Cheney’s Mission Accomplished By Juan Cole

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By Juan Cole
March 17, 2009 “Information Clearing House

Dick Cheney: “I guess my general sense of where we are with respect to Iraq and at the end of now, what, nearly six years, is that we’ve accomplished nearly everything we set out to do….”

What has Dick Cheney really accomplished in Iraq?

An estimated 4 million Iraqis, out of 27 million, have been displaced from their homes, that is, made homeless. Some 2.7 million are internally displaced inside Iraq. A couple hundred thousand are cooling their heels in Jordan. And perhaps a million are quickly running out of money and often living in squalid conditions in Syria. Cheney’s war has left about 15% of Iraqis homeless inside the country or abroad. That would be like 45 million American thrown out of their homes.

It is controversial how many Iraqis died as a result of the 2003 invasion and its aftermath. But it seems to me that a million extra dead, beyond what you would have expected from a year 2000 baseline, is entirely plausible. The toll is certainly in the hundreds of thousands. Cheney did not kill them all. The Lancet study suggested that the US was directly responsible for a third of all violent deaths since 2003. That would be as much as 300,000 that we killed. The rest, we only set in train their deaths by our invasion.

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Mosaic News – 3/16/09: World News From The Middle East

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


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“Ousted Pakistani Judge to be Reinstated,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Sudan: Groups Told to Exit Within Year,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“International Justice Experts Call for War Crimes Inquiry of Israel,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“No Deal Yet in Israel-Hamas Prisoner Swap,” IBA TV, Israel
“Nasrallah Denounces ICC’s Decision,” Syria TV, Syria
“Khatami to Quit Campaign,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Suicide Bomber Kills 11 in Afghanistan,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Iran Celebrates Norouz,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“Tunisia’s Kairouan, Capital of Islamic Culture,” Dubai TV, UAE
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss by Josh Sidman


by Josh Sidman
Dandelion Salad
Featured Writer
Josh’s Blog Post
March 17, 2009

Sad to say, but with each passing day President Obama looks less like an agent of change and more like the latest installment in a never-ending series of Washington powerbrokers. This is doubly disappointing, since if there is a silver lining to the current crisis, it is that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fundamentally change the way things are done. So far, all indications are that the Obama Administration lacks the courage and integrity to deliver upon the hopes they raised during the course of the campaign.

Case in point is the omnibus spending bill that the President signed last week. Despite promising repeatedly to veto any budget with earmarks, Obama signed this spending bill containing over 8,000 earmarks. Granted, it would be much more difficult to cobble together a congressional majority without the sweeteners that these earmarks represent, but this is precisely the kind of situation that tests the mettle of a leader. Does he have the strength to hold the line, or will he cave in to the status quo when push comes to shove? Obama could have stood up to the corrupt leaders of his own party (Pelosi, Reid, Frank, etc.) and refused to sign the bill, but he didn’t.

Another example of failing to lead is this week’s populist pandering over AIG bonuses. Yes, it is infuriating for the American public to see executives being rewarded after the enormous amounts of public money that have been pumped into their companies. That being said, the bonuses in question are microscopic in comparison with the real story. In the context of the trillions of dollars the government has already used to prop up the financial system, $165 million is completely insignificant. By turning it into a public firestorm, our leaders are cynically exploiting the public’s inability to comprehend the magnitude of the amounts of money currently being thrown around. $165 million, $20 billion, $1.5 trillion, what’s the difference? They’re all staggeringly large numbers. That being said, there’s a very big difference between a hundred million and a hundred billion, and our leaders are counting on our inability to tell the difference.

Of the money that has been pumped into AIG, over $12 billion has gone to Goldman, Sachs, the company once led by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. The President and the leaders in Congress have nothing to say about this, while they make an enormous stink about bonuses that represent less than 2% of that amount. This is a deliberate and cynical error of omission and emphasis. By making a spectacle out of a relatively insignificant issue, our leaders are hoping we’ll be distracted enough that we won’t notice the hundreds of billions that are being allocated according to a process that is both opaque and riddled with conflicts of interest. In other words, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…


Countdown + Maddow: AIG and the 170 billion dollars of taxpayer money

Bernanke’s Witness Protection Program By Mike Whitney

The US Is Facing a Weimar Moment By Robert Freeman

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse 2

Barack Obama drops ‘war on drugs’ rhetoric for needle exchanges

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Dan Glaister
Monday 16 March 2009 20.31 GMT

The Obama administration signalled today that it was ready to repudiate the prohibition and “war on drugs” approach of previous presidents, and steer policy towards prevention and “harm reduction” strategies favoured by Europe.

David Johnson, an assistant secretary of state, said the new administration would embrace policies supporting federally funded needle exchanges. The aim, he said, was to establish a policy based on public health needs. “This will result in a policy that is broader and stronger than the one we had in the past,” Johnson said on the sidelines of a UN drug strategy conference in Vienna.


In a statement last week announcing the nomination of the new drug czar, Obama said: “With escalating violence along our Southwest border and far too many suffering from addiction here at home, never has it been more important to have a national drug control strategy guided by sound principles of public safety and public health.”


via Barack Obama drops ‘war on drugs’ rhetoric for needle exchanges | World news |

h/t: CLG


Ron Paul: It’s Time To End Prohibition Of Marijuana!

The Painful Cost of ‘Breed Standards’: Mutilation vs. Cosmetics by Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
March 17, 2009

Legislatures in Pennsylvania and Illinois are considering bills that would reduce or eliminate what animal welfare advocates call mutilations, and what breeders and American Kennel Club (AKC) call “breed standards.” Because dogs are considered by state laws to be property, individual owners may currently cut and shape dogs’ ears (cropping) or amputate part or all of their tails (docking), often without a proper sterile environment or anesthesia.

Ear cropping and tail docking, according to the AKC, are “acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed standards, enhancing good health, and preventing injuries.” Of 158 pure-bred breeds recognized by the AKC, about 50 kennel clubs have “breed standards” that require or strongly suggest tail docking or ear cropping. The AKC claims standards are established by individual clubs—all of which deduct points for dogs that don’t conform to their “standards”—and that the AKC has no restrictions to register or to show a dog. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), which includes national kennel clubs of 84 nations, forbids cropping and docking of rottweilers and other breeds. The AKC is not a member of the FCI.

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Leftist FMLN Candidate Mauricio Funes Wins El Salvador Presidential Election

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Democracy Now!
March 16, 2009

Leftist FMLN Candidate Mauricio Funes Wins El Salvador Presidential Election, Ending Two Decades of Conservative Rule

In El Salvador, Mauricio Funes, of the former rebel FMLN party, has won the country’s presidential election, ending two decades of conservative rule. Funes won 51 percent of the vote to 49 percent for Rodrigo Avila of the ruling right-wing ARENA party. Avila conceded defeat late Sunday. The FMLN was a coalition of rebel guerrillas who resisted the US-backed military government. More than 70,000 people died over an eighteen-year period, the overwhelming majority killed by military and paramilitary forces. [includes rush transcript]

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via Democracy Now! | Leftist FMLN Candidate Mauricio Funes Wins El Salvador Presidential Election, Ending Two Decades of Conservative Rule.

Countdown + Maddow: AIG and the 170 billion dollars of taxpayer money

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Countdown – Robert Reich discusses AIG and the 170 billion dollars of taxpayer money 03_16_09 visit:

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Rachel Maddow Show: chronology of AIG malfeasance

Rachel Maddow Show – Rachel gives a comprehensive chronology of AIG malfeasance
03_16_09 visit:

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Who Is A.I.G. And Why Should You Care? By Mike Ruppert (2001)

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse 2