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Too Many Overseas Bases

Too Many Overseas Bases
By David Vine | Foreign Policy in Focus

In the midst of an economic crisis that’s getting scarier by the day, it’s time to ask whether the nation can really afford some 1,000 military bases overseas. For those unfamiliar with the issue, you read that number correctly. One thousand. One thousand U.S. military bases outside the 50 states and Washington, DC, representing the largest collection of bases in world history.

Officially the Pentagon counts 865 base sites, but this notoriously unreliable number omits all our bases in Iraq (likely over 100) and Afghanistan (80 and counting), among many other well-known and secretive bases. More than half a century after World War II and the Korean War, we still have 268 bases in Germany, 124 in Japan, and 87 in South Korea. Others are scattered around the globe in places like Aruba and Australia, Bulgaria and Bahrain, Colombia and Greece, Djibouti, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, and of course, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — just to name a few. Among the installations considered critical to our national security are a ski center in the Bavarian Alps, resorts in Seoul and Tokyo, and 234 golf courses the Pentagon runs worldwide.

Unlike domestic bases, which set off local alarms when threatened by closure, our collection of overseas bases is particularly galling because almost all our taxpayer money leaves the United States (much goes to enriching private base contractors like corruption-plagued former Halliburton subsidiary KBR). One part of the massive Ramstein airbase near Landstuhl, Germany, has an estimated value of $3.3 billion. Just think how local communities could use that kind of money to make investments in schools, hospitals, jobs, and infrastructure. Read more.

Three Cheers for Women Behaving "Badly"

This Sunday on Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, one misbehaving woman interviews another one. Thank goodness for women who do buck the system and resist "going with the flow," just so as to appear socially acceptable to a society that is not so polite.

Cindy interviews Malalai Joya, a female Afghan Parliamentarian who courageously stands up for female rights and peace against the warlords of Afghanistan and America. Cindy and Cliff caught up with Malalai when she was in Berkeley to talk about her book: A Woman Among Warlords.

Cindy loves to bust Myths (and is almost finished with Myth America II: 20 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution) and was thrilled when Malalai busted the stuffing out of the Myth that US and NATO forces must remain in Afghanistan to "protect the women."

Please listen to this interview on Sunday at the website after 2pm (PACIFIC):

www.CindySheehansSoapbox.com

or

1360am Rational Radio in Dallas, TX at 3pm (central)

The 15 Biggest Congressional Recipients Of Wall Street Campaign Cash

The 15 Biggest Congressional Recipients Of Wall Street Campaign Cash | Huffington Post

Reforming Wall Street is a hot topic on Capitol Hill these days. Congress is currently weighing two financial reform bills that would, to varying degrees, reshape the way the financial system is regulated.

Still, Wall Street's influence in Washington appears to be as strong as ever. After all, it was just last spring that Senator Dick Durbin, frustrated by pushback on bankruptcy reform, denounced the financial sector's influence on the Senate: the banks, he said, "they frankly own the place." The Center for Responsive Politics, a research group that tracks money in politics, reports that financial industries -- the finance, insurance and real estate sectors, specifically -- have been one of the biggest benefactors to Congress over the past two decades,,,

We [Huffington Post] took a look at the Center for Responsive Politics's database, OpenSecrets.org, to see which members of Congress have so far received Wall Street money for the 2010 election cycle. The answers may surprise you. Check out our slideshow of the top 15 recipients and choose which politician may be taking too much money from Wall Street. Read more, view the slideshow.

Tomgram: Pratap Chatterjee, Afghanistan as a Patronage Machine

Tomgram: Pratap Chatterjee, Afghanistan as a Patronage Machine | TomDispatch.com

~Chip's Note: Every once in a while, Tom over at Tom's Dispatch writes an intro to an article that is so well-researched and comprehensive that it's difficult to excerpt just a portion as a prelude to the published article. This is one of those times. Both Tom's introduction and Pratap Chatterjee's "Paying Off the Warlords, Anatomy of an Afghan Culture of Corruption" will provoke your outrage at the stark reality of the what is really happening in Afghanistan. Now, on to Tom's introduction.

There is much discussion in the media today about "corruption" in Hamid Karzai's Afghanistan, but remarkably little actual reporting about it. Just back from Kabul, TomDispatch regular Pratap Chatterjee, author of Halliburton's Army, helps to rectify that deficit. He offers a rare, news-making, eye-opening inside look at how that country's system of nepotism and corruption -- involving its old "warlords" from the days of the post-Soviet civil war and its new corporate "reconstruction" raiders -- actually works. His piece is an anatomy of the way the brother of the country's new vice president (and long-time warlord), Mohammed Fahim, is raking in tens of millions of dollars in diesel fuel contracts for an American-built power plant -- even though far cheaper methods of bringing electricity to the Afghan capital now exist.

"Every morning," Chatterjee begins, "dozens of trucks laden with diesel from Turkmenistan lumber out of the northern Afghan border town of Hairaton on a two-day trek across the Hindu Kush down to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. Among the dozens of businesses dispatching these trucks are two extremely well connected companies -- Ghazanfar and Zahid Walid -- that helped to swell the election coffers of President Hamid Karzai as well as the family business of his running mate, the country's new vice president, warlord Mohammed Qasim Fahim."

He then follows the history of corruption and the path of the money -- both Afghan and American -- as he traces the business dealings of the Afghan elite, including figures connected to Afghan president Hamid Karzai, and well-connected western "reconstruction" companies.

He concludes: "This week, Mohammed Qasim Fahim will be sworn in as the next vice-president of the new government of Afghanistan. Under an agreement with USAID, this new government is required to spend Afghan money to buy yet more diesel for the [U.S.-built] Tarakhil power plant, which in turn will put money exclusively and directly into the vice president's brother's pocket."

From TomDispatch today, a rare, carefully reported, follow-the-money piece from Afghanistan that reveals the corruption and nepotism at the highest levels of the Afghan government -- Pratap Chatterjee, "Paying Off the Warlords, Anatomy of an Afghan Culture of Corruption." This is a devastating look at how Afghaniscam actually works. Read more.

The 15 Biggest Congressional Recipients of Legal Bribes from Wall Street

Here's a list. Hint: 4 of them are Republicans. Context: None of them are in the same league as the president.

Opinion: U.S. Is Doing No Good In Afghanistan

Note: Chris Cook recorded some interesting audio of Malalai on her current book tour as well as some of the Question & Answer period.

Opinion: U.S. is doing no good in Afghanistan
By Malalai Joya | Mercury News

As an Afghan woman who was elected to Parliament, I am in the United States to ask President Barack Obama to immediately end the occupation of my country.

Eight years ago, women's rights were used as one of the excuses to start this war. But today, Afghanistan is still facing a women's rights catastrophe. Life for most Afghan women resembles a type of hell that is never reflected in the Western mainstream media.

In 2001, the U.S. helped return to power the worst misogynist criminals, such as the Northern Alliance warlords and druglords. These men ought to be considered a photocopy of the Taliban. The only difference is that the Northern Alliance warlords wear suits and ties and cover their faces with the mask of democracy while they occupy government positions. But they are responsible for much of the disaster today in Afghanistan, thanks to the U.S. support they enjoy.

The U.S. and its allies are getting ready to offer power to the medieval Taliban by creating an imaginary category called the "moderate Taliban" and inviting them to join the government. A man who was near the top of the list of most-wanted terrorists eight years ago, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, has been invited to join the government.

Over the past eight years the U.S. has helped turn my country into the drug capital of the world through its support of drug lords. Today, 93 percent of all opium in the world is produced in Afghanistan. Many members of Parliament and high ranking officials openly benefit from the drug trade. President Karzai's own brother is a well known drug trafficker. Read more.

In House, Many Spoke With One Voice: Lobbyists’

In House, Many Spoke With One Voice: Lobbyists’
By Robert Pear | NY Times

In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with similarities. Often, that was no accident.

Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.

E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans.

The lobbyists, employed by Genentech and by two Washington law firms, were remarkably successful in getting the statements printed in the Congressional Record under the names of different members of Congress.

How the US Funds the Taliban

How the US Funds the Taliban
By Aram Roston | The Nation

On October 29, 2001, while the Taliban's rule over Afghanistan was under assault, the regime's ambassador in Islamabad gave a chaotic press conference in front of several dozen reporters sitting on the grass. On the Taliban diplomat's right sat his interpreter, Ahmad Rateb Popal, a man with an imposing presence. Like the ambassador, Popal wore a black turban, and he had a huge bushy beard. He had a black patch over his right eye socket, a prosthetic left arm and a deformed right hand, the result of injuries from an explosives mishap during an old operation against the Soviets in Kabul.

But Popal was more than just a former mujahedeen. In 1988, a year before the Soviets fled Afghanistan, Popal had been charged in the United States with conspiring to import more than a kilo of heroin. Court records show he was released from prison in 1997.

Flash forward to 2009, and Afghanistan is ruled by Popal's cousin President Hamid Karzai. Popal has cut his huge beard down to a neatly trimmed one and has become an immensely wealthy businessman, along with his brother Rashid Popal, who in a separate case pleaded guilty to a heroin charge in 1996 in Brooklyn. The Popal brothers control the huge Watan Group in Afghanistan, a consortium engaged in telecommunications, logistics and, most important, security. Watan Risk Management, the Popals' private military arm, is one of the few dozen private security companies in Afghanistan. One of Watan's enterprises, key to the war effort, is protecting convoys of Afghan trucks heading from Kabul to Kandahar, carrying American supplies. Read more.

Mexican Business Groups Call for U.N. Troops

Mexican business groups call for U.N. troops
5,000 soldiers aren't enough protection, Ciudad Juarez business owners say
By Associated Press | MSNBC

"What we are asking for with the blue helmets (U.N. peacekeepers) is that we know they are the army of peace, so we could use not only the strategies they have developed in other countries ... but they also have technology," Maynez said....Maynez said the United States could also contribute to the solution, adding that the U.S. might be forced to in its own interests. "We know that sooner or later, the violence will spill over into our sister city of El Paso, Texas," he said.

Business groups in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez said Wednesday they are calling for United Nations peacekeepers to quell the drug-related violence that has given their city one of the highest homicide rates in the world.

Groups representing assembly plants, retailers and other businesses said they will submit a request to the Mexican government and the Inter American Human Rights Commission to ask the U.N. to send help.

"This is a proposal ... for international forces to come here to help out the domestic (security) forces," said Daniel Murguia, president of the Ciudad Juarez chapter of the National Chamber of Commerce, Services and Tourism. "There is a lot of extortions and robberies of businesses. Many businesses are closing." Read more.

US Is Doing No Good in Afghanistan

US Is Doing No Good in Afghanistan
By Malalai Joya | San Jose Mercury News | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

As an Afghan woman who was elected to Parliament, I am in the United States to ask President Barack Obama to immediately end the occupation of my country.

Eight years ago, women's rights were used as one of the excuses to start this war. But today, Afghanistan is still facing a women's rights catastrophe. Life for most Afghan women resembles a type of hell that is never reflected in the Western mainstream media.

In 2001, the U.S. helped return to power the worst misogynist criminals, such as the Northern Alliance warlords and druglords. These men ought to be considered a photocopy of the Taliban. The only difference is that the Northern Alliance warlords wear suits and ties and cover their faces with the mask of democracy while they occupy government positions. But they are responsible for much of the disaster today in Afghanistan, thanks to the U.S. support they enjoy.

The U.S. and its allies are getting ready to offer power to the medieval Taliban by creating an imaginary category called the "moderate Taliban" and inviting them to join the government. A man who was near the top of the list of most-wanted terrorists eight years ago, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, has been invited to join the government.

Over the past eight years the U.S. has helped turn my country into the drug capital of the world through its support of drug lords. Today, 93 percent of all opium in the world is produced in Afghanistan. Many members of Parliament and high ranking officials openly benefit from the drug trade. President Karzai's own brother is a well known drug trafficker.

Meanwhile, ordinary Afghans are living in destitution. The latest United Nations Human Development Index ranked Afghanistan 181 out of 182 countries. Eighteen million Afghans live on less than $2 a day. Mothers in many parts of Afghanistan are ready to sell their children because they cannot feed them. Read more.

Still Waiting for Health Care

Still Waiting for Health Care
By nimda | Nader.org

The House of Representatives debate on the health insurance “reform” is over with the Democrats failing the people and the Republicans disgracing themselves as having left their minds back in the third grade (with apologies to third graders).

House Democrats were determined to pass any bill with a nice sounding name, such as “The Affordable Health Care for America Act”. Single payer, full Medicare for all was never on the table even though a majority of citizens, physicians and nurses support that far more efficient, free choice of health care professionals, system.

There are no effective cost containment or prevention measures in the bill. The public option is so weak it will be a receptacle for the sickest of patients among the meager number of people who qualify for its coverage. There are no provisions to reduce the number of people (100,000) who die annually from medical malpractice in hospitals.

Nor is there a major program to reduce the tens of billions of dollars that is stolen yearly out of Medicare from criminals inside and outside the medical profession. Read more.

Blackwater Said to Pursue Bribes to Iraq After 17 Died

Blackwater Said to Pursue Bribes to Iraq After 17 Died
By Mark Mazzetti and James Risen | NY Times

Blackwater’s strategy of buying off the government officials, which would have been illegal under American law, created a deep rift inside the company, according to the former executives.

Top executives at Blackwater Worldwide authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that were intended to silence their criticism and buy their support after a September 2007 episode in which Blackwater security guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, according to former company officials.

Blackwater approved the cash payments in December 2007, the officials said, as protests over the deadly shootings in Nisour Square stoked long-simmering anger inside Iraq about reckless practices by the security company’s employees. American and Iraqi investigators had already concluded that the shootings were unjustified, top Iraqi officials were calling for Blackwater’s ouster from the country, and company officials feared that Blackwater might be refused an operating license it would need to retain its contracts with the State Department and private clients, worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Four former executives said in interviews that Gary Jackson, who was then Blackwater’s president, had approved the bribes and that the money was sent from Amman, Jordan, where the company maintains an operations hub, to a top manager in Iraq. The executives, though, said they did not know whether the cash was delivered to Iraqi officials or the identities of the potential recipients. Read more.

It’s Baltimore, Hon!: Did Mayor Dixon Steal from the Poor?

It’s Baltimore, Hon!: Did Mayor Dixon Steal from the Poor?
By William Hughes

“Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.” - H. L. Mencken

Baltimore, MD - On Monday, Nov. 9, 2009, the criminal trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon will open up in the Circuit Court House, only two blocks from City Hall, where she’s reigned as boss of bosses since 2007. In a way, it will be like watching one of the iconic John Waters’ flicks. The case will have it all: sex, fur coats, a shop-till-you drop mentality, comedy, a married boyfriend in heat, gift cards, sleazy politics, back room deals, greed and high priced lawyers. In fact, the Mayor has seven lawyers on her defense team! This is probably a world record! (Saddam Hussein only had three.) This is also something film guru Waters would never allow in any of his movies. One legal eagle blowing off hot steam on behalf of a client would be more than enough for him.

U.S. Seeks to Limit Warlords in Karzai Cabinet

U.S. Seeks to Limit Warlords in Karzai Cabinet
By Gareth Porter | IPS

The Barack Obama administration is talking tough to Afghan President Hamid Karzai about the need for decisive action on corruption and governance reform, but its main objective is to prevent particularly corrupt and incompetent warlords from getting plum ministries as rewards for helping clinch his fraudulent reelection, IPS has learned.

Obama told reporters Monday that he had emphasised to Karzai in a phone call to congratulate him on his re-election that there would have to be "a much more serious effort to eradicate corruption" and that "the proof is not going to be in words, it's going to be in deeds".

The New York Times reported the day after the Obama-Karzai conversation that the Obama administration wants Karzai to prosecute certain high-profile figures who are known to be involved in corruption. The story referred to the president's brother, Kandahar warlord Ahmed Wali Karzai, former defence minister Muhammad Qasim Fahim and Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum.

And on Wednesday, Adm. Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Karzai must "take concrete steps to eliminate corruption", adding it means "you have to rid yourself of those who are corrupt, you have to actually arrest and prosecute them".

The new public rhetoric and press stories have given the impression that the Obama administration is now pursuing far-reaching reform of Afghanistan's system of governance. But the sudden intensification of administration pressure on the issue of corruption is aimed less at far-reaching reform of the system than at avoiding a significant worsening of the problem in the wake of Karzai's fraudulent re-election. Read more.

U.S. To Pay DEA Agent $3 Million In Spying Case

U.S. to pay DEA agent $3 million in spying case
By Josh Gerstein | Politico

The U.S. Government has agreed to pay $3 million to a former Drug Enforcement Administration official who claims he was spied on by a CIA agent and a U.S. diplomat while working at the U.S. Embassy in Burma more than a decade ago.

The settlement of a long-running lawsuit brought ex-DEA agent Richard Horn was filed tonight [11/04/09] in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Horn claimed that in 1993 a CIA officer in Rangoon, Arthur Brown, and the chief of mission there, Franklin Huddle, conspired to place a listening device in a coffee table at Horn's residence and that the pair then relayed information they obtained to Washington.

The case became a massive headache for the government recently after U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth found that government lawyers committed fraud on the court by pressing forward with state secrets claims in the case even after Huddle's cover was formally rolled back by the CIA. Read more.

Change to Win Challenges U.S. Chamber’s Assault on Wednesday’s Investor Reform Vote

Cites Chamber President Donohue’s own track record as director of Scandal-ridden companies

Washington, D.C. – Change to Win (CTW) Chair Anna Burger today called on members of the House Committee on Financial Services to reject the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s less than credible rhetoric and to approve the Waters/Peters Amendment to the Investor Protection Act of 2009 in this Wednesday’s vote. The Waters/Peters amendment affirms the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) authority to adopt a uniform proxy access rule.

In her letter to Committee members, Ms. Burger highlights U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue’s own record as a director of four scandal-ridden, publicly-traded companies to demonstrate the need for this essential investor reform. That record is detailed in CtW’s new report on the Chamber, “Preaching Principle, Enabling Excess,” which Ms. Burger provided to Committee members and which is attached.

The text of the letter follows:

They DESERVE Justice 2

BBDY 4 Pack

Even the least of us deserves justice and accountability starts with you. So why don't you send out a reminder. Even Bush deserves all the justice he can get and we should ensure he gets his day in court.

Use these images as a 4 PAK and send 4 different cards to the same person; or, choose your favorite and send the same postcard to 4 different persons.

It's easy. Each individual postcard is formatted to the dimensions of 4.25"x5.5". Quarter a sheet of paper and combine the cards as you like. Don't forget to print the other side. Remember the postage stamps. Then mail one to your best beloved, your friends and neighbors, some acquaintance--your politicians and their parties. Show someone you care about them and about justice. Don’t forget Cheney, Condi, Gonzales and Rove: CCGR 4 PAK.

MAY BE USED AS HANDBILLS W/O REVERSE SIDE.

Justice for Bush

Justice for Bybee

Justice for Delahunty

Justice for Yoo

Reverse Side Postcard

America's Drug Crisis: Brought to You by the CIA

By Dave Lindorff

Next time you see a junkie sprawled at the curb in the downtown of your nearest city, or read about someone who died of a heroin overdose, just imagine a big yellow sign posted next to him or her saying: “Your Federal Tax Dollars at Work.”

Kudos to the New York Times, and to reporters Dexter Filkins, Mark Mazzetti and James Risen, for their lead article today reporting that Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of Afghanistan’s stunningly corrupt President Hamid Karzai, a leading drug lord in the world’s major opium-producing nation, has for eight years been on the CIA payroll.

Pentagon Instructs Officials to Cancel Contracts with ACORN. The Problem: They Don't Exist

Pentagon Instructs Officials to Cancel Contracts with ACORN. The Problem: They Don't Exist
While the DoD targets a community group that does no business with the Pentagon, actual corporate crooks go un-confronted and continue to rake in $ billions in contracts.
By Jeremy Scahill | Rebel Reports

While the DoD sends out memos regarding an organization that it does not contract with, the Pentagon currently does business with a slew of corporate criminals whose billions of dollars in annual federal contracts make the $53 million in government funds received by ACORN over the past 15 years look like, well, acorns. The top three government contractors—all of them weapons manufacturers—committed 109 acts of misconduct since 1995, according to the Project on Oversight and Government Reform. In that period, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing paid fines or settlements totaling nearly $3 billion. In 2007 alone, the three companies won some $77 billion in federal contracts. There has been no letter sent around to federal agencies instructing them to cancel contracts with these companies that have ripped off taxpayers and engaged in a variety of fraudulent activities with federal dollars.

On Tuesday night, US Undersecretary of Defense Shay Assad, the Pentagon’s top contracting official, sent a memo to the commanders and directors of all branches of the military instructing them to cease all business with the embattled community organization ACORN and to take “all necessary and appropriate” steps to prevent future contracts with the organization. Assad’s brief memo [PDF] contained the two-page guidelines issued October 7 by Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Orszag’s guidelines were issued following the passage of Congressional legislation aimed at “defunding ACORN.”

Orszag’s guidelines were sent on October 7 to “the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies” and instructed them to “immediately commence all necessary and appropriate steps” to comply with the terms of the Defund ACORN Act. These include: no future obligation of funds, suspension of grant and contract payments and no funding of ACORN and its affiliates through Federal grantees or contractors. “Your agency should take steps so that no Federal funds are awarded or obligated” to ACORN, wrote Orszag.

While the DoD memo sent by Assad is basically a formality initiated by Orszag’s guidelines to all federal agencies, it is nonetheless remarkable given that ACORN is not a Defense Department contractor. According to an ACORN spokesperson, the group has not received Pentagon funds, nor has the community group even considered applying for such funds. “Of course we were hoping to win the contract to build the B-1 bomber, but we didn’t get that one,” says Brian Kettering, ACORN’s Deputy Director of National Operations, sarcastically. “This is all just silly, but the travesty here is that once again the witch-hunt against ACORN continues while there is a total neglect of [the misconduct] of the likes of Blackwater and Halliburton.” Read more.

Media Enabled Bush 1's Savage Attacks on Maddow and Olbermann, Yet Continue to Ignore Bush Family's Sordid Past

Media Enabled Bush 1's Savage Attacks on Maddow and Olbermann, Yet Continue to Ignore Bush Family's Sordid Past
By Russ Baker | Alternet

The other day, George H.W. Bush fired a salvo against mean media liberals who savaged his son. Soon, brickbats were flying to and fro about who said what about whom. But this mini-controversy is nothing more than a distraction from the real story: even the most animated of Bush critics on television have not gotten around to acknowledging the full, unspeakably dark nature of the Bush enterprise. Bush41, it turns out, has nothing at all to complain about.

The kerfuffle began last Friday, when CBS ran a story on its website about George H.W. Bush criticizing MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow for edgy rhetoric and name-calling, in which he then … called them names -- specifically, “sick puppies.”

"The way they treat my son and anyone who's opposed to their point of view is just horrible," Mr. Bush said. "When our son was president they just hammered him mercilessly and I think obscenely a lot of the time and now it's moved to a new president," he added.

Of course, this is ridiculous on many counts. First is the absurdity of the man who employed the political assassin Lee Atwater (look up Willie Horton) and gave Karl Rove his first job, whining about incivility. Then there is the way the former president glided over the snapping trash- mouths and conjurers of the Right, from Limbaugh to Hannity to Beck, who dominate and influence the media’s vast market of vulnerable and hurting Americans. And finally, it is hard to recall criticism of H.W.’s son that was wildly inaccurate, truly out of bounds, or not reflective of the awful reality of W.’s presidency.

The real problem is not that popular media figures have gone after the Bushes, it is quite the opposite: that they have stopped well short of sharing the full story with the American people.

CBS inadvertently touched on this when it reported H.W.’s general satisfaction with how his personal saga was playing out in his golden years:

“Mr. Bush also said his own life is "very good, very private."

Perfect irony resides in that remark. One reason that the elder Bush’s life is so very good, and remains so very private, is because of the media’s failure to unearth the extent of the continuing deception perpetrated by the Bush family and their allies. The guilty parties surely include CBS itself -- which stopped asking questions when under pressure and unceremoniously tossed to the lions Dan Rather, the most visible television personality willing to dig into the truth about the Bushes. Read more.

IPS Analysis Of 'Galbraith-Gate'

IPS analysis of 'Galbraith-gate'
Posted by Helena Cobban | Just World News

It's here, and also archived here.

Y'all know the story here already. (Renewed kudos to Reidar Visser for breaking it for all those of us who don't read Norwegian... Reidar, I know I should have slotted in a quotoid from you there... Sorry that I didn't.)

My conclusion in the IPS piece is, Read more.

Peace Movement Grows Up, Codepink vs. "Anti-imperialist" Flap

Peace Movement Grows Up, Codepink vs. "Anti-imperialist" Flap
by Ralph Lopez | Jobs for Afghans

Codepink co-founder catching a lot of flak for suggesting that all troops out of Afghanistan immediately would lead to a Taliban takeover and bloodbath. It began with a Christian Science Monitor article in which Medea Benjamin said after a trip to Afghanistan ™We have been feeling a sense of fear of the people of the return of the Taliban. So many people are saying that, 'If the U.S. troops left the country, would collapse. We'd go into civil war.' A palpable sense of fear that is making us start to reconsider that."

Scott Horton followed up with an interview of Medea.

Anything but everyone and everything out of the water pronto is neo-imperialist stooge? What's happening here is a long-overdue discussion that goes beyond "troops out now" for the peace movement. Does troops out now mean everything out now, even humanitarian aid? First, there is no such thing as "troops out now" because even a full withdrawal would take six months to a year, as there are logistics of troop transport, bringing back equipment or just leaving it and burning it (the military-industrial complex loves that one woo hoo! More contracts). You don't get 60,000 troops into a country overnight. You don't take them out overnight either.

We take a pre-bombed country, bombed because Ziggy Brzezinski couldn't wait to arm Islamic extremists to give the Russians "their own Vietnam", then bomb it some more then split. Nice! In the Seventies women were wearing mini-skirts in Kabul. Brzezinski and US policy fixed all that.

Leave them to work their own problems out now? With what? They are already starving, have nothing to grow but poppies, their irrigation and canal systems are still trashed with Russian bomb rubble because we haven't helped them clear it, and this winter if we just split thousands of more children will starve and freeze. Prosecute Brzezinski as a war criminal if we must, but these people don't know or care who made the mess. Only that they are starving, and someone is always bombing them. When will the world have pity on this country?

There is a solution. Get money to the poorest people in a way which "tunnels" through the corruption, so that they don't have to depend on the Taliban for the $8 a day they pay for insurgent work, and they will turn on the Taliban themselves. The Taliban is hated by most of the population as it ruled only by fear, not any popular consent.

We identified one functional ministry of the Karzai government which has done the work of building more than 25,000 community development councils (CDCs) which work with the villages and the elders on work projects which benefit the communities, not corrupt foreign contractors like Loius Berger or corrupt Afghan warlords. Details are in our White Paper "Stabilizing Afghanistan Through a Cash-for-Work Initiative." Read more.

Honduran Human Rights Defender Bertha Oliva to Come to the November Vigil to Close the SOA in Georgia

SOA's Hendrik Voss wrote:

Honduran Human Rights Defender Bertha Oliva to Come to the November Vigil to Close the SOA in Georgia

We just talked with Human Rights Defender Bertha Oliva from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She is planning to come to the United States to stand with thousands and to speak out at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia during the November Vigil to close the SOA (November 10-22, 2009). She will bring the call for accountability and the anti-coup resistance to the place where the coup plotters received their training: the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)!

Bertha wanted to relay her gratitude for all that people here are doing in solidarity with Honduras. We have kept her abreast of our efforts, and she senses the outpouring of solidarity, along with concrete actions.

She told us that, although she and everyone else are exhausted, and a few pounds lighter, that they are exhilarated at the energy and hope and spirit of the resistance movement. She feels so proud of her people at this moment.

I asked Bertha how we could be of help in addition to what we are doing. Her response was: Send concrete reports (photos, places, statements) about Honduran solidarity events that have taken place in the U.S. International solidarity is having a huge impact on Honduran society, and is putting pressure on the coup govt. By sending info about these expressions of solidarity throughout the U.S., you would make a huge contribution, according to Bertha. COFADEH's press team is very effective in getting things out widely there, as Father Roy and Lisa Sullivan have experienced in several visits, and they would get this info out. She mentioned several times that this would be very helpful.

The Democrats: Really, You Just Gotta Laugh

By Dave Lindorff

The Democrats in Congress, and their main man Barack Obama in the White House, have taken tens of millions in legal bribes from the health insurance industry over the past year, and have obligingly been hammering out in Congress a health “reform” bill that, instead of helping people, has been designed to help the insurance industry.

They started out by immediately blackballing any discussion of real health reform in the form of an expansion of Medicare to cover everyone of every age, which of course would have ended the problem of the uninsured, while cutting the nation’s overall health bill by at least a third, but in the process shutting down the private health insurance business.

Then they chipped away and are at this point on the verge of eliminating any so-called “public option” or government-run health insurance plan to even compete with the private insurance sector.

More Collateral Damage from the Siegelman Case – Talking with DOJ Whistleblower, Tamarah Grimes

More Collateral Damage from the Siegelman Case – Talking with DOJ Whistleblower, Tamarah Grimes
By Joan Brunwasser | Op Ed News

The Bush administration is no more. But his legacy lives on in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, massive joblessness, the trashed economy, the transfer of power to the Executive Branch. During Bush's tenure, the Justice Department also became politicized to an unprecedented degree.

One of the most visible among the hundreds of political prosecutions was former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. A Democrat and the only Alabamian to have served in all four of the top state elected positions, he was a choice target of Karl Rove. After several unsuccessful attempts, Gov. Siegelman was convicted of corruption and sentenced to prison. He is presently out as he awaits his appeal. Ninety-one former US Attorneys of both parties have asked President Obama, AG Holder and DOJ to reexamine Siegelman's case. Andrew Kreig, Roger Shuler, Scott Horton, and Glynn Wilson have done a stellar job covering the Siegelman case. [For more background information, a sampler of their articles can be found at the end of the second part of this interview.]

Tamarah Grimes was a paralegal working with the prosecution in the case against Don Siegelman. She contacted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Conyers and the DOJ about the prosecutorial misconduct of Alabama US Attorney Leura Canary and her team. For her pains, Grimes was chastised, intimidated, and ultimately fired, her reputation trashed. To add insult to injury, she was denied health insurance and they're trying to rescind her unemployment benefits.

This is particularly grievous for Grimes because she was the sole breadwinner in her household and her health insurance policy covered her disabled son. Grimes was terminated just eight days after sending a letter to AG Holder, laying out her concerns about the Siegelman case. Her firing will surely have a stifling effect on any other DOJ employees contemplating similar actions.

Unemployed and uninsured, she is on the brink of financial ruin. Tamarah may be bloodied but she is also unbowed. She seeks no one's pity. This is her story. Read more.

Step Up To Mike's Challenge!

by Linda Milazzo

Our great buddy Mike is angry. For the past twenty years, Michael Moore, our everyday hero, has worked hard for us. He's documented sadistic acts against us by industry and government. He's exposed case after case of devious schemes that robbed us of our homes and our jobs, sent our children to war, and sacrificed our health. He's given us irrefutable proof that our leaders lied us to war, our insurers denied us care, and our lenders deceived us into hopelessness and destitution.

Mike's been our teacher, our ally and our devoted friend. Few people in recent memory have worked harder to inform us - ALL OF US - of the inhumanity and greed that are decaying our nation, which we perpetuate through apathy and inertia.

DIY Postcard

FRONT: See a PENNY, pick it up and...That's YOUR GOV'T Bail Out!

BACK: As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - Purportedly in a letter to Colonel William F. Elkins (21 November 1864)

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