Pre-election Thoughts, 2008 by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

by Steven Jonas, MD
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

October 22, 2008

The upcoming election has succeeded those of 2000 and 2004 as the most critical one since 1860.  Regardless of who wins, however, that of 2012 will likely succeed this one in “criticality.”  Here are a few thoughts for now.

Palin’s Debate Performance: Where Was the Box?

Palin’s debate performance has been much discussed. One element not noticed was the technological advances made by Republican debate managers since 2004. In one debate that year, Bush’s rectangular control box was clearly visible on his back, under his jacket. (Too bad Kerry didn’t ask him about it, but he was much too much of a “gentleman” to do so. Who was it who said “nice guys finish last?” [Actually it was the great Leo Durocher, who managed to manage both the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants in the glory days of New York baseball, 1941-1957, before both teams deserted us for California.]) At any rate, the Repub. Debate managers are now obviously masters of miniaturization. But still one wonders just where they hid the Palin control box.

Guilt by Association: What a Net it Casts

As yes, guilt by association. Ain’t it just great? Not only is Obama a commie/liberal/terrorist for “associating” (even slightly, as was the case) with Bill Ayres on a community organization board of directors. But so, obviously, are: all of his fellow Board members (some of whom are — oh no — prominent Republicans); the University of Illinois, which had the audacity to make Ayres a full professor with tenure; the publishers of every one of Prof. Ayres’ 15 books; and Mayor Richard Daley and the rest of the group of Chicago industrialists and political leaders who all say that Prof. Ayres is a fine fellow. It’s guilt by association for ALL of them, not just Obama, dontchaknow. And by golly, let’s not forget who it was who first put Bill Ayres’ name into the political hopper. None other than good ol’ Hillary Rodham Clinton, dontchaknow.

In the last debate, when the Ayres subject came up Obama obviously could have quickly put it down with a few choice words like “Keating Five,” “McCain Transition-Chair Designate who was a lobbyist for Saddam Hussein,” and “McCain Campaign Manager, Rick Davis,” who was a lobbyist for Fannie and Freddie (what a lovely couple) until very recently.  Why didn’t Obama go down that road?  Obviously, Team Obama (and they are some well-organized team) decided that they didn’t need to, that McCain was flushing his own toilet with his constant attacks over irrelevancies, larded with falsehoods.  We need only hope that they were right.  As Sen. Obama will repeat every day from now until the election, the campaign ain’t over yet.

Speaking of Fannie and Freddie

Speaking of Fannie and Freddie, don’t you just love the fiction that the Republicans spin about how the financial crisis is all the fault of those dastardly Democrats who forced, forced I tell you, various bank and mortgage companies to make all those sub-prime loans under the guise of equal opportunity lending to all of those dusky folk?  You know that back in 2003 Congresspeople like Barney Frank (gay and Jewish, you know, and Maxine Waters (black you know), were demanding that Fannie and Freddie guarantee loans to all those unworthies.  And then came the crash.

Actually, as it happened, they might have demanded that, but, Republican Scream Machine, no one can require a bank to make a loan to anybody.  They just demanded that the equal opportunity lending law be followed by Fannie and Freddie. But gosh, Rick Davis was lobbying away to get regulation of the two mortgage giants loosened.  Anyway, it started on Limbaugh and Hannity, so at first I just sort of chuckled.  But then there was John McCain, quoting the same fiction in the last debate.

First, as for the awful Democrats being responsible for the deregulation of Fannie and Freddie, as I recall, and correct me if I am wrong, SeanRush, the Republicans controlled the Congress in 2003.  They certainly could have tightened regulation if they had wanted to.  Further, even if any bank or mortgage company could have been forced to make all those sub-prime and misleading and perhaps even fraudulent loans, no could have forced them to slice and dice and resell them in “securitized” packages.  No one could have forced subsequent buyers of those securities to buy them apparently without knowing anything about what they were truly worth.  This is proven by the fact that as the government starts to try to arrange to buy such “toxic” paper, for openers no one seems to have the foggiest notion of their true value.  But as I have often said, one must be very gentle with reactionaries and never, ever, try to confuse them with facts.  Following that rule, Obama chose not to bring this one up in that last debate too.  But again, the campaign ain’t over yet.


ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (now that’s a scary name, isn’t it?), has become the whipping boy for the Republican Party and their media hacks as they maneuver to find a cover for their obvious attempts to suppress Democratic votes once again and once again steal the lection (as they did in 2000 and 2004).  First the Republican Scream Machine, as with the Fannie and Freddie fiction, lead by Hannity and the Fox”News”Channel.  Then, again, McCain-as-echo-chamber himself in that self-same last debate.  “ACORN is fraudulently registering voters.”  The problem with that one is that ACORN does not register voters.  Only election boards do that.  ACORN simply circulates forms and submits the filled-out ones to the local Boards of Elections.  Yes, some of their over-zealous workers (over-zealous for a variety of reasons, for they do get paid by the piece) have submitted or attempted to submitted fake forms.

But: A) state laws require ACORN to submit every form they collect, B) ACORN itself flagged all of those forms they determined to be even possibly fake, and C) ACORN has fired workers caught doing the wrong thing.

Again, Obama chose not to bring this one up in that last debate also.  The obvious strategy, which has been there since the beginning against HR Clinton and all her charges of “inexperienced” and “questionable character” (Wright and Ayres), has been to stick to the issues, and in the debates to “look Presidential” by doing so.  So far it is working.  Let’s hope that it continues to do so, through Election Day and with enough votes, both total and in the key states, to overcome the Republican Election Theft Machine, now obviously operating at full throttle.

Kristol v. Kristol

Bill Kristol has had a major influence on this Presidential campaign.  He was one of the Right-Wingers who discovered Plain on a political vacation in that neighbor of Russia, Alaska, in 2007.  In his Sept. 29, 2008 column in The New York Times, Kristol laid out just how McCain could win.  By doing things like hustling back to Washington for the first meeting on the “bail-out” (in which he apparently sat there and said nothing of significance — anyway how could he? He knows little about economics by his own admission); “liberate” his running mate; reintroduce the Rev. Wright to the conversation; and go on the all-out attack against Obama as an all-out “liberal.”  This was all to be managed by McCain’s great campaign leaders, Rick Davis and Steve “Bullet Head” Schmidt.

(You know, of course, what a “liberal” is.  Someone who advocates: talking first and shooting second overseas, real health care financing reform, rebuilding the nation’s infra-structure, re-establishing Constitutional Democracy, re-invigorating regulation of “the market” so that it might operate with some semblance of equity; dealing with global warming in a meaningful way; ending the War on Iraq within some reasonable period of time.  Someone who is defined by Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh as a “traitor.”)

Then comes Kristol on October 13, 2008, in The Times.  “Fire the Campaign,” the headline read.  McCain and Palin should go back to being their “cheerful” selves (not there is any public evidence that either is very cheerful, even though Palin smiles a lot.  There is the real danger, heaven forefend, of a Democratic Presidency AND a Democratic Congress (which Republican operatives like David Frum said over a week ago on the Rachel Maddow show, where he made a complete fool of himself).  Seems to me that Republicans didn’t fuss about that issue for the first six years of this decade, but you know, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.  Boy I tell you, ol’ Bill makes powerful (sic) arguments on both sides of the question.  Like McCain/Palin telling us in one breath all of the things they are going to do when they have control over the government to fix “what has been wrong with the last eight years,” and in the next telling us that “all that has to be done for the American people is to get government out of  their way.”

McCain and Palin and Kristol should just make up their minds.  It would be a lot less confusing.

This column is based in part on a Commentary of mine that appeared on BuzzFlash on Thu, 10/16/2008.

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and a Contributing Author; a regular Columnist for BuzzFlash; a Special Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal Online; a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC; and a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad


Dr. J.’s Short Takes: Powell Endorsement, Fannie and Freddie, The Ayers Thing, continued

Joe Biden & Sarah Palin VP Debate

Rachel Maddow: GOP Panic + McCain: I’m Proud of My Supporters

Voter Suppression Voting Rights

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse




Mosaic News – 10/23/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad



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


Mosaic needs your help! Donate here:

“Iraqi Cabinet Wants Security Agreement Amended,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Iraqi Forces Take Security Responsibility of Babel,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Iraq Pledges to Probe Attacks on Christians,” Al-Iraqiya TV, Qatar
“US Drone Targets Madrasah in Pakistan,” Press TV, Iran
“International Markets Tumble,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Peres Wants to Revive Arab Peace Initiative,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Man Kills Family,” IBA TV, Israel
“The Land Speaks Arabic,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
“Arab Americans and the US Elections,” Nile TV, Egypt
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Ralph Nader: I Accuse Barack Obama Of Antisemitism Against Arabs! + Defeating Corporate Control

Dandelion Salad

The first video is a clip from Third Party Presidential Candidate Debate


October 23, 2008 C-SPAN

“I Accuse Barack Obama Of Antisemitism…”

video unavailable


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Economics 101 – Interesting times by William Bowles

By William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
24 October, 2008

‘May you live in interesting times’, traditional Chinese curse

Being raised in a family of Reds has its pluses and its minuses, one of the minuses being a decidedly unworldly approach to economics. It was as if we already lived in a socialist world but of course nobody else did. The upshot of this was a total incomprehension as to the value of money, and not merely the value but its importance.

This must sound strange coming from someone who professes to know the ‘answers’ to what ails us but then life is complicated, people are contradictory and we don’t always do what’s in our own best interests, besieged as we are by the forces of capital. For alongside this there is always the question of fear and insecurity about the future, about who we are and what we should be.

Now I know I’m not alone in this, yes sure, we all know we need money but it wasn’t always this way. Indeed there was a time when to earn one’s living through wage labour was considered the absolute pits and something to be avoided at all costs (excuse the pun). Those times are long gone but not forgotten, at least by me.

Now it’s not like we were rolling in cash, my dad earned twelve quid a week as a union organizer for the Musicians Union and my mum didn’t work (my dad was a rather old-fashioned commie). We had no savings, possessed no property, no insurance, nothing. Thus when he died when I was aged ten, we were broke, I mean really broke and finally even made homeless. Thus my folks understanding of the world of capital had little to do with the world we actually lived in. What a paradox eh but in this, we were not alone.

So imagine if you will, that you live in a world where the ‘laws’ of economics are a mystery confined to the high priests of finance (much as the workings of the weather used to be solely the province of the shamans). Holding on to this knowledge is vital and explains why so many opposed and still oppose the creation of a real education system.

Indeed so many aspects of our life flow from restricting knowledge of the workings of our economy which is why when push comes to shove, capitalism is presented to us a ‘force of nature’ over which we have little or no control.

Thus the eminently sensible solution to the current crisis of making credit a public utility gets no play whatsoever in the media (even as they choked on the word nationalization but reluctantly had to admit that the glorious market, supposedly the solution to all that ails us, had failed yet again).

But then again revolutionaries are almost always romantics and dreamers, driven by such old-fashioned ideas as justice, brother- and sisterhood and a deep conviction that the world can be a better place for all of us, if only…

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Death of the American Empire by Tanya Cariina Hsu

Dandelion Salad

by Tanya Cariina Hsu
Global Research, October 23, 2008

America is self-destructing & bringing the rest of the world down with it

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. (Thomas Jefferson, US President; 1743 – 1826)

Often referred to as a sub-prime mortgage collapse, this obfuscates the real reason. By associating tangible useless failed mortgages, at least something ‘real’ can be blamed for the carnage. The problem is, this is myth. The magnitude of this fiscal collapse happened because it was all based on hot air.

The banking industry renamed insurance betting guarantees as ‘credit default swaps’ and risky gambling wagers were called ‘derivatives’. Financial managers and banking executives were selling the ultimate con to the entire world, akin to the snake-oil salesmen from the 18th century but this time in suits and ties. And by October 2009 it was a quadrillion-dollar (that’s $1,000 trillion) industry that few could understand.

Propped up by false hope, America is now falling like a house of cards.

It all began in the early part of the 20th century. In 1907 J.P. Morgan, a private New York banker, published a rumour that a competing unnamed large bank was about to fail. It was a false charge but customers nonetheless raced to their banks to withdraw their money, in case it was their bank. As they pulled out their funds the banks lost their cash deposits and were forced to call in their loans. People now therefore had to pay back their mortgages to fill the banks with income, going bankrupt in the process. The 1907 panic resulted in a crash that prompted the creation of the Federal Reserve, a private banking cartel with the veneer of an independent government organisation. Effectively, it was a coup by elite bankers in order to control the industry.

When signed into law in 1913, the Federal Reserve would loan and supply the nation’s money, but with interest. The more money it was able to print, the more ‘income’ for itself it generated. By its very nature the Federal Reserve would forever keep producing debt to stay alive. It was able to print America’s monetary supply at will, regulating its value. To control valuation however, inflation had to be kept in check.

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Prepare Now For Our Post-Election Strategy by Bruce Gagnon


by Bruce Gagnon
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Bruce’s blog post
Oct. 24, 2008

As we approach the November elections it has become difficult to separate large portions of the peace movement from the daily operations of the Democratic party. In many places across the nation regular peace vigils, in many cases held throughout the Iraq occupation, have become Obama for president rallies. Many activists use the “we” word when talking about the Democrats as if the party is an extension of the movement.

Don’t we wish it could be so. Or maybe I should say, be careful what you wish for.

In a recent article entitled “The Idiots Who Rule America” Pulitzer prize winning journalist Chris Hedges writes,

“Our oligarchic class is incompetent at governing, managing the economy, coping with natural disasters, educating our young, handling foreign affairs, providing basic services like health care, and safeguarding individual rights. That it is still in power, and will remain in power after this election, is a testament to our inability to separate illusion from reality.”

“The democratic system, they think, is a secondary product of the free market. And they slavishly serve the market.”

“The working class, which has desperately borrowed money to stay afloat as real wages have dropped, now face years, maybe decades, of stagnant or declining incomes without access to new credit…..We, as individuals in this system, are irrelevant.”

We are largely irrelevant because most of us are no longer needed. Due to computerization, mechanization, robotization, and outsourcing of our jobs, we have superfluous populations in the U.S. and around the world. The time has come to thin us out.

No matter who takes office in early 2009, they will face massive budget and trade deficits. The U.S., now a debtor nation, will be told by its creditors that it must do like all Third World nations have long been told to do – cut back on social spending in order to balance the budget.

The final stage in the Karl Rovian plan is in place. Once asked who his favorite president was Rove replied, “William McKinley.” Not usually thought of as one of our greater presidents, Rove had to explain that McKinley ruled before we had social progress in America. McKinley was president before we had public education, public health, Social Security, unemployment insurance, the 40-hour workweek, child labor laws, and a whole lot more. Rove dreams of a return to feudalism – the 21st century corporate variety.

Despite public claims that they disagree on U.S. strategy in Iraq, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama would both keep some level of U.S. troops there on permanent bases and both want to send more American troops to Afghanistan. They both also support expanding the size of the military. They both agree that the Congress must “rebuild the military” after eight years of Bush-Cheney abuse. Where will the funds come from to do these things?

Pentagon spending has doubled during the past eight years. By 2010 military program managers are going to be scrambling to get their expensive high-tech programs funded. There is already intense competition between the services for new funding for their endless military appetites. This Pentagon dysfunction can already be witnessed by the recent public relations campaign called “Air Force Above All” that attempted to posture that branch of service as most deserving of high levels of funding as we hit the economic wall. Base commanders were sent out into their local communities to begin lobbying business leaders to support cuts in “entitlement programs” which translates to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and what remains of the severely diminished welfare program. The final shots of the war against social progress are now being fired.

So not only do we face the greed and excess of Wall Street, and are paying for their mistakes, but next we will be asked to continue to fund the crumbling military empire as it collapses around us with no regard for who suffers as it falls.

We will have one serious opportunity at hand to counter this spiraling downfall. No matter who you vote for in November, we must begin now to plan to utilize this potential opening because the elite will be working overtime to close the door as quickly as possible, not wanting to allow the slightest ray of light to pass through the crack. Already the talking heads on TV are telling the American people that if the Democrats win they must “moderate” their message.

As the new president attempts to formulate his budget plan during these trying times it would seem natural that in a real democracy there would be local public meetings so that the citizenry could give their best advice on how the nation should proceed. After all, following eight long hard years of endless war and cuts in social spending, the people will have their own thoughts on what direction the nation should go. This is even more true should Obama, as it now appears he will, win the election.

Local peace, social justice, environmental, women’s, and labor organizations should form coalitions to host large public hearings to discuss the guns or butter issue. It is highly likely that the Democrats, who will fully control Congress, will tell us that we can still have both. We can continue some semblance of an occupation of Iraq, expand the war in Afghanistan, build Star Wars, surround Russia and China, and still have enough money to fund health care for all. They will urge us to just give them some time, say two years, to clean up the mess left by the Bush-Cheney cabal. If we listen to them, and step back even for a moment, we would be making a foolish mistake.

We must from the outset mount vigorous pressure on the new administration and the new Congress to overturn the anti-human budget cuts of the past eight years. We must demand major cuts in military spending and an end to corporate subsidies. We must articulate a vision that calls for the conversion of the military industrial complex in order that our tax dollars be used for peaceful and sustainable technology production – not the continued industrial production for war without end.

Only a narrow window of opportunity will await us. We must prepare now to stick our collective feet in the door to ensure that democracy and social progress are not destroyed as the oligarchy attempts to slam the door in our face.


They Did It On Purpose by Richard C. Cook

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse




Global Warming: Stronger Than Expected, Sooner Than Forecast

Dandelion Salad

Climate and Capitalism
October 23, 2008

Global warming is accelerating at a much faster rate than predicted by the IPCC, according to a new compendium of scientific research

In 2007, the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their Fourth Assessment Report – a study of global warming that involved nearly 4,000 scientists from more than 150 countries.

However, the science of climate change has moved on in the year since this respected report was published. Climate change: faster, stronger, sooner [PDF: 1.65 MB], published this month by WWF, amalgamates this new scientific data and reveals that global warming is accelerating beyond the IPCC’s forecasts.


via Global Warming: Stronger Than Expected, Sooner Than Forecast : Climate and Capitalism

Bolivia approves new draft constitution + Colombia’s indigenous protest against Uribe

Dandelion Salad


Forrest Hylton : The fight is not over by any means but Bolivia has entered a new phase

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