in the political sphere, as a result of which the candidate was justifiably outraged and incensed in the extreme. These animals have been ripping apart the fabric of American democracy for decades now, using race, homophobia, faux patriotism, fear, immigration, deceit and the dirtiest of tricks to continue winning office at any cost. And the cost has been great indeed.

As so McCain, who has the audacity to campaign on the theme of “country first”, is doing precisely the opposite, and precisely the sort of things that he once deplored himself. Republicans don’t really seem to have the shame gene, as far as I can see, but if they did, this man would be avoiding mirrors for the rest of his life.

Of course, this is not really all that new for him. He’s been running around flacking for Bush for eight years now. He’s completely changed his positions on the religious right, whom he once described as “agents of intolerance”, as well as on immigration, torture, taxes and more, in every case placating the loonies in his party to win the nomination. Some conviction politician, eh? He once mortgaged the dignity of blacks in America by coming out in favor of the confederate symbol on the flag of South Carolina, just to pander to white racists in his own party. That is, before admitting that he had done so and re-reversing his position, of course. And, talk about country first, what the hell were he and Palin doing in the Gulf Coast as it scrambled to prepared for the series of hurricanes coming its way? George Bush, operational commander-in-chief of the federal government, said he wasn’t going to go there and cause a distraction. Gee, I wonder what the senator from Arizona and the governor of Alaska brought to the preparation efforts down there? You’d almost think they were using a national disaster as a campaign event.

I’ve seen Barack Obama reacting to the allegations and smears coming out of the Republican convention, and I’ve seen some of the ads he’s running. The latter are pretty good, but the former is pathetic. This dude better freakin’ cowboy up, and fast, or he is going to get consumed by the Rove machine, just like Dukakis, Gore, Kerry and the rest. Obama needs to show some anger, he needs to stop speaking so hesitantly in his delivery, he needs some sharp pithy lines to trot out, and he needs to go on the attack. In short, he needs to bare some teeth.

Most of all, while he still barely has a chance to do so, he needs to inoculate himself from what is surely coming. Now is the time to runs endless ads associating McCain with Rove with Bush with dirty politics and to scream out foul play, especially along the lines of not putting country first. Such inoculation will prove invaluable when the pond scum in the McCain camp want to start going very, very low, as the campaign nears election day. Obama can then fit such attacks into the frame he’s created, shake his head in ‘sadness’ at the ‘desperation’ of the McCain campaign, and take away the single thing the Republican has going for him — the false perception that he is a patriot and an honorable man. But if Obama waits until Schmidt really gets going, without paving the way in advance for an accurate perception of what they’re actually doing, it will be too late.

Aren’t they smart enough to get this?!?! The thought of another weak-kneed Democratic presidential candidate getting rolled by a GOP dirty politics machine is too much to possibly stomach, especially in 2008, when a candidate pretty much just needs to show up in order to win.

I have tentatively supported Obama so far in large part because I liked what I saw as some fighting instincts during the primary season. But if he can’t attack McCain for picking someone who doesn’t meet McCain’s own definition of what the country needs in a president, if he can’t show enough intelligence to put this patriotism crap off limits after the swift-boating experience of 2004, if he can’t show some grit to the voting public who longs to see it, then he won’t win and doesn’t deserve to.

But that’s him, and that’s his problem.

I deserve better than that, and so does the rest of the world.

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

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No Wolf Whistles for Sarah Palin’s Compassion by Walter Brasch

From “Dominion” to Domination: The Duplicity and Complicity of Matthew Scully

God Does Love the Republicans By Steven Jonas + Bible Thumper

The Daily Show: Sarah Palin Gender Card

Palin, a bold move or reckless choice? + Palin blackens Russia’s name

Sarah Palin’s Speech at the RNC

“Modern Debt Peonage”? Economic Democracy Is Turning Into a Financial Oligarchy

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney

09/08/08 “ICH

An interview with Michael Hudson, 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).

On Friday afternoon the government announced plans to place the two mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, under “conservatorship.” Shareholders will be virtually wiped out (their stock already had plunged by over 90 per cent) but the US Treasury will step in to protect the companies’ debt. To some extent it also will protect their preferred shares, which Morgan-Chase have marked down only by half.

This seems to be the most sweeping government intervention into the financial markets in American history. If these two companies are nationalized, it will add $5.3 trillion dollars to the nation’s balance sheet. So my first question is, why is the Treasury bailing out bondholders and other investors in their mortgage IOUs? What is the public interest in all this?

Hudson: The Treasury emphasized that it was under a Sunday afternoon deadline to finalize the takeover details before the Asian markets opened for trading. This concern reflects the balance-of-payments and hence military dimension to the bailout. The central banks of China, Japan and Korea are major holders of these securities, precisely because of the large size of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – their $5.3 trillion in mortgage-backed debt that you mention, and the $11 trillion overall U.S. mortgage market.

When you look at the balance sheet of U.S. assets available for foreign central banks to buy with the $2.5 to $3.5 trillion of surplus dollars they hold, real estate is the only asset category large enough to absorb the balance-of-payments outflows that U.S. military spending, foreign trade and investment-capital flight are throwing off. When the U.S. military spends money abroad to fight the New Cold War, these dollars are recycled increasingly into U.S. mortgage-backed securities, because there is no other market large enough to absorb the sums involved. Remember, we do not permit foreigners – especially Asians – to buy high-tech, “national security” or key infrastructure. The government would prefer to see them buy harmless real estate trophies such as Rockefeller Center, or minority shares in banks with negative equity such as Citibank shares sold to the Saudis and Bahrainis.

Continue reading

Video Shows US Carnage In Afghanistan

Dandelion Salad



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

By Tom Coghlan in Kabul
08/09/08 “The Times”

Harrowing video film backs Afghan villagers’ claims of carnage caused by US troops

As the doctor walks between rows of bodies, people lift funeral shrouds to reveal the faces of children and babies, some with severe head injuries.

Women are heard wailing in the background. “Oh God, this is just a child,” shouts one villager. Another cries: “My mother, my mother.”

The grainy video eight-minute footage, seen exclusively by The Times, is the most compelling evidence to emerge of what may be the biggest loss of civilian life during the Afghanistan war.

These are the images that have forced the Pentagon into a rare U-turn. Until yesterday the US military had insisted that only seven civilians were killed in Nawabad on the night of August 21.

Harrowing video film backs Afghan villagers’ claims of carnage caused by US troops     : Information Clearing House – ICH.

Veterans for Peace, IVAW Protests at the RNC & Peace Island Conference Report

by Bruce Gagnon
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Bruce’s blog post
Sept. 7, 2008

Joan's first protest

My sister Joan (left) visiting from Iowa in her first protest ever outside the Navy base in Brunswick

Report On Minnesota Trip

This report covers the period of Aug 30 – Sept 3 as I traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota to participate in protests outside the Republican National Convention (RNC) and speak at an alternative conference called Peace Island. Continue reading

Jim Rogers: Socialism for the Rich

Dandelion Salad


Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Jim Rogers: Socialism for the Rich“, posted with vodpod

h/t: mudshark


US Is “More Communist than China”: Jim Rogers

US government takes over mortgage giants to stave off financial meltdown

Take A Load Off Fannie: Bailout Or Nationalization For The Mortgage Giants?

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Why We’re Planning To Prosecute Cheney And Bush

Dandelion Salad

by David Swanson
Global Research, September 7, 2008

Attorneys, academics, and activists to gather in Andover, Mass.

Next weekend in Andover, Mass., a group of attorneys, academics, and activists will gather to plan the prosecution of Dick Cheney, George Bush, and the lawyers and advisors who, together with them, are responsible for war crimes. The conference is open to the public and expected to be well attended: http://war-crimes. info

I can’t speak for everyone involved, but I can tell you why I’ll be there. If I thought we could deter future presidents and vice-presidents from abusing power by giving Cheney and Bush immunity for life, billion dollar pensions, and royal crowns, then that is exactly what I would propose we do. In fact, if there were just about anything that we could do that I thought would have that deterrent effect, I would advocate for it. I would give my life for it. I take the matter this seriously because we are preparing to hand what Michael Goldfarb, Deputy Communications Director for presidential candidate John McCain, approvingly calls ‘near dictatorial power’ to every future president and vice president at a moment in history in which the twin dangers of global warming and nuclear war threaten us far more seriously than has any nation with which ours has ever clashed.

I’m adamantly opposed to the possibility of imposing the death penalty on anyone, no matter what they are convicted of, because it has been shown to encourage violence rather than to deter it. Future presidents are not more likely to refrain from abusing power if they might be executed than if they might be imprisoned for life. If they are imprisoned for life, they can express their regrets in ways that their successors can understand. If they are killed, we will be the ones killing them, and we will thereby send a message to everyone that violence and vengeance are appropriate and admirable. Vengeance disgusts me. Bush and Cheney bore me. What interests me and inflames me is the desire to establish the rule of law, not for its own sake but in order to promote peace, fairness, human rights, and human survival.

Now, we may have an honest and verifiable election in November, although I can’t see how. And we may elect a president and vice president who abide fully by the Constitution, the treaties our nation has ratified, and the laws that are on the books, although that seems highly unlikely. We might even see unconstitutional laws repealed, tyrannical executive orders torn up, and the Constitution amended to strengthen checks on power and expand the democratic influence of the people, although if you believe all that I’ve got a quick little cakewalk of a war to sell you. But think for a minute what message all those successes would send to future presidents and vice presidents and their subordinates: If you break the law, the punishment shall be that the duumvirate immediately following yours will not break the law. Oh, the horror! I can almost feel the terror gripping the spine of every future Dick Cheney and George W. Bush who will claim the throne throughout the remaining short life of our dying republic. ‘Nooooooo! Don’t say that the next chump who comes after us won’t get to be a war president! We can’t stand such agony!’

In a December 31, 2007, editorial, the New York Times faulted the current president and vice president of the United States for kidnapping innocent people, denying justice to prisoners, torturing, murdering, circumventing U.S. and international law, spying in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and basing their actions on ‘imperial fantasies.’

If the editorial had been about Bush and Cheney robbing a liquor store or killing a small number of people or robbing a small amount of money or torturing a single child, then the writers at the New York Times would have demanded immediate prosecution and incarceration. Can you guess what they actually demanded? They demanded that we sit back and hope the next president and vice president will be better. Well, what if they are? The next guy who walked into the liquor store or played with the child would be better too. But how does that fact deter future crimes?

Well, we can announce new policies, pass new legislation, amend the Constitution. We can shift power to the Congress, and clean up our electoral system to allow real representation of the people in the Congress. We can shift our resources from the military to peaceful enterprises. We can eliminate secret government and create total transparency. We can perfect the brilliant cutting-edge democratic system that our nation created over two centuries ago and has done little to update since. We can put an end to plutocracy, reclaim our airwaves, ban war propaganda, and develop wholly different public attitudes toward those 95.5 percent of people in the world who are not Americans. And so we should. But even if we could do all of those things instantly, it would not be sufficient to chain the dogs of war. Exquisite laws and enlightened public attitudes are of no use at all as long as presidents and vice presidents suffer no penalty for disobeying them, and in fact benefit politically and financially.

Of course, in reality, we cannot reform our war government instantly, and we will be hard pressed to prevent even greater damage to our representative system as long as wars are going on. We are as likely to see President John McCain cheering for more wars in January as we are to see President Obama mumbling about moving wars from one country to another. If Obama loses or has his victory stolen, the Democrats will take everything they did wrong these past several years and redouble their commitment to screwing up even worse next time. Ending wars and impeaching criminal presidents will be even further ‘off the table,’ while patriotism, religion, and militarism will be on the rise. If, on the other hand, the Democrats win in November, they’ll react exactly the same way. Their primary interest as soon as any election is won is winning the next one, and their only focus outside of the White House is on controlling the partisan re-gerrymandering of districts in 2012.I wish that this focus on each subsequent election could be seen as a sign of health in our democracy, but in the corrupt, money-laden, media-mangled, party-powered system we have, voters’ choices are minimal, and the total focus on elections amounts to a total abandonment of governing in between elections.

During the Democratic primaries, Senator Obama said he’d have his attorney general look into the possibility that Bush and Cheney had committed crimes, but that as far as he knew they hadn’t committed any. At the same time, Obama promised not to commit some of the same crimes himself. He later voted to give telecom companies immunity for cooperating with some of the crimes. This past week Obama’s vice-presidential running-mate Joe Biden said that he, too, didn’t know of any crimes that had been committed, but that an Obama-Biden administration would look into the question. He also promised a justice department that would no longer commit crimes. The day after Biden made these nonsensical remarks, he went on TV to insist that an Obama-Biden administration has no intention of prosecuting Bush and Cheney.

There’s a much more serious potential road block to domestic criminal prosecution than Barack Obama’s belief that Bush and Cheney’s crimes should be hushed up, namely the possibility that Bush will issue blanket pardons of anyone who engaged in crimes he authorized, including himself. If such a pardon strikes you as a sick joke, I’m with you. But signing statements and military tribunals and pentagon pundits and a partisan justice department and ATM companies building election machines without the safeguards that ATMs have would have all sounded like sick jokes if they weren’t real. Without admitting that Bush or anyone else has committed any crimes, Obama or McCain could take a position against any president, himself included, ever pardoning anyone for a crime that the president authorizes. Congress, or at least the House of Representatives, could stop vacationing and pass legislation forbidding such pardons. Lawyers and Constitutional experts could publish op-eds in major newspapers on the unacceptability of such pardons. A massive movement in the coming months to raise public pressure against pardons makes at least as much sense as continuing to ask Congress to pretty please ‘end the war,’ as if Congress will overdo anything about wars other than what the president tells it to do. A focus on pardons at least begins to limit the power of the individual holding all the power. Congress, unless it is restored to power, serves– at best — as just more people lobbying the president.

Now, blanket pardons or self-pardons could be challenged. There may be local and state and civil prosecutions possible despite pardons and strengthened by pardons. And prosecution by a foreign country or the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a possibility as well. With Obama and Biden suggesting they will ‘investigate’ whether any crimes have been committed, there is no reason that they could not, without even joining the ICC or admitting that they know about the crimes, publicly commit to NOT vetoing at the United Nations any investigations that the ICC might choose to pursue. That commitment is a second demand that wean make of the candidates for emperor.

Some have expressed concern that when Cheney and Bush leave office they will destroy lots of evidence of their crimes. I do not share this concern, because they already have destroyed lots of such evidence, and nonetheless more than enough such evidence is in the public realm. We do not need any more, but do badly need to shake off the myth that we need any more. And there is something that cannot be destroyed: the many potential whistleblowers who have been keeping their mouths shut. We should not be relying on Congress. We should not be funneling our money through electoral campaigns and into TV ads on television networks that are destroying our country. We should be establishing whistleblower protection fund that can guarantee financial security and legal defense to those considering blowing the whistle on their superiors.

As far as Congress goes, we should be demanding a commitment that the endless charades they have gone through with subpoenas and contempt citations for the past two years, while conscientiously avoiding impeachment, will not be dropped along with the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. ‘Executive privilege’ loses even the slightest aura of respectability once the executive is guzzling beers on golf courses for a living. The committee chairmen and the House and Senate leaders who have authorized subpoenas and contempt citations only to be mocked and laughed at by the gang of pirates who will set sail in January must be compelled to publicly commit to re-issuing the same once the new justice department is in place.

There are also a variety of ways in which citizens can file suit. My friend John Bonifaz served as attorney on a law suit against the President before the invasion of Iraq on behalf of Congress members and military families claiming an invasion would be unconstitutional without a proper congressional declaration of war. John consulted in 2007 with a professor at Rutgers University, who worked up a case with his students for a full year, and in 2008 filed it in Federal District Court in Newark, New Jersey. The Complaint, filed on behalf of a number of peace groups, seeks a Declaratory Judgment that the President’s decision to launch a preemptive war against a sovereign nation in 2003 violated Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, which assigns to Congress the power to Declare War. Every peace and justice group in the country should be working with lawyers, choosing their favorite Cheney-Bush crime, and filing a suit, the point being to change the public conversation until we reach the point that a prosecutor will act.

There’s also a procedure called Qui Tam found in the Federal False Claims Act that allows individual citizens to sue if the government spends money fraudulently, and to receive a percentage of any funds recovered. Such a suit could conceivable be filed, or perhaps hundreds of such suits could be filed, against government officials, including Dick Cheney, who set up illegal contracts with Halliburton and other corporations, including contracts to spend in Iraq funding that had been legally appropriated for Afghanistan.

Prosecutions also possible in foreign nations. In May 2008 in Milano, Italy, 25CIA agents and an Air Force colonel went on trial in absentia for kidnapping a man on an Italian street and renditioning him to Egypt to be tortured. The victim’s wife testified for over six hours. A newspaper report read:

‘Nabilaat first rebuffed prosecutors’ requests to describe the torture her husband had recounted, saying she didn’t want to talk about it. Advised by prosecutors that she had no choice, she tearfully proceeded: ‘He wasted up like he was being crucified. He was beaten up, especially around his ears. He was subject to electroshocks to many body parts.’ ”To his genitals?’ the prosecutors asked. ”Yes,’ she replied.’

The judge said that the current and immediate past prime ministers of Italy would be required to testify during the trial.

Foreign victims can also sue in U.S. courts. Also in May 2008, an Iraqi sued U.S. contractors for torture. Emad al-Janabi’s federal lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles and claimed that employees of CACI International Inc. and L-3 Communications punched him, slammed him into walls, hung him from a bed frame and kept him naked and handcuffed in his cell. In July, three more Iraqis and a Jordanian who had been held and tortured in Abu Ghraib for years before being released without charges filed similar suits. Alleged methods of torture by the U.S. contractors included: electric shock, beatings, depriving of food and sleep, threatening with dogs, stripping naked, forcibly shaving, choking, being forced to witness murder, pouring feces on, holding down and sodomizing (a 14-year-old boy) with a toothbrush, being paraded naked before other prisoners, forcing to consume so much water that you vomit blood and faint, and tying a plastic line around your penis to prevent urination.

And on August 15, 2008, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York announced that it would hear the case against the United States of Canadian victim of U.S. torture Maher Arar. His suit names, among others, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, and former head of ‘Homeland Security’ Tom Ridge.

We can also work at the local level to follow the example of Brattleboro, Vt., passing ordinances making it the law that if Bush, Cheney, or key co-conspirators enter our towns they will be arrested.

And we can make citizens arrests all on our own right now: http://afterdowningstreet.org/citizenarrest

Judge William Price in Iowa in July heard the case of people who had been arrested for trying to make a citizens’ arrest of Karl Rove. When told what they were charged with, the judge remarked ‘Well, it’s about time!’

And it’s about time we put together a serious plan to establish the rule of law at home and abroad.

I’ll see you in Andover next weekend.

© Copyright David Swanson, Afterdowningstreet.org, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10100



Afghan president blames “the West” for Islamic extremism

Dandelion Salad

By James Cogan
8 September 2008

The propaganda used to justify the US-led occupation in Afghanistan typically leaves out any explanation of the origins of tendencies such as Al Qaeda, the Taliban movement and other Islamist groups resisting American and NATO troops. The spin merchants of the so-called “war on terror” would have people believe that the US and its allies are fighting religious fanatics who have no support in the country and are motivated by an inexplicable and irrational hatred of Western civilisation.

On rare occasions, however, someone deviates from the script and draws attention to historical facts regarding present-day Islamic extremism that Washington and its allies prefer to leave unmentioned. One occasion was an interview on August 19 with Time magazine with a very close American ally—Hamid Karzai, the man who was installed by the Bush administration as President of Afghanistan in 2002.

Afghan president blames “the West” for Islamic extremism.

Who Lost Iraq? By Michael Schwartz

Dandelion Salad

By Michael Schwartz
Sept 8, 2008

Is the Maliki Government Jumping Off the American Ship of State?

As the Bush administration was entering office in 2000, Donald Rumsfeld exuberantly expressed its grandiose ambitions for Middle East domination, telling a National Security Council meeting: “Imagine what the region would look like without Saddam and with a regime that’s aligned with U.S. interests. It would change everything in the region and beyond.”

A few weeks later, Bush speechwriter David Frum offered an even more exuberant version of the same vision to the New York Times Magazine: “An American-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the replacement of the radical Baathist dictatorship with a new government more closely aligned with the United States, would put America more wholly in charge of the region than any power since the Ottomans, or maybe even the Romans.”

From the moment on May 1, 2003, when the President declared “major combat operations… ended” on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, such exuberant administration statements have repeatedly been deflated by events on the ground. Left unsaid through all the twists and turns in Iraq has been this: Whatever their disappointments, administration officials never actually gave up on their grandiose ambitions. Through thick and thin, Washington has sought to install a regime “aligned with U.S. interests” — a government ready to cooperate in establishing the United States as the predominant power in the Middle East.

Tomgram: Michael Schwartz, Is American Success a Failure in Iraq?.

Neo-Progressives Sell Out To Democrats, by Joel S. Hirschhorn

Note: although Joel is a featured writer here on Dandelion Salad he wrote this piece for another website as an exclusive, so you’ll have to read the rest of the article there.  Thanks, Lo

by Joel S. Hirschhorn
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Sept 8, 2008

(Swans – September 8, 2008) Before you say it, let me say it: I am espousing a political view that is counter to current mainstream feelings and thought in the “progressive” community. My main thesis is that the support for Barack Obama by so-called progressives is a disgrace, because Obama in no way represents authentic progressive ideals and political reforms. These people are neo-progressives or, less politely, fake progressives. Real progressives should vote for third-party candidates because they are passionately against the two-party plutocracy that has shredded American democracy, promoted bellicose globalism, and pounded the middle class.

Swans Commentary: Neo-Progressives Sell Out To Democrats, by Joel S. Hirschhorn – joelh06.

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9/11’s Accomplices vie for US Presidency by Larry Chin

Bill Moyers Journal: RNC Recap + NJ National Guard + A.R.M.S.

The U.S. 2008 Presidential Election: An Evaluation by Rodrigue Tremblay

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos