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The $3 Trillion Shopping Spree

What would you do with $3 Trillion Dollars? Spend, spend, spend! Can YOU spend it better?

Keeping Count (When Ours Goes Down, Theirs Goes Up)

By Dave Lindorff

Celeste Zappala, the Gold Star mother of an early casualty in America's invasion of Iraq who lost her son when he was doing guard duty during a fraudulent "search" for alleged WMDs in Iraq, was speaking from the heart when she told a group of antiwar demonstrators at Philadelphia's Independence Mall Saturday that she was grateful no American troops had been killed during the past week in Iraq.

Her concern for the troops' well-being is understandable.

But left unsaid is that the lower US casualty figures in Iraq are coming at the expense of much higher civilian casualties. This is even more true in Afghanistan, where the war is heating up.

Obama: Mental distress can't justify late abortion

Obama: Mental distress can't justify late abortion
By JIM KUHNHENN | MyWay.com

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says "mental distress" should not qualify as a health exception for late term-abortions, a key distinction not embraced by many supporters of abortion rights.

In an interview this week with "Relevant," a Christian magazine, Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain "a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother."

Obama then added: "Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term."

Nobody's Hero: My War Story

By Dave Lindorff

I’m certainly no hero, but since some readers of my last post have reacted by attacking my courage and integrity on the grounds that I “never served,” I want to at least set the record straight on my youthful response to war.

What's So Special About Veterans?

By Dave Lindorff

The teacup tempest over retired Gen. Wesley Clark’s self-evident remark about John McCain—to whit that flying a fighter aircraft and getting shot down and captured is not particularly relevant to the skill set needed to be a president—raises a larger question: Why do veterans, and particularly the veterans of the criminal and pointless war in Iraq, or the earlier criminal and pointless one in Vietnam, automatically get “hero” status, and why are they seen as naturals to run for higher national office?

More Blood Money from Our Democratic Congress and Democratic Presidential Candidate

By Dave Lindorff

Laid-off American workers will be getting temporary extended benefits as the nation sinks into recession, thanks to Congressional Democrats, who cleverly tacked a funding provision onto a bill giving the president all the money he asked for (and then some) to fund the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on out through next June. Veterans of the Iraq War will also be getting tuition benefits equal to the full cost of in-state public college tuition plus $1000 a year for books and supplies.

Primary Season Over, Barack Channels Hillary

By Dave Lindorff

Now that the primary season is over, we can see that the clear winner was Hillary Clinton.

Oh, I know. Barack Obama got the most votes and the most delegates, and he’ll be the Democratic presidential nominee this August, but increasingly, it’s becoming obvious that he’s just a pretty wrapper. Sneak a peak inside the wrapper and you’ll find Hillary Clinton inside.

Look at the facts.

Momentum Building For Bugliosi's Case Against George W. Bush For Murder

by Linda Milazzo

For Vincent Bugliosi, one of America's foremost prosecutors and authors, George W. Bush's purposeful crime of misleading America into war is a vile, despicable and prosecutable act. It angers Bugliosi deeply. So much so that he's written a new book, "The Prosecution Of George W. Bush For Murder."

To be clear, this is not a partisan effort. Not Republican v. Democrat or an assault on political ideology. It's a legally binding and provable case for murder, that Bugliosi - an American patriot - would bring against any president regardless of any and all affiliation.

In Vincent Bugliosi's own words:

"I want to state that in writing this book my motivation was not political. Whether I'm giving a final summation to the jury or writing one of my true crime books, credibility has always meant everything to me. Therefore, my only master - my only mistress - are the facts and objectivity. And this is why I can give you a 100% guarantee that if a Democratic president had done what George W. Bush did, I would have written the same exact book."

America has a Double Standard When It Comes to Kids. Victims if Prostitutes, Terrorists if They Are Caught Fighting the US

By Dave Lindorff

Double standards when it comes to children are pretty appalling—especially when it comes to “our” kids vs. “their” kids, but here in America they aren’t limited to just right-wingers.

Take reaction to the US Supreme Court’s latest ruling that you cannot execute rapists—even those who rape children—on the theory that only killing someone justifies execution.

Politicians who make their careers by promoting state sponsored murder have been quick to condemn this latest “liberal outrage” by calling for more laws that would make execution the punishment for raping a child (admittedly a monstrous crime).

"Anybody in the country who cares about children should be outraged that we have a Supreme Court that would issue a decision like this," says Republican Alabama Attorney General Troy King, who said the court’s 5-4 decision makes America “a less safe place to grow up.”

A CALL TO HEROES: My "SIT-DOWN" With Vince Bugliosi

by Linda Milazzo

Vincent Bugliosi 2
(Photo by Linda Milazzo)

There are adjectives that come to mind when describing famed former prosecutor and renowned author, Vincent Bugliosi, who for forty years has set the standard for prosecutorial skill in America. Some are intrepid, brave, independent, brilliant, driven, indomitable, respected, focused, relentless and confident. Each fits perfectly well. But after interviewing Mr. Bugliosi at his California home, and reading his latest book, "The Prosecution Of George W. Bush For Murder," I am compelled to add two more adjectives to that already formidable list: PATRIOTIC and ENRAGED. Beyond all other characterizations one may ascribe to Vincent Bugliosi, the principal descriptors TODAY for this inherently honorable man are PATRIOTIC and ENRAGED - emanating equally from his love for his nation.

Of course, there's another descriptor that has long been associated with Vincent Bugliosi. That descriptor is JUSTICE, to which Bugliosi has devoted his life. Yet not until now - not until George W. Bush caused the murders of over 4,000 Americans and countless innocent Iraqi men, women, children and babies, has JUSTICE assumed an even greater role for Bugliosi - arguably this nation's preeminent prosecutor. JUSTICE has morphed from a noun to a verb - enacted by Bugliosi with a vengeance - fueled by his intense love of nation, his profound knowledge of law, and his unparalleled ability to dispense it. Vincent Bugliosi is a man of action. While others speak of JUSTICE, Bugliosi creates the ways to achieve it - and he has done so in this book.

Keeping America Safe from Child "Terrorists"

By Dave Lindorff

President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the rest of the warmongers and terror-pimps in the White House would have us believe that Omar Khadr is a monster. Khadr is the 21-year-old Canadian who is facing one of the first show-trials at Guantanamo.

But let’s just step back a minute and consider Mr. Khadr’s case.

The son of an alleged Islamic fundamentalist, Khadr was sent to one of those fundamentalist madrassa schools in Pakistan back when he was 14. From there, he went to Afghanistan, to join with the Taliban in fighting against the remnant warlord backers of the Soviet Union, which had attempted to run Afghanistan as a vassal state.

Then came 9-11 and the October 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan. Young Khadr suddenly found himself fighting against the world’s most powerful military.

Killing the News in Iraq: Justifying the Unjustifiable

By Dave Lindorff

Reuters may be “satisfied” with the Pentagon’s investigation concluding that US troops were “justified” in their slaying of the news organization’s working journalist Waleed Khaled back in 2005, but the rest of us shouldn’t be.

Khaled and his driver were killed by US troops when they came on a firefight involving US troops and Iraqi police who were allegedly under attack. The Pentagon report into the incident concluded that the two men came onto the scene, and American forces, seeing Khaled’s videocam and tripod, thought it was a rocket launcher. They reportedly fired warning shots. When Khaled’s driver did the logical thing, backing slowly from the scene, US troops “assumed it was an insurgent tactic” and fired to “disable” the vehicle, killing the two men.

PLEASE SUPPORT CONGRESSMEN ROBERT WEXLER and DENNIS KUCINICH

by Linda Milazzo

TO ALL SUPPORTERS OF IMPEACHMENT HEROES ROBERT WEXLER AND DENNIS KUCINICH:

Last night I received a letter from Congressman Robert Wexler (follows my response). He's being attacked for his proactive stance on impeachment by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel - a principal newspaper in his Florida Congressional District. Congressman Wexler is requesting letters be sent to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on his behalf. If you can, please write a letter in support of this heroic Congressman. The Sun-Sentinel also takes a hard swipe at Dennis Kucinich, so perhaps you'd like to include Dennis in your correspondence.

Much thanks,
Linda

Here's my letter to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: letters@sun-sentinel.com

Ducking Impeachment in Congress and the Newsroom

By Dave Lindorff

On Monday last week, something important happened in Washington. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic representative from Cleveland, OH, who early in the primary season won some of the biggest applause lines in the Democratic presidential candidate debates, introduced 35 articles calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors.

You'd be excused if you didn't know this happened. There was almost no reporting on the event that day or the next, which took several hours to accomplish, along with several hours Tuesday for the whole bill to be read into the Congressional Record. Kucinich's address to the House was broadcast live on C-Span. But it was not announced in advance or highlighted on the C-Span website, and there were not many news reports on the historically significant fact that articles of impeachment had been filed against the president during subsequent days.

Mr Russert - Will YOU Ante Up For War Victims Like YOU Asked Of Scott McClellan?

by Linda Milazzo

Mr. Russert, last Sunday (June 1, 2008) on Meet The Press you had as your guest former George W. Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan. You asked him the following question:

Some have suggested because you were part of the propaganda machine that sold the war, that many people have died and been injured because of the war, you should donate some of the profits from this book to the families of the victims of the Iraq War. Will you do that?

Here's the clip from the show:

Oil, Israel, Iran, America and the High Cost of a Single War-Like Remark

By Dave Lindorff

One remark by a minor Israeli cabinet officer hinting at a possible US or Israeli attack on Iran has sent oil prices up by a record $11/barrel to a record $139 per barrel Friday. That should tell us what would happen if the Bush administration were crazy enough to attack Iran, or to let its vassal state of Israel do it.

Most analysts say an actual attack on Iran would send oil almost immediately to past $300 per barrel—a level that would strangle economies worldwide and send the world into an economic collapse not since the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs kicked off the Great Depression.
The repercussions of that would be staggering.

America, which runs on oil, would grind to a halt. Gasoline and home heating oil would double or triple in price, leading to desperation in the coming winter for those living north of the Mason-Dixon line, and to a mass exodus of the elderly from Florida and Arizona, where air-conditioning would no longer be affordable.

Time for Congress to Stand Up in Its Own Defense: Impeach Bush and Cheney Now!

By Dave Lindorff

The last couple of weeks have brought confirmation—as if it were needed—even in the corporate media, that President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the gang of thugs and sycophants around them in the White House, engaged in a massive conspiracy to lie the country into a war in Iraq.

The release of a confessional book by former White House press spokesman Scott McClellan and the subsequent release of a long blocked report by the Senate Intelligence Committee make it clear that Bush, Cheney & Company deliberately lied to Congress and the American public back in 2002 and early 2003 about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein (there was none). McClellan also states that Bush and Cheney conspired to “out” CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame Wilson, as part of a compaign to prevent her husband from exposing a major part of that campaign of lies: the claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking to build nuclear weapons.

My Dream Ticket: Barack Obama & Caroline Kennedy!

Caroline Kennedy For Obama's Vice President!Caroline Kennedy For Obama's Vice President!by Linda Milazzo

For nearly her entire 51 years, Caroline Kennedy has been part of the socio-political fabric of this nation. She first captivated America as the tiny daughter of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. She was the delightful little blonde atop her pony Macaroni, and the adoring older sister to precocious brother, John. Caroline Kennedy, throughout her life, has been unceasingly gracious - taking a willing back seat to brother John and mother Jackie - America's perennial Prince and First Lady.

While John Jr. and Jackie were attracting the paparazzi, Caroline was quietly achieving. She graduated from Radcliffe College/Harvard University and Columbia Law School and took the New York and DC bars. While John and Jackie's every move was scrutinized, Caroline created a lower-profile, but highly productive life. She married Ed Schlossberg, had three children, and continued to work supporting and promoting social causes, overseeing foundations and editing and writing books. Caroline Kennedy, the Number One daughter of America’s pre-eminent political family, withstood her fishbowl existence without gaffe or misadventure. Controversy hasn't sullied her. Self-importance hasn’t deluded her. Self-pity hasn’t defeated her. With the whole world watching, no matter the tragedy or the pain, Caroline Kennedy has prevailed.

An Immodest Proposal

I've got it!

The way to get Hillary Clinton out of the Democratic race so Obama can focus on the general election is to encourage John McCain to name her as his choice for vice president!

It's perfect. On foreign policy, John and Hillary are an excellent match. They both want to blow up Iran. They both thought invading Iraq was a dandy idea. And they both want to keep freezing out Cuba--or maybe worse.

They're both veterans, sort of. John was shot at over North Vietnam, and Clinton claims she was shot at on the ground in Bosnia. John spent five years as a prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton, and Hillary spend seven years imprisoned as a First Lady in the White House. John claims his five years in a Vietnamese jail helped make him the man he is, and Hillary claims her eight years imprisoned as a spouse in the White House gave her the experience to be President "on day one."

Whiners, Poor Losers and Why Hillary Shouldn't Be Barack's VP

By Dave Lindorff

It’s kind of bizarre reading about supposed “feminists” who are reportedly claiming they’ll vote for McCain rather than Obama, now that “their” candidate, Hillary Clinton, is out of the running for the presidential nomination.

First of all, John McCain is clearly the candidate of the anti-abortion crowd, but that’s not the half of it. He’s also the candidate who says Anthony Scalia, John Roberts and Sam Alito are his kind of judges. We’re talking here about guys (yeah, guys) who think a woman’s place is in the home, and who only recently ruled that if she’s discriminated against on the job, and doesn’t learn about it for a decade or more, a woman can’t do anything about it, because the original offense of underpaying her happened more than 180 days ago. McCain is also the guy who, after his wife suffered a serious car crash and became disabled, dumped her for a younger, richer woman. A feminist’s dream, this guy.

What About the Iraqis?

By Dave Lindorff

I found myself listing to a talk radio show on NPR’s Philadelphia affiliate WHYY today, which focused in part on the agonies suffered by families of American troops killed or seriously maimed in Iraq.

Left unsaid—and this I think is the case in nearly all the reporting that gets done on the costs of the Iraq War that are being borne here in the US by relatives of troops—is the terrible reality that we’re talking about the relatives of just 4500 American servicemen and women killed, and perhaps 30,000 seriously wounded (not counting the hundreds of thousands suffering mental damage). Not to diminish that suffering, it needs to be pointed out that by some accounts, well over 1 million Iraqis have died in this illegal, uncalled-for and criminal war.

An Evening with Dr. Bob Bowman: Iran, Iraq and Impeachment

Event Title: *Iran, Iraq and Impeachment*
Event Date: Thursday, July 10, 2008, 6:00 pm dinner, 7:30 pm talk and discussion
Location: Pineview Restaurant at Barefoot Landing, Rte 259 Spencerport, NY Map

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*Iran, Iraq and Impeachment: An Evening with Dr. Bob Bowman*

Dr. Bob Bowman is bringing his cross-country Patriot Tour to the area for a second year! Guests are invited to a buffet dinner and program at the Pineview Restaurant on Route 259, just north of the canal in Spencerport, NY, Thursday July 10, 2008, at 6:00 pm for the dinner, 7:30 pm for the talk and discussion.

BLACKWATER GAINS FOOTHOLD IN SAN DIEGO

Posted by Barbara Cummings

Subject: Death Squads Plead Discrimination

http://www.truthawaits.com/death_squads_plead_discrimination.html

Death Squads Plead Discrimination

by Mark E. Smith

Today, Friday, May 30, 2008, I sat in Courtroom 13 on the 5th floor of the federal courthouse in San Diego and watched in horror as a white male former Marine general, acting as attorney for Blackwater International, a private Christian evangelical mercenary (death squad) corporation, told a sweet-looking blonde female federal judge, Marilyn Huff, that they were being discriminated against, and the judge not only agreed with their argument and confronted the city attorney with it, but also added a charge of diversity. Diversity? San Diego has too few murderers and killers to meet federal diversity standards?

Talk is Cheap, Even with Enemies, and By the Way, Rivals Aren't Enemies

By Dave Lindorff

What the hell is Barack Obama talking about?

He says that America should be talking with leaders in Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Korea, Syria. Fine. But he calls this “talking with our enemies.”

What enemies?

Let’s get something straight. Enemies are people who are fighting against you, who are trying to destroy you. Is Cuba fighting against America? Is Iran fighting against America? Is Venezuela fighting against America? Syria? China? No. These countries may be rivals, but they are not enemies.

The closest we come to having an actual enemy in today’s world is North Korea, where we are technically still in some kind of truce following a hot war, but of course that war itself has been over for half a frigging century, and nobody has been killing anyone on the Korean Peninsula in decades.

Foreclosures in Military Towns Surge at Four Times U.S. Rate

By Kathleen M. Howley

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Jeffrey VerSteegh, who repairs F-16 jets for the 132nd Fighter Wing, departed Des Moines, Iowa, in April for his third tour in Iraq. The father of four may lose his home when he returns.

The four-bedroom farmhouse he and his wife, Kathleen, own near the Iowa State Fairgrounds went into default in December after their monthly mortgage costs doubled to $1,100. Kathleen missed work because of breast cancer and they struggled to keep up the house payment, falling behind on other bills. Their bankruptcy was approved by the court a week after VerSteegh left for Iraq.

In the midst of the worst surge in mortgage defaults in seven decades, foreclosures in U.S. towns where soldiers live are increasing at a pace almost four times the national average, according to data compiled by research firm RealtyTrac Inc. in Irvine, California. As military families like the VerSteeghs signed up for the initial lower rates and easier terms of subprime mortgages, the number of people taking out Veterans Administration loans fell to the lowest in at least 12 years.

``We've never faced a situation like this, not in the Vietnam War, World War II, or the Korean War, where so many military are in danger of losing their homes,'' said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, a Washington-based advocacy group started in 2002 by Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans. ``No one asked them for their credit score when we asked them to fight for us.''

Why Puerto Rico's Democratic Primary Won't Matter

By Dave Lindorff

There are a number of reasons why the Puerto Rican Democratic primary election set for this coming Sunday won’t matter, in terms of Hillary Clinton’s failed bid for the party’s nomination.

The main one is that she’s not going to get the big vote that she has been predicting.

Clinton, trailing Obama by about 400,000 votes nationwide with only three primaries to go, is fantasizing that she will win the lion’s share of one million Puerto Rican votes, which would put her in the lead for the nomination in terms of the popular vote, though not in the delegate count.

The Case For Mental Health Screening Of Candidates And Electeds

by Linda Milazzo

In 1972, after graduating from New York's Queens College, I took the New York State teaching exam. My degrees were in Theater and Speech Communications so I took the exam to teach speech. It was a particularly difficult test since it combined both art and science. The surprisingly good news - after five years of "thespianing," partying and cramming, I passed the written and oral exams. The embarrassingly bad news - I failed MY APPLICATION!

My downfall was one simple question: Have you ever used drugs? The application had separate boxes for a simple YES and a simple NO. I simply checked YES!!

You see, having gone to school during the drug crazed 60s and 70s, I was convinced my assessors wouldn’t believe my “No” since my wild-hippy-artist-look defined me. Thus I did as any young idealist would – I told the truth – well, the partial truth. I admitted to smoking marijuana, and left it at that. My assessment team was NOT pleased! The reward for my honesty was a series of urine tests and a follow-up oral exam, during which I was ultimately forced to lie. I committed to living completely drug free for the rest of my natural life.

Rice's Lies About Torture

By Dave Lindorff

Is anyone surprised that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that the Bush/Cheney administration’s authorization of torture of captives has been consistently legal and in compliance with all treaties the US has signed, including the Geneva Conventions?

After all, she was at the meetings in the White House in 2001 at which various acts of torture, ranging from waterboarding to exposure to extreme heat and cold, to enforced long periods in stress positions, and to treatments which have not been disclosed (no doubt because they are so outrageous and offensive to common decency) were imagined, proposed and approved for use-—meetings that were manifestly criminal in nature and in violation of international and US law.

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