Click here Grab your beverage and relax for a few minutes of awesome beauty. The SR-71 was the creation of Kelly Johnson, Lockheed, Eisenhower, and the Air Force. It was envisioned in the '50s, first flown in the early '60s, retired in the '80s, briefly brought back in the '90s.
“We are in the worst crisis since 1929 and we have no government. How can this be good?” Stephen Jarislowsky, chairman of Montreal money manager Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended Canada's parliament to avoid a challenge from opposition parties that were planning to oust him from power. The 3-party coalition--the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois---decided to remove Harper because of his strong opposition to a stimulus package that was designed to minimize the effects of the financial crisis. They also opposed his "proposed elimination of subsidies for political parties, a three-year ban on the right of civil servants to strike, and limits on the ability of women to sue for pay equity." Governor General Michaelle Jean helped Harper to hang on by using her constitutional authority to close the legislature for seven weeks. Now the country is in a furor.
Harper is a far right conservative ideologue who served as president of the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), a conservative think-tank and advocacy group. The organization opposes national healthcare but supports privitization and tax cuts. It has 40,000 members but the names are kept confidential. It's motto is "more freedom with less government."
The Prime Minister has been a staunch supporter of George Bush and the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of his critics accuse him of being a neoconservative allied to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Bilderburger Group. He is alleged to be a proponent of plans for a North American Union, which is an elitist scheme to end US sovereignty by merging the three countries-- Canada, the US, and Mexico--into one superstate. The plan coincides with Harper's unwavering support for free trade.
Harper's connection to extremist organizations may sound far fetched, until one one sees a video of him giving a speech that was also given by Australian PM John Howard prior to the war in Iraq. The speeches are identical--word for word--indicating that they must have been written by a third party somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon or a nearby think tank. The video dispels any illusion that Karzai, Abbas, and Siniora are the only sock-puppets working for Washington.
Harper is also a trusted ally of Israel and has defended Israel's 31 day invasion of Lebanon in 2006 that killed over 1,300 Lebanese civilians who were fleeing the south to escape Israeli bombing. According to Wikipedia: "the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish organizations presented Stephen Harper with its inaugural International Leadership Award for his support for Israel...the award was given to express the group's appreciation for Canada's "courageous stands" to boycott the Durban 2 Anti-Racism Conference.
On June, Harper was also awarded the Presidential Gold Medallion for Humanitarianism by B'nai B'rith International. He is the first Canadian to be awarded this medal."
Harper is also a committed militarist who has circumvented Parliament and announced a plan that will greatly expand Canada's armed forces. According to Linda McQuaig of the Toronto Star:
"Harper has already laid out an agenda that would fundamentally change this country - in ways most Canadians would oppose. While this agenda is not "secret," my guess is few Canadians know about it... Sometime in the dark of night last June 20, the Harper government posted a plan on the Department of National Defence's website - called Canada First Defence Strategy - to spend an eye-popping $490 billion over the next 20 years on the military.
It's hard to imagine an agenda with more profound consequences for Canadians, beginning with a dramatic reordering of national priorities. Public health care? Child poverty? Fighting global warming?
While the election campaign has focused on economic issues, the military and its combat role in Afghanistan have actually been the centrepieces of the Harper administration. Harper has tried to reshape the way Canadians think about Canada, weaning us off our fondness for peacekeeping (and medicare, for that matter), and getting us excited about being a war-making nation, able to swagger on the world stage in the footsteps of the Americans." (Linda McQuaig, "Stephen Harper: Bulking up Pentagon North", the Toronto Star)
The Putsch Will Be Televised
Harper's nationally televised speech on Monday night was pure political theater; a near-perfect duplication of George Bush's many solemn addresses from the Oval office. Wrapping himself in the Maple Leaf, the smooth-talking Harper rattled off the familiar patriotic buzzwords and catchphrases while trying to affect the appearance of a man genuinely devoted to principle:
"We will use all legal means to resist this undemocratic seizure of power," Harper thundered peering straight into the camera.
Fortunately, Harper doesn't have a leg to stand on. Constitutional scholars unanimously agree that the parties have the right to deliver a "no confidence" vote and strip him of his power. Harper is just trying to brazen it out to buy some time.
"The Canadian government has always been chosen by the people," said the Prime Minister.
Not true, and Harper knows it.
"He's appealing to people who learned their civics from American television," said Henry Jacek, a political scientist at McMaster University. Other scholars... say Harper's populist theory of democracy is more suited to a U.S.-style presidential system, in which voters cast ballots directly for a national leader, than it is to Canadian parliamentary democracy. In Canada, there's no national vote for prime minister. People elect MPs in 308 ridings, and a government holds power only as long as it has the support of a majority of those MPs.
"We have a rule that the licence to govern is having the confidence of the House of Commons," said Peter Russell, a former University of Toronto professor and adviser to past governors general.
"I'm sorry, that's the rule. If they want to change it to having a public opinion poll, we'd have to reform and rewrite our Constitution." ("Harper Wrong on Democracy Experts Claim" CTV)
Harper is just blowing smoke, but his challenge should be taken seriously just the same. Neocons do not go gently into that good night. Americans know that better than anyone.
I was sent a quote by a friend that touched my heart so deeply that I had to share it with the world. It is a clear explanation of what has occurred in America to what was once a freedom loving people. It is another example of how history repeats. The Fathers of this nation and of the rebellion against tyranny, the men of Marlborough, Massachusetts unanimously declared in 1773 AD: “Death is more eligible than slavery, a free-born people are not required by the religion of Jesus Christ to submit to tyranny, but may make use of such power as God has given them to recover and support their laws and liberties…”
These men of Marlborough implored, “the Ruler above the skies, that He would make bare His arm in defense of His Church and people, and let Israel go.”
Americans are no longer a freedom loving people but have become a nation of voluntary slaves that having been “nourished and reared in slavery [and] are content, without further effort, to live in their native circumstance, unaware of any other state or right, and considering as quite natural the condition [of voluntary slavery] into which they were born.”
Here is the quote:
“It is incredible how as soon as a people becomes subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it, obeying so easily and so willingly that one is led to say, on beholding such a situation, that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement. It is true that in the beginning men submit under constraint and by force; but those who come after them obey without regret and perform willingly what their predecessors had done because they had to. This is why men born under the yoke and then nourished and reared in slavery are content, without further effort, to live in their native circumstance, unaware of any other state or right, and considering as quite natural the condition into which they were born. There is, however, no heir so spendthrift or indifferent that he does not sometimes scan the account books of his father in order to see if he is enjoying all the privileges of his legacy or whether, perchance, his rights and those of his predecessor have not been encroached upon. Nevertheless it is clear enough that the powerful influence of custom is in no respect more compelling than in this, namely, habituation to subjection.”
“Let us therefore learn while there is yet time, let us learn to do good. Let us raise our eyes to Heaven for the sake of our honor, for the very love of virtue, or, to speak wisely, for the love and praise of God Almighty, who is the infallible witness of our deeds and the just judge of our faults. As for me, I truly believe I am right, since there is nothing so contrary to a generous and loving God as tyranny—I believe He has reserved, in a separate spot in Hell, some very special punishment for tyrants and their accomplices.”
The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude by Étienne De La Boetie
Those words were written circa 1552 AD and reminded me of the words of Benjamin Franklin:
“The worship of God is a duty…Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature… I never doubted the existence of the Deity, that he made the world, and governed it by His Providence…The pleasures of this world are rather from God’s goodness than our own merit… Whoever shall introduce into the public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world… Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”
But Americans have become like the Israelites of old that ask God to make them a king so that they could stop being a people governed by themselves and by God but instead to have a ruler [Bush/Obama] over them. How very light the bondage of a king placed over Israel was in comparison to America in 2008 AD:
1st Samuel, Chapter 8 10 And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.
11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.
19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord.
22 And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.
Oh how sad that Americans sold their birthright for a mess of pottage and Socialism and rejected the Creator that granted unto Americans Unalienable rights. How sad that Americans do not rebel against a tax rate that exceeds 50% of their wages when all these “voluntary” taxes [state, local and federal] are combined but instead clamor for the scraps from the table of socialism.
We are indeed a nation “nourished and reared in slavery” and have become content in that voluntary slavery as Americans voluntarily file 1040 Communist style tax forms and testify against themselves while committing perjury because they do not know they owe but only guess. Our only hope to regain that title of liberty to which the God of Nature has entitled us is for America to be crushed under the weight of its own debt to wipe away those voluntary slaves like God did by keeping the Israelites in the desert for 40 years so that those who longed for the slave pits of Egypt died off in order to keep their slave mentality from infecting the land God had prepared for a freedom loving people.
For those of you that love liberty I honestly suggest that you prepare for that 40 years and the famine that is about to sweep this nation.
December 1 brought more disappointment but no surprises. Obama's national security appointees (like all his earlier ones) aren't "change to believe in" or what people expected for their votes. They're recycled establishment figures. Their agenda is business as usual, and they'll continue the same failed Bush administration policies at home and abroad. Washington's criminal class is bipartisan. Obama was chosen to lead it and is assembling a rogue team that's little different from the one it's replacing.
For "security", it means:
-- maintaining the "strongest military on the planet" and do it by outspending all other countries combined;
-- continued foreign wars;
-- possibly another against Iran;
-- permanent occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan - directly and with proxy forces; Obama saying he'll withdraw all US forces from Iraq in 16 months (around mid-2010) is false and misleading;
-- a reinvented Cold War against Russia;
-- an "absolute" commitment "to eliminating the threat of terrorism (with) the full force of our power;"
-- inciting instability anywhere it serves US imperial interests with special emphasis on resource-rich Eurasia, including the Asian sub-continent; Exhibit A: the Bombay (Mumbai) terror attacks that Michel Chossudovsky explains have "the fingerprints of a (carefully planned) paramilitary-intelligence operation (and) are described as India's 9/11," or at least a mini version of it; the usual suspects are blamed; the purpose is to incite fear and more violence; the consequences - an internal hard line crackdown, increased tensions between India and Pakistan, and a military opening for Washington to intervene further in the region; and
-- additional North American militarization as evidenced by a disturbing December 1 Washington Post report - that (on the pretext of national security) the Pentagon will deploy 20,000 troops nationwide by 2011 "to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear attack or other domestic catastrophe;" three "rapid-reaction" combat units are planned; two or more additional ones may follow; they'll be supplemented by 80 smaller National Guard units and will be trained to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, high-yield explosive, and other domestic "terror" attacks or disturbances; in other words, homeland militarization and occupation is planned using combat troops trained to kill.
Media Reaction to Obama's National Security Appointees
The New York Times suggested he's "put(ting) the rancor and even some of the rhetoric of the presidential campaign behind him on Monday as he welcomed his chief Democratic adversary into his cabinet and signaled flexibility in his plans to withdraw troops from Iraq." He stated: "I will listen to the recommendations of my commanders (and it's) likely to be necessary to maintain a residual force to provide potential training (and) logistical support to protect our civilians in Iraq."
According to the Cato Institute's foreign policy director, Christopher Preble, Obama chose Iraq war supporters, so it "suggests that we will only get more of the same."
The Washington Post highlighted Obama's "high-powered national security team....to face a complex security picture." It quoted him calling for "a new beginning, a new dawn of American leadership (and) the power of our moral example."
According to UN ambassador-designee Susan Rice, it's a team "to prevent conflict, to promote peace, combat terrorism, prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons, tackle climate change, end genocide, fight poverty and disease." More on those aims below.
The Wall Street Journal suggested that Obama's national security team will make "a clean break from Bush administration policies on Iraq, Afghanistan and overseas diplomacy." It will differ from "an over-reliance on the military and a failure to devote enough resources to political reconciliation and economic development in those nations." More on that below as well.
Obama's National Security Designees
On December 1 in the UK Guardian, author Jeremy Scahill called them a "Kettle of Hawks" so it's no surprise that hard line neocon writer Max Boot was jubilant over the selections and said they "as easily (could) have come from a President McCain." He and like-minded ideologues believe this puts "an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, the unconditional summits with dictators (aka democrats like Chavez, president Ahmadinejad of Iran, and Fidel and Raul Castro), and other foolishness that once emanated from the Obama campaign." His selections "should be powerful voices for neoliberalism which is not so different from neoconservatism."
According to Boot, Obama will pick up right where Bush left off with a near-seamless transition. "Only churlish partisans of both the left and the right can be unhappy with the emerging tenor of our nation's new leadership."
According to former Chicago congressman, federal judge, and Clinton White House Counsel Abner Mikva in a Chicago Jewish News article, it's also true for the nation's Jews and the state of Israel. As some call Clinton 'the nation's first black president,' "I think when this is over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president." Rabbi Arnold Wolf agrees in saying Obama is "embedded in the Jewish world." Given the team he's assembling, there's every reason to believe they're right.
She's co-heading the team (with Robert Gates) as Secretary of State designee, so it's clear no change is planned given her hard line neocon ideology. As one analyst puts it: it's why many on the left "are grinding their teeth" about her and other former Clinton administration appointees.
Back in May, CounterPunch co-editor Jeff St. Clair referred to her "Gothic politics" that offer no hope for needed change. He called her "constitutionally wedded to a stern neoliberalism, a disposition (she's unable to) camouflage."
Darker still is her hawkishness, far enough to the right to be indistinguishable from Joe Lieberman or John McCain. It's why one analyst calls her a "war goddess" and with good reason. She supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and still does. She voted for the Patriot, Homeland Security, and other repressive acts.
She's extremely bellicose, endorses attacking Iran, supported Israel's destructive 2006 Lebanon war, praised Israel's apartheid wall, demeans the Palestinian people, equates them with terrorists, calls any Israeli criticism anti-Semitism, is close to AIPAC, and at its June convention said "The United States stands with Israel now and forever....We have shared interests....shared ideals....common values. I have a bedrock commitment to Israel's security. (Against Islamic extremists) our two nations are fighting a shared threat....I strongly support Israel's right to self-defense (and) believe America should aid in that defense....I am committed to making sure that Israel maintains a military edge to meet increasing threats."
"I am deeply concerned about the growing threat in Gaza (and) Hamas' campaign of terror....Its charter calls for the destruction of Israel....Iran (also) threatens to destroy Israel....I support calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard what it is: a terrorist organization. It is imperative that we get both tough and smart about dealing with Iran before it is too late."
In other speeches, Clinton has been extremely belligerent and blatantly malicious in accusations mirror opposite of the truth. She called Iran a strategic long-term threat, a country that practices state terrorism, that uses "surrogates to supply explosives that kill US troops in Iraq," and that must be dealt with with "all options on the table."
She also said that if Iran attacks Israel (that's implausible on its face), America would respond by "obliterating" the country - in other words, incinerate its entire population through a nuclear holocaust. During the 2008 campaign, she told ABC's Good Morning America:
"I want the Iranians to know, if I am the president, we will attack Iran. And I want them to understand that (if) they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."
She's just as extremist on all foreign policy issues. She opposes an international treaty to ban land mines and was against banning cluster bomb exports to countries that use them on civilians. She backs arms transfers and police training to human rights abusing countries like Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia and similar US allies.
She's for a larger military budget, continuing the "war on terror," the nation's illegal wars and occupation, and Israel's repressive Palestinian occupation. In July 2004, she denounced the UN, accused it of opposing aggressive US policies, its judicial arm for challenging Israel's Separation Barrier, and she sponsored a Senate resolution "urging no further action by the UN to delay" its construction.
She's done nothing to contain nuclear proliferation except to condemn Iran's legal commercial development. It's in full accord with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) unlike the world's greatest nuclear outlaw - America. Israel, India, and Pakistan as well, but they're US allies unlike Iran. Clinton also supports the Bush Doctrine and his administration's unilateral position on using first strike nuclear weapons, including against non-nuclear states.
Hillary Clinton at State sends a strong message to free people everywhere and especially to all Muslims and the Arab world - the "war on terror" will continue. Your people are its main target, and America will continue to invade and occupy your lands. It also tells the anti-war movement that it's work has just begun and will be no simpler under Obama than it's been up to now. Clinton is a powerful bulwark against it and to all freedom loving people everywhere. "Gothic" indeed - dark and foreboding in the same "war party" under new management.
He'll remain as Defense Secretary and is a clear signal of Bush administration policy continuity. After being named to succeed Donald Rumsfeld in November 2006, this writer said about him: The appointment of Robert Gates "replac(es) one controversial (defense) secretary and accused war criminal with an unindicted liar and equally controversial former Reagan and senior Bush official." Earlier he was involved "in cooking the intelligence to fit the policy in the Iran-Contra scandal he was never held to account for." He also had a hand "in secretly arming Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. When he takes over (at DOD), expect the Pentagon under (his) management to be no different" than the leadership it's replacing. In all respects, Gates lived up to expectations and will continue the same policies under Obama.
In an October 28 speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he argued for expanding the Bush administration's pre-emptive war doctrine to include first strike nuclear weapons. He said that pacifist illusions shouldn't deter planning for a broader war.
He added that "As long as other states have or seek nuclear weapons - and can potentially threaten us, our allies and friends - then we must have a deterrent capacity that makes it clear that challenging the US in the nuclear arena - or with weapons of mass destruction - could result in an overwhelming, catastrophic response." In other words, if non-US allies seek nuclear weapons or if Washington (without evidence) claims it, they then become potential targets for a nuclear response even if their intentions are peaceful.
Gates' other credentials include 26 years with the CIA where he was its deputy director from 1986 - 1989 and director from 1991 - 1993. Former CIA official, turned political activist, Ray McGovern knew him there and wrote about his "dexterity in orchestrating his own advancement (and) never (being) one to let truth derail (his) ambition."
Former CIA analyst Mel Goodman described how he "tried hard to anticipate the views of policy makers in order to pander to their needs" and played a major role in politicizing the agency. One of his key distortions led to higher military spending under Ronald Reagan - by exaggerating the Soviet menace (along with CIA director Bill Casey) as a "military behemoth with a robust economy rather than a decaying power with a shriveling GDP."
Goodman added: "While serving as deputy director for intelligence from 1982 - 1986, Gates wrote the manual for manipulating and centralizing the intelligence process to get the desired intelligence product." He promoted pliable CIA careerists to top positions while sidelining or retiring more independent ones. In 1991 under GHW Bush, his colleagues staged an unprecedented revolt for his role in destroying the agency's commitment to objectivity.
At the time, Harold P. Ford, former National Intelligence Council vice-chairman, told the Senate Intelligence Committee: "Bob Gates has often depended too much on his own individual analytic judgments and has ignored or scorned the views of others whose assessments did not accord with his own. This would be okay if he were uniquely all-seeing. He has not been."
Throughout his career, Gates was devious and opportunistic. He'll bring those "qualities" to the new Obama administration.
He's also a past president of Texas A & M University (a position gotten with considerable Bush family help), a member of several corporate boards, served on the Baker Iraq Study Group, and was George Bush's first choice for Department of Homeland Security secretary but declined to remain at Texas A & M.
Retired Marine General James Jones
He's the announced National Security Advisor designee to head the White House National Security Council (NSC). Since inception under Harry Truman, it's to advise the president on national security and foreign policies as well as coordinate them among various government agencies (including the military branches, CIA, and other intelligence agencies).
Jones is a former NATO commander (from 2003 - 2006), Commandant of the Marine Corp (from 1999 - 2003), and 40 year veteran after retiring from the Corp in 2007. He's now a US Chamber of Commerce executive and last November was named the administration's special Middle East envoy with this endorsement: he's the "person we need to take up this vital mission....an experienced leader who can address the regional security challenges comprehensively and at the highest levels...." His assignment was to draft a strategic security stabilization plan to complement (so-called) Israeli - Palestinian peace talks. He supports stationing US forces in Occupied Palestine under the pretext of NATO peacekeepers.
He also investigated the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, concluded that America "t(ook) its eye off the ball" in Afghanistan and is losing. That view supports Obama's wanting 10,000 more combat troops there (30,000 according to some reports) and also plans "as our first priority" increased regional military operations - against Afghanistan and Pakistan with a more convenient than ever pretext in the wake of the Bombay (Mumbai) terror attacks in the part of the world he calls the greatest menace to US security.
Increasing numbers of US missile strikes are killing more Pakistani civilians. They're inciting growing anger in the country, are escalating the Afghan war, and threaten to expand the war theater to a much larger area with potentially catastrophic consequences - a strategy Obama and his incoming team apparently support.
In his latest article titled "Afghanistan, Another Untold Story," Michael Parenti has a different view. After reviewing the country's recent history, he says:
"US intervention in Afghanistan has proven not much different from US intervention in Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, and elsewhere. It had the same intent of preventing egalitarian social change, and the same effect of overthrowing an economically reformist government. In all these instances, the intervention brought retrograde elements into ascendance, left the economy in ruins, and pitilessly laid waste to many innocent lives."
"The war in Afghanistan, a battered impoverished country, continues to be portrayed in US official circles as a gallant crusade against terrorism. If it ever was that, it also has been a means to other things: destroying a leftist revolutionary social order, gaining profitable control of one of the last vast untapped reserves of the earth's dwindling fossil fuel supply, and planting US bases and US military power into still another region of the world....In the face of all this, Obama's call for 'change' rings hollow."
It also suggests a frightening prospect under his leadership - a continuation of Bush's (preventive war) Doctrine against countries we claim (true or false) practice "terrorism," harbor "terrorist" elements, or aid "terrorist" groups. In other words, an agenda that needs enemies, invents them strategically, and intends to wage permanent aggressive wars to expand US imperialism globally and especially over resource-rich parts of the world like Eurasia.
As Attorney General designee, he's another very troublesome choice because of his hard line law-and-order reputation. He's Obama's senior legal advisor, a former District of Columbia Superior Court judge, and Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton.
As senior Democrat Party legal advisor during the Bush administration, he was actively involved in his party's complicity in enacting repressive police state laws.
In 1998, he issued a statement known as the "Holder memo" in which he supported government intervention into policing Internet free speech. It stated:
"Because of the nature of the Internet and availability of agents trained in conducting criminal investigations in cyberspace, investigation and prosecution of Internet obscenity is particularly suitable to federal resources."
In a 1998 letter to Morality In Media (an extremist religious right front group against pornography), he said: "I appreciated having the opportunity to meet with you recently to discuss the prosecution of obscenity cases." Holder supported multi-jurisdictional prosecutions of Internet web sites and businesses on such charges, even in cases of First Amendment-protected material.
Some claim his strategy wasn't to win, but to burden defendants with mounting legal costs, exhaust them through repeated litigation, and perhaps drive them into bankruptcy. It's a tactic very similar to so-called SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) lawsuits that are used to intimidate and silence critics.
Holder was also involved in Bill Clinton's indefensible last day in office Mark Rich pardon, the billionaire fugitive commodities trader. In 1983, Rich and his partner were indicted on 65 counts of defrauding the IRS, mail fraud, tax evasion, racketeering, defrauding the Treasury and trading with the enemy. Holder was deputy attorney general at the time.
As US attorney for the District of Columbia, he also pushed for stiffer marijuana penalties, and according to one report, advocated "minimum sentences of 18 months for first-time convicted drug dealers, 36 months for second offenses, and 72 months for each subsequent conviction." He also wanted to "make the penalty for distribution and possession with intent to distribute marijuana a felony, punishable with up to a five-year sentence." The DC Council enacted Holder's recommendation into law in 2000. His hard line stance against non-violent drug offenders runs counter to Obama's softer position, apparently about to harden.
Holder also played a lead role in the 2005 Patriot Act reauthorization, supported at the time by Obama. In addition, after his Clinton administration service, he was a partner in the Covington & Burling law and lobbying firm at which he defended Chiquita Brands International executives on charges of aiding terrorism by financing and arming Colombian (AUC) death squads. In spite of overwhelming evidence and the company's own admission, he got it off with a fine of around half of one percent of its annual revenue.
Holder also believes that accused "terrorists" have no Geneva Convention rights. In a January 2002 CNN interview he said:
"One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people."
"It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war."
Holder left unaddressed the question of torture, guilt or innocence. The fact that they were captured and imprisoned is good enough for him.
As the nation's top law enforcement official, he'll assure more of the same criminal abuses under George Bush. He's no civil libertarian or what people should expect from the nation's top law enforcement officer. He represents business as usual, and a sign of continued dark times ahead.
Keeping FBI Director Robert Mueller as his chief law enforcement deputy (even though his term runs until 2011) is an even stronger signal. Mueller enforced the worst of "war on terrorism" policies, including witch-hunt prosecutions, illegal spying, and targeting political dissent.
The possible appointment of former George Tenet aide John Brennan as new CIA chief is also disturbing although reportedly he's out of the running. He heads Obama's intelligence transition team, supported warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, and was involved in politicizing intelligence alleging Saddam's WMDs in the run-up to the Iraq war.
Possible CIA Directors
On December 2, The New York Times reported that "Obama Faces a Delicate Task" in choosing his CIA chief - "one of the more treacherous patches of his transition to the White House" given the agency's disturbing involvement in extraordinary renditions, torture, and other illegal practices under Bush.
Even so, "some senior Democratic lawmakers who are vehement critics of the Bush administration's interrogation policies seemed reluctant in recent interviews to commit the new administration to following the Army Field Manual in all cases."
Diane Feinstein will become Senate Intelligence Committee chairperson in January. She says extreme cases and potential terrorist threats call for flexibility, so her message is clear even though in a subsequent statement she softened it. Repressive interrogations, including torture, will likely continue under Obama even if Guantanamo is closed and even though they're illegal under US and international law.
During the campaign, Obama aides said he'd let CIA keep holding prisoners in overseas jails but that International Committee of the Red Cross representatives should be given access to them. It matters little because, when allowed, their tours are carefully orchestrated to conceal repressive practices and no contact with prisoners most aggrieved by them.
The Army Field Manual (No. 27-10) is explicit on the rule of law. It incorporates the Nuremberg Principles prohibiting crimes against humanity, and in paragraph 498 states that any person, military or civilian, who commits a crime under international law bears responsibility and may be punished. In addition, paragraph 499 defines a "war crime." Paragraph 500 refers to conspiracy, attempts to commit it and complicity with respect to international crimes. Paragraph 509 denies the defense of superior orders in the commission of a crime; and paragraph 510 denies the defense of an "act of state."
Most members of Congress from both parties have been complicit with the administration in egregiously violating both US and international laws. All signs point to little, if any, change under the incoming Obama administration.
The Times reports that Obama will replace CIA director Michael Hayden. Possible candidates include:
-- deputy director (since 2004) Stephen Kappes, a 27-year CIA veteran;
-- former Indiana congressman and member of the 9/11 commission Tim Roemer; he's now president of the Center for National Policy, a Washington-based national security think tank;
-- Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel who's retiring from the Senate in January; he's also a former conservative talk-show host and is (or was during his runs for the Senate) part owner, chairman, and CEO of the Election Systems & Software (ES&S) electronic voting machine company; it installed, programmed and operated the equipment used by most voters for the elections in which he ran; he won a second term in 1982 with 83% of the vote - the largest ever political victory in the state; some critics called it a dress rehearsal for Bush's 2004 electoral theft and various state ones favoring Republican candidates; and
-- Jack Devine, a 32-year CIA veteran, now retired, and former head of clandestine service; he describes himself as "a covert action person (who believes) we should be out there pushing US policy wherever we can, covertly and overtly."
Admiral Dennis Blair
Reports are that retired Admiral Dennis Blair is top choice to be Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The office was established by the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act and was formed in April 2005. It's the president's principal national security intelligence advisor; heads the nation's 16 intelligence agencies; and oversees and directs the National Intelligence Program.
Now retired, Blair is a 34 year Navy veteran and currently holds the (former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman) John Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies at The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). Also the General of the Army Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at Dickenson College and the US Army War College. He's the immediate past president of the Institute for Defense Analyses, a US government Washington, DC think tank that calls itself "a non-profit corporation that administers three federally funded (R & D) centers to assist the (government) in national security issues."
Blair was also an Oxford classmate of Bill Clinton and a Naval Academy classmate of Senator Jim Webb. If appointed, he'll bring more militarist credentials to Obama's war cabinet. In his various command assignments during the Bush administration, he was a point man in the "war on terrorism." He'll continue that role as the nation's intelligence chief.
An obstacle in his way was in a Pentagon inspector general finding regarding DOD conflict-of-interest standards. Earlier he was involved with a study of a major military contract for the F-22 fighter while a board member of the company that makes it, Lockheed Martin. It occurred while Blair was president of the Institute for Defense Analyses. Whether this will derail him is an open question, but it highlights the pervasive Washington revolving-door and overall corrupted culture.
According to Michael Lacey of LA Weekly News, the current Arizona governor and designee for Homeland Security secretary is a troublesome choice. He cites her sorrowful Arizona service "consorting with anti-immigrant enforcers, indulging rank opportunism, and adhering to failed policies (that make for) an unlikely recipe for change we can believe in. And yet this very cocktail of mediocrity" made her Obama's choice for DHS chief or what this writer calls the nation's Gestapo.
As Arizona governor, Napolitano defended her states border with a "pitchfork. Her multi-pronged strategy: embrace the nation's most regressive legislation; empower a notorious sheriff using cynical political calculations; (and) employ boots on the ground" - shock troop enforcers against defenseless Latino immigrants forced north because of destructive NAFTA policies.
Lacey goes on to describe Napolitano's "bungled billions," hiring companies embedded with former state agency employees and cronies, ducking hard choices, using accounting gimmicks in state budgets, and various other practices amounting to "corruption, greed, and the cupidity of boondoggle bookkeeping in hard times." She also signed legislation criminalizing the need to work and support one's family and created a state atmosphere reminiscent of Prohibition - today against Latino immigrants driven north to find work. Now she'll do for America what she's doing to Arizona.
She'll be Obama's nominee for UN ambassador. Earlier under Bill Clinton, she was on the National Security Council and served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Some call her progressive but recommending the unilateral use of military force against any country violates the Charter of the organization where she'll work. In 2006, she recommended it against Sudan in stating:
"History demonstrates that there is one language Khartoum understands: the credible threat or use of force....After swift diplomatic consultations, the United States should press for a UN resolution that issues Sudan an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the UN force within one week or face military consequences."
Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizes only the Security Council to "determine the existence of any threat to the peace, or act of aggression (and, if necessary, take military or other actions to) restore international peace and stability." It permits a nation to use force only under two conditions: when authorized by the Security Council or under Article 51 allowing the "right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member....until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security."
Calling for unilateral force against another state for any reason is illegal and criminal. Susan Rice did it, yet will serve as America's UN ambassador as her reward.
Obama continues to round out his team, and each appointment mirrors the others. On his watch, it'll be business as usual, but what else would we expect.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course the United States Constitution matters. However, it seems that Hillary Clinton and the Washington, D.C. insiders don't seem to think so because despite being ineligible under the U.S. Constitution, Hillary Clinton is being nominated for Secretary of State!
You see, the Ineligibility Clause (Article 1, Section 6) of the Constitution provides that "No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time."
And unfortunately for Hillary, a January 2008 Executive Order signed by President Bush (during Hillary Clinton's current Senate term) increased the salary for Secretary of State, thereby rendering Senator Clinton ineligible for the position.
This provision was designed by our Founding Fathers to protect against corruption. (President Ronald Reagan reportedly did not appoint Senator Orin Hatch to the Supreme Court because of this provision.)
There's no getting around the Constitution's Ineligibility Clause. Hillary Clinton is prohibited from serving in the Cabinet until at least 2013, when her current term expires.
And now Hillary is attacking us. Her spokesman smeared us by calling us a "fringe group." Why? For pointing out that the U.S. Constitution – the supreme law of the land – should be followed by President-elect Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton.
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Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are now trying to do an end run around the Constitution by reducing the salary of Secretary of State to previous levels, but their charade won't work. Nothing can change the fact that the salary had been increased while Senator Clinton served in Congress. Simply put, the Constitution does not provide for a legislative remedy for the Ineligibility Clause.
Every American ought to be disturbed that Obama, Clinton and their friends in Congress appear willing to cast the Constitution aside when it gets in the way of their political plans.
Aside from the constitutional issue, Hillary Clinton's long track record of corruption makes her a terrible choice to serve as the nation's top diplomat.
To illustrate just one: Has any other Secretary of State nominee been the subject of a grand jury criminal investigation?
Hillary Clinton and husband Bill are ethically challenged and have consistently abused their public office for personal and political gain. Hillary and Bill (not to mention their siblings) are scandals waiting to happen. Hillary Clinton has neither the temperament nor ethics to be in such a sensitive office.
Nor is she eligible under the U.S. Constitution.
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THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT HAS SCHEDULED FOR FULL CONFERENCE, ON DECEMBER 5, 2008 IN PRIVATE TO CONSIDER BARACK OBAMA'S ELIGIBILITY TO BECOME PRESIDENT OF U.S.
Every major news network, print and cable news like FOX, CNN and MSNBC, have ignored all the court cases challenging Obama’s eligibility as sore losers or conspiracy theories. If four of the nine Justices vote to hear the case in full review, oral argument may be ordered.
Another case pending:
CORT WROTNOWSKI V. CONNECTICUT SECRETARY OF STATE RENEWED TO JUSTICE SCALIA
Refiled November 29, 2008, Case #08A469
Case conclusion: I Move that this court would issue a writ of mandamus requiring that Connecticut, Secretary of State Bysiewicz immediately acquire primary documents or certified copies from primary sources such as the appropriate Health Department and/or appropriate hospital records. If such reasonable documents as would establish place and date of birth are not made available to the Secretary of State by the time expected for certification of the election results, then the Secretary of State is ordered to declared that candidate as ‘not certified’ as a valid candidate for the office of President of the United States under the United States Constitution, Article II, Section I;
Respectfully Submitted, Cort Wrotnowski, 34077 SE 56th St Fall City, WA 98024, 425-698-7084
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Obama Advisor Valerie Jarrett Linked to Real Estate Scandals
Barack Obama's personnel decisions as President-Elect are crushing any hopes that his administration will bring a new spirit of integrity and honesty to Washington. First there was the selection of Clinton attack dog Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff. Then there was the selection of another Clinton crony, John Podesta, to co-chair Obama's transition team. And now Barack Obama has tapped Valerie Jarrett to partner with Podesta in handling the transition.
Who is Valerie Jarrett?
Characterized as "the other side of Barack Obama's brain" by CBS News, Jarrett first met the Obamas seventeen years ago when she offered Michelle Obama a job. Since that time Jarrett has served as a very close advisor to both Obamas. While some have speculated that Jarrett is interested in taking Obama's place in the U.S. Senate, the New York Times reported that it is more likely she will become a senior White House adviser. And that is terrible news.
Judicial Watch recently obtained documents linking Valerie Jarrett to a series of real estate scandals, including several housing projects operated by convicted felon and former Obama fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko.
According to the documents, which we obtained from the Illinois Secretary of State, Valerie Jarrett served as a board member for several organizations that provided funding and support for Chicago housing projects operated by real estate developers and Obama financial backers Antoin "Tony" Rezko and Allison Davis. (You may recall that Davis is also Obama's former boss.)
Jarrett was a member of the Board of Directors for the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corporation along with several Davis and Rezko associates, as well as the Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization, an organization that worked with Rezko and Davis. Jarrett wrote of her support for Davis/Rezko projects, and was also one of the strongest supporters in revitalizing two struggling Chicago banks which later provided loans and mortgages for the Davis/Rezko housing projects.
And what sort of housing projects were Davis and Rezko operating? According to press reports, housing projects operated by Davis and Rezko have been substandard and beset with code violations. The Chicago Sun Times reported that one Rezko-managed housing project was "riddled with problems -- including squalid living conditions…lack of heat, squatters and drug dealers." Davis, meanwhile, was nailed for a code violation when sewage began to seep through electrical outlets in one of his low income apartment buildings.
Of course, Jarrett would have no issues supporting these kinds of housing projects. As Chief Executive Officer of the Habitat Company, Jarrett managed a controversial housing project located in Obama's former state senate district called Grove Parc Plaza. According to the Boston Globe, the housing complex was considered "uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage…In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale - a score so bad the buildings now face demolition." It is no stretch to say that she was a slumlord. Jarrett refused to comment on the conditions of the complex.
Valerie Jarrett is a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine. Washington already has plenty of corruption; we don't need to import more of it from Chicago.
Video Proof Barack Obama was born in Kenya,This proves once again that Obama or (Barry Soetoro) a citizen of Indonesia can not legally hold the office of President of the Untied States or even a US Senate seat.
The "An American Expat in Southeast Asia" blog reports that Obama's Indonesian schooling began when he was entered into the Roman Catholic, Franciscus Assisi Primary School on January 1, 1968 and sat in class 1B. He was registered under the name Barry Soetoro, serial number 203. School documents listed Barry Soetoro as an Indonesian citizen and his religion was listed as Islam. He will spend three years at Franciscus.
Catholic schools accept non-Catholics worldwide. Non-Catholic students are typically excused from religious instruction and ceremony.
1971 Obama's family moves from H Ramir Street to Dempo Street and Obama enters the 4th grade at the Besuki Primary School, a government school. He was enrolled as Barry Soetoro, Muslim.
1971 All Indonesian students are required to study religion at school and a young Barry Soetoro, being a Muslim, would have been required to study Islam daily in school.
He would have been taught to read and write Arabic, to recite his prayers properly, to read and recite from the Quran and to study the laws of Islam.
In his autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," Obama mentions studying the Quran and describes the public school as "a Muslim school."
According to Tine Hahiyary, one of Obama's teachers and the principal from 1971 through 1989, Barry actively took part in the Islamic religious lessons during his time at the school. His teacher was named Maimunah and she lived in the Puncak area, the Cianjur Regency. "I remembered that he had studied "mengaji" (recitation of the Quran)" Tine said.
Obama himself recalls, "In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Koranic studies."
Our guy in Jakarta writes: "The actual usage of the word 'mengaji' in Indonesian and Malaysian societies means the study of learning to recite the Quran in the Arabic language rather than the native tongue. "Mengagi" is a word and a term that is accorded the highest value and status in the mindset of fundamentalist societies here in Southeast Asia. To put it quite simply, 'mengaji classes' are not something that a non practicing or so-called moderate Muslim family would ever send their child to. To put this in a Christian context, this is something above and beyond simply enrolling your child in Sunday school classes."
"The fact that Obama had attended mengaji classes is well known in Indonesia and has left many there wondering just when Obama is going to come out of the closet."
"As I've stated before, the evidence seems to quite clearly show that both Ann Dunham and her husband Lolo Soetoro Mangunharjo were in fact devout Muslims themselves and they raised their son as such."
These are the values of Obama's church: Commitment to God. “The God of our weary years” will give us the strength to give up prayerful passivism and become Black Christian Activists, soldiers for Black freedom and the dignity of all humankind.
Commitment to the Black Community. The highest level of achievement for any Black person must be a contribution of strength and continuity of the Black Community.
Commitment to the Black Family. The Black family circle must generate strength, stability and love, despite the uncertainty of externals, because these characteristics are required if the developing person is to withstand warping by our racist competitive society.
Those Blacks who are blessed with membership in a strong family unit must reach out and expand that blessing to the less fortunate.
Dedication to the Pursuit of Education. We must forswear anti-intellectualism. Continued survival demands that each Black person be developed to the utmost of his/her mental potential despite the inadequacies of the formal education process. “Real education” fosters understanding of ourselves as well as every aspect of our environment. Also, it develops within us the ability to fashion concepts and tools for better utilization of our resources, and more effective solutions to our problems. Since the majority of Blacks have been denied such learning, Black Education must include elements that produce high school graduates with marketable skills, a trade or qualifications for apprenticeships, or proper preparation for college.
Basic education for all Blacks should include Mathematics, Science, Logic, General Semantics, Participative Politics, Economics and Finance, and the Care and Nurture of Black minds.
Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence. To the extent that we individually reach for, even strain for excellence, we increase, geometrically, the value and resourcefulness of the Black Community. We must recognize the relativity of one’s best; this year’s best can be bettered next year. Such is the language of growth and development. We must seek to excel in every endeavor.
Adherence to the Black Work Ethic. “It is becoming harder to find qualified people to work in Chicago.” Whether this is true or not, it represents one of the many reasons given by businesses and industries for deserting the Chicago area. We must realize that a location with good facilities, adequate transportation and a reputation for producing skilled workers will attract industry. We are in competition with other cities, states and nations for jobs. High productivity must be a goal of the Black workforce.
Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect. To accomplish anything worthwhile requires self-discipline. We must be a community of self-disciplined persons if we are to actualize and utilize our own human resources, instead of perpetually submitting to exploitation by others. Self-discipline, coupled with a respect for self, will enable each of us to be an instrument of Black Progress and a model for Black Youth.
Disavowal of the Pursuit of “Middleclassness.” Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must be able to identify the “talented tenth” of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor’s control.
Those so identified are separated from the rest of the people by:
Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another.
Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.
Seducing them into a socioeconomic class system which, while training them to earn more dollars, hypnotizes them into believing they are better than others and teaches them to think in terms of “we” and “they” instead of “us.”
So, while it is permissible to chase “middleclassness” with all our might, we must avoid the third separation method – the psychological entrapment of Black “middleclassness.” If we avoid this snare, we will also diminish our “voluntary” contributions to methods A and B. And more importantly, Black people no longer will be deprived of their birthright: the leadership, resourcefulness and example of their own talented persons.
Pledge to Make the Fruits of All Developing and Acquired Skills Available to the Black Community.
Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions.
Pledge Allegiance to All Black Leadership Who Espouse and Embrace the Black Value System.
Personal Commitment to Embracement of the Black Value System. To measure the worth and validity of all activity in terms of positive contributions to the general welfare of the Black Community and the Advancement of Black People towards freedom.
Now substitute every word that says "black" with "white" and ask yourself if we would be racist or what would Jesse Jackson or Al say?
This does speak of harmony with our fellow Americans of all race.