Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ailing 9/11 Workers Confront Giuliani In New Hampshire

Finishing a disappointing sixth in the Iowa caucus and staring down a similarly poor result in New Hampshire, Rudy Giuliani has yet another problem on his hand.
Before Saturday's GOP debate, several members of the 9/11 recovery effort will be stationed outside the forum petitioning the former New York City Mayor to discuss the mishandled health safety issues following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The protest coincides with and promotes a new short video by Robert Greenwald and Brave...

Rudy Giuliani abandons 9/11 heroes

There Will Be Blood...But No Justice for Iraq Atrocity

Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque
The headline in Friday's Washington Post says it all: "No Murder Charges Filed in Haditha Case." Two years ago, a group of Marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians -- including women and children cowering in their own homes -- in a revenge rampage in Haditha. Once the story emerged from the usual layers of lies and cover-up, the atrocity flared briefly on the public stage and eight of the Marines and their officers were charged "with murder or failing to investigate an apparent war crime," as the Post reports. But public attention moved swiftly on, and over the past few months, the Pentagon's "military justice" system has quietly reduced or dropped charges against most of the men. Yesterday's announcement signaled the final climb-down in the case, leaving only a single Marine, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, facing a charge of voluntary manslaughter, and lesser charges against one other enlisted man and two officers....


Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
...I think it must have been this last piece of news about Iraqi children being sold out of dire desperation that really gave me a fever. And from the article it is not a one off occurrence, it happens regularly. Remember I told you kids are being trafficked and sold in pedophile rings and working as maids. Well this is the confirmation for you. And you still wonder why I hate you so ? But, I am still trying to figure out what exactly brought this fever on.Maybe it was this lentil soup and the couples of dates that I had. My mother has this very bad habit that she is still unwilling to give up. Every time she hears about someone coming from Baghdad she asks that they send her some special kind of lentil- yellowish colored ones and some dates. I keep telling her "For God's sake, am sure they have lentils and dates here, do you really need this stuff from Baghdad? We have enough problems as is, do you also want to ensure our contamination with Depleted Uranium ?" It's a fact- foodstuffs locally produced are contaminated with D.U. And her reply is always the same: "I don't care, it's from my country" And my comeback is always the same: "And your/our country is very sick"She shrugs her shoulders and continues cooking that soup and arranging the dates. Could it be the soup and the dates that gave me this fever ? Or maybe the walls, the sold children, and the one thousand other ills that have plagued us?....

State GOP withdraws as FOX debate partner

Source: NH Union LeaderManchester – The New Hampshire Republican Party has quit "with regret" as a co-sponsor of tomorrow night's nationally televised GOP forum on FOX News.
The 8 p.m. event at Saint Anselm College -- the last debate before Tuesday's primary -- became controversial when FOX refused to include Ron Paul.

Good For Them

The New Hampshire Republican Party has pulled out as a co-sponsor of tomorrow night's Fox News debate, due to the controversies surrounding the exclusion of Ron Paul. Fox News is barring Paul from the debate, with many people believing it is because of his opposition to the Iraq War.
Bear in mind that Fox News is excluding Paul from the debate, despite the absence of any objective criteria that would shut out Paul and still include some of the other people they're inviting. For example, Paul got 10% of the vote in Iowa, while invited candidate Rudy Giuliani
took only 4% and is at about the same place as Paul in New Hampshire polls.

Question? who won for the Democrats.

Jan 05, 2008 16:46 EST
Mitt Romney captured his first win of the Republican presidential race, gaining most of Wyoming's delegates at stake in GOP caucuses on Saturday.
The former Massachusetts governor won six of the first eight delegates to be selected. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and California Rep. Duncan Hunter won one apiece, meaning no other candidate could beat Romney. Caucuses were still being held to decide all 12 delegates at stake.
The win was a boost for Romney, coming two days after his loss to Mike Huckabee in the Iowa caucuses and three days before the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire. Those two states have attracted most of the political attention. Wyoming had scheduled its GOP county conventions earlier to attract candidates to the state but had only modest results.

Paul Supporters Fight Back-- Dump Fox News Stock Intent on Sending it Tumbling

by Rob Kall
Striking back at Fox News for leaving him out of a debate in New Hampshire, Ron Paul supporters have dumped their holdings in Fox News. The graph shows their success.
Michael McDonnough comments,
This is fair compensation to Fox in my opinion for their slighting of Ron Paul by not inviting him to the Jan 6th forum sponsored in part by the New Hampshire Republican Party and Fox News. From what I have read of the boycott effort it will include all advertisers that are currently sponsors of Fox news as well as encouraging the sell off of NWS stock for the forseable furture. The stock was kind of a dog from what I have seen so this is not going to help the situation for certain.
Fox has been most biased and unfair to Ron Paul and that is quite clear. This might be a further lesson for Fox News in what Dr. Paul referenced in that now famous first Fox Republican debate as what the CIA teaches and talks about. Blowback. I think he called that one. I hope that holders of NWS are short calling their holdings at about $18 that would be my bet.
Glen Greenwald comments,
News Corp. stock has been declining steadily for the last three months, but the plummeting of the last several days is more severe.
Fact is, when presenting statistics on Republican candidates, Fox News routinely fails to include Ron Paul as a candidate. The Paul campaign seems to have good reason to take steps to attempt to correct the injustice.
Perhaps this Republican and his supporters can teach a lesson to progressives who have long been unhappy with Fox News

Noticing how the 'lamestream media' is already trying to marginalize John Edwards
John Edwards Speech after Iowa Caucus

The Associated Press reports: "Convicted terrorism conspirator Jose Padilla sued a key architect of the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies Friday, claiming the official's legal arguments led to Padilla's alleged mistreatment and illegal detention at a Navy brig."
Pincus, writing for The Washington Post, reports:
"Representative Jane Harman (D-Calif.) released a declassified copy of a letter she secretly wrote to the CIA in February 2003, in which she quoted then-CIA General Counsel Scott W. Muller as telling her a tape of the agency's interrogation of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, better known as Abu Zubaida, 'will be destroyed after the Inspector General finishes his inquiry.'"

What I Told My Sons About Last Night

The instant Barack Obama is elected president.

That instant, the world will look at us differently.

Obama's Victory Speech

Over the last seven years, it's often been hard to be filled with national pride. It required a lengthy explanation: "I love my country, but hate what my government is doing. I'm proud to be an American, but not proud of things happening in the name of America."
Well, I have never been prouder to be an American than I was last night. Watching Obama's speech took me back to my childhood in Chicago, going downtown with my mother to take part in civil rights demonstrations.
Last night, I was the parent, explaining to my sons that they were witnessing a groundbreaking moment in the history of our country. A moment filled with promise, and hope, and the power to remake America's tattered image in an instant. The instant Barack Obama is elected president. That instant, the world will look at us differently.
I can't wait.
Kangaroo said::January 4, 2008 6:26 PM

It was beautiful to watch. And now that he has a REAL chance, everything is subject to change.

Can you imagine it happening with the world watching on, Man just Obama taking the White House would take away so much of the Ugly feelings for America around the world, and knock Osama and the Terrorists on their asses big time. They won't have Georgie to feed hatred around the world, to help them in bringing more terrorists into the fold.


(Ed note: This article was submitted by Wendy Lohse)
Following the Iowa caucus win of Barack Obama, Deval Patrick outlines in the Boston Globe, the reasons America needs Obama.
Whilst looking up Obama on the internet yesterday I came upon the titles of his books and other written works. On the morning of the 3rd of June here in Tasmania, Australia I listened to a repeat radio airing of Andrew O'Hagan's The very first title Dreams From My Father: a Story of Race and Inheritance reminded me immediately of the one hour address I had listened to only days earlier. The Dreams and the Hope that is in all of Obama's words, the posture of his body and seeing him on his website with his family gives me an excitement and hope that I have not felt for the world, since JFK. God I was a farm kid milking cows on the morning he was shot. My brother and I. We worked the last hour in silence with the radio repeating the news over and over.
Crazy? Maybe. I've found American politics difficult to comprehend. But I suspect I'm possibly more aware than the average Flo Citizen on American streets across the country.
This is not Flo's fault. Nor is it my smarts. It is simply that I am in a situation to have the time to answer my questions. I have the facilities to find out all I want to know, at my fingertips. Flo possibly has one or two poorly paid jobs which, in this time of mortgage crisis and ever higher fuel prices and follow on goods and services, don't quite meet her costs to survive. Flo has neither the time nor the resources to search for the person who would best attend to at least some of her greatest concerns when she chooses a president. Anyway, she really doesn't believe that she's important enough to vote for anyone. Ever. She does everything she can to keep her children fed and hopefully healthy. But presidents and politicians aren't interested in her. She knows that. From experience.
Perhaps we can take Andrew O'hagan's advice and "get the word out". >>>cont


sparrow said:
Thank you for writing this article.
I discovered as I read it, and thought about it, and tried to figure out a meaningful comment to make to it, that I just didn't know enough about O'Hagan.
So since Google is our friend, I googled him. Wikipedia's article on him is short and sweet but really didn't give me enough information about him. Ok. So he he was born in Glasgow, won awards, and lives in London now.
But what makes him that powerful of an author, they didn't say. Luckily, they have links to additional articles at the bottom so I started clicking through those.
The first one that struck me was the one O'Hagan wrote about at the RNC called, "The God Squad." Through this article I have come to see how O'Hagan views the world or rather views America through the eyes of the RNC in 2004.
I will post some excerpts below but I highly recommend reading the whole article.
He starts it out with one heck of an opening statement about America.
America is now offering lessons in what little wisdom it takes to govern the world. Confounded in Iraq, isolated from its traditional allies, shamed over Abu Ghraib, soaked in corporate corruption and the backwash of environmental harm, sustaining an uninherited budget deficit while preparing more tax rewards for the rich, as dismissive of the unhealthy as the foreign, as terrified of the unfolding truth as of mailed anthrax, it is a society made menacing by a notion of God’s great plan. America is tolerance-challenged, integrity-poor, frightened to death, and yet, beneath its patriotic hosannahs, a country in delirium before the recognition that it might have spent the last three years not only squandering the sympathy of the world but hot-housing hatreds more ferocious than those it had wished to banish for ever from the clear blue skies.
Can you say, "Holy sh*t!"? That is one powerful paragraph right there! (bolded words are mine.)
Then he compares it to E.B. White from 1949. It's a stark comparison and one that proves exactly how awful America (NY) has become. >>>cont
Link Here

Please Send Letter

80 children massacred in Kenyan church
Kenya edged closer to tribal warfare last night after more than 100 people - at least 80 of them children - burned to death as the church they had fled to for refuge was set alight.

Dear Avaaz member,
Election fraud in Kenya could trigger civil war, even genocide - send a message to your foreign minister to withhold recognition of a new president until the vote is independently reviewed:
Send a message now!
Last week, Kenya held a national election tainted with vote-tampering. It ended in a claim of victory for incumbent President Mwai Kibaki over the challenger Raila Odinga who had led the polls -- now Kenya's future hangs in the balance. Violence has broken out across the country, with roving gangs of machete-wielding youth terrorizing the population. Suddenly, this hopeful country could be sliding toward genocide.
We must not sit back and watch this nightmarish scenario unfold -- but we need to act fast. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has flown into Nairobi, joining the African Union in an effort to broker a power-sharing agreement and review the election results. But if talks are to succeed, foreign governments must avoid prematurely recognizing a fraudulently elected government and locking in their power. That's where we come in.
Please send a note to your foreign minister today, asking them to withhold recognition of any Kenyan government until agreement is brokered and the election results are independently reviewed – you can do so using our simple online tool at the link below (and when you're done, please forward this email to friends and family):
It's too early to tell how far the situation in Kenya could deteriorate -- and we just can't afford to wait and find out.
Please send a note to your foreign minister today.
With hope,
Paul, Ricken, Ben, Galit, Milena, Pascal and the whole Avaaz team

The White House on global warming

Video of Sleeping Guards Shakes Nuclear Industry

By Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 4, 2008; Page A01

Kerry Beal was taken aback when he discovered last March that many of his fellow security guards at the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania were taking regular naps in what they called "the ready room."

When he spoke to supervisors at his company, Wackenhut Corp., they told Beal to be a team player. When he alerted the regional office of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, regulators let the matter drop after the plant's owner, Exelon, said it found no evidence of guards asleep on the job.

So Beal videotaped the sleeping guards. The tape, eventually given to WCBS, a CBS television affiliate in New York City, showed the armed workers snoozing against walls, slumped on tabletops or with eyes closed and heads bobbing.

The fallout of the broadcast is still being felt. Last month, Exelon, the country's largest provider of nuclear power, fired Wackenhut, which had guarded each of its 10 nuclear plants. The NRC is reviewing its own oversight procedures, having failed to heed Beal's warning. And Wackenhut says that the entire nuclear industry needs to rethink security if it hopes to meet the tougher standards the NRC has tried to impose since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.



Source: BRAD BLOG, E&P
Cover Graphic Said To Show Exploding Voting Booth with 'WARNING' Label: 'Your vote may be lost, destroyed, miscounted, wrongly attributed or hacked'
The entire debate over e-voting may well be just about to change. Hopefully for the better. Big time.
Editor & Publisher's editor Greg Mitchell, has tipped off The BRAD BLOG late this afternoon, that the New York Times Magazine is set to run a "massive" cover-story this Sunday, on the entire e-voting disaster titled "The Bugs in the Machines."
Better late than never?
Mitchell describes the story as "quite chilling". Here's the first coupla grafs from his scoop...
Coming between the Iowa and New Hampshire tallies, this Sunday's cover of The New York Times Magazine ought to strike a chord. It shows a man inside an exploding voting booth with a WARNING label over it and the words: "Your vote may be lost, destroyed, miscounted, wrongly attributed or hacked."
The massive Clive Thompson article, titled "The Bugs in the Machines," is quite chilling. "After the 2000 election," it opens, "counties around the country rushed to buy new computerized voting machines. But it turns out that these machines may cause problems worse than hanging chads. Is America ready for another contested election?" One key passage: "The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe --- disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks --- but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government."
One expert says that "about 10 percent" of the devices fail in each election.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Top Military Blogger Dies In Iraq; Read His Final Post

Andy Olmstedby hilzoy
Andrew Olmsted, who also posted here as G'Kar, was killed yesterday in Iraq. Andy gave me a post to publish in the event of his death; the last revisions to it were made in July.
Andy was a wonderful person: decent, honorable, generous, principled, courageous, sweet, and very funny. The world has a horrible hole in it that nothing can fill. I'm glad Andy -- generous as always -- wrote something for me to publish now, since I have no words at all. Beyond: Andy, I will miss you.
My thoughts are with his wife, his parents, and his brother and sister.
What follows is Andy's post: a bit here; the rest below the fold. [UPDATE: I'm adding links to Andy's last post at his Rocky Mountain News blogs, from about a week ago, where friends and family are expressing support in comments; to an article from yesterday that I believe is about his death; and to a post he wrote on his reasons for going to Iraq last June.]
"I am leaving this message for you because it appears I must leave sooner than I intended. I would have preferred to say this in person, but since I cannot, let me say it here."G'Kar, Babylon 5
"Only the dead have seen the end of war."Plato*
This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G'Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It's not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn't hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don't know. I hope so. It's frightening to think there are many people as neurotic as I am in the world. In any case, since I won't get another chance to say what I think, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Such as it is.
"When some people die, it's time to be sad. But when other people die, like really evil people, or the Irish, it's time to celebrate."Jimmy Bender, "Greg the Bunny"
"And maybe now it's your turnTo die kicking some ass."Freedom Isn't Free, Team America
What I don't want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I'm dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren't going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I've enjoyed in my life. So if you're up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw 'Freedom Isn't Free' from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can't laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I'm dead, but if you're reading this, you're not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.
[continued below the fold]

Extinguishing Liberty's Light and Independent Views

Thinking For Yourself Is Now A Crime
By Paul Craig Roberts
What was the greatest failure of 2007? President Bush's "surge" in Iraq? The decline in the value of the US dollar? Subprime mortgages? No. The greatest failure of 2007 was the newly sworn in Democratic Congress.
The American people’s attempt in November 2006 to rein in a rogue government, which has committed the US to costly military adventures while running roughshod over the US Constitution, failed. Replacing Republicans with Democrats in the House and Senate has made no difference.
The assault on the US Constitution by the Democratic Party is as determined as the assault by the Republicans. On October 23, 2007, the House passed a bill sponsored by California Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman, chairwoman of a Homeland Security subcommittee, that overturns the constitutionally guaranteed rights to free expression, association, and assembly.
The bill passed the House on a vote of 404-6. In the Senate the bill is sponsored by Maine Republican Susan Collins and apparently faces no meaningful opposition.
Harman’s bill is called the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act.” [ http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1955 ] When HR 1955 becomes law, it will create a commission tasked with identifying extremist people, groups, and ideas. The commission will hold hearings around the country, taking testimony and compiling a list of dangerous people and beliefs. The bill will, in short, create massive terrorism in the United States. But the perpetrators of terrorism will not be Muslim terrorists; they will be government agents and fellow citizens.
We are beginning to see who will be the inmates of the detention centers being built in the US by Halliburton under government contract.

No Murder Charges Filed in Haditha Case

By Josh White
After a two-year investigation into the killings of up to 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, the Marine Corps has decided that none of the Marines involved in the incident will be charged with murder
Iraqi Girl tells of US Attack in Haditha

3 Minute Video Report
In case you forgot
Leave it a year or two, and they are sure you will forget it,
Sadly, too often they are right
Ten-year-old Iman Walid witnessed the killing of seven members of her family in an attack by American marines last November. The interview with Iman was filmed exclusively for ITV News by Ali Hamdani,our Iraqi video diarist.
Should Big Media decide for the rest of us who is - and more importantly who is not - a viable candidate for president? It's bad enough that thus far the reporting of this year's quadrennial presidential pursuit has been even more insubstantial than ever, focused on the horse race, the fundraising, the polls, the pundits, the haircuts and assorted other bits of silliness �- anything other than actual issues...

Iowa Not ready to make nice Georgie

Dixie Chicks not ready to make nice

White House OKs Mexican truck program

Pilot Program Allowing Mexican Trucks Into U.S. Goes Ahead Despite New Law to Block It
AP News
Jan 04, 2008 15:09 EST
The Bush administration is going ahead with a controversial pilot program giving Mexican trucks greater access to U.S. highways despite a new law by Congress against it.
The decision to proceed with the four-month-old program, which allows participating Mexican trucking companies to send loads throughout the United States, comes despite language in the recently signed catchall spending bill aimed at blocking it.
But the Department of Transportation is taking advantage of a loophole in the new law, which prohibits the government from spending any money to "establish" the program. The government says the new rules don't apply to the current program since it was started in September.
"The U.S. Department of Transportation will not establish any new demonstration programs with Mexico," said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokeswoman Melissa Mazzella DeLaney. "The current cross-border trucking demonstration project — established in September — will continue to operate in a manner that puts safety first."
Congressional opponents of the programs insist that it's clear what lawmakers were trying to do last year when both House and Senate voted against allowing the program to go forward.
Young Iowans Turn Out In Huge Numbers, Critical To Caucus Winners
Despite the winter break caucus date, cold temperatures,long lines and delays due to high turnout,young people flocked to the caucuses and made their voices heard.According to CNN entrance polls, youth will account for nearly 22 percent of the Democratic caucus turnout,a five percent increase over 2004.Fifty-seven percent of youth voted for projected Dem winner Obama, while 40 percent voted for projected Repub winner Huckabee.

By Jay Janson
The Times leads conglomerate media in lethal distortions, promoting unwarranted fears, justifying war, defending a corrupt and undemocratic corporate governance that blindly relishes war for profit. Its agenda is to denigrate, blackout, or put in bad light, honest criticism of a murderous foreign policy & imperialist intentions. When the public awakes it will see it as its closest enemy unless already marginalized by Internet.

A Drunken Night in Iraq, a Soldier Is Left Behind

Donna St. George, reporting for The Washington Post, writes: "The sun had not yet risen in Taji. A young Army soldier lay alone in the dirt. She was alive, but barely. Her ribs had been crushed; her spleen, ruptured. Her right side was marked by the angular tread of a tire. Her case would become one in a litany of noncombat deaths in Iraq, which number more than 700, from crashes, suicides, illnesses and accidents that sometimes reveal messy truths about life in the war zone."

Bush's Final Year Looks Grim

Jim Lobe, reporting for IPS News, writes, "If the last days of 2007 are any indication, US President George W. Bush's last year in office is shaping up as grim and lonely."

US: No need for UN probe into Bhutto slaying :

The United States on Wednesday brushed aside calls for a UN investigation into the slaying of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, saying Britain's Scotland Yard now leads the probe and will get "the answers" Pakistan's people deserve.

Aid chief says Taliban control a quarter of Afghanistan at night:

The NATO forces battling Taliban guerrillas are stretched thin, unable even to guard key roads, and now some are asking, "Is it Mission Impossible?"
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) (Taliban movement), a conglomerate of all militant groups operating in Fata and settled districts of NWFP, Wednesday gave a two-day deadline to the government to stop military operations in Swat and rest of the tribal areas, else it would re-launch attacks on security forces and government installations.

Press, political pressure helped 'lose' Fallujah, report says:

A secret intelligence assessment of the first battle of Fallujah shows that the U.S. military thinks that it lost control over information about what was happening in the town, leading to "political pressure" that ended its April 2004 offensive with control being handed to Sunni insurgents.

Atrocity-Linked U.S. Officials Advising Democratic, GOP Presidential Frontrunners:

Democracy Now! - Audio and Transcript
Independent journalist Allan Nairn and American Conservative correspondent Kelley Beaucar Vlahos discuss a little-addressed facet of the 2008 campaign: many of the top advisers to leading presidential candidates are ex-U.S. officials involved in atrocities around the world.


Posted by Christy at 9:05 AM

Revolutionary air car runs on compressed air

BBC News is reporting that a French company has developed a pollution-free car which runs on compressed air. India's Tata Motors has the car under production and it may be on sale in Europe and India by the end of the year.
The air car, also known as the Mini-CAT or City Cat, can be refueled in minutes from an air compressor at specially equipped gas stations and can go 200 km on a 1.5 euro fill-up -- roughly 125 miles for $3. The top speed will be almost 70 mph and the cost of the vehicle as low as $7000.
The car features a fibreglass body and a revolutionary electrical system and is completely computer-controlled. It is powered by the expansion of compressed air, using no combustion at all, and the exhaust is entirely clean and cool enough for use in the internal air conditioning system.
The real message of the Iowa caucus yesterday was that the long-operative Clintonian/Democratic Leadership Council assumption that the independent or unaffiliated voter bloc is composed of conservative-leaning, dim-witted, and easily manipulated people has got it all wrong.
In fact, in Iowa, where unaffiliated voters are free to participate in either a Democratic or Republican caucus, 41 percent of those people voted not for the conservative, tough-talking "centrist" Hillary Clinton. They voted instead for the black, nominally anti-war candidate, Barack Obama. Another significant percentage of independents went for another progressive-sounding candidate, John Edwards. Clinton only got an embarrassing 17 percent of the unaffiliated vote.
The implications of this failure on her part are enormous when it comes to next November's general election.
If Democratic voters in the upcoming primaries, especially in states such as Pennsylvania, where independents are excluded from the voting, end up giving the nomination to Clinton, she will almost certainly end up forfeiting much of the independent vote, just as both Al Gore and John Kerry did in the last two presidential elections.
The reality is that many, if not a majority of unaffiliated voters, are not at all conservative (or dim-witted). What they are is cynical about the current state of Tweedle-Dum/Tweedle Dee politics in America. They see both the Democratic and Republican parties as being of, by and for the rich and often they don't even see the point in voting. (They are, in other words, in many ways more politically savvy than many registered Democratic voters, who refuse to acknowledge this reality!)
Because of the disastrous course of the last seven years under the Bush/Cheney Administration, these independents are willing, as they showed in 2006, to give it a shot and vote for Democrats IF (and that word has to be capitalized and put in italics for emphasis) the Democrats will stand for something more than just Republicanism with frills. Exit polls in November 2006 showed that these voters (and a majority of Democratic voters) were looking for Democrats to stand up forcefully for the Constitution, and to put an end to the Iraq War.
They were double-crossed. The Democratic Congressional leadership, under the Clintonesque direction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have done none of those things, choosing instead to simply pretend to be an opposition, while actually doing nothing on either front.
It's an approach that Hillary Clinton clearly would continue to follow if she were somehow to manage to get herself elected to the presidency: a fawning obeisance to the wishes of corporate America and Wall Street, continued foreign wars and occupations, continued "tough talk" on crime with little or no effort to attack its causes (poverty, drugs, racism, and hopelessness).
It's also an approach that almost certainly would assure us another four to eight years of Republican control of the White House.
The truth is that those independent voters who turned out for Obama and Edwards are simply not going to vote for Hillary Clinton in November '08. If it were to become a choice between Clinton and McCain, Clinton and Giuliani, or Clinton and Huckabee, they will sit the election out -- or even vote Republican. And she's not going to get the other independents either -- the ones who really are conservative leaning. If they vote at all, they'll go Republican, offered the choice between Republican or Republican lite with a few liberal bells and whistles.
Fortunately, Iowa's Democratic and independent voters have made it clear to the rest of the country that voting for Hillary Clinton is to commit Democratic Party suicide. Her whole campaign has been based upon the notion that she is the most "electable" candidate in the Democratic field -- a notion that now stands exposed as a pathetic farce.
If Democratic primary voters in the rest of the country are paying attention, they will quickly send her packing back to New York, where she can continue her role, with colleague Chuck Schumer, of Wall Street lickspittle.
The rest of the Democrats seeking office or seeking re-election next fall should take heed. There is a frustrated, angry, and very large bloc of people out there -- independent voters -- who are looking for progressive candidates who will not just talk in buzzwords, but who will act to restore some semblance of Constitutional government in America, and who will end the damned war in Iraq. If they're lucky, those voters might giver them one more chance despite the wretched betrayal of November 2006. LinkHere

An Iron Fist In A Velvet Glove

How American Democracy Relies on Fascism

By Ted Rall
What would you do if you learned that Bush Administration officials wanted to round up thousands of Americans and throw them into concentration camps?

Madness Compounding Madness

Calls for Intervention in Pakistan
By Gary Leupp
"Al-Qaeda is now as much a Pakistani phenomenon as it is an Arab or foreign element," declares Najam Sethi, editor of Pakistan's Daily Times. It is not just the Arabs, Uzbeks and other foreigners who fled from Afghanistan into Pakistan in the wake of the U.S. invasion of late 2001. It draws in Pakistani tribesmen, Punjabis, Urdu speakers. What was once a group foreigners (numbers unknown) enjoying Pashtun hospitality under the Taliban in Afghanistan has struck roots in neighboring Pakistan.

Obama's Victory Upends His Party's Politics

Maybe they should be listening to the Populus,

Peter Wallsten reports for The Los Angeles Times,
"Barack Obama's surprisingly convincing win in Iowa on Thursday upended the Democratic presidential race and overturned some of the fundamental assumptions of modern-day American politics."

Lockheed to Pay $2.5 Million in Racial Discrimination Case

Darryl Fears, The Washington Post: "The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission yesterday announced its largest-ever settlement for an individual racial discrimination case - $2.5 million - against Lockheed Martin of Bethesda."

Moore: Caucus results are 'deafening' repudiation of war

"I know that Senator Obama is so much more than simply the color of his skin, but all of us must acknowledge -- and celebrate -- the fact that one of the whitest states in the U.S. just voted for a black man to be our next president," Moore wrote. "Thank you, Iowa, for this historic moment. Thank you for at least letting us believe that we are better than what we often seem to be. And to have so many young people come out and vote -- and vote for Obama -- this is a proud moment. It all began with the record youth turnout in 2004 -- the ONLY age group that Kerry won -- and they came back out tonight en force."
Obama 18 delgates.
Edwards 17 delegates.
Clinton 16 delegates.

World Champ Hingis Caught Doing Cocaine, Banned From Tennis

Martina Hingis was banned for two years Friday for testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon last year.
The International Tennis Federation said an independent anti-doping tribunal found that Hingis, who announced her retirement Nov. 1 on the day she revealed the positive test, had committed an offense.


Now how many millions, will the USofA be ordered to pay for all the individuals that Georgie and his gang of thug tortured, Ohhhhh I forgot he has aready busted the Treasury of America.

Iran must pay family $466m

US judge orders Iran to pay for torture, slaying of former officer.

"They Said This Day Would Never Come"

A Soldier will die.

I'm rescuing those on dial-up from the sluggishness the videos cause on the other thread. So you've now got a nice quick thread on which to post your thoughts about tonight's caucuses.

No matter who you're routing for, remember this statement posted by Army Dude from

Remember Iraq? The Democratic candidates don't, but the Republican candidates do, as the word 'success' is being tossed around D.C. like it's been there since mission accomplished. I suppose the only thing both sides have in common is using the war and our soldiers as a Kleenex issue, ready to dispose of when they're no longer useful.

What you likely have forgotten is Afghanistan, slipping deeper into chaos with a Taliban resurgence, coupled with what is going to a be record crop of opium, used to finance insurgent fighters. Per capita, it's more deadly than Iraq, with only 50,000 troops there to hold against the Taliban influx. A war almost the whole world can agree on, and there's a little being done, save Secretary Gates asking allies to contribute. Be sure to read this article on what happens when there are too few troops in an area crawling with Taliban. Policy that directs assets and soldiers to Iraq to fight in that war is what gets men killed in Afghanistan, simply put. They don't have enough manpower and equipment to fight their fight. With the supposed success in Iraq, it's high time we have another surge, this time in Afghanistan.

This has been on my mind all new year. It was left anonymously in a comment section of an earlier entry:Sometime this year, an eighteen year old soldier will die in a war that started when he was thirteen.Hold onto that. Let it linger.

Sometime this year, an eighteen year old soldier will die in a war that started when he was thirteen.

Sometime this year an eighteen year old will die after having lived through a political impeachment based on marital infidelity and a lie that happened when he was nine.

Some time this year, an eighteen year old soldier will die for a president who lied...

And yet Congress just sits by...

It's an election year, and many more will die. Think on that a while.

Sparrow DCP Open Thread

Expert: Crime of torture could only have been ordered by the president

It was announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department has opened an official criminal investigation into the destruction of CIA torture tapes. However, rather than appointing an outside special council, Attorney General Mukasey has assigned an assistant US Attorney from Connecticut to handle the proceedings.
At the same time, the chairman and co-chair of the 9/11 Commission are charging in a New York Times op-ed that the CIA obstructed their own investigations in 2003-04 by not disclosing the existence of the tapes.
Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley told Keith Olbermann that as many as six criminal offenses could be involved in the 9/11 Commission charge alone, including obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice, perjury, and conspiracy.
However, Turley emphasized that the real crime under investigation is not merely obstruction, but the actual torture documented by the tapes. "It is still, even after the last seven year, a crime to torture suspects," Turley commented.
Turley suggested that under those circumstances, the failure to appoint a special prosecutor was a serious problem, because "the investigation will essentially be the Justice Department investigating itself. ... Picking some guy in Connecticut or Cincinnati or Delaware or any other state doesn't make any difference. His boss is Michael Mukasey. And Michael Mukasey's boss is the president of the United States. If torture occurred, he was the guy who ordered it."

Thursday, January 03, 2008


But Not Good News for All Dems

Pelosi Negatives Exceed Positives in Latest Poll.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's own party is turning on her, apparently because of a perception among California Democrats that she has not done enough to shake up the status quo in Washington, D.C., according to a Field Poll released Friday.
With independents playing a major roll in Iowa and beyond, who knows what will happen to democrats-- leaders and blindly obedient troops-- who have failed to honor the mission the 2006 elections sent them to do-- get out of Iraq and clean up Bush and Cheney, preferably with impeachment.


The Central Intelligence Agency was told by relatives of Iraqi scientists before the war that Baghdad's programs to develop unconventional weapons had been abandoned, but the C.I.A. failed to give that information to President Bush, even as he publicly warned of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's illicit weapons, according to government officials.
Beginning in 2000, the C.I.A. contacted the relatives and asked them what they knew or could learn about the work being conducted by the scientists. Officials would not say how or where the relatives were contacted.
The relatives told the agency that the scientists had said that they were no longer working on illicit weapons, and that those programs were dead. Yet the statements from the relatives were never included in C.I.A. intelligence reports on Iraq that were distributed throughout the government. C.I.A. analysts monitoring Iraq apparently ignored the statements from the family members and continued to issue assessments that Mr. Hussein was still developing unconventional weapons, Senate investigators have found.
C.I.A. officials said in response that only the initial test results were reported in the intelligence assessment because those were the only results available at the time. When later results were available in January 2003, they were reported to the rest of the intelligence community, the officials said. The C.I.A. officials added that nearly all of the subsequent test failures were a result of failures of testing equipment, and that the few failures of tubes were at speeds that exceeded those required for centrifuges. The agency had asked the outside experts to push the tubes to their limits in the stress tests, and so their failure did not mean that the tubes could not be used in a centrifuge, the C.I.A. officials say.
The C.I.A.'s views on the tubes ultimately prevailed inside the Bush administration. Although the State Department's own analysts issued a dissent in the National Intelligence Estimate, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell went with the C.I.A. In his presentation to the United Nations in February 2003 laying out the administration's case against Iraq, he relied on the aluminum tubes to show that Mr. Hussein was rebuilding his nuclear weapons program.

"When you win tomorrow, don't scream into the microphone."

The clock ticks for Iraq's time bomb

Sami Moubayed, Asia Times
... Under Maliki, for example, electricity comes one hour every three days. Under Saddam it went off only two hours during the day and two hours during the night. A gas cylinder under Saddam cost 1,500 dinars (US$1.20) whereas now it has become 16,000 dinars. Oil - during this heavy winter - has reached 20,000 dinars. One liter of gasoline, for example, equals $1, whereas under Saddam it used to be 3 cents per liter (...) Speaking from his new home in Damascus, where he has fled terrorist bombings in his own country, the young man added: "I long for the days of Saddam Hussein. If you stayed away from politics, you lived a decent and respectable life. Nowadays, you are a target for terrorist attacks whether you are a grocer, a barber, a painter or a politician. Nobody is safe in this Iraq." He wrapped up: "My mother's generation used to go out in Baghdad wearing mini-skirts..." continua / continued

Common Cause: Dems and Reps Unite for Imperial Overkill

Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque
Glenn Greenwald provides a snapshot of the true – and truly gargantuan nature of the American Imperium in his piece, "The bipartisan consensus on US military spending." The facts – chiefly, that the United States spends more on its military than all of the rest of the world combined, including Russia and China – are not exactly news to anyone who has been paying attention these past many years, but it is useful to see it all set down clearly with the latest figures. Greenwald also rounds up some telling quotes from those "fightin' progressives" leading the race for the Democratic presidential nomination – all of whom, even the "angry populist" John Edwards, have publicly committed themselves to maintaining – and expanding – America's imperial legions around the world. Barack Obama, for example – the "different" candidate, the "new voice," etc. etc. – not only pledges to expand the war machine but to use "military force in circumstances beyond self-defense…to support friends, participate in stability and reconstruction operations, or confront mass atrocities."...

US Dollars No Longer Accepted at Indian Tourist Sites

India's tourism minister says only rupees, please,
In a sign of how the once mighty U.S. dollar has fallen, India's tourism minister said Thursday that U.S. dollars will no longer be accepted at the country's heritage tourist sites, like the famed Taj Mahal.
For years the dollar was worth about 50 rupees and tourists visiting most sites in India were charged either $5 or 250 rupees.
But with the dollar at a nine-year low against the rupee — falling 11 percent in 2007 alone and now hovering at around 39 rupees — that deal has become a losing proposition for the tourism industry.
The country's tourism minister said, though, that the decision was only in part a reaction to the currency's plunging value.
"Before the dollar lost its value, there was a demand to have (admission tickets) just in rupees," Tourism Minister Ambika Soni told the CNN-IBN news channel.
Soni said that charging only rupees would not only be more practical, but would save money because "the dollar was weaker against the rupee."
The Taj Mahal, India's famed white marble monument to love, which had charged tourists $15 or 750 rupees, has been refusing to accept dollars since November.
The move makes visits pricier for American tourists, who now have to shell out nearly $20.
And it's likely to get worse.

Army Bonus payments frozen

Bush veto halts $1 billion in accession and retention bonuses.
By Jim Tice - Staff writerPosted : Thursday Jan 3, 2008 7:47:39 ESTThe Army has temporarily halted bonus payments for more than 20 enlistment, re-enlistment and service extension programs pending enactment of authorizing legislation.
President Bush, to the surprise of Congress and the Defense Department, vetoed the fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Act on Dec. 29 after months bargaining with House and Senate leaders.
In announcing the pocket veto, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the president objected to a single provision of the legislation that would delay the reconstruction of Iraq, and expose the Iraqi government to unwarranted law suits in U.S. courts.
If enacted as currently written, the legislation would authorize $696.3 billion in defense spending during 2008, including $1 billion for Army accession and retention bonuses.
Until a new version of the legislation is enacted, all new bonus agreements signed on, or after, Jan. 1 must include an addendum that stipulates the soldier’s eligibility for a future bonus.
However, the addendum also stipulates that the bonus is not guaranteed. Payments will not be made if the affected bonus program is not authorized in the final budget compromise.
If Congress fails to authorize a bonus, the soldier — officer or enlisted — still must meet the re-enlistment or service extension requirements of the contract.
Soldiers whose service contracts expire during the impasse have the option of extending month by month until the problem is worked out, or sign a service agreement on the assumption that a new authorization bill will be enacted.
Bonus programs affected by the impasse are targeted at officers and enlisted soldiers of the active and reserve components. Specifically they are:

What a joke this man is, how disingenuous, ran on IMPEACHING BUSH, and the moment Democrats won the House and Senate he reneged, Flip Flop, Flip Flop

You Suck Conyers
Bush White House covering their asses again, what a joke
Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is demanding a special counsel with a "full investigative mandate" in the CIA destroyed tapes case, according to a press release.
Responding to Attorney General Michael Mukasey's announcement that an assistant U.S. Attorney would investigate the controversial case on behalf of the Justice Department, as RAW STORY reported earlier, Conyers says, "While I certainly agree that these matters warrant an immediate criminal investigation, it is disappointing that the Attorney General has stepped outside the Justice Department's own regulations and declined to appoint a more independent special counsel in this matter.
"Because of this action, the Congress and the American people will be denied – as they were in the Valerie Plame matter – any final report on the investigation," Conyers continues.
The veteran Michigan congressmember also rues the "limited scope" of the investigation, saying that the federal government "needs to scrutinize what other evidence may have been destroyed beyond the two tapes, as well as the underlying allegations of misconduct" during interrogations of detainees.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has also issued a statement regarding Mukasey's announcement, describing it as "a reflection of the seriousness of these charges." Pelosi expresses concerns similar to those of Conyers, saying that the White House "now has the burden of proving the investigation is truly independent and has appropriate reporting provisions and sufficient scope to uncover the truth."
"The Justice Department's record over the past seven years of sweeping the administration's misconduct under the rug has left the American public with little confidence in the Administration's ability to investigate itself," adds Conyers. "Nothing less than a special counsel with a full investigative mandate will meet the tests of independence, transparency and completeness."
Conyers insists that the appointment of a special counsel would "allow our nation to begin to restore our credibility and moral standing on these issues."

Iran's Supreme Leader: US Could Be "Useful" To Us In The Future

Iran's supreme leader said on Thursday restoring ties with the United States now would harm the Islamic state, but he did not rule it out in the future.
"Not having relations with America is one of our main policies but we have never said this relationship should be cut forever," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech in the central province of Yazd, state television reported.


Australia Votes

Iowa: First runners to be dumped from White House race


I voted for Al Gore apparently, then Obama.

Definitely would have voted for Al Gore, after all he won in 2000 didn't he, I hold the supreme court and the media totally complicit in the deaths of 3900 + American Military and 1.6 million Iraqis. They put the Bastard in the White House, didn't they with the help of the American Citizens, who never stood up to be counted.

This choice for 2008 will be Edwards.

But he's Georgies Puppet for the Iraq War, didn't ya know

Musharraf a 'serious liability and should resign'
Edmund TadrosJanuary 3, 2008 - 9:33AM
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is seen as complicit in the death of the opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and Western governments should stop supporting him, the International Crisis Group says in a new report.
Pakistan has requested a team of British investigators to look into the death of former Prime Minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, who died in Rawalpindi last Thursday after what looked to be a coordinated shooting and bombing attack. The request for foreign assistance is timely; the Pakistani government has changed the official story of Bhutto's slaying for the third time in less than a week. As Julian Borger and Mark Tran report for The Guardian with no trace of visible irony: "We would like to know what were the reasons that led to the martyrdom of Benazir Bhutto. I would also like to look into it," Musharraf said in a televised address...

Yeah in your dreams, I wouldn't be holding my breath.

Palestinian president says Israeli settlements 'making peace talks impossible.'

On Kristol, the NYT and Missing the Point

Richard Gizbert, 01.02.2008
Editorials offer opinions. But it's the stuff on the front pages that shapes perceptions. Judith Miller was not a columnist. She played her part in helping drag the country to war by pretending to be a reporter.

Newspapers' Bad Year: $11 Billion In Newspaper Stock Lost In 2007

The newspaper industry is now worth 42% less than it was three years ago and 26% less than twelve months ago, says former newspaper man and Reflections of a Newsosaur analyst Alan D. Mutter. Wacko street analysts and newspaper executives chalk this up to "cyclical weakness." Mutter knows better$23B zapped in news stock value
The market value of the American newspaper publishers entering 2008 as independent, publicly traded companies has fallen by $23 billion, or 42%, since the end 2004, the year before the wheels started coming off the industry.
Nearly half the slide in the market capitalization of newspaper stocks came in 2007, when the shares lost a collective $11 billion, or 26%, of their value. Thus, newspapers lost nearly as much value last year as they did in the two prior years put together.

Today's Age Editorial on the Iowa caucuses and the outside view of America right now.

Restoring faith in the president is the primary raceJanuary 3, 2008
IOWA. Almost 3 million people live in its Midwest towns and farms, neatly hemmed between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. It's mostly a quiet land: not much news is heard from the 99 counties of Iowa. That is, except every four years. Today, January 3, is "caucus" day for the people from the state where the tall corn grows.

Finger-wagging will not help fledgling democracies flourish

Simon JenkinsJanuary 3, 2008
DEMOCRACY is looking sick just now. At the start of 2008, Churchill's nostrum that it is the worst form of government "except for the others" is being tested close to destruction, assassinated in Pakistan, sabotaged in Kenya, massacred in Iraq, strangled in Russia, ridiculed in South Africa and purchased in America. But then it depends on what you mean by democracy.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Eureka! Finally a Triumph For The Bush Administration. Oil Hits $100/bbl

Raymond J. Learsy, 01.02.2008
One can well imagine them popping champagne corks at the Department of Energy, along 'K' Street in Washington, in the inner sanctums of oil patch corner offices. They did it! Through gross inaction, through sop remedies, through disingenuous lip service, they were able to steer the price of oil from the low twenties at the start of the Bush years in 2001 to $100 a barrel today. The spectacle of George W. and Dick Cheney giving each other high fives in the Oval Office would not be hard to imagine. And of course the prospect of an ebullient Prince Bandar calling in his congratulations from Riyadh.

How Bush Took Us to the Dark Side

Tom Engelhardt
...A new Pentagon term came into use in the Bush era. With the invasion of Iraq, reporters were said to be "embedded" in U.S. military units. That term -- so close in sound to "in bed with" -- should have wider uses. You could, for instance, say that Americans have, since September 2001, been "embedded," largely willingly, in a new lockdown universe defined by a general acceptance of widespread acts of torture and abuse, as well as of the right to kidnap (known as "extraordinary rendition"), and the creation and expansion of an offshore Bermuda Triangle of injustice, all based on the principle that a human being is guilty unless proven (sometimes even if proven) innocent.... continua / continued

Pakistan Publishes Photo Of Severed Head Of Bhutto's 'Assassin' »

The Pakistani Government today published a picture of what it said was the severed head of the suicide bomber who killed Benazir Bhutto and offered a reward of almost £83,000 to anyone able to identify him.
Amid growing criticism of the police investigation into the opposition leader's killing, two pictures featuring men believed to be involved in the Rawalpindi shooting and suicide bombing were published today in Jang, the country's biggest-selling Urdu-language daily.
As well as an image of the severed head...

Mukasey Launches Criminal Probe Over Destroyed CIA Tapes

The Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes and Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey appointed an outside prosecutor to oversee the case.
The CIA acknowledged last month that it destroyed videos of officers using tough interrogation methods while questioning two al-Qaida suspects. The acknowledgment sparked a congressional inquiry and a preliminary investigation by Justice.

Kenya govt denounces "genocide" as toll hits 300

By C. Bryson Hull and Andrew Cawthorne
NAIROBI (Reuters) - President Mwai Kibaki's government accused rival Raila Odinga's party of unleashing "genocide" in Kenya on Wednesday as the death toll from tribal violence over a disputed election passed 300.
Kenya edged closer to tribal warfare last night after more than 100 people - at least 80 of them children - burned to death as the church they had fled to for refuge was set alight.

Iran hangs 13 on single day:

Iran hanged 13 convicted criminals on Wednesday, including the mother of two young children who had been found guilty of murdering her husband after discovering he was having an affair, reports said.
Raheleh Zamani, who reportedly chopped her husband's body into pieces, was hanged alongside seven men convicted of murder, in a mass execution at Tehran's Evin prison, the Iranian Student Correspondents' Association (ISCA) reported.

Thirty Dead in Baghdad's Worst Attack in Months

Richard A Oppel Jr. and Qais Mizher report for The New York Times: "Thirty people were killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber strode into a gathering of mourners at a home in eastern Baghdad and detonated an explosives-packed vest, the Interior Ministry said. It was the most brazen and deadly attack in the capital in months."

Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton | Stonewalled by the CIA

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, What a joke, You just didn't want to know
Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the 9/11 commission, write in an op-ed for The New York Times: "the recent revelations that the CIA destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes - and did not tell us about them - obstructed our investigation."

How to Erode and Destroy Democracy

Tips to fascists, dictators, corporatists, militarists, imperialists, neocons, right-wingers, theocrats, theofascists and terrorists.
1. Kill the strongest opposition candidate and then pretend that elections should go on as normal, without allowing the opposition party to reorganize. Examples:
Benazir Bhutto: strategy - hamstring security abilities to the extent that the candidate actually writes a letter accusing the government leadership of intentional sabotage of security.
Paul Wellstone: rush through a replacement candidate and politicize the funeral. Get the mainstream media "partners" to portray the funeral as despicably political to eliminate sympathy for the new candidate. (Expect something like this with the candidate who replaces Bhutto.
2. Steal elections using e-voting with nonpublic software code, no paper ballot records, purges from lists of eligible voters, phone-bank jamming and fraudulent registration drives, where you throw away the registrations of opposition party registrants. Multiple examples in US - Florida and Ohio, particularly. Essential: this only works with weak, cowardly candidates who fail to aggressively work to prevent these actions and then fail to challenge questionable outcomes. This has been relatively easy, since even when candidates do get tough in response to rigged elections, there are plenty of weak, compromised legislators who will enable the election theft. Clint Curtis's campaign is a good example. The Dems in Congress allowed the theft.
3. Erode constitutional rights. Violate laws and treaties. Make excuses that there are imminent threats to national security, or that the treaties will hurt the nation's economy. Take the most horrific of these and get the media to boost hysteria and fear, then get the most fascist members of the legislature to push through laws retroactively making violations of the law legal. The majority of sold-out legislators will work with your lobbyists, avoid your media mockery and pass the legislation or approve appointees who allow or refuse to not condemn the assaults upon the Constitution and international law. Example - Mukasey approval, FISA approval, continuation of Iraq war (started on lies).
4. Gradually destroy the economy. Engage in "Shock Doctrine" disaster capitalism, so the nation's citizens are more worried about survival than maintaining democracy. Naomi Klein has documented how fascist neocon Milton Friedman economists have used this tried and true approach to destruction of democracy in dozen of nations - usually with the help of the USA's CIA. See Naomi Klein's book, "Shock Doctrine," for detailed examples.
5. Corporatize the nation. Maximize laws that give corporations human rights as persons. Allow corporations to pollute the election process, so their money is the primary factor in deterring the ability of candidates to reach voters, as is the law and policy in the US. Have legislators you own create bogus, chimera laws that look like and call themselves election reform, that are really so full of loopholes that they actually improve the power of corporations while taking away the power of citizens. See US policy for excellent examples.
6. Deregulate the media so a handful of corporate owners control most of the message. Then filter the news so viewers/readers/listeners are turned off to paying attention. Do this by using the same footage over and over again, and numb the viewers' minds with focus on coverage of morally impaired and stupid celebrities, tabloid news such as weird surgeries, kidnappings, horrific mass murders, strange diseases, detachment of Siamese twins.... And when you do cover real news, mock the most serious defenders of democracy. Attempt to embarrass them, to get viewers and readers to think of them as fools and kooks. Especially, use this mockery approach to sabotage and attack any candidates not "with the program" who are surging in polls.
7. Infiltrate alternative media. Hijack comment threads with negative, cynical remarks, or distract commenters from staying on focus. Provoke incivility among regular readers of pro-democracy media.
8. Widen class differences. Keep as many people as possible hungry, without health care, worried about where they will get the money to pay for housing, clothing, education, food and medicine.
9. Take advantage of natural disasters to weaken democratic factors. Allow floods, hurricanes and fires to "cleanse" unwanted voters in selected regions. Replace them with high-end real estate and corporate assets. Use the disasters as opportunities to spend taxpayer money to reward political allies.
10. Pretend that everything you do is the patriotic support of Democracy, even if it is directly opposed to democracy. Attack the pro-democracy party and organizations as being communist, socialist, fringe, kook, even dangerous to democracy. Depend upon anti-democracy mainstream media allies to help pound this message so the fools produced by the dumbed-down, "most children left behind" educational system buy these messages. Use talk radio to nail this down. See US education laws and policies for examples. This is already working quite effectively in the US as low international scores indicate.
11. Allow candidates to run repeatedly, without term limits. Eventually, candidates who do not toe the anti-democracy line in all parties will burn out or run out of funding. That will leave, even in the supposed liberal parties, reliable legislators who will keep the anti-democracy program going. Eventually, they will get themselves into key leadership positions, either at the top of the party or just below the top. Consider Chuck Schumer, Stenny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel as excellent examples.
12. Build fear into the culture. Say you are fighting terrorism, but engage in international policies that foment and encourage terrorism, helping terrorists to massively expand recruitment and even training of operatives. See Iraq for Islamic terrorists. See the US for anti-abortion Christian terrorists.
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