Saturday, December 15, 2007

Who Will Hold Sociopathic Contractors Accountable...

For a myriad of crimes, from fraud to gang rape?

December 15, 2007

Bush Startlingly Inept in Answering Question About Military Contractor Accountability

By Gustav Wynn

Nine months after the July 2005 drugging and gang rape alleged by ex-Halliburton employee Jamie Leigh Jones, President Bush was asked in a public Q&A at John Hopkins University to explain how he proposes to bring private military contractors in Iraq under a system of law. The President was noticeably flummoxed by the question and clumsily stammered out a laughable non-reply before moving awkwardly off the topic.

But the importance of this question has taken on new life in the wake of a civil suit brought forward this week by the victim, as well as new allegations announced by Florida Senator Bill Nelson concerning KBR's former "Morale, Welfare and Recreation Coordinator" in Ramadi, a 41-year old woman who says a drunken KBR employee entered her living quarters and raped her in December 2005.

About the same time, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld himself attended a public Q&A at Johns Hopkins and was questioned on the same topic. Rumsfeld said "There are laws that govern the behavior of Americans in that country. The Department of Justice oversees that...[b]ut if you think about it, Iraq’s a sovereign country. They have their laws and they're going to govern, the UN resolution and the Iraqi laws, as well as U.S. procedures and laws govern behavior in that country...".

The JHU student had been voicing the concerns of many Americans pondering the unchecked free hand afforded private military contractors in Iraq and the region. Rumsfeld's explanation to her question left the student more confused then ever. She and the public at large could see clearly that Iraq was unable to enforce it's laws as an embattled nation under foreign occupation and in the middle of a simultaneous civil war.

Mistrust of contactors grew as video showing them randomly shooting at innocent civilians for fun had circulated online, but supporters of US Armed Forces had long resented the trend of replacing our troops with unaccountable civilians at obscenely higher salaries. This was made even worse by numerous accusations of favoritism and fraud in awarding no-bid contracts to crony corporations. KBR/Halliburton was found guilty in several separate incidents of double-billing, exposed for overcharging and even endangering US troops.

This led many to believe Dick Cheney was providing cover for the firm - even after Halliburton's disgrace in the rip-off scandals, they stayed on as the largest contractor in Iraq, with profits skyrocketing because of their tidy "cost plus" arrangements.

During his long tenure as CEO of Halliburton, Cheney used his White House connections to help secure defense contracts (perhaps this is why his number appeared on the call records of area escort services). Later as Vice-President he would return the favor, but Halliburton still gave the American people the ultimate flip of the bird when they announced they were relocating their headquarters to Dubai, become a foreign firm who will take advantage of lower taxes and cheap foreign labor.

So the freshman student waited until Bush's visit in April of 2006 to revisit the problem, and have Rumsfeld's boss personally clarify the matter. Bush, as you can hear in the audio clip, (video here) was not up to the task, deferring back to Rumsfeld who the coed stated in her original question had already left the question unanswered.

As this issue is now unfolding to include House Judiciary Committee investigations and calls for inquiry by Hillary Clinton and others, freshly-appointed Attorney General Michael Mukasey may soon have to answer for the inaction to this point. Some suggest that investigations will lead right back to his department, however - articles have already been published reporting a DOJ cover-up on the KBR gang rape.

Mukasey is going to have to answer doe past inaction? Oh puleeze! Mukasey doesn't even know if water-boarding is torture. He probably doesn't know if rape is wrong and should require consequences for the rapist.

Besides, we might as well come down out of La-la land and realize that no one in the Bush administration, let alone some sociopath working for KBR , is going to be held accountable for a damn thing they've done, just like Osama.

KBR's employment "fine print" left the women in both cases with little legal recourse - their terms of employment dictated private arbitration in cases of employee lawsuits. The track record for the arbitration firm Halliburton chooses historically rules in favor of the corporation over 80% of the time.

This means that Bush's dismissal of public calls for contractor accountability could have contributed to officials feeling the need to squelch or hinder this investigation. For example, officials who improperly gave KBR over the rape kit collected from the incident could be seen as having official complicity in the failure to protect evidence or failure to pursue evidence-tampering charges once it went lost.

All correspondence related to this case should be subpoenaed and reviewed at once to see how far high up the chain of command went. This clearly ties in to the many-headed hydra representing the corruption of this White House. Impeachment investigations would either implicate or exonerate Cheney and the others, so it's only fair to the White House to proceed, because they now stand accused of turning a blind eye to gang rapes and need to clear their names.

Authors Website:

Authors Bio: GW is a proud American from NY State, concerned about ethics issues, media manipulation and the influence of corporations on healthy lifestyles. He has recently changed careers to become an inner city schoolteacher. A firm proponent of curbing overpopulation and international adoption, he hopes to adopt a third child and enjoys history, outsider art, garage rock music and rare records.

(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.

Bush administration tells Judge Not To Invetigate Destroyed CIA Tapes

Judge urged not to ask about CIA tapes

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer

The Bush administration told a federal judge it was not obligated to preserve videotapes of CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists and urged the court not to look into the tapes' destruction.

In court documents filed Friday night, government lawyers told U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy that demanding information about the tapes would interfere with current investigations by Congress and the Justice Department.

It was the first time the government had addressed the issue of the videotapes in court.

Kennedy ordered the administration in June 2005 to safeguard "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay."

Five months later, the CIA destroyed the interrogation videos. The recordings involved suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri

Government lawyers told Kennedy the tapes were not covered by his court order because Zubaydah and al-Nashiri were not at the Guantanamo military prison in Cuba. The men were being held overseas in a network of secret CIA prisons. By the time President Bush acknowledged the existence of those prisons and the prisoners were transferred to Guantanamo, the tapes had been destroyed.

In court documents, acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey S. Bucholtz was concerned that Kennedy might order CIA officials to testify about the tapes. Bucholtz said that "could potentially complicate the ongoing efforts to arrive at a full factual understanding of the matter."

The administration has taken a similar strategy in its dealings with Congress on the issue. On Friday, the Justice Department urged Congress to hold off on questioning witnesses and demanding documents because that evidence is part of a joint CIA-Justice Department investigation.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey also refused to give Congress details of the government's investigation into the matter Friday, saying doing so could raise questions about whether the inquiry was vulnerable to political pressure.

Even if Kennedy accepts the argument that government did not violate his order, he still could demand a hearing. He could raise questions about obstruction or spoliation, a legal term for the destruction of evidence in "pending or reasonably foreseeable litigation."

Zubaydah was the first high-value detainee taken by the CIA in 2002. He told his interrogators about alleged Sept. 11 accomplice Ramzi Binalshibh, and the two men's confessions also led to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who the U.S. government said was the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks.

Al-Nashiri is the alleged coordinator of the 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, which killed 17 sailors. Like Zubaydah, he is now at Guantanamo.

David Remes, a lawyer who represents a Yemeni national and other detainees, has called for a court hearing. He says the government was obligated to keep the tapes and he wants to be sure other evidence is not being destroyed.

(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. Intelligence is Usually Wrong

Because various administrations have wanted them to be.

by Andrew Greeley

Would you buy a used car from the so-called intelligence community? Or a used spy? What reason is there to trust a National Intelligence Estimate created by the same crowd that said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Are we now to trust those who filled poor Colin Powell’s U.N. presentation with what was, if one may not use scatology, rubbish? Mr. Secretary, I knew Adlai Stevenston and you are no Adlai Stevenson.

The same combine of 15 intelligence agencies (patently, we need that many!) that provided a rationale (a slam dunk) for the Iraq war now tells us there’s no reason for a war with Iran. Historically, U.S. intelligence has almost always been wrong (since the time it got it right about Pearl Harbor). Why should anyone have much faith today? Call the zoo and find out if the other leopards have changed their spots!

Consider a random list of their failures — we did not know the Soviets had stolen secrets of the atom bombs, we were unprepared for the invasion of South Korea, we were astonished that the missile gap of the ‘60 election debates never existed, we were surprised by Sputnik, we were dumbstruck when the Russian rockets showed up in Cuba, we were taken aback by the collapse of the “evil empire,” we were unprepared for the Iranian revolution, we didn’t anticipate the Serbian invasion of Kosovo, we weren’t prepared for the civil war in Iraq. We aren’t very good at spying and never have been.

Let's not forget 9/11.

Nor are we all that skilled at diplomacy. Now that we have been reassured by the National Estimate, we are being told by the usual suspects to turn to diplomacy. Wood-row Wilson was taken in by Lloyd George and Clemen-ceau at Versailles and Roosevelt by Stalin every time they sat down together. All the summits during the Cold War accomplished little. Henry Kissinger did open the door to China, but he kept the Vietnam War going for four years (doubling the casualties) to maintain “credibility.” (not to mention the cash rolling into the M-I-C and into the GOP coffers and, probably some Dems' campaigns as well) Jimmy Carter couldn’t negotiate the release of the hostages in Iran. North Korea seems reluctant to fulfill its recent commitments. Anyone who believes the recent meeting at Annapolis will produce peace in Palestine will believe the Bears are going to win the Super Bowl.

Maybe we should start asking ourselves, who benefits from the never-ending squabbles and wars between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Those who rejoice in the NIE point out that this is the first time in the history of intelligence activity in the United States the experts haven’t shaped their estimates to fit an administration’s policies — as Tim Weiner describes the CIA’s history in Legacy of Ashes. One can only hope this NIE is not only a change but also a pattern for future reports. One can also hope that in the future our moles and our striped-pants brigade would be better educated, especially about religion, a little more cynical and a little less self-righteous.

Amen, Father. One can only hope that this NIE is on the up and up and that it will stop a immoral, disastrous war with Iran. Why do I doubt that it will?

Andrew Greeley is a priest in good standing of the Archdiocese of Chicago. for 52 years, a columnist for 40 years, a sociologist for 45 years, a novelist for 28 years, distinguished lecturer at the University of Arizona for 28 , research associate at National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago for 46 years.

© 2007 The Chicago Sun Times

(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.

BuCheney may Not Be Out of The Woods Yet?

The Investigations of the Destruction of CIA Torture Tapes

How An ACLU Lawsuit Might Force the Bush Administration To Reveal What Actually Happened

by John W. Dean

By my count, there appear to be no less than ten preliminary investigations underway, following the revelation that the CIA destroyed at least two sets of videotapes (containing hundreds of hours of footage) of “advanced interrogation” techniques being employed in terrorism investigations. In fact, every branch of government is now involved.

Within the Executive Branch, according to news reports, the CIA’s General Counsel and Inspector General are investigating. The Department of Justice is investigating. On Capitol Hill, both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees are investigating. In addition, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is inquiring as to whether the Federal Records Act has been violated. And Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, has made preliminary inquiries as well.

The Bush Administration has shown that it is not very good at investigating itself, so no one should hold their breath for the outcome of either the CIA or Justice Department investigation. And Attorney General Mukasey has dismissed an independent special counsel inquiry as very premature. The Democratic-controlled Congress could get to the bottom of all this, but one should bear in mind that our elected representatives have yet to get to the bottom of the political firing of U.S. Attorneys (although, to be fair, they did get former Attorney General Gonzales to resign). Today, Congress suffers from a degenerative spinal malady, and while they can bark, they appear unable to bite.

There are three court orders that may have been violated, but one in particular strikes me as a very serious problem for the CIA. Accordingly, we may well be in the unique situation in which a pending civil lawsuit might flush out some answers, and the federal judiciary might thus embarrass the other branches into actually taking meaningful action. I say “might” because the Bush Administration thinks nothing of stiffing federal court judges who seek information, and they probably figure they can tap-dance for the federal judiciary - along with all the other inquiries — until they are out of Washington on January 20, 2009.

Nevertheless, the situation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests by the American Civil Liberties Union, could well force the Bush Administration’s hand. An order holding the CIA in contempt of court might get the Administration’s attention.

The ACLU’s Lawsuit, and the Order that the CIA Produce Documents

When word of mistreatment of detainees surfaced, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request targeting the CIA and others on October 7, 2003 and May 25, 2004, seeking records concerning the treatment of all detainees apprehended after September 11, 2001 and held in U.S. custody abroad. This, of course, would mean not only in Guantanamo but in the secret prisons in Eastern Europe operated by the CIA.

Not surprisingly, the government stiffed the request, so the ACLU filed a lawsuit in June 2004 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The case ended up in the courtroom of Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein. On September 15, 2004, Judge Hellerstein ordered the CIA and other government departments to “produce or identify” all responsive documents by October 15, 2004.

The CIA claimed that some of the relevant documents were the subject of an inquiry by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General, so its attorneys requested a stay of the judge’s order and an extension of time to comply with the request for other documents. In February 2005, Judge Hellerstein denied the CIA’s request for a stay, but he did not enforce the stay immediately when the CIA moved for the judge to reconsider his ruling based on additional evidence from the CIA’s Director - as the CIA entered a full-court press to prevent the ACLU from getting anything.

This stalling action had been playing out, when news of the destruction of the tapes became public. Now, in the action before Judge Hellerstein, he ACLU has moved to hold the CIA in contempt of court, based on the Judge’s September 15, 2004 ruling. It is difficult to see why the CIA is, in fact, not in contempt, given the nature of the FOIA request and the judge’s order.

Motion to Hold the CIA In Contempt

On December 6, The New York Times reported that the CIA had destroyed two videotapes of CIA detainees who were being subjected to “aggressive interrogation techniques” - more commonly called torture. The Washington Post soon reported that the destruction of the tapes had occurred in November 2005. CIA Director Michael Hayden publicly acknowledged that destruction, and soon confirmed this statement under oath in testimony to the House and Senate, saying that the destruction had occurred before he became Director.

Passing over who did what and why to focus on the situation in Judge Hellerstein’s courtroom, on December 12, of this year the ACLU filed a motion to hold the CIA in contempt of court. The ACLU makes a powerful case that the CIA violated Judge Hellerstein’s order of September 15, 2005 - issued before the CIA’s apparent destruction of the tapes.

The Court’s Order required the CIA to “produce or identify all responsive documents.” Those not produced had to be identified. Classified documents were to be “identified in camera [that is, only to the court] on a log produced to the court.” Recall, too, that the FOIA request sought information on the handling of all but a few detainees, who were within the United States.

It is well- and long-established law that a court order of this nature requires that the party preserve all information possessed that is responsive to the request. Thus, the CIA was obligated to preserve the tapes even if they were hell-bent on fighting in court to deny them to the ACLU. And as this litigation proceeded, Judge Hellerstein’s later orders only served to reinforce that obligation, as a string of precedents makes clear.

What Is Next?

In addition to holding the CIA in contempt for destroying tapes that were subject to an FOIA request that surely reached these videos, the ACLU has also requested that the CIA provide some public disclosure of the facts surrounding the destruction of this material. In addition, the ACLU has requested permission to take depositions of those involved, under oath, and has requested that the court issue a further order barring the CIA from destroying, removing, or tampering with other records that are the subject of the ACLU’s FOIA request. Finally, the ACLU is seeking costs for its expenses and such other relief as the Court may deem appropriate.

How this is resolved depends on one factor: Judge Hellerstein. Doubtless, the CIA will respond with papers proclaiming its innocence, and no doubt denying that it was aware of the destruction. However, this is where the Judge himself - if he does not give the ACLU discovery powers - may demand that the CIA tell him what they have been up to, given his clear prior orders.

As I have written before, judges appointed by Republican presidents tend to throw cases that might embarrass Republican presidents out of their court, as quickly as they can figure out how to do so. Federal judges appointed by Democratic presidents, fortunately, do not tend to cower when either Republican or Democratic presidents are involved. A judge ends up with a case like this through a random selection procedure; in this case, the CIA happened to draw a Judge it cannot intimidate, which makes it interesting.

More on Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, Who Issued the Videotapes Order

Judge Hellerstein was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1998. An editor of the Columbia Law Review during his law school years, he started his legal career in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the Army in 1959-1960. An experienced litigator with a prestigious New York City law firm, he is a highly-respected judge. He works hard, is fair, and is savvy.

He is also a nightmare for the CIA in a case like this, because on June 3, 2005 he ordered the release of four videos from Abu Ghraib, along with dozens of photographs - not withstanding an effort of the government to suppress this material from ever becoming public.

Judge Hellerstein appears to have no tolerance for torture. Unlike his former colleague and now-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who still is not clear that waterboarding is torture, one does not have the sense that Judge Hellerstein suffers from such confusion. While Judge Hellerstein is going to appropriately protect the sources and methods of the CIA, if any judge is going to get to the bottom of this destruction of these records quickly, this is the judge.

John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the president.

© 2007

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.

After The Money is Gone

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced plans to lend $40 billion to banks. By my count, it’s the fourth high-profile attempt to rescue the financial system since things started falling apart about five months ago. Maybe this one will do the trick, but I wouldn’t count on it.

In past financial crises — the stock market crash of 1987, the aftermath of Russia’s default in 1998 — the Fed has been able to wave its magic wand and make market turmoil disappear. But this time the magic isn’t working.

Why not? Because the problem with the markets isn’t just a lack of liquidity — there’s also a fundamental problem of solvency.

Let me explain the difference with a hypothetical example.

Suppose that there’s a nasty rumor about the First Bank of Pottersville: people say that the bank made a huge loan to the president’s brother-in-law, who squandered the money on a failed business venture.

Even if the rumor is false, it can break the bank. If everyone, believing that the bank is about to go bust, demands their money out at the same time, the bank would have to raise cash by selling off assets at fire-sale prices — and it may indeed go bust even though it didn’t really make that bum loan.

And because loss of confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, even depositors who don’t believe the rumor would join in the bank run, trying to get their money out while they can.

But the Fed can come to the rescue. If the rumor is false, the bank has enough assets to cover its debts; all it lacks is liquidity — the ability to raise cash on short notice. And the Fed can solve that problem by giving the bank a temporary loan, tiding it over until things calm down.

Matters are very different, however, if the rumor is true: the bank really did make a big bad loan. Then the problem isn’t how to restore confidence; it’s how to deal with the fact that the bank is really, truly insolvent, that is, busted.

My story about a basically sound bank beset by a crisis of confidence, which can be rescued with a temporary loan from the Fed, is more or less what happened to the financial system as a whole in 1998. Russia’s default led to the collapse of the giant hedge fund Long Term Capital Management, and for a few weeks there was panic in the markets.

But when all was said and done, not that much money had been lost; a temporary expansion of credit by the Fed gave everyone time to regain their nerve, and the crisis soon passed.

In August, the Fed tried again to do what it did in 1998, and at first it seemed to work. But then the crisis of confidence came back, worse than ever. And the reason is that this time the financial system — both banks and, probably even more important, nonbank financial institutions — made a lot of loans that are likely to go very, very bad.

It’s easy to get lost in the details of subprime mortgages, resets, collateralized debt obligations, and so on. But there are two important facts that may give you a sense of just how big the problem is.

First, we had an enormous housing bubble in the middle of this decade. To restore a historically normal ratio of housing prices to rents or incomes, average home prices would have to fall about 30 percent from their current levels.

Second, there was a tremendous amount of borrowing into the bubble, as new home buyers purchased houses with little or no money down, and as people who already owned houses refinanced their mortgages as a way of converting rising home prices into cash.

As home prices come back down to earth, many of these borrowers will find themselves with negative equity — owing more than their houses are worth. Negative equity, in turn, often leads to foreclosures and big losses for lenders.

And the numbers are huge. The financial blog Calculated Risk, using data from First American CoreLogic, estimates that if home prices fall 20 percent there will be 13.7 million homeowners with negative equity. If prices fall 30 percent, that number would rise to more than 20 million.

That translates into a lot of losses, and explains why liquidity has dried up. What’s going on in the markets isn’t an irrational panic. It’s a wholly rational panic, because there’s a lot of bad debt out there, and you don’t know how much of that bad debt is held by the guy who wants to borrow your money.

How will it all end? Markets won’t start functioning normally until investors are reasonably sure that they know where the bodies — I mean, the bad debts — are buried. And that probably won’t happen until house prices have finished falling and financial institutions have come clean about all their losses. All of this will probably take years.

Meanwhile, anyone who expects the Fed or anyone else to come up with a plan that makes this financial crisis just go away will be sorely disappointed.

(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.

From The Dumbing Down Of America File

Scientists Push Presidential Candidates for Positions on Science

By Sarah Lai Stirland 12.13.07 | 4:00 PM

Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee (right) take part in the Des Moines Register Republican Presidential Debate in Johnston, Iowa, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007.
Photo: AP / Charlie Neibergall

A Who's Who of America's top scientists are launching a quixotic last-minute effort this week to force presidential candidates to detail the role science would play in their administrations -- a question they say is key to the future of the country, if not the world.

"Right now we have a confluence of issues facing candidates: embryonic stem cell research, global warming, science and technology education, biotechnology and energy policy -- it's just becoming an avalanche," says Lawrence Krauss, a physics professor at Case Western University, and author of the bestselling The Physics of Star Trek. "I think at some level, you have to get some insight into what the candidates know, or what they're willing to learn."

Behind the call is a growing fear that the United States is falling behind in science and technology education, and that a leader who is scientifically illiterate won't be able to keep the United States ahead in the global economy.

The candidates did not respond immediately, but most of the Democratic contenders for the White House have released science policies. And Sen. Hillary Clinton has repeatedly slammed the Bush administration's science record.

Republican candidates can be forgiven for not immediately responding to the call for a dialog on science. Iowa front-runners Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee were busy sparring this week over whether Romney believes Satan and Jesus Christ are brothers -- a relatively obscure doctrine of Romney's Mormon faith.


In a May televised debate, three of the Republican candidates -- Huckabee, Tom Tancredo and Sam Brownback (who has since dropped from the race) -- indicated that they don't believe in evolution.

Against this backdrop, the push for a science debate might look like a partisan dig at a devolving GOP, a perception bolstered by the list of signatories. These include Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science, and attorneys Eric Rothschild and Stephen G. Harvey, the two lawyers who won a 2005 landmark legal challenge of a Pennsylvania school district board's decision to teach "intelligent design" as an alternative theory to evolution.

But also on board are 11 Nobel laureates in science, the editor of Scientific American, the president of Princeton University, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and other academic luminaries in the field. Krauss calls the drive bi-bipartisan, noting the inclusion of Norm Augustine, the retired CEO of Lockheed Martin, and Richard Garwin, who was on the White House's Science Advisory Committee under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Minnesota Republican congressman Jim Ramstad is also on the list.

That so many scientists are involved is a sign of the times, says Al Teich, the American Association for the Advancement of Science's director of policy.

"I think scientists are more political now than they have been in a long time," says Teich. "I think it's mostly as a result, not of neglect, but of having many aspects of science ignored in the current administration's statements and policies, and the editing of scientific reports by junior officials in the White House."

Recent polls show that much of America still believes in creationism. But they also show that the majority of voters don't care whether a candidate believes in evolution or not. A June USA Today Gallup Poll found that 54 percent of Americans surveyed said that it would make no difference to them if a presidential candidate said that they don't believe in the theory of evolution. And 70 percent of those surveyed said that a candidate's view on evolution wasn't relevant.

But that's precisely the point, notes Krauss. A candidate's position should matter because it undergirds so much of the science-driving policy; bad science leads to bad decisions. He equates not believing in evolution to not believing in the laws of gravity.

"What we need to do is raise the public discourse so that (not believing in evolution) is not an acceptable statement," he says.

Is there any hope for this country?

(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.U. Online Community Prrimary

Last week we sent out emails and asked our members to vote in both the GOP and Democratic primaries as soon as the last debates were over, just so we could see what the community was thinking. We also asked for reasons.

In the Democratic Race, Edwards won by a landslide, followed by Obama and Clinton, in that order. Edwards: 72%, Obama: 18%, Clinton:10%

In the GOP Race, it was Ron Paul, Romney and Giuliani (most admitting that they want Giuliani because he still has more skeletons in his closet than a grave yard and would be defeated by most any Democrat.

Ron Paul :53%, Romney: 36%, Giuliani: 11%

Most of the reasons given for voting for Edwards is that he seems to the candidate most corporation free. Then there was Clinton fatigue and the Clintons' perceived or real entanglement with corporations, K-street and the Bush family. Most folks thought that Obama wasn't quite ready for 1600 Penn. Ave, though almost everyone liked him.

(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.


December 13, 2007

Impeachment: Now The Gloves Are Off

Filed under: Impeachment Events, IfP News, Minnesota — Jodin Morey @ 10:14 pm

[Editor's Note: This article makes characterizations - that Impeach for Peace is a 'Primarily Democratic Organization' - which are inaccurate since Impeach for Peace is a non-partisan organization and no poll has been taken of it's member's political affiliations if any.]
"Now the gloves are off."

Let me explain that statement.

First, on the issue of Impeachment, either you get it or you don't. Sadly, the Democratic Parties leadership are of the latter, they don't and apparently won't get it. Former Federal Prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega has done a supreme job on making of the case for Impeachment. Far more eloquently and concisely than I ever could.

My name is Michael Cavlan, Registered Nurse, active in the group Impeach For Peace and the Green Party candidate for US Senate in Minnesota 2006. I was also the second politician in the country to publicly call for Impeachment, two days after the now infamous Downing Street Memo became public. Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers was the first. He later arrested Cindy Sheehan in his office for staging a sit down protest in his office due to his effectively taking it "off the table." I can now safely say that I was the first to say it and actually mean it. More on Representative Conyers later.

Fellow progressives, we need to be honest with ourselves and understand something. The Democratic Party and it's corporate corrupted leadership have not simply been inactive on this issue of Impeachment. Democratic "leadership" have actually been fighting and blocking Impeachment all over the country. I base this statement of fact on my four years of experience in the Impeachment movement. I have worked with Impeach For Peace and have made the statement that on this issue, I have been deliberately non-partisan because it is so important. Now, with what happened to the Dennis Kucinich Bill HR 799 that has changed my entire perspective. At this time I told my local Minnesota Democratic friends in Impeach For Peace that my ceasefire was over and that the "gloves were indeed off." There has been no argument from them on this. As I told them, it was time to look seriously at "Plan B" for Impeachment. More on "Plan B" and what it entails in a minute.

Let me explain what the corporate media and the corporatized leadership of the Democratic Party will not tell you. We need to understand that their actions and lack of actions are actually protecting the Bush Administration and their illegal activity from the wrath of "We The People." All over the country, while rank and file Democrats and indeed the majority of the American people want to have Bush and Cheney Impeached, the Democratic party leadership have done everything in their power to stop Impeachment. While at the same time, hyping us all up on how evil those in the Bush Administration are. Of course this mirrors the blatant lie on the Iraq war, where the Democrats tell us about needing 60 votes in the Senate to stop the Iraq war. That is a lie as the truth is, they only need 41 votes to block funding for this illegal and immoral war. Just don't expect a Democrat politician or their apologists to tell us that. So it is with Impeachment. The lie being perpetrated on a lack of Impeachment and accountability is that "it will make the Democrats look bad, small and spiteful." Just as the lie on not having enough votes to stop the war, so this lie must be exposed.

The truth is that having the Congress call for Impeachment will do two very important things at the same time. It will begin the public investigation into the crimes of the Bush Administration and then the corporate media will be unable to ignore the issue further. They will be forced into investigating and reporting it in a serious and meaningful way. The second part is, in my book even more important than the first. With the American people awakened to the crimes being perpetrated in our names, the groundswell of support for Impeachment will take off immediately.

Instead, we have seen the movement for Impeachment squashed all over the country. From Vermont, to New Mexico and elsewhere all over our country it has been stifled and marginalized. Not by the "greater evil" Republican Party but instead by the "lesser evil" Democratic Party. So very often, going against the wishes of the rank and file Democrats. As I stated earlier I have been working with a primarily Democratic organization Impeach For Peace and have witnessed this phenomena going on all over the nation, as well as locally. Our federal government has failed us, all of us. Instead of standing up and protecting us, they have blocked and stalled the Impeachment Movement all over our nation.

By their actions and equally important, lack of action our elected officials have abandoned their oath to "defend and protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic." Even more damning, they have, as stated earlier actually protected the Bush Administration from being held accountable by us for their criminal and immoral actions. In Minnesota recently Congressman John Conyers was recently challenged on this very point. He told us that it was more important to be re-elected and have a Democrat in the White House than this critical issue of accountability for those criminals in the White House. These are his words here, not mine. I told him that we have reached a point in our nation that we need to hold those people accountable who refuse to hold this criminal Administration itself accountable. Remember this term for later.

Then we have the earlier mentioned HR 799, entered into the political record by Dennis Kucinich. What happened to that Bill irrefutably makes my case. When presidential candidate Kucinich used his position and privilege as a Congressman to introduce this bill, calling for the Impeachment of Dick Cheney look at what happened. It was the Democratic Party which attempted to table it, to effectively kill the Bill and all that it stood for, accountability. Yet in a stunning turn around, it was the Republicans who actually kept it alive, in an obvious attempt to make the Democrats look bad. In fact the story goes that an unnamed Republican "accidently" dropped his pen where he could not reach it. Then the Republicans quickly had a meeting and decided to keep it alive, obviously for what they perceived as short term political gain. At the obvious behest of House leader Nancy Pelosi, the Bill was then sent to the Judiciary Committee, where it currently sits. We must note that it now sits with it's virtual mirror HR 333 which also calls for the Impeachment of Cheney. HR 333 has been languishing with no movement for over six months now and it appears that HR 799 will suffer the same fate, as was intended. For all intended purposes "Mission Accomplished" or so it would appear.

It was at this point that I told my friends in Impeach For Peace that "the gloves are off." Now we need to analyze why the Democratic Party leadership would make such a horrific political blunder. Some have put it down to yet another example of "the Dems spinelessness and cowardice again." I disagree. I hold, firmly that the reason that Nancy Pelosi, Barck Obama, Hillary Clinton, yes even John Edwards and John Conyers have been guilty of these unbelievable acts of craven cowardice is not just simple lack of political will and spine. I put it to you all, very directly that the real reason that they are not moving and in fact are attempting to kill Impeachment is much deeper and troubling.

The plain and simple reason that the Democratic Party are willing to go against the will of the majority, not just in their Party but indeed the general public is this simple and chilling. Their owners won't let them. Their owners are, of course the wealthy, monied corporate interests who own the entire political system, media and just about everything else in our country. Those people and interests who fund campaigns, the ones responsible for the slick, glitzy TV adds, the fancy glossy brochures and parades that we often attend. The very groups and people that the Democratic party claims to fighting against. They own them, they are not our representatives, they are theirs. Years of watching good, honest people "petitioning" them has made that clear to me. The sooner we all come to that realization and fight for a true representative, grassroots government, the sooner we can actually achieve it. Of course that means we have to look honestly and realistically on where we are and just how bad and deep the mess we find ourselves is. "They" are not the solution, they are a manifestation of the problem we face. I base this on the dual understanding, the undeniable truth that corporate interests own both political parties. Corporations do not like instability and Impeachment would indeed create some short term instability in the market. So they are probably threatening to withhold their campaign constibutions if Impeachment is not "taken off the table."

Short-term instability in the markets? We've had nothing but instability in the markets for the last 5 years and it's only getting worse by the day. I don't disagree that the corporations own our politicians (for the most part) and our political system, but I don't believe that it's concern for corporate profits and a stable market that is responsible for impeachment being off the table. If so, the role that plays is small. Something else is going on. Something far bigger.

Plan B

This leads us to Plan B and all that entails, given the realities just described. Here in Minnesota we are starting to organize a plan, a call to action. Since the federal government have indeed failed us all so dramatically, we need to go local. The good people in Impeach For Peace have found a way to make that happen. According to the Thomas Jefferson Manuel On Impeachment, there is another way to institute the will of We The People in regards to Impeachment. Apparently Jefferson foresaw the situation we find ourselves in today. he gave us the blueprint for Plan B.

It is this simple. We need to have just One State House and Senate pass, together a Resolution for Impeachment. That happens and the Congress which has failed us by refusing to even bring it to the House is forced to put all other business aside and deal with Impeachment. Here in Minnesota we are, even now planning for a Call To Impeachment Rally on the steps of the St Paul Minnesota Capitol. It is planned for February 15th, the first day of business for the Minnesota House and Senate. At the end of the rally, we in essence Storm the Bastille. The message will be clear, crystal clear. We are not "lobbying" or begging for Impeachment, we are demanding it. We will also be crystal clear in this message. If the politicians we talk to, do not actively do everything in their power to promote Impeachment, we will hold them accountable. They will face opposition in the next election and their oppositions message will be simple. He or she will face another candidate running against him with this message, "this person violated his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic." We will ask them, in very plan language [if] they want to face the accusation that "they actually protected the Bush Administration?" The simple beauty of this plan is that we will be afforded the opportunity of talking to people and potentially affecting them, on the local level where they are much less beholden to the corporate interests which has made our democracy "the best that money can buy" on the Federal level, as investigative journalist Greg Palast has pointed out.

Of course it would be beautiful if Minnesota did this, which we will but can we imagine the impact of California, Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Arizona, New Mexico and a host of other states did the same thing?

This is your call to action. Make it happen. As is often the case, if you face a career politician who will use the structure of his political party and it's apparatus, then this is your opportunity to use us, the Green Party. That way you can't be crushed or marginalized in a primary race by those who are better funded than you. Get involved in your local Green Party and seek the Green endorsement in your run for office. If you don't know how, contact myself at or (612)327-6902. We can actually make this thing happen. We can and should put Impeachment and accountability back on the table. It is our table to set after all, although those in Washington Dc seem to have forgotten that.

Like I said at the start of this piece, I had very deliberately been non-partisan on the issue of Impeachment because it was so critical. I am now strictly partisan for the same reason. Now is the time to get active on Impeachment. Let us hold the Bush Administration accountable for their crimes. Not just because it is the right thing to do but to ensure that their are no further abuses of power in the future. Let us all do this now, acting as though the very future of our democratic Republic depends on it. It just may.

Michael Cavlan RN

I understand your deeply felt need for accountability, Michael, but impeachment s not going to happen, period. Accountability will not be achieved through that route. Bush and Cheney will serve out their terms.

The Dems would have us believe that after the long investigations of Bill Clinton, leading to one of the most embarrassing acts of government I have ever witnessed, they don't want to play that game an start the awful habit of government of investigation. Of course, I don't buy that for one minute. Clinton was impeached for something very minor for a president. What Cheney and Bush have done brings to mind Nuremberg. Clinton had approval ratings of over 70% during the height of the impeachment debacle and the majority of American want Bush and Cheney held accountable. There really is no comparison.

Maybe they, the Dems, just don't realize it yet, but accountability for our own war criminals is the only first step on the long journey back from the Bush/Cheney abyss, hopefully to some credibility and respect, down the road.

Maybe there is something that can be done, legally, after Bush and Cheney leave office (and the ability to pardon.)

Maybe the Dems and and a large number of Rethugs are scared witless of the two madmen in the White House. There may well be good reason. I know quite a few question of us question their mental health. The folks in Washington are getting a much closer look and hear a lot more than we do.. Could be things are even worse than we think.

The Bush administration has been spying on a lot of people for a very long time. Wonder what they have on some of the Dems., or GOPers for that matter. These people are politicians. Very few, if any, are pure and innocent, or haven't done something that could be spun to look horrible.

Maybe, and this is the worse, maybe we don't really have even a semblance of a two party system. With Blue Dog Democrats, Holy Joe Lieberman and a few others, clearly beholden to the sociopathic corporations, do we really have two parties?

Not that it matters all that much. Even if we do, the two parties are so damned entrenched they have long sense lost touch with the people.

(The only top tier candidate that doesn't fit the mold of corporate puppet is John Edwards. He is our only chance of avoiding a very ugly mess.)

The answer to our problems is not impeachment, Michael, though that would be the great first step we need. I'm afraid that the only answer to our problem is a new revolution. According to Thomas Jefferson we are already well over a hundred years over due.


(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, December 14, 2007

Alan, The Unhinged, Plays The Fool For The GOP, Again

What was this guy doing in the debates in the first place? Did he just start running?

Kunnich is left out of the Dems' debate and Keyes, the Unhinged, in invited to the GOP debate. Isn't having Keyes there, on the platform, embarrassing for the GOP candidates. He is one of the most hateful nut-cases I have ever seen and can always be counted on to say something so crazy that he can't help but make most of the news.

Hey, maybe that is the reason for his appearance at this late date! Nothing any of the other candidates could possibly say, no matter how, nutty, shocking or scandalous, could top the spewing from Keyes.

This was the last debate before the primaries. They invited Keyes to over-shadow anything stupid they might say.

JOHNSTON, IA - Alan Keyes made himself the story today, which is exactly why he shouldn't have been invited to the debate in the first place. The fact that Keyes will grab at least a portion of the headlines with his unhinged performance, in addition to the fact that no serious blows were landed in the debate, means today's event is unlikely to change a thing.

All the major candidates did well. Romney and Huckabee were both smooth, and Thompson turned in probably his best performance of the year. None of the candidates did anything to hurt themselves, though there were no signature moments (except Fred's quip about Mitt having become a pretty good actor) that will be remembered by the time the sun rises tomorrow.

Funny, I thought Thompson looked like the big old croaking Bull-frog that he is. He was hateful in refusing to answer a yes or no question, from a female questioner. It made him look like a bully and it made me mad. He doesn't seem to get that when he is rude to the press he is being rude to the people. They are asking questions for us. Maybe we should enlighten him.

But they were all overshadowed by Keyes, who continued his sideshow in the spin room after the debate, complaining about the way he was treated by the moderator. But this time he came up against a very hostile press corps. Asked whether he felt he had "marred" the debate, Keyes gave an indignant response about the ruling elites subverting the will of the people.

The day Keyes become the will of the people is the day the U.S.A. becomes just one huge open-air mental institution and should be put on lock-down.

Another reporter said, "don't you feel you were lucky to be invited to this debate in the first place?" Astonishingly, Keyes turned to the reporter and said, "is that a racial question?" It was strange to hear Keyes play the race card, and he dodged when asked about it.

Keyes playing the race card is about as strange as Dick Cheney playing the gay card...oh, that's right, he did that, did he not? Has Keyes ever acknowledged that he is black?

A bit later Mike Huckabee entered and did brief segment on CNN. Huckabee explained the context behind the NY Times Magazine story that has been at the top of the news all day, and said that he went over after the debate and apologized to Romney, telling him that he did not want Romney's faith to be an issue.

(Yeah, right, Mike. You may have gotten away with it, but you and I both know that you sunk Romney for good with that "Jesus is Satan's brother" bit. Geeze, preacher Mike, you seem a little sleazy for a holy man, but we in America should be geting used to that by now, eh?)

Huckabee also said he was pleased with the way the debate turned out because he had expected to see his blood all over the floor of the debate stage this afternoon, but left "without a bandaid." With only 22 days left until caucus day, that might be the biggest story of all.

Probably no Gooper on that stage wanted to go there with you, Mikey. You're more embarrassing than the Unhinged Keyes, himself. Crazy people can be overlooked to some degree by most people, but you claim to be sane.

(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 Iran Off The Hook?

Well, of course it isn't! Only our corporate news-media numb-skulls would be idiotic enough to believe that.

Why is Iran not of the hook? The NeoCons and their counterparts in Israel say so, that's why.

These nerdly warmongers appear to feel way too safe, spouting off at the mouth, not representing anybody, really, for our own good.

Perhaps it is time for them to understand a few things; the first being that they are no safer than the rest of us and they could be much less safe if they continue to make the rest of us even less safe with their brain-dead ideologies.

If Israel is not happy with the NIE, it does not matter who else is.

By Anwaar Hussain


The bolt from the blue called the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran, which was released on Monday the 3rd of December, reported “with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program ‘because of international pressure’.”

The NIE, in reality, is a final acknowledgement, and a sort of culmination, of a long trail of track-2 diplomacy and intel gathering that the US State department and intelligence agencies have been conducting, and misconducting, with their Iranian counterparts for some time now.

The report is almost a complete U-turn of the community’s 2005 judgment that Iran was “determined to develop nuclear weapons”. Apart from being a supposed damper on the war lust of the Neocons, the report is a grudging acknowledgement by the West’s intelligence agencies of the rationality of the mad Mullahs.

Now that it is proven that the mad Mullahs were not so mad after all, is Iran off the hook? To answer this question let us go back in time to the immediate post 9/11 period.

In a very recent article written by John H. Richardson in the Esquire magazine, two former high-ranking policy experts from the Bush administration have, in some startling disclosures, enumerated several Iranian overtures to resolve their issues with the United States and the Americans’ arrogant rejection of the same.

In this revealing Esquire report, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann, who worked at the highest levels of the Bush administration as Middle East policy experts for the National Security Council, disclosed that whatever little overt U.S.-Iran engagement the world did see was ‘never serious and designed to fail’. They cite, as an example, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker’s much-publicized meeting with his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad. Crocker didn’t even have permission from the White House to schedule a second meeting.

Earlier too, according to the duo, the Iranians had been offering to provide many significant concessions in the war against the Taliban. They agreed to provide assistance if any American was shot down near their territory, consented to let the U.S. send food in through their border, and even agreed to restrain some “really bad Afghans,” like an extremely anti-American warlord named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, by quietly putting him under house arrest in Tehran. But the most important thing, according to Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann, was that the Iranians agreed to talk unconditionally. Mann says, “They specifically told me time and again that they were doing this because they understood the impact of this attack on the U.S., and they thought that if they helped us unconditionally, that would be the way to change the dynamic for the first time in twenty-five years.”

The American response came in President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address. In that speech Bush linked Iran to Iraq and North Korea in a portentous phrase, “the axis of evil”. By then the Iranians had been trying to engage American government in high-level diplomacy for more than a year. The shock for them was profound.

Despite the rude ‘axis of evil’ jolt, according to the illuminating Esquire article, the Iranians continued to walk the extra mile in their efforts to normalize their relations with United States. In a fax to the State Department from the Swiss ambassador to Iran, who represented American interests in that country, the ambassador reported to have met with Sadeq Kharrazi, a well-connected Iranian who was the nephew of the then foreign minister and son-in-law to the supreme leader. Kharazzi presented to the Swiss ambassador a stunning proposal for peace in the Middle East, approved at the highest levels in Tehran. In the two-page summary of the proposal, the Iranians gave some spectacular allowances to the United States. Among other things, they promised to take “decisive action” against all terrorists in Iran, an end of support for Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, a promise to cease its nuclear program and, above all, also an agreement to recognize Israel.

The White House not only ignored the offer, it lodged a formal complaint with the Swiss government about their ambassador’s meddling. What’s more, a little while later, America sent a second carrier group to the Persian Gulf, its troops began to arrest Iranians living in Baghdad, blaming them for meddling in Iraq and openly started accusing Iran of “providing material support” for attacks on U.S. forces, with undertones of a legal justification for a preemptive attack.

According to the op-ed, the situation, in fact, became so alarming that Colin Powell had to warn, “You can’t negotiate when you tell the other side, ‘Give us what a negotiation would produce before the negotiations start’.” Even Henry Kissinger, the chief author of the Cambodian Bombing campaign, urged the need to “exhaust every possibility to come to an understanding with Iran.”

The overtures of the protagonists in the events, from immediately post 9/11 period right up to the 2007 NIE, show pretty unambiguously who had whom fixed in their sights and to what end. So much for the madness of the mad Mullahs.

That was then.

Since the report has been released, in the past few days, the war mongers within the US establishment, and their sympathizers all around, have left no stone unturned in disparaging the NIE to make sure that the US war machine stays on course i.e. on an inexorable path of slamming into Iran.

It has come to light that at the time of his infamous World War-3 statement in the month of October, President George Bush was already aware of the contents of the yet to be released NIE report. Despite the knowledge, he went ahead and proclaimed, “I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them (Iran) from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon,”. His administration, resultantly, remains unyielding in its position that policy toward Iran shouldn’t change.

What people has he said this to, I wonder.

Generally speaking, nearly all the U.S. hardliners on Iran are saying the intelligence document is too ridden with internal political bickerings to be credible. In a Washington Post Op-ed, one John R. Bolton, a fanatical Neocon, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the author of “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad” and currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, observes;

“That such a flawed product could emerge after a drawn-out bureaucratic struggle is extremely troubling. While the president and others argue that we need to maintain pressure on Iran, this “intelligence” torpedo has all but sunk those efforts, inadequate as they were.”

Fox News reports Rush Limbaugh, a rabid Neocon mouthpiece, as blasting the testimony in the Conservative talk radio. He called it a “sabotage of the Bush administration,”. The Wall Street Journal editorial, yet another conservative periodical, shreds the credibility of the NIE by proclaiming some of its authors as ‘hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials.’

Above all Israel, the chief beneficiary of America’s foreign policy largesse, doesn’t seem too happy with the NIE. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is said to have observed, “We cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the Earth, even if it is from our greatest friend.” If Israel is not happy with the NIE, it does not matter who else is.

If Israel is not happy with the NIE, let them deal with Iran, but without us.

So in conclusion, none of the original members of the war party seem to be much impressed by the NIE. Moreover, little things like a NIE cannot be allowed to stand in the way of ideologies needing solid military muscle for a springboard. Iran, therefore, stays on the hook. The American military juggernaut, for the same reason, stays on course. Only the countdown may be delayed a wee bit.

In an inadvertently honest observation, the NIE categorically states that “Tehran’s decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to weapons irrespective of the political, economic and military costs”. Wish the same could be said of the country in whose service the spy masters have compiled the report.

Copyrights : Anwaar Hussain

(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.

Democrats: Plan B

American people plan B: Tax Revolts and Consumer Strikes. Money is the only thing they understand.

We have waited for too long for leadership out of Washington, while millions lose their homes, thousands lose their relatives in the sands of Iraq for GOP corporate supporters' bottom lines, more and more Americans go without healthcare every year and many, many more have inadequate healthcare.

It's time for the American people to act. What are we paying taxes for? Just think about it.

We have already consumed ourselves into deadly obesity, more and more gadgets that we don't need and we don't know what effect these gadgets are having on us and/or our kids, fossil fuels that get more and more expensive everyday and are killing the planet at a rapid pace, and we have, as a nation and as individuals, lived way beyond our means for over 40 years now.

It's time for Plan B, alright, but Plan B belongs to the American people and we need to act on it.

Plan B For Pelosi And Reid

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, December 14, 2007; A39

Congressional Democrats need a Plan B.

Republicans chortle as they block Democratic initiatives -- and accuse the majority of being unable to govern. Rank-and-filers are furious that their leaders can't end the Iraq war. President Bush sits back and vetoes at will.

Worse, Democrats are starting to blame each other, with those in the House wondering why their Senate colleagues don't force Republicans to engage in grueling, old-fashioned filibusters. Instead, the GOP kills bills by coming up with just 41 votes. Senators defend themselves by saying that their House colleagues don't understand how the august "upper" chamber works these days.

If Bush's strategy is to drag Congress down to his low level of public esteem, he is succeeding brilliantly. A Post-ABC News poll released this week found that only 33 percent of Americans approved of Bush's handling of his job -- and just 32 percent felt positively about Congress's performance. The only comfort for Democrats: The public dislikes Republicans in Congress (32 percent approval) even more than it dislikes congressional Democrats (40 percent approval).

The Democrats' core problem is that they have been unable to place blame for gridlock where it largely belongs, on the Republican minority and the president.

In an ideal world, Democrats would pass a lot of legislation that Bush would either have to sign or veto. The president would have to take responsibility for his choices. The House has passed many bills, but the Republican minority has enormous power in the Senate to keep the legislation from getting to the president's desk. This creates the impression that action is being stalled through some vague and nefarious congressional "process."

Not only can a minority block action in the Senate, but the Democrats' nominal one-vote majority is frequently not a majority at all. A few maverick Democrats often defect, and the party runs short-handed when Sens. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama are off running for president.

And Bush is learning that even when bills reach his desk, he can veto them with near impunity. On Wednesday, Bush issued his second veto of a bill to extend coverage under the State Children's Health Insurance Program to 10 million kids. Democrats have the high ground on the issue and more than two-thirds support in the Senate, but the bill lacks a veto-proof House majority.

Bush has nothing to lose. He can't run again. He doesn't have to face the voters again. He can do pretty much as he pleases, until he runs up against someone else with nothing to lose, and he and the Republicans are creating more of them every day.

After Bush vetoed the first version of the SCHIP bill, Democrats changed it slightly to make it more attractive to Republicans. And the new version passed both houses, too. When Bush vetoed the SCHIP measure again, almost nobody paid attention. The Post ran a three-paragraph story on the corner of Page A18; the New York Times ran a longer story -- on Page A29.

Democrats can't even get credit for doing the right thing. If Congress and Bush don't act, the alternative minimum tax -- originally designed to affect only Americans with very high incomes -- will raise taxes on about 20 million middle- and upper-middle-class people for whom it was never intended.

Sounds like another reason for a tax revolt. That is about the only thing that will get anyone's attention

Democrats want to protect those taxpayers but also to keep their pay-as-you-go promise to offset new spending or tax cuts with tax increases or program cuts elsewhere. They would finance AMT relief with $50 billion in new taxes on the very wealthiest Americans or corporations. The Republicans say no, just pass the AMT fix.

Here's a guarantee: If the Democrats fail to pass AMT relief, they will be blamed for raising taxes on the middle class. If they pass it without the tax increase, deficit hawks will accuse them of selling out.

What's the alternative to internecine Democratic finger-pointing of the sort that made the front page of yesterday's Post? The party's congressional leaders need to do whatever they have to do to put this year behind them. Then they need to stop whining. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should put aside any ill feelings and use the Christmas break to come up with a joint program for 2008.

They could start with the best ideas from their presidential candidates in areas such as health care, education, cures for the ailing economy and poverty reduction. Agree to bring the same bills to a vote in both houses. Try one more time to change the direction of Iraq policy. If Bush and the Republicans block their efforts, bring all these issues into the campaign. Let the voters break the gridlock.

If Democrats don't make the 2008 election about the Do-Nothing Republicans, the GOP has its own ideas about whom to hold responsible for Washington's paralysis. And if House and Senate Democrats waste their time attacking each other, they will deserve any blame they get next fall.

(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 Clinton Campaign Blunder

Funny thing is, Shaheen is probably right. Obama will be questioned on his drug use, by the Republicans, should he become the Dem's nominee, unlike George W Bush, who should have been questioned, but wasn't. Obama, unlike Bush, shows no apparent brain damage from his teenage experimentation. Bush's affair with alcohol went on until he was forty. He was an admitted binge drinker. Binge drinking is probably the worst kind of alcoholic drinking when it comes to recovery.

There is every reason to believe that Bush may have hit the bottle again, in recent years. Alcohol was one of Bush's coping mechanisms for many years. The ordinary stress of the presidency is bad enough. Being the president when the country is attacked, as it was on 9/11, multiplies that stress by at least 10, I would guess. It would be normal for Bush to return to his old coping mechanism, especially when all his policies started unraveling and his lies revealed.

Teenage drug experimentation sets up no such danger.

By Tom Curry
National affairs writer
updated 2 hours, 38 minutes ago

DES MOINES, Iowa - “It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder.”

So said the French politician Talleyrand after Napoleon had ordered the murder of one of his political rivals.

Much of the rhetoric in the spin room Thursday afternoon after the Democratic presidential debate in Iowa was about an apparent blunder committed by Bill Shaheen, the master New Hampshire political operative and until Thursday the co-chairman of the Clinton campaign.

Shaheen had been forced to resign after remarking to a Washington Post reporter that Sen. Barack Obama’s youthful drug use would be fodder for Republican attacks if he were the Democratic nominee.

Obama’s admitted teen drug taking would “open the door,” Shaheen predicted, to questions such as “Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?” This would be “hard to overcome,” in Shaheen’s view.

Was Shaheen’s commentary truly a blunder? Had the incident helped Obama or created an opening for John Edwards?

Or might it turn out to hurt Obama and thus help Clinton?

Why take Shaheen seriously?

There was also another question that went unasked Thursday: since no one could mistake Shaheen for an objective commentator, why would anyone take his remarks all that seriously to begin with?

As of Thursday night it was too soon to tell, but as sometimes happens in presidential politics, a peripheral figure suddenly became for 24 hours the most crucial person in the campaign.

Shaheen, the husband of former New Hampshire governor Jeanne Shaheen, has a sterling record of success: he piloted the New Hampshire campaign of Jimmy Carter in 1980, when he beat back the challenge of Ted Kennedy, that of Al Gore in 2000, when he crushed Bill Bradley, and the John Kerry effort in 2004, when he finished off Howard Dean.

My vivid memory of Shaheen is of his utter self-confidence. At the lowest point of the Kerry campaign in New Hampshire in September of 2003, when Dean’s popularity was at its peak, Shaheen told me that Dean would come unstuck — and sure enough, he did.

On Thursday Shaheen said in a written statement, “I made a mistake and in light of what happened, I have made the personal decision that I will step down as the Co-Chair of the Hillary for President campaign.”

But it is difficult to imagine a strategist as canny as Shaheen is making a thoughtless “mistake.” A deliberate “mistake” — maybe.

He said in his statement that his comments “were in no way authorized by Senator Clinton or the Clinton campaign.” They need not have been to be effective.

How Trippi saw the 'blunder'

Edwards strategist Joe Trippi said the Clinton campaign was dogged by the reality that she has long been a Washington insider and can’t credibly campaign as a candidate who’ll radically break with the politics of the past, as Edwards and Obama each claim they will do.

“This (Shaheen episode) just makes them (the Clinton team) look even more political,” said Trippi. “They’re just digging themselves a deeper hole” into “the problem they’re trying to get out of.”

He added such attacks “are such a blunder” that they might help Obama.

But Trippi argued, using horse race imagery, “there’s a reason Obama has not run away from her and there’s a reason she hasn’t run away from him.” In other words, both horses are neck and neck on the backstretch.

“There’s a reason Obama hasn’t run away into the sunset and the reason is there’s a deep concern about his readiness to be president,” Tripp said.

Citing polling data on Obama, Trippi said, “A quarter of his own supporters think he’s not qualified to be president.”

Both Obama and Clinton are flawed candidates, he said, but “there’s another guy, John Edwards, who people here really like. They feel like they know him and they know he stands up for working people and they don’t have those kinds of doubts about him.”

Meanwhile, a few feet away from Trippi, Obama’s campaign manager David Axelrod was, in a restrained way, utterly enjoying the chance to spin reporters on the story line that the Shaheen episode cast a shadow on Clinton’s campaign.

CONTINUED: What did Clinton know?

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