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By Dave Lindorff
When you hear a number like $100 billion (the amount Bush is proposing to give back to people in the form of tax rebates, at about $800 per adult family member) or $145 billion (that $100 billion, plus another $45 billion in business tax breaks—mostly accelerated deductions for capital investment) bounced around, it sounds like a lot of dough, and you might think it would be a good shot in the arm for an economy that is falling into a dead faint.
On Tuesday, January 15th, four free speech/fair election patriots visited the set of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (and guest, Bill Maher, who was coincidentally appearing), to voice their displeasure over NBC, MSNBC and parent company General Electric's refusal to allow Congressman Dennis Kucinich to debate his fellow Democrats in MSNBC's televised Presidential debate to be held that evening. The four First Amendment advocates, Carol Barbieri, Jennifer Epps, Eva James and Mark Lipman, "interrupted" the Tonight Show airing, exercised their Constitutional rights, and used the people's airwaves to inform conglomerate G.E. of its failure to appropriately inform American voters of the views and policies of ALL candidates vying for the nomination of the Democratic Party.
Since their brazen challenge to G.E., NBC and MSNBC via their Tonight Show "presence," there has been wide media speculation as to who the "visitors" were and why they had made so vocal - and perhaps disruptive an "appearance." The following is their OPEN LETTER in their own words to Jay Leno, Bill Maher, MSNBC, conglomerate General Electric, and the American public to provide an in-depth and informative explanation. (Please view the youtube link of their Tonight Show "appearance": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDWsxgVOSk8)
I know these patriots personally and respect their love of nation and their fearlessness. I've been provided this letter and substantiating data to publish on their behalf. I'm delighted to do so:
By Dave Lindorff
Well, now we know. Scientists have documented that the Bush/Cheney administration has been a greater threat to Americans’ health and safety than Osama Bin Laden and his terror band.
Specifically, The New York Times, in its science section today, reports that a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry has found that while the risk to Americans of dying at the hands of a terrorist was roughly equal to the chance of “drowning in a toilet,” the risk of cardiovascular disease among people who are frightened about the threat of terrorism is 300-500% higher than for people who are not worried.
Post Prelude: I've bolded a few paragraphs that I found particularly ironic, and frankly, Orwellian doublespeak given the current state of the federal assault on American citizens' civil liberties. I
scratched out a few thoughts of my own, too. Now, on to the article...
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- President Bush said Sunday that Iran is threatening the security of the world, and that the United States and Arab allies must join together to confront the danger "before it's too late."
Have we seen this movie before?
Bush said Iran funds terrorist extremists, undermines peace in Lebanon, sends arms to the Taliban, seeks to intimidate its neighbors with alarming rhetoric, defies the United Nations and destabilizes the entire region by refusing to be open about its nuclear program.
"Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terror," Bush said in a speech he delivered about midway through his eight-day Mideast trip that began with a renewed push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace pact -- an accord he said whose "time has come."
Bush also chided U.S. allies who have withheld civil liberties, saying governments will never build trust by harassing or imprisoning candidates and protesters. But his rebuke was general, and he did not single out any U.S. partner in the region for oppressive practices.
"You cannot expect people to believe in the promise of a better future when they are jailed for peacefully petitioning their government,"
Really? No kidding? Bush said. "And you cannot stand up a modern, confident nation when you do not allow people to voice their legitimate criticisms." Which "modern, confident nation" are you referring to, Mr. Bush?
Sunday morning John Kerry appeared on ABC's 'THIS WEEK" with George Stephanopoulos, where he trumpeted Barack Obama as the man who should be president. Kerry posited that Obama would be a transformational president who wouldn't fall prey to swiftboaters. Kerry promised to FIGHT to ensure that NO Democratic candidate is swiftboated in 2008. He swore that during his own candidacy in 2004, he fought back quickly and adequately against his swiftboat accusers with a "counter press conference" immediately after the assaults began. Kerry maintained that his defense was consistently strong, but not carried by media due to a lack of funds.
This is NOT true!!! John Kerry didn't fight back during his campaign. Nor did he challenge the highly questionable results of the election!!
John Kerry is the arbiter of bad judgement and the bastion of backing down. He's deluded himself into believing that Americans have forgotten his disastrous candidacy and forgiven him for it. This may be the case for some - but for those who value peace, social justice, and the moral standing of America, the mere mention of John Kerry is cause to recoil. Even the most cursory observation of America's decline since 2005 should rekindle disgust toward John Kerry. Any presumption that his endorsement of Barack Obama is an asset to Obama's campaign is ludicrous. Weakness can't cultivate strength. Kerry's endorsement is il bocio della morte -- the proverbial kiss of death. Kerry, himself, is persona non grata and should stay away from this election.
How do you not notice when 308,000 barrels of oil go missing?
That's the question government auditors were asking after they looked into the Department of Energy's management of oil received for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a critical program to assure energy stability in the U.S. in case of an oil crisis.
This week, the Sunday Times lifted the lid on one of the most important stories of the last quarter-century: how American officials sold nuclear arms technology to illegal proliferators -- including ideological allies of al Qaeda -- in return for bribes and other inducements. This widespread corruption has been protected from exposure by the highest levels of the U.S. government, which has gone to enormous lengths to protect the truth from coming out. The entire planet has been put at grave risk by the greed -- and geopolitical gamesmanship -- that lies behind this criminal enterprise, which actually is even more extensive, and goes back further in time, than the newspaper's remarkable revelations.
Private-security contractor Blackwater Worldwide, which protects U.S. government officials in Iraq and faces scrutiny over its role in the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians, has ramped up its lobbying representation on Capitol Hill.
Law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice was tapped by the company, whose chairman is Erik Prince, a Holland native. They've been hired to lobby the government on contracting and other issues, according to the form posted online Tuesday by the Senate's public records office.
The L.A. National Impeachment Center's Peter Thottam and other local citizens passionately denounced Rep. Waxman's excuses for not impeaching the Bush Administration. During the question and answer period, Rep. Waxman is bombarded with question after question concerning impeachment. He attended a town hall meeting at the Westside Pavilion Landmark Theater building in Santa Monica, CA, where he spoke to over one hundred attendees, then answered questions.
By Dave Lindorff
The news from the "Live Free or Die" state was bad. It was bad for peace and the anti-war movement (such as it is), and it was bad for progressives and progressive issues in general.
The two candidates who won, John McCain on the Republican side, and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, are both fervent supporters of the Iraq War and of American militarism. Clinton talks of permanent US bases in Iraq. McCain says the US will be in Iraq for a century. What could the voters in New Hampshire be thinking?
Former US senator and presidential contender in 1972, George McGovern, criticized the Bush administration for driving the United States to war with the entire Arab and Muslim world --more than a billion people.
Spread the word!!!
Dana Center at St Anselm's
Rally at 8 pm tonight to protest ABC excluding Dennis Kucinich from the Democratic Presidential Debate.
Dennis will speak at the rally!
Shut down ABC's NH affiliate WMUR's phones...for 24hrs!
If you are angry about decision to bar Kucinich from this Saturday's debate in New Hampshire... then call or fax any or all of the numbers listed by the station for 'feedback':
WMUR-TV Broadcast Center
100 South Commercial Street
Manchester, NH 03101
FAX: (603) 641-9005
WMUR-TV Lakes Region Bureau
Inn at Bay Point
Meredith, NH 03253
WMUR-TV Portsmouth Bureau
One Harbour Place
Portsmouth, NH 03801
The instant it was reported that John Edwards placed second in the Iowa caucus, I ran to my purse, grabbed my wallet, pulled out my credit card, and donated to the Edwards campaign. Not for the first time. And likely for not the last. I don't have much money to give, but with this nation in peril, it's necessary. There's too much to lose if I don't ante up. America NEEDS John Edwards!!
After my little donation, this is the message I got:
Rep. Robert Wexler writes:
..... I wrote how your support for our efforts to hold impeachment hearings for Vice President Cheney has helped us get some attention from the mainstream media. My editorial was recently published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and newspapers from coast to coast have covered our success. 175,000 supporters have now signed up at WexlerWantsHearings.com and the number continues to build.
The real message of the Iowa caucus yesterday was that the long-operative Clintonian/Democratic Leadership Council assumption that the independent or unaffiliated voter bloc is composed of conservative-leaning, dim-witted and easily manipulated people has got it all wrong.
In fact, in Iowa, where unaffiliated voters are free to participate in either a Democratic or Republican caucus, 41 percent of those people voted not for the conservative, tough-talking “centrist” Hillary Clinton. They voted instead for the black, nominally anti-war candidate, Barack Obama. Another significant percentage of independents went for another progressive-sounding candidate, John Edwards. Clinton only got an embarrassing 17 percent of the unaffiliated vote.
2003 letter told CIA: Trashing tapes would harm image
Rep. Harman discloses her warning against disposing of interrogation videos.
By Greg Miller and Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
WASHINGTON -- More than two years before the CIA destroyed interrogation videotapes, top officials were urged to preserve them by a senior lawmaker who warned that disposing of the recordings would "reflect badly on the agency."
The warning came in a February 2003 letter from Rep. Jane Harman of Venice, then the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
The letter was released publicly by Harman's office on Thursday, after its contents were declassified by the CIA, and one day after the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the destruction of the tapes.
The existence of Harman's letter had been reported; but its precise contents, previously unrevealed, provide details on then-classified discussions between the CIA and senior members of Congress about the tapes and the agency's desire to get rid of them.
Harman wrote the letter after learning in a classified briefing that the CIA planned to destroy the tapes. She urged the agency to reconsider. "Even if the videotape does not constitute an official record that must be preserved under the law, the videotape would be the best proof that the written record is accurate, if such record is called into question in the future," she wrote.
Lawmaker Urged CIA in 2003 Letter to Preserve Torture Tape; CIA Passed Buck to White House on Torture Policy & Legal Issues
Lawmaker Had Urged CIA in February 2003 Letter to Preserve Tape; Calls for Investigation to “follow the facts wherever they lead.” January 3, 2008
Washington, D.C. Representative Jane Harman (D-Venice), Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, today released a copy of a letter she sent on 10 February 2003 to then CIA General Counsel Scott Muller, urging the Agency to reconsider its plan to destroy videotape of the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah – a high-ranking al Qaeda operative and close associate of Osama bin Laden. The text of her letter and the CIA response follow below.
By Dan Froomkin, washingtonpost.com
How high will the newly-launched criminal investigation into the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes go? And will it eventually target Vice President Cheney?
Cheney has been the administration's central figure on all things related to torture. It was Cheney who pushed so hard for "flexibility" in interrogations of terrorist suspects. Former secretary of state Colin Powell's chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, has long argued that it is "clear that the Office of the Vice President bears responsibility for creating an environment conducive to the acts of torture and murder committed by U.S. forces in the war on terror."
Investigation into CIA tapes
Jan. 2: An official criminal investigation was opened in the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes. Jonathan Turley, Constitutional Law Professor at George Washington University, discusses with Keith Olbermann.
Gee, tell me again, why those tapes - the EVIDENCE of torture - disappeared?
MSNBC says they are working so users can embed video ("in BETA").
In my article on New Years Eve (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/29684), the night before the Pasadena Rose Parade and our White Rose Coalition's (WRC) unauthorized PEOPLE'S PARADE FOR DEMOCRACY, I questioned whether media would step up patriotically to broadcast our message to IMPEACH Bush & Cheney and END THE WAR. We were well aware that media would already be present in huge numbers, since it capitalizes handsomely on Rose Parade revenues every year. But we also knew, through previous disappointments, the difficulty in getting corporate press to broadcast negative public sentiment toward Bush, Cheney, and War.
With our Democracy in decline, an immoral war raging on, criminals and cowards controlling our government, and H.R. 1955 and S. 1959 threatening our First Amendment freedoms, our White Rose Coalition believed it had a duty to begin 2008 with the clarion call to Americans that this is the year to RISE UP. After weeks of strategizing under the inspired and frenetic leadership of Los Angeles National Impeachment Center (LANIC) Director, Peter Thottam, we ventured forward with our action. With visuals in tow, our group of 350 to 400 patriots from a dozen pro-peace/pro-impeachment organizations, embarked on our mission to usher in 2008 with THE WHOLE WORLD WATCHING.
Much to the delight of our 2008 White Rose Coalition, a substantial number of media actually did turn out. While the coverage was no where near what we would have liked, it exceeded our expectations.
Here's the follow-up report to my article: "Will Media Broadcast THE PEOPLE'S PARADE At The Rose Parade New Year's Day?":
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- On the day she died, Benazir Bhutto planned to hand over to visiting U.S. lawmakers a report accusing Pakistan's intelligence services of a plot to rig parliamentary elections, sources close to the slain former Pakistani prime minister told CNN Tuesday.
Here's a little puzzle to ponder. Consider these two American institutions... then guess which institutions they are??
One institution is over 200 years old and the product of passion, commitment, creativity and pain-staking labor. It is present every New Years Day in Pasadena, California, but it is NEVER seen.
The second institution is a spectacular floral extravaganza, over 100 years of age. It is also the product of passion, commitment, creativity and pain-staking labor. It, too, is present every New Years Day in Pasadena, but it is ALWAYS seen. The vision of the second displays its majesty. The majesty of the first displays its vision.
The first, much older UNSEEN institution allows the second institution to be seen. Without the presence of the first and older institution, the younger institution might not be.
Can you guess which institutions these are? Allow me fill you in.
PASADENA, Calif. (CBS) ― Peace activists said they intend to march down Colorado Boulevard two hours before the Rose Parade begins, calling for an end to the Iraq war and for the impeachment of the President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
A group calling itself the White Rose Coalition said its members intend to march past the TV camera platforms at the Norton Simon Museum at 6 a.m. on New Year's Day.
Pasadena police said they had just learned of the protest and are checking on the legality of the march. An official said the police department would make an announcement on how the protest would be handled later on Sunday.
Mainstream media's (MSM's) manufactured Presidential campaign, spun by corporate punditz, has been a frustrating slog for John Edwards' supporters. Not because Edwards, himself, is disappointing. Quite the contrary. Edwards' supporters across the nation remain steadfastly loyal to their candidate, and to his unwavering commitment to a pro-PEOPLE/non-CORPORATE America.
It's the corporate media that's the problem. It's the fact that John Edwards is the target of agenda journalism which undermines his popularity and the extent to which his message resonates nationwide.
There are two rationales for MSM's strategy to weaken John Edwards: