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ALERT:

 

America Launches War on Iran!!!

June 22, 2008

 

Israel’s military maneuvers

+

House Bill (H. CON. RES. 362)


Calling for Blockade of Iran

War.

What to do: Read (all) the following and then call Washington and raise hell!! 

 

Call House and Senate…And Pelosi
The damn thing has a Senate counterpart.
A  free Congressional switchboard number:

1-866-340-9281

 

By: DI Foreign Policy Editor, Dusty Schoch, with a PS from Leonard Carrier,

       DI In-House Historian and Philosopher.

 

 

 

 While Americans  and their media focus on Presidential Election, our fascist neocon leaders are again (as in 2004) Wagging the Dog…

to distract us from the true tale: War is Being Declared on Iran…and

we the people are doing nothing to stop it!!!

 

We recommend you read first this first “act of war” – what your Congress is about to do with its –again, pre-emptive and unilateral act of war in the Middle East…. The full proposed legislative bill is printed here…check out subparagraph (3) for the blockade provisions.

 

Then read the comments of Dusty and Len which follow.

 

 

House Resolution Calls for Naval Blockade against Iran

America’s powerful pro-Israel lobby pressures the US Congress

 

by Andrew W Cheetham

 

Global Research, June 18, 2008

 

A US House of Representatives Resolution effectively requiring a naval blockade on Iran seems fast tracked for passage, gaining co-sponsors at a remarkable speed, but experts say the measures called for in the resolutions amount to an act of war.

H.CON.RES 362 calls on the president to stop all shipments of refined petroleum products from reaching Iran. It also “demands” that the President impose “stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran.”

Analysts say that this would require a US naval blockade in the Strait of Hormuz.

Since its introduction three weeks ago, the resolution has attracted 146 cosponsors. Forty-three members added their names to the bill in the past two days.

In the Senate, a sister resolution S.RES 580 has gained co-sponsors with similar speed. The Senate measure was introduced by Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh on June 2. In little more than a week’s time, it has accrued 19 co-sponsors.

AIPAC’s Endorsement

Congressional insiders credit America’s powerful pro-Israel lobby for the rapid endorsement of the bills. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) held its annual policy conference June 2-4, in which it sent thousands of members to Capitol Hill to push for tougher measures against Iran. On its website, AIPAC endorses the resolutions as a way to ”Stop Irans Nuclear Proliferation” and tells readers to lobby Congress to pass the bill.

AIPAC has been ramping up the rhetoric against Iran over the last 3 years delivering 9 issue memos to Congress in 2006, 17 in 2007 and in the first five months of 2008 has delivered no less than 11 issue memos to the Congress and Senate predominantly warning of Irans nuclear weapons involvement and support for terrorism.

The Resolutions put forward in the House and the Senate bear a resounding similarity to AIPAC analysis and Issue Memos in both its analysis and proposals even down to its individual components.

Proponents say the resolutions advocate constructive steps toward reducing the threat posed by Iran. “It is my hope that…this Congress will urge this and future administrations to lead the world in economically isolating Iran in real and substantial ways,” said Congressman Mike Pence(R-IN), who is the original cosponsor of the House resolution along with Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Chairman of the sub committee on Middle East and South Asia of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Foreign policy analysts worry that such unilateral sanctions make it harder for the US to win the cooperation of the international community on a more effective multilateral effort. In his online blog, Senior Fellow in the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Ethan Chorin points out that some US allies seek the economic ties to Iran that these resolutions ban. “The Swiss have recently signed an MOU with Iran on gas imports; the Omanis are close to a firm deal (also) on gas imports from Iran; a limited-services joint Iranian-European bank just opened a branch on Kish Island,” he writes.

These resolutions could severely escalate US-Iran tensions, experts say. Recalling the perception of the naval blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the international norms classifying a naval blockade an act of war, critics argue endorsement of these bills would signal US intentions of war with Iran.

Last week’s sharp rise in the cost of oil following Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz’s threat to attack Iran indicated the impact that global fear of military action against Iran can have on the world petroleum market. It remains unclear if extensive congressional endorsement of these measures could have a similar effect.

In late May, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly urged the United States to impose a blockade on Iran. During a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in Jersusalem, Olmert said economic sanctions have “exhausted themselves” and called a blockade a “good possibility.”

 


ANNEX

Text of Proposed Resolution

HCON 362 IH

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. CON. RES. 362

Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 22, 2008

Mr. ACKERMAN (for himself and Mr. PENCE) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes.

Whereas Iran is a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), has foresworn the acquisition of nuclear weapons by ratification of the NPT, and is legally bound to declare and place all its nuclear activity under constant monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);

Whereas for nearly 20 years, in clear contravention of its explicit obligations under the NPT, Iran operated a covert nuclear program until it was revealed by an Iranian opposition group in 2002;

Whereas the IAEA has confirmed such illicit covert nuclear activities as the importation of uranium hexafluoride, construction of a uranium enrichment facility, experimentation with plutonium, importation of centrifuge technology, construction of centrifuges, and importation of designs to convert highly enriched uranium gas into metal and shape it into the core of a nuclear weapon;

Whereas Iran continues to expand the number of centrifuges at its enrichment facility, as made evident by its announced intention to begin installation of 6,000 advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, in defiance of binding United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding Iran suspend enrichment activities;

Whereas the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate reported that Iran was secretly working on the design and manufacture of a nuclear warhead until at least 2003, but that Iran could have enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon as soon as late 2009;

Whereas an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would pose a grave threat to international peace and security by fundamentally altering and destabilizing the strategic balance in the Middle East, and severely undermining the global nonproliferation regime;

Whereas Iran’s overt sponsorship of several terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, and its close ties to Syria raise the possibility that Iran would share its nuclear materials and technology with others;

Whereas Iran continues to develop ballistic missile technology and is pursuing the capability to field intercontinental ballistic missiles, a delivery system suited almost exclusively to nuclear weapons payloads;

Whereas Iranian leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, and a member of the United Nations;

Whereas the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have offered, and continue to offer, to negotiate a significant package of economic, diplomatic, and security incentives if Iran complies with the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions demanding that Iran suspend uranium enrichment;

Whereas Iran has consistently refused such offers;

Whereas as a result of Iran’s failure to comply with the mandates of the United Nations Security Council, taken under Chapter VII of the United Nations’ Charter, the international community has imposed limited sanctions over the past 2 years that have begun to have an impact on the Iranian economy;

Whereas Iran’s rapid development of its nuclear capabilities is outpacing the slow ratcheting up of economic and diplomatic sanctions;

Whereas Iran has used its banking system, including the Central Bank of Iran, to support its proliferation efforts and its assistance to terrorist groups, leading the Department of Treasury to designate 4 large Iranian banks proliferators and supporters of terrorism;

Whereas Iran’s support for Hezbollah has enabled that group to wage war against the Government and people of Lebanon, leading to its political domination of that country;

Whereas Iran’s support for Hamas has enabled it to illegally seize control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, and to continuously bombard Israeli civilians with rockets and mortars;

Whereas Iran continues to provide training, weapons, and financial assistance to Shi’a militants inside of Iraq and antigovernment warlords in Afghanistan;

Whereas those Shi’a militant groups and Afghan warlords use Iranian training, weapons, and financing to attack American and allied forces trying to support the legitimate Governments of Iraq and Afghanistan;

Whereas Iran is further destabilizing the Middle East by underwriting a massive rearmament campaign by Syria;

Whereas through these efforts, Iran seeks to establish regional hegemony, threatens longstanding friends and allies of the United States in the Middle East, and endangers vital American national security interests; and

Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress–

(1) declares that preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, through all appropriate economic, political, and diplomatic means, is vital to the national security interests of the United States and must be dealt with urgently;

(2) urges the President, in the strongest of terms, to immediately use his existing authority to impose sanctions on–

(A) the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian bank engaged in proliferation activities or the support of terrorist groups;

(B) international banks which continue to conduct financial transactions with proscribed Iranian banks;

(C) energy companies that have invested $20,000,000 or more in the Iranian petroleum or natural gas sector in any given year since the enactment of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996; and

(D) all companies which continue to do business with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps;

(3) demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program; and

(4) urges the President to lead a sustained, serious, and forceful effort at regional diplomacy to support the legitimate governments in the region against Iranian efforts to destabilize them, to reassure our friends and allies that the United States supports them in their resistance to Iranian efforts at hegemony, and to make clear to the Government of Iran that the United States will protect America’s vital national security interests in the Middle East.

 

For links to and in this on-line article click here:

 

 

DUSTY’S COMMENTS:

 

You say you’ve read your paper’s headlines today (June 22, 2008) and you don’t find anything like the caption to this article?  You ask what prompts me to say America has begun its attack on Iran?  I’ll give you the short and the long of it. The short first:  Your newspaper today DID contain the AP release that the Khaleej Times (government-owned newspaper in Dubai [United Arab Emirates]) is calling the Israel military maneuvers of the past week what they are – a patent  precursor to bombing Iran.

 

In case you haven’t noticed it, since 1948, we are Israel’s political and  military ally. Israel for all practical purposes is us. When Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, it will be Israel and the U.S. who take the heat for it. That’s, after all, what bin Laden has said, time and time again, was  the reason (his own motivation)  for 9/11—America’s alliance with Israel.

 

Now for the long part—the less obvious logic. Consider first an analogy that we’re all familiar with – because of having been children:  The school-yard bully always has an entourage of weaker “tag-alongs ”.  These weaker, flunkie,  tag-alongs are the bully’s “mob” and moral support. They are also, most often, the ones who provoke the fights the bully gets involved in. Sometimes the bully has the tag-along communicate the threat and start the fight, but most often the tag-along starts things for his own self-aggrandizing  reasons.  The tag-along would be afraid to start a fight without the bully around for obvious reasons – he’d get his butt whipped without the bully either backing him or fighting the fight the flunky instigates.  So it’s normally the flunky’s mouth, his threats and his  “first stones” that commence the fights in the school yards of out past, and more alarmingly, in the foreign theaters of our current wars.

 

Without 50 years of military support on America’s part, there would be no Israel. American Jews financed the war in 1948 and today adopt and subsidize select Zionist Israeli military warriors who propound and execute Israel’s bully policies in Palestine and the settlements in Gaza.  Israel is America’s flunky in this festering war in the Middle East, and America is the world-perceived, world-class bully to blame.

 

America’s neo-con-machinated invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were clearly the product of a war plan conceived by Zionists Jews and passed to their bully partner since the birth of the Israeli nation in 1948.  Students of the so-called “American War on Terror” know the war is simply the execution of a plan for Middle Eastern restructuring written (although its theologic roots are in the Old Testament promise of “promised land” to  God’s “chosen”, i.e. the Jews) in that 1998 declaration entitled “A Clean Break”.  To review this history, all the reader need do is Google “A Clean Break”, and “PNAC” + “Statement  of Principles”, or simply click on and read the “Free Book” on American Fascism linked on the home page of this website.

 

If you study how the war on Iraq was arranged, you’ll understand how the war on Iran is being constructed. It’s all the same plan, and it’s happening exactly in the same way – (1) Scare Americans into believing a given country is harboring terrorists who want us dead, and (2) make us believe those terrorists are building …you guessed it, “weapons of mass destruction” to kill us with.  How many times can you fool the same people with the same lie?  Was Lincoln right? Can you fool some of the people all of the time?  Have we become that kind of people?

 

For a November, 2007 prediction of this moment in time, simply click on the article we posted back then when it became apparent that Bush was planning a war with Iran with the same stealth he pulled of his invasion of Iraq while we thought we were assembling troops in the Middle East to fight terrorists in Afghanistan…in at least the vicinity of those calling themselves “al Qaeda”.  Check out what we pointed out to  you on this before.

 

It’s been a ruse all the time and it remains a ruse. By “ruse” I mean – “misdirection”—the same thing a magician uses on stage when he does something with a flurry with his left hand to prevent you from noticing his reaching for the rabbit with his right. 

 

Right about now, Bush and the Zionist-Jew-Christian-Crazy armageddonites are asking you to look at Israel as if Israeli Prime Minister Olmert is acting autonomously when his air force is carrying out menacing maneuvers clearly intended to be taken by Iran as a promise of being bombed if they continue with their Nuclear power plans.  The U.S. has its military back turned claiming we (the U.S.) is seeking “diplomatic” resolution. Sure, Condi, we believe you this time. Fool me once shame on …..  (now how was it Bush finished that aphorism?!)

 

In Dubai, our former allies in the oil business are quite accurately saying that an attack on Iran will have “disastrous consequences for the region”.  America, through Bush, Condi and the other lying neo-cons is denying any complicity with their flunkie , tag-along wannabee big bully in the Middle East. But in truth, America and Israel are, behind the closed doors of the Pentagon, one. And the whole world knows it. If America is going to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites, I wouldn’t be half so disturbed if (1) they would tell the truth about it and (2) get our Congress to agree to it.  Aren’t you with me on this? Aren’t you a little tired of being lied to by our leadership…especially on our way to war…where they give the word and our sons and daughters give the blood?

 

DW readers….unite. Send this message to every thinker you know. Hit the following link and demand that your congressmen preempt this cowardly  preemptive declaration of war by the American bully by and through the actions of its military flunkie puppet  state in the Middle East.  It is they who will launch the battle, but it is we who will die because of it.  Just ask the 10,000 + parents of dead American soldiers.  Hit and fill the following linked message to let your agents in Washington know that you know what Bush is doing with both hands.  Don’t let the big bully blame the war on the little bully. Without both, working together, there would be no war in Iraq.  With both working together, there will be war in Iran. How many times do we want to be fooled?

 

Click here to read.

 

Len Carrier’s Post Script

Dusty,

 

If we want to see oil go to $200 a barrel, all the Bush Administration has to do is give Israel the green light to bomb Iran.  Then the Iranians will block the straits of Hormuz, and nobody here will be able to buy gasoline under $6.00 per gallon.  Then Bush, in the last throes of his presidency, will demand that we give oil companies permits to drill in the last few vestiges of our national heritage.  Of course, this won’t help bring gasoline prices down at all, but it might scare our chicken-hearted representatives in Congress to go along with Bush-Cheney’s final attempt to steal another country’s oil.  Bush, Cheney,  and their oily friends will profit in any case.

 

Then we’ll have a push for all-out war with Iran, because our “national interest “demands it. Our Air Force, itching to bomb another country into oblivion, will be willing to send our bombers over Teheran, and the neocons will rejoice in yet another bite of the apple, another chance to “democratize” a foreign country against its will.  What  follows will be a replay of Iraq, where “mistakes will have been made,” all in the name of trying to turn Iran into a vassal of our capitalistic society.

 

If all this happens, John McCain, that war-mongering, damaged piece of detritus left over from Vietnam, will claim his patriotic right to be President in the time of war.  The American public, gullible as ever, will fall for this line of jingoistic ravings and elect him so that we can have at least four more years of killing, borrowing, and the ruination of our American Republic.

 

I wish all this were only a nightmare. Recent exercises of the Israeli Air Force tell me that it might actually happen.

 

Len

 

 

 

 

DI CALL
TO ACTION:


STOP WHAT YOU ARE
DOING AND HELP US

ABORT ANOTHER OF  BUSH’S ILLIGITIMATE  PREEMPTIVE WARS

OPPOSE Senate Resolution  580 and

House: H Con. Res.  363

This just in from Dan Stone, DW affiliate and correspondent from California, founder and editor of the on-line news letter “Justice Freedom”:    June 26, 2008:

Dear All,

I called the offices of Representatives Jesse Jackson, Jr., Robert Wexler, and Henry Waxman, and the latter two said the Representagives had co-sponsored H CON RES 362 because it was non-binding, and required diplomacy, not force. These people are sleep-walking into another attack!!

If passed, this Resolution (with the Senate concurring as per SEN RES 580) would constitute approval of the American people (via congress) of a naval blockade against Iran. What are the chances Cheney and Bush will take this approval and run with it !?!?! This naval blockade–an act of war–would be the first actual step toward an attack on Iran. It would bring the united states into the “fog of war” in which Cheney / Bush would be able to ramp up their actions against Iran and duplicate the scenario as with Iraq, with the U.S. as the aggressor, Iran the victim, and the Congress and the American people the enablers. Remember how we just invaded Iraq, no shots fired by them, no provocation, no nothing. We just went in. Now is the time to stop this aggressive process.

See the wording of H CON RES 362 below to read the part which could be used to mount a naval blockade, the first step toward an attack. In Item #3 (toward the end), it states:  “prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program;”  This is the language of naval blockade, which is the language of war.

Please contact your Reps and Senators to urge them to oppose these 2 War Resolutions.

- Dan

***************************

Click here for reference.

ANNEX

Text of Proposed Resolution

HCON 362 IH

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. CON. RES. 362

Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 22, 2008

Mr. ACKERMAN (for himself and Mr. PENCE) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes.

Whereas Iran is a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), has foresworn the acquisition of nuclear weapons by ratification of the NPT, and is legally bound to declare and place all its nuclear activity under constant monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);

Whereas for nearly 20 years, in clear contravention of its explicit obligations under the NPT, Iran operated a covert nuclear program until it was revealed by an Iranian opposition group in 2002;

Whereas the IAEA has confirmed such illicit covert nuclear activities as the importation of uranium hexafluoride, construction of a uranium enrichment facility, experimentation with plutonium, importation of centrifuge technology, construction of centrifuges, and importation of designs to convert highly enriched uranium gas into metal and shape it into the core of a nuclear weapon;

Whereas Iran continues to expand the number of centrifuges at its enrichment facility, as made evident by its announced intention to begin installation of 6,000 advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, in defiance of binding United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding Iran suspend enrichment activities;

Whereas the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate reported that Iran was secretly working on the design and manufacture of a nuclear warhead until at least 2003, but that Iran could have enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon as soon as late 2009;

Whereas an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would pose a grave threat to international peace and security by fundamentally altering and destabilizing the strategic balance in the Middle East, and severely undermining the global nonproliferation regime;

Whereas Iran’s overt sponsorship of several terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, and its close ties to Syria raise the possibility that Iran would share its nuclear materials and technology with others;

Whereas Iran continues to develop ballistic missile technology and is pursuing the capability to field intercontinental ballistic missiles, a delivery system suited almost exclusively to nuclear weapons payloads;

Whereas Iranian leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, and a member of the United Nations;

Whereas the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have offered, and continue to offer, to negotiate a significant package of economic, diplomatic, and security incentives if Iran complies with the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions demanding that Iran suspend uranium enrichment;

Whereas Iran has consistently refused such offers;

Whereas as a result of Iran’s failure to comply with the mandates of the United Nations Security Council, taken under Chapter VII of the United Nations’ Charter, the international community has imposed limited sanctions over the past 2 years that have begun to have an impact on the Iranian economy;

Whereas Iran’s rapid development of its nuclear capabilities is outpacing the slow ratcheting up of economic and diplomatic sanctions;

Whereas Iran has used its banking system, including the Central Bank of Iran, to support its proliferation efforts and its assistance to terrorist groups, leading the Department of Treasury to designate 4 large Iranian banks proliferators and supporters of terrorism;

Whereas Iran’s support for Hezbollah has enabled that group to wage war against the Government and people of Lebanon, leading to its political domination of that country;

Whereas Iran’s support for Hamas has enabled it to illegally seize control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, and to continuously bombard Israeli civilians with rockets and mortars;

Whereas Iran continues to provide training, weapons, and financial assistance to Shi’a militants inside of Iraq and antigovernment warlords in Afghanistan;

Whereas those Shi’a militant groups and Afghan warlords use Iranian training, weapons, and financing to attack American and allied forces trying to support the legitimate Governments of Iraq and Afghanistan;

Whereas Iran is further destabilizing the Middle East by underwriting a massive rearmament campaign by Syria;

Whereas through these efforts, Iran seeks to establish regional hegemony, threatens longstanding friends and allies of the United States in the Middle East, and endangers vital American national security interests; and

Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress–

(1) declares that preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, through all appropriate economic, political, and diplomatic means, is vital to the national security interests of the United States and must be dealt with urgently;

(2) urges the President, in the strongest of terms, to immediately use his existing authority to impose sanctions on–

(A) the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian bank engaged in proliferation activities or the support of terrorist groups;

(B) international banks which continue to conduct financial transactions with proscribed Iranian banks;

(C) energy companies that have invested $20,000,000 or more in the Iranian petroleum or natural gas sector in any given year since the enactment of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996; and

(D) all companies which continue to do business with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps;

(3) demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program; and

(4) urges the President to lead a sustained, serious, and forceful effort at regional diplomacy to support the legitimate governments in the region against Iranian efforts to destabilize them, to reassure our friends and allies that the United States supports them in their resistance to Iranian efforts at hegemony, and to make clear to the Government of Iran that the United States will protect America’s vital national security interests in the Middle East.

Posted in Cheney, Corporations, Iran, Oil, Political, War | 1 Comment by Editors

Father’s Day Dreaming

 

An Open Letter to My Son, Demian

June 15, 2008

 

By: DI Foreign Policy Editor, Robert Rodes (Dusty) Schoch

 

 (With Trailing Contributions from

Virginia Attorney, Mike Murphy and

Notre Dame Law Professor Robert E. Rodes III)

 

I woke up today and made a mistake. I read the newspaper. It was supposed to be a day of quiet celebration for us …as fathers. But, reading the paper made me question whether I made a mistake 35-years ago helping to bring a child into this world…this world crumbling around me.

 

Don’t get me wrong – I hated that Armageddon story when I read it the first time – in the Bible’s “Revelations”.  But I suspect the author of that work was more than a little mad. He described seeing “visions” of things that clearly weren’t there.  What I’m dealing with this morning are visions of what IS.  I made the mistake of reading the news. With the paper now in the recycling bin, let me share with you my concerns with what … stuck – this Sunday, June 15, 2008:

 

A metaphorical image for what I see in the news today is America in the form of its prior NY Twin Towers – right at the moment the news casters showed us pictures of flames in the first tower. Because I know now what happened next back on 9/11, 2001, I see America now itself as those Twin Towers. The North tower in my metaphoric vision stands for American industry, and the South for its soul (it’s morality).  One is on fire and soon both will be, and soon thereafter both will come crashing to the ground. It’s not going to be slow, like with Rome. It’s going to be faster than anything that’s ever happened to the world’s strongest nation in any point in history.  The speed is evident in everything I saw today in the news.

 

I won’t give the stories in any preconceived or rationally-constructed sequence. I want my Father’s Day stream of consciousness simply to flow. Foremost in my newly-downloaded dad’s databank, is the picture of our bully President Bush, in the company of cohorts from Russia, France, Germany and even China plotting a war with Iran wholly oblivious of the fact they are simply kindling evil and danger by embodying evil and danger.  Of course Iran has just as much right to play with uranium as the already-nuke nations. Of course the mob of the strong justifies its bullying by conjuring the word “evil” to describe the weaker outsider (non-nuclear nation).  We already have 7 irresponsible nations armed with nuclear arsenals and yet are more concerned with proliferation than elimination. We want to secure our positions among the self-selected bullies with permission to walk about in the nuclear neighborhood.

 

Next I see our second largest brewery fixing to sell itself to Bavaria—casting thousands more American bread-winners into future bread lines.  Miller already belongs to England; so why shouldn’t Bud join the industrial bailout of America’s toppling twin towers. The twin towers epitomized, housed and  embodied American corporate industrial might. Since 9/11 I have watched the fat-cat corporate mongols (I used to honor them with “mogul” monikers, but they are clearly today’s barbarians…this time storming OUT of the gates to the city they set on fire) export its workers’ jobs to slave-driven third-world nations while “we the people” sit blithely by, condoning the treason by buying the exported product at Wallymart , a.k.a. The China Store. No more furniture made in High Point where furniture in America was born and raised. No more electronic hardware made in California’s silicon valley where it was conceived and fostered.  The North Tower of America – its industrial core is now pretty much up in flames; the fat cats of industry who are exporting her piecemeal to China and India are moving into new digs in the new global gangster hole in the Middle Eastern wall… a little vacation spot for escapee global billionaires called Dubai. A few feet off the coast of Dubai you’ll find them in an Arab-fabricated little archipelago called “The World”–the brave new world of the bandits who sold America and escaped to their new “water world”. The parallels in this and the  apocalyptic Costner movie are creepy scary.

 

As for America’s South tower…its morality…the newspaper was even more pregnant with pictures of flames that will fuel the on-coming collapse. In the midst of our oil crisis, our mortgage foreclosure crisis (one-tenth of our population will suffer the loss of their homes under the collapse of the mortgage bubble’s bursting), we still have featured in the auto section of our news a big spread on Mercedez Benz’ newest gas guzzler that gets 12 MPG and makes up for it by paying a “gas guzzler’s surtax” that puts money back into the tills of a government (America’s) more concerned with corporate profits than saving the Earth from globally-warmed extinction.  Shame on the corporate-owned newspapers that publish for profit that fat-cat car obscenity.  But how can there be “morality” without some vestige of intelligence?  The “conservative” pundit in my paper’s news today is blaming the whole problem of gas prices on liberals who keep Exxon-Mobile from drilling for more oil off our North Carolina shores.  As if more oil is  going to save us…when it was oil that motivated the toppling of the twin towers and literally oil that exploded them, and oil that is pumped and burned by 6 billion of us to the end that when the twin towers of America’s industry and soul are finally flush upon Earth’s ground zero, it will probably be curtain calling time not only for the world’s formerly foremost nation but for the world itself.  It is we who today say “yes” “yes” Yes!” to pornographic and sadistic reality TV in lieu of art; it is we who say yes to a leadership which has said no to earth-saving Kyoto protocols; It is we who have not insisted on the impeachment for the greatest candidate since Hitler for the moniker of “Anti-Christ”.

 

My father’s day ruminations were/are the result of my concern for the future of my 35-year old son who this morning came in and gave me a hug for having taken part in bringing him forth to this day.  I will probably be here when the twin towers of America’s former industry and morality resoundingly reach ground zero. That’s going to happen faster than anyone can imagine. The only reason our present stage of economic depression isn’t declared is that we’re living in a state of denial pretty much identical to the one we were in when we were gazing at the flames in both the North and South towers in NY  wondering how long it would take the NY firemen to put them out.

 

These fires I’ve cited in the news paper today aren’t going to be put out. America has allowed its corporate fat cats to sell its industrial heart to foreign slave traders; America has allowed its fear and greed to sell its soul to those who would invade nations and kill hundreds of thousands of people to preserve a status quo that puts America’s commercial interests and aspirations above the priority of preserving life on earth…the only life we know for sure exists in this universe of ours.

 

I wish my little sojourn into global circumspection this day might have ended on a happier note. I’m constrained to borrow my concluding surmise from Robert Frost –

 

Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

 

By the way, Demian, my son: Thanks for the hug. I really needed it. I wish only I could be here when you’re 65 to return it, because I know you’ll be needing it  then much more than I now. So know now I’ll be thinking of you then, and if Einstein was right about the warping of time and space, you will still be feeling that hug if between now and then you’ve managed, as I know you will, to have hung on to your soul. It’s going to be a hell of a ride for you because of the choices made by your ancestors in their handling and husbandry of your earth.  And as clear as we can see the tsunami’s, tornadoes and apocalyptic horses  heading our way, it’s clear that there’s never a time to abandon either hope or your pursuit of happiness.  I wish I could give you a map to help you steer around the hurdles and pitfalls of your future. But at this point, I can only give you this, as a father’s day ray of hope:

 

    God has given us both a map and a compass to guide us. The map is the design and fabric of the earth and the universe beyond. The compass is the heart. The heart beats with the pulse of all life.  Our minds are free to choose the roads we take on our journey of life, and if we keep and follow the compass, it will be a good trip. 

 

Love, Dad.

 

 

Michael K. Murphy

DI Contributor and Virginia Attorney

Comments:

Dusty:

 

    I imagine that as 300 A.D. slid toward the 400s there were certain to be some Roman fathers who must have sat quietly with their thoughts outside their homes on many a warm summer’s evening, a glass of wine to sip and a bowl of olives and a bit of bread to pick at by their sides as warm Mediterranean breezes stirred their thoughts while their wives and children readied themselves for the night inside, secure for the moment.

 

    These fathers felt a powerful connection to the past greatness of the Roman Republic — as they were its natural and lineal heirs and as their children would be; yet they had become only mute witnesses to Rome’s evident decline from the legitimacy that the Republic had conferred upon Rome while the Republic was still alive.  Now, many years after the Empire had supplanted the Republic, the internal decay that the Empire brought would be evident, not at first, not for many years, but by now.  Maybe not all understood what was happening, but certainly some did; some could see very clearly that Rome’s days of glory and legitimacy had passed and what was left of it were only the old forms in society and government, for example, that many would desperately cling to for security.  Others, these men, would just sip their evening wine and pick at some food and smell the warm air off the Sea and dream of what might have been for their children but which they could no longer give them.   

 

Professor (of Law) Robert E. Rodes III

University of Notre Dame

(and Dusty’s esteemed cousin)

Conclude Dusty’s Father’s Day Lament with

Some back and forth discussion about

History and current events.

(Professor Rodes in Blue, Dusty in red)

 

 

Dusty:

 

Thanks for this. It is a pleasure to find you still fighting the good fight. But it came just after the Supreme Court Guantanamo case, so I see rather more glimmers of hope than you seem to. Indignation is simple, and rightly so, but history is complicated.

 

 I am simply indignant with that which is about to become history. History is complicated by the same process that makes religion subject to dogmatic debate: the myopias and dysgraphias of men as observers and reporters. With Guantanamo,little and late beats nothing at all. I concede it. But in the case of Guantanamo’s belated judicial scrutiny – it soothes me solely with the relief I feel when I cease smashing my toe with a hammer. Those poor souls have been in our torture chambers the better part of a decade. A decade of immutable and historically iconic disgrace. If all nine Justices drank world-transcending cool-aide  on the Supreme Court steps in a ritual show of collective American judicial contrition, I believe the scales of justice might tip again towards the horizontal.     

 

When your son was born 35 years ago, did you think you would live to see the end of apartheid in South Africa?

 

I did in fact, because I’d been to school and confidently debated the issue with sons of Africaners. All slaves eventually find freedom because their state is the most unnatural. What I didn’t expect is what I have since found – i.e. that the sequelae of that disease of disparities is—at least for an evolutionary period of adjustment– more malignant that the disease. But most healings come with crises.

 

Did I think I would live to see a black Catholic priest presiding over an all white congregation in the middle of Tennessee?

A book just surfaced in our motley collection, The Proud Tower, by Barbara Tuchman, which I hadn’t looked at for many years. It’s about the period from 1890 to the First World War. Things were bad then too. There were terrorist incidents then too. The suspects weren’t imprisoned; they were hanged. The fat cat industrialists didn’t outsource their work to cheap labor abroad; they kept a supply of cheap labor at home by busting unions. We fought a war with rather less justification than this one, and involved ourselves in a  similar fight to make the spoils safe for American business.

 

Our history as invasive genocidal self-righteous raiders of the lost arc of God began at Plymouth Rock, and at the same time I assert such, I salute you for your more moderate appreciation of the yin/yang  flow of everything. I suppose I’m simply “stuck” with the belief that our oscillations from yin to yang are now (with corporately-connived denials and continuities in globally-warming policy) are a quantum leap ahead of what has gone before. Before either of us were fathers, the nation’s # 1 sage said quite accurately, “Everybody talks about the weather but no one DOES anything about it.”  Twain would be blushing at his own shortsightedness. We were steaming down and ecologically damning rivers even in his day. But there were no corporations capable of dictating the global execution of their dollar-driven ethic/policy. Every civilization’s wealth has been derived from slavery. Plus ca change. What I rue is the death/dearth of America as a beacon/paradigm/template/model of perceived “good”. My father’s day lament was more for the loss of my country as a world lantern in the new dark age of environmental and economic Armageddon.  When the Euro and the crude barrel jointly displace the Dollar, the axis of the world will likely spin from eccentric to chaotic.  The “big brother” defender of the downtrodden and bullied is now the worst bully on the block. There’s nothing (quantitatively) like our taking over 660,000 Iraqi civilian lives in America’s history from Columbus. There were veritable villains in WWI. We were both victims and perps in the Civil War, saviors in WWII, justifiably (?) red scared in Korea and Nam, but without excuse…or even the pretense of it in Iraq. And an infinitely more circumspect and savy world knows it. And the world will never forget. And if we are able to get “philosophical” about having waged unprovoked wars of unadulterated acquisition and  aggression, we are building up momentum for another holocaust and justifying—in fascistic style– the first one in the process.  The dream of America as big-brother guardian of the meek and friend of the Earth is no more. It’s time for America to declare peace and mea culpa so that the healing process can begin. Scarred forever, we could confess, recover and make amends. Am I far off when I characterize the bottom line of your position as…”We’ve been bad before so… what’s the harm of  a little reprise of a perennial play” ?  Bob, I simply can’t get out of my own mind the historic fact that Hitler’s seminal battle cry was “Onward, Christian soldiers”. The Vatican has to this day never withdrawn its concordance with that proclamation. My fright on that account is revived today by the fundamentalist Christian Right currently continuing to condone the Bush war in Iraq as divine mission. When minds such as yours find philosophical (or theological) solace for our current sins in our past sins, my fright soars into a jet stream of awfulness. 

 

Happy Father’s Day…to all.

 

Posted in America, Corporations, Economics, Environmental, Political | Leave a comment by Editors

Bush Needs To Be Impeached NOW!

By Timothy V. Gatto

11 June, 2008
Countercurrents.org

If there is one thing that Dennis Kucinich has, it’s the courage to tell the truth, even when the deck is stacked against him. In this case he has an entire Congress (or most of them) that seem to want go along to get along. It will be a cold day in hell when the Articles of Impeachment that he delivered in Congress last night, all 35 of them, ever get out of the Committee where they will sit on them until the new elections , mainly because the majority of Democrats in the House have no sense of justice and of course, no spine.

I was glued to C-Span last night. I was mesmerized by the litany of abuses that this sitting President has perpetrated on not only the people of America, but the World. Step by step, Kucinich meticulously brought every charge against George W. Bush and backed those charges up with times, dates and testimony from Administration insiders. This Congressman has done his homework; there was not a single thing I believe he missed. There were a few things that I didn’t even know this President was responsible for, and I follow him like a hawk.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich read each charge in the same way. He always invoked the phrase that Bush failed to live up to his oath and protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. He ten went to Article 2, section 3 that he must he must faithfully execute the laws of the land. Rep. Kucinich went on to make 35 charges against the President. He mentioned the flawed intelligence leading up to the Iraq War that The President had prior knowledge of and he used this flawed knowledge to deceive Congress. He talked of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) which issued White Papers with fraudulent information that Iraq was manufacturing nuclear weapons.

Kucinich also brought up as an article of impeachment, the fact that Bush had known about the National Intelligence Estimate that Iran had stopped their nuclear weapons program in 2003, yet he continued to claim that they were close to manufacturing a nuclear weapon, even though they knew that this information had been discounted by US intelligence.

The Articles’ of Impeachment numbered 35. Each was more damning than the one before. He made the case that of this Administration’s systematic deception that was aimed directly at the American people so that this Administration could pursue what it thought appropriate, regardless of the laws of the United States.

You will be able to see the entire broadcast of Rep. Kucinich’s appearance very soon. I watched it live for over three hours. Everything from the President’s cover-up of Global Warming, to the NSA spying on American citizens was mentioned. The case to me was rock solid. There were so many abuses of power of the Bush Administration that even if the judiciary committee threw out half of the articles of impeachment, there would be more than enough evidence to remove Bush from office.

This MUST be done so that Bush cannot pardon the people in his administration. He must be removed from office to show the American people that we will never suffer another law-breaking tyrant in the Executive Branch. His Impeachment proceedings against Vice-President Cheney are still in the Judicial Committee. Why? When is Congress going to take their Constitutional Oversight responsibilities seriously? To this writer, it seems that we don’t have on dysfunctional branch of government, we have two. Congress needs to wake up and go to work. Even in this election cycle they still have an obligation to do their jobs that we pay them for. The things that I heard last night, again and again, made me quite disgusted with my government. This has got to stop, and today is as good a day as any.


We know that the Republicans will try to stop this impeachment proceeding. The question I have for the Republicans is how can they stop these proceedings in good conscience when they understand the number of laws that this President has broken? Is it good government to let “one of your own” willfully flaunt the laws of this nation and thumb his nose at the Constitution? That would be a travesty. It would not bode well for these Republicans in their election efforts now that the truth has been told. We need to get past this criminal administration and bring the rule of law back to this country. We are viewed by the World as a “Rogue State”, a country that willfully ignores the Geneva Conventions and The World Court. This American has been ashamed of his nation’s performance over the last seven years. I’m sure that many Americans other than this one are feeling the same way. At this particular point, your party affiliation should not enter the picture. What is wrong is wrong and that should be the standard, regardless of the office one holds. This is a country of law. When those laws are broken and circumvented, we lose the basic principles of whom and what we are. President Bush should be held to the same standard that we hold all Americans. To do less would impugn our reputation and make America a nation that let’s itself be dominated by lawbreakers.

timgatto@hotmail.com

www.liberalpro.blogspot.com

Posted in Bush Lies, Political, Terrorism, War On Terrorism | Leave a comment by Editors

THE TRUTH ABOUT OIL PRICES:

 

gas prices

 

The debate is like that  tale told by an idiot-

 full of “Sound and Fury” and signifying nothing.

 

The Answer is still “Blowing in the Wind”

 

Intro:  In the following article, DI Foreign Policy Editor, Dusty Schoch, and Staff Writer, Len Carrier, respond to DI’s In-House Neo-Conservative Republican Atlanta contributor and writer,  Foster Musgrove  regarding the price of oil. Foster has forwarded for our consideration an article captioned “The Truth About Oil Prices” as derived from recent debates in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee between Democrats and Republicans on the subject of oil prices in America. 

 

Foster Musgrove, on forwarding the (obviously Republican-spun reporting on the debate) offers:

 

 

“Heard this morning that gas is now $4/gal.  It is good that you have a sail boat and that the Government has not yet figured out how to tax the wind. I don’t know this guy, but it is interesting reading.”

 

 

DUSTY’S DISSENT (AN OPEN LETTER
TO FOSTER MUSGROVE) and LEN CARRIER’S
“CLINCHERS” TRAIL THE
FOLLOWING REPUBLICANS’ REPORTING

—– Original Message —–
From: <krwark@primusonline.com.au
Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2008 9:12 PM
Subject: FW: Fwd: Fw: THE TRUTH ABOUT OIL PRICES

It is interesting to have some reliable statistics and facts on the ‘Oil Industry’ who currently seem to be the party all Governments and consumers wish to blame for high Oil prices. Although the following pertains to the USA, some of the info is global, and there is a parallel in Australia, the difference being significantly higher government excise, tax and GST take. I know I am biased on this issue, however this info will provide a starting point for the next time I am asked for an explanation on ‘Oil Pricing’.

Kerry

May 21, 2008

Oil Executives Try to Educate Senate Democrats, But Democrats Appear Hopeless.

Earlier today, the Senate Judiciary Committee summoned top executives from the petroleum industry for what Chairman Pat Leahy thought would be a politically profitable inquisition. Leahy and his comrades showed up ready to blame American oil companies for the high price of gasoline, but the event wasn’t as satisfactory as the Democrats had hoped.

The industry lineup was formidable: Robert Malone, Chairman and President of BP America, Inc.; John Hofmeister, President, Shell Oil Company; Peter Robertson, Vice Chairman of the Board, Chevron Corporation; John Lowe, Executive Vice President, Conoco Philips Company; and Stephen Simon, Senior Vice President, Exxon Mobil Corporation. Not surprisingly, the petroleum executives stole the show, as they were far smarter, infinitely better informed, and much more public-spirited than the Senate Democrats.

One theme that emerged from the hearing was the surprisingly small role played by American oil companies in the global petroleum market. John Lowe pointed out:

I cannot overemphasize the access issue. Access to resources is severely restricted in the United States and abroad, and the American oil industry must compete with national oil companies who are often much larger and have the support of their governments.

We can only compete directly for 7 percent of the world’s available reserves while about 75 percent is completely controlled by national oil companies and is not accessible.

Stephen Simon amplified:

Exxon Mobil is the largest U.S. oil and gas company, but we account for only 2 percent of global energy production, only 3 percent of global oil production, only 6 percent of global refining capacity, and only 1 percent of global petroleum reserves. With respect to petroleum reserves, we rank 14th. Government-owned national oil companies dominate the top spots. For an American company to succeed in this competitive landscape and go head to head with huge government-backed national oil companies, it needs financial strength and scale to execute massive complex energy projects requiring enormous long-term investments.

To simply maintain our current operations and make needed capital investments, Exxon Mobil spends nearly $1 billion each day.

Because foreign companies and governments control the overwhelming majority of the world’s oil, most of the price you pay at the pump is the cost paid by the American oil company to acquire crude oil from someone else:

Last year, the average price in the United States of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was around $2.80. On average in 2007, approximately 58 percent of the price reflected the amount paid for crude oil. Consumers pay for that crude oil, and so do we. Of the 2 million barrels per day Exxon Mobil refined in 2007 here in the United States , 90 percent were purchased from others.

Another theme of the day’s testimony was that, if anyone is “gouging” consumers through the high price of gasoline, it is federal and state governments, not American oil companies. On the average, 15% percent of the cost of gasoline at the pump goes for taxes, while only 4% represents oil company profits. These figures were repeated several times, but, strangely, not a single Democratic Senator proposed relieving consumers’ anxieties about gas prices by
reducing taxes.

The last theme that was sounded repeatedly was Congress’s responsibility for the fact that American companies have access to so little petroleum. Shell’s John Hofmeister explained, eloquently:

While all oil-importing nations buy oil at global prices, some, notably India and China , subsidize the cost of oil products to their nation’s consumers, feeding the demand for more oil despite record prices. They do this to speed economic growth and to ensure a competitive advantage relative to other nations.

Meanwhile, in the United States , access to our own oil and gas resources has been limited for the last 30 years, prohibiting companies such as Shell from exploring and developing resources for the benefit of the American people.

Senator Sessions, I agree, it is not a free market. According to the Department of the Interior, 62 percent of all on-shore federal lands are off limits to oil and gas developments, with restrictions applying to 92 percent of all federal lands. We have an outer continental shelf moratorium on the Atlantic Ocean, an outer continental shelf moratorium on the Pacific Ocean, an outer continental shelf moratorium on the eastern Gulf of Mexico, congressional bans on on-shore oil and gas activities in specific areas of the Rockies and Alaska, and even a congressional ban on doing an analysis of the resource potential for oil and gas in the Atlantic, Pacific and eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The Argonne National Laboratory did a report in 2004 that identified 40 specific federal policy areas that halt, limit, delay or restrict natural gas projects. I urge you to review it. It is a long list. If I may, I offer it today if you would like to include it in the record.

When many of these policies were implemented, oil was selling in the single digits, not the triple digits we see now. The cumulative effect of these policies has been to discourage U.S. investment and send U.S. companies outside the United States to produce new supplies.

 

As a result, U.S. production has declined so much that nearly 60 percent of daily consumption comes from foreign sources.

The problem of access can be solved in this country by the same government that has prohibited it. Congress could have chosen to lift some or all of the current restrictions on exportation and production of oil and gas. Congress could provide national policy to reverse the persistent decline of domestically secure natural resource development. Later in the hearing, Senator Orrin Hatch walked Hofmeister through the Democrats’ latest efforts to block energy independence:

HATCH: I want to get into that. In other words, we’re talking about Utah, Colorado and Wyoming . It’s fair to say that they’re not considered part of America ‘s $22 billion of proven reserves.

HOFMEISTER: Not at all.

HATCH: No, but experts agree that there’s between 800 billion to almost 2 trillion barrels of oil that could be recoverable there, and that’s good oil, isn’t it?

HOFMEISTER: That’s correct.

HATCH: It could be recovered at somewhere between $30 and $40 a barrel?

HOFMEISTER: I think those costs are probably a bit dated now, based upon what we’ve seen in the inflation…

HATCH: Well, somewhere in that area.

HOFMEISTER: I don’t know what the exact cost would be, but, you know, if there is more supply, I think inflation in the oil industry would be cracked. And we are facing severe inflation because of the limited amount of supply against the demand.

HATCH: I guess what I’m saying, though, is that if we started to develop the oil shale in those three states we could do it within this framework of over $100 a barrel and make a profit.

HOFMEISTER: I believe we could.

HATCH: And we could help our country alleviate its oil pressures.

HOFMEISTER: Yes.

HATCH: But they’re stopping us from doing that right here, as we sit here. We just had a hearing last week where Democrats had stopped the ability to do that, in at least Colorado.

HOFMEISTER: Well, as I said in my opening statement, I think the public policy constraints on the supply side in this country are a disservice to the American consumer.The committee’s Democrats attempted no response. They know that they are largely responsible for the current high price of gasoline, and they want the price to rise even further. Consequently, they have no intention of permitting the development of domestic oil and gas reserves that would both increase this country’s energy independence and give consumers a break from constantly increasing energy costs.

Every once in a while, Congressional hearings turn out to be informative.

 

Dusty’s Dissenting Opinion

 

Foster-

 

For this “situation” of high gas prices, I can only say two things for sure: (1) Any one who thinks it’s our gasoline “tax” that’s causing the problem is…part of the problem and (2) We need to look at $6-a-gallon gas as a blessing rather than a curse.

 

$4 is apparently not nearly high enough to get America’s head out of the sand (of Arabia and oblivion).

$4 is getting Detroit’s notice (too little too late) as evidenced- thank god for small favors- by the obscene Humvees’ becoming history.

 

Foster, have you noticed the weather recently?  The 1000 percent increase in lightning and tornadoes are the tip of the globally-warming ice berg (melting poles). If we care about anything, why isn’t it the saving of the globe, which is a gone planet (as far as ecosystems go) in under 12 years unless Kyoto Protocols are literally adhered to by that time.  More recent models make that tipping time closer to 8 years.

 

When gas hits $6 to $10,  we’ll then have the situation we did when we started the “Manhattan” project. When our trucks stop, America will stop. We’re nearing that point now as evidenced by the price of tomatoes. Necessity is a mother. And dollar-driven necessity is the only thing that’s gotten this indolent, fast-food fed, fat-corporate-cat-dominated society of ours to remove its head from its lazy rear since Hiroshima.

 

This noise about Exxon Mobile execs being smarter than politicians on issues of energy and oil…What could be idler chatter?  Everyone knows they’ve pocketed greater profits in the precise period it took for oil to rise from $1.50 to $4 than ever before. If that’s not traitorous war-profiteering there’s never been any.  But, again, it’s all micro-trivia compared to the macro (global/survival)  issues:  US (and all industrial nations’) dependence on fossil fuel was doomsday dumb from the start. Today’s chapter is simply the final one in the  story of man’s wedding to oil.  It was an OK idea when there were fewer than a billion of us on the globe, but with over 6 billion, it’s a doomsday scenario. The sooner gas prices bring America to its knees the sooner America will rise. Giving those ignorant Arab sheiks the bulk of our nation’s wealth for the past half century has created the Armageddon scenario only a minor part of which is our twin towers’ toppling.  Now, from Dubai, they are running the international banks and multi-national corporations running the world. Hell, last year we sold them (unwittingly) our harbors.

 

All the trivial pursuits covered by the neo-con chant you forwarded in Republican ditto-headed reflex fashion will be mooted when (if) America gets focused on remedies instead of problems. Oil prices are a problem we need to make an end-run around. Bite the bullet and  pay the money until we eliminate the need. Don’t look for new places in pristine  and off-shore places to purloin the same globally-warming and culturally-addicting substance.   Put the Arab OPEC bastards out of world-dominating business.  Wind and solar power, with today’s technologies,  end the tyranny of oil and oil peddlers. Without oil as currency, there would be no problem (much less a U.S.- run wars) in the Middle East. We can steer India and China around the same problem we’re in only by example. We can’t demand- we can only lead.  The technology is here already (see my DI article here linked: “The Answer is Blowin’ in the Wind” –

 

Let’s quit staring at the hole our heads seem perennially stuck in and start working on the doughnut.

 

Best,

 

Dusty

6-9-08

 

 

Clinchers by Leonard Carrier

 

 

Dusty,

 

It really ticks me off when oil-company execs lay our gasoline-price increases at the door of government.  What they want to do is drill in the ANWR and in other off-shore locations–something that will bring them even more enormous profits, to the detriment of our environment. These companies are already being subsidized, while at the same time they are profiteering.  The solution to that is to eliminate all subsidies for oil companies and give them to alternative-energy companies–wind, solar, ocean, as well as to promote fuels that can be made from grasses and turkey guts. Also, raising the tax on gasoline and using the proceeds to repair our roads and bridges, as well as improving our public transportation system, is something that has worked in Europe, but has yet to be tried here.

 

Another annoying thing about Big Oil is that they refer to the “law of supply and demand” to justify the high prices for their products. This is arrant nonsense.  There is no such “law.”  Laws are physical necessities.  There is no necessity to engage in greed.  If these companies were interested in the well-being of our citizens, they would voluntarily cut their prices and therefore cut their profits.  “But the shareholders will complain,” might go their whinge.  I say, let them complain.  Tell the shareholders that part of their dividends are going toward the good of their fellow citizens, and toward our economy.  After all, if people can’t afford to drive their cars, the whole economy suffers, oil-company shareholders along with the rest.

 

I’ve said this before.  When you find yourself in a hole, the best thing to do is stop digging.  We were warned by Jimmy Carter back in 1973 that we should practice conservation and resort to alternative energy sources.  Big Oil and Big Coal didn’t listen, and they just kept drilling and digging.  And we listened to the Republican siren song that there was plenty of cheap oil to be had. Now that climate change has been shown, beyond a reasonable doubt, to be exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels, we need to get off our addiction to oil and coal, and do it quickly.

 

Are these Big Oil execs so smart, as the article in question would have us believe?  No, they’re not so smart, because they want to continue doing what they’ve been doing for years:  keeping us addicted to fossil fuels as they turn a blind eye on the pollution of our atmosphere. This is not being smart.  It is sacrificing everything of value on the alter of “the bottom line.”

 

It is my hope that come this November there will be a Progressive Congress and President.  That means unseating Republican oil and coal lackeys such as James Inhofe and Mitch McConnell, and not letting John McCain, who promises to resurrect all of Bush’s failed policies, anywhere near the White House.

 

Best,

 

Len

Posted in Corporations, Oil, Political | Leave a comment by Editors

Creeping Corporate Capitalism

 

The Pernicious Plutocracy…

 

The  “Rand Syndrome”

 

(corollary to “The China Syndrome”)

 

Introduction by:  Dusty Schoch, DI Foreign-Policy Editor — with featured article from Charlotte Observer writers, Pam Kelley and Christina Rexrode– and post-scripted comments by DI contributors, Foster Musgrove and Leonard Carrier.

 

With the sub-caption, “The China Syndrome” we allude to and invite you to review previous essays by Schoch (by using the “articles” link) on the topic of corporate America’s exporting jobs and industry to India and China.

 

My previous postulate was this:  The China Syndrome (exporting America’s jobs and industry to China and other countries with “slave labor”) is exporting (destroying) America.  Corporate greed and governmental laissez-faire policies coincide to fuel the China Syndrome, with Enron and Halliburton scandals being only the top of the catastrophic ice berg.

 With the revelations that corporate-controlled Pentagon officials deceived us with false grounds for war (WMD’s etc) and further revelations that these same petro-munitions consortiums are guiding us to pursue our illegal conquest and occupation of Iraq, we saw Orwell’s nightmarish 1984 “fictional” forecast loom into actuality.  “Big brother” and the “big lies” were in fact being told the American public by a neo-con manipulated press (and, let’s concede it – a dreadfully dumbed-down American press and …America).

 

My present postulate is this: Now the neo-cons are moving in for the final kill…that’s where (as Hitler burned the books in 1933) the neo-con corporate fat cat bullies are starting to change history.  Not literally by burning books this time, but rather by a much more subtle, sinister and insidious manner…by controlling (that means revising) what is taught in our universities. By starting the propaganda in full force with our sons and daughters as they enter the cusp of the job market…as they begin to take over the leadership of our society.

 

If Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” became required reading at UNC Chapel Hill, would you be upset?  OK.  I’m telling you now, our University has now agreed to make required reading out of a book which I submit to you preaches a doctrine of capitalist fascism.

 

The scoop is the subject of a well-written (by  Pam Kelley and Christina Rexrode) article appearing in the Charlotte Observer (March 23, 2008) available in full-print at this link:

 

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1010249.html and will be printed below.

 

Long story short – Fat cat neocon banker, John Allison, C.E.O. of BB & T  has given the University of North Carolina a million dollars on the condition our students of the benefited universities read a book by Ayn Rand you may or may not have heard of entitled “Atlas Shrugged”.  Our (publicly-funded) University has agreed to the deal.

 

Ayn Rand is, for those out of this particular end of the neo-con loop, is a recently disinterred poster-child capitalistic “intellectual” who wrote some very popular fiction a half-century ago entitled “The Fountainhead” (also a movie) and “Atlas Shrugged”.  Both novels preached  the same essential socio-economic sermon, coined “enlightened selfishness”.  If Karl Marx and Lenin authored the “socialist” or “populist” end of the socio-economic spectrum of  Twentieth Century ideology , Ayn Rand founded its “individualist” polar opposite.

 

The fat corporate cats of today are able and willing today to export America’s industry and jobs to foreign slave-labor (Indian and Chinese laborers earn the American equivalent of $30-$40 a month)  centers in order to skim the profits while our country is tossed towards its second depression because of its blind adherence to Randian philosophy – that our government should do nothing…absolutely nothing to stand in the way of either its citizens’ creativity or their (corporate) productivity. This philosophy of unrestrained corporate dominance has given us terminal  air and water pollution, global warming, war in Iraq and economic collapse.  And now, the fat cats want that philosophy added to the required reading of any student who attends business school in our university system.

 

Sound like  Hollywood mythology to you?  Don’t really think that Orwell’s 1984 scenario can really come true? Think again. Not only is it possible–our university staff and boards of trustees are going along with it. Wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that every member of our University Board of Trustees is a corporate fat cat him/her self, and probably a dedicated disciple of Ayn Rand since his own college days (when reading her sophomoric crap was optional).

 

Why “sophomoric crap”?  I’ll give you an example to illustrate.  I read “The Fountainhead” when I was 20. My very intellectual mother was a real devotee of Rand.  Rand is, if nothing else, a great story teller. But so’s Spephen King. You want Kujo’s creator ethically grooming your children? Back  in Rand’s day, corporations were a lot better behaved, I’ll say in my mother’s (and Rand’s)  defense. Back then, General Electric really did (occasionally) “bring better things to life”. Now the most important thing they bring to life is instant death (as the world’s largest supplier of nuclear warhead triggers); and by the way…GE has now exported (entirely) all its appliance service department to New Delhi.  If your stove or refrigerator goes on the blink – sorry; there aren’t any GE repairmen in the U.S. They’ve been “down-sized” (fired) and their jobs exported to India and China.

 

This has happened because America is run by a government whose statesmen are on corporate payrolls (i.e., they don’t get elected without corporate campaign contributions, which is the same thing. The corporations get them elected; un-restricted corporate lobbyists then come straight to their (public) offices to collect the quid pro quo.

 

Now- back to the “example” (literary) in “The Fountainhead” that illustrates my designation of Randian Philosophy as morally bankrupt “sophomoric crap”.  The “Fountainhead’s” hero is an architect named Howard Roark.  He’s got the hots for the female protagonist, “Dominique Francon”.  She doesn’t immediately have the hots for him in return, so he does his laizzez-faire thing and rapes her.  She turns out liking it, but it was clearly rape being endorsed by this intellectually-pretentious excuse for the “great American novel” as the fat cat neo-cons call it. 

 

But that’s not where the corporate megalomania ends.   At the end of the book, Roark has designed and his client (big American city) has constructed a high-rise apartment complex for thousands of its middle class and  poor. Millions of public and private funds have been invested. But midway in construction, because of cost and other factors, some of Roark’s original blue prints were compromised. The residents wouldn’t each have a balcony where they could hang out flowers and sit in the sun.  Yes, this was a bad thing for the people and their visionary architect, but does Roark take them to court and make them fix what they’d done wrong? Nope. He torches the whole project. Yes sir; yes mam. His answer…and Rand’s philosophy is just that ego-centric and narcissistic.  If the government steps in the way of its artists or architects, the answer is…burn the place down. To the ground. 

 

In her novel, Ayn Rand makes Roark’s arson not only morally acceptable, but  heroic.  In the process, a nearly-complete habitat for thousands of the poor and middle class is torched because of the ego and pissed-off pride of a single man. Perhaps he was the original neo-con. Or perhaps  Ayn Rand herself was. In her other book, “Atlas Shrugged”, the business fat cats quit their noble narcissistic pursuits and there’s “hell to pay”.  Message – Do what the corporations say, or else.

 

Better watch out— Now– thanks to our fat cat corporate bankers–Ayn Rand is now required reading for your University of North Carolina student.

 

Read the following article with the insight—and fright—I hope it engenders in you. Fascism has many faces. Unrestrained corporate-controlled plutarchy is one of them.

 

Now to the beautifully-composed article by Kelley and Rexrode…

 

Gifts with strings a knotty issue -

Ayn Rand reading requirement compromises independence, UNCC faculty say

 

           By: Pam Kelley and Christina Rexrode, The Charlotte Observer*

 

 

 

As a college student in Chapel Hill, John Allison stumbled across a collection of essays by Ayn Rand and was hooked by her philosophy of self-interest and limited government. As he rose over the decades to chief executive of BB&T, one of the country’s leading regional banks, Rand remained his muse.

He’s trying to replicate that encounter through the charitable arm of his Winston-Salem-based company, which since 1999 has awarded more than $28 million to 27 colleges to support the study of capitalism from a moral perspective.

But on at least 17 of those campuses, including UNC-Charlotte, N.C. State and Johnson C. Smith University, the gifts come with an unusual stipulation: Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” is included in a course as required reading.

The schools’ agreements have drawn criticism from some faculty, who say it compromises academic integrity. In higher education, the power to decide course content is supposed to rest with professors, not donors. Debate about the gifts, which arose at UNCC this month, illustrates tensions that exist over corporate influence on college campuses.

UNCC received its $1 million gift pledge in 2005, but details about the “Atlas Shrugged” requirement came to light as the school dedicated an Ayn Rand reading room March 12.

“It’s going to make us look like a rinky-dink university,” UNCC religious studies professor Richard Cohen said Thursday after UNCC Chancellor Phil Dubois told the faculty council about the gift. “It’s like teaching the Bible as a requirement.”

Dubois, who learned of the book requirement this month, says it was ill-advised. He may ask Allison to reconsider it, he told faculty.

Allison has been surprised that the gifts can generate controversy. He says he simply wants students exposed to the late author’s ideas, which he thinks the academic community has largely ignored. He welcomes opposing ideas.

He also points out that the schools approached the foundation, not the other way around.

“We obviously can’t make anybody teach something,” he says. “We wouldn’t want to, we wouldn’t try to. These are professors that want to teach this.”

“Atlas Shrugged” tells of an America where the most gifted industrialists and creators go on strike. The book, more than 1,100 pages long, showcases Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, which says individuals have the right to live entirely for their own self-interest.

An atheist, Rand criticized government regulation of business.

Her followers “regard her as the greatest thinker to have graced this earth since Aristotle and the greatest writer of all time,” Reason Magazine wrote in 2005. “Mainstream intellectuals tend to dismiss her as a writer of glorified pulp fiction and a pseudo-philosophical quack with an appeal for impressionable teens.”

Allison discovered Rand as a business major at UNC-Chapel Hill in the late ’60s. “Atlas Shrugged” remains his favorite book.

“Most of the defenders of free markets mostly do it from an economic perspective,” Allison says. “They argue that free markets produce a higher standard of living, which is certainly very good. But Rand makes a connection to human nature and why individual rights and free markets are the only system consistent with human nature.”

BB&T officials say they never made a specific decision to spread the gospel of ethical capitalism and Ayn Rand.

But in 1999, Duke University received money from BB&T to support the teaching of values and ethics in business. The gift didn’t require that Duke teach Ayn Rand. Her work was already being taught there.

As word spread of that gift and others, more colleges approached the foundation with proposals. Allison shared his interest in Rand with them.

At least one school, UNC-Wilmington, offered to make “Atlas Shrugged” a requirement, figuring “our proposal might be more favorably received” if it were part of the package, officials said in an e-mail to the Observer.

Wilmington got a commitment of more than $1 million. But unlike at most campuses, the faculty voted to approve the proposal first.

Companies have long endowed college professorships and programs that fit their areas of interest. Sometimes, schools reject gifts if they can’t live with a donor’s conditions.

But as states reduce higher education budgets, business is playing a bigger role, experts say.

“They’re so desperate for funding sources that they’re willing to take more money with strings attached,” says Jennifer Washburn, author of “University Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education.”

*All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.

 

 

 

From Foster Musgrove*

 

 

Dusty,

 

I read your essay with great interest and cannot believe that as a condition of a gift a university board would consent to making Rand’s book (or any book) required reading.  Having so said, I put this question to you – Is the banker the culprit here?  Did he not merely voice his preference for Rand’s works as I might for Penn Warren and certain of his works.  Was it not the Board that advanced the proposal to include the book as required reading?  All Allison (or the Foundation) ever wanted to do was to “support the teaching of values and ethics in business”.   As a banker, Allison is certainly The Authority on the subject of values and ethics or the lack thereof in business.  I would be interested (simply curiosity) to know if there were any educators on the board and whether the vote was unanimous. 

 

Another question for you – Assume that the $1 million was the difference between keeping the university open or it closing for good.  Would refusing the money be in any way akin to Roark’s torching of the high rise?  Would the university be “cutting of its nose to spite its face”?  

 

Now, as you have taught me, I am going to step outside the box.  If as you opine Rand’s works are “sophomoric crap” that a bunch of fat cat neo cons have foisted upon the academic community, does this not present the professors with the perfect storm for teaching values and ethics in business (and vice versa).  Think of it – The professor tells his students – you must read this book and here are the facts as to how it became required reading.  On the other hand, I suppose one could opine that having other than the professor dictate course materials is the first step down the slippery slope (whether or not he is able to turn the sow’s ear into a silk purse, which, upon reflection, is the ultimate act of capitalism).

 

Fire away.

 

Foster   

 

*Foster is a previous DI contributor residing in Mableton, Georgia.  With a career background and world of experience in the realms of law and business, Foster is also an accomplished (if reluctant) writer of poems and essays. 

 

 

Leonard Carrier (DI In-House Historian and Philosopher)

Anchors the responses to Dusty’s rant on Rand becoming

“required” reading…

    

Dusty-

 

I think the UNC trustees have made a terrible decision.  Throughout my teaching career I have encountered a handful of Ayn

Rand devotees.  These were invariably intelligent students with a quirk.  That quirk was an inability to think outside the box that Ayn Rand and her so-called philosophy of  ”objectivism” provided them.  I took the time to read through the objectivist principles and found them to be a mish-mash of half-baked ideas culled helter-skelter from various philosophers, without much insight into what the philosopher’s thought processes were.  For every philosophical question, objectivism had a pat answer.  There was no emphasis on thinking for yourself, just a rote exercise in finding which pigeon hole to place the question, and then crank out the answer.

 

The bare bones of the philosophical underpinning of Rand’s novels is this.  Human nature is selfish, but this is a good thing. Only when the individual truly frees himself from the bonds of society do great things get accomplished.  The entrepreneur is glorified, and the common man is vilified.  Those who champion community are depicted as being weak.  The strong person is able to break free from the rules that society in its weakness fashions for itself and thus further the progress of the human race.  When transported to the marketplace this view naturally favors unfettered, free-market capitalism.

 

This Randian philosophy is flawed from the start.  Human nature is selfish to the degree that each of us needs some measure of sustenance and security.  There is no natural drive to acquire more than necessary, and those who do so are simply greedy. For the Randian, however, “Greed is good.”  Yet we need only point to the myriad of scandals that this outlook has caused lately to see that it is not only nonsensical, but criminal.  What Randians have done is to take a simple proposition such as “Everything one rationally does is self-motivated,” and interpret that to mean, “Everything one does is for oneself.”  The former proposition means only that our voluntary acts proceed from our own desires and beliefs and not from someone else’s.  Some of these desires and beliefs involve doing things for others, and so the second proposition is clearly false.

 

Ayn Rand’s philosophical outlook can be found in the so-called “neoconservatives” who still dominate President Bush’s official family.  These are intelligent men and women who view themselves as “elites” who can break away from the herd mentality and lead the country to the pre-eminent position it deserves.  Because they believe human nature is selfish, they think other countries are out to dominate us; and so we should have no qualms in waging preventive warfare whenever we can do so without too much cost.  These neocons believe that through pre-emptive action they can create a “new reality”–and a new morality–in which an individual state can break free of such things as the Geneva Conventions and the disapprobation of other nations in order to “come out on top.”  As in the Randian philosophy, winning is its own reward.  The fact that a premier university such as UNC would submit to having what is essentially an immoral outlook become required study–and doing it just for the money–shows how insidious the corporate influence has become in academe.

 

I hope that it’s not too late for the UNC trustees to change their minds.  If not, perhaps there is a way to mitigate the damage.  One solution would be to have Orwell’s 1984 also made required reading in the same course in which Atlas Shrugged is required. 

 

Incidentally, Dusty, I  would recommend only one change in your foreword to The Observer article. You mention in passing that Rand’s work was “sophomoric Aristotelian elitist crap.”  All those things apply, except for “Aristotelian.”  Aristotle’s view was that the best government was that of a polity, in which people ruled and were ruled in turn.  His doctrine of “the golden mean” was meant to guide people to follow the path of moderation so as to live in harmony with others.  This is a far cry from the “winner take all” pronouncements of Ayn Rand.

 

– Len

 

 Thanks again, Len and Foster,  for the great elucidations—which put me back into the perspective I’d lost. It would have been totally foolish to eschew that corporate money on “principle”. Throwing out bullion with bath water.   In view of what you’ve said, I’m now thinking both Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Hitler’s Mein Kampf should be made required reading at all secondary school venues. With photos of Auschwitz and American homeless juxtaposed on the shelves and lectern film projectors.  Lest we forget. Lest we, especially neglect to heed Neitzhe’s admonition – “Let’s keep our allies close, and our enemies closer.”  Lest we forget.

 

Dusty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Corporations, Economics, Political | Leave a comment by Robert Schoch

My indecision is done –

 

The answer is simply:  NOT HILLARY!

 

Here is the defining moment that did it.

 

By: DI Foreign Policy Editor, Dusty Schoch

March 10, 2008

 

In a word, it was a betrayal—Hillary Clinton’s betrayal of her party and her country by putting her ambition for the office she seeks before all things…including aiding (by endorsing him 4 times now) Republican opponent, John McCain, by calling him “more qualified” than Obama.

 

When I heard it the first time, I didn’t believe it, chalking the rumor up to probable Republican propaganda. But she’s done it now 4 times in the media – in essence instructing  American voters to support either her or John McCain…over Barack Obama.  Besides confirming Hillary Clinton, as a Democratic Presidential Candidate is a train wreck in the process of happening, what else can we conclude of her—now three-times repeated statement, and I quote: 

 

“Of course, well, you know, I’ve got a lifetime of experience. Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience. And you know, Senator Obama’s whole campaign is about one speech he made in 2002.”

 

The first time she made this declaration may be viewed at the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou4JnWQsxKw

 

The second time she aired this narcissistic, betraying tripe to the media, she said

 

 ”[McCain has] never been president, but he will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Senator Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002.”

 

And the third time, it was:

I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.”

 

What can we make of this other than (to Hillary) beating Obama is more important than keeping another war-mongering Neocon Republican out of the oval office? This is the essence of self-centered, megalomanic excessiveness and overkill. This is precisely the trait we should most fear—and eschew—in the process of selecting our next chief executive and military commander in chief.  Anyone can make a slip of the tongue, but when someone utters something this suicidally-stupid and destructive four times in the same 2-week period, all you can truly conclude is that she has suffered a mental melt-down in the process of playing catch-up with her Democratic  co-contender.

 

 Thank God for such defining moments. We need them—to define and see the truth about people– in our personal lives and we need them more desperately in our political lives. We can—and will– be fooled by some of the people some of the time, and some can be fooled all of the time (by some), but such defining moments as Hillary Clinton has just provided at least serve to end my past voting conundrum, where, inspired by neither Obama nor Clinton, I was relegated to that pathetic puddle  of independents and liberals ruing the underwhelming and distasteful task of choosing the lesser among two evils simply because both of those choices would be better than anything the Republican Party deigned  to designate their candidate.

 

By putting herself and her personal quest for victory, power and glory before the collective interests of her Party and her country, not to mention before the pursuits of either common courtesy or sane campaign polemics,  Hillary Clinton has inadvertently performed for us a public service. Through this defining moment and behavior, she has, for many of us (thankfully including me), concluded my conundrum of doubts concerning the Democratic Party’s choice between the lesser of evils.  Hillary’s outrageous endorsement of Republican John McCain has not made Barack Obama any better a presidential choice for the Democratic Party,   but it has clearly made him, for many of us, including yours truly, the only choice.

 

A DREAM FOR AMERICA LINGERS….

 

I have a lingering hope, though I concede it is more aptly viewed as an idealist’s pipe dream:  It is still possible, given the closeness of the delegates’ race, and the fact that, in a neck-and-neck situation at the Convention, a dark horse candidate might become viable. Right now Clinton has support from 158 super delegates and Obama has 89. These votes are committed but not “guaranteed”.   What if…Just, what if someone got these super delegates together and ended a Democratic Conventional dead heat by going to Obama with a deal to run as (a drafted)  Al Gore’s VP on the assurance that he’d serve only 4 years and step aside to endorse Obama for the next 4 years?  As a dark horse solo (with any non-felonious running mate) ticket,  Al Gore could whip anything the Republicans could muster even if they were smart enough to deep-six McCain.  A combo of Gore/Obama would give us a Democratic landslide.  This would be my idea of the consummate American Dream.

 

But, backing up again to the world of  “reality”, Hillary has finally managed to show us the way around our Democratic divisiveness and indecision.  She has given us the moments (four in fact) which have finally defined her… as the one for whom we should not vote in the forthcoming primaries.

Posted in Political | Leave a comment by Editors

Oprah

Obama

Oh, my God…

Oprah & Obama

Oprah & Obama

 

 

DI Science Contributor, Patrick Morton has suggested we need a wake-up call on Oprah’s endorsement of Obama…for the reason that she is also endorsing our taking a look at Christianity and religion in general with a view to opening our minds to the “reality” that what Christians call “God” may be simply an integral spiritual part of us.

Morton has asked that we first view a video of Oprah’s TV “sermon” on the subject of what people are calling Oprah’s “New Age” religion.  Does her dual endorsement of Obama and this new religion give us pause to fear a new crumbling of the Constitutional wall separating church and state?  Let us turn to Morton’s message and then reflect with some comments from DW staffers and contributors.

 

Patrick Morton’s Warning:

 

It all began with the following video I’d like you to watch as a primer.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW4LLwkgmqA

 

 

After viewing this video myself, I did a considerable amount of internet research on Obama, Oprah, and her so-called church. The equation of the three has the sensation of badly fudged data results. Add to this the popular press allegations that Obama and Oprah hail from the same America-bashing church and the sum total is unsettling.

 

 

SUBMITTED FOR YOUR APPROVAL:

 

Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the

opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.
Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

 

Most people take away from this quote that ‘Religion is the opium of the People.’

 

Now. The Church of Oprah, having convinced literally millions of people that they are oppressed, is leading the masses to believe that they are God AND that they should support Obama, who conveniently tells everyone that it’s time for a change (but is not specific about just what this change entails).

 

EXCUSE ME! DID I MISS SOMETHING?

 

Does not the Constitution guarantee a separation of church and state? If Obama and Oprah hail from the same radical church AND Oprah creates a church from billions of fanatic’s dollars AND then Oprah heavily endorses Obama for president…. then isn’t this the effect of a church attempting to put a man in the White House???

 

Hmmm.

 

Maybe it’s just me– I mean, after all, if we are all indeed God incarnate,  then we have no worries regardless of who buys into the presidency.

 

Seriously, I have every confidence in a presidential candidate being of rightful and Godly principles. I just do not think we are ready for a New Age Administration, now or ever.

 

It does seem time for all true American patriots to do some soulful thinking about November.

 

My Deepest Concerns and Regards,

 

Patrick Morton 

 

 

DI CONTRIBUTOR, FOSTER MUSGROVE,  RESPONDS

 

 

 

Regarding the recent exchanges concerning separation of Church and State – some off-the-wall thoughts:

 

Setting aside someone else’s wife, there are only two things a politician covets – money and votes.  Oprah has them both and is using them to Obama’s advantage.  Thus, we should anticipate that Oprah has and will continue to exert an influence over Obama.

 

The Church is the Black person’s labor union and the preacher his/her business agent.  This evolved as Blacks had no effective voice in either the political or financial arena.  There are few, if any, business agents that put the good of the membership (congregation) before their own.  The promise of a block voting/herd mentality congregation is merely one of the tools the Business agent utilizes to empower and advance his own interests.  Thus, we should anticipate that the Business Agents have and will continue to exert an influence over Obama. 

 

Agree or disagree?

 

Foster

 

DI Foreign Policy Editor, Dusty Schoch

Throws in:

 

 

Couldn’t agree more, Foster.  When Reverend Wright spewed his volcanic racial spleen recently, Obama should have publicly distanced himself from that craziness.  His failure to do so is probably prophetic. Having said that, I have no doubts but that the Christian Bible Belt accounted for both Bush’s election victories.  Unlike the Bard said, I don’t think the first thing we need do is kill all the lawyers. I say let’s exterminate (i.e., not literally, but somehow oust them from politics)  the Pharisees. Starting with the Baptists.

 

As far as Patrick’s concerns with Oprah are concerned, I’m not really troubled. First, she is not advancing any “religion” as I can see it—at least from the video clip. What she is seemingly espousing is a retreat—a massive one—on the part of her following from their religious upbringings and prejudices.  She explains that, at an early age, she began to question her Baptist Christian beliefs when she heard a preacher recite Old Testament dogma to the effect that their “God” was a “jealous” God.  Anthropomorphically assigning  to God such  a pathetic attribute of human frailty always bothered me as well. The omnipotent, omniscient—and “only” creator being… “jealous”?   Ditto to her early onset of agnostic rumination and pains.

 

Oprah, it seems to me is not trying to package either a religion or a religious endorsement of Obama.  She is urging people to accept the fact that no human can KNOW the nature of God. People know mathematics, but they are capable of knowing exactly nothing about God.  They are capable only  of “belief” in God, religion and religious figures such as Jesus Christ, but Oprah is saying that they cannot, and perhaps should not, claim to know  that their religion is in fact “right” and all the other religions are “wrong”.

She is preaching peace, tolerance and harmony—She is urging us all to accept each other and along with each other the fact that we each should feel free to view unknowable God as we choose and see fit.  I believe that , in this, Oprah is standing on solid constitutional grounds. Our nation’s founders clearly intended to keep our church and our governmental institutions separate. Oprah’s endorsement of Obama even combined with her advocating that God is unknowable to me poses no threat at all in regard to separation of church and state. As far as I know, Obama has distanced himself from his former Reverend Wright, but has not renounced his Baptist faith (or church congregation for that matter) in favor of Oprah’s “new age” pontifications.

 

Personally I view any expression of a viewpoint that might serve to discourage voters who previously voted for Bush because he and they both adhered to the tenets of America’s “religious right”, from voting that way again, can’t be all bad.

 

Given the fact that political experts attribute Bush’s election in his past two races to support he solicited and obtained from our Country’s “red state” religious right, I’d say Patrick Morton’s concern with Oprah’s further whittling the wall between church and state is pretty much a matter of trying to lock the theological barn door after the holy cows are gone and ground into hamburger.

 

LEONARD CARRIER (DI Historian and Philosopher)

Plays ANCHOR MAN TO OPRAH/OBAMA CAVEAT:

 

 

I find myself in disagreement with Patrick concerning Jeremiah Wright’s sermons.  The one in which Wright is quoted as saying, “The chickens are coming home to roost,” is one in which he is quoting someone else–a white general, as it turned out.  To make it seem as if these are his own words is a pretty cheap political trick.  I have white friends who are ministers, and who testify to the fact that Wright is no “America hater,” and that his sermons have been primarily designed to get blacks to help themselves; and sometimes he felt the need to get them angry enough not to embrace victimhood.  This is exactly the opposite of what the YouTube snippets are designed to make you think.  When Jim Wallis of the progressive religious movement, Soujourners, claims that Wright is no hater, I believe him.  I believe that the people who put together the YouTube concoction were put up to it by Karl Rove, or someone trying to emulate him–the object being to divide and conquer.  I refuse to be taken in by these tactics.  As an aside, my sister was a member of a black church in Miami.  She could tell you that the sermons can get quite fiery, nothing like what you’d see in a white Baptist church.

 

 

Another point on which I disagree with Patrick is over whether we can call Oprah Winfrey’s religious beliefs (if they are such) a “church” at all.  A church needs organization, and ministers. Oprah has a TV show.  I have a friend who happens to be a Wiccan.  She also supports Barack Obama.  Does that mean that Obama is a secret Wiccan?  Also, I see no logical connection between Oprah Winfrey and Jeremiah Wright except for the fact that they both support Obama. To fashion a connection is, I believe, a matter of wishful thinking.

 

I do not wish to denigrate Patrick’s views, and I respect his right to publicize them.  I just think that it’s bad tactics to assert a connection between Barack Obama and “New Age” religion (whatever that’s supposed to be), when there is simply no logical tie at all.  I’m happy that Patrick will vote the Democratic ticket in November, as I will, whomever the nominee happens to be.

 

Cheers,

 

Len C.

Posted in Political | Leave a comment by Editors

Why Spitzer was Bushwhacked

 

Intro by DI Foreign Policy Editor, Dusty Schoch

3-24-08

 

While in the middle of composing for the DW readership an article intended to skewer our so-called “investigative reporting media” for having become a merepropaganduh arm of our neo-con corporate plutarchy, I was forwarded this piece by Leonard Carrier (our very circumspect DW Historian and Philosopher). It made me see that with this Spitzer sex scandal, I had , along with the rest of us American media sheep, been fooled again by the Republican media-machine’s masterful spin.  You know- those periodical “writers” who reflexively and dumbly parrot  neo-con euphemisms like “insurgents” (when the true term for those we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is “resistance forces” doggedly defending their countries against an [American] internationally-criminal invasion and occupation).

The article I was in the process of composing was entitled “A Time to Kill…the Messenger”.  It will be a retrospective rant against (and perhaps eulogy for) our now pretty-much deceased institution of truth-telling, muckraking, independent reporters of political and social truths. Truth of the noble ilk reported by the two heroic  Washington Post reporters who blew the whistle on Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate crimes ( reporters,  Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein ). And the demise of that ilk of authentic media sooth-sayers that led to our Orwellian (1984)  Big Brother domination by the neo-cons who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and convinced us (through their  spin on the “facts” of the matter of 9/11 terrorism) that there were WMD’s and Bin Laden alliances in Iraq. 

The messengers I will now and hereafter contend are worthy of “killing” (in the sense of career cancellation  as opposed to otherwise “offing” ) include those who continue to help Bush and his Saudi bedfellow, Prince Bandor (Bin Sultan), conceal the fact that it is Saudi Arabia and not Iran that is aiding insurgent “terrorism”  in Iraq and Afghanistan, just as it was mainly Saudi’s piloting  those commercial  planes into iconic American architecture on 9/11.

When will Americans come out of the ether and start cancelling their subscriptions to newspapers which do little more than report what White House spokesmen tell them (right after White House crony corporations tell them what to say)?  Why is it that, in order to understand why NY Governor Spitzer (Democrat) was blown out of public service by a Republican-run Federal prosecution, we have to turn to the “Asia Times” for the truth of the matter? — Instead of the NY Times, or the Washington Post for that matter?

 

Thank Providence for the burgeoning voice of the internet and our collective access to its power of getting the truth to us in spite of what our neo-controlled media is spinning in its web of infinite deception and misdirection and/or simply dumbed-down ineptitude. 

 

Thanks, Mr. F William Engdhl, and the Asia Times, (and our own Len Carrier for finding it) for pointing out for our vital  information that Spitzer’s scandal and political assassination were arranged not because his extramarital assignation  was newsworthy—but in order to execute an executive order (from Bush) to eliminate the source of information that could–and certainly should–have culminated (as Spitzer himself suggested) in Bush’s criminal prosecution and impeachment.

 

Now, to the truth about Spitzer’s communion with prostitutes, and why the Federal authorities singled him out for an investigation, which, although not leading to his arrest or prosecution, has certainly led to his elimination as a voice of opposition to our incumbent, criminal , president. (NOTE: Len Carrier has furnished us, after the first article, another article on the same sad scandal; both are well worth reading.)

 

Why Spitzer was Bushwhacked

 

 

 

By F William Engdahl

 

Asia Times, March 20, 2008, 3 pages
http://atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JC20Dj04.html

 


The spectacular and bizarre release of secret FBI wiretap data to the New York Times exposing the tryst of New York State governor Eliot Spitzer, the now-infamous client “No 9″, with an upmarket call-girl had relatively little to do with the George W Bush administration’s pursuit of high moral standards for public servants. Spitzer was likely the target of a White House and Wall Street dirty tricks operation to silence one of the most dangerous and vocal critics of their handling of the current financial market crisis.

A useful rule of thumb in evaluating spectacular scandals around prominent public figures is to ask who might want to eliminate that person. In the case of former governor Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, it is clear that the spectacular “leak” of the government’s FBI wiretap records showing that Spitzer paid a high-cost prostitute US$4,300 for what amounted to about an hour’s personal entertainment, was politically motivated.

The press has almost solely focused on the salacious aspects of the affair, not least the hefty fee Spitzer apparently paid. Why the scandal breaks now is the more interesting question.

Spitzer became governor of New York following a high-profile record as a relentless state attorney general going after financial crimes such as the Enron fraud, and corruption by Wall Street investment banks during the 2002 dotcom bubble era. Spitzer made powerful enemies by all accounts. The former head of the large AIG insurance group, Hank Greenburg, was among his detractors. He was bitterly hated on Wall Street. He had made his political career on being ruthless against financial corruption.
Most recently, from his position as governor of the nation’s second largest state, home to its financial industry, Spitzer had begun making high-profile attacks on the complicity of the Bush administration in covertly arranging bailouts of its Wall Street friends at the expense of ordinary homeowners and citizens, all paid for by taxpayer funds.

Curiously, Spitzer, who had been elected governor in 2006, defeating a Republican by winning nearly 70% of the vote, has not been charged with any crime. However, the day the scandal broke, New York Assembly Republicans immediately announced plans to impeach Spitzer or put him on public trial were he to refuse to resign. Spitzer could be asked to testify in any trial involving the Emperors Club prostitution ring. But so far he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Prostitution is illegal in most US states, but clients of prostitutes are almost never charged, nor are their names usually leaked in a case in process. The Spitzer case is in the hands of Washington and not state authorities, underscoring the clear political nature of the Spitzer “Watergate.”

The New York Times said Spitzer was an individual identified as Client 9 in court papers filed last week. Client 9 arranged to meet with “Kristen”, a prostitute who officially charged $1,000 an hour, on February 13 in a Washington hotel. Whatever transpired, Spitzer paid her $4,300, according to the official documents. The case is clearly political when compared with more egregious recent cases involving Republicans. Republican Mark Foley was exposed propositioning male interns in Congress and Rudolph Giuliani was discovered cheating on his wife, but no or few Republican calls for resignations were heard.

Why the attack now?

Spitzer had become increasingly public in blaming the Bush administration for the nation’s current financial and economic disaster. He testified in Washington in mid-February before the US House of Representatives Financial Services subcommittee on the problems in New York-based specialized insurance companies, known as “monoline” insurers. In a national CNBC TV interview the same day, he laid blame for the crisis and its broader economic fallout on the Bush administration.

Spitzer recalled that several years ago the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) went to court and blocked New York State efforts to investigate the mortgage activities of national banks. Spitzer argued that the OCC did not put a stop to questionable loan marketing practices or uphold higher underwriting standards.

“This could have been avoided if the OCC had done its job,” Spitzer said in the interview. “The OCC did nothing. The Bush administration let the housing bubble inflate and now that it’s deflating we’re dealing with the consequences. The real failure, the genesis, the germ that has spread, was the subprime scandal,” Spitzer said.

Fraudulent marketing and very low “teaser” mortgage rates that later ballooned higher, were practices that should have been stopped, he argued. “When mortgages are being marketed, there is a marketplace obligation to ensure the borrower can afford to pay back the debt,” he said.

That TV interview was only one instance of Spitzer laying blame on the Bush Republicans. On February 14, Spitzer published a signed article in the influential Washington Post titled, “Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers.”

That article, laying clear blame on the administration for the development of the subprime crisis, appeared the day after his ill-fated tryst with the prostitute at the Mayflower Hotel. Just a coincidence? Spitzer wrote, “In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act pre-empting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks.”


In his article, Spitzer charged, “Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.”

Bush, said Spitzer right in the headline, was the “predator lenders’ partner in crime”. The president, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet. Spitzer wrote, “When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably.”

With that article, Spitzer may well have signed his own political death warrant.
________________


F William Engdahl is author of the book Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, about to be released by Global Research Publishing, and of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, Pluto Press. He may be reached via his website, www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net.

(Copyright 2007 F William Engdahl.)

 

ADDENDUM

Forwarded by Leonard Carrier who asks us to look at yet….

 

Another eye-opener.  Are we ready to cheer yet? — L.C.

 

 

Subject: Spitzer was fighting our fight

 

The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked

By Greg Palast
Reporting for Air America Radio’s Clout

Listen to Palast on Clout at www.GregPalast.com

While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.

Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there’s a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush’s man Bernanke was using ours.

This week, Bernanke’s Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks’ mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.

Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers’ bordello: Eliot Spitzer.

Who are they kidding? Spitzer’s lynching and the bankers’ enriching are intimately tied.

How? Follow the money.

The press has swallowed Wall Street’s line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn’t afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey. That’s blaming the victim.

Here’s what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new species of loan became the norm, the ‘sub-prime’ mortgage and it’s variants including loans with teeny “introductory” interest rates. From out of nowhere, a company called ‘Countrywide’ became America’s top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large chuck of these ‘sub-prime.’

Here’s how it worked: The Grinning Family, with US average household income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 a month payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years. But in two years, the promise ain’t worth a can of spam and the Grinnings are told to scram – because their house is now worth less than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to recover the “discount” they had for two years. Suddenly, payments equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. Grinnings move into their Toyota.

Now, what kind of American is ‘sub-prime.’ Guess. No peeking. Here’s a hint: 73% of HIGH INCOME Black and Hispanic borrowers were given sub-prime loans versus 17% of similar-income Whites. Dark-skinned borrowers aren’t stupid – they had no choice. They were ‘steered’ as it’s called in the mortgage sharking business.

‘Steering,’ sub-prime loans with usurious kickers, fake inducements to over-borrow, called ‘fraudulent conveyance’ or ‘predatory lending’ under US law, were almost completely forbidden in the olden days (Clinton Administration and earlier) by federal regulators and state laws as nothing more than fancy loan-sharking.

But when the Bush regime took over, Countrywide and its banking brethren were told to party hardy – it was OK now to steer’m, fake’m, charge’m and take’m.

But there was this annoying party-pooper. The Attorney General of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who sued these guys to a fare-thee-well. Or tried to.

Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush’s regulators went on the warpath against Spitzer and states attempting to stop predatory practices. Making an unprecedented use of the legal power of “federal pre-emption,” Bush-bots ordered the states to NOT enforce their consumer protection laws.

Indeed, the feds actually filed a lawsuit to block Spitzer’s investigation of ugly racial mortgage steering. Bush’s banking buddies were especially steamed that Spitzer hammered bank practices across the nation using New York State laws.

Spitzer not only took on Countrywide, he took on their predatory enablers in the investment banking community. Behind Countrywide was the Mother Shark, its funder and now owner, Bank of America. Others joined the sharkfest: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup’s Citibank made mortgage usury their major profit centers. They did this through a bit of financial legerdemain called “securitization.”

What that means is that they took a bunch of junk mortgages, like the Grinnings, loans about to go down the toilet and re-packaged them into “tranches” of bonds which were stamped “AAA” – top grade – by bond rating agencies. These gold-painted turds were sold as sparkling safe investments to US school district pension funds and town governments in Finland (really).

When the housing bubble burst and the paint flaked off, investors were left with the poop and the bankers were left with bonuses. Countrywide’s top man, Angelo Mozilo, will ‘earn’ a $77 million buy-out bonus this year on top of the $656 million – over half a billion dollars – he pulled in from 1998 through 2007.

But there were rumblings that the party would soon be over. Angry regulators, burned investors and the weight of millions of homes about to be boarded up were causing the sharks to sink. Countrywide’s stock was down 50%, and Citigroup was off 38%, not pleasing to the Gulf sheiks who now control its biggest share blocks.

Then, on Wednesday of this week, the unthinkable happened. Carlyle Capital went bankrupt. Who? That’s Carlyle as in Carlyle Group. James Baker, Senior Counsel. Notable partners, former and past: George Bush, the Bin Laden family and more dictators, potentates, pirates and presidents than you can count.

The Fed had to act. Bernanke opened the vault and dumped $200 billion on the poor little suffering bankers. They got the public treasure – and got to keep the Grinning’s house. There was no ‘quid’ of a foreclosure moratorium for the ‘pro quo’ of public bail-out. Not one family was saved – but not one banker was left behind.

Every mortgage sharking operation shot up in value. Mozilo’s Countrywide stock rose 17% in one day. The Citi sheiks saw their company’s stock rise $10 billion in an afternoon.

And that very same day the bail-out was decided – what a coinkydink! – the man called, ‘The Sheriff of Wall Street’ was cuffed. Spitzer was silenced.

Do I believe the banks called Justice and said, “Take him down today!” Naw, that’s not how the system works. But the big players knew that unless Spitzer was taken out, he would create enough ruckus to spoil the party. Headlines in the financial press – one was “Wall Street Declares War on Spitzer” – made clear to Bush’s enforcers at Justice who their number one target should be. And it wasn’t Bin Laden.

It was the night of February 13 when Spitzer made the bone-headed choice to order take-out in his Washington Hotel room. He had just finished signing these words for the Washington Post about predatory loans:

“Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which he federal government was turning a blind eye.”

Bush, said Spitzer right in the headline, was the “Predator Lenders’ Partner in Crime.” The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet.

Spitzer wrote, “When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably.”

But now, the Administration can rest assured that this love story – of Bush and his bankers – will not be told by history at all – now that the Sheriff of Wall Street has fallen on his own gun.

A note on “Prosecutorial Indiscretion.”

Back in the day when I was an investigator of racketeers for government, the federal prosecutor I was assisting was deciding whether to launch a case based on his negotiations for airtime with 60 Minutes. I’m not allowed to tell you the prosecutor’s name, but I want to mention he was recently seen shouting, “Florida is Rudi country! Florida is Rudi country!”

Not all crimes lead to federal bust or even public exposure. It’s up to something called “prosecutorial discretion.”

Funny thing, this ‘discretion.’ For example, Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him diapers (ewww!), yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors busting the pimp-ring that pampered him.
Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer – rarely done in these cases – was made at the ‘discretion’ of Bush’s Justice Department.

Or maybe we should say, ‘indiscretion.’

************
Greg Palast, former investigator of financial fraud, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

Hear The Palast Report weekly on Air America Radio’s Clout.

Posted in Political | Leave a comment by Editors

 

 

Barack Obama Speaks of Race
Relations on March 18, 2008

We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk – to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination – where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs – to the larger aspirations of all Americans — the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination – and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past – are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

 

Comment Concerning Barack Obama Speech

 

The most effusive of all, however, was Hardball’s Chris Matthews, speaking on camera:

“A speech worthy of Abraham Lincoln….what I personally view as the best speech ever given on race in this country. One that went beyond “I have a dream,” to “I have lived the dream but have also lived in this country….” It grabbed me. It was ripping the scab off in a good way…. This is the kind of speech that first graders should see, people in the last year of college should see before they go out in the world.”

 

In Response to the Above Quote

 

I am sorry, I believe the press has totally lost their minds in covering this Presidential campaign. A good speech but I would contend that the Honorable Martin Luther King’s speech was spoken when our nation was under life threatening duress.  Barack Obama’s speech was given to save his Presidential campaign. I have previously stated on this site that Martin Luther King was one of the greatest Americans of my lifetime.

 

Bobby Dees

 

March 19, 2008, North Carolina
Primary Presidential Poll

 

The latest Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina shows Sen. Barack Obama barely edging Sen. Hillary Clinton, 44% to 43%.

Clinton actually leads among Democrats in the poll, 44% to 43%. But Obama has the overall lead based on a very strong performance with unaffiliated voters, with whom he has a 53% to 35% advantage.

Key observation: “The rules for voting in the North Carolina primary probably work to Clinton’s advantage. Obama has done very well in states with open primaries…

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 By: DI In-House Historian and Philosopher, Leonard Carrier

2/7/08

            Now that the dust of Super Tuesday has settled, the Democrats are no closer to having a nominee; but the Republican race seems to have been decided.  Although there are more primaries to come, the surge for McCain will probably be enough to carry him over the top.  Only the stubborn candidacies of Romney and Huckabee stand in his way, and it is difficult to imagine that there are enough Mormons to energize the former, or enough evangelicals to pray for the latter.  A likely Republican ticket might even feature McCain and Huckabee—the former as the standard bearer and the latter carrying the Bible.  If this turns out to be the case, then Sinclair Lewis’ prediction  may well be fulfilled:  “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”

            As bad as a Romney or Huckabee win might be for the United States—the former a fork-tongued draft-dodger during Vietnam, and the latter someone who would favor the Bible over our Constitution—a McCain presidency would be even worse.  This is because Americans would be expecting someone better, but would be getting someone who would sorely disappoint them.  It might be difficult to imagine someone worse than the present occupant of the White House—the utterance of whose name sullies the mouth—but it is true, for the reasons I shall now adumbrate.

For women who are pro-choice on the question of abortion, McCain offers something to ponder.  In  1999 he said that he would never work to repeal Roe v. Wade.  In 2007 he announces that he is now in favor of repeal.  Women who remember only his first stand might find themselves disillusioned when he acts upon the second one. 

Although styled by the media as a “moderate” Republican, in reality McCain is an extreme right-winger.  For instance, he supports NAFTA, CAFTA and other globalist policies that have hurt American workers and shipped their jobs overseas.  Also, if you thought that the Republican drive to privatize Social Security was over, think again.  McCain is in favor of privatization, and would doubtless bring the subject up again if elected president.  So much for moderation when it comes to providing a security net for our seniors. 

McCain is no more moderate in other areas. If you think that health-care reform is important, you would again be disappointed in McCain, because he does not think that the government should intrude to expand health benefits for our citizens.  If you are concerned about the sorry state of public education in our country, McCain’s solution is to provide vouchers for students to attend private schools.  This, of course, leaves children from poor families in even worse schools than they suffer now.  If you think that Bill Clinton went too far in punishing the poor with so-called “welfare reform,” then be prepared for more of the same from John McCain.  Be prepared also for continued support for capital punishment and mandatory sentencing for crimes, policies that have fallen mainly on the backs of the poor and disadvantaged.

The most important reason to fear a McCain presidency, however, is in the foreign policy that he would implement. In this area he is an unregenerate hawk, having said recently that he didn’t care whether our occupation of Iraq lasted for one hundred years. This was not a slip of the tongue. This is the real McCain, a supporter of an imperialistic foreign policy that would continue his predecessor’s policies of using our military forces to bomb countries into submission.  His singing of “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran” was really no joke, but an expression of his views on how to conduct diplomacy with other nations.

You would think that five and a half years in captivity after being shot down over Vietnam would have taught him that wars of aggression are not in our best interests.  But McCain has always been a slow learner, having graduated only five places from the bottom in his class at Annapolis. His frequent wrecks in flying aircraft before being shot down on a bombing mission over North Vietnam showed dangerous tendencies as a pilot; and, despite the fact that both his father and grandfather were Navy admirals, McCain’s rebellious streak kept him from achieving any higher than the rank of captain when he retired.  McCain’s stubborn temperament doubtless helped him survive his captivity, but his life was also saved in the first months of his imprisonment by having the North Vietnamese learn that his father was a four-star admiral.  Thereafter, he became a valuable prisoner, and although he was tortured he was kept alive.  The torture finally “broke” him, and he signed a confession as an “air pirate,” admitting that he had reached a point where he could no longer withstand the physical punishment. Before his ill-fated bombing mission over North Vietnam, McCain barely survived a disastrous fire on the aircraft carrier Forrestal, prompting him to have reservations about the missions he was flying and the carnage he was causing to the Vietnamese.  These reservations didn’t last long, however, and McCain was soon again in the air over Vietnam.

In his political life, McCain has also admitted to sacrificing his principles to political exigencies.  This is what truly makes him unfit to be president.  He is like Medea, who, before killing her children, claimed to be “knowing the better, but doing the worse.”  Such weakness of will might be a fit subject for a tragedy, but not if centers on the leader of the free world. 

What makes McCain’s candidacy even sadder is the debt our present president will leave us with, debt that will balloon to more than $3 trillion according to the budget recently submitted to Congress.  With McCain’s commitment to undiminished military spending, this money must come from somewhere.  It won’t come from raising taxes, because McCain has already pledged to keep low taxes for the very wealthy in place, and to kill the inheritance tax that the rich use to keep their children in the upper class.  The only way to find these funds is to cut our social programs—ones that benefit ordinary Americans, as well as the least among us. So if you are planning to vote for McCain because you see no difference between Republicans and Democrats, be prepared to see more people falling out of the middle class as the elites of Wall Street continue to ride the war-driven gravy train.

 

Len Carrier

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