The End of International Law? By Robert Dreyfuss

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Dreyfuss
November 04, 2008
The Nation

A parallel new Bush doctrine is emerging, in the last days of the soon-to-be-ancien regime, and it needs to be strangled in its crib. Like the original Bush doctrine — the one that Sarah Palin couldn’t name, which called for preventive military action against emerging threats — this one also casts international law aside by insisting that the United States has an inherent right to cross international borders in “hot pursuit” of anyone it doesn’t like.

They’re already applying it to Pakistan, and this week Syria was the target. Is Iran next?

Let’s take Pakistan first. Though a nominal ally, Pakistan has been the subject of at least nineteen aerial attacks by CIA-controlled drone aircraft, killing scores of Pakistanis and some Afghans in tribal areas controlled by pro-Taliban forces. The New York Times listed, and mapped, all nineteen such attacks in a recent piece describing Predator attacks across the Afghan border, all since August. The Times notes that inside the government, the U.S.Special Operations command and other advocates are pushing for a more aggressive use of such units, including efforts to kidnap and interrogate suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders. Though President Bush signed an order in July allowing U.S. commando teams to move into Pakistan itself, with or without Islamabad’s permission, such raids have occurred only once, on September 3.


via : Information Clearing House – ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Indonesia + Petraeus plans more border raids + Syria + Ireland

What was the real motive of the raid in Syria? + Ron Paul: Obama & McCain AGREE with Bush

Election Returns (links) + Obama wins + McCain Concession Speech

Dandelion Salad

Here is Barack Obama Acceptance Speech Nov. 4, 2008

Updated several times, see below for the latest reports

At 1:27 AM with 3508 of 3533 precincts reporting in MO:

1,426,815 McCain
1,426,402 Obama

Election Returns: Continue reading

Dr. J.’s Commentary: What Certain Folks Will Miss About George Bush

by Steven Jonas, MD
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

November 4, 2008

On the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times of November 2, 2008, six contributors were asked to respond to the question “What Will I Miss About President Bush“. As The Times said, “The Op-Ed editors asked six writers to reflect on what they have most admired about him.” The comments were thus generally encomiums of one sort or another. Although I hate, just hate, bringing facts into situations such as this, especially when it involves right-wingers, who are so sensitive to the introduction of facts into any discussion, I thought that a few comments on the factual side might be in order.

ROBERT DRAPER, a correspondent for GQ and the author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush said that Bush was “Loyal to a Fault.” Draper talked about Dana Perino and other “current and former Bush staffers” who “just loved the guy.” Draper tells us, that “President Bush has paid a price for his human decency.” I guess that would come as something of a surprise to one of his (formerly) most loyal employees, former press secretary Scott McClellan. Apparently by inadvertence rather than any specific action (at least according to Scott), Bush just left poor old Scott out to dry and did nothing to reel him back in when he inadvertently got caught up in the Rove-Cheney-Libby cover-up of their purposeful leak of the identity of Valerie Plame (Scott McClellan, What Happened: Inside the White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, New York: Public Affairs, 2008, chaps. 1, 14). “Loyal to a fault?” Well I guess it depends how you define “loyal” and “to a fault.”

ARI FLEISCHER, the White House press secretary from 2001 to 2003 who preceded McClellan (and who has not written a tell-all, or at least as much as he apparently knows, book revealing one moral failing after another of George W. Bush and the people with whom he surrounded himself) tells us that “I’ll miss President Bush’s moral clarity. The president’s critics hated his willingness to label things right or wrong, and the press used to bang me around for it, but history will show how right he was.” That’s right, Ari. Bush sees things absolutely in black and white and furthermore he knows that he knows which is which. He is indeed the right-winger’s right winger. Facts are totally irrelevant. As the journalist/author Ron Suskind told in The New York Times Magazine article published in the run-up to the 2004 election, he was told by a White-House staffer that he (Suskind) had better learn about the “alternate realities” they dealt with if he ever wanted to understand them. And so, the warnings of the impending al-Qaida attack on the US in the summer of 2001 were ignored, but as soon as it happened, Bush made the determination to invade — Iraq (McClellan, chap. 8). Because he just knew what was right and what was wrong.

CURTIS SITTENFELD, the author of the novel “American Wife,” apparently couldn’t come up with anything nice to say about “W.” but he did go and on about Laura, who he described as, among other things, a “well-mannered conservative.” As compared with whom, Curt? George, Rove, or “F__k you,” “shoot-you-in-the-face” Cheney?

One wonders how JACOB WEISBERG, the editor in chief of the Slate Group and the author of The Bush Tragedy was let onto the page when The Times was obviously trying to be nice, but he did share with us some of the great Bush manglings of the language: “I know how hard it is to put food on your family; [immediately post-9/11] I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport; [he wouldn’t answer a question] neither in French nor in English. Nor in Mexican; [and then] misunderestimated, Kosovians, Grecians, Hispanically, arbo-treeist, and strategery” (which happens to be a term coined by the comedian Will Ferrell and adopted inside the administration). I don’t know, Jake. If you can’t remember something nice about someone, why remember anything at all?

SCOTT McCLELLAN, evidently trying to get back into Bush’s good graces (goodness gracious, some people just don’t ever learn), said “What I will miss most about George W. Bush as president is his sincere concern for promoting human dignity.” There are two words that sum up the Bush approach to that subject: Katrina and Torture.

Finally, PAUL BURKA, the senior executive editor of Texas Monthly said, “I feel nostalgic about the person I knew as Gov. George W. Bush. I miss that guy. He was the best politician I ever saw. He really was ‘a uniter, not a divider.’ He refused to kowtow to the far right. He worked with Democrats to strengthen public education, while Republicans were pushing vouchers. He had four vacancies on the Texas Supreme Court and he filled them all with centrist judges. The extreme right wing of the Republican Party was his enemy, not his ally. His administration was untainted by scandal. Karl Rove remained an outside consultant rather than a gubernatorial staffer. But when he reached the White House, Governor Bush vanished, to be replaced by President George W. Bush — a person I didn’t recognize. He was never to return.”

One has to give full credit (seriously) for such a statement. What Mr. Burka did not note, however, are two things. A) observers have said that creating the totally false “moderate” image for W. was all part of Rove’s grand plan to capture the Republican nomination and then the Presidency in 2000. B) Regardless of whatever plans Rove and Bush had, the Texas governorship is acknowledged as one of the weakest, if not the weakest, in the country. In order to get anything done that he or she might have on the agenda or to create any sort of record that he/she might someday want to show to outsiders, the Texas governor has to work closely with the State legislature where the real executive power lies (yes, you read that right; in Texas, the real executive power lies with the legislature — but it is Texas). And in those days, pre-Tom DeLay, the Democrats still had some real power in the Texas legislature.

You can understand that there are some people who want to have nice memories of George W. Bush. Hey, it is possible. You just have climb into the Georgite alternate reality, and there they will be.

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

US and India forge a strategic partnership with globally disruptive nuclear treaty

Dandelion Salad

By Kranti Kumara and Keith Jones
4 November 2008

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukerjee and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation treaty last month, concluding a three-year drive on the part of their countries’ respective elites to take Indo-US bilateral relations to “a new level.”

The treaty and associated changes in the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) grant India de facto recognition as a nuclear-weapons state and gut the four decade old international nuclear regulatory framework that the US was largely responsible for creating.

Only the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—the US, Russia, Britain, France, and China—have hitherto been internationally recognized nuclear-weapons states; and only they and other states that have signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (pledging thereby not to develop nuclear weapons) have been allowed to engage in civilian nuclear trade.


via US and India forge a strategic partnership with globally disruptive nuclear treaty

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Jared Diamond: Why Societies Collapse

Dandelion Salad

TEDtalksDirector Why do societies fail? With lessons from the Norse of Iron Age Greenland, deforested Easter Island and present-day Montana, Jared Diamond talks about the signs that collapse is near, and how — if we see it in time — we can prevent it.

Continue reading

Voting “Third” Party is modern Civil Disobedience

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

By Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
Featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Nov. 4, 2008
Ignorance Is Futile

I know, I know, this election is over. The U.S. population has already lost this election. The ‘2 Party’ system reigns dominant once again. So the typical logic follows that because “I” won’t ‘vote’ for who will win, I won’t vote.

I’m really not here to rant about the lunacy of the self-defeated masses, but ranting is deserved. Yet I’ll cut it short. But it should be noted that in recent polls 60% weren’t pleased with the “2″ options. Furthermore, Congress enjoys a roughly 10% approval rating, numbers GWB hasn’t even had to face. I’m not even here to bitch about how roughly 1/3 of the eligible US population actually goes to vote, while more citizens vote for American idol (rendering these helpless types mere civilians).

But what I am here to rant about is this massively held doctrine that ‘I can only vote for who I think will win’. The ongoing attitude is that one can only vote for who will win. Once the herd is fed defeat by the Ruling Establishment’s controlled Big 5 Media they change the channel, or join the bandwagon for the puppet-men who are there to (preferably nicely & “lovingly”) dominate them.

So we lost this year. Many of us watched the Big 5 mainstream media go to desperate lengths to to smash Ron Paul’s campaign, a campaign that would have equaled a “Third” Party representation in place of the GOP. After that it was downhill. A slope that it clear to the hardest working of us that in 2008 we faced impossible odds from the Ruling Establishment. In fact there wouldn’t have existed a Ron Paul campaign had he run for “Third” party, as he only got into televised debates because he “was” Republican. But I’m not here to complain about that, and I’m done complaining altogether.

While Ron had an “easy” (in comparison to what ‘real’ “Third” party candidates face) rise until the Primary’s, his “Third” party equals began (as he once did as Libertarian party presidential candidate) a knowingly impossible battle. These people enter into the face of evil and insanity knowing they’ll be considered as a step above laughing stock. They lay the ground-work for a possible future. But that future’s possibility declines each election year as the masses go and “vote”.

Yet the only real mass that votes are those so deeply indoctrinated into the group-think mindsets known as “Republican” & “Democrat”. As I say so often, I’m not concerned with whether or not an individual falls into “Liberal” or “Conservative” ideologies. Instead I’m concerned with if they equate Liberal with Democrat (party), or Conservative with Republican (party). These prosperity and liberty eroding henchman have gotten us all where we are today, and both McCain & Obama voted for the ‘economic bailout’.

My goal here is not to chastise Liberals & Conservatives, instead I seek to encourage people to find the “Third” party candidates who actually represent not only their prosperity, but even their social (moral emotional wedge) issues. I’m not here to endorse any of these, as it IS futile to expect any of the primary 4 to win.

Instead I argue that it’s beyond imperative that these brave individuals are supported. I’m here to declare the time of only voting for who one perceives will win is absolute insanity. It’s time we all protest knowing we will lose. It’s time to declare that voting for the lesser of 2 evils is still evil, and that we wont support mutual forces of evil. It’s time to acknowledge that the “Third” party candidates wittingly sacrifice themselves in the face of defeat that even I in all of my selflessness couldn’t match. Imagine starting something (in a so-called “democracy”) that you know cannot be won during your attempts.

Vote ANYONE besides Republican or Democrat. Vote for yourself. And on the rest (local) vote out the incumbents. It’s time for a real change, but that change won’t happen under the 2 party system. The “Third” party candidates are laying the ground for a real future, but they need you to lay a groundwork for there successors. The 2012 election for the U.S. starts on November 3, 2008. Begin your efforts on November 3, 2012, by protesting against the Ruling Establishments “2 Party” system.


Wear Orange on Election Day!

Obama and the Left’s Dilemma By William Bowles

Third Party Presidential Candidates Debate 10.30.08

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos




Annals of Crony Capitalism – Nuke Detection Machines Fail, Again

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, November 4, 2008
Antifascist Calling… – 2008-11-03

You’ve got to hand it to the Bush administration. No matter how pitifully their “Homeland Security” projects perform, money talks.

Back in June, I reported on one such pet project under development by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP).

In a $1.2 billion taxpayer-financed deal shared by Raytheon, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Canberra Industries (a subsidiary of the French nuclear manufacturing titan, the Areva Group), the defense contracting giants claimed that the ASP would provide port officials with a reliable means of detecting illicit nuclear or radiological materials smuggled inside containers entering U.S. ports. It was alleged by DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) that the ASP

…will enhance current detection capabilities by more clearly identifying the source of detected radiation through spectroscopic isotope identification. The ASP program provides significant improvement in the detection of special nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium and weapons grade plutonium, differentiating between these and naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). ASP variants include rail, mobile, and re-locatable systems. (Department of Homeland Security, DNDO, “DHS Public Release BY08/DNDO – Advanced Spectroscopy Portals (ASP) – Passive Detection Systems,” February 12, 2007)

DNDO claims the system as currently designed is superior to what is already in place and that the ASP has demonstrated “low false alarm rates.” (Which isn’t saying much since current monitors have an abysmal track record and have failed to distinguish between the components of a radiological dirty bomb and natural radiation emitters such as kitty litter, ceramics and bananas!)

Back in 2005, Reuters reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Robert Bonner testified before the Senate that since the first devices were installed in 2000, “they had picked up over 10,000 radiation hits in vehicles or cargo shipments entering the country. All proved harmless.” Security analyst Bruce Schneier wrote at the time, “It amazes me that 10,000 false alarms–instances where the security system failed–are being touted as proof that the system is working.” Not much has changed since then.

Despite DNDO’s extravagant claims, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a stinging new report stating that assertions made by the office cannot be backed up by statistical evidence.

The GAO’s September 2008 report entitled, “Combatting Nuclear Smuggling: DHS’s Phase 3 Test Report on Advanced Portal Monitors Does Not Fully Disclose the Limitations of the Test Results,” demolished DNDO claims. In polite bureaucratese, GAO auditors declared that DHS massaged the test results and painted a rosy picture of what, for all practical purposes, is essentially a corporate boondoggle. Indeed, GAO auditors found,

“Because the limitations of the Phase 3 test results are not appropriately stated in the Phase 3 test report, the report does not accurately depict the results from the tests and could potentially be misleading. In the Phase 3 tests, DNDO performed a limited number of test runs. Because of this, the test results provide little information about the actual performance capabilities of the ASPs. The report often presents each test result as a single value; but considering the limited number of test runs, the results would be more appropriately stated as a range of potential values. … DNDO’s reporting of the test results in this manner makes them appear more conclusive and precise than they really are. The purpose of the Phase 3 tests was to conduct a limited number of test runs in order to identify areas in which the ASP software needed improvement. While aspects of the Phase 3 report address this purpose, the preponderance of the report goes beyond the test’s original purpose and makes comparisons of the performance of the ASPs with one another or with currently deployed portal monitors. (GAO, “Combatting Nuclear Smuggling: What GAO Found,” September 2008, p. 5)

The auditor’s aver, “if an ASP can identify a source material every time during a test, but the test is run only five times, the only thing that can be inferred with a high level of statistical confidence is that the probability of identification is no less than about 60 percent.” Which means the ASPs failed at least 40% of the time to identify nuclear materials that could be used in a devastating attack.

Additionally, when the program was cited for “lapses” back in June, the Phase 3 tests were not to be used by DHS Secretary Chertoff to certify the program. Yet DNDO securocrats now state according to GAO investigators, that the less-than-stellar Phase 3 tests “will be relevant to the Secretary’s certification that the ASPs represent a significant increase in operational effectiveness.” However, DNDO “does not clarify in what ways the results will be relevant.”

But as investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker has written on more than one occasion, “When things don’t make business sense, sometimes its because they do make sense… just in some other way.” Perhaps, DHS is giving us another glimpse of that process at work.

The Washington Post reported that the DNDO “derided the findings as ‘misleading and not substantiated’.” And that GAO auditors “failed ‘to acknowledge the depth and breadth’ of the program’s test campaign.” GAO replied to DNDO’s criticism and stated,

“DHS comments that our draft report failed “to acknowledge the depth and breadth of the ASP test campaign, which is by far the most comprehensive test campaign ever conducted on radiation detection equipment.” However, our report describes previous ASP testing and some of our prior findings about that testing, and notes that ASP testing continues in 2008. More importantly, the extent of testing is not the issue at hand. In our view, regardless of how many tests are performed, the tests must employ sound, unbiased methodologies and DNDO should draw and present conclusions from the test results in ways that accurately and fully reflect the data and disclose their limitations.” (GAO, op. cit. p. 18)

During an earlier round of testing, the GAO had found that the DNDO’s “estimates for detection rates were overstated and that the costs of the machines were significantly understated,” according to the Post.

Originally slated to cost $500,000 per unit, the eventual price tag has ballooned upward and the latest estimates claim each machine will now cost taxpayers some $778,000. While chump change by current lax standards, it does raise significant questions as to the efficacy of congressional oversight of government handouts to defense and security contractors, many of whom are extremely generous when it comes to campaign contributions.

According to, the Raytheon Political Action Committee (PAC) has disbursed some $1,709,060; Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. PAC, $161,017 and Areva subsidiary Cogema Framatone PAC $117,000 in campaign contributions during the 2008 election cycle to Democrats and Republicans, a veritable bipartisan “spread the wealth around” subsidy to grease squeaky congressional wheels!

Additionally, reports that 2008 campaign contributions from the defense industry amounts to $20,670,429 with the Democrats narrowly edging out Republicans (51%-49%), reflecting where the “smart money” is going this year!

Considering the general climate of corruption that pervades Washington and corporate board rooms in America, do the dubious test results uncovered by GAO reveal a wider problem? Let’s take a look.

With some 80,000 employees, many in possession of coveted Top Secret or above security clearances, Raytheon clocks in at No. 4 on Washington Technology’s list of “2008 Top 100 Government Prime Contractors.” And with $5,170,829,645 in government-related revenue, the multinational giant pulled in some $4,762,068,432 in defense spending dollars.

However, according to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), Raytheon was No. 5 on that organization’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (FCMD). According to POGO, Raytheon was cited for some $475.6 million in what the organization called its “Total Misconduct Dollar Amount.”

From aircraft maintenance overcharges, contractor kickbacks, defective pricing, the improper export of defense items, False Claims Act violations, drinking water contamination in two Arizona cities, securities litigation, violations of SEC rules, through charges of racial discrimination and a lawsuit by EEOC, one can only conclude that being a well-connected multinational defense giant means “never having to say you’re sorry”!

POGO had no information of wrongdoing on Raytheon’s other two partners in the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal deal, Canberra Industries and Thermo Fisher Electric.

But wait, there’s more!

GAO investigators testified before Congress in 2007, that DNDO’s Phase 1 “tests did not constitute an objective and rigorous assessment of the ASPs’ capabilities because, among other things, DNDO conducted preliminary test runs on source materials to be used in the tests, and then allowed the vendors to adjust their ASPs to specifically identify the source materials to be tested.”

Sweet, isn’t it? Like taking an exam and have all the answers before you sit down!

It now appears that the same faulty methodology was applied to Phase 3 testing, and as noted above, DNDO will argue that those tests, indeed all test results, including those in which the “vendors” adjusted their equipment to meet predetermined criteria will be used by DHS Secretary Chertoff to issue a favorable certification for the ASP program. (This is a technical “innovation” we have seen on the political front; to wit, as the Downing Street Memo revealed when “the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the [Iraq invasion] policy”).

None of this of course, comes as a surprise. Despite capitalism’s economic meltdown, large defense and security contractors will continue to flourish as Washington’s “war on terror” inexorably advances on the home front. According to Washington Technology,

Raytheon reported a third-quarter net income of $427 million, or $1.01 a share, up from $299 million, or 68 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue reached $5.86 billion, up 12 percent. The Waltham, Mass., company also raised its financial guidance for 2008 and it expects stronger profits and sales next year. (“Defense Firms Thrive Despite Downturn,” Washington Technology, October 24, 2008)

Indeed, Raytheon’s Chief Executive and Chairman Bill Swanson told security and defense analysts “that he is optimistic that U.S. defense spending will hold up in the face of the current economic crisis,” the technology insider publication reported.

Swanson said, “A lot of people want to predict doom and gloom. I don’t see it from that standpoint.” Nor would I, if I were in a similar position!

As the Associated Press reported, in 2007 Swanson received a $15 million compensation package from the defense giant that included $1.23 million in salary, $3.05 million in “non-equity incentive plan compensation,” and $575,699 “in other compensation, including use of company aircraft and a company car, home security and financial planning services.” How’s that for hitting the corporatist “sweet spot”!

Despite the inescapable fact that the American people remain vulnerable to terrorist smuggling of nuclear materials into the Heimat, and despite a veritable $1.2 billion flim-flam by giant multinationals aided and abetted by the corrupt and infinitely corruptible Department of Homeland Security, regardless of which party of capitalist grifters win today’s general election, expect that “business as usual” will continue along on its merry way.

And you can take that to the bank!

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, an independent research and media group of writers, scholars, journalists and activists based in Montreal, his articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily and Pacific Free Press. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

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Obama and the Left’s Dilemma By William Bowles

By William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
4 November 2008

My dear friend and comrade Patricia, ensconced in Jacksonville, FLA sent me these words yesterday (3 November):

Because the elite has used this [racism] for eons. Stand up! Damn It! It’s the empire that is the focus. OHH PULEESE! But then they’re very nervous when using niggers within the empire to maintain the empire. Short story and oh so familiar. That is the Brits to the max. Within the U.S. matrix, not the Brits. This is a  tremulous time and there is deep worry. It’s [a] scary time for those who rule!!!

Followed by:

Got your thinking and reams of others. To repeat: no wonder those who rule are “tremulous”, very oft centered. But, dear bill, how do we expand and reproduce capital? Ye Gods!!! I know how deeply we experience our incipient mortality as producers of the world.

Yes, selecting Obama was a desperate gamble no doubt, but the future of the empire is at stake here. So can Obama rescue it for whitey and what’s a lefty to do? Is it still the same old lesser of two evils paradigm (didn’t we go through this four years ago?)? Surely a ‘liberal’ black man as prez is preferable to a reactionary scumbag like McCain? Well we’ll skip the ‘liberal’ bit and let’s deal with his ‘blackness’.

Clearly black folks voting for Obama is not only about his programme (it differs only in syntax from McCain’s) but about Black Americans expressing their frustrations with centuries of oppression in the (I believe vain) hope that he will make a positive difference to their lives. So I think there’s more than an element of desperation involved here (on both sides) and under such circumstance who can blame black Americans voting for Obama? And I’m not sure the left understands this aspect, largely because most are white. But that said, it doesn’t alter my view one bit that this is the time for people to vote with their heads and their hearts and vote for Cynthia McKinney, the other black person about which we hear very little.

The degree to which race is a central issue is highlighted I think by the fact that black Americans constitute around 10% of the population, with Latinos for example, outnumbering them. Thus with only 10% of the population, why is Obama’s ‘blackness’ such a big issue?

This goes to the very heart of racism as an ideology of divide and rule and the fact that the Bush/Cheney clique have blown it with the populace, else why allow a black man to run for prez?

Moreover, it also reveals what a two-edged sword racism is, just when you need it to go away (but only for awhile you understand), it gets in the way of conducting real politik.

For regardless of what the pundits say, this is an election about race at least as far as Black Americans are concerned. But where does this leave the rest of America?

It’s the demographics stupid

Young people have registered in vast numbers with many being first time voters and it is likely that many will have a very different attitude toward the question of race as an issue. And women outnumber male registered voters and by a margin of 10 points, prefer Obama over McCain.[1]

It’s also about legitimacy, which is what choosing Obama is all about, trying to restore some legitimacy to capitalism. Isn’t it a case of ‘anybody, even a black man can be president in the land of opportunity’?

As I’ve noted before selecting Obama as the Democratic nominee was either a stroke of genius or one of desperation (more likely a bit of both) on the part of the Dems. And, as I’ve also noted before there are strong parallels with the election of Carter back in ‘77, for if Obama wins it gives the ruling elite some ‘breathing space’ before getting back to business as usual. The question is, will it ever again, be ‘business as usual’?

Frankly, I think the most dangerous aspect of this election is whether or not it’s going to be a fix and given that regardless of what the polls say, I think it’s going to be a very close run thing and if so, and the mass media do the right thing and expose any shenanigans on the part of the Bush/Cheney gang of pirates, then I think all hell will break loose.

And already it looks like literally millions of black Americans have been struck off various voter rolls around the country and reports of electronic voting machines ‘flipping’ votes (see for example, ‘Vote-Flipping Reported on E-Voting Machines’)[2], and if it is a close run thing, just as it was in Florida in ‘04, it will make the difference between winning and losing. So what are the likely reactions? An awful lot of very unhappy bunnies and a situation that could well turn into a very different kind of watershed.

This just in from the Channel 4 TV News’ email:

“And then the festive mood was broken as a man ran up to us, baying, “The machines are broken! The machines are broken! All three of them!”

And immediately the woman from the Portaloo company told him where the lawyers were. Calls were made, and we ran to the station where the machines had failed. A hundred people waited as engineers came to fix them.

“Voters are more than concerned that this system of machines, devoid of paper trail, is risky. And then, at another station, they were bemused that the only media who had come to see them had come all the way from London.”

And the very fact that Obama has a vast team of lawyers to call on vis a vis the suspect voting machines is an indication of just how fragile this ‘democratic’ process really is.

I think the real issue here is, as Patricia said, “Stand up! Damn It! It’s the empire that is the focus.” I might add that it should be the focus but this assumes an awful lot about the electorate’s understanding of the situation and not only their understanding but more importantly perhaps, their desires.

There’s clearly a vast gulf here between the left and its expectations and the rest of the population. Sure, the voters may well be united around specifics but this is not an election that’s being contested over specifics but over abstractions, ‘change’ being the operative word (one is tempted to say chump change) but of course, there are no specific changes being put forward by Obama, not that it matters, it’s the idea of change, any change, that counts.

The back story to this is of relevance, for it involves the power and influence of competing sectors of the ruling class, the ‘neo-cons’ on the one hand who prefer to shoot first and not even bother to ask questions afterwards, and on the other those who prefer to tread (relatively) quietly and carry a very big stick, the Dems and their major ideologue, Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is the crew that has broadly run the empire since the end of WWII.

And the venom with which Hillary Clinton and her backers contested the primaries reveals some pretty vicious infighting within the Democratic machine over the best way forward to save the empire. Thus we have two factions of the ruling elite fighting over the ‘best’ way forward.

The screwups of the past four years have created an almighty mess for the US ruling class and on top of this we have the long-awaited economic meltdown to add to their woes, thus electing Obama is for those more circumspect members of the ruling class absolutely vital to the future of the empire.

The bottom line is, will Obama as prez make a positive difference? This raises the question: to what degree will Obama himself, decide on what is to be done? For an answer to this, we need only look at who and what is grouped around him (let alone who and how he was selected in the first place).

Obama’s ‘advisors’ (or should this be minders?)

Well let’s start with former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and then former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke and Obama’s running mate Biden is good pals with Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia. Not surprisingly, his media/PR team is mainly selected from the former Clinton media machine, David Axelrod being the lead man in the Obama team.

In fact, his ‘advisors’ are a whose who of the imperial war machine and who knows what kind of ‘deals’ have been done with Obama to run for prez on the ‘understanding’ that he leaves the really important decisions to the ‘experts’. There’s no doubt a quid pro quo has gone down for frankly, I find it impossible to believe that the power brokers would entrust the presidency to a black man except under the most extreme of circumstances, like now for example, racism runs just too deep.

Ultimately, whoever gets elected it’s not going to change the basics, only we can do that.


1. ‘How gender difference is proving to be a critical factor for tomorrow’s election’

2. See also, ‘On Eve of Election Day, Is the Nation’s Voting System Ready? Reports of Irregularities Pour in from Across US in Record Early Voting’

And, ‘Urgent: Take Action Now to Stop Racist Voter Suppression’


Is Redistribution Really All That Bad? Obama’s Little Red Book By Mike Whitney

Between Hope and Reality – An Open Letter to Barack Obama By Ralph Nader

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

Our Joe Bageant discusses the election and poor whites

Stolen Elections And Media Blackouts + Palast on BET + New Poll Tax

Obama: Change You Can Believe In–Not, Part 4

Barack Obama And Faith-Based Voting By Daniel Cioper

Voter Suppression Voting Rights

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos




Protests, Arrests As France’s Vichy Hosts EU Conference + U.S. takes page from Israel’s book in Syria strike

compiled by Cem Ertür
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
4 November 2008

Protests, Arrests As France’s Vichy Hosts EU Conference

VICHY, France (AFP)
November 03, 2008

Protesters descended on the town of Vichy Monday as the shamed capital of France’s former pro-Nazi dictatorship hosted its first international government conference since World War II.

Vichy’s municipal leaders hoped that by finally hosting European ministers 64 years after the fall of Marshall Petain’s regime they could shake off their wartime stigma and become a popular spa resort once more.

But several busloads of militants had other ideas, and turned up to protest a conference called to discuss the integration of ethnic minorities in Europe, with some linking current French policy to that of the fascist past.

Police made at least four arrests as the protests began, and 100 officers equipped with riot gear set up a cordon around the venue to prevent the first 80 militants, from a radical splinter group, from approaching.

This group, dubbing themselves ‘The disobedient,’ draw an explicit link between Vichy France, which deported Jews to Nazi death camps, and President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government, which has cracked down on illegal immigration. A larger protest planned for later in the day by mainstream antiracist groups has promised to be less provocative and to call for social unity.

The four protesters to be arrested were wearing striped prison uniforms designed to recall those of the Holocaust concentration camps.

“We denounce the worrying evolution of European migration policies, which recall the ideas that led to deportations at the end of the 1930s,” declared the leader of the smaller, hardline group, Xavier Renou.


via Protests, Arrests As France’s Vichy Hosts EU Conference


[for those who read French:]


U.S. takes page from Israel’s book in Syria strike

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

Those who anticipated an American bombing of Iran on the eve of the presidential elections or immediately after must for the moment be satisfied with a somewhat lesser replacement: helicopter attack Sunday night in north-eastern Syria.

The central target of the attack, according to initial reports overnight, was a senior operative in the “global jihad” – the web of organizations connected to al-Qaida.


Now it has become clear that the U.S. will not hesitate to attack terrorist targets within Syrian territory. In this regard the Americans are not alone. Israel preceded them with the attack on the Dir a-Zour nuclear facility in September last year, not to mention a succession of mysterious incidents on Syrian soil, from the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh last February to the assassination of Brigadier General Mohammad Suleiman around two months ago. The common denominator to all these operations is that nobody takes the Syrians seriously anymore, given the repeated violations of their sovereignty.


via ANALYSIS / U.S. takes page from Israel’s book in Syria strike – Haaretz – Israel News


Indonesia + Petraeus plans more border raids + Syria + Ireland

Israel, Israeli Bombing of Syria (nukes)

More Utility Bills Go Unpaid

Dandelion Salad

NOVEMBER 3, 2008

Consumers’ Economic Struggles Spur More Power Shutoffs as Firms Step Up Collections

Utilities are becoming more aggressive about collecting money from delinquent customers, leading to a surge in service shutdowns just as economic woes are pushing up the number of households falling behind on bills.

The utilities say they are under pressure to clean out accounts that are weighing down their books at a time when their stocks are being hammered and earnings growth has slowed.

Meanwhile, the increasing number of homes left without power — which could rise as economic pain deepens — is beginning to worry some consumer advocates and regulators.


via More Utility Bills Go Unpaid –

h/t: Speaking Truth to Power

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Utility cut-offs on the rise in the US – “More than an energy issue, a serious public health issue”

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Mosaic News – 11/3/08: 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:

“Obamamania Everywhere,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Is Obama Better for Israel?” IBA TV, Israel
“Qadafi Visits Russia,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Israel Rejects Arab League’s Participation in Mediteranean Union,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Iraq: The Ball is in Washington’s Court,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“The Train Returns to Iraq,” Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
“Salafis in Lebanon,” New TV, Lebanon
“Hospital Shut Down in Hebron,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Wear Orange on Election Day!

SB5 Protesters sit-in at Texas State Capitol

Image by Blackbird Film Co. via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

Originally posted Oct 27, 2008

Updated: Just a note: wearing an orange t-shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, whatever wouldn’t be considered “political attire” as far as the elections laws regarding the 25 foot rule on electioneering near polling places.  ~ DS

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