Help These Brave Young Israelis + The last time I was out of prison, I went to see my dad.

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From an email from

The last time I was out of prison, I went to see my dad.

A note from Shministit Omer Goldman.

Dear Lo,

My name is Omer Goldman. I am 19 years old. I am one of the Shministim. Thank you for signing the Shministim letter to support me and my friends.

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Revolutionizing Education: Time to tell Obama what to do by Roland Michel Tremblay

By Roland Michel Tremblay
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
The Marginal
December 8, 2008

Barack Obama has mentioned many times he wanted to radically implement change. He boasted in his book about listening to the population at large (mostly old war widows, from what I gathered), understanding them, with a desire to change everything. Even after the elections Obama still sends e-mails asking us ideas about how to change the country (besides asking for more money, of which we have none, so stop asking!). Well, let’s start with identifying the real root of society as we know it: education. You know me by now, you can trust me for providing the most extreme ideas.

There is a real problem in this world concerning education. I will try to resume it in a few sentences. If you have no education, you will quickly find a job and perhaps even excel at it. You will immediately ensure your survival, but you will never dream of owning a house, lucky you if you even get to buy a used car plagued with problems.

If you have a lot of education, you face the exact same situation. You can’t find a job in the field you studied. Of course, thousands every year graduate with the same diploma. I hope your dad can plug you somewhere, otherwise, well, it will be difficult to even get the same job someone without an education is going for, as those are the only jobs available. One has to survive.

You will have to lie on your résumé, claim that you are in fact brainless and never achieved anything in life. You’ll be blessed if they let you wipe tables. This state of affair is very prevalent with new lawyers, most of them are taxi drivers (if they’re fortunate, and learnt to lie early on, on the way to their great career).

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Four arrests as climate change activists from Plane Stupid break in to Stansted Airport

Dandelion Salad
08 Dec 2008

The protest began at 3.15am when 54 campaigners occupied a runway that had been closed for maintenance work, according to Plane Stupid, which organised the demonstration.

The group are protesting over the Government’s decision to allow the expansion of Stansted Airport with a second runway.

An Essex police spokeswoman said: “About 50 protesters have gained access to Stansted Airport and they are airside.

“We have arrested four people so far. Police have contained the area where the protesters are and they will be dealing with them in due course.”

A spokeswoman for Plane Stupid said the activists were chained together on the runway and had created “a fort” by surrounding themselves with security fencing.

She said they planned to keep up the blockade for as long as possible to prevent the runway reopening as scheduled at 5am.

In a statement, Plane Stupid said the disruption to flights will prevent “the release of thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere”.


via Four arrests as climate change activists from Plane Stupid break in to Stansted Airport – Telegraph. plus video report and photos

Bush Regime Declares Itself Above the Law By Paul Craig Roberts

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By Paul Craig Roberts
December 05, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse

The US government does not have a monopoly on hypocrisy, but no other government can match the hypocrisy of the US government.

It is now well documented and known all over the world that the US government tortured detainees at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and that the US government has had people kidnapped and “rendentioned,” that is, transported to third world countries, such as Egypt, to be tortured.

Also documented and well known is the fact that the US Department of Justice provided written memos justifying the torture of detainees. One torture advocate who wrote the DOJ memos that gave the green light to the Bush regime’s use of torture is John Yoo, a Vietnamese immigrant who somehow secured a US Justice Department appointment and a tenured professorship at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. John Yoo is the best case against immigration that I know.

Members of Berkeley’s city council believe that Yoo should be charged with war crimes. The US government has charged lesser offenders than Yoo with war crimes. Yoo helped the DOJ achieve the Bush regime’s goal of finding a way around the torture prohibitions of both US statutory law and the Geneva Conventions.

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Peace By Cindy Sheehan

Excerpt on current

Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Cindy Sheehan for Congress

December 7, 2008

Peace is not an absence of war: it’s an absence of preparing for war or an absence of using violence or threats of violence to solve problems.  — Cindy Sheehan

Today is the 67th anniversary of the “day that will live in infamy.” Likely, if you were alive 67 years ago, you were a very young person. I know a few people who can still remember when the Japanese attacked a US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, but I remember the stories that my parents told me about that day.

My mom was sitting at the kitchen table eating biscuits when she heard the news on the radio: she was 10 years old. My dad lived in Oklahoma, but my mom lived in Hawthorne, California so her family was terrified that California would be struck soon. I can imagine that in years to come, my children will be telling their children about what they were doing when they heard that the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were attacked on 9-11-01.

There was already a terrible world war raging on December 7th, 1941, but that was the symbolic day that the US entered WWII. The event led to Congress formally declaring war against Japan four days after the attack. Even though the US has been embroiled in many wars, police actions and covert wars since then, this was the last time that a war was constitutionally declared. Not that it makes violence correct, but the “manual” was followed. Millions of people perished in World War II and weapons of mass destruction were unleashed by the US on innocent civilians.

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Chicago factory occupied + Republic Windows Workers Occupy Factory (videos; updated)

Dandelion Salad

Updated: Dec. 9, 2008

by Lee Sustar
December 6, 2008

Lee Sustar reports from Chicago on an occupation by workers who want what’s theirs from management and the Bank of America.

WORKERS OCCUPYING the Republic Windows & Doors factory slated for closure are vowing to remain in the Chicago plant until they win the $1.5 million in severance and vacation pay owed them by management.

In a tactic rarely used in the U.S. since the labor struggles of the 1930s, the workers, members of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Local 1110, refused to leave the plant on December 5, its last scheduled day of operation.

“We decided to do it because this is money that belongs to us,” said Maria Roman, who’s worked at the plant for eight years. “These are our rights.”

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Buyer beware! Obama named “Marketer of the Year”

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By Tom Eley
6 December 2008

About three weeks before he won the general election, President-elect Barack Obama was delivered a different sort of distinction—from the advertising world. Obama was named “Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008.” The annual award is voted upon by hundreds of advertising executives and marketers at the annual Association of National Advertisers conference, entitled “Masters of Marketing.”

Obama beat out the marketing campaigns of Apple computers,, Coors beer, and Nike athletic apparel for the award at the Orlando conference, which was held between October 16 and 19. The trade journal Advertising Age selected the shortlist, which was voted upon by the more than 700 industry executives and experts in attendance. John McCain, Obama’s Republican rival, was also placed on the list of nominees. However, he attracted only 4.5 percent of the vote, as compared to Obama’s 36.1 percent.


via Buyer beware! Obama named “Marketer of the Year”.


Obama, Wall Street and the US Automakers by Michael Hudson

Obama and the World Crisis by Richard C. Cook


Hit me Congress, One More Time: Bailing Out the Auto Industry by Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Dec. 8, 2008

Congress should bend over, dig into the public coffers once again, and give the auto industry everything it wants—even though 61 percent of Americans oppose a bailout, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll.

A couple of weeks ago, CEOs from GM, Ford, and Chrysler, known collectively as the Big 3, revved up their corporate jets’ engines, dropped in on the Senate, and testified that without a $25 billion bailout western civilization would collapse.

With the nation in a Recession, auto sales have declined to the lowest point since January 1982. Sales are off 47 percent for Ford, 41 percent for GM, and 31 percent for Chrysler from last year. Even sales of major overseas auto manufacturers selling to the American market are down, but not as much as for the Big 3. But, Big 3 market share has plummeted from 70 percent in 1998 to only 53 percent this year, according to Autodata Corp. Equally as important, Consumer Reports has consistently given cars produced by foreign-owned manufacturers higher ratings than American-made cars, although the problem is more attributable to management decisions than problems on the manufacturing line. But, even if Big 3 Management was flawless in their business plans, sales would still be significantly down because of the Recession, partially caused by the sub-prime loan fiasco and the reality that credit is now tight for most Americans.

Congress, which freely handed out more than $700 billion in taxpayer money to financial institutions with fewer morals than the average street walker, now demanded the Big 3 to return with an actual plan. As an afterthought, Congress suggested that the next time executives from GM, Ford, and Chrysler come to the nation’s capital, conspicuous consumption would be frowned up.

As compliant as any corporate “yes man,” the three executives returned, each of them driving a gas-efficient American-built car. Executives from GM and Ford said they planned to sell their jets; Chrysler, owned by Cerberus, a private equity firm, was moot on the issue. Of course, the Big 3 executives should have driven to D.C. the first time, but that’s an issue that six-figure PR executives should have foreseen.

This time, having been properly chastised, the auto execs brought a new proposal to Congress. Instead of a $25 billion bailout, the cost would be $34 billion for loans and credit lines. Apparently, driving a hybrid and eating at roadside diners costs more. And, each of the executives would work for $1 a year. That’s right. The executives who stripped eight-figure income each year from the Big 3 would take a $1 a year token payment if the bailout was dropped into their piggybanks. Naturally, it would be unfair to force myriad 6- and 7-figure income executives below them to sacrifice the family mansion, vacation homes, spa and country club memberships, luxury cars, and private school tuition for their darling upcoming junior executives.

And then the CEOs actually talked. Would they take less money? Perhaps a $14–15 billion “bridge loan” proposed by Democratic leaders and President Bush would get them through the first quarter of 2009, they said, trying to salvage anything. Would they be willing to increase their contracts with American-owned suppliers while decreasing dependence upon foreign-owned suppliers? Their response was as clear as any Bush statement; translated, they said they might possibly consider that request, as long as the stars aligned correctly during the vernal equinox—or some such logic.

Congress has allowed itself to be blackmailed so many times already by banks, investment firms, and an insurance agency that it is hypocritical to bully the auto industry CEOs, and to deny funds to an industry that actually produces a tangible product that is important to all Americans. More important, their product still accounts for a significant part of the workforce.

The national unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, highest in 15 years; the rate is expected to hit about 8 percent in 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal. More significant, if the number of Americans who have been so discouraged by the employment possibilities and are no longer actively looking for full-time work is figured, the percentage rises to about 12.5, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of about 1.9 million layoffs this year alone, the Big 3 laid off about 140,000, with significantly more anticipated.

Higher unemployment leads to higher housing foreclosures and bankruptcies. It leads not only to depression but also to more health problems, including malnourishment, as Americans cut back on food and medical care. About 46 million Americans don’t have health insurance; millions more who do have insurance provided through their employment can’t afford to get adequate medical care because they can’t afford the deductibles and co-pays.

Corporate America, instead of looking at their own excesses and incompetence, blames workers for the problem. But, the line worker is the one who builds something to the specifications of others but has no input into the decisions that cost the Big 3 their share of the market. For its part, the unions, blamed by almost every executive in America, has gone beyond what should be expected of a union.

The United Auto Workers, which extended major concessions to Chrysler in 1979, agreed to significant concessions in the 2007 contract, including allowing the Big 3 to hire manufacturing line workers at $14–16 an hour, about half of the current employee wages. By any standard, the workers have made far more concessions to keep the auto industry putting along than have the companies themselves.

Nevertheless, a failure by any of the Big 3 would have a severe effect upon several thousand other businesses, including car haulers, suppliers, garages, and dealers. Even the media have been adversely affected. Auto manufacturers are among the leading advertisers in magazines; auto dealers are among the leading advertisers in local daily newspapers. Newspaper advertising is down about 19 percent from last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America; magazine advertising pages are down about 9.5 percent, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Significant drops in advertising by the Big 3 have contributed to even more media layoffs, including reduced income for all major suppliers, including printers.

Last year, according to data collected by Advertising Age, General Motors, with an advertising budget of $3 billion, was the fourth largest advertiser; Ford, with $2.5 billion, was sixth; Chrysler, with $1.8 billion was thirteenth. However, all three have cut their budgets, with GM eliminating all TV advertising from the Emmys, Academy Awards, and the SuperBowl, and reducing ad spending for all NFL games. GM won’t disclose how much it spent on the Emmys and Academy Awards, but TNS Media Intelligence estimates GM spent $13.5 million just for Oscar night telecast advertising; SuperBowl ads went for about $2.7 million per 30 second spot in 2008; GM had one ad, promoting an SUV hybrid. Although overall TV ad revenue is up from last year, part of that is because of significant spending during the presidential campaign. Lower ad revenue from the automakers and numerous other industries in 2009 will affect programming and the workforce.

With increased unemployment, housing foreclosures, bankruptcies, and lack of adequate health care rising to record levels, a bailout for the Big 3, as distasteful as it seems, is probably the best way to help keep this year-long Recession from going into a Depression. After throwing money at Wall Street, it is far too late for Congress to claim it is looking out for the fiscal interests of the taxpayers, and time to acknowledge that it needs to look after the interests of the workers.

[Walter Brasch and his wife own two American-made automobiles, produced by union labor. He is the author of the recently-published Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available at,, and numerous independent and chain stores. Dr. Brasch is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University. You may contact him through his website, or by e-mail at]


They Auto Know Better: Fueling Anti-Union Fires by Walter Brasch

Obama, Wall Street and the US Automakers by Michael Hudson

Automakers Return to Capitol Hill + Ralph Nader and Medea Benjamin on Obama’s Cabinet

Congressional Hearing: Automotive Industry Bailout

Detroit vs. Wall Street: The Trillion Dollar Class War by Cameron Salisbury

US to unveil charges in Blackwater shooting + Blackwater guards ‘charged with manslaughter’

Dandelion Salad

Updated: added article; see below


“They behaved like cowboys on the streets of Baghdad” – a damning accusation directed at five decorated war veterans facing criminal charges over the shooting of Iraqi civilians.

They have now been ordered to surrender themselves to the FBI.

Al Jazeera’s Owen Fay reports.

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Blackwater guards ‘charged with manslaughter’ over Iraqi deaths

Deborah Haynes, in Baghdad
December 8, 2008

America is preparing to reveal criminal charges against several Blackwater security guards over a shooting incident in Baghdad last year that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, including children, and triggered outrage across Iraq.

Relatives of the victims are demanding the death sentence. One also expressed distress that it has taken the US Justice Department so long to reach this stage.

Five of the contractors are expected to face charges including manslaughter and using a machinegun in a crime of violence, which carries a mandatory 30-year prison term. A sixth guard has struck a plea deal in Washington in return for a shorter sentence, according to the Associated Press, which cited people close to the case.


via Blackwater guards ‘charged with manslaughter’ over Iraqi deaths – Times Online.

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Riots break out in Greece after police shoot 15-year-old boy + Violent protests in Greece intensify

Dandelion Salad

Updated: added another video; see below

By Ann Talbot
8 December 2008

Nationwide rioting has broken out in Greece after police shot dead a 15-year-old boy in Athens. Rioting began in the capital and quickly spread to the northern city of Thessaloniki and even to the islands of Crete and Corfu.

More than 1,000 people protested in Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki. The protestors attacked department stores, banks, police stations and other public buildings. Riots were also reported in the university towns of Patras, Komotini, Heralkion Ioannina and Chania on Crete.

In Athens, the rioting quickly spread to Monistiraki, one of the main tourist districts, and to Ermou, a major shopping street. Buildings next to the ancient monument of Hadrian’s Library were burning on Sunday morning.

Sunday saw renewed demonstrations and clashes with the police. Police fired tear gas into a crowd in Thessaloniki that chanted, “Murderers in uniform.”

via Riots break out in Greece after police shoot 15-year-old boy.


Violent protests in Greece intensify


Dozens of people including police have been injured in a second day of rioting in Greece.

Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips reports from Athens where dozens of shops and cars have been burned as protesters showed their anger over the police killing of a 15-year-old boy.

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Massive Protest Riots In Athens Greece

December 08, 2008 BBC World

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Obama, Wall Street and the US Automakers by Michael Hudson

Dandelion Salad

by Michael Hudson
Global Research, December 7, 2008

Weakening the economy, leaving it even more debt-strapped.

There is a strange double standard in President-elect Obama’s largess with the public purse when it comes to Wall Street’s banks and insurance companies as compared to his more prudent stance toward bailing out the U.S. auto industry. In his December 7, 2008 interview with Meet the Press he set conditions for an auto industry bailout, but said nothing about setting similar conditions for the financial sector. His words regarding Detroit could just as well have been directed at Wall Street. But they were not.

I think that the Big Three U.S. automakers have made repeated strategic mistakes. They have not managed that industry the way they should have. … What we have to do is to provide them with assistance, but that assistance is conditioned on them making significant adjustments. They’re going to have to restructure, and all their stakeholders are going to have to restructure. Labor, management, shareholders, creditors – everybody’s going to recognize that they have-they do not have a sustainable business model right now. And if they expect taxpayers to help in that adjustment process, then they can’t keep on putting off the kinds of changes that they, frankly, should have made 20 or 30 years ago.

Later in the interview he repeated this position:

… if taxpayer money is at stake … we want to make sure that it is conditioned on a auto industry emerging at the end of the process that actually works, that actually functions. … But I’m also concerned that we don’t put 10 or 20 or 30 or whatever billion dollars into an industry, and then, six months to a year later, they come back hat in hand and say, “Give me more.” Taxpayers, I think, are fed up.

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