by Frank Lindorff
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When you go into the voting booth tomorrow, here are a few things you need to think about.
First of all, this is not a local election, whatever your candidates for Congress and even for statehouse have been telling you. We have just lived through six years of one-party government, and we've seen the damage that can do. Congress under Republican leadership has ceased to function as an independent branch challenging and investigating the actions of the president, and has instead become an enabler of presidential abuse of power and of the undermining of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That means we have to restore at least some measure of opposition in the Congress for the sake of saving the country from a slide into one-party dictatorship, and that means voting for the Democrats, even Democrats who are worse than their Republican opponent. I'd say different if your district had a third-party candidate with a chance of winning, since that person could be expected to vote against Republican rule too, once in office, but aside from Vermont's Bernie Sanders, I don't know of any such cases, such is the sad condition of third party politics in America.
It's equally important to vote Democratic for state legislative candidates and for governor, because the legislatures, in almost all states, are where congressional district lines get drawn up. We saw last year how the Republicans have used their power in state legislatures, particularly in Texas, to eliminate Democratic districts and replace them with Republican ones. In that state, such gerrymandering gave the Republicans five extra House seats before an election was even held.
by Craig Murray
I hold no brief for Saddam Hussein. He is a gruesome dictator who is much
better out of power, and a dangerous man who is much better in captivity. I am
nonetheless sorry he will be murdered by the State. Iraq has seen quite enough
death already, and like so many of the others, this will merely engender more.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died already due to the Bush/Blair
invasion. The vast majority of them were totally innocent. If you kill hundreds
of thousands of innocent people, you are bound to kill the odd guilty one from
time to time, whether by accident or design. That is the measure of the
This death, just like that of al-Zaqarwi, will be hailed as a "Turning-point" by the invaders, their leaders, puppets and media spokesmen. So was the capture of Saddam, so were the elections, so was the formation of the government, so was the disbanding of the army. It is unsurprising that there have been so many - a downward spiral is just an unending circle of turning points, and Iraq has been embarked on a helter-skelter ride to Hell. Given what came after him, Bush/Blair have achieved the near impossible feat of making Saddam Hussein look like a comparatively better leader for the Iraqi people.
The trial itself was a political charade with the Americans as puppeteers. Judges were repeatedly changed if they showed any sign of independent thought. Defence lawyers who looked too effective were simply murdered. The TV cameras were turned off on the show trial if it got sticky for the US - with an American hand on the button. And the ultimate in stage management, the verdict was handed down two days before the US mid-term elections. Who honestly does not believe that timing was contrived?
I am all in favour of Dictators and War Criminals being punished. I wish Saddam had received a fair trial, and think the Hague would have been much better - he would have been seen to get a fair trial, and I am pretty sure a fair guilty verdict. We should not lose sight of the need to hold justice over the mighty. Bush and Blair are responsible for the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign state, against the wishes of the UN Security Council. They have on their hands the blood of hundreds of thousands of people. I live hope that I will see the day when they are in the dock.
I will still be against the death penalty.
by Chris Floyd
I am now writing a piece for Truthout.org on the wider ramifications of the Bush Administration's lunatic dumping of a nuclear weapons "cookbook" on the Internet and leaving it posted up for months: a pearl beyond price for any government, militia, terrorist group, religious cult or criminal mafia hoping to wield some of the nuclear terror that has hitherto been the sole province of the world's "most developed" nations.
As we all know, the reason for this data-dump was purely and solely partisan politics: the Bush Faction wanted their little bootlickers in the rightwing blogosphere to cherry-pick the raw data from millions of Saddam-era documents in hopes of finding
something that would goose a couple of news cycles here and there with
stories of "revelations" that "justify" one or more of the Bush
Regime's warmongering lies. They've been disappointed in this
propaganda gambit, however â€“
namely because there can be no data of WMD programs that didn't exist
(or links to al Qaeda that never were). However, there was plenty of
data on the almost-successful nuclear weapons program that Saddam had
built before 1991 â€“ with a mighty assist from a former U.S. president named George Bush. It was this data that the gormless son of Saddam's former accomplice and benefactor released for all the world to see.
All of this is bad enough; however, late-breaking news in the UK today has given a truly disturbing new dimension to the possible uses of Bush's gift to nuclear proliferators: six Arab nations h ave formally announced that they are now launching nuclear programs of their own. The potential dangers of this move in the powerderkeg of the Middle East are almost unfathomable. My Truthout piece will have more on this, and how the Bush nuke dump plays into it.
Below is a companion piece that I'd written to go with an earlier column for Truthout dealing solely with the Bush dump. The news today has superceded that original article, so I'm rewriting furiously; however, the companion piece â€“ providing some of the long-range background to the situation â€“ is still valid, so I'm putting it up now.
Prelude to a Quagmire
The Bush Party were eager for their acolytes to exhume damning nuggets from the history of Saddam's regime. But even here their idiocy showed itself. For a truly thorough and objective analysis of the rise and rule of the Iraqi roughneck would have indeed unearthed damning revelations â€“about generations of American leadership that helped create and sustain Saddam's brutal regime. This history gives the lie to everything the Bush Faction has said about Iraq and why we are there â€“ yet it is virtually unknown to the general public and is almost never mentioned by the mainstream media, except in brief flashes, like shooting stars, that appear briefly then disappear into the darkness.
by Chris Floyd
Well, Karl Rove got the banner headline he wanted for all the final Sunday papers before the ele ction: Saddam Hussein Is Sentenced to Death.
The political impact of the story will probably be neglible. Saddam has been a dead man walking for three years; and the fate of this former Bush Family protÃ©gÃ© has nothing to do with the anti-war sentiment across the country.
However, in regard to the Iraqi insurgency as a whole, I think we can safely say that Saddam' s conviction will prove to be a major turning point, every bit as momentous and transformative as all the other major turning points, such as the death of al-Zaqarwi, the various Iraqi elections, the destruction of Fallujah, the capture of Saddam, the killing of his two sons, or Bush's glorious announcement of "Mission Accomplished" on that golden day in May 2003.
Yep, there's no doubt about it: we've definitely turned the corner now. Why, in six months' timeâ€¦..
(Robert Fisk has more on the verdict -- especially the fact that some of the Saddam's chief co-conspirators somehow escaped justice: This was a Guilty Verdict on America as Well. Not sure how long the article will remain freely available from The Independent, so copious excerpts are provided here after the jump.
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Bush's Carnival of Blood
by Mike Whitney
This is a dark day for Americans and Iraqis alike.
Killing Saddam Hussein isnâ€™t justice; its vengeance. Only Bush believes the two are the same.
How are we supposed to feel now that we know that Saddam will be hanged for his crimes?
Elated? Energized? Jubilant?
Will it wash away the oceans of blood that Bush generated with his misguided and tragic war?
The administration clings to the foolish notion that killing Saddam will somehow justify their unprovoked invasion and slaughter of 650,000 Iraqis.
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On Monday, an editorial is scheduled to appear in the â€œArmy Timesâ€ which will call for Donald Rumsfeldâ€™s resignation as Secretary of Defense. The article will run simultaneously in the â€œAir Force Timesâ€, â€œNavy Timesâ€ and â€œMarine Corps Timesâ€ and will be available to every active member in the United States Military.
The editorial â€œTime for Rumsfeld to goâ€ provides a brief summary of Rumsfeldâ€™s role in engineering the greatest strategic defeat in American history. It says that the â€œrosy reassurancesâ€ made by the administration (like â€œMission accomplishedâ€ and that the insurgency â€œwas in its last throesâ€) were in stark contrast to the militaryâ€™s â€œmisgivings about the warâ€™s planning, execution and prospects for successâ€.
Note: The â€œArmy Timesâ€ has traditionally been about as critical of the government as their Soviet equivalent, Pravda. They have never publicly bashed the civilian leadership even in the worst days of the Vietnam War. This is entirely unprecedented. The military has clearly lost its faith in Rumsfeldâ€™s ability to lead.
Rumsfeldâ€™s inability to learn from his mistakes or follow the advice of his subordinates has caused him to underestimate the challenges of military occupation or â€œthe problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity.â€
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by Mickey Z.
Warning: This article has not been approved by the Department of Homeland Security. Read at your own risk.
Thomas Jefferson sez: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
In his most recent book, a two-volume set called 'Endgame,' author Derrick Jensen tells of a discussion he had with a longtime activist. "She told me of a campaign she participated in a few years ago to try to stop the government and transnational timber corporations from spraying Agent Orange, a potent defoliant and teratogen, in the forests of Oregon," Jensen writes.
All too predictably, the dedicated demonstrators assembled to protest the toxic spraying were, "like clockwork," ignored by the helicopter pilots.
Both humans and landscape ended up thoroughly doused with Agent Orange-time and time again. The protest campaign obviously had no effect, so a different approach was taken. "A bunch of Vietnam vets lived in those hills," the activist told Jensen, "and they sent messages to the Bureau of Land Management and to Weyerhauser, Boise Cascade, and the other timber companies saying, 'We know the names of your helicopter pilots, and we know their addresses' "You know what happened next?" she asked.
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by Will Durst
Oh for crumâ€™s sake, people. It was a joke! â€œIf you
donâ€™t study in school youâ€™ll end up getting stuck in
Iraq.â€ Get it? LIKE THE PRESIDENT! He canâ€™t get out of
Iraq. He didnâ€™t study. Heâ€™s stuck. John Kerry was
talking about George Bush. He wasnâ€™t talking about our
troops. John Kerry was a troop. Anybody who canâ€™t
figure that out is either a cynical oaf hiding their
scurrilous ass behind the troops or pretending theyâ€™re
dumber than they already are, and from all
appearances, the President falls into one of those
categories, and if its the latter, thatâ€™s a very scary
Right before Senator John Kerry blew the joke about how dumb people get stuck in Iraq, he blew another about how President Bush comes from the state of Texas but now lives in the state of denial. See, its a pattern. Thatâ€™s ostensibly a joke too. Didnâ€™t get much of a laugh on that one either. In the â€œstuck in Iraqâ€ joke, he left out the word â€œus.â€ it was supposed to be â€œyouâ€™ll end up getting US stuck in Iraq,â€ which is funnier on paper especially if you read the â€œusâ€ as â€œU.S.â€ making it work on a couple of different levels.
Both of which are way beyond the cognitive range of most college students in Pasadena. Which is why only dogs think John Kerry is funny.
by Anwaar Hussain
Crashing on the rocks of hubris, the ship Neocon is finally going down and small little furry creatures, commonly known as rats but which once acted onboard like Goliaths, are falling over each other in their mad scurry to jump the ship.
The Neocon propped Bush Administration is preparing to cut and run from Iraq. The most convincing sign of this came when it emerged that Bechtel Corp, one of the biggest construction firms in the world, was leaving the country for good with no new contract to continue the job.
As America prepares to slink out of Iraq, leaving behind legions of demons let lose on Iraqi streets and more than half a million corpses, the discredited Neocons too are jumping the ship taking along with them their myopic vision of U.S. foreign policy that they had used to steer not just America but the whole world into perilous waters.
The stampede was started by William F. Buckley, Jr., that diehard conservative and the pied piper for the American establishments. In a February 2006 piece in his Right wingâ€™s mouth piece journal, National Review, he conceded;
"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. â€¦ Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans."
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By Seth Sandronsky
U.S. economic growth rose at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in
Julyâ€“September, the slowest in more than three years, the Commerce
Department recently reported. By way of comparison, the nationâ€™s rate of
growth was 2.6 percent in the second quarter. What is happening to nearly
slice the growth rate by half in an $11 trillion economy?
In brief, growth in residential housing dropped 17.4 percent in the third quarter. Housingâ€™s fall was 11.1 percent in the second quarter. This downward trend has been underway for the past 12 months in the U.S. economy.
Economists have a word for two straight quarters of declining growth: recession. Is the housing dip forecasting a 2007 recession? That is unclear.
Clearly though, a recession is very bad news for the U.S. working class. On that note, housing has been a motor for employment in the building, financing and furnishing of existing and new homes. â€œLast year, housing could be credited for creating over 15 percent of the year's new jobsâ€; reports the Economic Policy Institute, â€œthis year housing-related jobs will account for less than 5 percent of the economy's new jobs.â€
by Jeremy R. Hammond
The debate over what to do about the crisis in Iraq has, on one hand, those who argue for immediate withdrawal and, on the other, those who argue, justification (or lack thereof) of the initial invasion aside, that the US must remain lest the country descend further into chaos. Among the latter, the focus is on finding a "timetable for withdrawal", which would be dictated by how quickly "Iraqization" could be successfully implemented to a degree that Iraqi forces could take over the job currently being done by US troops. That this needs to occur seems to be the general consensus. This view is predicated upon a number of assumptions that are in need of serious questioning if any real solutions to the ongoing crisis are to be found.
One assumption is that the US has intended to withdraw from Iraq from the onset. The US has an enormous number of strategic military bases scattered around the globe. It never completely withdrew from either Germany or Japan after WWII. It maintains a military presence in South Korea. As a result of the war in Afghanistan, the US acquired a number of military bases in Central Asia, not only in Afghanistan but also in several neighboring former Soviet republics. It is well known, and was easily demonstrable prior to the invasion, that the principle justification for war, namely the threat of weapons of mass destruction, was a fabricated pretext. Although chosen as the selling point for public consumption, it is self-evident that the "threat" of Iraq was simply not the true motive for the invasion. Rather, if we assume the historical norm is being followed, and if we trust documents expressing the views of policymakers within the US government, the goal of the invasion was hegemony over what has been long been regarded as a region of the utmost strategic importance, primarily due to its rich resources in oil and gas. There is little reason to believe that US has any intention whatsoever of abandoning the bases in Iraq it has acquired as a result of the invasion.
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by Mike Whitney
Don Rumsfeld is not a good leader. In fact, he is a very bad leader. Leadership is predicated on three basic factors: Strong moral character, sound judgment, and the ability to learn from oneâ€™s mistakes. None of these apply to Rumsfeld. As a result, every major decision that has been made in Iraq has been wrong and has cost the lives of countless Iraqis and American servicemen. This pattern will undoubtedly continue as long as Rumsfeld is the Secretary of Defense.
Hereâ€™s a simple test: Name one part of the occupation of which has succeeded?
Security? Reconstruction? De-Baâ€™athification? Dismantling the Iraqi military? Protecting Saddamâ€™s ammo-dumps? Stopping the looting? Body armor? Coalition government? Abu Ghraib? Falluja? Even oil production has been slashed in half.
Every facet of the occupation has been an unmitigated disaster. Nothing has succeeded. Everything has failed.
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