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An Appeal to Presidential Nominee Barack Obama

An Appeal to Presidential Nominee Barack Obama
Nick Egnatz | NW Indiana Veterans For Peace

While I am certainly not looking forward to a John McCain Administration, I have serious reservations that a Barack Obama Administration will offer the fundamental change necessary to end the concept of American Empire and Exceptionalism. Said concept is rooted in the belief that God somehow has showered the United States with additional blessings that other nations have not received and that U.S., as the savior of the world, has the duty and right to project our military and economic might across the globe as we see fit, without regard to international law or common morality.

Obama has recently said that we need to redeploy our troops from Iraq so that we can send more of them to Afghanistan and better concentrate on the 'War on Terror.'

Foreign Policy and National Security Are Not the Same Thing

By Dave Lindorff

One of the sorrier legacies of eight years of Bush and Cheney in the White House has been the conflation of the terms “National Security” and “Foreign Policy” by both Republicans and Democrats.

Granted that the history of US foreign policy in the world has been heavily larded with wars, many of them at America’s instigation. It is nonetheless true that foreign policy is much bigger and more far reaching than just what has come to be known as “national security” issues.

In Bush-speak, national security come to mean having big guns, lots of heavily armed troops, cruise missiles, nuclear weapons, naval armadas and a bully’s willingness to use these weapons on a whim, with no thought of consequences.

Torture As Official Israeli Policy

Torture As Official Israeli Policy
by Stephen Lendman

The UN Convention against Torture defines the practice as:

"any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain and suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity...."

The US and Israel are the only two modern states that legally sanction torture. An earlier article covered America. This one deals with the Jewish state, but let there be no doubt:

Denver Cages Americans Exercising 1st Amendment Rights; Disobeys Court Order to Provide Water & PortaPotties

No water or toilets at Freedom Cage
IHT.com

The vast unused Freedom Cage for protesters at the Pepsi Center has no water or toilets in apparent violation of a federal judge’s order.

The Secret Service and other government officials also had assured the judge that most delegates would be walking past the protest area on their way to the convention, but none do, said Mark Silverstein, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union.

In fact, the protest area, now known as the Freedom Cage, is so remote and disengaged from the convention that few protesters are using it.

But those who do have to leave in search of water or toilets.

Bush Steps Up Fight Over US Congressional Authority

Bush steps up fight over US congressional authority
IHT.com

The Bush administration is raising the stakes in a court fight that could change the balance of power between the White House and the U.S. Congress.

Justice Department lawyers said Wednesday that they will soon ask a federal appeals court not to force the president's top advisers to comply with congressional subpoenas next month. President George W. Bush argues Congress does not have the authority to demand information from his aides.

U.S. District Judge John Bates strongly rejected that stance last month, ordering former White House counsel Harriet Miers to testify and White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten to turn over documents related to the firing of federal prosecutors.

"Shallow Throat": McCain Is a "Catastrophe Waiting to Happen"

"Shallow Throat": McCain Is a "Catastrophe Waiting to Happen"
By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

The race between McCain and Obama is tighter than one would think should be the case. I needed some help in figuring out why, so I got a coded message to "Shallow Throat "-- the high-ranking GOP mole in the Bush Administration with whom I've consulted often.** We met under some shade trees at a public park in Alexandria.

"I'm confused by what's going on," I said to Shallow Throat, who was wearing a new wig and wraparounds. "Obama should be wiping the floor with McSame, but the race reminds me too much of 2000 and 2004: so close that Rove and his minions could once again steal it."

Sibel Edmonds Case: FBI Files "Formal Complaint" With Sunday Times

Sibel Edmonds Case: FBI Files "Formal Complaint" With Sunday Times
Last week, Scott Horton interviewed (audio) investigative journalist Joe Lauria. Lauria was one of the co-authors of the three-part (1, 2, 3) series on the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds for the UK's Sunday Times.

Diebold Coverup, Says SAIC Report And Stephen Spoonamore

We have been asserting for years that Diebold (now Premier Elections Systems) makes voting machines that don’t work, are unreliable and that have flipped elections. Just last week, Diebold was forced to admit that software in its machines has for a decade been dropping votes. These machines are being used in 34 states in the upcoming election.

Two years ago, The Brad Blog broke the Pentagon Papers of E-Voting stories about the SAIC report on the vast problems with Diebold vote machines. In short, Diebold had issued a 40 page redacted version of the SAIC report which whitewashed the problems. Computer cyber security expert Stephen Spoonamore got a copy of the 197-page unredacted report which listed hundreds of serious problems, and he released that report to us.

Is Obama’s “New Energy for America” Plan Change We Can Believe in?

Is Obama’s “New Energy for America” Plan Change We Can Believe in?
By Ted Glick

On August 4th the Barack Obama Presidential campaign released a comprehensive program for reform of the U.S. energy system. In the words of Obama supporter and climate blogger and author Joe Romm, it was “easily the best energy plan ever put forward by a nominee of either party.” The critical question, however, is this: is it an energy plan that will actually do the job of giving U.S. leadership to the world in a way which gives us a decent chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change?

On Impeachment At Home and Abroad

ON IMPEACHMENT AT HOME AND ABROAD
Herbert J. Hoffman, Independent Candidate for the U.S. Senate [Maine] | www.HoffmanForSenate.us

I see a parallel here in the United States to what has recently happened in Pakistan.

President Pervaz Musharaff of Pakistan on August 18 tendered his resignation in an announcement released just hours before the Pakistani Parliament was to have launched impeachment proceedings against him. Thus, a military dictator removed himself from power. One might observe: How simple – if the goods are there, just the threat of exposure and trial is a sufficient motivator to resign.

The Land of the Silent and the Home of the Fearful

By Dave Lindorff

I was a speaker last night at an anti-war event sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, Progressive Democrats of America and Democrats For America in Lincroft, NJ, near the shore. It was a great group of activist Americans who want to see this country end the Iraq War, turn away from war as a primary instrument of policy, and start dealing with the pressing human needs of the country and the world.

Yet even in this group of committed people, one woman stood up during the question-and-answer session and said, “I want to get involved in writing emails to members of Congress urging them to cut off funding for the war and other things, but if I do that won’t I end up getting put on a `watch list’” or something?”

Pelosi Ridicules Protesters: "Can we drill your brains?"

Pelosi to protesters: "Can we drill your brains?"
By Ryan Grim | Politico.com

House Democratic leaders and protesters waving McCain signs had a war of words Tuesday at a press event outside an old train station. The demonstrators interrupted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with chants of “Drill here! Drill now!”

Pelosi paused and asked the group, “Right here?”

Seeming to enjoy the back and forth, she followed with another question: “Can we drill your brains?”

She went on to refer to the protesters, who continued to chant sporadically, as “handmaidens of Big Oil.” Arguing that increased offshore drilling would reduce gas prices by only a couple of pennies a decade from now, she referred to the demonstrators as the “2-cents-in-10-years-crowd.”

Harriet Miers Must Testify, Judge Says; Rep. Conyers to Schedule Hearing Shortly

Harriet Miers Must Testify, Judge Says
Rejects White House Motion to Stay Subpoena
By Emma Schwartz | ABCNews.com

A federal judge denied the White House's last-ditch attempt to block a former aide from testifying before Congress as part of the investigation into the U.S. Attorney scandal.

Today's ruling by Judge John Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is expected to pave the way for former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, who returned to her old law firm in Texas, to testify before Congress in the coming months. It also urges the White House to turn over documents subpoenaed from former chief of staff Joshua Bolten.

"If the government is trying to run out the clock on the 110th Congress, today's decision suggests that Judge Bates won't let them," said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University.

Rep. John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., chair of the House Judiciary Committee, praised the decision and pledged to schedule a hearing for Miers shortly.

"I am heartened that Judge Bates recognized that the public interest in this matter is best served by the furtherance of the Committee's investigation," he said in a statement.

Baton-Bashed In Denver! Is This Really What Democracy Looks Like?!

by Linda Milazzo

IS THIS REALLY WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE?!

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: This Administration Wins Olympic Gold!

Text of Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-OH-10) Speech Today at the Democratic National Convention:

It’s Election Day 2008. We Democrats are giving America a wake-up call. Wake up, America. In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the neo-con artists seized the economy and have added 4 trillion dollars of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defense, three times more for gasoline and home heating oil and twice what we paid for health care.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their health care, their pensions. Trillions of dollars for an unnecessary war paid with borrowed money. Tens of billions of dollars in cash and weapons disappeared into thin air, at the cost of the lives of our troops and innocent Iraqis, while all the president’s oilmen are maneuvering to grab Iraq’s oil.

Borrowed money to bomb bridges in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. No money to rebuild bridges in America. Money to start a hot war with Iran. Now we have another cold war with Russia, while the American economy has become a game of Russian roulette.

If there was an Olympics for misleading, mismanaging and misappropriating, this administration would take the gold. World records for violations of national and international laws. They want another four-year term to continue to alienate our allies, spend our children’s inheritance and hollow out our economy.

11 Year Old US Citizen Held 2 Months by Afghan Authorities Because of His Mother

Al-Qaida Suspect's U.S. Son Held
UPI.com

U.S. officials say the 11-year-old American son of a suspected Pakistani militant is being held by authorities in Afghanistan.

Assfia Siddiqui's son, Ahmed, is a U.S. citizen by birth and has been in Afghan custody since July when his mother was arrested after a shootout with Afghan police in Ghanzi, the Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) said Tuesday.

Siddiqui, a neuroscientist who had been sought as a suspected al-Qaida operative since 2003, is currently lodged in a U.S. federal prison.

Her disappearance five years ago sparked accusations that she had been kidnapped in Pakistan by the CIA.

Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Future of Death at the Pentagon

Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Future of Death at the Pentagon

[Note for TomDispatch Readers This is the second post in a pre-Labor Day "best of TomDispatch" series. The first was Chalmers Johnson's 2005 "Smash of Civilizations." Now, we backpeddle another year to 2004 and reconsider the Pentagon's ceaseless efforts to dream up and build ever more effective, ever more invasive and destructive weaponry not just for 2010, but for 2020, 2030, 2040, and beyond. The new model car or the next version of the iPhone has nothing on the Pentagon, which fully expects to roll out the next version of destruction until Hell freezes over. This makes TomDispatch Associate Editor Nick Turse's 2004 piece -- in those distant days he still signed his posts "Nicholas" -- on ways the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was planning to weaponize the wild kingdom as shiny new as tomorrow's HDTVs.

The Future That Never Comes; The Past That Never Was; The Present Inscrutable

The Future That Never Comes; The Past That Never Was; The Present Inscrutable
By Gary Corseri

Why am I not surprised by Obama’s choice of Joe Biden as his running mate? Because I learned as a child: in America, the future never comes!

Should we shake our heads, wondering, when the candidate for “change we can believe in” chooses a consummate Washington “insider” as his co-agent for that change? Not if we understand that we have lived for decades in a military-industrial, media-fashioned, academia-certified, legally sanctioned Disney World/Murdoch World in which the future never comes.

Expecting the promised future is like expecting to find Weapons of Mass Destruction. Eventually, it becomes a vicious joke: like Bush looking under a table in the White House, then smirking at the camera, “Nope, not here, either.”

Sibel Edmonds Case: Richard Perle Continues Criminal Enterprise, MSM Still Silent

Sibel Edmonds Case: Richard Perle continues criminal enterprise, MSM still silent
By Luke Ryland | LetSibelEdmondsSpeak

In 1989, the Wall Street Journal reported that Richard Perle and Douglas Feith had set up a lobbying company called International Advisors Inc [IAI] to lobby for “appropriation of U.S. military and economic assistance’ to Turkey."” When news of the $600,000 per annum contract got too hot to handle, Perle and Feith folded IAI and helped establish the American Turkish Council (ATC) to accomplish the same goals, but with a more respectable veneer.

Now, nineteen years later, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Richard Perle is “exploring going into the oil business in Iraq and Kazakhstan” with a “consortium founded by Turkish company AK Group International... Potential backers include two Turkish companies as well as Kazakhstan.”

Corporate Media Bashes New Chavez Enabling Law Decrees

Corporate Media Bashes New Chavez Enabling Law Decrees
by Stephen Lendman

In January 2007, Hugo Chavez announced his "Bolivarian Socialism" project for the 21st century and explained its dependence on five revolutionary "motors:"

Bay Area CODEPINKers in Denver - Day One

by Janet Weil

More than seventy CODEPINKers converged on Denver from at least 26 states around the country yesterday, Sunday, August 24, to bring our joyous, intense woman spirit and our peace and "war is not green" messages to the DNC. Nine of us took the Peace Train from the Bay Area; see here for photos.

Deidra Lynch of Orlando, FL, Dana Balicki of New York City, Rae Abileah of San Francisco, and Gael Murphy greeted women (and a few men) with an activist orientation and pink fabric activist goodie bags with our "War Is Not Green" message at the Mercury Café, a phenomenal cafe that is providing us with hospitality, healthy organic food, and endless self-serve coffee.

Iraq PR Written Months Before Intel Report Arrived

Iraq PR Written Months Before Intel Report Arrived
Michael Collins | "Scoop" Independent News
White Paper Justifying Iraq War Written Three Months before Intel Report Arrived

The National Security Archive released a report Friday Aug. 22, 2008 that sheds even more light on the premeditated lying and deception that took the United States to war in Iraq. The findings are based on new evidence compiled by Dr. John Prados and published by the National Security Archive. (See "White Paper" Drafted before NIE even Requested, "Scoop" Independent News, Aug. 24, 2008)

Don't Forget Yugoslavia

Don't forget Yugoslavia
by John Pilger | JohnPilger.com

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger digs beneath the received wisdom for the break-up of Yugoslavia and points to a largely ignored memoir by the former chief prosecutor in The Hague - and an echo from current events in the Caucasus.

The secrets of the crushing of Yugoslavia are emerging, telling us more about how the modern world is policed. The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, this year published her memoir The Hunt: Me and War Criminals. Largely ignored in Britain, the book reveals unpalatable truths about the west's intervention in Kosovo, which has echoes in the Caucasus.

Cindy Sheehan Bugged in Denver

Cindy Sheehan Bugged in Denver
by Rob Kall

Cindy Sheehan returned to her Denver hotel room today to find the door unlocked and ajar. She walked in to discover a man working on her phone, screw driver in hand.

Sheehan reported, in an email,

"As I walked toward my room, I noticed that the door was opened with the security bolt blocking the complete closing of the door. I knew immediately that I had not left the door open, and I double checked to make sure it was the right room because, as a frequent traveler, I have been known to forget my room number, but it was the right room.

I was upset at first thinking that housekeeping had made a mistake and left my room open and I was worried that something might be missing. So I walked into my room and bigger than life, there was a man standing by my desk holding the room phone with a screwdriver in his hand!

Do You Digg Pelosi?

Digg CEO Jay Adelson will be interviewing Nancy Pelosi tomorrow, Wednesday, 8/27. He will be asking her the most popular questions submitted by Digg members.

Go here to see my video question and Digg it. Hope you can share it with others too: http://digg.com/dialogg/Nancy_Pelosi_1?t=18151050#c18151050

Try not to think of it in terms of whether or not impeachment will happen, but in terms of forcing the Speaker of the House to answer for her complete refusal to exercise the accountability her job demands.

On the right side of the page you can read the current top questions to Pelosi.

What It Means To Be Progressive

What It Means To Be Progressive
Think Progress' guest blogger is John Podesta, the President and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

What is progressivism? We all have our own answers to this question. But it’s hard to beat Maury Maverick’s famous — and concise — description of democracy as “liberty plus groceries.” That’s as good an explanation of progressivism as anything I’ve heard.

As I travel the country speaking with students and activists, I’m often asked to offer my own definition of progressive. This is what I frequently suggest:

Remembering When the Government Was at Least Approachable

By Dave Lindorff

We’ve come a long way towards imperial government in the US—towards a view of the relationship between the federal government, and especially the administration, and the citizenry that has more of a ruler-subjects than a democratic feel to it.

Now I know it is easy to gloss over the way things were, and since I spent a few days in federal prison for protesting the Indochina War at the Pentagon in 1967, after being beaten by federal marshals for doing nothing more than exercising my constitutional right to protest on public ground, I am well aware that 40 years ago we were also often treated like serfs. But that said, there was something different back then—a sense that you could deal with powerful officials as an equal.

Russian President Medvedev Recognises Georgian States; Georgia Calls It "Unconcealed Annexation"

Medvedev Recognises Georgian States
AlJazeera English.com

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, has signed a decree under which Russia formally recognises the breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

"I have signed decrees on the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia," Medvedev said in a pre-recorded address broadcast on national television.

"This is not an easy choice but this is the only chance to save people's lives," he said a day after Russia's Kremlin-controlled parliament voted unanimously to support the diplomatic recognition.

Medvedev's announcement came a day after Russia's parliament passed resolutions calling for the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

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