Saturday, June 16, 2007

Et Tu, Henry?

This is freakin' disgusting!

Looks like we, the people are going to have to out the corruption and everyone involved.

The Silence of Henry Waxman
by Michael Mejia

And so it was, that in November, 2006, the American people cried for change and reform, an end to the quagmire in Iraq, as well as to the open and crass corruption of Dennis Hastert, Tom Delay and their fellow Congressional Republicans.

The Democrats were swept into power on a wave of disgust at the decadence and decay that had enveloped D.C., taking back both Houses of Congress in one fell swoop.

A revolution, it seemed, had begun. The good guys were in charge now. Thus, one could not blame prominent FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who served as a Turkish language specialist from 2001-2002, for feeling a surge of optimism after the Democratic sweep.

After all, it was the Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress who had done everything in their power to suppress her case, which revealed high-level U.S. Neoconservatives acting as Turkish spies (amongst other illegal activities.)

And it was the Democrats that assured Ms. Edmonds behind the scenes from 2002 to 2005 that once they took over, she would have the full, open hearings she had been pushing for.

Furthermore, the buzz on the Democratic blogs was that, since Henry Waxman was going to be in charge of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, all the buried scandals of the Bush years would now finally be uncovered.

Surely Ms. Edmonds had reasons to feel the tide was turning.

Alas: The bad news is that the sweeping changes the people voted for last November have been severely watered down. The war in Iraq rages on, and Waxman is confining his 'oversight' to very safe scandals that reflect badly only on Republicans. He appears unwilling to take on messy scandals like the Edmonds case, which reflects well on neither Party.

Edmonds and a coalition of civil liberties and good government groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), presented Waxman with a petition containing over 15,000 signatures in March asking Waxman to hold hearings.

But Waxman has to date refused to give any response. Henry Waxman knows very well who Sibel Edmonds is; he can't plead ignorance. He has heard her testimony behind closed doors and has worked with her and her organization, the National Security Whistleblower's Coalition, in drafting whistleblower legislation. But despite the shock and outrage that Waxman apparently expressed when he heard the full classified version of Edmonds' allegations, his answer to the former translator and her grassroots supporters has been silence.

Absolute silence.

For the record, the whistleblower's sources in Congress told her Waxman was initially disposed to hold hearings on the Edmonds case, but they were not going to be hearings that dug into the heart of the matter. They would not have exposed the darker machinations of the Turkish and Israeli lobbies, nor exposed an underground network of arms and drugs dealers with its tentacles reaching into U.S. agencies.

Indeed, such hearings probably would not have allowed the words "Turkey" or "Israel" to be mentioned at all, much less named some of the U.S officials allegedly involved in passing classified information to these foreign powers.

The hearings Waxman had planned, according to the grapevine, would have been the type of hearings to put even the most ardent Constitutional legal scholar to sleep for the night: they would have been sham discussions on the more arcane details of the 'state secrets privilege', with testimony limited to boring Bush hacks like FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Edmonds, a very strong-willed individual with a low tolerance for weak-kneed politicos, sent a clear message through her own channels: ‘no hearings’ were better than trumped up ones. Ms. Edmonds was not willing to let Waxman or any other politician grab the limelight and become "hero of the blogs for a day" unless they were really prepared to go to bat on this issue and defy John Ashcroft’s illegal retroactive classification.

In the face of her principled stand, Waxman appears to have caved to the will of corrupt interests. His choice is logical from a political perspective, especially considering the Turkish lobby has now hired former Democratic House Minority leader Richard Gephardt. Waxman won't investigate these allegations because his current colleagues in the House and ex-colleagues like Dick Gephardt and Stephen Solarz do not want him to.

He has everything to lose, and nothing to gain, from a political perspective: by digging up this can of worms, he risks exposing that corruption and bad foreign policy is not limited to the Bush Administration.

Should the grassroots be surprised that Waxman made a choice to snub Edmonds, the ACLU and CREW? Sure, Edmonds was declared 'credible' by conservative Senator Charles Grassley, and was largely backed up in her core allegations by the Department of Justice's own Inspector General Report.

And, yes, Edmonds’ translations of Turkish counterintelligence wiretaps do not look good for hated conservatives like Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and Dennis Hastert. But these same wiretaps also do not look great for at least one Clinton appointee, former Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, or for at least two as of yet unnamed Democrats in Congress.

Nor would they look good for the Turkish Lobby, the Israeli Lobby or defense contractors like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, the beneficiaries of apparent corruption run out of the American Turkish Council.

In Washington D.C., the only scandal that gets exposed is the scandal that implicates the other party and stays away from hurting vested groups that fund both Democrats and Republicans alike. As former DEA agent and radio host Michael Levine noted in a recent interview with Australian Luke Ryland, a blogger who has written the most extensive investigative reports on the Edmonds case, the U.S. Congress has rarely tackled thorny issues like this Turkish corruption case.

Not only do the Democrats have no backbone, but many of their own are bought off by the same special interest groups as the GOP, especially in the areas that touch on the military industrial complex and foreign policy. Most of the progressive community have not yet caught on to this harsh reality, and instead is focused on the 2008 elections. More sound advice would be to forget about 2008 and start holding the Democratic Party to its campaign promises. Otherwise, the illegal Bush wars will grind on and the corruption will continue unabated- albeit the Democrats will be getting a greater share of the lobbyist largesse.

Mike Mejia is a freelance writer with a degree in International Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, where he specialized in International Trade and Arms Proliferation. He can be contacted 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.

A Call For Holy Joe's Resignation!

Please don't call this stupid f*** an independent. He is still registered as a Democrat, but in name only.

Why doesn't he just start a Likud party and be done with it?

Party head lambastes Lieberman on Iran
Article Last Updated: 06/12/2007 11:32:39 PM EDT

WASHINGTON — Connecticut for Lieberman Party Chairman John Orman called Tuesday for Sen. Joe Lieberman to resign, saying his advocacy of a military strike against Iran could explode into a global conflict.

"He has crossed the line," said Orman, a professor of politics at Fairfield University. "His unilateral warmongering could lead to a new World War III."

During an appearance on "Face the Nation" on CBS Sunday, Lieberman said the United States should consider a military strike against Iran because of Tehran's involvement in Iraq.

"I think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq," Lieberman said. "And to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers."

Lieberman reiterated his call for a military strike on Monday during an appearance on Fox News in which he claimed that Tehran is training and arming Iraqi insurgents to kill American and Iraqi soldiers. He also suggested that failing to launch a military strike now would embolden Tehran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

"If we let them get away with this they will continue to move throughout the region and if we think we are going to have a prayer of a chance to stop them from developing nuclear weapons, it's not going to happen unless they take us seriously," Lieberman said.

Orman, a former Democrat, switched party affiliation and took over the Connecticut for Lieberman Party earlier this year. Lieberman created the party last August to run for re-election as an independent after losing the state's Democratic primary to Ned Lamont of Greenwich. However, Lieberman never joined the new party and remains a registered Democrat.

Orman issued a news release Tuesday asking Lieberman to immediately resign and urging Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell to appoint Susan Henshaw, secretary of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, as his replacement.

Lieberman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The senator's saber rattling has also drawn sharp criticism from other Democrats who oppose the Iraq war.

Lamont said Monday on Air America Radio that Lieberman was "to the right of the mainstream of the Republican Party" when it comes to Iran.

"If anything has come out that's slightly positive of this Bush administration in the last few months it's that they have now had some beginnings of conversations with the Iranians. And this is just what Joe Lieberman is trying to squash. It's really unfortunate," Lamont said.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark urged Lieberman Monday to stop advocating a military strike against Iran, saying it is "highly irresponsible and counterproductive."

"Sen. Lieberman's saber rattling does nothing to help dissuade Iran from aiding Shia militias in Iraq, or trying to obtain nuclear capabilities," said Clark, who in 2004 was one of Lieberman's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. "This kind of rhetoric is irresponsible and only plays into the hands of President Ahmadinejad, and those who seek an excuse for military action."

During an appearance Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition," Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson said tough negotiations are needed to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"Sanctions would work on Iran," he said. "They are susceptible to disinvestment policy. They are susceptible to cuts, economic sanctions in commodities."

Lieberman responded Monday on Fox News to Richardson and Clark. "I believe in talk too, but the Europeans talked to the Iranians for more than two years to stop [their] nuclear weapons development program and it had zero effect," Lieberman said.

Lieberman said Clark's view "doesn't relate to the realities on the ground in the Middle East" where Arab leaders worry "about the belligerence of Iran."

"They sent me a very clear message that unless the Iranians know that America means business, they are just going to keep moving," Lieberman said.

(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.

Support HR 333: The Impeachment of Dick Cheney


Title: Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice President [sic] of the United States,for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Sponsor: Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. (OH-10) (introduced 4/24/2007)

Cosponsors (6) (Now there are 8 co-sponsors)

Latest Major Action: 4/24/2007: Referred to House committee.

Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Yvette Clark (NY-11): (202) 225-6231, 6/5/07
William Lacy Clay (MO-1): (202) 225-2406 5/1/07
Barbara Lee (CA-9): (202) 225-2661 6/8/07
Jan Schakowsky(IL-9): (202) 225-2111 5/1/07
Lynn Woolsey (CA-6): (202) 225-5161 6/7/07
Albert Wynn (MD-4): (202) 225-8699 5/10/07

(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.

What the hell is it gonna take?

The Bush Administration's Dilemma Regarding a Possible Libby Pardon -And How Outsiders Such as Fred Thompson Appear to Be Working on a Solution
By JOHN W. DEAN ----
Friday, Jun. 01, 2007

On June 5, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton will sentence Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who has been convicted of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and perjury, as the result of the Special Counsel investigation arising from the revelation of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent. I suspect that Judge Walton's actions will create a difficult and delicate problem for the White House.

Needless to say, I have no crystal ball. But it is plain that the White House must be bracing itself for Libby's being sent to prison. Moreover, it appears that high-powered friends of Libby and Cheney have figured out the White House's dilemma, so they are trying to help keep Scooter out of prison in a manner that will not have criminal consequences for anyone involved.

No one has been more active in this undertaking on Libby's behalf than former Tennessee Senator Fred D. Thompson, who has strong Presidential aspirations. Yet, to my surprise, Thompson is either being blatantly dishonest, or he is remarkably uninformed about his efforts. Unfortunately for Thompson, neither state of mind ought to commend itself to Republicans clamoring for a conservative with stature for the GOP nomination in 2008.

Likely Sentence and Duration of Incarceration

Since Libby's conviction, there has been considerable public speculation about his sentence.

Typical of the consensus is an article by U.S. News & World Report that explains, "Under current federal guidelines, Libby's four felony convictions, which stem from an FBI [and Grand Jury] investigation into the disclosure of a CIA operative's identity, would most likely net him 18 months to three years in prison." This report notes, however, that "this is not an ordinary case, and … aggressive lawyering by both sides and the intense media scrutiny add an element of unpredictability."

There is a historical parallel to certain Watergate-related convictions. For example, former Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell, White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman and Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs John D. Ehrlichman were each sentenced to 30 to 96 months for perjury and obstruction of justice - two of the three crimes of which Libby was convicted (They each served some 18 months before they were released.)

Providing a closer parallel to the Libby situation, Presidential Appointment Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President Dwight Chapin was convicted for lying about his involvement in the 1972 Nixon campaign "dirty tricks" operation. Chapin was not convicted for involvement in the dirty tricks per se, but rather for making false statements to the grand jury about his activities. Chapin was sentenced to 10-to-30 months in prison, with the judge required that he serve not less than 10. Similarly, Libby was not convicted for leaking information about Valerie Plame Wilson's covert status at the CIA, but rather for lying about his efforts to leak the information.

All of these former Nixon Administration officials were permitted to remain free on bond during the time they unsuccessfully appealed their convictions. But the law has become more settled in the three decades since Watergate, and currently, defense lawyers tell me that unless a defendant has serious legal issues in play on appeal, federal judges seldom allow defendants to remain free on bond during the appeal process. Libby very likely has no strong appellate issues: His trial and conviction were rather uneventful, and Judge Walton - an experienced trial judge -- was widely seen as having been fair to both sides, and careful not to make any mistakes of law.
It is well known that Judge Walton, who arrived on the bench after a successful career in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, DC, gives out tough sentences. He is the kind of "law and order" judge that conservatives praise, except when one of their own is being sentenced. As I was told by one person who knows him well, Judge Walton is tough as they come, and he has the cojones to send Scooter to get his orange jumpsuit sooner rather than later.

How long a sentence is Judge Walton likely to impose? On May 25, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald filed the Government's Sentencing Memorandum asking Judge Walton to sentence Libby in the range of "30 to 37 months." Criminal defense attorneys with whom I have spoken expect that Judge Walton will choose a sentence of roughly 30 months (two-and-a-half years), and to give Libby at most a couple of days to get his affairs in order before surrendering to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

No doubt, the Bush White House has been making similar calculations. Thus, they are approaching a moment of truth. There are only three real insiders here: Bush, Cheney and Libby. However, it appears that the outsiders have looked at the situation, and acted to try to improve it. And as long as they are outsiders, they can do so without criminal exposure.
The Cost of Clemency: The White House's Dilemma Regarding the Libby Sentencing
If Watergate had any lesson, it was that when someone connected to the White House is heading for prison, it is dangerous for the president or those close to him to even think about - not to mention talk about - clemency.

After all, the March 1, 1974 indictment of Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Chuck Colson (who pled guilty, rather than risk a trial) charged each of them with a conspiracy to obstruct justice by offering to provide clemency to those involved in the Watergate break-in. In addition, as Nixon's tapes showed, the president discussed pardons on several occasions, and this abuse of power was included in the bill of impeachment against him that was pending when he resigned.
If Libby had been acting on his own behalf, a pardon would present no problem; Bush and Cheney could feel it was the humanitarian thing to do, given his long service to the government. However, no one I know believes Libby was acting simply for himself, nor does the evidence suggest it.

Let's suppose, instead, that Libby was doing Cheney's bidding, and that Cheney was deeply involved in both Libby's leak of Valerie Plame's CIA status and the lies Libby subsequently concocted to deflect attention away from the Vice President. If so, then there was a conspiracy to obstruct justice - and if Cheney should go to Bush and request that he pardon Libby, he would be furthering that conspiracy. No wonder then, that Special Counsel Fitzgerald remarked during the Libby trial that there was "a cloud" over the Vice President.
Come Tuesday, that cloud could get much darker for Cheney.

It's likely that only Cheney and Libby know precisely what transpired between them, assuming they are half as shrewd as they appear. In addition, Libby has probably not been foolish enough to directly request a pardon, nor Cheney imprudent enough to directly promise one. Given what happened during Watergate, surely they are smart enough not to have had that conversation.

However, these men have worked together so long and closely that a knowing look, or pat on the back, from Cheney at the right moment could and would have said all that was necessary. And my strong impression, from the outside, is that, indeed, that message has been sent.

Libby's Public Defense Fund and Pardon Efforts

Following the bungled Watergate burglary and the arrest of Gordon Liddy's troops in the Democratic National Committee, there was discussion in the White House and at a meeting of the Nixon reelection committee of setting up a public defense fund. Nixon's friend Bebe Rebozo offered to do so, with the plan of soliciting contributions from heavy hitters who merely were contributing because those arrested had all been Nixon loyalists, and were entitled to a fair trial.

But it never happened.

Scooter Libby, however, did create such a defense fund. Whether Dick Cheney quietly picked up the phone to get this going, is not known. If he did, he kept himself well removed. Indeed, Lynne Cheney could well have done it. We will never know. But whoever was behind the defense fund, it has worked.

The drive to pardon Libby has come from people outside the White House who are smart enough to have figured out the dilemma facing the White House. A list of these people can be found at Libby's defense fund site, where these purported friends have gathered. It is a Who's Who of the Right-Wing Establishment -- many of whom have not only raised money to help pay Libby's legal fees, but have also written letters to Judge Walton about Libby's good character and public service, and continue to call for his pardon.

If high-powered folks like Fred Thompson lobby Bush for a pardon, Cheney need not be involved, and risk further participation in a conspiracy to obstruct justice. But the claim, made by Thompson and others, that Libby is the subject of a great injustice in being prosecuted is pure hogwash. This, in turn, suggests that this entire effort is nothing but a charade.

The Bogus Claim that Libby Has Been Unjustly Prosecuted

Frankly, I am not only stunned that Fred Thompson has taken up the "Free Scooter" campaign, but by the crude and thoughtless tactics he has employed. He has either lied or could not be troubled to inform himself of the facts before he attacked Special Counsel Fitzgerald.

Thompson, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Tennessee, gave an audience his assessment of the prosecution against Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice in a speech on May 12, 2007. He claims that the investigation was a sham from the outset: that there should have been no Special Counsel selected, and there never was any violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Indeed, he claimed "that there was no violation of the law, by anyone, and everybody - the CIA, the Justice Department and the Special Counsel knew it. Ms. Plame was not a 'covered person' under the statute and it was obvious from the outset."

This is a remarkable charge - suggesting that the CIA referred the matter to the Justice Department knowing that Plame was not covered by the law; that the Justice Department commenced the investigation even though it had the same knowledge; and that the Special Counsel continued the investigation even though he, too, knew she was not covered. Yet why would Attorney General John Ashcroft's Justice Department have undertaken a baseless investigation? Why would a busy and highly-respected U.S. Attorney from Chicago take the assignment of Special Counsel if the law did not apply? And why would that same highly-respected U.S. Attorney make representations to a federal judge that the law did cover Valerie Plame, if it did not? It seems Fred Thompson has made a remarkably irresponsible charge.
"Furthermore," Thompson claimed, "Justice and the Special Counsel knew who leaked Plame's name and it wasn't Scooter Libby." Yet, Thompson added, "the Beltway machinery was well oiled and geared up so the Special Counsel … spent the next two years moving heaven and earth to come up with something, anything," and finally "came up with some inconsistent recollections by Scooter Libby." Inconsistent recollections? Apparently Thompson does not have a clue about the evidence that was presented at the trial, which proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Libby concocted a complex lie to explain away key behavior.

Nonetheless, based on his two-plus years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Thompson informed the audience, "In no other prosecutor's office in the country would a case like this one have been brought." Apparently, other prosecutors tolerate perjury and obstruction of justice. In addition, later in his speech, Thompson explained, "I have called for a pardon for Scooter Libby. When you rectify an injustice using the provisions of the law, just as when you reverse an erroneous court decision, you are not disregarding the rule of law, you are enforcing and protecting it."
That twisted report of the Special Counsel's investigation, and disturbing view on what to do about it is a bit frightening - especially coming from a man who wants to be president. But it is arguments like this that are the basis of the drive for leniency from Judge Walton, for a pardon, and, more broadly, for a change in public opinion regarding this case.

Fitzgerald Responds To The Conservatives' Claims

Although a few paragraphs of the Government's Sentencing Memorandum were filed under seal, Special Counsel Fitzgerald addressed within the publicly-available portions of the Memorandum assertions like those Thompson has made.

In the Memorandum, Fitzgerald advises Judge Walton that until the investigation was as complete as possible, he had not decided who could, or should not, be charged. He also makes clear that Valerie Plame was, indeed, a covert agent, and that the law did, indeed apply to her: "[I]t was clear from very early in the investigation that Ms. Wilson qualified under the relevant statute (Title 50, United States Code, Section 421) as a covert agent whose identity had been disclosed by public officials, including Mr. Libby, to the press."

Unlike Thompson, who is free to act irresponsibly, Fitzgerald is not. He backed up his assertion by providing Valerie Plame's employment record. As MSNBC explained, "An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame's employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was "covert" when her name became public in July 2003."

Although Fred Thompson claims no other prosecutor would have taken action against Libby's perjury, Fitzgerald's filing makes it difficult to imagine how any legitimate prosecutor could have failed to take such action. Fitzgerald quotes and cites United States v. Mandujano - one of a number of cases reaching the very same conclusion - to the effect that "[p]erjured testimony is an obvious and flagrant affront to the basic concepts of judicial proceedings. Effective restraints against this type of egregious offense are therefore imperative. The power of subpoena, broad as it is, and the power of contempt for refusing to answer, drastic as that is -- and even the solemnity of the oath -- cannot insure truthful answers. Hence, Congress has made the giving of false answers a criminal act punishable by severe penalties; in no other way can criminal conduct be flushed into the open where the law can deal with it."

It should be of concern to Vice President Cheney that the Fitzgerald filing on Libby's sentence once again indicates that Special Prosecutor has concluded, based on the evidence, that Cheney was involved in Libby's misdeeds. Fitzgerald all but states that he still has not gotten to the bottom of this investigation because Libby refuses to tell the truth, and that, if he did reach that bottom, he would likely find Dick Cheney, who may well have violated a number of laws.
With Friends Like Thompson, Libby's Pardon Is In Doubt

Judge Walton has agreed to make public the hundred-some letters he has received from present and former government officials regarding the Libby pardon. After Judge Walton sentences Libby, the world will know if the rumor as to his truly having cojones is correct -- for if Walton does tell Libby to surrender forthwith to the Federal Bureau of Prison, the campaign to "Free Scooter" will begin in earnest.

I suspect Patrick Fitzgerald will be watching with great interest any pardon action. After all, he was working in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York when that office ignored the refusal of the Bush Department of Justice, under Attorney General Ashcroft, to investigate former President Bill Clinton's pardon of financier Marc Rich.

What will happen if Fitzgerald observes Bush pardoning Libby without any better rationale than the paper-thin ones Fred Thompson and friends have been pushing? One would be wise to remember that Fitzgerald will still have five years before the statute of limitations runs out to find out why such a pardon was issued, as occurred with Clinton's Marc Rich bottom.

Fitzgerald's appointment as Special Counsel ends when he ends it, and given his apparent view that Cheney is at the heart of the Plame scandal, I don't expect him to end it prematurely.

(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.

Is Petraeus Drinking The Kool-aid

June 15, 2007
Sen. Reid Is Right About Gen. Petraeus (Brent Budowsky)
@ 1:26 pm

In a democracy it is extremely unhealthy to put any commander in the position of being the de facto commander in chief for credibility.

It is true, the president’s credibility is in tatters with a majority of the American people and world opinion doubting the truthfulness of his word. No war policy can be sustained when an overwhelming majority of the nation has lost confidence in the war and in the integrity of the commander in chief.

This is not merely obvious, or my opinion. This is what Republicans have told the president and
what the strong majority of Senators and members of the House, in both parties, believe.

No general should be asked to substitute his name for credibility that can only be held by the commander in chief. No general should be used as a political shield, a political football, a public relations talking point, or a lobbyist in chief.

This is Gen. Petraeus’s third major task in Iraq. In his first task he did a spectacularjob in the aftermath of the first stage of war, when he brought Iraqis together politically within his areas of command. In his second task he was in charge of training the Iraqi military and did a mediocre to poor job.

Regarding what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said about Gen. Peter Pace: The problem with Pace was not his ability as a military leader, but his lack of political courage in speaking out when he knew that policies were wrong.

Gen. Pace was almost universally called “Perfect Peter” throughout the Pentagon andthe command structure. He was seen, very correctly, virtually universally, as constantlyallowing bureaucratic politics and career advancement to trump the courage to speaktruth to power.
Everyone should be clear about one thing.

When the president overruled his military leadership and ordered the escalation:
First, the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously advised against the surge.
Second, the Iraq commanders at the time equally strongly opposed the surge.
Third, as Gen. Abizaid, then the highest ranking commander in the region, testified: He sought the opinion of battlefield level commanders throughout Iraq and they allopposed the escalation.

From the beginning of this war, the president has ignored and overruled much of the most important advice given by the commanders, while he publicly claimed to be the “commander guy,” which was flat out untrue, and a major reason the president’s credibility is in tatters.

Think about this: Gen. Sheehan was offered the job of “Iraq Czar” and flat out turned it down, then publicly attacked both the policy and the manner in which the policy was made and managed by the president.

Think about this: Gen. Lute was named as the “Iraq Czar” and when he was interviewed for the post, and when his appointment was publicly announced, he madeit clear he had joined the others in opposing the surge.

Ask yourself this: Could the president not find one general or admiral for the post who has supported the escalation? What does this suggest? What it suggests is obvious, and true.

Many have reacted to Reid’s remarks, but few have actually understood what he was saying and very few have read the June 13 USA Today story that prompted his warning.

Everyone should read that story closely. In the story, Petraeus painted an almost rhapsodic portrait of the progress he suggested was being made by the surge.

Granted, in other statements Petraeus has been far more direct about the problems. Granted, as all of us who deal with the press know, statements can be taken out of context.

But read the story. It is genuinely alarming because the portrait Gen. Petraeus paints is dangerously out of touch with the reality on the ground in Baghdad. He makes Baghdad appear like a Fourth of July picnic, with soccer balls in green grass parks, and friendly markets with happy faces.

There are places in Baghdad where this is true, but they are few and far between, andthe portrait from Petraeus in this story is far out of touch with the ugly reality in Iraq. Had he given that portrait in testimony before the Congress it would have been a disaster.

Sen. Reid was firing a cannon across the bow of the president to stop the talking points and spin, to end the public relations hype and happy talk of war. Reid was warning that our country has paid a heavy price for the distortions, misrepresentations, falsehoods and lies that have far too often surrounded this war and led us to the crisis today.

The USA Today story, following the sorry history of this war, creates significant doubt that Gen. Petraeus will call it straight in September.

Harry Reid leveled a powerful and important warning and was absolutely right in doing so.
Petraeus’s comments in the story build on doubts that exist for more than two-thirdsof the American people. He should take every opportunity, starting today, to put those doubts to rest. He must speak with total candor and honesty about the good, the bad and the ugly in Iraq today.

If Gen. Petraeus does this, he will well serve the president, the troops, the nationand the truth in what must not become a war without end, pushed by a politics without truth.

(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.

America's Dick: Unexposed

America's undisclosed vice president

Dick Cheney has been keeping secrets. Among other things, he can now hide the names of his visitors.

Washington - Dick Cheney, he of the undisclosed location, is at it again. He's keeping secrets.
You may recall that early in the Bush administration, the vice president refused to disclose which energy companies he had consulted on energy policy. He fought that issue up through the courts and won.

Recently, we learned that Mr. Cheney sought to override the Justice Department's objections to a secret surveillance program. The vice president's office even blocked the promotion of a senior Justice Department official who had opposed the surveillance operation.

It turns out that Cheney and other White House officials attended a secret meeting in March 2004. They wanted Attorney General John Ashcroft, from his hospital bed, to approve the continuation of the possibly illegal surveillance program. To his credit, Ashcroft refused.

And we learned about another of Cheney's furtive ways this past week. The Secret Service recently ended the practice of keeping logs of visitors to the president and the vice president.

You can probably figure out who wanted to hide the names of his guests – Cheney, of course. You have to wonder who are these mysterious persons that he sees, whose identities must never be revealed.

And wait, there's more. In 2001, the White House tore up its long-standing policy of releasing presidential papers after 12 years.

The move came just in time to block the release of the Reagan papers. That was reportedly the work of Cheney, too.

Now that we have a secretary of Homeland Security, perhaps we also need a secretary of Secrecy, who would operate from an undisclosed location.

Maybe the vice president should add that to his undisclosed duties, now that his former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, is no longer available.

• Daniel Schorr is a senior news analyst at National Public Radio.

(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.

U.S. Economy crash; a done deal

It’s Official: The Crash of the U.S. Economy has begun
by Richard C. Cook
Global Research, June 14, 2007

It’s official. Mark your calendars. The crash of the U.S. economy has begun. It was announced the morning of Wednesday, June 13, 2007, by economic writers Steven Pearlstein and Robert Samuelson in the pages of the Washington Post, one of the foremost house organs of the U.S. monetary elite.

Pearlstein’s column was titled, “The Takeover Boom, About to Go Bust” and concerned the extraordinary amount of debt vs. operating profits of companies currently subject to leveraged buyouts.

In language remarkably alarmist for the usually ultra-bland pages of the Post, Pearlstein wrote, “It is impossible to predict when the magic moment will be reached and everyone finally realizes that the prices being paid for these companies, and the debt taken on to support the acquisitions, are unsustainable. When that happens, it won't be pretty. Across the board, stock prices and company valuations will fall. Banks will announce painful write-offs, some hedge funds will close their doors, and private-equity funds will report disappointing returns. Some companies will be forced into bankruptcy or restructuring.”

Further, “Falling stock prices will cause companies to reduce their hiring and capital spending while governments will be forced to raise taxes or reduce services, as revenue from capital gains taxes declines. And the combination of reduced wealth and higher interest rates will finally cause consumers to pull back on their debt-financed consumption. It happened after the junk-bond and savings-and-loan collapses of the late 1980s. It happened after the tech and telecom bust of the late '90s. And it will happen this time.”

Samuelson’s column, “The End of Cheap Credit,” left the door slightly ajar in case the collapse is not quite so severe. He wrote of rising interest rates, “As the price of money increases, borrowing and the economy might weaken. The deep slump in housing could worsen. We could also discover that the long period of cheap credit has left a nasty residue.”

Other writers with less prestigious platforms than the Post have been talking about an approaching financial bust for a couple of years. Among them has been economist Michael Hudson, author of an article on the housing bubble titled, “The New Road to Serfdom” in the May 2006 issue of Harper’s. Hudson has been speaking in interviews of a “break in the chain” of debt payments leading to a “long, slow economic crash,” with “asset deflation,” “mass defaults on mortgages,” and a “huge asset grab” by the rich who are able to protect their cash through money laundering and hedging with foreign currency bonds.

Among those poised to profit from the crash is the Carlyle Group, the equity fund that includes the Bush family and other high-profile investors with insider government connections. A January 2007 memorandum to company managers from founding partner William E. Conway, Jr., recently appeared which stated that, when the current “liquidity environment”—i.e., cheap credit—ends, “the buying opportunity will be a once in a lifetime chance.”

The fact that the crash is now being announced by the Post shows that it is a done deal. The Bilderbergers, or whomever it is that the Post reports to, have decided. It lets everyone know loud and clear that it’s time to batten down the hatches, run for cover, lay in two years of canned food, shield your assets, whatever.

Those left holding the bag will be the ordinary people whose assets are loaded with debt, such as tens of millions of mortgagees, millions of young people with student loans that can never be written off due to the “reformed” 2005 bankruptcy law, or vast numbers of workers with 401(k)s or other pension plans that are locked into the stock market.

In other words, it sounds eerily like 2000-2002 except maybe on a much larger scale. Then it was “only” the tenth worse bear market in history, but over a trillion dollars in wealth simply vanished. What makes today’s instance seem particularly unfair is that the preceding recovery that is now ending—the “jobless” one—was so anemic.

Neither Perlstein nor Samuelson gets to the bottom of the crisis, though they, like Conway of the Carlyle Group, point to the end of cheap credit. But interest rates are set by people who run central banks and financial institutions. They may be influenced by “the market,” but the market is controlled by people with money who want to maximize their profits.

Key to what is going on is that the Federal Reserve is refusing to follow the pattern set during the long reign of Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan in responding to shaky economic trends with lengthy infusions of credit as he did during the bubble of the 1990s and the housing bubble of 2001-2005.

This time around, Greenspan’s successor, Ben Bernanke, is sitting tight. With the economy teetering on the brink, the Fed is allowing rates to remain steady. The Fed claims their policy is due to the danger of rising “core inflation.” But this cannot be true. The biggest consumer item, houses and real estate, is tanking. Officially, unemployment is low, but mainly due to low-paying service jobs. Commodities have edged up, including food and gasoline, but that’s no reason to allow the entire national economy to be submerged.

So what is really happening? Actually, it’s simple. The difference today is that China and other large investors from abroad, including Middle Eastern oil magnates, are telling the U.S. that if interest rates come down, thereby devaluing their already-sliding dollar portfolios further, they will no longer support with their investments the bloated U.S. trade and fiscal deficits.

Of course we got ourselves into this quandary by shipping our manufacturing to China and other cheap-labor markets over the last generation. “Dollar hegemony” is backfiring. In fact China is using its American dollars to replace the International Monetary Fund as a lender to developing nations in Africa and elsewhere. As an additional insult, China now may be dictating a new generation of economic decline for the American people who are forced to buy their products at Wal-Mart by maxing out what is left of our available credit card debt.

About a year ago, a former Reagan Treasury official, now a well-known cable TV commentator, said that China had become “America’s bank” and commented approvingly that “it’s cheaper to print money than make cars anymore.” Ha ha.

It is truly staggering that none of the “mainstream” political candidates from either party has attacked this subject on the campaign trail. All are heavily funded by the financier elite who will profit no matter how bad the U.S. economy suffers. Every candidate except Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich treats the Federal Reserve like the fifth graven image on Mount Rushmore. And even the so-called progressives are silent. The weekend before the Perlstein/ Samuelson articles came out, there was a huge progressive conference in Washington, D.C., called “Taming the Corporate Giant.” Not a single session was devoted to financial issues.

What is likely to happen? I’d suggest four possible scenarios:

Acceptance by the U.S. population of diminished prosperity and a declining role in the world. Grin and bear it. Live with your parents into your 40s instead of your 30s. Work two or three part-time jobs on the side, if you can find them. Die young if you lose your health care. Declare bankruptcy if you can, or just walk away from your debts until they bring back debtor’s prison like they’ve done in Dubai. Meanwhile, China buys more and more U.S. properties, homes, and businesses, as economists close to the Federal Reserve have suggested. If you’re an enterprising illegal immigrant, have fun continuing to jack up the underground economy, avoid business licenses and taxes, and rent out group houses to your friends.

Times of economic crisis produce international tension and politicians tend to go to war rather than face the economic music. The classic example is the worldwide depression of the 1930s leading to World War II. Conditions in the coming years could be as bad as they were then. We could have a really big war if the U.S. decides once and for all to haul off and let China, or whomever, have it in the chops. If they don’t want our dollars or our debt any more, how about a few nukes?

Maybe we’ll finally have a revolution either from the right or the center involving martial law, suspension of the Bill of Rights, etc., combined with some kind of military or forced-labor dictatorship. We’re halfway there anyway. Forget about a revolution from the left. They wouldn’t want to make anyone mad at them for being too radical.

Could there ever be a real try at reform, maybe even an attempt just to get back to the New Deal? Since the causes of the crisis are monetary, so would be the solutions. The first step would be for the Federal Reserve System to be abolished as a bank of issue and a transformation of the nation’s credit system into a genuine public utility by the federal government. This way we could rebuild our manufacturing and public infrastructure and develop an income assurance policy that would benefit everyone.

The latter is the only sensible solution. There are monetary reformers who know how to do it if
anyone gave them half a chance.

Richard C. Cook is the author of “Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age.” A retired federal analyst, his career included work with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. He is now a Washington, D.C.-based writer and consultant. His book “We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform,” will be published later this year. His website is at

Richard C. Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Richard C. Cook

(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, June 15, 2007

Rasmussen Reports: Edwards is winner.

He's our guy!

Rasmussen Reports™: The most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a mid-term election.:

Election 2008: Edwards Leads GOP's Thompson, Romney by 20+ Points

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The latest Rasmussen Reports Election 2008 survey shows former North Carolina Senator John Edwards (D) leading former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson (R) 53% to 32%. Edwards also has a huge lead over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney 54% to 33%.

Edwards also enjoys a large advantage over the two Republicans among unaffiliated voters. Overall, the Democratic hopeful is viewed favorably by 55%, unfavorably by 33%.

Fred Thompson is viewed favorably by 39%, unfavorably by 27%. Mitt Romney is viewed favorably by 37%, unfavorably by 38%.

In April, Edwards led Thompson by 14%. In March, he led Romney 55% to 29%.

Edwards, the Democrats’ 2004 Vice-Presidential nominee, has consistently placed third in polling among those seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination. In general election match-ups, he is slightly ahead of the Republican frontrunner, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Edwards also holds a seven-point lead over Senator John McCain.

While trailing New York Senator Hillary Clinton, Edwards has consistently outperformed her in general election match-ups.

Is This The Week The USA Got Its Mojo Back?

Words of Power: Hard Rain Journal 5-18-07: Is This The Week The USA Got Its Mojo Back?:

By Richard Power

It is, as I have said before, going to be a long, hot summer in Beltwayistan.

The DoJ purge scandal is not going to go away. The betrayal of Valeria Plame's identity as a US secret agent is not going to go away. The Bush-Cheney national insecurity team's pre-9/11 failure to heed numerous intelligence community warnings of an imminent attack by Al Qaeda is not going to go away. The Bush-Cheney's regime's violations of the Geneva Accords, including its authorization and institutionalization of torture is not going to go away. The Bush-Cheney's regime utter contempt for the Bill of Rights, including the suspension of habeas corpus, is not going to go away. The Bush-Cheney national insecurity team's wanton 'sexing' up of intelligence in the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq is not going to go away. None of it is going away.

There will be accountability. There will be hell to pay for MC Rove's soft white-boy gangsta prance at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner, and for VICE _resident Cheney's saber rattling on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

Idiot Liberals Strike Again

Idiot Liberals Strike Again -

When will Democratic leaders stop dissing their base? David Obey is making a habit of it.

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin veteran, who heads up the House Appropriations Committee called anti-war workers, “idiot liberals” for calling for a cut off in funds for Bush’s Iraq disaster. This week, Obey told advocates for youth to grow up and stop complaining about the millions of dollars his committee intends to shovel to deadly, discredited abstinence-only programs.

House Democrats will likely vote today to increase abstinence-only mis-education programs to $140 million, a larger increase than any put forward in the last three years of the Republican Congress.

Obey told NPR it’s all about pragmatism: the Appropriations Bill faces a veto threat from the President, and House Democrats need all the support they can get from Republicans. And there are quid pro quo: to secure a proposed $27 million increase for the family planning program Title X anti-choicers need to be bought off with $27 million for deadly abstinence.

“It’s about people acting like adults and realizing that you can’t just hold your breath until you get your own way,” Obey told Morning Edition June 14th.

Funny business with BAE and the Carlyle Group

WAYNE MADSEN REPORT - Wayne Madsen Report:

June 15-17, 2007

Gates refuses to budge on U.S. missile bases in Poland and Czech Republic. Defense Secretary Gates rejected Russian proposal to locate anti-missile bases in Azerbaijan. Bush intent on firing up a new Cold War in Europe.

As WMR first reported, BAE Systems of the UK is now being investigated for payments to South African officials in return for defense contracts. Two former Saudi ambassadors to the U.S. -- Prince Bandar and Prince Turki -- now involved in British and U.S. investigation of alleged illegal bribes paid by BAE. Investigation also expanding to Chile, Romania, Czech Republic, Tanzania, Argentina, the British Virgin Islands, and Qatar.

In 2005, BAE acquired United Defense Industries from the Carlyle Group. BAE is also completing the acquisition of Armor Holdings, the company that manufactures the up-armored Humvees used by U.S. forces in Iraq. The BAE story is yet another scandal that involves the Bush family and their cronies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Arizona Senator, once again, shows that he represents the interests of 'Big Brother.' Kyl blocks Senate subpoena of NSA eavesdropping documents. As WMR reported yesterday, Kyl wants to curtail the Freedom of Information Act and throw journalists in prison for publishing classified information. Hello Arizona, why did you re-elect this jerk? Push On Immigration Would Lead To GOP Self-Destruction::By Matt Towery

We can only hope.

There is nothing so divinely to be wished than the collapse of the GOP.

Then we can worry about the Democrats Push On Immigration Would Lead To GOP Self-Destruction::By Matt Towery:

It's already clear that Republican candidates in the 2008 season will face a difficult political climate in light of the continued war in Iraq and the overall low job-approval ratings for President Bush. Now the president apparently wants to ensure the collapse of his party by attempting to drag GOP Senators over the cliff and into the abyss of his current immigration reform bill.

Multiple InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion surveys indicate that a majority of voters in numerous states, particularly those 'red' Southern states the GOP desperately needs in order to have any prayer of holding on to the White House, oppose the president's immigration bill. It does no good to examine the minutiae of the immigration proposal, or to debate any of its potential merits. Once the public has been handed a convoluted piece of legislation in which they have no confidence, the political die is cast.

Disappearing Honey-bees spells big trouble for us

Colony Collapse:
Do Massive Bee Die-Offs Mean an End to Our Food System as We Know it?

By Scott Thill, AlterNetPosted on June 11, 2007,
Printed on June 15, 2007

The joke may have fallen flat, but this time no one could blame Bill Maher. Sure, it happened on the May 4, 2007 installment of his show Real Time With Bill Maher, but CNN personality and senior medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta was the one delivering the punch line, and it seems he was the only one in the room who believed the issue of Earth's mysteriously vanishing honeybees was a joke. And while some may argue that he stayed on message, promoting his May 19 documentary called Danger: Poison Food, he nevertheless fumbled for answers when Maher asked him about what could be killing a major component of the nation's food supply.
"Gosh, I don't know," Gupta answered, searching for context. "The -- you know, with regards to bees in particular, I'm not sure what's killing the bees. I'm not sure what's killing the birds or the bees."

Cue the laugh track.

In Gupta's defense, a few weeks or months ago, the increasing disappearance of the honeybees, known now by the technical term Colony Collapse Disorder, had that feel of an urban legend, a phenomenon so esoteric and strange that it sounded like something out of science fiction. Except it's not: It's a frightening trend that, according to those hard at work at solving the problem at universities and organizations worldwide, could lead to everything from a radically transformed diet to an overall wipeout of the world's food supply.

"It is real," argued Dewey M. Caron, professor of entomology at the University of Delaware and one of several authorities investigating the issue with the Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium's Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group (MAAREC). "We surveyed a few states and figured out that half to three-fourths of a million bee colonies have died. This is no urban legend. It is serious."

What is so serious is not only that the bees themselves are dying off without a smoking gun present, but that most people have no idea of the role they play in the food supply at large. Commercial beehives pollinate over a third of America's crops, and that web of nourishment encompasses everything from fruits like peaches, apples, cherries, strawberries and more, to nuts like California almonds, 90 percent of which are helped along by the honeybees. Without this annual pollination, you could conceivably kiss those crops goodbye, to say nothing of the honey bees produce or the flowers they also fertilize.

But as the world has grown, so has its hunger and crowds, which has paved the way for the death of wild pollinators as well as the importation of honeybees from different climates in order to have massive crop pollination.

In the case of California's aforementioned almonds, the largest managed pollination event in the world, the growing season occurs in February, well before local hives have suitably increased their populations to handle the pollination load. As a result, the region is increasingly dependent on the importation of hives from warmer climates.

The same goes for apple crops in New York, Washington and Michigan, as well as blueberries in Maine. Almonds alone require more than one-third of all the managed honeybees in the United States, so it's entirely possible that the honeybees may have already been stretched to the breaking point, as far as environmental and chemical stressors are concerned. In fact, it's safe to say that the nation's honeybees, already a tireless lot, are totally exhausted from work.

"The honeybee is so important for pollination of hundreds of agricultural crops, because humans have made it so," Caron explained. "We destroyed the natural pollinators, plowed up the area they needed to live and continued to replace their habitats with strip malls and housing developments. So, farmers have come to rely on honeybees because of mushrooming human populations and our own destructive habits to the natural ecology."

And not just here, either: The disappearance is under way across the world. Regions of Iran are experiencing the same phenomenon, as are countries like Poland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and more every day, including Latin American and Asia. The breadth of the problem suggests that a major environmental balance could be to blame -- what else is new? -- yet no authority will sign off on the possibility and the specific causes still remain unknown.

"Other countries are also experiencing serious declines of honeybee colonies," said Maryann Frazier, senior extension associate at MAAREC and the department of entomology at Penn State University. "But we are not certain that the cause behind the losses here in the United States are the same as those causing [losses] in other parts of the world."

Throw in the fact that this type of thing has been recorded as a regular occurrence since the 19th century, and you have an apiary mystery of mammoth proportions.

"Bee colonies die all the time," Caron added. "They die over winter, lose queens, are destroyed by pests or diseases. But this is different, as the bees are simply gone and do not develop normally."

"We have had honeybee die-offs in the past which may or may not be related to the current situation," said Frazer. "However, they seem to be getting more severe. If the problem of honeybee health isn't addressed quickly, there could be serious consequences."

Meanwhile, MAAREC and others have ruled out a few possibilities, at least in the sense that they are not currently studying them. Radiation from cell phone towers -- "Get serious!" laughed Caron -- and genetically modified organism (GMO) crops such as Bt corn are no longer in the chase for public enemy No. 1, although some farmers would like them studied further.

John McDonald, a biologist, beekeeper and farmer in rural Pennsylvania wrote an extensive piece for the San Francisco Chronicle questioning the role Bt corn, which is used extensively in commercial beekeeping, plays in the suppression of the honeybee's immune system. He echoed the concern to a recent roundtable on the issue for, but so far, the scientific and industry consensus, for what it's worth, seems to be mostly united on disavowal of the GMO threat.

But why? After all, the rapid increase of GMO crops plays as much a role in the destabilization of natural environments as warming temperatures, which opens the doors to all manner of pathogens and parasites, such as the Varroa (or vampire) mite infestation that allegedly leveled the same fate on crops in the winter of 2004-2005. And though that particular theory carries a good amount of weight in the scientific community, it has yet to be ultimately confirmed. Same goes for the fungus Nosema ceranae, which was reported in the Los Angeles Times as being one of the many recently discovered pathogens that could be devastating honeybees in Europe, Asia and America.

"By itself, it is probably not the culprit," Diana Cox-Foster, Caron and Frazer's colleague at MAAREC, as well as a professor of entomology at Penn State University, told the Times, "but it may be one of the key players."

And so on. Science's search for the smoking gun may not be able to see the honey for the bees, pardon the paraphrase, because they are searching for so specific a threat in the face of an acknowledged overall environmental instability. Scientists may be hard at work looking for a pathogen, parasite, pesticide, pollutant or disease, and may not be interested in arguing that the culprit could be all of them, given what the IPCC and others are calling our precarious environmental situation. So the question has to be asked: Is this yet another byproduct of climate crisis, our increasing global temperature? As usual, the answers aren't too satisfying.

"There is no way to demonstrate global warming effects with a simple experiment," Caron explained, "but last year was very poor nutrition-wise. We do not have the smoking gun. Our experiments are along three credible lines. Stressors inside or outside, including beekeeper manipulations, may stress bees leading to their being susceptible to pathogens. The pathogens themselves -- maybe a virus has mutated and is now in epidemic form -- but we cannot say the pathogens are the cause or effect. Or chemical stressors, such a pesticides that bees are increasingly exposed to, causing them to have weakened immune systems that then permit pathogens to enter more easily and kill the bees. Chemicals could be acting synergistically."
But what could be more synergistic than our environment, a dense webwork of annually occurring natural actors and events that give us our food, air and water on a basis so regular that we barely take the time to notice how all of it works? Or what we will do when it stops working?

And that is where the future of this debate lies, regardless of what is causing the honeybees to disappear. What this phenomenon has made glaringly obvious is our vulnerability to any environmental disruption going forward. Which is a scary proposition, plugged in as we are to addictive simulations like American Idol and YouTube while our real-time environments bite the dust. What do we do when the honeybees stop working for our collective benefit?

"We can find alternatives and grow other crops," Caron said, "but not immediately. It will take time for farmers to adjust. In the meantime, our food production goes offshore, and we become a food-dependent country like England, a decision their leaders elected to pursue when they stopped supporting agriculture. But most people think food comes from the supermarket, and they have no perception of what things cost anyway."

Since perception is reality, as the aphorism goes, that attitude might change in a hurry once the strawberries and almonds stop coming. The way forward, therefore, is the same as it ever was: Education and funding. We're not going to make it to the next century without both.

"Twelve cats died from tainted foodstuffs," Caron fumed, "and six vets at Cornell University alone were studying the losses. Meanwhile, we have a few dedicated pathologists and bee experts on this issue. What is wrong with this picture? Twelve cats or the loss of one-fourth of America's bee colonies? Not to say the cat deaths didn't need to be investigated, but the resources we are prepared to pour into that issue versus the disappearance of our honeybees is what is out of whack."

Now that's a joke, Dr. Gupta. A terrifying one.

Scott Thill runs the online mag His writing has appeared on Salon, XLR8R, All Music Guide, Wired and others.

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

(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.

Why The Shameless NeoCons Aren't Going Away

Neocon II: Lie Hard with a Vengeance
By Matt Taibbi, Adbusters

Posted on June 15, 2007, Printed on June 15, 2007

Call it the Leslie Nielsen effect. Your first attempt at a show-biz career fizzles out and dies, but your failure is so quirky and charming that it wins you a whole second career. Think Robert Goulet, Bill Shatner, even John Travolta. America loves a brave second act, particularly one that doesn't mind doing a take or two with egg still on his face.

What the Zucker brothers did for actors, the neocons are now doing for politics. In the first six years of the Bush presidency the administration's ideological nucleus -- a tribe of humorless conservative revolutionaries led by Dick Cheney and including the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Doug Feith and Elliott Abrams -- racked up a startling record in matters of official policy. From their juking of the case for the Iraq War to their Jacobin-esque purges within the government's intelligence apparatus to their paranoid and sometimes criminal fragging of political enemies great and minor, the neoconservatives working for George Bush botched virtually every important move they made in the last six years.

Moreover, each time they used the presidency's bully pulpit to make a prediction, be it about the post-invasion spread of democracy in the Middle East, the utility of Iraqi oil revenues in financing the occupation, or the chilling effect our presence in Iraq would have on Palestinian resolve, more or less exactly the opposite ended up taking place.

And yet, despite the walloping defeat of the Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections that seemed to spell the end of neocon rule in Washington, the clowns are once again spilling out of the Volkswagen. Lately the neocons seem to be all over the public airwaves, and not as the targets of purgative public flogging or tarring ceremonies, but as the subjects of serious interviews, with respected journalists treating them like real human beings with real opinions. Even worse, a few are still in office, and appear to be cooking up a last-minute encore before the curtain finally comes down in '08.

Richard Perle, the former head of the Defense Policy Board, known in the Beltway as the "Prince of Darkness," has been on TV a lot lately in a much-publicized public spat with former CIA director George Tenet, who recently accused Perle of targeting Iraq days after 9/11. John Bolton, former UN-hating ambassador to the UN, recently won the Bradley Prize for "outstanding intellectual achievement" -- achievement that presumably includes helping make the case for the Iraq disaster and support for a future invasion of Iran. In his acceptance speech, Bolton cheekily credited Tehran, Pyongyang and other rogue nations for his success, thanking them just for "being themselves." And while Scooter Libby crashed at trial, Doug Feith soft-landed into a tenure track at Georgetown, where he will now teach history, a subject he spent the past five years or so violently misinterpreting.

The neocons remain a bold presence in the media for a number of reasons. Number one, they still have real political power. Dick Cheney is still the vice president, and the Pentagon is still guided heavily by the neocon-dominated Office of Special Plans (OSP), where the power is now reportedly concentrated in an office called the Iranian Directorate, charged with helping make the case for war with Iran. Amid all the public hand-wringing about a congressional demand for an Iraq withdrawal timeline, Washington is abuzz with rumors that the neocons are loading up for one last historical Hail Mary, a "long bomb" to throw at Tehran before Bush leaves office.

The knowledge that they are crazy enough to try something like that makes people in the capital take them seriously.

But beyond that, there just hasn't been any effort in the media to identify and really make clear the root causes of the Iraq policy failure. In the current Washington mythology -- a mythology reflected in public statements of everyone from John McCain to Hillary Clinton -- the Iraq War blew up in our faces for logistical reasons, because we didn't send enough troops, or have a sound occupation plan, or have an "understanding of the insurgency." It was the right war, wrong execution, wrong defense secretary. The failure had nothing to do with the mistake of placing our bets on a radical revolutionary policy of "pre-emptive invasion," or with the White House's authoritarian efforts to castrate the Pentagon and the CIA and replace them with their own intelligence-gathering and policymaking apparatuses.

The neocons may have been proven wrong in the particulars, and to ordinary people their legacy may turn out to be a nightmarish Middle East bloodbath and decades of debt, but in Washington they're still revered as canny operators who swept two election seasons with a drooling mannequin for a candidate and for years ruled Washington with almost Caligulan abandon. They were idiots in terms of how the world worked, but they understood power in the Beltway better than Nixon, better than Clinton, better really than any White House clan since the Roosevelt years. That's why they'll keep getting top billing on talk shows and invites to all the best Washington parties, even if, as seems likely, they leave office 18 months from now with half the planet in flames.

In Washington there is no shame in being wrong; there's only shame in losing. The neocons were wrong as hell, but they were also winners. That's why no one should expect them to go away now. That's especially true since their only real competition in the intellectual arena is the cynical third-way corporatism of the Democratic party, a tenuous and depressing alliance of business interests and New-Deal interest groups whose most persuasive "idea" is that it is not neo-conservatism. The neocons, wrong and stupid as they might be, at least represent a clearly-articulated dream of unchecked greed, power and big-stick foreign conquest that appeals in an elemental way to the dark side of the American psyche. Until America rejects that dream -- and don't hold your breath for that -- don't count on the Boltons and the Perles disappearing from view.

Matt Taibbi is a contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine. His book, Smells Like Dead Elephants, is due out next year.

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

(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 orator.)

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

Pardon For Libby: A Huge Mistake

Why Bush may blunder on Libby

As the always well written digby notes in making a different point:

Is it just me or is the DC establishment’s circling of the wagons around Scooter just a little bit over the top, even for them? I mean, I can appreciate the fact that he’s one of them and they think he’s been targeted by a runaway Republican prosecutor and a runaway Republican judge. (It happens.) But this rending of garments over him going to jail is verging on hysteria.
DC insiders don’t want Scooter to go to jail. It would be almost like — well, them having to go to jail themselves. And going to jail for your crimes (like going to Iraq to fight) is something for other people to do.

This pro-Scooter hurricane within the DC elite is pushing George W. Bush in the direction of a politically catastrophic pardon in two ways:

First, as insider demands for action become ever shriller, the pressure on Bush to grant a pardon grows.

Second, the loud cries to “Free Scooter” by the people who own the biggest megaphones in the neighborhood may mislead him into believing a pardon will be reasonably well received.
It won’t be — not even close.

In fact, pardoning Scooter will anger ordinary Americans in ways the Beltway crowd can’t begin to understand. And the reason they can’t understand, of course, is that the very elitism that causes them to support Scooter is what will feed the public rage.

Bush may well leave Scooter in his soup; he’ll definitely do so if he thinks it’s in his personal interest. It’s also possible that an appeals court will let Bush off the hook, at least for now, by overruling (the expected ruling) of the District Court judge requiring Scooter to begin serving his sentence immediately and reinstating bail pending the appeal. Normally, such an order would be unlikely, but somehow the unlikely has a tendency to happen in our increasingly partisan Republican federal courts when it helps a Republican bigwig.

But if Bush does give into the Beltway’s urgings and pardons Scooter — as I personally think is most likely — all hell is going to break loose, leaving Bush even more badly damaged than he is now. And if this occurs, one of the big reasons will be the cluelessness of the DC elite.

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

Subpoenas Have Been issued, to Taylor and Miers

Why Were They Fired?
By Dan Froomkin

Special to
Thursday, June 14, 2007; 1:20 PM

President Bush last month complained that the congressional probes into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys were being "drug out . . . for political reasons." White House spokesman Tony Snow yesterday dismissed the issuance of congressional subpoenas to two former White House aides as an attempt to "create some media drama."

But if anyone is to blame for the dragging out of the probes and the drama, it's Bush himself. He and his aides have consistently refused to tell the American people why those federal prosecutors were fired.

Democrats have reason to suspect that at least some of the firings were set in motion by Karl Rove's White House political staff and were intended to affect politically charged cases in ways that would benefit the Republican Party.

Those are serious allegations. But the official White House response has been a non-denial. That U.S. attorneys "serve at the pleasure of the president" is immaterial. And the absence thus far of definitive evidence of wrongdoing at the White House level may be due more to effective stonewalling than to any lack of actual wrongdoing.

There's certainly a growing body of evidence to suggest that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has essentially turned over control of the traditionally independent Justice Department to political operatives.

If Bush wants this media drama to go away -- and if there is, in fact, an innocent explanation for the firings -- then it's in his best interest to come clean, in public, and sooner rather than later.

Why wait for a congressional hearing?

But that's not what's happening. Instead, the White House's carefully parsed and entirely unforthcoming statements on this matter are reminiscent of the response four years ago to allegations that White House aides had leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity to reporters.
Back then, Bush could well have demanded an answer from his staffers and then shared it with the American people. He chose not to. Whether he chose not to because he knew that two of his top aides were involved in the leaking is still, to this day, not entirely clear. By stonewalling, Bush was able to postpone that revelation until after getting reelected.

Had the Democrats been in a position to issue subpoenas, things might have turned out differently.

And today, with the White House simply refusing to respond forthrightly to some very troubling charges, it is entirely reasonable for Congress -- and the press -- to ask, over and over again:

Why were they fired?

Today's Coverage
The House and Senate Judiciary chairmen yesterday issued subpoenas for former White House counsel Harriet Miers and former White House political director Sara M. Taylor.
Dan Eggen and Paul Kane write in The Washington Post: "The decision by two congressional panels to issue subpoenas to the White House yesterday escalates a constitutional showdown over the Justice Department's firing of nine U.S. attorneys that could end up being decided by the federal courts. . . .

"The White House gave no indication that it intends to comply with the demands. 'It's clear that they're trying to create some media drama,' said spokesman Tony Snow, referring to Democratic lawmakers.

"By targeting two former administration officials, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) are hoping that Miers and Taylor might decide to reach accords with the House and Senate committees, regardless of the administration's interests, according to congressional aides. . . .

"Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats are keenly interested in obtaining testimony from presidential adviser Karl Rove but must first question other White House officials. A succession of Justice Department officials have denied responsibility for placing prosecutors' names on the firing lists. . . .

"'We still haven't found out who actually concocted this scheme,' Schumer said. . . .

"One constitutional-law expert said yesterday that the White House is in a difficult legal position, with little ability to refuse the subpoenas. 'They're in the unsustainable position of refusing to explain the increasing evidence of a coverup,' said Charles Tiefer of the University of Baltimore Law School.

"Tiefer, a former deputy House counsel, said the White House does not have standing to try to quash the subpoenas preemptively. That leaves White House counsel Fred F. Fielding with the choice of a negotiated settlement or a showdown in federal court.

"If the White House refuses the subpoenas, Leahy and Conyers could move to hold the White House in contempt, then forward those citations to the full House and Senate for approval. The contempt citations would then be sent to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Jeffrey A. Taylor, who is required to empanel a grand jury to consider indictments. Taylor may have to recuse himself because of his involvement in events as a U.S. attorney."

Richard B. Schmitt writes in the Los Angeles Times: "Except in cases involving national security or military secrets, the executive branch enjoys no absolute privilege to withhold documents from Congress. In most disputes, courts balance the interests of the administration to keep the documents private, against the public or congressional interests in learning about the material.
"Some legal experts said they believe that Congress would prevail in any court fight over the U.S. attorney documents.

"'I think if you were to stand back from this and say, "Who has the better argument?", the answer is going to be Congress,' said Peter M. Shane, an expert at the Ohio State University law school on the separation of powers.

"Shane said that conditions the White House has insisted on before making officials available for questioning appear unreasonable. The current White House counsel, Fred F. Fielding, has agreed to permit officials to answer questions from members of Congress but only if the testimony is private, unsworn and there is no transcript.

"'Saying that the investigation can proceed but not with an oath or transcript, I think, is a ridiculous offer,' Shane said. 'If there cannot be a firm record of what is actually said, then it is quite literally a pointless investigative technique. If I were advising the majority counsel on either side, I cannot imagine accepting that offer. It is worse than nothing.'"

David Johnston writes in the New York Times: "Congressional investigators have largely completed their interviews of Justice Department officials and assembled thousands of pages of departmental documents. Yet they still cannot definitively answer such basic questions as who initiated the effort to oust the nine prosecutors, how the nine were selected and whether their dismissals were motivated by a desire to push a political agenda, like accelerating investigations of Democrats or protecting Republican elected officials from scrutiny, as some members of Congress have asserted.

"The inquiry has at least made clear that Ms. Miers and Ms. Taylor, among others at the White House, helped orchestrate the effort, despite an early statement by the Bush administration denying such a role.

"Ms. Miers, starting as early as March 2005, was exchanging e-mail with D. Kyle Sampson, the attorney general's former chief of staff, discussing prosecutors who could be removed. . . .

"Ms. Taylor, the e-mail has shown, played an important role in the appointment of J. Timothy Griffin, a former aide to Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, as the interim United States attorney in Arkansas. He replaced H. E. Cummins III, one of the prosecutors removed."

In a joint press release from the two chairmen, Leahy said: "The White House cannot have it both ways -- it cannot stonewall congressional investigations by refusing to provide documents and witnesses, while claiming nothing improper occurred. The involvement of the White House's political operation in this project, including former Political Director Sara Taylor and her boss Karl Rove, has been confirmed by information gathered by congressional committees. Some at the White House may hope to thwart our constitutional oversight efforts by locking the doors and closing the curtains, but we will keep asking until we get to the truth."

Conyers said: "Let me be clear: this subpoena is not a request, it is a demand on behalf of the American people for the White House to make available the documents and individuals we are requesting to help us answer the questions that remain,' said Chairman Conyers. 'The breadcrumbs in this investigation have always led to 1600 Pennsylvania. This investigation will not end until the White House complies with the demands of this subpoena in a timely and reasonable manner so that we may get to the bottom of this."

In a letter to Fielding, Leahy wrote: "The White House's continued stonewalling leads to the obvious conclusion that the White House is hiding the truth because there is something to hide. "

And in a summary of findings thus far, the Democrats reported:

"Mr. Sampson, who has testified that he 'aggregated' the list of U.S. Attorneys to be fired, was in frequent contact with White House officials about multiple versions of proposed lists of possible U.S. Attorneys for dismissal and potential replacements over the course of nearly two years, sending draft lists for review in March 2005, January 2006, April 2006, and several drafts in September 2006 through the firings on December 7, 2006. . . .

"The evidence gathered so far also shows significant White House involvement -- including by Mr. Rove -- in the decision to dismiss David Iglesias as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico. We have learned from the testimony of the Attorney General and Mr. Sampson that Mr. Rove directly complained to the Attorney General about concerns that prosecutors were not aggressively pursuing voter fraud cases in districts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and New Mexico. . . .

"Since the firings of these U.S. Attorneys for political reasons became public, there has been an effort to minimize, and in some instances, cover up, the role of White House officials. According to documents and the testimony of Mr. Sampson, the Attorney General was upset after the February 6, 2007, testimony of Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty because Mr. McNulty's testimony put the White House involvement in the firings into the public domain. Former Justice Department White House Liaison Monica Goodling recently told the House Judiciary Committee that she was told not to attend a briefing by Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty on the firings to the Senate Judiciary Committee in February, 2007, because of the concern that her presence might prompt Senators to ask questions about White House involvement."

(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.