Saturday, March 29, 2008

Clinton Credibility Causing Poll Slip

Clinton Risks Credibility Gap Over `Fudged' Claims, Stances

By Indira Lakshmanan

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- Hillary Clinton, accused of exaggerating her experience and reversing policy positions, risks a widening credibility gap that may undermine her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The New York senator, who this week admitted to misrepresenting the danger she confronted in Bosnia, also has come under fire for allegedly distorting her role in opposing free trade and the war in Iraq, and overstating her involvement in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and health insurance to children.

The debate over these and other statements is fueling distrust among voters, according to analysts and recent polls. A Pew Research survey released yesterday showed 30 percent of white Democrats -- a group Clinton needs in order to win the remaining primaries -- regard her as a ``phony,'' twice as many as those who perceive rival Barack Obama that way. In late February, just 7.8 percent of voters surveyed by Pew described her as ``untrustworthy.''

``She's either fudged her positions or been downright disingenuous,'' said Dan Gerstein, a Democratic strategist who isn't working for any candidate. ``Any one'' episode ``wouldn't hurt her, but the accumulated weight has turned Democratic voters against her.''

Clinton spokesman Jay Carson dismisses questions about her credibility. ``She made a mistake recounting a trip she made as first lady to what was in fact a war zone,'' he said, referring to Bosnia. Voters ``don't ask for perfection, they just want to know that you are working hard for them, and no one works harder than Senator Clinton.''

More to Mine

While Obama, 46, an Illinois senator, has also been accused of padding his resume and taking more credit than he deserves, Clinton's longer record offers more material to mine for contradictions. And some observers say she's held to a tougher standard.

``We pay more attention to her because we know more about her,'' said Hank Sheinkopf, an unaligned Democratic strategist. ``The Clintons have been part of the daily American soap opera for 20 years.'' By contrast, ``Barack Obama doesn't have enough experience in the Senate to `get him' on things,'' he said.

A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll conducted Feb. 21-25 found registered voters thought Senator John McCain, 71, the presumed Republican nominee, ``has more honesty and integrity'' than Clinton by a margin of 45 percent to 31 percent. Obama rated equally with McCain on those qualities. (That's gonna change. You can bet on that. McCrackers' character isn't as wonderful as everyone seems to think. Being tortured and held as a POW does not a saint make.)

Sheinkopf said Clinton hasn't done any more ``issue switching'' in the campaign than most candidates. ``What is new is the ability to catch it,'' he said. ``You can go online and check stuff instantly. Nobody gets away with anything.''

So, how smart can she be? The Blogosphere has been catching Junior and the Dick, etal in lie after lie for years now. Is she unaware of that? Perhaps, she was only briefed on the crime/lie catching abilities of the Blogosphere from time to time, as she was briefed on the NIE before the Iraq war vote.

Offering Ammunition

Still, Clinton, 60, has provided ammunition to opponents. She has insisted that she supported weapons inspections, not war, in Iraq in 2002, although she gave speeches that year advocating action against Saddam Hussein before voting to authorize the use of force.

Clinton did another turnabout on Jan. 25, 10 days after she won the primary in Michigan, where she was the only major candidate on the ballot. She said both Michigan's and Florida's delegates should count -- even though she had previously agreed they wouldn't because the states had violated party rules.

While she has asserted on the campaign trail that she opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement from the start, Robert Reich, who was secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton, said she never expressed to him concern about the labor and environmental issues that she highlights today.

``It was clear her concern about Nafta was about timing,'' Reich said in an interview, adding that she was afraid it might interfere with her universal health-care initiative.


Clinton has said she helped ``bring peace to Northern Ireland'' and ``create the Children's Health Insurance Program.'' Those are overstatements, according to principals in those events, some of whom say that while she was supportive, she wasn't a main negotiator.

Her Northern Ireland claims are a ``wee bit silly,'' Nobel laureate and former First Minister David Trimble was quoted as saying March 8 in the Telegraph, the British newspaper. ``Being a cheerleader'' is ``different from being a principal player,'' he said. But John Hume, who shared the Nobel Prize with Trimble, credited Clinton with ``playing a positive role for over a decade in helping to bring peace.''

Last month, she called on Obama to reject support from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan because of anti-Semitic remarks. When a Dallas TV station challenged her to denounce a Hispanic leader who said black politicians had never helped her people, Clinton replied, ``People have every reason to express their opinions. I just don't agree with that'' -- before her campaign rejected the remarks.

Wright Videos

I would dearly love to know who is behind the release of the "Wright videos." Not that knowing would change the content of the videos nor make them less embarrassing, to say the least, but for the simple reason that no one else seems to care who was behind it.

This week, Clinton said if she were Obama, she would have left the church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his longtime pastor from whom Obama distanced himself only after videos of incendiary remarks circulated. (But we will never know, will we, because Hill is just saying all kinds of crape' de'olla, these days. Yet Clinton critics said she embraced Suha Arafat in November 1999 after a speech in which the late Palestinian leader's wife, in Arabic, accused Israel of using toxic gas on Palestinians.

Clinton said the translation she heard was incomplete; hours later, when she received a fuller transcript, she condemned the remarks. (Without checking out the accusation? How did she know whether or not to condemn the remarks or not, or are any accusations made against Israel to be condemned out-of-hand, true or not, by any U.S. politician and/or his/her wife/husband?)

To contact the reporter on this story: Indira Lakshmanan in Washington at

Last Updated: March 28, 2008 00:01 EDT

(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, March 28, 2008

Have Americans Lost Their Minds Entirely?

It seems, almost, predestined, doesn't it, that America, the great experiment, will find itself confined to the dust bin of history by this cycle of greed gone wild, replaced on the map by a sappy kind of third world country, where even our machines don't work, our infra-structure is a crumbled-down heap and our wealth buys us nothing of any real value, only toys to poison our kids and vitamins to poison ourselves.

For over 7 year now we have watched while all manner of crimes have been committed by this president and his administration, with help, I'm sure, from Neoconservatives lurking outside of officialdom, in the shadows, like....say...Michael Ledeen, where all kinds of sin can be so easily committed; the forged Niger documents come to mind.

Have we reached the end of our collective tether? If so, are we going to simply go along with what has been and pretend all is normal, with politics as usual, just as most of us have for the last over 7 years (actually for the last 4 decades, but that's a long story) and allow ourselves and our nation to be swept along by a history we did not create nor did we want, or are we going to become a force of history, all of our own, yelling STOP, with pitch forks, torches and our flag, held high?

We are the people, we are the law, we are America. It's about time, don't you think, that we started acting like it!

In today's political environment John McCain should possess polling numbers below Barry Goldwater's in 1964, and face a similar electoral-count massacre of 486 to 52. Like his Arizona predecessor, McCain celebrates the trigger happy abroad and economically retrograded at home, only this time around -- and quite dissimilar to Goldwater's milieu -- the nation is bathed in the immediate backwash of two unfettered terms of right-wing abominations.

One would think we would have had enough -- that in the radioactive afterglow of modern conservatism, few within artillery range of the Bush-Goldwater mindset would even consider endorsing another four years of this madness. Yet there sits McCain, as snug and crazy as a bedbug with competitive numbers. In many polls, he's actually ahead.

It's enough to make you question not so much his sanity, but ours.

True, the maverick label still sticks to McCain and many voters find that appealing. But they clearly aren't listening to the man. If they were, they'd find he's offering up the same radical orthodoxy -- now there's a profound but existential contradiction in terms -- of George W. Bush & Friends. Like Voltaire's quip about the Holy Roman Empire, modern American conservatism is neither modern, nor American, nor conservative.

Well, it's modern in the sense that it walks among us, of course -- as did the remnants of Voltaire's Holy Roman Empire in his day -- but only in that sense. Otherwise, on the foreign affairs side of the policy equation, our modern conservatism that has come to be known as neo-conservatism is as outdated, useless and costly as the British Empire, which the Brits were smart enough to jettison before its antique uselessness and smothering costs brought down the motherland.

And that's all that John McCain is selling -- precisely that which the imperial George Bush has peddled for so long and vast swaths of Americans finally, we thought, swore off of. No more. Let us out of this nightmare. If there's some rational benefit to it, it's microscopic beyond our human powers of discernment. We want out, and not through the exit of radical orthodoxy, but radical change.

That was the national cry that went up, yet what's going down is depressingly familiar. This is not news or isolated insight. I'm saying nothing that millions of tuned-in Americans don't already know. McCain is peddling merely what Bush peddled -- a rejected, discredited ideology that left unchecked will be the ineluctable ruin of America. I repeat: rejected, discredited. I'll also repeat: and there sits McCain, as snug and crazy as a bedbug with competitive numbers.

This we know, but I'm getting to a larger point here, so bear with me.

It's also true that McCain is attempting to peddle the ideologically discredited with a bit of a twist. He has rediscovered the concepts of alliances and international cooperation, those once-towering hallmarks of American foreign policy that got buried in the rubble of the go-it-alone Bush Doctrine. But if one actually listens to the man, one finds they are just window dressing, a trifling of ideological marketing designed to make the buyer think the new model is somehow different from the old.

Consider, for instance, these lines from McCain's foreign policy speech delivered Wednesday:

The United States cannot lead by virtue of its power alone. We must be strong politically, economically, and militarily. But we must also lead by attracting others to our cause, by demonstrating once again the virtues of freedom and democracy, by defending the rules of international civilized society and by creating the new international institutions necessary to advance the peace and freedoms we cherish....

We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new global compact -- a League of Democracies -- that can harness the vast influence of the more than one hundred democratic nations around the world to advance our values and defend our shared interests.

Someone may want to remind the good senator that we already have such a Wilsonian league, but we'll leave that peculiar disconnect for another day. For what we should note instead is what then flowed from all this civilized brotherhood in the advancement of international peace and domestic virtue:

Those who argue that our goals in Iraq are unachievable are wrong, just as they were wrong a year ago when they declared the war in Iraq already lost.

It would be an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a great nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people and consign them to the horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing, and possibly genocide that would follow a reckless, irresponsible, and premature withdrawal. Our critics say America needs to repair its image in the world. How can they argue at the same time for the morally reprehensible abandonment of our responsibilities in Iraq?

In other words: Shove it. They're our goals, it's our character at stake, our sole responsibilities and we cannot walk away. And if our international critics don't like it, well, they can just direct their attention to this paragraph's introduction.

Same old, same old -- the very same neoconservative cowboyism that has been so costly in American lives, treasure, reputation and global influence. In response to Bush's version, the American people finally and rightfully said they would buy it no more. And yet they now largely embrace its latest salesman. What gives?

We know what gives -- a seemingly hopelessly divided opposition that ensures a President McCain by default. And that brushes up against the larger point I promised.

The last time there was this much anger and division among an anti-war crowd and within the Democratic party, we got Nixon. Just a Warning to the Wise; that is, if Wisdom still exists in America. One has to wonder when McCrackers has the poll numbers he has.

There's a debate among historians as old as empires, and it goes like this: Is history the stuff of impersonal, inalterable forces that sweep us helplessly along despite our knowing and desperate cries of "Stop"? Or do we determine our path through what historians call "human agency" -- the individual power to shape, for want of a better term, our destiny? In short, do we make history, or does it merely make fools of us?

Which brings us to the present, as well as the future.

We have watched in agonizing slow motion the disastrous consequences of Bushism, and we have screamed "Stop!" Yet despite our meager but best efforts, the madness now seems altogether plausible in its continuation. And someday, a few decades or so from now, after Americans have destroyed themselves, historians will ask: Did they not see what was coming? If so, was it nevertheless unstoppable? Was it but a force of history that swept them along into its dustbin?

Or, after we chose in 2008 not to destroy ourselves, will those historians sit back in admiration as well as in partial answer to the age-old question about human agency and say: They saw what was coming and God bless 'em, they changed course. Those in the great majority opposed to the madness took the proverbial bull by the horns by overcoming their comparatively insignificant, internal differences, and thereby unified as a force of unstoppable history themselves.

And who is it, now, who will soon go a long way in providing an answer to that? Pennsylvanians, that's who -- those at the original epicenter of the American Experiment.

For personal questions or comments you can contact P.M. 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.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Big Brother In The Sky or Government As God

I was just reading a Pdf article ( ) regarding spy satellites that have, until now, been used for spying on foreign countries, I hope for defensive purposes only, and not for corporate use. That is of concern, today, or it certainly should be of concern to citizens as well as the corporations, themselves, with government and corporations so closely intertwined that the majority of Telecoms welcomed the government to use them to spy on Americans and anyone else whose emails or phone calls are trafficked through the U.S., even though they knew it was illegal. (Only Quest refused until congress was asked and did change the law. Quest and its CEO were punished in every way one could think of short of Guantanamo, by use of government agencies; the IRS, etc.)

How very Nixonian!

Spy satellites have also been used on U.S. soil for such things as taking pictures of a place just after a disaster, so that "helping agencies" can see what roads are washed out, for example, where certain building are located, like schools, where people may have gathered for shelter. Satellite info. is used by the Department of Agriculture to asses crop damage and the like, after hurricanes, floods along the Mississippi and other large rivers and, of course, drought.
However, spy satellites have never been turned, so to speak, on the American people and used as a law enforcement tool, which could have terrible ramifications for what's left of the constitution; there are privacy issues, posse comitatus, 4th amendment issues (hard to type that and not laugh out loud, as the 4th amendment went out the window with Reagan's War On Drugs).

Now, the Bushites want just that; the freedom to use satellites, that we pay for, to spy on us and feed information to local law enforcement. They want the satellites under the auspices of DHS. Can this get anymore Orwellian? Actually, not even George O. himself could have imagined this.

The spy satellites we are talking about are billed as having technology and spying power that would make Google Earth and other such public programs seem ancient in comparison. This must be the technology we have heard can read a car's tag in Paris. They can do it in NYC as well.
Some might say that it doesn't matter to them because they aren't breaking the law. O.k, I can buy that, at first glance, but only at first glance.

We all probably break a law or two at least once every day of our lives. I know I have no idea what all the laws of this country are and what they prohibit or demand. I don't believe anyone does; no, not even attorneys. (There are way too many laws in this country.)

Also, what if the law should suddenly change, so drastically that it shocks and scares the hell out of you? For example, the suspension of the constitution and the declaration of martial Law, let's say at 3:00 am. Black Humvees, with highly armed black clad men standing with AK47s through the large sunroof, and other military utility vehicles with odd looking equipment on top. are patrolling your neighborhood when you awaken. You are being told, over a speaker system in the vehicles, that you should remain in your homes unless you are a first responder.

In that case you may leave for work as long as you have your ID showing that you are a fireman, policeman, work at a hospital or clinic, whatever. You are effectively cut off from your family and friends, the members of which, live all around the country or across town, as all civilian communication is blocked.

Only TeeVee stations that carry disaster or warning information will have information from the government. Maybe that will be the only station available for days on end. Those of us who need to go to work, will be allowed to do so, after one or two days of complete lock-down. Our fellow employees will have no more information than we do. After work, you will be told to go straight home; no happy hour for you; no contact with friends even for the comfort of opinion sharing. Schools will be closed.

Now, just sit with that for a moment. Feel it! What's that that's piercing your heart like cold steel? Could it be terror? What's that feeling in the pit of your stomach? Might you toss your cookies, or will stomach cramps just set in for a few days? Did you believe that your brain could ever reach the amount of Hz it is reaching now? It is literally whirling, trying to understand and figure what's best to do, for the sake of your family and yourself. Only one thing seems certain. You are on your own.

The information channel says there have been several terrorist events around the country. Have there really been terrorist events? With all you now know, can you really trust this?

TeeVee News is off the air.

The attacksy have been of different natures; a small nuclear event, several bio-attacks in Air Travel hubs, and several chemical attacks. No more information can be given for national security reasons. Of course, the attacks were carried out by al Qaeda, maybe even al Qaeda in Iraq. Seems we will believe anything.

Do any of you gun guys plan on running to fetch your small arsenal. Don't bother. You will only need one use on yourself, if for some reason your name is on a list somewhere, slap-happily compiled as was the terrorist watch list and the no-fly list, and Bushes private special forces have come to relocate you and maybe your entire family to a "detainment camp." (google is your friend). DHS and Blackwater are not. (Remember Katrina? That wasn't just a big ass hurricane, it was a message from your government. Don't count on us. The only answer we have to any problem is the military.

Is there really anything more frightening than falling into the hands of your own government, especially when it is in a state of war and habeas corpus has been deep-sixed.

What if the government shares information with the corporations, with which it is so intertwined, like insurance companies, for example?

Perhaps the government spy satellites can be made to watch every move you and your family make for a month, without your knowledge, of course. Car insurance people would certainly be interested in whether or not you or any member of your family are aggressive drivers, if you routinely drive over the speed limit in a 35 MPH speed zone where accidents are frequent or consistently speed on the highways. Remember that your teen-aged son is being scrutinized as well. Need I say more. That insurance company won't insure you. You will be referred to an insurance company that charges ungodly monthly payments.
What about standing up for your rights before you have zero left and you are living in a capitalist police state that will make the Soviet Union look like child's play?

* But here's a thought. Do we really have this kind of technology? If so, why in hell could we not find Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden? Why could we not pinpoint the exact locations of WMD caches in Iraq, supposedly easily spotted by these satellites, (other than the fact that there were none, of course).

Congress Critters on the intelligence committees know what we've got and what it can do. Why wouldn't they have asked for the satellite shots before they signed off on this illegal, unjust, freakin' war? Why was it necessary to kill millions of people, maim a few million more and destroy the lives of so many people here, in Iraq and in Afghanistan?

Oh. Do we still have that law against assassinating leaders of other nations; that nuisance of a law that I doubt administrations have obeyed in the first place, but makes a great excuse for all out war, with all of its glorious chaos and fog, during which all kinds of crime can be committed and unthinkable profits can be made by the very corporations who got those no-bid contracts for Iraq, Afghanistan and, yes, even New Orleans. (Make that
unspeakable profits, as well.) Of course, some corporate financial records are available for scrutiny in the public record. How much are some of these jackasses making off the books? How many millions have just disappeared in Iraq by now?

The truth is out there. But I doubt we will ever be privy to any of it.

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

HSC Fades To Black

from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 29
March 26, 2008

Secrecy News Blog:


The Homeland Security Council (HSC), a White House agency that advises the President on homeland security policy, has become one of the darkest corners of the U.S. Government.

The Council was established by President Bush shortly after September 11, 2001 and it was chartered as an agency within the Executive Office of the President in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

"Thereafter, the HSC disappeared from the public record," a new report from the Congressional Research Service noticed.

In particular, according to CRS: The Homeland Security Council "does not appear to have complied with requirements for Federal Register publication of such basic information as descriptions of its central organization."

It has never disclosed "where, from whom, and how the public may obtain information about it." Nor has it published the required "rules of procedure, substantive rules of general applicability, and statements of general policy."

Moreover, "No profile of, or descriptive information regarding, the HSC or its members and staff has appeared, to date, in the annual editions of the United States Government Manual."

This peculiar state of affairs was described by Harold C. Relyea of the Congressional Research Service in "Organizing for Homeland Security: The Homeland Security Council Reconsidered," March 19, 2008:

Last week, President Bush appointed assistant attorney general Kenneth L. Wainstein to be homeland security adviser and chair of the Homeland Security Council, succeeding Frances F. Townsend.

Hitting The Google netted this (among many others). Kenneth L. Wainstein is, of course, an expert in "further break[ing] down the 'wall' between intelligence and law enforcement." (That "wall" of course being just a quaint ol' goddamn piece of paper formerly known as the Constitution of the United States of America.)

"When the government fears the People, that is Liberty. When the People fear the government, that is tyranny." –Thomas Jefferson

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark: "Impeachment is not a political question. It is a constitutional duty." AMEN!

(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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Watchdog Group Names Worst of The Corporate Whores.........

.......of Babylon?

It's good to see "international" on the end of the watchdog name. Too many people think all the "evil ones" are American and that's simply not possible. "Multinational means just that: several nations involved, including people from other nations, some of whom we consider our allies, hard to know who those are after 7 years of BuCheny, and some of whom we consider our enemy, or at least not our best buds.

Some of these monolithic beasts are pulling the political strings, writing policy and legislation. This has to stop! They are not elected to act in such ways, but we can make them accountable for their sins. It may take some creativity on our part and a huge effort at getting the word out.

We can be highly effective, though they will tell us otherwise, if we can reach enough people and remember one simple thing; these people care about little other than money

Watchdog Group Names Top Corporate Abusers

by Haider Rizvi

NEW YORK - A corporate watchdog group has started a nationwide voting campaign to name and shame companies that run afoul of economic and environmental laws.0324 12

Opening the polls on its Web site this week, the Boston-based Corporate Accountability International (CAI) organization urged consumers to select the “most abusive” corporations of 2008.

“We believe all of the nominees deserve this infamous dishonor,” said CAI executive director Kelle Louaillier, “But we look forward to seeing which corporations voters select as the worst of the worst,”

The group’s nominees for its annual “Corporate Hall of Shame” elections include big names like Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Toyota, Countrywide, Mattel, Nestle, Blackwater, Wal-Mart, and Wendy’s.

Louaillier describes the “Hall of Shame” vote as an effective way to hold corporations accountable for major abuses of the public interest and to call politicians to task.

One of our basic truths at I.U. is that the politicians are the middle men and women and should be treated as such. If we, the people, honestly want change, not only in this country, but around the globe, it is the corporations, especially the huge multi-nationals, that should be the targets of our outrage. Luckily for us, they are much more vulnerable than any government. Their greatest weakness is MONEY.

Activist brothers and sisters, listen up! Hang together and fight smart for change.

The eight corporations named by CAI are accused of influencing elected officials, undermining democratic decision-making, and endangering the environment and public health. Global warming, war profiteering, and predatory lending figure prominently in the polls.

The group expects record turnout this election season before polls close on Jul. 4. It said more than 20,000 took part in its polls last year, which named ExxonMobil, Haliburton, and Wal-Mart as the worst abusers in the corporate world.

CAI said ADM was one of the worst corporations this year because the agribusiness giant is running massive operations in Indonesia’s peatlands to create palm plantations. Scientists say, due to the unique chemical makeup of Indonesia’s peat forests, clearing them is adding significantly to the threat of global warming.

Last year a report released by the environmental group Greenpeace International said massive deforestation in Indonesia is responsible for 1.8 billion tons of carbon emissions every year, which is about 4 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers say Indonesia has already lost about 50 percent of its peatlands and, largely as a result, it has become the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind only China and the United States.

According to CAI, ADM’s fiscal year 2007 revenues exceeded $44 billion, with its CEO, Patricia A. Woertz, raking in a salary of $2.7 million.

CAI believes the Toyota Motor Corporation is also contributing to inaction on global warming, saying the company has hypocritically crafted an image as a corporate ally in the fight against climate change while working behind the scenes to stop greenhouse gas mandates from becoming law. It says Toyota, which has already opposed “clean cars” legislation in many states, is employing aggressive lobbying efforts to kill a proposed bill that would force it to stop selling gas guzzlers by 2020.

Toyota is now the world’s largest automaker in terms of net worth, revenue, and profits, says CAI, adding that, while the company has built its green image around the well-known Prius, “hybrid sales tell only a small part of their story.” Toyota’s reliance on the 14-mile-per-gallon (mpg) Tundra pickup truck and other so-called “gas guzzlers” has held the company’s fleet-wide fuel efficiency down to levels below what they were several decades ago.

In considering consumer rights violations, CAI points to Countrywide Financial Corporation as the worst lender in the country. It says the nation’s top lender relies heavily on “predatory” mortgages for profiteering, with much of the lending directed to elderly and non-English-speaking borrowers.

Countrywide’s actions, according to CAI, have forced nearly a quarter of borrowers into default, at the same time its CEO earned a $120 million salary. Countrywide services about 17 percent of all mortgages in the United States.

Citing Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, the group points out that Countrywide CEO Angelo R. Mozilo made $13 million in a single month last summer even as the company’s financial situation worsened. Mozilo reportedly reaped about $150 million during 2007 by exercising his stock options and selling off his own Countrywide shares.

CAI said it nominated private security firm Blackwater Worldwide as a potential candidate for entry into the Hall of Shame for killing unarmed civilians in Iraq and using its ties to the Bush administration to secure lucrative contracts in that war-torn country;

The group has criticized Mattel Corporation for producing lead-contaminated children’s toys, and lobbying against bans on other toxic chemicals; It has charged Nestle Corporation with massive abuse of labor rights around the world, including the exploitation of children.

In the CAI litany of bad corporations, retail chain Wal-Mart takes the heat for displacing local businesses, failing to provide health plans for many employees, and opposing legislation that would improve homeland security at shipping ports.

On the question of public health safety, the group has raised serious concerns about the way the fast-food giant Wendy’s International is doing business. CAI researchers hold that the company’s refusal to meet nutrition labeling regulations is adding to the growing childhood obesity and diabetes epidemics.

Wendy’s is the third largest burger chain in the world after McDonald’s and Burger King. Wendy’s CEO Kerrii B. Anderson pulls in a $2.62 million annual salary.

The CAI Web site offers full details on abusive corporate practices and rallies the public to hold corporations accountable for their actions.

© 2008 One World

(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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's High Time That The Remaining Super-delagates Put And End To This

As part of their kitchen-sink effort to set new lows for political indecency, the Clintons have now managed to transform the wholly unexceptional -- a run-of-the-mill political endorsement -- into a national spectacle.

First there was merely the exceptionally offensive as their own creation. One thinks, for example, of the Clinton camp's disqualification of its party's front-runner as commander in chief. Not even Joe McCarthy sank that low or wallowed that filthily within his own ranks.

Coincidental to that have been the Clintons' imaginative reformulations of what "win" means. With each passing primary (most of which counted) and bygone caucus (most of which did not), they issued regular updates on contemporary reality. Delegates counted, then delegates didn't. The popular vote was critical, then it wasn't. The "big states" were king, then only the cumulative electoral count counted. Stay tuned.

Kind of like what the meaning of the word "is," "is."

Most political parties have rules for this sort of thing -- determining who's ahead, that is. The Democratic Party does too, actually, but the Clintons are hoping the world will little note, nor long remember, what the party ruled so long ago. If they can just churn and muddy the waters long enough, so that disunity and disorientation become the norm, then perhaps all that stuffiness about preset conditions will go the way of a Green convention.

Indeed, as the Bushites learned from the Clintonistas, the Clintonistas have learned from the Bushites. Let chaos reign.

Now -- to pick up where we started -- they force feed us the unexceptional as the spectacular.

Poor Bill Richardson. He weighed and pondered, evaluated and brooded, and finally issued an endorsement. Nothing remarkable about that, right? Happens every day, every race, with nary an explosion of outrage and vilification. Such endorsements swiftly pass into the history books and voters' receding memory. No big thing. But poor Mr. Richardson weighed not the unique fury and calculated looniness of tactical Clintonianism.

It will be interesting when a high hoohoh, who is white, endorses Obama. I can't wait to see if he or, even worse, she will endure such wrath as Richardson has had to endure, or is that reserved for Hispanics whom the Clintons rescued from the political dog pound of political obscurity, or so they say.

It began much like the aftermath of any other political rebuff. "One adviser ... described Mr. Clinton as more philosophical than angry about it." Then high tactical-muckamuck Mark Penn chimed in with rather commonplace nonchalance, "play[ing] down the importance of the Richardson endorsement, suggesting that the time 'when it could have been effective has long since passed.'"

But of course Mr. Penn said that only because he knew it not to be true. He's one of our new barometers of truth. If he within the Clinton camp says it, something's fishy and a whopper of a storm must be brewing.

And sure enough, after a brief interlude of agonized huddling, the Clintons finally unleashed Frothy Dog Carville to deliver in scandalous terms what respectable tacticians always suppress with diplomatic restraint. "An act of betrayal," cried James on national television. "Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic."

Carville is absolutely apoplectic because he can't understand what's happening. Hillary is having a campaign. Obama has created a movement. Carville and Rove have more than I thought in common. They both believe in loyalty to a candidate above faith in the people and love of country, and it's our way or the highway politics.

And what did Carville's biblical outrage accomplish? Ah, there's the rub, for the Clintons. For it only highlighted in the press their most absolute of tawdry desperation; it was like waving the flag of surrender, without the actual surrender to follow. As the New York Times soon reminded us:

On their own, endorsements in contests like this — with two such well-known candidates — do not necessarily move votes.... But the audience now is less primary voters than superdelegates — uncommitted elected Democrats and party leaders — whose votes will be critical in helping Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama get the 2,024 delegates needed to win the nomination.

And Mr. Richardson? Well, he's "the 62nd superdelegate to endorse Mr. Obama since Feb. 5, compared with fewer than five who have moved into Mrs. Clinton's column since then." He is also now a short-list vice-presidential pick, who's also now as bloodied as Barack Obama, thanks to a leading ... Democrat.

All of which surely has that 63rd superdelegate somewhere out there thinking, I've had about enough of these bomb throwers. This intraparty madness must stop, or there won't be a party left to call home.

You got that right, Forrest Gump, superdelegate. Much more of this crape' deolla, and I'll be taking a long camping weekend with nary a voting booth nor a TeeVee insight on votin' day as they call it down here.

No, I can't vote for the PTSD guy, simply for the reason that I have it, much less acute, one must assume, than his and I wouldn't tour the White House let alone run for it or vote for myself. His brain must look like cottage cheese, shot through with buck shot. If he wins the White House, I am heading for the wilds and will pretend to be harmlessly crazy, while in the nearest village for supplies, which shouldn't be so hard to do since I've been getting there since 2000. A McCain win will definitely push me over the edge and "harmless loon" will be an easy role to play.

Only a few days ago most everyone concerned was content to proceed with business as usual at least through Pennsylvania. But the Clintons are, perhaps, now short-circuiting that comfort zone through their own electrifying offensiveness.

At this point, the number of Democrats whose endorsements could shake the race is down to Al Gore, the former vice president and presidential nominee; John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina who dropped out of the race last month; and Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker. Aides to Mr. Edwards and Mr. Gore said that they did not expect either man to endorse anyone in the immediate future, if at all. Aides to Ms. Pelosi said she was unlikely to endorse at all.

But Ms. Pelosi doesn't need to; she has already unofficially endorsed Sen. Obama. That leaves only John and Al. And every passing day of forced Clintonian disunity increases the odds of that yet-named 63rd superdelegate saying, sooner than anyone expected, enough is enough.

There's an ancient observation from the Tao Te Ching that, for once, might have benefited the Clintons more than anything related in their cherished copy of Machiavelli's The Prince(ss). To paraphrase: The harder one grasps for something, the farther it slips from one's reach.

"The Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing."


(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.

Monday, March 24, 2008

4,000 and a Bloody Day In Iraq

The bloody 4,000 mark has been reached, if we are even being told the hold truth about that. It could be more, as I understand it. Thousands more wounded and that doesn't even begin to mention the Iraqis, the death count of whom could range from hundreds of thousands to over a million.

The war profiteers have the blood of children on their hands; all for their gods, wealth and power.

Baby Killers!

Life destroyers, Maimers and murderers.

That's who and what you are. Karma is a' commin'.

BAGHDAD - The overall U.S. death toll in Iraq rose to 4,000 after four soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad, a grim milestone that is likely to fuel calls for the withdrawal of American forces as the war enters its sixth year. The White House said it was "a sober moment." President Bush received a lengthy update on the war and aides said he was likely to embrace recommendations for a pause in troop withdrawals beyond those already scheduled. Bush was to participate in a two-hour conference by secure video hookup with Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Petraeus and Crocker are due to testify in Congress on April 8-9.

Without the recently retired Adm . Fallon. This makes the second time that Petraeus and Crocker have testified without the CentCom Commander, Adm Fallon. As I recall, that knot-head from the Air Force was always there when there were questions about Iraq on the Hill.

I would like to seriously suggest that some relevant committee in Congress Call Fallon in a seperate hearing, about Iran.

The American deaths occurred Sunday, the same day rockets and mortars pounded the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad and a wave of attacks left at least 61 Iraqis dead nationwide.

An Iraqi military spokesman said Monday that troops had found rocket launching pads used by extremists to fire on the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and the Iraqi government headquarters.

Story continues

(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.

Don't Look Back!!!!!

Naughty children to hardened criminals wish people wouldn't look back and examine recent history.

Editor’s Note: As the war in Iraq enters its sixth year, a common refrain from politicians who supported the invasion is “don’t dwell on the past, think about the future.” It is an argument that distracts Americans from the important lessons that this history can teach.

In this guest article, investigative reporter Jason Leopold recalls that history of how America was misled into the Iraq War:

The Iraq War, which was predicated on the existence of weapons of mass destruction and fear of another 9/11, has resulted in the deaths of nearly 4,000 U.S. troops and has cost taxpayers roughly half-a-trillion dollars. (Estimates of Iraqi dead range into the hundreds of thousands.)

Yet, the invasion of Iraq was conceived prior to 9/11, according to Paul O'Neill, President Bush's first Treasury Secretary. In the book, The Price of Loyalty, journalist Ron Suskind interviewed O'Neill who said that the Iraq War was planned just days after the president was sworn into office.

It was being planned shortly 1992, as soon as the people who wanted it got over their shock that the American people would elect the "adulterous Bubba from Arkansas," rather than Poppy Bush.

"From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," O'Neill told Suskind, adding that going after Saddam Hussein was a priority 10 days after the Bush's inauguration and eight months before Sept. 11.

"From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime," Suskind said. "Day one, these things were laid and sealed."

As Treasury Secretary, O'Neill was a permanent member of the National Security Council. He says in the book he was surprised at the meeting that questions such as "Why Saddam?" and "Why now?" were never asked.

O'Neill was fired from his post for disagreeing with Bush's economic policies. In typical White House fashion, senior administration officials have labeled O'Neill a "disgruntled employee," whose latest remarks are "laughable" and have no basis in reality.

But a little known article in the Jan. 11, 2001, edition of the New York Times entitled "Iraq Is Focal Point as Bush Meets with Joint Chiefs" confirms that the incoming Bush administration was working on a plan to topple Saddam Hussein's regime, even before Bush’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2001.

"George W. Bush, the nation's commander in chief to be, went to the Pentagon today for a top-secret session with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review hot spots around the world where he might have to send American forces into harm's way," the Times story says.

Bush was joined at the Pentagon meeting by Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

The Times reported that "half of the 75-minute meeting focused on a discussion about Iraq and the Persian Gulf, two participants said. Iraq was the first topic briefed because 'it's the most visible and most risky area Mr. Bush will confront after he takes office, one senior officer said.'"

"Iraqi policy is very much on his mind," one senior Pentagon official told the Times. "Saddam was clearly a discussion point."

WMDs Cited for "Bureaucratic Reasons"

On Sept.13, 2001 – two days after the terror attacks – during a meeting at Camp David with President Bush, Rumsfeld and other Bush administration officials, Wolfowitz said he discussed with President Bush the prospects of launching an attack against Iraq, for no apparent reason other than a “gut feeling” Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks, and there was a debate “about what place if any Iraq should have in a counter terrorist strategy.”

“On the surface of the debate it at least appeared to be about not whether but when,” Wolfowitz said during a May 9, 2003, interview with Vanity Fair. “There seemed to be a kind of agreement that yes it should be, but the disagreement was whether it should be in the immediate response or whether you should concentrate simply on Afghanistan first. ...

"The decision to highlight weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for going to war in Iraq was taken for bureaucratic reasons."

When the United Nations chose Hans Blix, the chief United Nations weapons inspector, in January 2002 to lead a team of U.N. weapons inspectors into Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction Wolfowitz contacted the CIA to produce a report on why Blix, as chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency during the 1980s and 1990s, failed to detect Iraqi nuclear activity, according to an April 15, 2002, report in the Washington Post.

The CIA report said Blix "had conducted inspections of Iraq's declared nuclear power plants fully within the parameters he could operate as chief of the Vienna-based agency between 1981 and 1997," according to the Post.

Wolfowitz "hit the ceiling" because the report failed to provide sufficient ammunition to undermine Blix and, by association, the new U.N. weapons inspection program," according to the Post, quoting a former State Department official familiar with the report.

"The request for a CIA investigation underscored the degree of concern by Wolfowitz and his civilian colleagues in the Pentagon that new inspections – or protracted negotiations over them – could torpedo their plans for military action to remove Hussein from power," the Post reported.

Blix accused the Bush administration of launching a smear campaign against him because he did not find evidence of WMD in Iraq. He said he refused to pump up his reports to the U.N. about Iraq's WMD programs.

In an interview with the London Guardian newspaper, Blix said "U.S. officials pressured him to use more damning language when reporting on Iraq's alleged weapons programs."

"By and large my relations with the U.S. were good,'' Blix told the Guardian. "But toward the end the (Bush) administration leaned on us.'"

White House Iraq Group

The Bush administration needed a vehicle to market a war with Iraq. So, in August 2002, Bush's former Chief of Staff Andrew Card formed the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) to publicize the so-called threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

The WHIG was not only responsible for selling the Iraq War, but it took great pains to discredit anyone who openly disagreed with the official Iraq War story.

The group's members included Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, Bush's former adviser Karen Hughes, then Senior Adviser to the Vice President Mary Matalin, former Deputy Director of Communications James Wilkinson, Assistant to the President and Legislative Liaison Nicholas Calio, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff to the vice president and co-author of the administration's pre-emptive strike policy.

Rove chaired the group's meetings. Moreover, Rove's "strategic communications" task force, operating inside the group, was instrumental in writing and coordinating speeches by senior Bush administration officials, highlighting in September 2002 that Iraq was a nuclear threat, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal in October 2005.

Another member of WHIG, John Hannah, along with former Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle, Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith and Wolfowitz, were interviewed by FBI officials in 2004, according to a report in the Washington Post, to determine if they were involved in leaking U.S. security secrets to Israel, former head of the Iraqi National Congress Ahmed Chalabi, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

A senior official who participated in the WHIG called it "an internal working group, like many formed for priority issues, to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities," according to an Aug. 10, 2003, Washington Post investigative report on the group's inner workings.

During its very first meetings, Card's Iraq group ordered a series of white papers showing Iraq's alleged arms violations. The first paper, "A Grave and Gathering Danger: Saddam Hussein's Quest for Nuclear Weapons," was never published. However, the paper was drafted with the assistance of experts from the National Security Council and Cheney's office.

"In its later stages, the draft white paper coincided with production of a National Intelligence Estimate and its unclassified summary. But the WHIG, according to three officials who followed the white paper's progress, wanted gripping images and stories not available in the hedged and austere language of intelligence," according to the Washington Post.

Judith Miller and the Mushroom Cloud

The group relied heavily on New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who, after meeting with several of the organization's members in August 2002, wrote an explosive story that many critics of the war believe laid the groundwork for military action against Iraq.

On Sept. 8, 2002, Miller wrote a front-page story for the Times, quoting anonymous officials who said aluminum tubes found in Iraq were to be used as centrifuges. Her report said the "diameter, thickness and other technical specifications" of the tubes - precisely the grounds for skepticism among nuclear enrichment experts - showed that they were "intended as components of centrifuges."

She closed her piece by quoting then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who said the United States would not sit by and wait to find a smoking gun to prove its case, possibly in the form of a "a mushroom cloud."

After Miller's piece was published, administration officials pressed their case on Sunday talk shows, using Miller's piece as evidence that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear bomb, even though those officials had helped supply Miller with the story.

Rice's comments on CNN's "Late Edition" reaffirmed Miller's story. Rice said Saddam Hussein was "actively pursuing a nuclear weapon" and that the tubes - described repeatedly in U.S. intelligence reports as "dual-use" items - were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs ... centrifuge programs."

Cheney, on NBC's "Meet the Press," also mentioned the aluminum tubes story in the Times and said "increasingly, we believe the United States will become the target" of an Iraqi atomic bomb. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, on CBS's "Face the Nation," asked viewers to "imagine a September 11th with weapons of mass destruction."

The Cincinnati Speech

In October 2002, President Bush gave a speech in Cincinnati and spoke about the imminent threat Iraq posed to the U.S. because of Iraq's alleged ties with al-Qaeda and its endless supply of chemical and biological weapons

"Surveillance photos reveal that the (Iraqi) regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons," Bush said. "Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles -- far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations -- in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work.

“We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States.

“And, of course, sophisticated delivery systems aren't required for a chemical or biological attack; all that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it."

Also in October 2002, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld ordered the military's regional commanders to rewrite all their war plans to capitalize on precision weapons, better intelligence, and speedier deployment in the event the United States decided to invade Iraq.

The goal, Rumsfeld said, was to use fewer ground troops, a move that caused dismay among some in the military who said concern for the troops requires overwhelming numerical superiority to assure victory.

Rumsfeld refused to listen to his military commanders, saying that his plan would allow "the military to begin combat operations on less notice and with far fewer troops than thought possible - or thought wise - before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks," the New York Times reported on Oct. 13, 2002.

"Looking at what was overwhelming force a decade or two decades ago, today you can have overwhelming force, conceivably, with lesser numbers because the lethality is equal to or greater than before," Rumsfeld told the Times.

Rumsfeld said too many of the military plans on the shelves of the regional war-fighting commanders were freighted with outdated assumptions and military requirements, which have changed with the advent of new weapons and doctrines.

It has been a mistake, he said, to measure the quantity of forces required for a mission and "fail to look at lethality, where you end up with precision-guided munitions, which can give you 10 times the lethality that a dumb weapon might, as an example," according to the Times report.

Through a combination of pre-deployments, faster cargo ships and a larger fleet of transport aircraft, the military would be able to deliver "fewer troops but in a faster time that would allow you to have concentrated power that would have the same effect as waiting longer with what a bigger force might have," Rumsfeld said.

Critics in the military said there were several reasons to deploy a force of overwhelming numbers before starting any offensive with Iraq. Large numbers illustrate U.S. resolve and can intimidate Iraqi forces into laying down their arms or even turning against Hussein's government.

The new approach for how the U.S. might go to war, Rumsfeld said in a speech in 2002, reflects an assessment of the need after 9/11 to refresh war plans continuously and to respond faster to threats from terrorists and nations possessing biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.

Silencing Experts

One of the most vocal opponent of the administration's prewar Iraq intelligence was David Albright, a former United Nations weapons inspector and the president and founder of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a Washington, D.C.-based group that gathers information for the public and the White House on nuclear weapons programs.

In a March 10, 2003, report posted on the ISIS website, Albright accused the CIA of twisting the intelligence related to the aluminum tubes.

"The CIA has concluded that these tubes were specifically manufactured for use in gas centrifuges to enrich uranium," Albright said. "Many in the expert community both inside and outside government, however, do not agree with this conclusion.

“The vast majority of gas centrifuge experts in this country and abroad who are knowledgeable about this case reject the CIA's case and do not believe that the tubes are specifically designed for gas centrifuges. In addition, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have consistently expressed skepticism that the tubes are for centrifuges."

"After months of investigation, the administration has failed to prove its claim that the tubes are intended for use in an Iraqi gas centrifuge program," Albright added. "Despite being presented with evidence countering this claim, the administration persists in making misleading comments about the significance of the tubes."

Albright said he took his concerns about the intelligence information to White House officials, but was rebuffed and told to keep quiet.

"I first learned of this case a year and a half ago when I was asked for information about past Iraqi procurements. My reaction at the time was that the disagreement reflected the typical in-fighting between U.S. experts that often afflicts the intelligence community. I was frankly surprised when the administration latched onto one side of this debate in September 2002. I was told that this dispute had not been mediated by a competent, impartial technical committee, as it should have been, according to accepted practice," Albright said.

"I became dismayed when a knowledgeable government scientist told me that the administration could say anything it wanted about the tubes while government scientists who disagreed were expected to remain quiet," he said.

Albright said the Department of Energy, which analyzed the intelligence information on the aluminum tubes and rejected the CIA's intelligence analysis, is the only government agency in the U.S. that can provide expert opinions on gas centrifuges (what the CIA alleged the tubes were being used for) and nuclear weapons programs.

"For over a year and a half, an analyst at the CIA has been pushing the aluminum tube story, despite consistent disagreement by a wide range of experts in the United States and abroad," Albright said. "His opinion, however, obtained traction in the summer of 2002 with senior members of the Bush Administration, including the President. The administration was forced to admit publicly that dissenters exist, particularly at the Department of Energy and its national laboratories."

But Albright said the White House launched an attack against experts who spoke critically of the intelligence.

"Administration officials try to minimize the number and significance of the dissenters or unfairly attack them," Albright said. "For example, when Secretary Powell mentioned the dissent in his Security Council speech, he said: ‘Other experts, and the Iraqis themselves, argue that they are really to produce the rocket bodies for a conventional weapon, a multiple rocket launcher.’ Not surprisingly, an effort by those at the Energy Department to change Powell's comments before his appearance was rebuffed by the administration."

The 16 Words Were False

Eleven days before President Bush's Jan. 28, 2003, State of the Union address in which he stated that the United States learned from British intelligence that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Africa, the State Department told the CIA that key intelligence behind the uranium claims may have been forgeries.

The revelation of the warning was contained in a closely guarded State Department memo, which didn’t surface until April 2006. On Jan. 12, 2003, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) "expressed concerns to the CIA that the documents pertaining to the Iraq-Niger deal were forgeries," the memo dated July 7, 2003, says.

Moreover, the memo said that the State Department's doubts about the veracity of the uranium claims may have been expressed to the intelligence community even earlier.

Those concerns, according to the memo, are the reasons that former Secretary of State Colin Powell refused to cite the uranium claims when he appeared before the United Nations in Feb. 5, 2003, a week after Bush's State of the Union address.

"After considerable back and forth between the CIA, the (State) Department, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Association), and the British, Secretary Powell's briefing to the U.N. Security Council did not mention attempted Iraqi procurement of uranium due to CIA concerns raised during the coordination regarding the veracity of the information on the alleged Iraq-Niger agreement," the memo further states.

Iraq's interest in the yellowcake uranium caught the attention of Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Association. ElBaradei had read a copy of the National Intelligence Estimate and had personally contacted the State Department and the National Security Council in hopes of obtaining evidence so his agency could look into it.

Vice President Dick Cheney, who made the rounds on the cable news shows in March 2003, tried to discredit ElBaradei's conclusion that the documents were forged.

"I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong," Cheney said. "[The IAEA] has consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing. I don't have any reason to believe they're any more valid this time than they've been in the past."

As it turns out, ElBaradei was correct, the declassified State Department showed.

The declassified State Department memo was obtained by The New York Sun under a Freedom of Information Act request the newspaper filed in July 2005. The Sun's story, however, did not say anything about the State Department's warnings more than a week before Bush's State of the Union address about the bogus Niger documents.

The memo was drafted by Carl Ford Jr., the former head of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, in response to questions posed in June 2003 by "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, about a February 2002 fact-finding trip to Niger that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson undertook to investigate the uranium claims on behalf of the CIA.

The Ambassador Emerges

A day after Bush's Jan.28, 2003, State of the Union address, Wilson said he reminded a friend at the State Department that he (Wilson) had traveled to Niger in February 2002 to investigate whether Iraq attempted to acquire yellowcake uranium from Niger, according to Wilson’s July 6, 2003, op-ed published in the New York Times.

In his book, The Politics of Truth, Wilson's said his State Department friend replied that "perhaps the president was speaking about one of the other three African countries that produce uranium: Gabon, South Africa or Namibia. At the time, I accepted the explanation. I didn't know that in December, a month before the president's address, the State Department had published a fact sheet that mentioned the Niger case."

But Wilson was certain that the administration was trying to sell a war that was based on phony intelligence. In March 2003, Wilson began to publicly question the administration's use of the Niger claims without disclosing his role in traveling to Niger in February 2002 to investigate it. Wilson's criticism of the administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence caught the attention of Cheney, Libby and Hadley.

In an interview that took place two-and-a-half weeks before the start of the Iraq War, Wilson said the administration was more interested in redrawing the map of the Middle East to pursue its own foreign policy objectives than in dealing with the so-called terrorist threat.

"The underlying objective, as I see it - the more I look at this - is less and less disarmament, and it really has little to do with terrorism, because everybody knows that a war to invade and conquer and occupy Iraq is going to spawn a new generation of terrorists," Wilson said in a March 2, 2003, interview with CNN.

"So you look at what's underpinning this, and you go back and you take a look at who's been influencing the process. And it's been those who really believe that our objective must be far grander, and that is to redraw the political map of the Middle East," Wilson added.

During the same CNN segment in which Wilson was interviewed, former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright made similar comments about the rationale for the Iraq War and added that he believed U.N. weapons inspectors should be given more time to search the country for weapons of mass destruction

A week later, Wilson was interviewed on CNN again. This was the first time Wilson ridiculed the Bush administration's claim that Iraq had tried to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger.

"Well, this particular case is outrageous. We know a lot about the uranium business in Niger, and for something like this to go unchallenged by the U.S. - the U.S. government - is just simply stupid. It would have taken a couple of phone calls. We have had an embassy there since the early 1960s. All this stuff is open. It's a restricted market of buyers and sellers," Wilson said in the March 8, 2003, CNN interview.

"For this to have gotten to the IAEA is on the face of it dumb, but more to the point, it taints the whole rest of the case that the government is trying to build against Iraq," Wilson said.

Less than two weeks later, on March 19, 2003, the U.S. attacked Iraq.

Jason Leopold is the author of News Junkie, a memoir. Visit for a preview.

(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.

Hillary's Problem With The truth

Hillary's problems with the truth may seem minuscule in comparison to the current administration penchant for truthiness to outright lies, but her timing for either in very bad, simply because of the out-going administration and the American peoples' ever-growing impatience with lying scoundrels.

To the dismay of some Hillary Clinton supporters, has noted a disturbing trend in the candidate’s handling of the truth, as she and her advisers have exaggerated her accomplishments and sometimes distorted Barack Obama’s words.

The Washington Post reached a similar conclusion in awarding Sen. Clinton the maximum of “four Pinocchios” for telling a “whopper” in her claims about derring-do during her 1996 trip to war-torn Bosnia.

Sen. Clinton claimed to have undertaken the mission to Bosnia when it was considered too dangerous for her husband, then-President Bill Clinton.

In a speech at George Washington University on March 17, Clinton elaborated further: “I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of greeting ceremony at the [Tuzla] airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into vehicles to get to our base.”

In a fact-checking article on March 22, the Post’s Michael Dobbs concluded that “Clinton's tale of landing at Tuzla airport ‘under sniper fire’ and then running for cover is simply not credible. Photographs and video of the arrival ceremony, combined with contemporaneous news reports, tell a very different story.”

Comedian Sinbad, who along with singer Sheryl Crow accompanied the then-First Lady, said the "scariest" part of the trip was deciding where to eat.

In recent weeks, we also have noted the Clinton campaign’s tendency to stretch reality beyond what is normal for most politicians, although arguably within the flexible standards set by the Bush administration. [See, for instance, “Clinton’s Up-Is-Down World” and “Clinton’s Child-Health Hype.”]

As for the other two candidates, we have observed that John McCain has demonstrated his own problems with the truth [see “Is John McCain a Liar?”] and that Barack Obama has struggled with questions about hypocrisy [see “Obama’s Dubious Praise for Reagan” and “Obama’s Sub-Prime Conflict”].

(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.

Arabia Battens Down The Hatches For Nuclear Attack On Iran

Worried Yet? Saudis Prepare for "Sudden Nuclear Hazards" After Cheney Visit.

Written by Chris Floyd
Sunday, 23 March 2008

I. One Tick Closer to Midnight

Last Friday, Dick Cheney was in Saudi Arabia for high-level meetings with the Saudi king and his ministers. On Saturday, it was revealed that the Saudi Shura Council -- the elite group that implements the decisions of the autocratic inner circle -- is preparing "national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts' warnings of possible attacks on Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactors," one of the kingdom's leading newspapers, Okaz, reports. The German-based dpa news service relayed the paper's story.

Simple prudence -- or ominous timing? We noted here last week that an American attack on Iran was far more likely -- and more imminent -- than most people suspect. We pointed to the mountain of evidence for this case gathered by scholar William R. Polk, one of the top aides to John Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to other indicators of impending war. The story by Okaz -- which would not have appeared in the tightly controlled dictatorship without approval from the top -- is yet another, very weighty piece of evidence laid in the scales toward a new, horrendous conflict.

We don't know what the Saudis told Cheney in private -- or even more to the point, what he told them. But the release of this story now, just after his departure, would seem to be a clear indication that the Saudis have good reason to fear a looming attack on Iran's nuclear sites and are actively preparing for it.

II. A Nuclear Epiphany in Iran?
And they certainly should be bracing themselves. A U.S. attack on Iran will come suddenly, and if it is indeed aimed at destroying Iran's nuclear capabilities -- a "threat" being talked up again with new urgency by both Cheney and Bush lately -- it has the potential for unimaginable consequences. As we noted here in a previous piece:

Twelve hours. One circuit of the sun from horizon to horizon, one course of the moon from dusk to dawn. What was once a natural measurement for the daily round of human life is now a doom-laden interval between the voicing of an autocrat's brutal whim and the infliction of mass annihilation halfway around the world.

Twelve hours is the maximum time necessary for American bombers to gear up and launch an unprovoked sneak attack – a Pearl Harbor in reverse – against Iran, the Washington Post reports. The plan for this "global strike," which includes a very viable "nuclear option," was approved months ago, and is now in operation. The planes are already on continuous alert, making "nuclear delivery" practice runs along the Iranian border, as Sy Hersh reports in the New Yorker, and waiting only for the signal from President George W. Bush to drop their payloads of conventional and nuclear weapons on some 400 targets spread throughout the condemned land.

And when this attack comes – either as a stand-alone "knock-out blow" or else as the precusor to a full-scale, regime-changing invasion, like the earlier aggression in Iraq – there will be no warning, no declaration of war, no hearings, no public debate. The already issued orders governing the operation put the decision solely in the hands of the president: he picks up the phone, he says, "Go" – and in twelve hours' time, up to a million Iranians could be dead.

(And 12 hours later, millions of Americans could be dead as well.)

This potential death toll is not pacificist hyperbole; it comes from a National Academy of Sciences study sponsored by the Pentagon itself, as The Progressive reports. (Although Bush's military brass likes to peddle the public lie that "we don't do body counts" of the enemy, in reality, like all good businessmen they keep precise accounts of their production outputs: i.e., corpses.) The Pentagon's NAS study calibrated the kill-rate from "bunker-busting" tactical nukes used to take out underground facilities – such as those which house much of Iran's nuclear power program.

Another simulation by scientists, using Pentagon-devised software, was even more specific, measuring the aftermath of a "limited" nuclear attack on the main Iranian underground site in Esfahan, the magazine reports. This small expansion of the Pentagon franchise would result in stellar production figures: three million people killed by radiation in just two weeks, and 35 million people exposed to dangerous levels of cancer-causing radiation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Bush has about 50 nuclear "earth-penetrating weapons" at his disposal, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Nor is the idea of a nuclear strike on Iran mere "liberal paranoia." Bush himself pointedly refused to take the nuclear option "off the table" this week. But what's more, Bush has made the use of nuclear weapons a centerpiece of his "National Security Strategy of the United States," issued last month, The Progressive notes. While reaffirming the criminal principle of "pre-emptive" attacks on perceived enemies which may or may not be threatening America with weapons they may or may not possess, Bush declared that "safe, credible and reliable nuclear forces continue to play a critical role" in the "offensive strike systems" that are now a key part of America's "deterrence."

In the depraved jargon of atomic warmongering, a "credible" nuclear force is one that can and will be used in the course of ordinary military operations. It is no longer to be regarded as a sacred taboo. This has long been the dream of the Pentagon's "nuclear priesthood" and its acolytes, going back to the days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For decades, a strong faction within the American power structure has been afflicted with a perverted craving to unleash these weapons once more. An almost sexual frustration can be discerned in their laments as time and again, in crisis after crisis, their counsels for "going nuclear" were rejected – often at the very last moment. To justify their abberant desire, they have relentlessly demonized an ever-changing array of "enemies," painting each one as an imminent, overwhelming threat, led by "madmen" in thrall to pure evil, impervious to reason, fit only for destruction. Evidence for the "threat" is invariably exaggerated, manipulated, even manufactured; this ritual cycle has been enacted over and over, leading to many wars – but never to that ultimate, orgasmic release.

Now this paranoid sect has at last seized the commanding heights of American power...they have found a most eager disciple in the peevish dullard strutting in the Oval Office. Under their sinister tutelage, Bush has eviscerated 40 years' worth of arms control treaties; officially "normalized" the use of nuclear weapons, even against non-nuclear states; rewarded outlaw proliferators like India, Israel and Pakistan; and is now destroying the last and most effective restraint on the spread of nuclear weapons: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The treaty guarantees its signatories – such as Iran – the right to establish nuclear power programs in exchange for rigorous international inspections. But Bush has arbitrarily decided that Iran – whose nuclear program has undergone perhaps the most extensive inspection process in history – must end its lawful activities. Why? Because the country is led by "madmen" in thrall to pure evil, impervious to reason, who one day may or may not threaten America with weapons they may or may not have....

So the NPT is dead. As with the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Constitution, it now means only what Bush says it means. Force of arms, not rule of law, is the new world order. The attack on Iran is coming...The obvious, murderous insanity of such a move in no way precludes its implementation by this gang – as their invasion of Iraq clearly shows.

The nuclear sectarians have waited decades for this moment. Such a chance may never come again. Will they let it pass, when with just a word, in just twelve hours, they can see their god rising in a pillar of fire over Persia?

(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.