December 14, 2008
The Sunday Times
As a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited
last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old
daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on.
“We had one meal today – khobbeizeh,” said Abu Amra, 43, showing
the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. “Every day,
I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg.
When I find nothing, we eat this grass.”
Abu Amra and her unemployed husband have seven daughters and a son. Their tiny
breeze-block house has had no furniture since they burnt the last cupboard for
“I can’t remember seeing a fruit,” said Rabab, 12, who goes
with her mother most mornings to scavenge. She is dressed in a tracksuit top
and holed jeans, and her feet are bare.
Conditions for most of the 1.5m Gazans have deteriorated dramatically in the
past month, since a truce between Israel and Hamas, the ruling Islamist party,
Israel says it will open the borders again when Hamas stops launching rockets
at southern Israel. Hamas says it will crack down on the rocket launchers when
Israel opens the borders.
The fragile truce technically ends this Thursday, and there have been few signs
it will be renewed. Nobody knows how to resolve the stalemate. Secret talks
are under way through Egyptian intermediaries, although both… Continue reading
by Nat Hentoff
December 10, 2008
Since I live in the Village, my Congressman is Jerrold Nadler, a civil libertarian
for all seasons. Unlike many of his Democratic colleagues, he has never been in
fear of being targeted as "soft on terrorism" for opposing the Bush-Cheney
war on the Bill of Rights. Nadler certainly does not underestimate the jihadists:
The 9/11 attacks exploded in his district.
In The Almanac of American Politics, Michael Barone describes Nadler’s reaction
to that day of terror: Securing "$20 billion for the cleanup and eventual
rebuilding, he spearheaded numerous actions on behalf of affected families .
. ." but "Nadler remained true to his civil libertarian views. He
vigorously opposed the USA Patriot Act and the Iraq War Resolution." And
since 2007, he has chaired the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights,
and Civil Liberties.
In that subcommittee, and on the floor of the House, he fought Bush (and some
Democrats) in order to give "enemy combatants" their habeas corpus
rights. (The Supreme Court has agreed.) And, unlike many Democrats, he has worked
to narrow the very definition of "enemy combatant," which is especially
important. Under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, voted for by too many
Democrats, anyone held as a captured "detainee" in a military prison
can be charged with giving "material support" to the enemy and can
be locked up indefinitely. American citizens have also been held on this charge–which
could include giving money to a charity they weren’t aware… Continue reading
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
by Michael Collins
An Amendment -
The president shall
not have the right to
grant pardons or
(Wash. DC) The prospect of the criminal in
chief, George W. Bush, issuing pardons to his
co-conspirators is repugnant to all citizens who’ve paid any
degree of attention over the last eight years.
neglected his duty prior to 911 resulting in a devastating
attack on the nation.
He started an illegal war based on
lies that caused injury and death to tens of thousands of
U.S. soldiers and the deaths of over 1.2 million Iraqi
He ordered the illegal wire tapping of
citizens, a clear violation of law.
He stopped scientific
research causing the suffering unto death of those with
illness and injury that could have been healed during his
The list goes on. Bush ruled like a tyrant with the
wisdom of an adolescent sociopath.
Right now this man who
should have been impeached and subsequently jailed for his
crimes is planning last minute pardons and acts of clemency
for his friends, co-conspirators, and others who meet his
deviant criteria for release from legal
Highly motivated citizens and legislators are
seeking legal precedents and rationales to stop Bush from
pardoning his collaborators.
Hopefully, their efforts, one
of which is impeachment, will meet with success. Allowing
those who attacked the people to walk away free after the
death, destruction and ruin they’ve caused… Continue reading
December 2, 2008
And everyone understands that staging troops within the U.S. to “help out with civil unrest and crowd control” increases the danger of overt martial law.
But no one is asking an obvious question: Does the government’s own excuse for deploying the troops make any sense?
As the Washington Post writes:
Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000
troops to domestic response — a nearly sevenfold increase in five years —
“would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable,” Paul McHale, assistant
defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies. But the realization that civilian authorities
may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe prompted “a fundamental change in military
culture,” he said.
But homeland defense is doing nothing to
stop the creation of new terrorists or to prevent bad guys from attacking.
If They Wanted to Stop Terrorism . . .
And the Department of Homeland Security, instead of protecting vulnerable targets, has instead randomly made up lists which include kangaroo centers, petting zoos and ice cream parlors as high-priority terrorist threats. And the administration is refusing to fill important positions at DHS so that our security can be protected.
The government is… Continue reading
December 1, 2008
The US Department of Defense plans to deploy 20,000 troops nationwide by 2011
to help state and local officials respond to terror or nuclear attacks and emergencies,
The Washington Post said Monday.
Citing Pentagon officials, the newspaper said the plan calls for three rapid-reaction
The first 4,700-strong unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade, is
based at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and is already available for deployment, according
to General Victor Renuart, commander of the US Northern Command, it said.
Two additional groups will later join nearly 80 smaller National Guard and
reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops to support local and state authorities
nationwide, The Post said.
They will all would be trained to respond to domestic chemical, biological,
radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attacks.
The newspaper said that civil liberties groups and libertarians had expressed
concern that the plan could undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old
law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.
Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to
domestic response — a nearly sevenfold increase in five years — “would
have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable,” Paul McHale, assistant
defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month noted by
the Post. But the recognition that civilian authorities may be overwhelmed in
a catastrophe [Hurricane Katrina might be used as an example] prompted “a
fundamental change in military culture.”
“The Pentagon’s plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready
for emergency response by September 2011,” the Post added.…
November 29, 2008
by Sherwood Ross
In violation of its pledge to the United Nations not to recruit children into
the military, the Pentagon “regularly target(s) children under 17,”
the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) says.
The Pentagon “heavily recruits on high school campuses, targeting students
for recruitment as early as possible and generally without limits on the age
of students they contact,” the ACLU states in a 46-page report titled
“Soldiers of Misfortune.”
This is in violation of the U.S. Senate’s 2002 ratification of the Optional
Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Pentagon recruiters are enrolling children as young as 14 in the Junior Reserve
Officer Training Corps(JROTC) in 3,000 middle-, junior-, and high schools nationwide,
causing about 45 percent of the quarter of million students so enrolled to enlist,
a rate much higher than in the general student population. Clearly, this is
the outcome of underage exposure.
In some cities, such as Los Angeles, high school administrators have been enrolling
reluctant students involuntarily in JROTC as an alternative to overcrowded gym
classes! In Lincoln high school, enrollees were not told JROTC was involuntary.
In Buffalo, N.Y., the entire incoming freshman class at Hutchinson Central Technical
High School, (average age 14), was involuntarily enrolled in JROTC. In Chicago,
graduating eighth graders (average age 13) are allowed to join any of 45 JROTC
“Wartime enlistment quotas (for Iraq and Afghanistan) have placed increased
pressure on military recruiters to fill the ranks of the… Continue reading
By Jeremy Scahill
November 20, 2008
Click here to view this guide as a single page.
U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises. But the best immediate indicator of what an Obama administration might look like can be found in the people he surrounds himself with and who he appoints to his Cabinet. And, frankly, when it comes to foreign policy, it is not looking good.
Obama has a momentous opportunity to do what he repeatedly promised over the course of his campaign: bring actual change. But the more we learn about who Obama is considering for top positions in his administration, the more his inner circle resembles a staff reunion of President Bill Clinton’s White House. Although Obama brought some progressives on board early in his campaign, his foreign policy team is now dominated by the hawkish, old-guard Democrats of the 1990s. This has been particularly true since Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the Democratic primary, freeing many of her top advisors to join Obama’s team.
"What happened to all this talk about change?" a member of the Clinton foreign policy team recently asked the Washington Post. "This isn’t lightly flavored with Clintons. This is all Clintons, all the time."
Amid the… Continue reading
For Immediate Release
November 20, 2008
Graphic showing the buckling of WTC 7 Column 79 (circled area), the local failure
identified as the initiating event in the building’s progressive collapse.
Credit: NIST Building and Fire Research Laboratory
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today released its
final report on the Sept. 11, 2001, collapse of the 47-story World Trade Center
building 7 (WTC 7) in New York City. The final report is strengthened by clarifications
and supplemental text suggested by organizations and individuals worldwide in
response to the draft WTC 7 report, released for public comment on Aug. 21,
but the revisions did not alter the investigation team’s major findings
and recommendations, which include identification of fire as the primary cause
for the building’s failure.
The extensive three-year scientific and technical building and fire safety
investigation found that the fires on multiple floors in WTC 7, which were uncontrolled
but otherwise similar to fires experienced in other tall buildings, caused an
extraordinary event. Heating of floor beams and girders caused a critical support
column to fail, initiating a fire-induced progressive collapse that brought
the building down.
In response to comments from the building community, NIST conducted an additional
computer analysis. The goal was to see if the loss of WTC 7′s Column 79–the
structural component identified as the one whose failure on 9/11 started the
progressive collapse–would still have led to a complete loss of the building
if fire or damage from the falling debris… Continue reading
By Joaquin Sapien
November 19, 2008
Whether it’s relaxing pollution control standards for power plants or
allowing loaded weapons into national parks, the Bush Administration is scrambling
to approve or change as many federal rules as it can before it hands off power
to President-elect Barack Obama. This surge of “midnight regulations”
presents a thorny question for the next administration: What can it do to void
rules it thinks should be undone?
An Obama spokesman told ProPublica that the transition team can’t comment
on the new administration’s strategy yet. However, John Podesta, a leading
member of the transition team, has said Obama will use his “executive
authority without waiting for congressional action” to reverse many of
But that authority has its limits.
While executive orders and rules that are not yet in effect can swiftly be
reversed or altered by Obama’s appointees or his own executive orders,
rules that go into effect before he takes office will be extremely difficult
to undo. Rescinding a rule would require the new administration to re-start
the rule-making process, which can take years and prompt legal challenges. Another
strategy that has been talked about lately — getting Congress to disapprove the rules through the Congressional Review Act — carries political risks and has been used only once before.
“The problem with what the Bush administration is doing is that these rules are extremely cumbersome to adopt, and they are every bit as cumbersome to undo,” said David Vladeck, an administrative law… Continue reading
October 13, 2008
by Philip Brewer
Financial panics used to be quite ordinary. In the century or two prior to
the great depression, there was a panic every 15 or 20 years. Since the great
depression we haven’t had a classic financial panic, until now. There’s
a thing or two that we can learn from panics past to help us survive the current
To begin with, there’s a reason why we haven’t had financial panics
for the past 75 years–fiat currency.
Panics used to begin when people decided to get their hands on actual, physical gold. That could happen for a lot of different reasons. Often it was because there had been inflation–banks issuing bank notes far in excess of the gold they had on deposit–and people decided that they didn’t trust their bank. Sometimes, though, it happened without any particular malpractice by the banks, simply because there was a demand for gold someplace else–an economic boom in Europe or South America could drain gold from the United States or vice versa.
Since issuing banknotes was literally printing money, the temptation to go overboard was immense, and individual banks that did so used to collapse all the time. A prudent bank, though, could be modestly profitable and a great boon to its community, but in a panic, even prudent banks would fail. (You could, in theory, create a panic-proof bank that held enough gold to pay off every banknote, but it would be a money-losing… Continue reading
November 12, 2008
Gerald Celente has been a leading trend forecaster for years:
“When CNN wants to know about the Top Trends, we ask Gerald Celente.”
~ CNN Headline News
“A network of 25 experts whose range of specialties would rival many
~ The Economist
“Gerald Celente has a knack for getting the zeitgeist right.”
~ USA Today
“There’s not a better trend forecaster than Gerald Celente. The
man knows what he’s talking about.”
“Those who take their predictions seriously … consider the Trends Research
~ The Wall Street Journal
“Gerald Celente is always ahead of the curve on trends and uncannily
on the mark … he’s one of the most accurate forecasters around.”
~ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Mr. Celente tracks the world’s social, economic and business trends
for corporate clients.”
~ The New York Times
“Mr. Celente is a very intelligent guy. We are able to learn about trends
from an authority.”
~ 48 Hours, CBS News
“Gerald Celente has a solid track record. He has predicted everything
from the 1987 stock market crash and the demise of the Soviet Union to green
marketing and corporate downsizing.”
~ The Detroit News
“Gerald Celente forecast the 1987 stock market crash, ‘green marketing,’
and the boom in gourmet coffees.”
~ Chicago Tribune
“The Trends Research Institute is the Standard and Poors of Popular Culture.”
~ The Los Angeles Times
“If Nostradamus were alive today, he’d have a hard time keeping up with
Gerald Celente.”… Continue reading
November 11, 2008
While it is fitting that our nation reserves a special day to honor the sacrifice and commitment of our warriors, it also serves to highlight how we, as a country, have fallen short of caring for our veterans, reintegrating them back into our communities, and demanding that our military be used responsibly and only as a last resort. Over 1.7 million men and women of the U.S. military have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many of them now struggle to cope with physical and emotional injuries, with family relationships strained because of prolonged separation, and with finding employment during an economic recession.
Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War know that in order to truly honor our veterans, we must listen to them, not just on Veterans Day, but on the other 364 days as well. It is for each other, our military brothers and sisters, and for our country that IVAW works every day to share our experiences, to challenge the predominant narrative of war as heroic and glorious, and to expose people to the brutal reality and true human costs of modern warfare.
Over the past four and a half years, IVAW has been working to transform our military experiences into a force for positive change. Be it at Winter Soldier this past March, Winter Soldier on the Hill in May, or at regional Winter Soldier events in Rochester, NY, Seattle, WA, Madison, WI, and others, IVAW has been dedicated to making… Continue reading
By Felisa Cardona
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 11/06/2008 05:34:24 PM MST
the ACLU’s letter to the Office of the Independant Monitor (PDF) .
video from the August, 2008 standoff between DNC protesters and police at
15th & Court in Downtown Denver.
video of protesters getting sprayed with pepper spray, from the August, 2008
When a Jefferson County deputy deployed pepper spray into a crowd during the
first night of the Democratic National Convention, he did not know that his
targets were undercover Denver police officers.
During a melee that occurred Aug. 25 between protesters, police and bystanders
near Civic Center Park, undercover Denver detectives staged a struggle with
a police commander in order to get out of the crowd undetected.
A Jefferson County deputy, unaware of the presence of undercover police, thought
that the commander was being attacked and deployed the pepper spray, according
to a police use-of-force report obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union
The report does not say whether the pepper spray used on the undercover police
officers was the first deployment or whether the melee already was underway.
About 106 people were arrested during the incident that took place at 15th
Street and Court Place.
Denver police have testified during court trials that they deployed officers
to the area that night because they had gathered intelligence that anarchists
had planned to gather in Civic Center Park, then move toward the 16th Street… Continue reading
++++ PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ++++
November 4th 2008
A COPY OF ORWELL’S ‘NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR’ SENT TO EVERY MP
An Internet grass-roots campaign will this week deliver a copy of George Orwell’s
prophetic novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ to every Member of Parliament.
The books will be inscribed with the words, ‘This book was a warning, not a
blueprint’, and will arrive at Parliament on or before November 5th — a date
of well known historical significance for that building.
Outraged by the continual attack upon civil liberties within our nation, a
fortnight ago the Libertarian Party proposed reminding those in Westminster
who they were elected to serve, and in whose interests the laws that they pass
are meant to function.
Spread purely by word of mouth, a campaign to send each Member of Parliament
their own copy of Orwell’s dystopian classic met with overwhelming support on
the Internet, with many more books pledged than the 646 required to ensure that
every one of our elected representatives receive a personal copy. The Libertarian
Party contributed just 75 books itself, with the remainder coming (directly,
or via campaign donations) from people of all political parties, and of none.
The UK Libertarian Party leader, Ian Parker-Joseph, explained, “As the
people of Britain become ever more spied upon and ever more heavily taxed, as
the government attempts to control how much we should smoke, eat and drink,
as the state legislates to regulate ever more the minutiae of our lives, the
Libertarian… Continue reading
November 1, 2008
from Velvet Revolution blog
Yesterday, after a contentious three hour hearing in an Akron, Ohio federal
court, the judge ordered Bush/Rove IT
expert Michael Connell to submit to a two hour deposition less than 24 hours
before the start of the 2008 election. The Court ruled that Ohio attorney Cliff
Arnebeck can question Connell under oath about Man in the Middle computer manipulations,
the use of Trojan horses to control election results from a remote location,
and the role of Triad in election manipulations.
However, in a strange twist, the judge agreed with demands from Connell’s
attorney to keep under seal any testimony about threats and intimidation of
Connell by others including Karl Rove. This is seen as necessary to protect
possible criminal charges against those who may have engaged in obstruction
of justice in this case.
A couple of notes here: We believe that Connell should not pull an Alexander
Butterfield by waiting for a direct question from Mr. Arnebeck as to what he
knows about rigged elections. Instead, Connell should be prepared to come clean
from the start knowing that this is just the beginning of the inquiry. We have
lots of names and lots of people providing us information about these rigged
elections. Connell is not longer under the protectorate of the Bush family.
There is a new dynamic here and Connell can either fight it and go down with
the ship or get out in front and cooperate with full immunity for him… Continue reading
October 20, 2008
By ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. & GREG PALAST
don’t think the Democrats get it. All these new rules and games … could flip
the vote to the GOP in half a dozen states.”
Rolling Stone Magazine is making this important investigative story
available on the net in its entirety, free of charge.
“The new registrations thrown out, the existing registrations scrubbed,
the spoiled ballots, the provisional ballots that were never counted —
and what you have is millions of voters, more than enough to swing the presidential
election, quietly being detached from the electorate by subterfuge.
“Jim Crow was laid to rest, but his cousins were not,” says Donna
Brazile. “We got rid of poll taxes and literacy tests but now have a second
generation of schemes to deny our citizens their franchise.” Come November,
the most crucial demographic may prove to be Americans who have been denied
the right to vote. If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not
simply beat John McCain at the polls — they must beat him by a margin
that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering.
- From the current Rolling Stone
These days, the old west rail hub of Las Vegas, New Mexico, is little more
than a dusty economic dead zone amid a boneyard of bare… Continue reading
Andrew J. Bacevich
As campaign ads urge voters to consider who will be a better “Commander in Chief,” Andrew J. Bacevich — Professor of International Relations at Boston University, retired Army colonel, and West Point graduate — joins Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL to encourage viewers to take a step back and connect the dots between U.S. foreign policy, consumerism, politics, and militarism.
Bacevich begins his new book, THE LIMITS OF POWER: THE END OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM, with an epigraph taken from the Bible: “Put thine house in order.” Bacevich explained his choice to Bill Moyers:
I’ve been troubled by the course of U.S. foreign policy for a long, long time. And I wrote the book in order to sort out my own thinking about where our basic problems lay. And I really reached the conclusion that our biggest problems are within.
I think there’s a tendency in the part of policy makers — and probably a tendency in the part of many Americans — to think that the problems we face are problems that are out there somewhere beyond our borders, and that if we can fix those problems, then we’ll be able to continue the American way of life as it has long existed. I think it’s fundamentally wrong. Our major problems are here at home.
Bacevich sees three crises looming in the United States today, as he explains in the introduction to THE LIMITS OF POWER.
… Continue reading
The United States today finds itself threatened by three interlocking crises. The first of these crises is economic and cultural, the second political, and the third military.
Click To Listen: http://noliesradio.org
LIVE Broadcast Tuesday, Oct 7th at 5pm Pacific – 8pm Eastern – 00:00 GMT
Repeat Broadcast: Saturday, Oct 11th at 9am Pacific – 12noon Eastern – 16:00 GMT
Will be archived HERE after
SECOND PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: Barack Obama versus John McCain
LIVE BROADCAST from Nashville, Tennessee !!
Pacifica’s National Network Coverage
No Lies Radio will carry Pacifica Radio Network‘s broadcast of the "Town
Hall" Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, taking
place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee on Oct 7, anchored by Larry
Bensky and Aimee Allison. Pacifica’s debate broadcast will emanate from KPFA’s
studios in Berkeley.
Pre-show – 5-6pm PDT / 6-7pm MDT / 7-8pm CDT / 8-9pm EDT
Debate – 6:00-7:30pm PDT / 7:00-8:30pm MDT / 8:00-9:30pm CDT /9:00-10:30pm EDT
Post-show – 7:30-9:00pm PDT / 8:30-10:00pm MDT / 9:30-11:00pm CDT /10:30p-12:00m
Listen to the Debate and then consider the ALTERNATIVE PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES:
Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, Ralph Nader of the Independent Party, Chuck
Baldwin of the Constitution Party, and Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party. Then
act to support the party of your choice and be sure to vote in November!
Not familiar with their positions or history? All the alternative parties have
been barred from this debate, but you can access Cynthia McKinney’s position
on a wide variety of issues at http://votetruth08.com,
Ralph Nadar’s position at http://www.votenader.org/index.html,
Chuck Baldwin’s position at http://baldwin08.com/IssuesList.cfm,
Bob Barr’s position at http://www.bobbarr2008.com/.