Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Caretakers of The Money Have Made Their Decision and the Serfs Must Live With the Results

For the Democrats it's an Obama/Biden ticket; for the Rethugs it's a brilliant stroke of inspiration: McInsane/Impaling. I can't say much more. Oh, all right, if you beg me. Maybe we've just lately become a country of people who live in the big houses and hold the power, who play up (down/up?) to those in the lower economic strata at certain times (mainly at election time in what we think of as "representative democracy") who work hard and play by the rules, and end up (for most of the last 30 years, according to the economic data) having to keep working very hard until they die just to keep their increasingly much smaller houses. Thus we have the new American success story: the middle class, rapidly diminishing into the vanishing point. Mrs. Paled, the self-proclaimed successor to Hillary and Gerry Ferraro, has an interesting history of thuggery and sweetness mixed under the Converashame veil that is always interesting to view from a safe distance. She's a proponent of the Feminists for Life, which Ruth Rosen at Alternet reports

is neither about feminism nor about choice. It is a cunning attempt to convince young women that choice means giving up the right to "choose." Sarah Palin is the inexperienced woman Sen. John McCain has chosen as his running mate, hoping that she will attract the vital female vote.. It's the worst kind of affirmative action, choosing a person he barely knows, who is completely unprepared to assume any national office. It's like nominating Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court. It's all about ideology and not about competence. To put it bluntly, Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton. Nor does she have the vision and brilliance of Barack Obama. This is an incredible insult to most American women. Just how stupid does he think we are?
She's such a poorly qualified choice to be one breath away from the Presidency (especially when McBane has had so many occurrences of cancer and perhaps worse ailments that are publicly unknown) that she makes the past token candidates look overqualified. I knew after reading for years about the Murkowski and Stevens' seemingly neverending "Northern Exposure" corruption that was flowing all over our humble 49th state, possessing such astounding natural beauty spread over its energy-riven tundra, that the social norms there must be wildly entertaining at best. After reading about Mrs. Pale Rider's hijinks in her two public positions, I realized that my capacity for fantasy was going to be sorely tested. Now that the Democratic Convention has climaxed and we are adding up the damages, I'd like to vote for the Jimmy/Rosalynn Carter abomination as number 1, although I'm sure I'll get a lot of flak from the contingents who know much better than I where the real action lay. Bob Herbert summed it up thusly:
It was as though the Champagne had been on ice for half a century or more. On Thursday night, with Barack Obama formally accepting the Democratic presidential nomination at Mile High Stadium in Denver, African-Americans from coast to coast and beyond felt they might now dare to pop the corks. As I talked to black residents in and around Detroit, a troubled city that has never fully recovered from the riots of 1967, the personal stories — some of them pent-up for decades — came in an emotional rush, often accompanied by tears. The message I heard again and again was that the triumph of Senator Obama in securing the nomination helped to redeem some of the disappointment and grief of many years of racial humiliation and oppression . . . . Jennifer West, a 47-year-old insurance executive told me: “We’re all sitting on feelings we don’t usually talk about. We’re starved for a collective sense of affirmation. Barack is the son, the brother, the uncle, the cousin who made good. Who overcame. God bless him for what he means to us.” Mr. Cochran said it would take an hour, “maybe more,” to describe how much Senator Obama’s candidacy meant to him. “I am elated,” he said. “I’m surprised, I—” His voice broke once again. His tears, and those of so many others, were a measure of the enormity of what had come to pass.
Robert Parry at Consortium News thinks that:
Hillary Clinton gave an eloquent speech calling for Democratic Party unity, but some of her supporters are making clear that they so hate Barack Obama that they would prefer that John McCain extend neoconservative rule in the United States rather than let Obama into the White House. Some of these die-hard Clinton backers claim they have suffered various slights, such as receiving inferior hotel rooms in Denver or finding the Obama campaign insufficient in its ardor courting their support. Others blame Obama for examples of sexism and unfairness that arose in the long primary campaign. Some pro-Hillary activists even have behaved as if their perceived grievances give them the right to engage in crude attacks on Obama, the first African-American to have a serious shot at the presidency. For instance, Clinton backer Carolyn Kay has turned what once was a media-criticism Web site called MakeThemAccountable.com into a daily compendium of Obama hate, which continued on Wednesday after Sen. Clinton's speech. Kay’s product reached what had to be its low point on July 31 when she forwarded to her mailing list a cartoon of Obama sitting on a toilet with his pants down, masturbating, as he gazed at himself in the mirror while thinking, “I have become the symbol of America returning to our best traditions.” The masturbation cartoon (which was entitled “Where will you be when the Messiah comes?”) originally appeared at a Web site called Cannonfire. Beyond the tastelessness of the cartoon, the supposed Obama quote – about him being “the symbol of America” – came from a discredited Washington Post article by Dana Milbank, who later was chastised by the newspaper’s ombudsman for not checking out the quote’s accuracy or its context. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “WaPost Admits Bungling Obama Quote.”] Yet, while some angry Clinton supporters apparently see nothing wrong with producing and distributing demeaning material about Obama, they have long bristled at any perceived disrespect for Hillary Clinton or her campaign. For months any criticism of Clinton's campaign tactics – such as her decision to “throw the kitchen sink” of negative attacks at Obama – was greeted with accusations of “sexism” or “misogyny.” And, even as some Clinton supporters hurled charges of “sexism” freely, they complained when some Obama supporters attacked them as “racist.” While Hillary Clinton’s powerful speech on Tuesday night may have persuaded some of her backers to understand what’s at stake in the presidential election, others told reporters afterwards that they were unmoved.
Read the rest here and as Spencer Tracy said about Katherine Hepburn "it's cherce." Jason Leopold leads us on a journey of Pale discovery:
The political career of Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential pick, has been marked by conflicts, score-settling and her own claim that she faces “enemies – powerful enemies.” But the 44-year-old first-term Alaska governor is a favorite of right-wing Christian groups and was hailed Friday by one organization as “a true Christian” who is “pro-life and pro-marriage.” She also has favored the teaching of creationism in Alaska’s schools. After the surprise announcement Friday, the McCain campaign tried to frame Palin as a reformer who has taken on corruption in Alaska. However, an examination of her career as a small-town mayor and inexperienced governor reveals an official prone to petty squabbles and personal retaliation. In 1996, after winning the election to be mayor of Wasilla, then a town with a population of 5,000, Palin sought to oust six department heads because they had signed a letter supporting the previous mayor, their old boss. Palin ultimately fired two of them, the police chief and the museum director, and pushed two others into quitting. In 1997, some residents considered her actions so high-handed that they tried to initiate a recall election . . . . Now, as Alaska’s governor, Palin is under investigation for allegedly ousting Alaska public safety commissioner Walt Monegan because he refused to fire a state trooper entangled in a divorce and custody battle with Palin’s sister. That probe also is examining whether Palin’s extended family, including her husband, and members of her staff tried to pressure Monegan to fire state trooper Mike Wooten because of the divorce. Monegan told the Anchorage Daily News that the governor’s husband, Todd Palin, showed him the work of a private investigator, who had been hired by the family to dig into Wooten’s life and who was accusing the trooper of various misdeeds, such as drunk driving and child abuse. In early August 2008, the state legislature agreed to investigate the circumstances surrounding Gov. Palin’s firing of Monegan. She initially welcomed the probe and denied that she had put pressure on Monegan. Later, however, Palin acknowledged that there had been more than two dozen inquiries from her staff to the public safety department regarding trooper Wooten, though Palin still insisted she had no role in them. Gov. Palin also released an audio recording of her director of state boards and commissions, Frank Bailey, pressing police Lt. Rodney Dial in February 2008 about why no action had been taken against Wooten.
So she fits right in. And the disgraceful treatment of President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, is almost too disgusting an item for a once-proud Democrat to address coherently, so I'll let Brett Lieberman and Nathan Guttman do it for me as they report in their essay in Information Clearinghouse:
Former president Jimmy Carter’s controversial views on Israel cost him a place on the podium at the Democratic Party convention in late August, senior Democratic operatives acknowledged . . . . Breaking with the tradition of giving speech time to living former presidents, convention organizers honored Carter with only a short video clip highlighting his work with Hurricane Katrina victims and a brief walk (by Rosalynn and him) across the Pepsi Center stage. The sidelining of Carter was driven by recognition in the Obama camp and among Democratic leaders that giving the former president a prominent convention spot might alienate Jewish voters. “What more could we do to diss Jimmy Carter?” said a Democratic official who was involved in deliberations on how to handle the former president’s presence at the convention. The treatment Carter received, the official added, “reflects the bare minimum that could be done for a former president.” Although Carter says limiting his presence at the convention was his idea, denying him a speaking opportunity ends a two-year struggle for the party over how to deal with the controversial former president. Since Carter published a book in November 2006 accusing Israel of practicing apartheid against the Palestinians, Democrats have been trying to distance themselves from the former president and to convince Jewish activists that he does not represent the party line. Carter’s status at the convention was an issue for the Democratic leadership going back to the early preparation stages, a party official said. . . . Carter, according to party insiders, was initially scheduled to speak at the event, though organizers insisted he focus only on issues relating to domestic policy and not touch on foreign affairs. During his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston, Carter mentioned Israel, but he only touched in general terms on the need to bring peace to the region. As the Denver convention drew near, organizers grew uneasy with the idea of having Carter speak even on domestic issues. In the end, the decision was made to have what the official convention schedule described as a “President Jimmy Carter segment,” which included a video presentation of the former president’s work in New Orleans. The video was followed by a brief appearance by Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who walked across the stage to the sound of Ray Charles’s “Georgia on My Mind.” The assembled delegates showered Carter with applause and a standing ovation. Jewish Democrats approved of Carter’s limited presence at the convention, as they have argued that embracing the former president could tarnish the party in November. “You can’t give him a podium, because people will draw the conclusion” that the Democratic Party supports Carter’s views on the Middle East, said Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York. “I wouldn’t let him within 100 miles of the convention center, because it would be used by an unscrupulous Republican Party that doesn’t care about the truth in character assassination against our candidate.” While Carter did come to Denver, he downplayed suggestions that he had been silenced. In an August 26 interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Carter said that the idea not to speak at the convention was his own. “Michelle spoke last night, Barack is going to speak Thursday night and the other two nights are for the Clintons,” Carter said. “So, I didn’t want to intrude…. I didn’t need to get on the stage and make a speech.” . . . . Among some of Jewish delegates to the convention, however, denying Carter a speech but offering him a video tribute was not nearly sanction enough. “He hasn’t shown respect to Israel and many of the Jewish constituencies here based on the things he has done,” said Nan Rich, a Florida state senator who left the hall in protest before Carter’s appearance onstage. Although staunch critics of Carter may not have been won over by the Obama campaign’s sidelining of the former president, at least one one Jewish Democratic official says the episode reflects the degree to which the presidential hopeful is concerned about shoring up Jewish support before November. “I think it’s hard to ask a political party to take a former president and say, ‘We’re not going to hear you at all,’” said Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council. “The party is very sensitive to the American Jewish community, and it’s very sensitive to ever conveying that this is anything but a pro-Israel party.” And though Rich chose to protest Carter’s inclusion, she was among the critics who appreciated the decision to minimize his role. “It shows the party gets it and Barack Obama’s campaign gets it,” she said.
And the other guys are much worse. You'd think that some of these people will be voting for the neoCon party, but they say not. Dick Meyer, author of Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millennium and the editorial director of Digital Media at National Public Radio, addresses one facet of American life that I know has left lots of us "cranky and isolated."
America is disappointed in itself. What is stunning is how long this has been true and how long we have had our heads in the sand. After Vietnam and Watergate, the respect and confidence Americans felt in the major institutions of public life - and their leaders - plummeted: the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, the press, corporations, medicine, and even the clergy. In the 40 years since, trust and confidence have simply not recovered. Our disenchantment is not limited to government, and it is not the kind of griping people always do. Parents are wary of the entertainment Hollywood produces in a way that was unheard of a generation or two ago. We have not always been convinced, as we are now, that there is pervasive cheating in business. Fifty years ago, most Americans did not believe traditional news organizations were tabloid, sensational, and not credible. Culture, in our own estimation, has become an echo chamber for the worst in us. It doesn't reflect the higher values we have as families and individuals; it preys on the lower ones. And in turn, our own behavior and manners - as parents, neighbors, colleagues, citizens and consumers - too often disappoint us. Two trends stand out and help us understand what is unique about our times. First, we are as mobile as any society has ever been. Usually, humans leave family and neighborhood only when forced out by Vikings, famine, or plague. Though wandering is part of the American story, the last few generations have uprooted themselves perpetually, by choice. This is not just geographic: We have also become unmoored from the traditions and inherited values of our communities. Now we are discovering that living away from close family, lifelong friendships, and intergenerational relationships can make us cranky and isolated. Second, the revolution in communications technology at the turn of this century has amplified everything. . . . We are finding it difficult to impose standards on ourselves, leaving us with a well deserved lack of collective self-esteem. "National pride, the philosopher Richard Rorty wrote, "is to countries what self-respect is to individuals; a necessary condition of self-improvement." Presidential elections are about national self-improvement. This election is a good opportunity to consider how we as a society and as individuals can earn our respect back.
I'm just saying (again and again). Suzan

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's A Done Deal!!!!

So . . . . Barack is my savior, I shall not want . . . . Fantastic Convention! Enjoy the speeches. Carry on. Suzan ______________________________

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bill, Hill, Barak and Michelle

Barack Obama was officially nominated by acclamation by Hillary Clinton and the New York delegation today, who took over the microphone when the New Mexico delegation yielded to the Illinois delegation who then yielded to the New York delegation to cast the votes that put him over the top. And he broke protocol unexpectedly to enter the mass of celebrating delegates and shake hands and say "Thank you!" If only it were that easy to end this national nightmare, we could all link arms and sing Kumbaya. Bill Clinton, who has given a pretty good speech once or twice in his life, may have outdone himself tonight. He was so low key and humble at the beginning of the speech, that he joked amiably that the campaign had been so fierce it had increased global warming. The audience hesitated two beats before it burst into appreciative, but wary applause. This was by far the most life-enhancing nominating convention I've ever seen. Following Hillary's gracious speech Tuesday night, Bill's made me think once again that I had stepped through the looking glass and was no longer in Kansas (the racist, bigoted, hate-driven politics of the US). And although the Rude Pundit is just a tad cynical, he also gave Hillary props. And you should read what he wrote about Dennis Kucinich "bringing the thunder" to the right-wing bastards. We both are so proud. Oh, and Joe Biden is no longer just biding his time. Sorry. I just couldn't resist. I've been waiting to use that for a while. And I know I'm kinda softheaded about this next bit of news, but when Joe hugged his son Bo, who is leaving for Iraq, I couldn't figure out how everyone witnessing this sweet moment didn't get all teary-eyed and choked up. Now where did I misplace that bridge? Suzan _________________________________

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hillary Is Here! (But Dennis Is First!)

A huge moment for me was seeing my ideal candidate, Dennis Kucinich, on the floor of the Convention giving the speech of his life, and almost every person there (from my TV angle) seemed to be wildly shouting, waving banners and screaming their approval. What a reception! If only I could have been there to thank him for all he's done to restore my faith in the Democratic Party and shake his hand. Later, after hearing Mark Warner (who said his "biggest criticism of President Bush is that he never tapped into our greatest resource: the character and resolve of the American people,") Bob Casey, Jr. ("McCain votes with Bush 95% of the time. That's not a maverick - that's a sidekick!") Montana Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer, Lily Ledbetter and many others who gave excellent speeches declaring that they were proud Democrats who supported Barak Obama for President of the United States, and then gagging while bearing witness to the slimy David F. Brooks impugning their speeches as banal from the auspices of public-financed PBS on the Jim Lehrer-chaired Convention coverage. . . . The Convention was once more on its feet! Hillary was in the house and on the stage!!!! I'm proud of Hillary's personal and (some of her) political accomplishments and what they signify for all women. I do have some problems with how I see and her husband selling out to the powers-that-were during the 90's instead of protecting the people at and of the base of the Democratic Party, but I'll let that go for tonight and just say that she presented a figure that most women could be proud of. I even felt (unbidden) tears in my eyes several times during her speech. (At heart, I guess I'm a softie.) And I couldn't have been more pleased when she said, "The time to unite is now - as a single party with a single purpose! We are on the same team . . . and it's a fight we must win together!" Okay, I'm a Hillary girl! She got me. And I couldn't have been more amazed as it was mainly because she just exuded the much-desired message of unqualified support for Obama and that special term "Unity." Even I believed her when she urged everyone to work for Obama's victory in November. So, she's either seen the light or I've seen a fantastic vision. There have been no cheering moments in this Convention (counting the loud and rolling applause for Michelle!) like tonight's. She owns this crowd. Hillary says "No way, no how, no McCain." And the house goes berserk with joy resounding throughout the Pepsi Center!!!! She says it comes down to you and your children's futures; that you taught me so much. She praised a woman with cancer who had lost her health insurance along with much else that she needed for a decent life, who asked her to campaign for her and her children's ability to get healthcare. Hillary even gave a shout out to "her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits!" What working woman could resist that? All right - obviously I'm speaking of Democratic working women. She then let her mood mellow as she gave fine tributes to Arkansas State Democratic Party Chair Bill Gwatney (who was murdered by a right-wing fanatic before the Convention began) and to that fabulous prosecutor, ex-judge, dynamic advocate for victims of sexual and domestic assault, reproductive justice and animal rights: the first African-American woman to represent Ohio in Congress, who had served five terms and was expected to easily win her sixth term, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, who died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm right before the Convention. Hillary then suddenly switched gears and began to address the issue that had everyone staying up past bedtime to grasp the final Clue puzzle piece when she asked "Were you in this campaign for me? Or were you in it for all the people of this country who feel invisible? She said that "there are no limits in the United States of America" and then began to list what type of President we needed, saying that "the genius of America had always depended on the genius of the people . . . . " She continued by saying that "Barack Obama knows that government is about the people, not the favored few." A remark that I was surprised to hear applauded so vigorously in this newly uncritical crowd. Hillary then declared forcefully that we had done it before under President Clinton and that we would do it again with President Obama, and that she couldn't wait to see the healthcare plan that covered every single American signed by President Obama. At that point she seemed to lose all discretion as she began to praise Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and even his wife, Jill Biden. I was so proud of her. What would she have done differently if she had been chosen as Vice President was the thought that was running constantly through my mind. "John McCain was my friend," she said, "but we don't need four more years of the last eight years." The applause had reached thunderclap volume at these words. And so she had figured out how to finesse that earlier faux pas with a grand gesture to their prior relationship. She even joked that it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities because "they are pretty much the same - you can't tell them apart!" And then she memorialized the anniversary of the achievement of the passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for American women. She said "My Mother was born before women had the right to vote and my daughter got to vote for her Mother for President of the United States." "If you want a taste of freedom, keep going!" Her enthusiasm was genuine and contagious. Every person in the Pepsi Center seemed to have caught her disease (quite happily) at one time or another during her speech. "We have to get going to elect Barack Obama," she stated as an end note. "Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance." I was surprised that Bill didn't immediately rush the stage to join her at this her last moment of victory during the Convention, but she got her solo moment in the sun. And the crowd went wild for her. Hillary Clinton: first woman Senate Majority Leader of the United States of America. And you thought the Convention wasn't going to be fun. Suzan ________________________________

"The Vulcan's Path to The Caspian Sea Basin"

So it really was all about pipelines (and oil) and who controls the petrol in the 21st century, which must have signified a nifty bridge back to the 20th c., built over the bones of those who had to die for its construction (but that's just unimportant collateral damage (courtesy of our treasure of a VP (DC))). The Vulcans, gods of fire and metalworking, are the savvy players of whom you need to know but little background (according to the MSM). The following essay only reminds me of what I've undoubtedly purposely (due to its soul-disturbing nature) forgotten from the days immediately after 9/11. One of my students at Elon University approached me and asked if he could make a presentation on the proposed pipeline in Afghanistan that had been vetoed by the Taliban, who were being portrayed as enablers of the newly infamous and dreaded al Qaeda (actually having names of members supplied to the media by the Bush Administration within hours of the 9/11 attack). I told him that I, personally, would like nothing better, but I was worried that my faculty advisers would take issue with why we were covering this topic in a sales, marketing and management course for sports managers. (My rationale for covering the international business news of the time had been that managers are affected by international events that cause economic chaos, and thus, an influx of immigration, knowledge of which would only make one a better manager.) If I'd only known. I could have been thrown out of there for a really good reason. But, back to the future. More than 10 days before the Democratic Convention's opening night of hopes and dreams for an enlightened American future, Scott Creighton had already published an essay in OpEd News that will quickly dispel any good thoughts for that future which you might presently be entertaining. At the end of his most intriguing/heart-convulsing narrative, he gives a timeline of events that puts to rest any idea one may have of a history of odd coincidences concerning the exploitation of the energy reserves of various countries in Asia and the Middle East. It's almost too pat a story to be believable. But after reading it, I dare you to tell me that at least 50% of this thriller isn't dead on. Oh, and I can't help thinking back to the guy who said something along the lines of (and I'm paraphrasing here) "You people keep talking about history and we'll be making real changes that affect history in such a massive way that it changes the paradigm." At this juncture it seems almost impossible to be able to catch up with this nuclear-armed paradigm change. (Emphasis marks were added and some editing was done to ensure legibility.) ____________________________________

OpEd News August 14, 2008 at 23:16:51 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Iran, and Pakistan; The Vulcan's Path to The Caspian Sea Basin Scott Creighton One of the first things this administration did was meet with Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force in early 2001. Those meetings were kept secret and they have refused to disclose who was actually there, and what was discussed. We all know that. (An aside from the editor - In the Wiki reference we find this bit of news: "On July 18, 2007, the Washington Post reported the names of those involved in the Task Force, including at least 40 meetings with interest groups, most of them from energy-producing industries. Among those in the meetings were James J. Rouse, then vice president of Exxon Mobil and a major donor to the Bush inauguration; Kenneth L. Lay, then head of Enron Corp.; Jack N. Gerard, then with the National Mining Association; Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute; and Eli Bebout, an old friend of Cheney's from Wyoming who serves in the state Senate and owns an oil and drilling company.") “The Washington Post reported on November 15, 2005 that it had obtained documents detailing how executives from major oil corporations, including Exxon-Mobil Corp., Conoco, Royal Dutch Shell Oil Corp., and the American subsidiary of British Petroleum met with Energy Task Force participants while they were developing national energy policy." Wiki One thing MOST don’t know, is that Ted Olsen defended the Vice President’s office in keeping these meetings secret before the Supreme Court. Olsen ALSO represented this administration in their bid to stop the recount in Florida, thus putting this administration in the White House. AND, his wife was on one of the planes during 9/11, and is the only one on record (according to Ted Olsen, since it was really HIS testimony ABOUT the phone calls (that the FBI in the case against the “20th hijacker” said didn’t happen) from Barbara) that established the whole “box-cutters” theme. (Ed's aside - Olsen defended President Reagan during the Iran-Contra affair, was asked by someone to act as attorney for convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard while he was in private practice, was nominated to the Office of Solicitor General by President Bush on February 14, 2001, was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 24, 2001 and took office on June 11, 2001.) Curious isn’t it? How ONE man is so intertwined in the whole story line. What don’t we know? One of the next things they did was meet with the Taliban, also in early 2001. You see, the oil companies that Bush, Rice, Perle, Cheney and MANY others in this administration, really work for, wanted a pipeline to span (Ed.'s note - "The Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline (TAP or TAPI) is a proposed natural gas pipeline being developed by the Asian Development Bank. The pipeline will transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India. Proponents of the project see it as a modern continuation of the Silk Road. The Afghan government is expected to receive 8% of the project's revenue.") from the new Mecca of oil reserves (Capsian Sea Basin) to the developing markets in South East Asia. They had been talking about it for years till the talks fell apart. Well, it seems the Taliban didn’t want what BushCo was selling in Jan. of 2001.
(Ed.'s aside - "Bush-Cheney/Big Oil and Afghanistan's Taliban negotiated for MONTHS over running a Caspian Sea oil pipeline through Afghanistan. Talks began in February and continued right on until only one MONTH before New York City's World Trade Center towers were demolished. DURING the course of these negotiations, the two parties were unable to agree upon a deal, MAINLY because Bush/Big Oil agents constantly upped the ante on the rather naive Taliban representatives: playing intimidation, bait & switch, and "shell" games relentlessly. The Taliban negotiators, understandably, became distrustful of the entire process, and less and less confident they were being dealt with in good faith. In the beginning of August, the Bush administration and its Big Oil cohorts delivered what amounted to an ultimatum to the Taliban. The Taliban representatives were reportedly told by Bush/Big Oil: Accept our offer of "a carpet of gold or you'll get a carpet of bombs." That's a DIRECT quote, according to French authors Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, who've just written a thoroughly-researched and heavily-documented book about the entire extraordinary business titled "Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth" ALSO revealed in the book is the fact that BUSH HIMSELF directly ordered the FBI and other U.S. law enforcement groups to BACK OFF on TERRORIST-RELATED INVESTIGATIONS while the oil pipeline negotiations were underway! In FACT, the FBI's Deputy Director John O'Neill resigned in July in protest over this outrageous and intolerable obstruction. And by the way: the whereabouts of one OSAMA BIN LADEN, then already firmly entrenched at the very top of the US's 'most-wanted terrorist' list during the entire course of these pipeline negotiations, was NEVER an issue with the Bush cartel. Never ONCE were the Taliban urged to hand bin Laden over for all those OTHER horrendous crimes Feds maintain bin Laden has been charged with committing over the years. And SO: barely a MONTH after the Bush administration sabotaged the negotiations with the Taliban regarding running the Caspian Sea oil pipeline through Afghanistan, the World Trade Center towers are bombed into oblivion, bringing about the currently ongoing UNDECLARED (and therefore illegal) 'war on terrorism'...that just HAPPENS to be directed at the Taliban in Afghanistan. The WTC was bombed -- according to Feds -- by the VERY SAME Osama bin Laden whom the very same Bush administration was so UNCONCERNED ABOUT during those JUST-WRECKED talks with the Taliban. NO ONE but the bush administration and their Big Oil allies/accomplices -- not the Taliban, not the Palestinians, not ANY other nation whether Islamic or otherwise -- not any other group, agency, force or faction on Earth stood to "GAIN" from the destruction of the World Trade Center which occurred only ONE MONTH after talks between the Bush administration and the Taliban fell apart due to outrageous threats and intimidation by Bush/Big Oil 'negotiators.')
So here we are folks. Think about the statement that Treasury Secretary (Paul) O’Neil made when he said that at the very first NSA meeting, the President was telling everyone that he wanted a reason to go into Iraq. Right off the bat. Now we know they forged papers, and threats with the help of Cheney’s Office of Special Plans. We know they lied 935 times to us in the press. We know they lied at the State of the Union Address. We know they handed off no-bid cost-plus contracts and divided up Iraq’s oil between those 4 companies… All that we know. But what the “progressive” media talking heads DON'T seem to know is that there was a reason that at that first NSA meeting, O’Neil didn’t hear talk about finding a way to get into Afghanistan… you see, they already had a plan for that. Rice’s “foreign policy” team had been working on that since ‘98 in George P. Shultz’s (life-long subordinate to D(avid) Rockefeller of Exxon Mobile and JP Morgan Chase fame) living room with the likes of Cheney and Wolfowitz, Perle (In July 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported that Perle had made plans to invest in oil interests in Iraq, in collaboration with Iraqi Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq) and Stephen Hadley. Was that it? Not quite. There was also Dov S. Zakheim; a man, who at the time, headed System Planning Corporation, a company that made . . . remote control systems for airliners to be used by the US Department of Defense for targeting practice of planes. That’s right; one member of the neo-con group The Vulcans, actually had access to systems that could fly 757’s by remote control. (Ed.'s note - Zakheim "served in various Department of Defense posts during the Reagan administration, including Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Planning and Resources from 1985 to 1987. As an Orthodox Jew, he gained notoriety for his involvement in ending the Israeli fighter program, the IAI Lavi. He argued that Israeli and U.S. interests would be best served by having Israel purchase F-16 fighters, rather than investing in an entirely new aircraft. . . . He was an Adjunct Scholar of the Heritage Foundation . . . (and) a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.") Then, as fate would have it, in 2001, Dov took a job with Rumsfeld’s Pentagon, where he became THE GUY responsible for finding out what happened to the $2 trillion dollars that Rumsfeld announced was missing, on Sept. 10th, 2001. Small world, huh? (As it just so happens, it was that specific office that was hit on Sept. 11th. One day later.) So you see? The bountiful prize of the Caspian Sea Basin, a place where the oil companies are already heavily invested, lies dead-center at the heart of what is happening in America right now. But they aren’t going there to prop-up our security as a nation. Just look at what has happened to the price of crude since 9/11. No, they aren’t interested in securing reserves to protect the “American Way of Life”. They are only interested in producing vast sums of wealth and power that will last for generations to come. What follows is a brief history of the War for Oil situation in the Middle East. It comes from here. I want you to pay careful attention to the entry about the offshoot Georgia Republic and its pipeline that runs thru it. That pipeline , called Western Early, is of key importance to Exxon and Chevron, who, by the way, are already setting up shop in the Caspian Sea. That Pipeline is important to move oil and gas reserves from the Caspian to the Black Sea. So, once again, we are involved in yet another war for oil. Most people just don’t know it yet. Think Iran is about nukes? Guess again. How could this criminal regime go thru all of this, just to allow Iran to finish construction of their pipeline that will do the same thing as the proposed Trans Afghan Pipeline, only faster and more directly? They couldn’t, because then there will be competition to move the Caspian Sea reserves to the ships waiting in the Gulf, so… guess what? When the bombs start flying you can bet your bottom dollar these areas will be strategical(ly) taken out, damaging the pipeline, and crippling a vast source of revenue for the Iranians. So, as we sit back waiting for Obama to save us; as we pat ourselves on the back telling each other just how incompetent this administration really is, I want you to know, at some point, just how much we have misunderstood the real foreign policy set so long ago by a group of heavily invested oil-barrons. (Click here for the table containing A Timeline of Oil and Violence.)
Still enjoying the Convention? Suzan ___________________________

Monday, August 25, 2008

Live From the Democratic Convention!!!

Let's hope that the Obama troops are able to keep this madness under control. The madness I'm addressing, of course, is that which always afflicts the Democratic Party whenever it scents sure victory. But as for me personally, I'm enjoying watching and reading about this convention (for now anyway) entirely for its own sake and my memories of past conventions that formed much of my political character. The first thing I got excited about was the piece about this bit of history courtesy of Victor Navasky of The Nation:
Thus, while most of those roaming the Elitch Gardens "Welcome to Denver" Saturday night party (billed as "A Celebration With Altitude"), were buzzing about Obama's selection of Joe Biden for Veep, my thoughts went back to the Democratic Convention in Miami in 1972. That was the year that George McGovern designated the ill-fated Tom Eagleton as his running-mate (later replaced by Sarge Shriver after the shocking revelation that he had undergone shock therapy). But as not many remember, that was also the year that Endicott "Chub" Peabody, the former governor of Massachusetts, announced his campaign for the Vice Presidential nomination under the slogan, "Endicott Peabody, the number one man for the number two job!" When I asked Dick Tuck, who had a sort of underground reputation as the Kennedys' court jester, what I should know about Peabody he said, "He's the only man in Massachusetts history who has had four towns named after him: Endicott, Peabody, Marblehead and Athol." This time around, not even Hillary campaigned for Vice President. But it nevertheless seems apparent that the only really spontaneous (in the sense of unplanned) moment will be on Hillary speech-night, when nobody knows what the diehard Hillary delegates will do, I think back to 1968 when I was covering the proceedings in Chicago for the New York Times Magazine, and I remember looking out the 18th-floor window of the Newsweek suite at the park across the street from the Hilton, where Allen Ginsberg, Jean Genet and others were working the crowd. One of the speakers interrupted his message (urging his listeners to "off the pigs") and shouted, "Everyone in the Hilton who agrees with us, blink your lights!," after which Newsweek's lights started blinking. I was standing next to Jim Ridgeway of the Village Voice, who turned to me and said, "It's a fucking revolution," at which point all non-Newsweek personnel were ordered to evacuate the premises. Although rallies and counter-convention panels and protests and marches (including one by a group called "Recreate Sixty Eight") are scheduled, my own suspicion is that this time around, the closest thing to serious protest action at the Denver convention itself, will come, if at all, from the Hillary camp. Not from Hillary, who today announced that she has released her delegates. But those who are involved in choreographing her convention moment, and those whom Gloria Steinem (a post-Hillary call-for-unity Obama supporter) and Trudy Mason of Common Good, have memorialized in a PUMA Party button, As Trudy Mason explained to me, a latecomer to the PUMA party, which has attracted much back-and-forth on the Internet, PUMA stands for "Party Unity My Ass."
And then there was Teddy Kennedy, who was introduced by his niece Caroline, and the shouts of "Teddy, Teddy, Teddy" that erupted from every row of the Pepsi Center and his "It's so wonderful to be here. And nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight." His intensity was a joy to behold (and a great surprise after the surgery for gliomal brain cancer on June 2 and his amazing recovery after the chemotherapy in time for the Convention (he arrived from a hospital stay in Denver where he had been checked out in order to ensure his level of health before leaving to give his speech)); and the fervor of his speech was not a whit changed from his earlier days of great political passion for his country and party, and in closing he unexpectedly promised to be present next January when the torch was passed to the next generation of Americans led by Barack Obama, which was answered by even more heart-stopping resounding applause. I was honored to have just heard Jim Leach's speech for Obama. He is representative of independent Republicans (not Rethuglicans) who have decided to support Obama because he wants to change the circumstances that his party has inflicted on our country (in the face of strident opposition from his party leaders). His speech sounded heartfelt, and David Brooks just said to Jim Lehrer on PBS that you could probably bet that he had written it himself. The short film before Michelle took the stage was almost tear-jerking in its sweetness about the Obamas as a couple, her parents' support and personal sacrifice for her and her brother's educational opportunities and herself as an American success story. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has also given a very compelling speech where she related her personal feelings saying "I know this son of a single mom will stand up for the dreams of our daughters. And I know John McCain won't." She also stated that Obama's candidacy was one that could truly lead the country to greatness, and then she spoke about Michelle Obama and her hopes for a Democratic victory, ending with a "Thank you and yes we can!!!" as she echoed Kennedy's words to explosive applause. Craig Robinson, Michelle's brother, who also attended Princeton as an undergraduate like Michelle did and is currently the basketball coach at Oregon State, was the next speaker. He presented a professionally perfect evocation of their life as they grew up, their Father who had been diagnosed with MS in his early 30's, and had passed away, and their Mother who had been so supportive of them and who also had assumed the task of taking care of the Obama children when their parents were campaigning. He listed a number of Obama's traits, ending with "He won't back down from any challenge," which I believe everyone there cheered (although I'm not sure about the PUMA's). It was quite noisy and flags were wildly waving. And then Michelle began to speak. She is so polished and such an accomplished speaker that I wouldn't be surprised if people began to tout her as a co-President. (Just kidding! Like they need that problem!) I loved her line that you could tell from her and her brother's college educations, which were gained in large part due to her parents' hard work and determination, that "the American dream endures" and that her husband had decided not to pursue a high-paying career as an attorney after Harvard Law, but to come back to Chicago to work to help people who lived in challenging situations and had had their jobs disappear after the closing of the steel mills. My favorite part of Michelle's speech was about her Father, probably because it reminded me of how I feel about my own Father. She said he "was our provider, our champion, our hero. As he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, it took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing — even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my Mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier, and worked a little harder." "He and my Mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child can receive: never doubting for a single minute that you're loved, and cherished, and have a place in this world." She then honored the two anniversaries being celebrated this week - the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, and the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington when "Dr. King lifted the sights of our nation" - to reverberative applause. Then, surprise, she hailed Hillary Clinton for putting "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling" with her accomplishments, Joe Biden for being a fighter from a lower-class socioeconomic background (originally upper-class in his Father's generation, devastated by economic chaos) who had risen to the highest levels in politics on his personal and professional merit, ending by saying "that is why I love this country," and that is why I work so hard to contribute to the life of this nation. She said that Barack knows the thread that connects us all, that hope that brings us together and the change that we need. She then added "And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us — no matter what our age or background or walk of life — each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation. It's a belief Barack shares — a belief at the heart of his life's work." She concluded with a vignette of how he brought her and their first daughter home from the hospital, crawling along at a snail's pace, so careful and protective of them both "peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he'd struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father's love." "And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they'll have families of their own. And one day, they — and your sons and daughters — will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They'll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country — where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House — we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be." "So tonight, in honor of my father's memory and my daughters' future — out of gratitude to those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment — let us devote ourselves to finishing their work; let us work together to fulfill their hopes; and let us stand together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America." She even said "God Bless America" at the end of her speech. For just a moment I thought I might be at the Republican Convention already. (Once again, just kidding!) It was a great speech that undoubtedly fulfilled its requirement of making the viewers much more comfortable with the beautiful, powerful black woman whose husband may become the President of the United States. And then Barack appeared on a widescreen TV on stage by satellite from Kansas City to comment on her speech stating that now we understood why he kept asking Michelle out again and again even after she kept turning him down. I have to say that those moments where he spoke to Michelle and traded remarks with his daughters about their Mother's speech were amazingly touching. Many of the women in the audience were seen wiping tears from their eyes, and several who were interviewed later said they were surprised to be so touched by her story of her life with her family. So, the gambit worked perfectly. If it was a gambit, and considering that this is political theater, it may have been, but like the Teddy moment, it worked wondrously. So, it was a clearly historic first day of the 2008 Democratic Convention and I enjoyed all the speeches and not so much the TV commentary. On a less epochal note, however, I have also been inundated with the sHillary forces' news of how they've been wronged, had their triumph stolen and were not going to stand for it. And then I got this article about how Bill also feels he's not being respected. I'm guessing they ultimately aren't going to be too upset if Obama doesn't win in November. After all, she will still be the Senate Majority Leader and Senator from a very powerful state (although Bill will not have a particularly easy entry into the Senate on a daily basis). Not a bad consolation prize. Suzan _________________________________________

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Are We Having Fun Yet?

I haven't posted since Friday night due to straining my neck muscles while doing (what again?) who knows what. I noticed I couldn't turn my head easily yesterday, and it is not improving. Whatever it was I did, I hope I don't do it again as I am paying for it dearly already. Another reason I've been loathe to post is that I saw the new sHillary (disguised as a McCain) commercial and haven't really recovered. Seems that even John McCain is complaining (watch the Rethuglican whine!) that our girl sHill has been "passed over" undeservedly. Now that Obama has chosen Jumpin' Joe Biden for his Veep slot, I guess that means McCain is free to offer sHill the number two spot for the Rethugs (and don't think she couldn't do the job - witness the Clinton years when they ended the idea of any type of concerned liberal government ("as we know it") that would ensure the common good and provide for the general welfare of all people). Nothing could surprise me at this juncture. I feel like we've been treated to more scenarios already than anyone could possibly entertain as politically liable during one lifetime. Those (including Elizabeth Edwards' terminal cancer, John Edwards' outing, sHillary's exposure as even more incompetent than most thought probable, the evidence damning Cheney and Bush for their numerous impeachable crimes and many, many more) along with the lawsuit being pursued by Philip Berg, one of sHill's supporters, which for some reason takes dead aim at the underpinnings of Obama's candidacy by questioning his citizenship and thus allegiance, thereby seemingly spooking the crowd and assuring his demise at the Convention long before the nomination has been secured, have made me jumpy - looking over my shoulder constantly (maybe that's how I hurt my neck!) for the police, wielding truncheons and tear gas, who are just waiting to take down those fond progressive Democrats who hoped against hope that Obama could triumph over maverickity McCain and throw them a few bones. I also can't get a certain thought to leave my horrified imagination that during the time (remember reading this?) that sHillary joined the fundie prayer group and became lifelong friends with the real con artists that somehow she and Karlotta Rover became friendly enough to enable them to pursue a joint political alliance which is just raising its cocky little head now. I put nothing past either of them. In my heart of hearts I just hope that the guy who spoke so intelligently, eloquently and sincerely will be rediscovered before we head into real election season and face the catastrophe that the Rovererd troops have been preparing for us since 2006. Fat chance. Suzan P.S. Any contributions you may be able to make to this blog's continued operation will be wholeheartedly appreciated. Kisses and hugs to those who have been supporting my efforts. I couldn't do it without you guys! ___________________________________

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Are our leaders making it easier for the Chinese to crack down on dissenters?"

After watching Bill Moyers' Journal tonight, I thought it had so many soul touchpoints that I should share the transcript with you. Some of the more relevant quotes follow, as I know you probably don't have time in which to read the whole transcript (emphasis marks are mine):

The middle class is disappearing, facing a decline in standards of living. So you'd hope that the Democrats in Denver next week and the Republicans in St. Paul the following week would confront this crisis head on and not just serenade struggling families with a chorus of sympathetic but meaningless sound bites. As wages stagnate, prices are soaring. Economists call this pain the "misery index." It's a combination of the unemployment and inflation rates, and it's what politicians have in mind when they ask, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Well, the misery index is the highest it's been since George Bush's father became president, seventeen years ago. When it comes to feeling the misery index, however, you don't go to the economists or the politicians. You go to where regular people live. And that's what we have been doing on this broadcast for months now. We've seen how the mortgage crisis has devastated neighborhoods in Cleveland, how workers in Los Angeles are scrambling for a living wage, and how gas and food prices are choking the ability of food pantries to stave off hunger here in metropolitan New York. - - - - - - - RICK KARR: At the JeffCo Action Center, Mag Strittmatter has a message for the political leaders who are on their way to the Mile High City. MAG STRITTMATTER: Take care of the middle class. Let's remember that, because that's what everyone aspires to do especially if you are in a disadvantaged place. You aspire to pull yourself to have that that place in life. And if it's eroded and gone, what's there to shoot for? BILL MOYERS: Everyone attending the Democratic Convention next week, especially those fat cats watching Barack Obama's acceptance speech from the million dollar skyboxes at INVESCO Field would do well to heed Mag Strittmatter's words, and those of Ken Rogoff, former Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund. At a conference in Singapore this week, Rogoff warned, "The US is not out of the woods. I think the financial crisis is at the halfway point, perhaps. I would even go further to say, the worst is to come." In other words, both Strittmatter and Rogoff are saying - more politely, of course - "It's the economy, stupid." - - - - - - - And General Electric, the Big Daddy of defense contracts and the parent company of NBC, stands to generate at least 1.7 billion dollars in profits off these Games. Nonetheless, among all the picturesque scenes of China accompanying the hundreds of hours of Olympic coverage, NBC has shown us practically nothing of the abuse of migrant workers who built the stadium, or the hundreds of thousands of people evicted to make room for the games, or of the Chinese journalists who have been punished for trying to tell the truth about their government. Look at these logos of the game's top 12 sponsors. These corporations spent 866 million dollars to become Olympic partners. Yet, when the organization Human Rights Watch asked them to speak out against the Chinese government's abuses, all of them, all of them refused. One corporate executive told Human Rights Watch: "It is not our comfort zone to criticize countries." Another declared: "That is the role of human rights organizations. In this respect we are from Mars, you're from Venus." That might be okay on Mars: No human beings, no human rights abuses. But here on Earth, human beings suffer from abuses by the powerful. Some of them fight back, against great odds. Zhang Shihe, known on the internet as Tiger Temple - he's been speaking out on his blog which he calls "24 Hours Online," and with our producer Jessica Wang. ZHANG SHIHE: The underrepresented are the most helpless. But they're all hidden away out of sight, not spoken of. BILL MOYERS: Zhang belongs to the so-called Lost Generation of China, people whose formal education was stymied by the anti-intellectual furies of the Cultural Revolution. In his youth, this son of a card-carrying Communist worked in a steel factory, then became a bookseller. But after the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, he shuttered his stores. And today, he publishes on the internet. ZHANG SHIHE: I've already lived over half my life, and I have less than half more to live. So I document real life - it's the best I can do. I have a duty to record life's truths, since right now the real history isn't being told. - - - - - - - JI SIZUN: We want to protest official corruption, no phoniness. This is our lawful right. The Chinese government has made this promise to the entire world; they shouldn't go back on their word. You should do what you say, not lie to the international society, not deceive the common people. BILL MOYERS: With a small group of media in tow as protection, Ji went to police headquarters to file his request. One of his friends had come here just days before to seek permission and he vanished. Right away, Ji was treated as a suspect. For three hours, he was interrogated in a closed room. He emerged defiant and frustrated. JI SIZUN: We had a heated discussion. They won't approve anything. They won't even accept my application. BILL MOYERS: As Ji left, plainclothes police kept him under surveillance. This is one of three parks in Beijing that the government set aside for demonstrations. We didn't see a banner, picket sign or protester in sight. In fact, all these days into the Olympics, the government has yet to permit a single demonstration in any of the official protest zones. Except for strollers, the park was empty, because China claims that only 77 applications were filed, and all but three were withdrawn, says the government, because the petitioners had their complaints satisfied. Those other three? "Oh", says China, "turned down on technicalities." Nothing is as it seems. Two days later, Ji went back to the police station to ask about his missing friend. Witnesses said Ji was led by plainclothes policemen into a dark sedan, then gone...disappeared. - - - - - - - No American has had a closer look at China's abuses than my guest, Philip Pan. A graduate of Harvard who studied Chinese at Peking University, Philip Pan was the Beijing bureau chief of the WASHINGTON POST between the years 2000 and 2007. He traveled far and wide in the country and his reporting won awards from the Asia Society and the Overseas Press Club. He's now enroute to Moscow where he will be the POST's new bureau chief. But he stopped in New York to talk with me about his new book: Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China. BILL MOYERS: Why is that? If they wanted to send a valentine to the west and say, "Look at us, we're really changing," why these crackdowns? PHILIP PAN: Part of the answer is that the priority isn't really with the Olympics. Their priority really isn't the west. They want to use this Olympics to send a message to their own people, most of all. They want to demonstrate to the Chinese people that their government is legitimate, that it has been successful, and that world approves of the government. And when I say "this government", I mean the one-party system, in effect. You know, communism as an ideology is dead, essentially. But the Communist Party needs something to justify its continuing rule. And using the Olympics was part of their strategy, I think. BILL MOYERS: So do you think that they cracked down on dissenters before the games in part, to keep them from spoiling the celebration? PHILIP PAN: Oh, yes. They're worried about what the Chinese people think of the Party. They don't want the Chinese people to know that there are other voices. They want to present a united front, that this is an effective government, that everyone is happy with it, that this political system, a one-party political system merged with capitalism, can be just as effective as a democratic system in the west. And they want their people to believe that. BILL MOYERS: Watching President Bush there at the games, I thought back to when he said, "Trade freely with China, and time is on our side." And I thought of President Bill Clinton, who went there and said, "The spirit of liberty is coming to China, just as inevitably, the Berlin Wall fell." Are our leaders making it easier for the Chinese to crack down on dissenters? PHILIP PAN: That's a tough question. I think we have this assumption in the west that free markets lead to free societies, that capitalism will lead to democracy in China. That it's almost an automatic process. Once income levels reach a certain level there, that this political liberalization is going to happen in China, just as it did in other parts of the world. But my argument would be that it's not automatic, certainly. You know, we've seen 30 years now of strong economic growth, and the party is arguably stronger now than it has been ever, in these past 30 years. The party has been able to use capitalism to strengthen its hold on power. At the same time, though, the party has retreated in many ways. Its people have much more personal freedom than ever before. Because so many people have been lifted out of poverty, they have many more options in life. So it's a mixed picture. But I think it would be naïve for policy makers to assume that this is going to be an automatic process, that, you know, we just have to continue to trade with China, and the political change is just going to happen. This party is determined to hold on to power. And they're not going to let anything happen without a fight. BILL MOYERS: I was watching the beach volleyball the other night. And suddenly, I got up and looked at the T-shirt I was wearing. And it had a "Made in China" label. Help us understand what life is like for the women who made that T-shirt. PHILIP PAN: Most of the women in these factories, they're from the countryside, poor villages. Many of them are young, often underage, who have been pulled out of school because their parents can't afford to pay the taxes just based on their farm income. They have to send their children to the cities to make extra income, in order to just pay taxes. Their opportunities are limited. In these factories, their rights are limited as well. They cannot form unions. They have very few venues to complain about working conditions. And because the labor force is so large, they have little leverage as well, in terms of wages. At the same time, though, these factories are paying them much more than they could have ever made in the countryside. And so, they're willing to take these jobs, and often times, they improve their lives through these jobs, if they can survive the conditions. BILL MOYERS: In other accounts, I read of women crammed into dark and damp dormitories, working seven days a week with three days a year off. Their workshops filled with smoke, their eyes burning and watery, the skin on their hands peeling and painful. I read of 50,000 fingers slashed off in China every year, of more than a million workers contacting fatal diseases, of workers trying to organize, as you say, and being beaten and hauled to jail. And the picture that emerges to me is of a communist police state enforcing the most extreme model of capitalism. PHILIP PAN: There are officials in this party who still cling to the old communist values, I would guess, of egalitarianism, of labor rights. You know, after all, this party did promise a worker's paradise. And so, there are parts of the party that are concerned about this issue. And other parts of the party are also concerned, just simply because they're worried that if conditions get too bad, they would have a revolution on their hands. But generally, yes. You know, they call themselves Communist, but they've adopted a form of capitalism, capitalism without democratic checks on it, essentially. And so, you have market forces in the extreme, as you say, with very few options for workers to fight back. BILL MOYERS: What makes them Communist? PHILIP PAN: Well, that's a good question. I've asked them that. They have long answers about ideology and all that, how this capitalism is only a temporary phase, that they're using this to achieve real communism. But there are aspects of the political system, I think, that recall communism. I don't know if it's the communism that Marx might have envisioned. But it's still a one-party state. They still have a propaganda bureau. They still control the press and the television stations and the radio stations. BILL MOYERS: But one could say that of fascism, or could say that of any dictatorship, but they still proudly call themselves Communist? PHILIP PAN: Well, they're not willing to let go of that legacy. The party has built its reputation on the revolution in 1949, the Communist Revolution. Even though there were 29 years of violence and famine under Mao, Mao is still revered by many people as a hero. They need that history in order to stay in power. It's a history that they've defined. But they need that in order to stay in power. PHILIP PAN: They call themselves Communists, but they're only in power, really, because they've been able to deliver economic growth now. And they believe that the only way to deliver this economic growth is through this extreme form of capitalism. They're worried that if they allowed checks on the market forces, that if they allowed workers to organize, that their own political power would be threatened. BILL MOYERS: Last year, there was something of a revolt in several factories, after workers doing 50-hour shifts died of organ failures, the workers rose up and demanded some change. The government seemed, for a while, to be panicky, to be willing to give them some of their rights, even to let them have elected trade unions. But American corporations, Microsoft, Nike, Ford, Dell, among others, working through the American Chamber of Commerce, threatened to take their business elsewhere if the Chinese government allowed these workers to organize. What should we make of that? PHILIP PAN: I think it's a little bit more complicated. I think the Communist Party is never really going to allow workers to organize, though. That's the first thing. BILL MOYERS: Even though the coal miners' effort to organize their revolt triggered the start of the Communist Party many years ago? PHILIP PAN: That's right, that's right. This party was built on this promise of workers' rights. But right now, they are much more concerned about the economy. And for them, that means suppressing worker rights, essentially. Many of the factory managers themselves are party officials, or are relatives to party officials. BILL MOYERS: But are American corporations, are we American consumers, is the American government sticking our fingers in our ears while our businesses work with a Communist government to make sure workers don't get their rights? PHILIP PAN: Yeah. I think American companies, well, let's put it this way. The factories in China that are run by American companies, are only a few, because most of the Americans subcontract to Chinese factories. The ones that are run by American companies, conditions are generally better. So let's put that out there first. BILL MOYERS: Right. PHILIP PAN: At the same time, though, most of the products that we purchase here that are sold by American companies; they buy them from Chinese factories. And I don't think they're doing enough. BILL MOYERS: Like my T-shirt? PHILIP PAN: Like your T-shirt, almost certainly. It's not going to be made by an American factory. It will be made by a Chinese factory. And I don't think the American companies are probably not doing enough to see what kind of, they don't want to see what kind of standards workers are . . . BILL MOYERS: Look the other way? PHILIP PAN: The interesting thing is, if the American business community wanted to take a stronger stand for labor rights in China, if they wanted, for some reason, to push for the right to organize labor unions, I think the government might consider it. But especially since this is supposed to be a Communist Party. But I don't see any real pressure from American companies to push for labor unions. Wal-Mart, for example. They don't actually own factories there. But Wal-Mart runs stores all across China. And they've been - even the Chinese government there's actually one labor union in China. It's run by the party. It's not a real labor union. But even that fake labor union, which is essentially a tool of management in most factories even that fake labor union, Wal-Mart doesn't want in their stores. For them it seems this company it seems, I think this is just that they have a strong anti-union stance, and they just don't want to give into this. Even though it would really not affect their bottom line at all. It's just a principle they have. But the larger picture is that we have multinational companies, not just American firms, but from around the world. Especially from overseas Chinese communities investing in China. They believe that they're improving the lives of these workers. And in many ways, they are. At the same time, though, there are abuses. Because frankly, most of these companies subcontract to Chinese companies, and these Chinese managers are often in bed with the party officials. They can easily pay bribes to avoid the inspectors who are supposed to enforce Chinese labor standards. I've heard from the companies, the factories that make goods for Wal-Mart, for example, that Wal-Mart is so insistent on the lowest price, that they are forced to do all they can to cut costs. And inevitably, that would mean tougher, lower wages and longer hours, and less safe conditions for workers. BILL MOYERS: Here's something we didn't hear about during the Olympics, Philip. A report by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington that the growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost our economy 2.3 million jobs over the last seven years. Are these lost American jobs subsidizing a communist regime? PHILIP PAN: Well, these lost American jobs are being replaced by jobs in China. And these jobs are taken by people who are even worse off than American workers, and who are, you know, this is a tremendous opportunity for many of these Chinese workers. Their lives are improving. At the same time, you ask a very tough question. Does the fact that we're improving, that we're helping to improve the lives of people in China mean the government is stronger? And I think inevitably, that's true.
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August 22, 2008 BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the JOURNAL. Working Americans, and that's most people, are experiencing the "big squeeze." In fact, they're trying to survive one of the most profound social and economic changes in our history. The middle class is disappearing, facing a decline in standards of living. So you'd hope that the Democrats in Denver next week and the Republicans in St. Paul the following week would confront this crisis head on and not just serenade struggling families with a chorus of sympathetic but meaningless sound bites. As wages stagnate, prices are soaring. Economists call this pain the "misery index." It's a combination of the unemployment and inflation rates, and it's what politicians have in mind when they ask, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Well, the misery index is the highest it's been since George Bush's father became president, seventeen years ago. When it comes to feeling the misery index, however, you don't go to the economists or the politicians. You go to where regular people live. And that's what we have been doing on this broadcast for months now. We've seen how the mortgage crisis has devastated neighborhoods in Cleveland, how workers in Los Angeles are scrambling for a living wage, and how gas and food prices are choking the ability of food pantries to stave off hunger here in metropolitan New York. TOM MCGARRY: For a while I was very cynical and I looked down my nose at a lot of people, but now I am one of those people that I looked down on. BILL MOYERS: This week, we go to the city of the hour - Denver, the site of the Democratic National Convention. Nearly 75,000 people will gather in the Mile High City as Barack Obama makes history by becoming the first African American to be nominated by a major party for president. But outside the convention center doors, history of a different, more prosaic sort is being made. This year oil hit a record high - $147 a barrel when last year, it was less than half that - around $68. A loaf of bread is up 14% from last year, a dozen eggs is up 33%, and pizza makers have seen the cost of their cheese soar from $1.30 to $1.76. Flour used to make the dough has tripled in price. As these prices soar, the value of homes is sinking. One in three home buyers since 2003 now owe more than their property's estimated worth. Not only has home equity plummeted, so has the value of other holdings, like stocks and bonds and pensions, the investments families count on as a cushion during hard times. So America's middle class, our "fearful families" as some people call them, is taking it on the chin. The history-making nominations aside, all the rhetoric from all the speakers at next week's Democratic Convention will be so much hot air above the Rockies unless the party comes to grip with how people are living and hurting today. Just imagine what might happen if instead of going to all the shindigs being paid for by all the wealthy donors and corporations next week, the Democratic faithful - and their candidates - spread out across Denver's neighbors, and listened to people caught in the big squeeze. That's what our producer Betsy Rate and correspondent Rick Karr did just the other day. RICK KARR: The line started early in the morning, outside a school in a middle-class suburb of Denver. Parents and their kids queued up for a little help, something to tide them over in tough economic times. Within a few hours, there were scores of people in line - not for free food, or clothes, or vouchers to take the sting out of gas prices - but for free school supplies. A local aid agency has been doing this for ten years, but this year, far more families showed up than ever before. Jolene Montoya picked up things for her three kids at the event. She says she was laid off a few months ago, so she simply can't afford to buy everything that her kids need for school.
Read the rest of the transcript here.
And I think one of the disappointing things about President Bush's performance is that he hasn't been focused so much on individual cases and I think that many of the activists overseas and in China believe that if he had focused on individual cases for example, if he had brought up this blind lawyer, Mr. Chen, in public, or even in private, with the Chinese leadership, that could have an effect. Now, some people say, "Oh, individuals. That's just individual cases. That's not going to have a long term effect on the country." But I think that these are the individuals who are changing the country. For example, you have evidence of this in other countries as well. If we hadn't pushed for Nelson Mandela's release from prison in South Africa, maybe events would have turned out differently there as well. So these individuals can make a difference if we help them. BILL MOYERS: The book is Out of Mao's Shadow. Philip Pan, thank you for being with me on the Journal. PHILIP PAN: Thanks for having me. BILL MOYERS: We try to deal with reality on the JOURNAL and all too often that means bad news. But there's a lot you can do to make a difference. On our website at www.pbs.org you'll find out more about organizations that you can support that fight human rights abuses in China. There's also a map that will show you the location of food banks and other social services at which you can volunteer. Look at it at pbs.org.
Thank you for your attention. Suzan _____________________________________

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Pakistan Slow-Fadeout

I have to admit that I've been awaiting the chance to dissect what's been happening in Pakistan since, well, oh, since 9/11 actually. One of the fun things I got to do (and I know there was really no fun involved) as a teacher during the shock-and-awe(struck) time accompanying the 9/11 attack was to be able to point out all the odd occurrences happening then, one of which was the sudden discovery of Pakistan as one of the U.S.'s bestest allies in the Global War on Terror! Yes, I did mention the word irony several times to my class when discussing the history of A.Q. Khan (which was not unknown even then). And when I see official statements now like "al Qaeda was not a high priority for the Bush Administration," I feel the need to disclose that the word irony once again leaps to the forefront of my mind's Pavlovian response mechanism (and also the word liar). But I have to admit that while I give Cheney's troops high marks for dirty tricks and inside information misusage, that it's hard, ain't it hard?,* to discount their undoubted knowledge of the prevailing political environment in favor of what looks like purposive sublime ignorance. Oh, and don't miss the exposé of the demand for the announcement of the capture of a "high value target" (HVT) on the last three days of the Democratic Convention. Now that's just good timing (no irony discovered there at all). (Emphasis marks are mine.) Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy, has stated somewhat baldly in the Inter Press Service News Agency that President Pervez Musharraf's resignation on Monday "has brought to an end an extraordinarily close relationship between Musharraf and the George W. Bush administration, in which Musharraf was lavished with political and economic benefits from the United States despite policies that were in sharp conflict with U.S. security interests."

It is well known that Bush repeatedly praised Musharraf as the most loyal ally of the United States against terrorism, even though the Pakistani military was deeply compromised by its relationship with the Taliban and Pakistani Islamic militants. What has not been reported is that the Bush administration covered up the Musharraf regime's involvement in the activities of the A.Q. Khan nuclear technology export programme and its deals with al Qaeda's Pakistani tribal allies. The problem faced by the Bush administration when it came into office was that the Pakistani military, over which Musharraf presided, was the real terrorist nexus with the Taliban and al Qaeda. As Bruce Riedel, National Security Council (NSC) senior director for South Asia in the Bill Clinton administration, who stayed on the NSC staff under the Bush administration, observed in an interview with this writer last September, al Qaeda "was a creation of the jihadist culture of the Pakistani army". If there was a state sponsor of al Qaeda, Riedel said, it was the Pakistani military, acting through its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate. Vice President Dick Cheney and the neoconservative-dominated Bush Pentagon were aware of the intimate relationship between Musharraf's regime and both the Taliban and al Qaeda. But al Qaeda was not a high priority for the Bush administration. After 9/11, the White House created the political myth that Musharraf, faced with a clear choice, had "joined the free world in fighting the terrorists". But as Asia expert Selig S. Harrison has pointed out, on Sep. 19, 2001, just six days after he had supposedly agreed to U.S. demands for cooperation against the Taliban regime and al Qaeda, Musharraf gave a televised speech in Urdu in which he declared, "We are trying our best to come out of this critical situation without any damage to Afghanistan and the Taliban."
I guess the cat is out of the bag. (So to speak.) At last, even if it's on the day Musharraf goes into regal retirement, first to Saudi Arabia to make some sort of fake religious gesture to Allah's goodness (and maybe it's not fake!), and then on for a pickup at the London branch of the Bank of England (funded by the U.S., undoubtedly). At least we taxpayers know our money is going to a good cause.
In his memoirs, published in 2006, Musharraf revealed the seven specific demands he had been given and claimed that he had refused both "blanket overflight and landing rights" and the use of Pakistan's naval ports and air bases to conduct anti-terrorism operations. Musharraf also famously wrote that, immediately after 9/11, Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage had threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the stone age" if Musharraf didn't side with the United States against bin Laden and his Afghan hosts. But Armitage categorically denied to this writer, through his assistant, Kara Bue, that he had made any threat whatsoever, let alone a threat to retaliate militarily against Pakistan. For the next few years, Musharraf played a complicated game. The CIA was allowed to operate in Pakistan's border provinces to pursue al Qaeda operatives, but only as long as they had ISI units accompanying them. That restricted their ability to gather intelligence in the northwest frontier. At the same time, ISI was allowing Taliban and al Qaeda leaders to operate freely in the tribal areas and even in Karachi. The Bush administration also gave Musharraf and the military regime a free ride on the A. Q. Khan network's selling of nuclear technology to Libya and Iran, even though there was plenty of evidence that the generals had been fully aware of and supported Khan's activities. Journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins wrote in their book The Nuclear Jihadist that one retired general who had worked with Khan told them there was no question that Khan had acted with the full knowledge of the military leadership. "Of course the military knew," the general said. "They helped him." But the Bush administration chose to help Musharraf cover up that inconvenient fact. According to CIA Director George Tenet's memoirs, in September 2003, he confronted Musharraf with the evidence the CIA had gathered on Khan's operation and made it clear he was expected to end its operations and arrest Khan. The following January and early February, Khan's house arrest, public confession of guilt and pardon by Musharraf was accompanied by an extraordinary series of statements by high-ranking Bush administration officials exonerating Musharraf and the military of any involvement in Khan's activities. That whole scenario had been "carefully orchestrated with Musharraf", Larry Wilkerson, then a State Department official but later Colin Powell's chief of staff, told IPS in an interview last year. The deal that had been made did not require Musharraf to allow U.S. officials to interrogate Khan. But the Bush administration apparently conveyed to the Pakistani military after that episode that it now expected the Musharraf regime to deliver high-ranking al Qaeda officials -- and to do so at a particularly advantageous moment for the administration. The New Republic magazine reported Jul. 15, 2004 that a White House aide had told the visiting head of ISI, Ehsan ul-Haq, that "it would be best if the arrest or killing of any HVT [high value target] were announced on 26, 27 or 28 July." Those were the last three days of the Democratic National Convention. The military source added, "If we don't find these guys by the election, they are going to stick the whole nuclear mess up our a**hole." Just hours before Democratic candidate John Kerry's acceptance speech, Pakistan announced the capture of an alleged al Qaeda leader. Meanwhile, Musharraf was making a political pact with a five-party Islamic alliance in 2004 to ensure victory in state elections in the two border provinces where Islamic extremist influence was strongest. This explicit political accommodation, followed by a military withdrawal from South Waziristan, gave the pro-Taliban forces allied with al Qaeda in the region a free hand to recruit and train militants for war in Afghanistan. Yet another deal with the Islamic extremists in 2006 strengthened the pro-Taliban forces even further. But Bush chose to reward Musharraf by designating Pakistan a "Major Non-NATO Ally" in 2004 and by agreeing to sell the Pakistani Air Force 36 advanced F-16 fighter planes. Prior to that, Pakistan had been denied U.S. military technology for a decade. In July 2007, a National Intelligence Estimate concluded that al Qaeda's new "safe haven" was in Pakistan's tribal areas and that the terrorist organisation had reconstituted its "homeland attack capability" there. That estimate ended the fiction that the Musharraf regime was firmly committed to combating al Qaeda in Pakistan. Had the Bush administration accurately portrayed Musharraf's policies rather than hiding them, it would not have avoided the al Qaeda safe haven there. But it would have facilitated a more realistic debate about the real options available for U.S. policy. * H/T to The Kingston Trio. - - - - - - - The paperback edition of Porter's latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006.
On to the next? Suzan __________________________________________

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Are You Worried About the Avian Flu Biowar Vaccine (Yet)?

Your Tax Dollars At Work Polish Doctors Testing New Flu Vaccine from French Company Made in China There Are No Coincidences The Deep Game Continues on Schedule? Blacklisted News (Independent Media for Independent Minds) has published, under the title World at War, F. William Engdahl's evidence in Global Research that the Pentagon has "weaponized" Avian flu. You will not believe this essay. Kinda puts the Georgia furor in perspective, doesn't it? Or maybe not so much (after you've clicked on the link to Engdahl's website and seen his take on this and lots more). Much scarier. Please read his essay below, or by clicking on the title link, and don't forget to click on over to his website if you have time as it is pure dynamite. (Emphasis marks and some editing corrections are mine.) ___________________________________________

The Pentagon's alarming project: Avian Flu Biowar Vaccine F. William Engdahl 15-08-2008 Global Research - - - - - - - - There is alarming evidence accumulated by serious scientific sources that the US Government is about to or already has ‘weaponized’ Avian Flu. If the reports are accurate, this could unleash a new pandemic on the planet that could be more devastating than the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic which killed an estimated 30 million people worldwide before it eventually died out. Pentagon and NIH experiments with remains in frozen state of the 1918 virus are the height of scientific folly. Is the United States about to unleash a new racially selective pandemic through the process of mandatory vaccination with an alleged vaccine "against" Avian Flu? - - - - - - - - There is reason to believe that sections of the international pharmaceutical industry cartel are acting in concert with the US Government to develop a genetically modified H5N1 virus substance that could unleash a man-made pandemic, perhaps more deadly than the 1918 ‘Spanish Influenza’ pandemic claiming up to 30 million lives.1 Rima E. Laibow, MD, head of the Natural Solutions Foundation, a citizen watchdog group monitoring the pharmaceutical industry states, "Our best intelligence estimate is that pandemic Avian Flu has already been created through genetic engineering in the United States, fusing the deadly genome of the 1918 Pandemic, misnamed the ‘Spanish Flu’, with the DNA of the innocuous H5N1 virus in a growth medium of human kidney cells, according to the National Institutes of Health and the vaccine’s manufacturer. Some virologists believe that this would insure that the man-made mutant virus recognizes human cells and knows how to invade them." 2 If true, as Laibow points out, "A basic virological fact that the public has not been told is that it is impossible to make a vaccine against a virus that does not yet exist. Public relations efforts to the contrary, IF a vaccine is being made against the Avian Flu virus in its pandemic form, that means that the pandemic virus must already exist, period, end of discussion."3 The genome of the 1918 pandemic, the so-called "Spanish Flu", was recently intentionally resurrected by the United States government from a frozen corpse that died of the flu in 1918 in Alaska. Because of that resurrection, both the Avian Flu, and its "vaccine" are now a significant threat to public health. The Spanish Flu, which was not Spanish at all, was created in the US through an early bioweapons program and injected into healthy young men (i.e., ’soldiers’) as the first mandatory vaccination in the military during World War I. The "Spanish Flu", which originated in Kansas on US Military bases, was one of the deadliest pandemics in modern history. It was also one of the most successful biological weapons ever created, until now. Aspartame and Tyson Foods doubts To date, there have only been around 385 human cases of Avian Flu identified worldwide (assuming those identifications are trustworthy, of course), with 243 deaths. To put the absurdity of this effort into perspective, Laibow points out, Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD), which researchers believe is heavily associated with aspartame consumption, is a leading cause of death which, according to the CDC, for example, killed 460,000 Americans in 1999 and the numbers keep rising (www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5106a3.htm.) But, aspartame is not under criticism. Interesting as a footnote on Aspartame, G.D. Searle, the Chicago drugs company that held the patent on Aspartame was in danger of losing its license from the US Government Food & Drug Administration in the 1980’s until Donald Rumsfeld, out of Government, was named President of Searle. Rumsfeld used his contacts in Washington to get the FDA to approve Aspartame despite known tests showing serious health effects on rats. As I document in detail in my book, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, the same Don Rumsfeld went on to become chairman and principal stockholder of a California pharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences Inc., which developed and patented Tamiflu in 1996, first as a drug for AIDS, later as a vaccine for H5N1 Avian Flu. In 1997 Donald H. Rumsfeld was named Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, where he remained until early 2001 when he became Defense Secretary. As Secretary he refused to sell his stock at the time he came under conflict of interest allegations when he ordered $1 billion worth of Tamiflu be bought to (be) injected into the US military personnel as a "precaution." It was later proven that Tamiflu was in no antidote for H5N1 and its side effects were sometimes very severe. Laibow adds, "Given the shockingly obvious lack of any threat from an un-weaponized H5N1 virus, how can we explain the Bush Administration spending billions of dollars preparing each of the 50 States, for what it calls the ‘inevitable Bird Flu pandemic,’ which they say could kill half or more of all Americans and similar numbers of people around the globe?"4 Ominously, on June 3, Associated Press reported, "Tyson Foods Inc. has begun killing and burying the carcasses of 15,000 hens from a flock that tested positive for exposure to a strain of the bird flu in northwest Arkansas, state officials said Tuesday." Tyson Foods is the largest industrialized producer of chickens in the world and has been repeatedly under attack for its unsanitary conditions of breeding and slaughtering. In January 2005, a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to the US Senate, "Safety in the Meat and Poultry Industry," concluded that US meat and poultry processing plants had "one of the highest rates of injury and illness of any industry." They cited exposure to "dangerous chemicals, blood, faecal matter, exacerbated by poor ventilation and often extreme temperatures. Workers typically faced hazardous conditions, loud noise, must work in narrow confines with sharp tools and dangerous machinery." The industrialization of chicken-raising and slaughtering in the USA has progressed to the point that by 2003 when the first cases of H5N1 Avian Flu virus were reported from Asia, five giant multinational agribusiness companies dominated the production and processing of chicken meat in the United States. The five companies were Tyson Foods, the largest in the world; Gold Kist Inc; Pilgrim’s Pride; ConAgra Poultry; and Perdue Farms.5 Most outbreaks of Avian Flu in Asia have been traced back to such mass chicken industrial factory centers.6 In May this year, The Canadian Press reported from Toronto, "An experiment mating H5N1 avian flu viruses and a strain of human flu in a laboratory produced a surprising number of hybrid viruses that were biologically fit, a new study reveals. And while none of the offspring viruses was as virulent as the original H5N1, about one in five were lethal to mice at low doses, showing they retained at least a portion of the power of their dangerous parent." 7 The Toronto article went on, "The work suggests that under the right circumstances - and no one is clear what all of those are - the two types of flu viruses could swap genes in a way that might allow the H5N1 virus to acquire the capacity to trigger a pandemic. That process is called reassortment. ‘This study is just showing exactly that: There is a risk this virus can successfully reassort with a human virus,’ said Richard Webby, director of the World Health Organization's collaborating centre for influenza research at St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee." 8 Pentagon Bioweapon research Prof. Mathew Meselson, a professor of molecular biology at Harvard, and well-respected scientist in the area of chemical and biological warfare, confirms that the United States government has extensively researched and developed biological weapons in the past. Meselson described an American facility, north of Terre Haute, Indiana, built in 1944 that would have produced 500,000 four pound anthrax bombs monthly once in full operation. Meselson was part of a team that proved the accidental release of anthrax at a Soviet facility in 1979, disproved charges of biological warfare in Laos and Cambodia in the late 1970s, and was a driving force behind popularizing the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1994. Since coming in office, the Bush-Cheney Administration has done much to weaken that Chemical Weapons Convention as well as ones on biological weapons. One of George W. Bush’s first acts as President in early 2001 was to oppose a proposed international Biological and Toxic Weapons Protocol, without explanation, leading to the death of the talks. In a 2004 study, the British Medical Association warned that the world was perhaps only a few years away from "terrifying biological weapons capable of killing only people of specific ethnic groups," citing advances in genetic weapons technology. 9 The US Department of Homeland Security has ominously enough announced it is ordering production and stockpiling of a pandemic influenza vaccine: "The U.S. Government is taking steps to minimize the need to make vaccine allocation decisions by supporting efforts to increase domestic influenza vaccine production capacity. Significant funding is being provided to develop new vaccine technologies that allow production of enough pandemic influenza vaccine for any person in the United States who wants to be vaccinated within six months of a pandemic declaration."10 The curious role of Sanofi Pasteur The US Government has been financing the development of a vaccine against H5N1 on a "fast track" basis since 2004. Sanofi Pasteur in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania, a subsidiary of the giant French pharmaceutical firm, the third largest in the world, manufactured an inactivated vaccine made from an H5N1 virus isolated in Southeast Asia in 2004. Sanofi Pasteur, part of the French-based Sanofi Aventis Group, was awarded a contract by the US Government’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NIAID to manufacture the H5N1 vaccine in May 2004.11 In April 2007 the FDA approved the Sanofi Pasteur vaccine for H5N1 even though one year before the FDA cited Sanofi Pasteur for producing contaminated Fluzone vaccines.12 Th(at th)e FDA approved H5N1 vaccine is itself apparently not really effective in event of a human-to-human outbreak of Avian Flu. On announcing its approval, the FDA stated, "two injections given 28 days apart may provide ‘limited’ protection if a pandemic occurs. About 45% of people who got the vaccine in a study developed an immune response to the virus."13 Until now H5N1 has not mutated into a form that can easily spread from person to person. Is that what the researchers at Sanofi Pasteur and various labs under contract to the US Government are engaged in? If so it would be classified Top Secret, clearly. The respected British magazine, New Scientist, commented, "If H5N1 does mutate, it is unclear if vaccines developed now would still work against a pandemic strain. Manufacturers could tailor a new vaccine to that strain, but current production methods take months."14 The magazine noted that research on the Sanofi vaccine was conducted by the National Institutes of Health as part of the US Government's efforts to prepare for a flu pandemic. The salient question is whether they prepare "for a flu pandemic" or whether they prepare a flu pandemic. Why is the US Government spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to stockpile this H5N1 vaccine which likely would not work against such a pandemic outbreak? On July 2, 2008, the London Daily Telegraph newspaper reported, "Three Polish doctors and six nurses are facing criminal prosecution after a number of homeless people died following medical trials for a vaccine to the H5N1 bird-flu virus." 15 The report added that the medical staff, from the northern town of Grudziadz, were being investigated over medical trials on as many as 350 homeless and poor people last year, which prosecutors say involved an untried vaccine to the highly-contagious virus. Authorities claim that the alleged victims received €3 to be tested with what they thought was a conventional flu vaccine but, according to investigators, was actually an anti bird-flu drug. The director of a Grudziadz homeless centre, Mieczyslaw Waclawski, told a Polish newspaper that last year, 21 people from his centre died, a figure well above the average of about eight. The Polish report did not specify if it was the vaccine being developed under contract to the US Government Department of Homeland Security by Sanofi-Pasteur. However, it is known that Sanofi-Pasteur has been producing large quantities of such a vaccine at a factory they have in China. Dr. Laibow reports that the "Pandemic Avian Flu Vaccine" was scheduled to be delivered to the United States this month by the French vaccine maker, Sanofi Pasteur, from a facility they own in China, where it is being produced. The US Government issued its "Vaccine" allocation plan in July. Laibow fears that a most sinister scenario of a deliberate release of Avian Flu pathogens on the population that could activate martial law and forced vaccination with resulting deaths in the millions could be imminent. Spanish Flu virus revived by Pentagon In 2003 US Army scientists created ‘Spanish Flu’ virus in the laboratory. According to a report at the time by the watchdog group, The Sunshine Project, which monitors biological and chemical weapons research of the United States Government issued a statement that "The 'Spanish Flu' influenza virus that killed 20-40 million people in 1918 is currently under reconstruction. Several genes of the extraordinarily lethal 1918 flu virus have been isolated and introduced into contemporary flu strains. These proved to be lethal for mice, while virus constructs with genes from a current flu virus types had hardly any effect. These experiments may easily be abused for military purposes, but provide little benefit from a medical or public health point of view." They continued, "The 1918 Spanish Flu was highly infectious and – in comparison to contemporary flu viruses – killed a very high percentage of those infected, including many younger people. The Spanish Flu alone caused the medium life expectancy in the US in 1918 to drop by 10 years. Hence, flu viruses are perceived today as a serious biological warfare threat. Just two weeks ago, a 15 million dollar research grant was awarded in the US to develop protective measures especially against a bioterrorist attack with flu viruses." The statement added, "Despite the very dangerous nature of the 1918 virus, efforts to reconstruct it started in the mid 1990s, when Dr Jeffrey Taubenberger from the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington DC succeeded in recovering and sequencing fragments of the viral RNA from preserved tissues of 1918 victims. In the current issue of the scientific journal Emerging Infectious Diseases new genetic details of the 1918 flu virus will be published." Most ominously, they report, "But after (partially) unravelling the genetic sequence of the virus, the scientists went a step further and began bringing the Spanish flu back to life. Unnoticed by the public, they succeeded in creating a live virus containing two 1918 genes that proved to be very lethal in animal experiments. This experiment is only one genetic step away from taking the 1918 demon entirely out of the bottle." 16 They conclude, "A resuscitation of the Spanish flu is neither necessary nor warranted from a public health point of view. Allegedly, the recent experiments sought to test the efficacy of existing antiviral drugs on the 1918 construct. But there is little need for antiviral drugs against the 1918 strain if the 1918 strain had not been recreated in the first place. ‘It simply does not make any scientific sense to create a new threat just to develop new countermeasures against it.’ says Jan van Aken, biologist with the Sunshine Project, ‘Genetic characterization of influenza strains has important biomedical applications. But it is not justifiable to recreate this particularly dangerous eradicated strain that could wreak havoc if released, deliberately or accidentally.’"17 Let us sincerely hope not, but as Prof. Stephen Block, Stanford University biophysicist with years of experience in classified Pentagon and US Government biological research remarked in another context, "We’re tempted to say that nobody in their right mind would ever use these things." Block added, "But not everybody is in their right mind…"18 Sanofi Pasteur delivers H5N1 vaccine On April 28 of this year in an official Press Release from Sanofi Pasteur US headquarters in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania and Lyon, France, the company stated, "Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis Group, announced today that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has accepted H5N1 bulk vaccine antigen to produce approximately 38.5 million doses of vaccine to protect against a new strain of avian influenza. Sanofi Pasteur has a multi-year contract with HHS as part of its pandemic program, and will receive a payment of $192.5 million booked in the second quarter of 2008 for acceptance of the bulk vaccine lot."19 Then, on June 16 of this year, Sanofi Pasteur issued the following release announcing that it will, "donate 60 million doses of H5N1 vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) over 3 years for the establishment of an H5N1 vaccine global stockpile." The President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur, Wayne Pisano, said in the release, "The H5N1 virus is currently circulating in some of the poorest regions of the world and an outbreak of pandemic influenza would most likely hit populations living in areas with limited access to vaccines. This donation of H5N1 vaccine aims to address the needs of those most vulnerable populations. In addition to supporting the efforts of governments," Pisano added, "it is essential that industry collaborates with international organizations such as WHO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other global health players. This is the best way to build a stockpile of vaccines for developing nations, ready to be deployed on the ground in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak."20 The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in addition to being a financial supporter of the so-called Doomsday Seed Vault in the Arctic, has dedicated its foundation billions to support population control especially in Africa. Among other projects they, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation, are financing The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, whose head is former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.21 As the world's leading influenza vaccine manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur produces approximately half of the influenza vaccine distributed worldwide. In the US it produced more than 40 percent of the influenza vaccine distributed for the 2007-2008 influenza season. The fact that the US Government has revived the 1918 Spanish Flu virus to make "tests" indicates that anything is possible. There are in this world some people not in their "right mind." God forbid if it is so in this instance. F. William Engdahl is author of Seeds of Destruction: the Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation. He may be contacted through his website www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net (see details on William engdahl's book below).
Suzan ____________________________________