Saturday, February 24, 2007

Living Under The Influence of the Giant Weirdmess Magnet

( This is by far one of the funniest things I have seen in print. A Must Read! Remember you need laughter. LOL, several times a day, keeps insanity at bay.)

By Dave Barry

We need to find it, dig it up, and get rid of it.

I'm talking about the South Florida Giant Underground Weirdness Magnet. It's buried around here somewhere. It has to be. How else can you explain why so many major freak-show news stories either happen, or end up, in South Florida?

O.J. Simpson, for example. Why is he here? Did anybody in South Florida ever say, ''Hey O.J.! Why don't you pack up your golf clubs, your one glove and your remaining cutlery, and come be part of our community!''? Of course not! Nobody WANTED him here. He was DRAWN here, by the Giant Underground Weirdness Magnet.

Or consider the 2000 presidential election. In the rest of the nation, voters looked at their ballots, then picked either one presidential candidate or the other. Only here did a scarily large number of voters attempt to vote for either (a) none of the presidential candidates, or (b) ALL of the presidential candidates, or in some cases both (a) AND (b), thereby screwing up the entire election and causing a Level Five Lawyer Infestation from which we have yet to fully recover. What caused so many incompetent voters to clump together into one huge clueless mass? That would be your Giant Underground Weirdness Magnet.

Another example is the Miracle Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Remember? Granted, the Virgin Mary has appeared on other food items. But only in Hollywood, Fla., did she appear on a grilled-cheese sandwich that was preserved by its owner, who (Why not?) kept it on her nightstand for more than 10 years -- during which she claims it did not develop mold -- and then (this is the miracle part) she sold it on eBay to a casino for $28,000. The casino also paid $5,999 for the pan. Please do not try to tell me that this could have happened in an area that was not being bombarded with powerful weirdness rays.


There are many other South Florida phenomena that can only be explained by the Giant Underground Weirdness Magnet, including the Versace slaying, the Elián González fiasco, Tim Hardaway and Donald Trump. The current example, it goes without saying, is the Anna Nicole Smith Corpse Battle and Freak-a-Palooza, now playing in Fort Lauderdale. Of COURSE it had to happen here. And of COURSE, instead of a thoughtful, dignified, decorous, mentally stable judge, we got an American Idol contestant -- sometimes sobbing like Dorothy when she had to say goodbye to the Scarecrow; sometimes firing off one-liners that he apparently thought were hilarious. Ha ha! Stop it, Judge, you Krazy Kourtroom Karacter!

No, really, Judge: stop it.

Anyway, the question is, what can we do about this? I don't mean the Anna Nicole Smith mess; that will continue metastasizing for a LONG time. Zsa Zsa Gabor -- Yes! Zsa Zsa! -- is already involved; it's only a matter of time before somehow, some way, we hear the words ``Kato Kaelin.''

No, it's too late to stop that. But maybe we can prevent this kind of thing from happening here again, by eliminating the cause of our problems. That's right: we need to get rid of the Giant Underground Weirdness Magnet. But first, we have to figure out where it is.
I think I know. I figured it out scientifically.


Here's how: I took a map of South Florida, and I marked the locations of the major weird phenomena described in this column. Then I looked at this map in a scientific manner, considering both the location of each phenomenon, and its Weirdness Quotient. And then a chill ran down my spine as I realized where the magnet would have to be buried, to cause this particular weirdness pattern.

It's under the Golden Glades Interchange.

We have no choice. To get that thing out of there, to give this community hope for a normal, or at least less-weird, future, we need to demolish the Golden Glades as soon as possible, using either dynamite or -- if the wind is right -- nuclear explosives. Then we need to dig up the Giant Underground Weirdness Magnet and send it to some place that could use more weirdness, such as Cincinnati.

You're thinking: ``But Dave, what if we follow your plan, and the weirdness magnet isn't there? Then all we will have accomplished is the total destruction of the Golden Gl ... Oh, OK, never mind.''

Exactly. So come on, South Florida: Let's do this NOW, before things get any worse. For all we know, Kato is already heading this way.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

GOP, Please Don't Swiftboat Hillary

You might energize the wrong Base

By John Ponder

That rustling you hear in the dark, acccompanied by the putrid smell of decay, is the rotting carcasses of the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy pulling themselves up from the grave. What has given new life to the cadaver corps, of course, is the announcement that Hillary Clinton is running for president.

Nothing could energize the Democratic base faster than seeing the poo-slinging monkeys on Fox Noise and AM radio coming after Sen. Clinton with their patented brand of lies and innuendo.
Instead of a DNA-stained blue dress, the undead zombies have announced that they will be wearing a different costume this time — the threadbare uniform of the Swift Boat veterans for Truth, a group from the 2004 campaign whose name has become synonymous with lying:
Conservative admirers of the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth media blitz that helped torpedo Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry’s presidential candidacy in 2004 are now agitating to “Swift-boat” Clinton.

“People are doing what they’re doing because they want to defeat her before she has a chance to win. You can’t hold off your silver bullet to the end,” said veteran Republican operative David N. Bossie, who is involved in [an anti-Hillary, pseudo-documentary] film project with Dick Morris, a former advisor to Bill Clinton…

“Those Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were the real heroes of the 2004 election,” one online exhortation reads. “We at the StopHillaryPAC want to do the same thing to Hillary.”
That group’s website, headed by former Rep. John LeBoutillier (R-N.Y.), collected enough early funding to launch a round of negative television ads on Iowa stations timed to Clinton’s visit there in late January…

Bossie, a blunt-spoken opposition researcher who has mined Clinton controversies since Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, said that the [mock-documentary] film would mimic the hard-edged partisan style of left-wing filmmaker Moore and that camera-carrying “trackers” would tail Clinton during campaign events.

Bossie is delving into Clinton’s roles in the Whitewater real estate deals, her $100,000 profit from cattle futures and the firing of White House travel officials — well-trod controversies that Clinton aides dismiss as old news. He and GOP allies are convinced new nuggets will turn up — and they also see new opportunities in contrasting Clinton’s avowed centrism with what they call her “polarizing liberalism.”

“Conservatives believe she’s more dangerous today as a potential president than when she tried to take over the healthcare plan and root it in socialism,” said public relations man Greg Mueller, who handled media appearances for anti-Kerry veterans in 2004.

Bossie and his Citizens United partners have long vexed the Clintons and Democratic presidential contenders. Morris — the architect of Bill Clinton’s mid-1990s political revival until he was fired in August 1996 after revelations he consorted with a prostitute — declined interview requests from The Times, though he has discussed the movie on Fox News. Bossie said his partner’s past “is an acceptable risk we’ll take because of Dick’s personal knowledge of Hillary Clinton

This is all they’ve got?! Whitewater, cattle futures, the travel office? That same old tired crap is it?

Nothing — nothing — could switch hardcore Dems like Yours Truly off of our neutral-to-negative stance on Hillary Clinton faster than seeing the Bossies and Morrises of this world, along with poo-slinging monkeys on Fox Noise and AM radio, coming after Sen. Clinton with their patented brand of lies and innuendo.

It really isn't all that dificult to sink a swiftboat of fools, if one is of a mind to do so

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Americans Underestimate Iraqi Death Toll

Surprise, Surprise!

By NANCY BENAC, Associated Press Writer

Americans are keenly aware of how many U.S. forces have lost their lives in Iraq, according to a new AP-Ipsos poll. But they woefully underestimate the number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed.

When the poll was conducted earlier this month, a little more than 3,100 U.S. troops had been killed. The midpoint estimate among those polled was right on target, at about 3,000.

Far from a vague statistic, the death toll is painfully real for many Americans. Seventeen percent in the poll know someone who has been killed or wounded in Iraq. And among adults under 35, those closest to the ages of those deployed, 27 percent know someone who has been killed or wounded.

For Daniel Herman, a lawyer in New Castle, Pa., a co-worker's nephew is the human face of the dead.

"This is a fairly rural area," he said. "When somebody dies, ... you hear about it. It makes it very concrete to you."

The number of Iraqis killed, however, is much harder to pin down, and that uncertainty is perhaps reflected in Americans' tendency to lowball the Iraqi death toll by tens of thousands.
Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated at more than 54,000 and could be much higher; some unofficial estimates range into the hundreds of thousands. The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq reports more than 34,000 deaths in 2006 alone.

Among those polled for the AP survey, however, the median estimate of Iraqi deaths was 9,890. The median is the point at which half the estimates were higher and half lower.

Christopher Gelpi, a Duke University political scientist who tracks public opinion on war casualties, said a better understanding of the Iraqi death toll probably wouldn't change already negative public attitudes toward the war much. People in democracies generally don't shy away from inflicting civilian casualties, he said, and they may be even more tolerant of them in situations such as Iraq, where many of the civilian deaths are caused by other Iraqis.

"You have to look at who's doing the killing," said Neal Crawford, a restaurant manager in Suttons Bay, Mich., who guessed that about 10,000 Iraqis had been killed. "If these people are dying because a roadside bomb goes off or if there's an insurgent attack in a marketplace, it's an unfortunate circumstance of war — people die."

Gelpi said that while Americans may not view Iraqi deaths through the same prism as American losses, they may use the Iraqi death toll to gauge progress, or lack thereof, on the U.S. effort to promote a stable, secure democracy in Iraq.

To many, he said, "the fact that so many are being killed is an indication that we're not succeeding."

Whatever their understanding of the respective death tolls, three-quarters of those polled said the numbers of both Americans and Iraqis who have been killed are "unacceptable." Two-thirds said they tend to feel upset when a soldier dies, while the rest say such deaths are unfortunate but part of what war is about.

Sometimes it's hard for people to sort out their conflicting emotions.

"I don't know if I'm numb to it or not," said 86-year-old Robert Lipold of Las Vegas. "It's something you see in the paper every day there. And how do you feel when in the back of your mind it's unnecessary?"

Given a range of possible words to describe their feelings about the overall situation in Iraq, people were most likely to identify with "worried," selected by 81 percent of those surveyed.

Other descriptive words selected by respondents:
_Compassionate: 74 percent.
_Angry: 62 percent.
_Tired: 61 percent.
_Hopeful: 51 percent.
_Proud: 38 percent.
_Numb: 27 percent.

Women were more likely than men to feel worried, compassionate, angry and tired; men were more likely than women to feel proud, a finding consistent with traditional differences in attitudes toward war between the sexes.

For women, said Gelpi, "there is an emotional response to casualties that men don't show. ... It could be some sort of socialization that men get about the military or combat as being honorable that women don't get."

Charlotte Pirch, a lawyer from Fountain Valley, Calif., said she's "always appalled and just very upset at hearing about more casualties, whether it's U.S. troops or troops from another country."

Pirch said two of her nieces are married to men who served in Iraq and she doesn't live far from Camp Pendleton, which has sent many U.S. troops to Iraq. But she added, "Whether I knew someone personally or not, I would still feel it as a citizen of our country."

Perhaps surprisingly, the poll found little difference in attitudes toward the war between those who did and did not know someone who had been killed or wounded. There was a difference, however, in their opinions on whether opponents are right to criticize the war.

About half of those who know someone who has been killed or wounded felt it is right to criticize the war, compared with two-thirds of those who don't have a personal connection.
The AP-Ipsos poll of 1,002 adults, conducted Feb. 12-15, had a 3 percentage point margin of error.

AP writers Natasha Metzler and Ann Sanner and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this story.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Impeachment: Breaking Damn in Olympia, Washington

Dave Lindorff

Olympia, WA-- If the state of Washington passes a joint legislative resolution next month calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney, it will be because the 900 people who crammed into this capital city's Center for the Performing Arts last Tuesday evening, and countless others across the state, pushed them into it.

The crowd at the arts center attended an event organized by the Citizens Movement to Impeach Bush/Cheney, a local ad hoc citizens organization in this little burg that had convinced the local city council to make the 1,000-seat auditorium available for a hearing on impeachment.
When I and my two co-speakers, CIA veteran Ray McGovern and former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, came out on the stage, we felt not like political speakers or authors, but like rock stars. The applause was deafening, not just at the start of the program, but after each speaker's points were made.

It was clear that even if the Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says impeachment is "off the table," a sizeable hunk of the American public is hungering for a taste of it.
Washington is one of a group of states where a serious effort is underway to pass joint legislative resolutions that, thanks to Rules of the House penned by Thomas Jefferson and in effect for nearly the length of the Republic, would put impeachment back on the table at the House right under Speaker Pelosi's nose. The significance of the gathering in Olympia is that a freshman senator from Olympia, Eric Oemig, has introduced a bill in the state senate calling for such a resolution. His bill, S6018, is slated to go to a hearing on March 1, to determine whether it can be considered by the full senate, and impeachment activists are planning to have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of backers on hand to make sure it gains committee approval.

"We don't hear any of our leaders today talking about impeachment," Oemig told the crowd. "So the fact that the grassroots have built up the way they have is remarkable!"Oemig brushed aside what he said was a common argument among colleagues in the legislature that impeachment was not the state's business, and that it would "interfere" with more pressing state matters.

Noting that the war in Iraq, one of the key impeachable crimes because of the lies that were used to justify it, is costing hundreds of billions of dollars, Oemig pointed out how many crucial projects affecting Washington State residents were in jeopardy because of lack of federal funding. He noted too that issues like the president's violation of civil liberties and his abuses of power directly affect citizens of the state.

"I don't think this is a partisan issue," he said. "Many of my Republican colleagues have grave concerns about some of the Constitutional violations of this administration."In my own address, I focused on some key Bush constitutional violations and crimes that I believe are the best arguments to use in convincing conservatives and Republicans of the importance of impeachment. Among these are Bush's order for the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on American citizens, his use of so-called "signing statements" to invalidate (so far) 1,200 laws or parts of laws passed by the Congress, and his authorization of torture.

In the first case, I noted that the president has already been declared, by a federal judge, to have committed a felony by violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In the second case, I explained that Bush is claiming illegally that the so-called "War" on Terror makes him a commander in chief unfettered by the Constitution, with not just executive, but also legislative and judicial authority, a claim of dictatorial power that has no basis in the Constitution. Finally, I pointed out that in authorizing and failing to punish torture, the president, by making it less likely that enemy fighters will surrender, has been directly causing death and injury among U.S. troops.

The biggest laugh came when I pointed out that failing to impeach Bush over the signing statements issue would mean that the next president, perhaps Hillary, would be able to cite Bush as a precedent and also ignore Congress. "That," I said, "should put the fear of god into Republicans."

McGovern told the crowd that the administration had destroyed the CIA, preferring "faith-based" to real, hard-nosed intelligence. With the angry intensity of a man who has given nearly 30 years of service to the government only to see it trashed by a know-nothing, criminal administration, McGovern suggested impeachment was the best way to bring the War in Iraq to an end and to prevent the launching of yet another illegal war, this time against Iran.

De la Vega, a veteran federal prosecutor, and author of a new book, The U.S. v. Bush, which imagines a grand jury investigation and indictment of the president and vice president on a charge of fraud, laid out the case that the Bush administration has in essence been a criminal syndicate defrauding the American public on a scale far worse than Enron.

Meanwhile, she said, the Congress, the media and the American public have, like the Queens neighbors of stabbing victim Kitty Genovese, averted their eyes from the crime.

Questions following the three presentations focused on why the Congress has been so unwilling to act to initiate impeachment, and on what the American people can do.

The answer all the speakers gave in one way or another was to organize -- to convince neighbors, co-workers and friends of the need to impeach the president, to lobby a cowardly Congress to act, and, most importantly, to help move Sen. Oemig's bill forward in the Washington Senate and House.

At present, three states, Washington, Vermont, and New Mexico, have bills calling for joint impeachment resolutions (other states, including Rhode Island, New Jersey, and California, may also see bills submitted).

Under Thomas Jefferson's Rules of the House, any one of those resolutions, if passed and forwarded to the House of Representatives, could start the process of impeachment.

It seems likely that if Washington passed Oemig's bill (it currently has eight co-sponsors), or if one of those moving through the legislatures of Vermont or New Mexico were to pass, the other states might follow suit. As well, representatives in Congress could feel emboldened to submit their own bills of impeachment.

In other words, the dam will burst, and impeachment will be underway.In Olympia, as 900 fired-up and fed-up citizens left the hall last Tuesday -- signing impeachment petitions on the way out -- it was clear that the dam had already burst, at least locally.

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTIONDave Lindorff is co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of "The Case forImpeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office," (St. Martin's Press, 2006). His work is available and at

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

I Miss You, Bobby!

Published on Monday, February 19, 2007 by the Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune (Minnesota)
What We Can Learn from Heroes Like Bobby Kennedy

A screening of the movie "Bobby" opened the eyes and hearts of another generation to a time when politics was filled with hope.

by Heather Scheiwe

Did anyone actually see "Bobby"? In the midst of Oscar buzz, there's little more than a whisper about the film. The critics were, well, critical of the movie for not digging deeper into the character of Robert F. Kennedy, the man my 60-year-old friend called "the last politician who gave me hope." But the cinematic story behind the fateful events at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel (where presidential hopeful Kennedy was shot on June 4, 1968) provoked a powerful conversation between my friend and me.

I'm 24. I'm new at this political thing, trying to absorb the current scene like a saturated sponge sweeping across a greasy stove. There's so much, and not much that seems real. And if anything, my generation longs for authenticity.

This is why I was so drawn to my older friend, who had proudly marched in demonstrations, fought for equality in education, and even started a grass-roots women's advocacy organization.

She didn't just bemoan the mistakes of the day.

She did stuff, and believed that doing stuff could change the world, in part because Bobby told her it could. His visits throughout the nation -- from rural Mississippi towns to inner-city hovels--had unveiled civil injustices, organized crime, and the national poverty crisis, opening the eyes and hearts of a young generation.

Yet after the tragic assassinations of the 1960s -- John F. Kennedy in 1963 and Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby in 1968 -- my friend bowed out of the political scene altogether. Nearly 40 years apart in age, we were sharing a bench on the cynics' sideline.

So I took her to "Bobby." It was already at the $2 theater. We were the only ones there. Which is good, because we cried. A lot. With the beat of Motown music in the background, the characters highlighted nearly every sociopolitical issue of that day: women's rights, racial segregation, drugs, the draft, beauty, adultery, love, divorce, passion. Interspersed throughout the fictional script, clips of Bobby's speeches narrated actual newsreels of his tours. But the film wasn't really about Robert F. Kennedy, or politics, or even the "radical" 1960s. It was about people, something politics seems to have lost amid the hanging chads and red/blue polarity of modern elections.

We sat in the theater for nearly an hour after the final credits. Accounts of past marches and speeches burst from her like the ratatat tat of a typewriter under inspired fingers. She wept for Bobby, for the lost soul of politics, and for my generation, a generation that seems to face a world without heroes. I cried, too, but not for lack of hope. Hope was sitting next to me.
A few days and a barrage of her enthusiastic e-mails later, she gave me a book: "Profiles in Courage," by Bobby's older brother John Kennedy. If you're 35 or older, you might know about this book, but in all my college liberal arts classes, I had never heard of it. Within these pages are men (JFK didn't highlight any women, even with wife Jackie's help) who cared something about people, about undiluted values, about how to move forward as a nation.

As much as we appreciate alternative media, twentysomethings cannot depend solely on YouTube and Steven Colbert to activate our political involvement. Our cynicism may be well-founded, but we should not discount the predigital past and those who pounded the pavement before gel soles cushioned their steps.

If we listen to them and, more importantly, learn from what they did, we might find out that hope isn't so audacious after all.

Heather Scheiwe is founder and managing editor of Alive Magazine, a national alternative literary arts magazine created and published entirely by women age 25 and younger. She lives in Minneapolis.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Friday, February 23, 2007

American Poverty: Growing By Leaps and Bounds

There is no damned excuse for this!

The answer will be Civil war, or another Americann Revolution

U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty
By Tony Pugh
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation's "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen.

A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures, the latest available, found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty. A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 - half the federal poverty line - was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.

The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That's 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. McClatchy's review also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn't confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas.

The plight of the severely poor is a distressing sidebar to an unusual economic expansion.

Worker productivity has increased dramatically since the brief recession of 2001, but wages and job growth have lagged behind. At the same time, the share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries. That helps explain why the median household income of working-age families, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for five straight years.

These and other factors have helped push 43 percent of the nation's 37 million poor people into deep poverty - the highest rate since at least 1975.

The share of poor Americans in deep poverty has climbed slowly but steadily over the last three decades. But since 2000, the number of severely poor has grown "more than any other segment of the population," according to a recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
"That was the exact opposite of what we anticipated when we began," said Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University, who co-authored the study. "We're not seeing as much moderate poverty as a proportion of the population. What we're seeing is a dramatic growth of severe poverty."

The growth spurt, which leveled off in 2005, in part reflects how hard it is for low-skilled workers to earn their way out of poverty in an unstable job market that favors skilled and educated workers. It also suggests that social programs aren't as effective as they once were at catching those who fall into economic despair.

About one in three severely poor people are under age 17, and nearly two out of three are female. Female-headed families with children account for a large share of the severely poor.
Nearly two out of three people (10.3 million) in severe poverty are white, but blacks (4.3 million) and Hispanics of any race (3.7 million) make up disproportionate shares. Blacks are nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be in deep poverty, while Hispanics are roughly twice as likely.

Washington, D.C., the nation's capital, has a higher concentration of severely poor people - 10.8 percent in 2005 - than any of the 50 states, topping even hurricane-ravaged Mississippi and Louisiana, with 9.3 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively. Nearly six of 10 poor District residents are in extreme poverty.


A few miles from the Capitol Building, 60-year-old John Treece pondered his life in deep poverty as he left a local food pantry with two bags of free groceries.

Plagued by arthritis, back problems and myriad ailments from years of manual labor, Treece has been unable to work full time for 15 years. He's tried unsuccessfully to get benefits from the Social Security Administration, which he said disputes his injuries and work history.

In 2006, an extremely poor individual earned less than $5,244 a year, according to federal poverty guidelines. Treece said he earned about that much in 2006 doing odd jobs.

Wearing shoes with holes, a tattered plaid jacket and a battered baseball cap, Treece lives hand-to-mouth in a $450-a-month room in a nondescript boarding house in a high-crime neighborhood. Thanks to food stamps, the food pantry and help from relatives, Treece said he never goes hungry. But toothpaste, soap, toilet paper and other items that require cash are tougher to come by.

"Sometimes it makes you want to do the wrong thing, you know," Treece said, referring to crime. "But I ain't a kid no more. I can't do no time. At this point, I ain't got a lotta years left."
Treece remains positive and humble despite his circumstances.

"I don't ask for nothing," he said. "I just thank the Lord for this day and ask that tomorrow be just as blessed."

Like Treece, many who did physical labor during their peak earning years have watched their job prospects dim as their bodies gave out.

David Jones, the president of the Community Service Society of New York City, an advocacy group for the poor, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee last month that he was shocked to discover how pervasive the problem was.

"You have this whole cohort of, particularly African-Americans of limited skills, men, who can't participate in the workforce because they don't have skills to do anything but heavy labor," he said.


Severe poverty is worst near the Mexican border and in some areas of the South, where 6.5 million severely poor residents are struggling to find work as manufacturing jobs in the textile, apparel and furniture-making industries disappear. The Midwestern Rust Belt and areas of the Northeast also have been hard hit as economic restructuring and foreign competition have forced numerous plant closings.

At the same time, low-skilled immigrants with impoverished family members are increasingly drawn to the South and Midwest to work in the meatpacking, food processing and agricultural industries.

These and other factors such as increased fluctuations in family incomes and illegal immigration have helped push 43 percent of the nation's 37 million poor people into deep poverty - the highest rate in at least 32 years.

"What appears to be taking place is that, over the long term, you have a significant permanent underclass that is not being impacted by anti-poverty policies," said Michael Tanner, the director of Health and Welfare Studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Arloc Sherman, a senior researcher at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, disagreed. "It doesn't look like a growing permanent underclass," said Sherman, whose organization has chronicled the growth of deep poverty. "What you see in the data are more and more single moms with children who lose their jobs and who aren't being caught by a safety net anymore."

About 1.1 million such families account for roughly 2.1 million deeply poor children, Sherman said.

After fleeing an abusive marriage in 2002, 42-year-old Marjorie Sant moved with her three children from Arkansas to a seedy boarding house in Raleigh, N.C., where the four shared one bedroom. For most of 2005, they lived off food stamps and the $300 a month in Social Security Disability Income for her son with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Teachers offered clothes to Sant's children. Saturdays meant lunch at the Salvation Army.

"To depend on other people to feed and clothe your kids is horrible," Sant said. "I found myself in a hole and didn't know how to get out."

In the summer of 2005, social workers warned that she'd lose her children if her home situation didn't change. Sant then brought her two youngest children to a temporary housing program at the Raleigh Rescue Mission while her oldest son moved to California to live with an adult daughter from a previous marriage.

So for 10 months, Sant learned basic office skills. She now lives in a rented house, works two jobs and earns about $20,400 a year.

Sant is proud of where she is, but she knows that "if something went wrong, I could well be back to where I was."


As more poor Americans sink into severe poverty, more individuals and families living within $8,000 above or below the poverty line also have seen their incomes decline. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University attributes this to what he calls a "sinkhole effect" on income.
"Just as a sinkhole causes everything above it to collapse downward, families and individuals in the middle and upper classes appear to be migrating to lower-income tiers that bring them closer to the poverty threshold," Woolf wrote in the study.

Before Hurricane Katrina, Rene Winn of Biloxi, Miss., earned $28,000 a year as an administrator for the Boys and Girls Club. But for 11 months in 2006, she couldn't find steady work and wouldn't take a fast-food job. As her opportunities dwindled, Winn's frustration grew.
"Some days I feel like the world is mine and I can create my own destiny," she said. "Other days I feel a desperate feeling. Like I gotta' hurry up. Like my career is at a stop. Like I'm getting nowhere fast. And that's not me because I've always been a positive person."

After relocating to New Jersey for 10 months after the storm, Winn returned to Biloxi in September because of medical and emotional problems with her son. She and her two youngest children moved into her sister's home along with her mother, who has Alzheimer's. With her sister, brother-in-law and their two children, eight people now share a three-bedroom home.
Winn said she recently took a job as a technician at the state health department. The hourly job pays $16,120 a year. That's enough to bring her out of severe poverty and just $122 shy of the $16,242 needed for a single mother with two children to escape poverty altogether under current federal guidelines.

Winn eventually wants to transfer to a higher-paying job, but she's thankful for her current position.

"I'm very independent and used to taking care of my own, so I don't like the fact that I have to depend on the state. I want to be able to do it myself."

The Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation shows that, in a given month, only 10 percent of severely poor Americans received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in 2003 - the latest year available - and that only 36 percent received food stamps.

Many could have exhausted their eligibility for welfare or decided that the new program requirements were too onerous. But the low participation rates are troubling because the worst byproducts of poverty, such as higher crime and violence rates and poor health, nutrition and educational outcomes, are worse for those in deep poverty.

Over the last two decades, America has had the highest or near-highest poverty rates for children, individual adults and families among 31 developed countries, according to the Luxembourg Income Study, a 23-year project that compares poverty and income data from 31 industrial nations.

"It's shameful," said Timothy Smeeding, the former director of the study and the current head of the Center for Policy Research at Syracuse University. "We've been the worst performer every year since we've been doing this study."

With the exception of Mexico and Russia, the U.S. devotes the smallest portion of its gross domestic product to federal anti-poverty programs, and those programs are among the least effective at reducing poverty, the study found. Again, only Russia and Mexico do worse jobs.
One in three Americans will experience a full year of extreme poverty at some point in his or her adult life, according to long-term research by Mark Rank, a professor of social welfare at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

An estimated 58 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 75 will spend at least a year in poverty, Rank said. Two of three will use a public assistance program between ages 20 and 65, and 40 percent will do so for five years or more.

These estimates apply only to non-immigrants. If illegal immigrants were factored in, the numbers would be worse, Rank said.

"It would appear that for most Americans the question is no longer if, but rather when, they will experience poverty. In short, poverty has become a routine and unfortunate part of the American life course," Rank wrote in a recent study. "Whether these patterns will continue throughout the first decade of 2000 and beyond is difficult to say ... but there is little reason to think that this trend will reverse itself any time soon."


Most researchers and economists say federal poverty estimates are a poor tool to gauge the complexity of poverty. The numbers don't factor in assistance from government anti-poverty programs, such as food stamps, housing subsidies and the Earned Income Tax Credit, all of which increase incomes and help pull people out of poverty.

But federal poverty measures also exclude work-related expenses and necessities such as day care, transportation, housing and health care costs, which eat up large portions of disposable income, particularly for low-income families.

Alternative poverty measures that account for these shortcomings typically inflate or deflate official poverty statistics. But many of those alternative measures show the same kind of long-term trends as the official poverty data.

Robert Rector, a senior researcher with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, questioned the growth of severe poverty, saying that census data become less accurate farther down the income ladder. He said many poor people, particularly single mothers with boyfriends, underreport their income by not including cash gifts and loans. Rector said he's seen no data that suggest increasing deprivation among the very poor.

Arloc Sherman of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues that the growing number of severely poor is an indisputable fact.

"When we check against more complete government survey data and administrative records from the benefit programs themselves, they confirm that this trend is real," Sherman said. He added that even among the poor, severely poor people have a much tougher time paying their bills. "That's another sign to me that we're seeing something real and troubling," Sherman said.

States with the most people in severe poverty:

California - 1.9 million
Texas - 1.6 million
New York - 1.2 million
Florida - 943,670
Illinois - 681,786
Ohio - 657,415
Pennsylvania - 618,229
Michigan - 576,428
Georgia - 562,014
North Carolina - 523,511
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
© 2007, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

If We Do Not Act NOW.............

...We are Doomed

Tomgram: Fraser, Did the Political World Change in November?

Have you already been swamped by 2008 presidential madness -- by Hillary, and her swiftboaters, and Obama(mania), and Edwards, and McCain hawking his wares in Iowa, and Hagel, and a gaggle (or maybe a gagel) of lesser presidential candidates, wannabes, and thought-abouts haggling over their prospects, and the latest definitively meaningless polls on the candidates, and whether various giant states are going to beat out smaller states in the race to be first in the primaries, and which of the candidates are ahead in the mad dash to the various moneybags who finance both parties? It's a miracle that the initial votes for president aren't being pushed forward to the spring of 2007. If this is the electoral "horse race," the nags are going to be dead by summer.

Why this wild media rush to next year's election?

You won't find out from reading your morning paper or catching the nightly news on TV. Sometimes a dash of history, a bit of historical context, not to speak of a little informed speculation is just what the media rush to the polls is lacking. Fortunately, here at Tomdispatch we have the antidote to the already headlong race to 2008. Steve Fraser, co-editor of the American Empire Project book series and author of Every Man a Speculator, a cultural history of Wall Street that the Boston Globe described as "the Iliad set on Wall Street, its literary gravity pulling you along with the sweep of its narrative," considers just what might be made of last year's November midterm elections and the upcoming one in the great sweep of American history. Tom

Was 2006 a Turning-Point Election?On the Road to 2008

By Steve Fraser

All media eyes have turned toward the presidential election of 2008. Like the headlights of an onrushing train, it mesmerizes. Every news bulletin about the latest bloodbath in Iraq, each ominous forewarning of a face-off with Iran, the endless dirge of abandonment and despair issuing from New Orleans, the daily register of those cut loose from any semblance of a social safety net, public or private, each new official confirmation that the Earth is reaching a boiling point compels us to anticipate the 2008 election with fear and trembling, and with the greatest expectations. Something momentous might happen then. Haven't we already seen the first signs of that in the extraordinary electoral outcome of November 2006?

All elections are, in some sense, turning points. They register, however murkily, shifts in popular sentiment. But this recent off-year election has excited more than the normal number of pregnant speculations and, of course, put one question in particular in boldface type: Did it signal the end -- or at least the beginning of the end -- of the conservative counter-revolution that first gained traction with Ronald Reagan's presidential victory in 1980?

A turning-point election is something special indeed. Everything about the country's political chemistry changes as its geopolitical make-up is reshuffled, as cities, towns, and whole regions start voting in a new way. Suddenly, the normal fault lines in political demography no longer apply as ethnic, racial, gender, and socio-economic groups simply stop voting the way everyone expects them to.

Turning-point elections can inaugurate new distributions of wealth and power. Social classes and elites accustomed to rule find themselves struggling to hold on to, or compelled to share power, they once felt entitled to wield unilaterally. The whole political economy becomes subject to serious reordering. With so much at stake, such elections can ultimately be the occasions for revolutions in the country's moral tone, its basic cultural and ideological orientation.
Upheavals of this magnitude make up part of our relatively recent history. Here are a few examples: Pittsburgh and the state of Pennsylvania were fiefdoms of the Republican Party, and of the industrial elite which controlled that Party, from the end of the Civil War through the stock-market crash of 1929; nor did the GOP electorate there consist solely of industrialists and the middle classes. Hundreds of thousands of industrial workers -- Italians, Slavs, and other immigrants working the steel mills, coke ovens, and coal mines -- belonged to that cohort of Republican loyalists as well. Then, in four short years, between 1932 and 1936, both city and state became bastions of the New Deal Democratic Party.

At just this same time, Afro-Americans, who since Emancipation had been steadfast supporters of the party of Lincoln, began voting (where they could) in overwhelming numbers for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and have remained steadfast Democrats ever since. Meanwhile, the South, which had emerged as a one-party region after the Civil War, stayed loyal to the Democratic Party for a century until, in the election of 1968, it began its mass defection to the Republicans.
As late as the 1929 crash and Great Depression, free market ideology, social Darwinian morality, and the political and social preeminence of the country's business elite made up the legitimate foundations of the Republic. Within the historical blinking of an eye, however, that legitimacy vaporized in the presidential election of 1932 -- replaced by the regulatory and social-welfare state of the New Deal with its ethos of social obligation, economic security, and industrial democracy.

Turning-point elections that register -- and help usher in -- such remarkable transformations are rare in American history. Arguably, there have only been three: 1860, 1932, and 1980. The elections of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan -- each in its own way -- opened the door to fundamental reform. Clearly the abolition of slavery, the overthrow of industrial autocracy, and the triumphant counter-revolution against the New Deal with which these three elections are associated qualify as turning points in the grand sense.

Why Does the Ancien Régime Die?

Rare as they are, one might ask why turning-point elections happen at all. Marking as they do the emergence of a new political order, they are, it seems, brought on by a general crisis in the old order, an impasse or breakdown so severe it can no longer be addressed by the conventional wisdom of the political status quo. The secession of the southern states in 1860 was, of course, such a crisis. So was the Great Depression. So, too, was the convergence of imperial defeat in Vietnam, the overthrow of the racial order of the ancien régime, and the de-industrialization of the American heartland. Secession, depression, defeat, these have been the "big bangs" ushering in new political universes.

System-wide crises prove fatal, first of all, because they exhaust the repertoire of political solutions available (or imaginable) to the ruling circles of the old order. Elites become increasingly defensive and inflexible, so much so that their actions aggravate rather than alleviate the crisis at hand. In the early years of the Great Depression, for example, Andrew Mellon, President Herbert Hoover's Secretary of the Treasury, suggested that the way out of the cataclysm was to "liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate." In doing so, he was falling back on the orthodoxy of his robber-baron ancestors and exposing not only the callousness of the old regime, but its incapacity to do anything constructive about the national calamity.

An exhausted political order does not, however, fall apart and exit the scene simply by virtue of its own downward momentum and social stupidity. Alternatives, embryonic but visible, usually gestate within the old political organism even before its weaknesses become disabling. Before one of the two major political parties emerges to represent a new political dispensation -- we are, after all, talking about the United States where generally everything happens within the claustrophobic confines of the two-party system -- battles rage internally for the soul of the party.

So it was that the pre-New Deal Democrats were still run by John Jacob Raskob of the DuPont-General Motors interests and kindred laissez-faire circles among the country's business elite in the North (together with the Bourbon landlords and new industrialists of the South). But even before the Depression hit, reform-minded elements in the business community and the labor movement were challenging the Party's old guard, coalescing around a program of government regulation, industrial democracy, and the development of a mass-consumption economy underwritten by Keynesian-inspired fiscal policy.

Likewise, several years before President Lyndon Baines Johnson abdicated the presidency in 1968 and long before Ronald Reagan's 1980 triumph, the Barry Goldwater right-wing of the Republican Party overthrew, at least temporarily, the Rockefeller moderates who had made their peace with New Deal liberalism and controlled the party since the end of World War II. Goldwater's vitriolic victory and presidential nomination at the 1964 Republican Party convention made clear that this was far more than an intramural squabble. It pre-figured the end of the New Deal order and signaled that a minority within the Grand Old Party was already prepared to wage an uncompromising struggle against apostates from the conservative credo.
Turning-point elections then are not natural events like hurricanes or tsunamis, occurring in the course of some impersonal cycle of political evolution. Old political orders are supplanted by a willingness to risk party disunity in order to achieve some higher purpose.
When Does the Bell Toll -- and for Whom?

Turning-point elections have invariably been presidential elections. (Two others are often included on the short list by scholars -- Andrew Jackson's victory in 1828 and William McKinley's in 1896.) This is commonsensical enough. A vote for a president is, after all, a more straightforward national referendum than voting for hundreds of congressional representatives and senators.

Of course, in everyday life, things seldom prove quite so straightforward. While it is convenient to bookmark change according to the year in which a new president takes office, some of the most decisive changes in political demography and geography, in public policy, in the balance of power, or in the moral-ideological profile of the new order have come in subsequent elections, both presidential and off-year.

This is more than an academic point at the moment, because 2006 was, of course, a midterm election. Does this automatically disqualify it as a turning point one or can a Congressional election measure up too? The short answer is: sometimes.

Arguably, to take one example still in memory, 1966 might be seen that way. Although President Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats had won a staggeringly overwhelming victory in 1964, the subsequent off-year vote for Congress demonstrated a significant shift to the Republicans in the South, and parts of the West, regions that were absolutely critical to the dominance of the old political order.

Southern disaffection with the Democrats had, in fact, already been apparent in the 1964 presidential primary campaign of Alabama's notorious segregationist governor, George Wallace. It would make itself felt decisively in the presidential election of 1968 when the combined votes for Republican candidate Richard Nixon and Wallace, running on a third party, states-rights ticket, would account for 57% of the popular vote, sending Hubert Humphrey and the Democratic Party to an unexpected defeat. (Indeed, historians might have landmarked 1968 as a turning-point election except for one thing -- Watergate -- which functioned as a kind of 7-year political coitus interruptus.)

Sometimes, however, off-year elections that looked significant at the time -- for example, the Republican capture of both houses of Congress in 1946 -- end up leaving the political fundamentals in tact. In that case, the New Deal order would remain hegemonic for another quarter-century or more.

So too, a mere shift in presidential party affiliation need augur little. Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower presided for two terms in the 1950s, but never thought to challenge the fundamentals of the New Deal. Indeed, it was an Eisenhower era bon mot that Social Security constitutes the "third rail" of American politics, that tampering with it would be an act of political suicide.

Similarly, Democratic President Bill Clinton served twice but accepted the basics of Reagan-era conservatism, memorialized in his boast (which was also a confession) that the "era of big government is over with." Eisenhower was a Republocrat, Clinton a Democratan. If anything, their administrations indicated just how firmly entrenched the political order of the moment remained, so solidly it could be entrusted to the putative opposition.

What, then, about 2006? At first blush (and lacking a crystal ball), it would certainly be safer to conclude that it wasn't a turning-point election. The Democratic Congressional victory was a slim one, particularly in the Senate; but even in the House, the present thirty-one seat margin conceals a remarkable number of extremely close individual races that were, in the end, Democratic victories. Moreover, the media, before and after the election, has made much of the fact that a significant number of Democratic winners in both houses belonged to the "Blue Dog" wing of the party; that they were recruited by the Party's leadership and won exactly because they were social conservatives, Republican-lite candidates, only make-believe Democrats.

Nor did the victorious Democrats display a coherent programmatic alternative, however much they emphasized their opposition to Bush administration foreign and domestic policies and the atmosphere of sleaze that surrounded the White House. Differences within the Democratic Party on many issues were visible for all to see.

It would, however, be a gross exaggeration to see in those tensions an embryonic Goldwater-style civil war pitting one form of political economy and world view -- say that of the Democratic Leadership Council -- against an insurgency ready to break with the past. There was no Goldwater-like faction armed with its own ideological vision and itching for a fight. You would have to throw into this mix the open question of whether the prevailing political order -- the one presaged by Goldwater and inaugurated by Ronald Reagan -- actually verges on a more general crisis of legitimacy, the sort of system-wide breakdown that has, in the past, opened the door to something truly new.

The Beginning of the End?

Despite serious doubts about the deeper significance of the 2006 election, there is, in fact, a good case to be made that it may turn out to be one of those rare turning points, or at least a signal that one is looming on the near horizon.

To begin with, polls indicate that the election represented an explicit repudiation of the Republican Party as a party; at least, as explicit as one could possibly expect in a midterm election. Try as they did to argue beforehand that all elections are local, Republican leaders knew that not to be the case, not this time; indeed, that's precisely why they traipsed around the country vociferously denying what they deeply feared was true.

Under normal circumstances and by its very nature, in the American electoral system -- monopolized by two amorphously constituted parties of little distinct ideological or programmatic identity, and with its multiple disincentives to any kind of independent party representation -- it is usually excruciatingly hard to register voter sentiment on behalf of a party rather than a candidate. But the election of 2006 was not normal in this regard. There are indications that significant numbers of Americans voted against the Republican Party and, with less enthusiasm to be sure, for the Democratic Party.

Perhaps most tellingly, in numerous races moderate Republicans, who remained quite popular with their constituents and had enjoyed long tenure in office -- the best known case is Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island -- succumbed to Democrats who were often no more to the "left" than they were. Notwithstanding the inherent fuzziness of what either of the parties stands for, voters seemed ready to conclude that the Republican Party and the administration of George Bush could be fairly associated with the disaster in Iraq, the shameful incompetence and callousness of the response to Hurricane Katrina, the rank and systemic corruption associated with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and the crony capitalism of the oil companies and Halliburton. Voting for the Democratic Party was a way of repudiating all that, even if any particular Republican candidate might be blameless.

Then, there is the matter of the "Blue Dogs."

It turns out that rumors of their ascendancy were not so much exaggerated as mischaracterized. True enough Senate candidates like William Casey in Pennsylvania or James Webb in Virginia were well-known supporters of such social conservative causes as gun ownership or the "right to life." But these were hardly the issues they ran on. On the contrary, the campaigns of Webb and Casey, not to mention Sherrod Brown's Senate campaign in Ohio and those of many fellow "Blue Dogs" running for House seats, stressed opposition to the war in Iraq and anger directed at big pharma, big oil, tax breaks for the rich, and free-trade globalization agreements like NAFTA.

Far more often than not, economic populism, not social conservatism, is what lent the Democrats, and in particular the Blue Dogs, an edge. This same sentiment could be felt, both before and immediately after the election, in the overwhelming support for a quick Congressional move to raise the minimum wage and to empower Medicare to lower prescription drug prices by bargaining with the big pharmaceuticals. Even more remarkable, given the perilous state of the labor movement, is the emergence of a House majority in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make it easier for millions of workers to join unions, a development critical to shifting the balance of political and economic power.

It would be premature to speak of a fully formed populist/New Deal-like alternative within the Democratic Party or to suggest that people were voting for such a possibility in 2006. Nonetheless, when the Democratic leadership anointed its opening agenda as the new governing party in Congress with the resonant phrase "the first 100 hours," echoing FDR's first 100 days, there was nothing accidental about it.

So, too, certain demographic and geopolitical trends that showed up in 2006 are suggestive of changes to come. The Latino vote, which in the 2004 presidential election was relatively evenly divided between George Bush and John Kerry, went a whopping 70% for the Democrats this time. And that wasn't even the biggest percentage shift in voting behavior from the 2004 election in favor of the Democrats. That took place among white, non-college-educated working people who, for some time, have made up the core of the conservative populist constituency of the Reagan counter-revolution. Although all the numbers are not yet in, estimates suggest that about one-half of the shift toward the Democrats came from white working-class voters.
Regionally, the Democratic Party made significant gains in the Rocky Mountain West, while clearing away the remnant outposts of Republicanism in much of the Northeast and driving Republicans from Rustbelt outposts in Ohio and Missouri. The logic of that trend -- which doesn't, of course, mean that it will be realized -- is to regionalize the Republican Party in the South. In this way, the southernization of national politics, which was the great accomplishment of the Reagan political order, might be replaced by the southernization of the Republican Party.
Even the early talk about presidential candidates seems portentous. On the Democratic side there is no one to the right of Hillary Clinton, certainly a sign of a shift in the Party's center of gravity. But odder than that is the candidacy of Barack Obama. It seems to signal a thirst for a messiah. Such a quest can be symptomatic of many things, some bad, some not as bad.
Obamaism is a real mystery. Others have already noted that messiahs don't normally come from the middle as he most emphatically does. Moreover, the charisma that surrounds the prince of banality from Illinois is even harder to decipher, attached as it is to nothing tangible or providential as was Robert Kennedy's lightning 1968 ascension before his assassination, his candidacy held aloft, rightly or wrongly, by the energies of the antiwar and civil rights upheavals.

Something -- though it's hard to tell what -- may be blowin' in the wind.

Breakdown and Paralysis

Perhaps the better question, then, is: Will the presidential election of 2008 turn out to be a turning-point election of historic proportions. The greatest unknown is whether or not the status quo is headed for a breakdown crisis severe enough to clear the ground for such a transformative moment.

Signs certainly point in that direction. The convergence of imperial defeat, economic insecurity, and rampant corporate malfeasance might be enough all by themselves. But the sudden change in the political status of global warming -- once the dim, background hum of some far distant disturbance, now more like the heart-stopping premonitory theme music from the soundtrack of Jaws -- magnifies the crisis of the whole global order, at home and abroad. Anatole Lieven has called it global capitalism's "existential challenge." Life as we've known it may be beginning to end. Congress is already holding hearings about the natural apocalypse to come, and all but the most ostrich-like politicians acknowledge global warming as an urgent reality; a fact-on-the-ground, so to speak, no longer a debatable theory.

The Bush administration -- and so the old order -- has staked a lot on Iraq, not just its geopolitical and global economic ambitions. Its already severely diminished status as a moral exemplar of democracy and civil liberties won't survive this latest plunge into military mayhem. Moreover, the President's "surge" plan is a mortal threat to the secret source of the regime's strength at home. The politics of fear and imperial bravado, which once won it legions of followers, may, in the aftermath of the surge, reach its own turning point as those voters abandon ship as fast as they once climbed aboard. Can the administration or the old order survive a fiasco of such proportions?

Iraq is also the equivalent of a budgetary bunker-busting nuclear device. It exacerbates an already aggravated economic dilemma. Despite a Noah's flood of statistics that seem to support a Pollyana-ish view that we live today in the best of economic good times, millions of Americans experience the opposite -- a yawning gulf of insecurity affecting their health, retirement, and employment prospects. They share a gloomy sense of moving backwards, of decline.

Once upon a time, poverty was associated with the super-exploitation of those who toiled for meager reward. Then, in mid-twentieth century America, poverty came to be associated with the lack of work, with those so marginalized they were shut-out of the main avenues of modern commerce and industry. Nowadays, we are rushing back to the nineteenth century. Today, 30 million people in the United States work long and hard and still live in poverty.

Insecurity even more pervasive than this once supplied the energy responsible for supplanting laissez-faire capitalism with the New Deal. Might we be approaching something of that scale and scope today? Though there can be no definitive answer to this, there also can be no question that a general crisis of economic insecurity confronts the old order. All of its self-serving and adventitious rhetoric about the heroics of risk fall on increasingly deaf ears.

Not incidentally, since we live in the age of the global sweatshop, that older order is now global in scope; and the international financial mechanisms that so far have kept the global system humming for the U.S. are themselves under great and increasing strain. The system is, at present, being kept aloft by the needs of China, Japan, and other major economic powers. One day soon they may find the burden of swallowing gargantuan amounts of U.S. debt insupportable.

Are we heading toward a breakdown like the one which, in the early 1970s, forced the Nixon administration to scrap the Bretton Woods financial system, the defining economic institution of the post-war Pax Americana? Together with defeat in Vietnam, the devaluation of the dollar, and the end of fixed exchange rates for international currencies exacerbated the general impasse in which the New Deal order then found itself.

When it comes to the social reputation of our corporate elite, is it necessary to say anything more than Enron? The litany of shameless profiteering, felonious behavior, cronyism, and corruption at the apex of the private economy has arguably called into question the "right to rule" of those presiding over the country's key economic institutions. Even at the regime's hubristic height following Bush's presidential victory in 2004, he discovered he'd crossed a bridge too far in his attempt to turn over the Social Security System to Wall Street. Trust in the corporate elite has only grown frailer since then. Cynicism mixed with rage is a potentially explosive brew that fuels the economic populism even someone as "establishment" as James Webb articulated in his alternate State of the Union Address.

What may make these converging dilemmas over-ripe for change is the response of the old order itself. One sign that some decisive crisis has arrived is the growing incapacity of those in charge to adapt -- as if the dire nature of what's happening dries up the springs of their political imaginations, forcing them to fall back on brittle orthodoxies. Andrew Mellon's notion of liquidating everything in sight as a way out of the Great Depression was one case of mental paralysis, a retreat to what had once "worked"; after all, the periodic busts endemic to the laissez-faire capitalist life-cycle had, in the past, always cured themselves, even if the "cure" included a great deal of what we would today call "collateral damage."

The Bush administration is similarly falling back on its own orthodoxies, each move only betraying just how out of touch its top officials are with the new political and social realities forming around them.

Take its reaction to the stunning electoral defeat it suffered last November. The President's new "surge" plan, the self-destructive decision to forge ahead in Iraq without a scintilla of reasonable hope of success, even from the standpoint of the most cynical imperialist, is such a reaction: instinctive, unreflective, inflexible, and probably deeply believed in. In other words, there is a resort to the ideological fixations which have long-driven this regime -- and the larger political order from which it rose – but which only become ever more rigidified as reality bites back.

So, for another example, the administration's response to the crisis of economic insecurity has amounted to an ideological provocation shoved right in the teeth of its own electoral repudiation. Bush proposed a massive cut in Medicare and Medicaid and, even more in-your-face than that, a tax on the health insurance of those dwindling remnants of the New Deal order who still enjoy some decent level of employer-funded health care.

Everything the old regime can imagine to defend itself ends up making things worse. With some poetic license, one is reminded of an inversion of that old Marxist axiom in which the capitalists, not the proletariat, become the gravediggers of capitalism.

The Open Door

Of course, that is a gross exaggeration. The question of the moment is not: Will 2008 be a turning-point election, but rather can it be one? Here, everything depends not on what the old order does on its own behalf, no matter how bone-headed, but on how the gathering forces of opposition respond to the system's crisis. Is there a willingness to build a clear, programmatic alternative inside the Democratic Party? It is, after all, an institution deeply infected with free market/free trade ideology and most of the imperial presumptions of the conservative counter-revolution.

Is there a readiness to mobilize around non-market solutions to the general crisis: To fight openly for the re-regulation of the economy and its planned re-industrialization; for its re-unionization; for redistributive policies to supplant the idée fixe of economic growth; for the dismantling of the petro-industrial complex and its replacement by a new, non-fossil-fuel system of energy production; for a global assault on the global sweatshop?

Will there be a new era of polarization rather than centrism, partisanship rather than bi-partisanship, a head-on confrontation with the Democratic Leadership Council, like the guerilla wars once waged against the John Jacob Raskob and Al Smith elite of the pre-New Deal Democratic Party or the one waged by the Goldwater legions against the silk-stocking Rockefeller Republicans? Once upon a time, someone as mild-mannered as Franklin Delano Roosevelt found it within himself to "welcome the hatred" of those he labeled "economic royalists." Might there be someone equally unafraid waiting in the wings today?

Is there a new order being born, ready to challenge the old one where it is both weakest and also strongest: namely, in the imperial arena? Not only has global aggression proved deadly to all, depraved in its moral consequences, and life-threatening to basic democratic principles and institutions at home, but it has also been the most fruitful, life-giving incubator of the conservative cultural populism which the old order has relied on for a generation. Anti-World War I intellectual Randolph Bourne's prophetic aperçu -- "War is the health of the State" -- needs to be made even more embracing: War has become the health of a whole political culture, not to mention the vast, hard-wired military-industrial apparatus with which it lives in symbiotic bliss. Is there a will to take on that system of cherished phobias, delusional consolations, and implacable interests?

Finally, there is the X factor, most unknowable of all, but also most critical in converting a mere election into something more transformative. Might a social movement or movements emerge from outside the boundaries of conventional politics, catalytic enough to fundamentally alter the prevailing metabolism of political life? Might the mass demonstrations of immigrants portend something of that kind? Might the anti-war movement soon enter a period of more sustained and varied opposition in the face of this administration's barbaric obtuseness? Straws in the wind as we race toward 2008.

Steve Fraser is co-founder of the American Empire Project and Editor-at-Large of the journal New Labor Forum. He is the author of Every Man a Speculator, A History of Wall Street in American Life, and most recently co-editor of Ruling America: A History of Wealth and Power in a Democracy.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Get Rid Of Cheney And The NeoCons!

February 23, 2007

Fears grow over Iran

Tom Baldwin in Washington and Philip Webster, Political Editor

Tony Blair has declared himself at odds with hawks in the US Administration by saying publicly for the first time that it would be wrong to take military action against Iran. The Prime Minister’s comments came hours before the UN’s nuclear watchdog raised the stakes in the West’s showdown with Tehran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency concluded that Iran had expanded its nuclear programme, defying UN demands for it to be suspended. Hundreds of uranium-spinning centrifuges in an underground hall are expected to be increased to thousands by May when Iran moves to “industrial-scale production”. Senior British government sources have told The Times that they fear President Bush will seek to “settle the Iranian question through military means” next year, before the end of his second term if he concludes that diplomacy has failed. “He will not want to leave it unresolved for his successor,” said one.

But there are deep fissures within the US Administration. Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, who has previously called for direct talks with Tehran, is said to be totally opposed to military action.

Although he has dispatched a second US aircraft carrier to the Gulf, he is understood to believe that airstrikes would inflame Iranian public opinion and hamper American efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. One senior adviser to Mr Gates has even stated privately that military action could lead to Congress impeaching Mr Bush.

Expert View

For all the talk about a US military strike on Iran, it seems highly unlikely that they would contemplate this.

Bronwen Maddox

Condoleeza Rice, the Secretary of State, is also opposed to using force, while Steve Hadley, the President’s National Security Adviser, is said to be deeply sceptical.

The hawks are led by Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, who is urging Mr Bush to keep the military option “on the table”. He is also pressing the Pentagon to examine specific war plans — including, it is rumoured, covert action.

But Mr Blair, in a BBC interview yesterday, said: “I can’t think that it would be right to take military action against Iran . . . What is important is to pursue the political, diplomatic channel. I think it is the only way that we are going to get a sensible solution to the Iranian issue.”
The diplomatic options will be on the table on Monday when representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany meet in London to begin drafting a new resolution.

It was notable that Mr Blair’s remarks yesterday closely resembled those of Jack Straw last year, who said that an attack on Iran was “inconceivable”, angering Washington and perhaps contributing to his removal as Foreign Secretary.

The Prime Minister’s comments reflect what British officials have been saying privately for some time, but also show a growing streak of independence from Mr Bush. The White House was unhappy with the timing of Mr Blair’s announcement this week on withdrawing 1,600 British troops, concerned that it undercut Mr Bush’s efforts to shore up support for his troop surge on Capitol Hill while sending out “mixed messages” to the Iranians.

Britain has also privately expressed concern over the handling of the US military briefing last week which alleged that the “highest levels” of the Iranian Government were behind the supply of weapons to Iraqi militias.

- Mr Straw, the Leader of the Commons, did break ranks yesterday by declaring that the Government was committed to a full inquiry into mistakes made in the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath.

He said that he was ready “in due course” for a wider inquiry than those held to date. However a Downing Street spokesman said yesterday that there would come a time to “look at these issues”.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

The Hypocrisy of The Christian Right Never Ceases to Amaze

Earlier this month, Rev. Tim Ralph, one of the ministers charged with degayifying self-hating homo evangelist Ted Haggard announced that Haggard had been completely cured, and anyway, he only had sex with the gay prostitute and no one else:

We have verified the reality of that struggle through numerous individuals who reported to us firsthand knowledge of everything from sordid conversation to overt suggestions to improper activities to improper relationships.

In investigating Haggard’s assertion that his extramarital sexual contact was limited to former male escort Mike Jones, the board talked to people close to Haggard and found no evidence contradicting him, Ralph said.

“If we’re going to be proved wrong, somebody else is going to come forward, and that usually happens really quickly,” he said. “We’re into this thing over 90 days, and it hasn’t happened.”

Well, Rev. Tim, it has now.

The people in charge at Haggard’s former mega-church have done what they say is a “reality verification” on their former leader, and it appears Ted may need further degayification:

“[We] have done extensive fact-finding into his lifelong battle with a ‘dark side’ which he said in his confession letter has been a struggle for years,” Pastor Larry Stockstill, part of the church’s board of overseers, told the 14,000-member congregation Sunday.

“We have verified the reality of that struggle through numerous individuals who reported to us firsthand knowledge of everything from sordid conversation to overt suggestions to improper activities to improper relationships. These findings established a pattern of behavior that culminated in the final relationship in which Ted was, as a matter of grace, caught,” he said.

Stockstill did not elaborate…

None needed.

Ted was perving on men in his church, and even leading some of them astray.

Looks like Pastor Ted has a lot more gay to pray away.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Blix: Bush Administration Playing With Fire

Blix Blasts Bush’s Policy in Iran The former U.N. weapons inspector thinks the government is playing with fire.

By: Niall Stanage
Date: 2/26/2007

Hans Blix believes the Bush administration is courting catastrophe in its handling of Iran.

“It is playing at very high stakes,” Mr. Blix said. “The risk is that a spark could fly and that things could happen unexpectedly.”

Mr. Blix’s dark warnings come at a time of particularly high tension. The United Nations is grappling this week with what to do about the recalcitrant regime in Tehran, with the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad virtually certain to breach a Wednesday deadline for suspending its uranium-enrichment program.

What will the world body do next? The U.S. is insistent that the pressure on Iran must be intensified. Other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—notably Russia and China—are much less enthusiastic about such a course.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ahmadinejad told a crowd in northern Iran on Feb. 20 that his country would stop enrichment and enter talks—so long as Western nations also closed down their own “nuclear-fuel-cycle program.”

“Then we can hold dialogue under a fair atmosphere,” the Iranian president said.

Mr. Blix, who led U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq in the run-up to war—and who earned the deep enmity of Washington hawks for his circumspection—spoke by telephone from his home in Sweden. He is now removed from U.N. politics, plying his trade for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, a body funded primarily by the Swedish government.

Liberated from the constraints of forced diplomacy, he is scathing about the U.S.’s refusal to negotiate with Tehran, in particular its demand that Iran must suspend its uranium-enrichment program before such talks begin.

“The U.S. is sitting down with North Korea while they are making plutonium! Yet they are refusing to sit down with the Iranians,” he said. “A big part of it seems to be about humiliating the Iranians. It’s like, ‘Say uncle!’ The U.S. wants the Iranians to say uncle before it will sit down.

“The West has painted itself into a corner with Iran,” Mr. Blix continued. “The Iranians are willing to talk about anything. All they have said is that they are not willing to close enrichment before the talks begin. Well, that is just like playing poker. Who gives away their trump card before you start to play?”

Mr. Blix earlier this week wrote a syndicated column that appeared in the International Herald Tribune and on the Web site. Headlined “Will The U.S. Attack Iran?”, it noted that two U.S. aircraft carriers are now in the Persian Gulf.

“The military build-up is either to scare Iran or to prepare for attacks on Iran,” he wrote.

In his interview with The Observer, Mr. Blix said that he was not yet convinced an attack on Iran was imminent. But he believes that that has more to do with the realities of American politics than any lack of bellicosity on the part of the Bush administration.

“On balance, I think it is unlikely they will do it. The U.S. public seems averse to more military adventures,” he said.

He also cautioned that belligerence towards Iran would be likely to have effects that would be counterproductive from an American perspective. “The hardliners inside Iran would be strengthened by an attack,” he said.

“The Iranians are clearly divided,” he added, referring to increasing domestic dissatisfaction with the presidency of Mr. Ahmadinejad. “But if the country was to be attacked from abroad, I think you would very quickly see a return of nationalistic fervor. If they were attacked, the argument about why they should have a weapon would also become even stronger.”

For Mr. Blix, full negotiations with Tehran are by far the best option. And he believes in the carrot as well as the stick.

“Iran has never been offered any security guarantees,” he asserted.

He again drew a contrast with the negotiations with North Korea, which have long incorporated a U.S. pledge not to attack or invade in return, essentially, for good behavior from Pyongyang.

“In negotiations, it is always the same: If you think the other fellow is terribly anxious, you can make use of it—but if you don’t, you can’t extract anything,” he said. “With North Korea, it was the U.S. which was anxious to get talks going. The North Koreans wouldn’t concede anything in advance.”

Mr. Blix said he was aware of the domestic difficulties the U.S. might have in negotiating directly with Mr. Ahmadinejad or his representatives, but he argued that the potential benefits would far outweigh the costs.

“Of course, it might be more politically difficult for the U.S. to sit down with Iran—I realize that.

“But,” he added dryly, “it might also be less unpleasant than another war.”

Mr. Blix was equally critical about other aspects of U.S. foreign policy. In his syndicated article, he described the situation in Iraq as a “debacle.” Asked if he saw any hope of circumstances improving there, he answered, “No, I don’t see any.”

He added: “The Iraqis are not empowered, whatever the U.S. says about it being a sovereign nation. For, so long as the U.S. is there, the various Iraqi groups will not finally come together. Only when the U.S. says, ‘We are leaving and we will have no bases there,’ will the Iraqis say, ‘We have to get our act together.’”

To Mr. Blix, the fundamental first step is obvious. Referring to American withdrawal, he said: “A timetable is desirable.”

Turning his attention back to Iran, the former weapons inspector expressed horror at the notion of a supposedly “surgical” strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

“It would be absolutely catastrophic,” he said. “It would be an entirely new game if anyone started to bomb nuclear-power plants. I’m altogether against it. It is the worst possible option, aside from attacking civilian centers.”

Mr. Blix believes that more time for inspections and negotiations could have helped to avert war in Iraq. He is insistent that the same mistake should not be made again.

“There is time with Iran. The C.I.A. says they are five to 10 years away from having a bomb. The Israelis, they will probably say one or two years,” he said. “But there is time.”

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Psychological Torture; U.S. Policy

This is the most barbaric thing that could possibly be happening in the 21st Century.

"The mind's true liberation?"

The Bush administration has turned everything on it's ear. They are the anti-christ of the new century.

Anyone who has ordered or participated in this kind of atrocity should have the same done to them.

Lookout by Naomi Klein

A Trial for Thousands Denied Trial

[from the March 12, 2007 issue]

Something remarkable is going on in a Miami courtroom. The cruel methods US interrogators have used since September 11 to "break" prisoners are finally being put on trial.
This was not supposed to happen. The Bush Administration's plan was to put José Padilla on trial for allegedly being part of a network linked to international terrorists. But Padilla's lawyers are arguing that he is not fit to stand trial because he has been driven insane by the government.

Arrested in May 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare airport, Padilla, a Brooklyn-born former gang member, was classified as an "enemy combatant" and taken to a Navy prison in Charleston, South Carolina. He was kept in a 9-by-7-foot cell with no natural light, no clock and no calendar. Whenever Padilla left the cell, he was shackled and suited in heavy goggles and headphones. Padilla was kept under these conditions for 1,307 days. He was forbidden contact with anyone but his interrogators, who punctured the extreme sensory deprivation with sensory overload, blasting him with harsh lights and pounding sounds. Padilla also says he was injected with a "truth serum," a substance his lawyers believe was LSD or PCP.

Ok, I don't know what's up with this, but LSD is not truth serum, but under the oconditions Padilla was kept, it is a sure fire way to drive someone irreversibly insane. PCP? Good lord, what the hell for? PCP is not truth serum either, but it can make someone violent as hell.

According to his lawyers and two mental health specialists who examined him, Padilla has been so shattered that he lacks the ability to assist in his own defense. He is convinced that his lawyers are "part of a continuing interrogation program" and sees his captors as protectors. In order to prove that "the extended torture visited upon Mr. Padilla has left him damaged," his lawyers want to tell the court what happened during those years in the Navy brig. The prosecution strenuously objects, maintaining that "Padilla is competent," that his treatment is irrelevant.

US District Judge Marcia Cooke disagrees. "It's not like Mr. Padilla was living in a box. He was at a place. Things happened to him at that place." The judge has ordered several prison employees to testify at the hearings on Padilla's mental state, which begin February 22. They will be asked how a man alleged to have engaged in elaborate antigovernment plots now acts, in the words of brig staff, "like a piece of furniture."

It's difficult to overstate the significance of these hearings. The techniques used to break Padilla have been standard operating procedure at Guantánamo Bay since the first prisoners arrived five years ago. They wore blackout goggles and sound-blocking headphones and were placed in extended isolation, interrupted by strobe lights and heavy metal music. These same practices have been documented in dozens of cases of CIA "extraordinary rendition" as well as in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many have suffered the same symptoms as Padilla. According to James Yee, former Army Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo, there is an entire section of the prison called Delta Block for detainees who have been reduced to a delusional state. "They would respond to me in a childlike voice, talking complete nonsense. Many of them would loudly sing childish songs, repeating the song over and over." All of Delta Block was on twenty-four-hour suicide watch.

Human Rights Watch has exposed a US-run detention facility near Kabul known as the "prison of darkness"--tiny pitch-black cells, strange blaring sounds. "Plenty lost their minds," one former inmate recalled. "I could hear people knocking their heads against the walls and the doors."

These standard mind-breaking techniques have never faced scrutiny in a US court because the prisoners in the jails are foreigners and have been stripped of the right of habeas corpus--a denial that, scandalously, was just upheld by a federal appeals court in Washington, DC. There is only one reason Padilla's case is different: He is a US citizen. The Administration did not originally intend to bring Padilla to trial, but when his status as an enemy combatant faced a Supreme Court challenge, the Administration abruptly changed course, charging Padilla and transferring him to civilian custody. That makes Padilla's case unique: He is the only victim of the post-9/11 legal netherworld to face an ordinary US trial.

Now that Padilla's mental state is the central issue in the case, the government prosecutors have a problem. The CIA and the military have known since the early 1960s that extreme sensory deprivation and sensory overload cause personality disintegration--that's the whole point. "The deprivation of stimuli induces regression by depriving the subject's mind of contact with an outer world and thus forcing it in upon itself. At the same time, the calculated provision of stimuli during interrogation tends to make the regressed subject view the interrogator as a father-figure." That comes from Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation, a 1963 declassified CIA manual for interrogating "resistant sources."

The manual was based on the findings of the agency's notorious MK Ultra program, which in the 1950s funneled about $25 million to scientists to research "unusual techniques of interrogation." One of the psychiatrists who received CIA funding was the infamous

Ewen Cameron of Montreal's McGill University.

Cameron subjected hundreds of psychiatric patients to large doses of electroshock and total sensory isolation and drugged them with LSD and PCP. In 1960 Cameron gave a lecture at the Brooks Airforce Base in Texas in which he stated that sensory deprivation "produces the primary symptoms of schizophrenia."

There is no need to go so far back to prove that the US military knew full well that it was driving Padilla mad. The Army's field manual, reissued just last year, states, "Sensory deprivation may result in extreme anxiety, hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, depression, and anti-social behavior," as well as "significant psychological distress."

If these techniques drove Padilla insane, that means the US government has been deliberately driving hundreds, possibly thousands, of prisoners insane around the world. What is on trial in Florida is not one man's mental state. It is the whole system of US psychological torture.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.