Awareness is growing around the world that the Wikileaks-Julian Assange theater of the absurd is radically inauthentic – a psyop. Wikileaks and its impaired boss represent a classic form of limited hangout or self-exposure, a kind of lurid striptease in which the front organization releases doctored and pre-selected materials provided by the intelligence agency with the intent of harming, not the CIA, nor the UK, nor the Israelis, but rather such classic CIA enemies’ list figures as Putin, Berlusconi, Karzai, Qaddafi, Rodriguez de Kirchner, etc. In Tunisia, derogatory material about ex-President Ben Ali leaked by Wikileaks has already brought a windfall for Langley in the form of the rare ouster of an entrenched Arab government.
At Foggy Bottom and Langley, a manic fit has been building since the flight of Ben Ali. US imperialist planners now believe they can re-launch their shopworn model of the color revolution, CIA people-power coup, or postmodern putsch against a whole series of countries in the Arab world and far beyond, including Italy. The color revolutions had been looking tarnished lately, as a result of the failure of the Twitter Revolution in Iran back in June 2009. Previously, the Cedars Revolution of 2005 had failed in Lebanon. The Orange Revolution in Ukraine had been rolled back with the ouster of NATO-IMF kleptocrats Yushchenko and Timoshenko. In Georgia, the Roses Revolution was increasingly discredited by the repressive and warmongering regime of fascist madman Saakashvili.
. . .
But now, NSC, State, and CIA believe that the color revolution has a new lease on life, thanks to their estimate that the United States, because of Wikileaks and Assange, has captured the imagination of a new generation of young nihilists across the globe who are described as the post-9/11 generation, estranged from governments and opposition parties, and thus ready to follow Langley’s peroxide Pied Piper.
(much more at link)
Olbermann Ouster: Immelt Helps Obama with his Left Flank on the Eve of a Monstrous State of the Union Address
Webster G. Tarpley
January 22, 2011
Last night, Keith Olbermann, the host of MSNBC’s flagship and top-rated Countdown program, abruptly told his viewers that he had been fired by the network. On the same day, Jeffrey Immelt, the top honcho of General Electric, was hobnobbing with Obama at a GE plant in Schenectady, New York – a plant which has received subsidies from the Obama regime. Government financial help for GE has not gone mainly to the firm’s remaining industrial manufacturing divisions, but rather– and in boxcar numbers –to GE Capital, long notorious as a derivatives hedge fund in drag.
Immelt, a well-known asset-stripper and runaway shop devotee, has also just been appointed as the boss of Obama’s new White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which in turn is part of Obama’s sharp right turn towards austerity, tax cuts for the rich, and a new assault on the Social Security-Medicare-Medicaid-jobless insurance complex. In this regard, Wall Street puppet Obama is reputed to be preparing new historical crimes against the American people, and new stabs in the back for his own base. This goes together with Obama’s naming of JP Morgan banker William Daley, an advocate of free trade sellouts, as White House chief of staff, and the new prominence of Goldman Sachs associate and derivatives deregulator Gene Sperling as the successor to Larry Summers as economics czar.
During the 2007-2008 campaign, Olbermann had thoroughly degraded himself by acting the role of a media toady to the new Messiah, and the implacable defamer of Obama’s rivals. But, over the last few months, Olbermann had launched some critical sallies against the Anointed One. Olbermann was increasingly critical and disillusioned about the administration. He was especially indignant about Obama’s December sellout on the Bush tax cuts for the rich, pointing out Obama’s dangerous erosion of the integrity of Social Security, and the cynical betrayal of the 99ers, the long-term jobless.
So put two and two together: did Immelt fire Olbermann as a gesture to please Obama by silencing a possible critic of the White House’s stunning rightward lunge? This makes much more sense than the competing explanation, which is that Olbermann was driven out by Comcast, which is buying NBC Universal from GE. MSNBC is still under GE control, and will be for weeks or months.
(more at link)
Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed - head of Pakistan's ISI
Here is some info from Paul Thompson's timeline:
Around 8:00 a.m., on September 11, 2001, ISI Director Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed is at a breakfast meeting at the Capitol with the chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) and Representative Porter Goss (R-FL), a 10-year veteran of the CIA’s clandestine operations wing. Also present at the meeting are Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and the Pakistani ambassador to the US, Maleeha Lodhi, as well as other officials and aides. (Goss, Kyl, and Graham had just met with Pakistani President Pervez Mushrraf in Pakistan two weeks earlier (see August 28-30, 2001)).
Graham and Goss will later co-head the joint House-Senate investigation into the 9/11 attacks, which will focus on Saudi government involvement in the 9/11 attacks, but will say almost nothing about possible Pakistani government connections to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks (see August 1-3, 2003 and December 11, 2002).
David talks about Obama's hypocrisy in quoting MLK's doctrine of nonviolence, and then proceeding to defend military solutions.
"This was an embarrassment to this country and the world"
He then urges us to work through the House of Representatives to end funding for the wars.
November 29, 2009 at 17:27:55
Americans Are Deeply Involved In Afghan Drug Trade
If you're looking for the chief kingpin in the Afghanistan heroin trade, it's the United States. The American mission has devolved to a Mafiosi-style arrangement that poisons every military and political alliance entered into by the U.S. and its puppet government in Kabul. It is a gangster occupation, in which U.S.-allied drug dealers are put in charge of the police and border patrol, while their rivals are placed on American hit lists, marked for death or capture. As a result, Afghanistan has been transformed into an opium plantation that supplies 90 percent of the world's heroin.
An article in the current issue of Harper's magazine explores the inner workings of the drug-infested U.S. occupation, it's near-total dependence on alliances forged with players in the heroin trade. The story centers on the town of Spin Boldak, on the southeastern border with Pakistan, gateway to the opium fields of Kandahar and Helmand provinces. The chief Afghan drug lord is also the head of the border patrol and the local militia. The author is an undercover U.S.-based journalist who was befriended by the drug lord's top operatives and met with the U.S. and Canadian officers that collaborate with the drug dealer on a daily basis.
The alliance was forged by American forces during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and has endured and grown ever since. The drug lord, and others like him throughout the country, is not only immune to serious American interference, he has been empowered through U.S. money and arms to consolidate his drug business at the expense of drug-dealing rivals in other tribes, forcing some of them into alliance with the Taliban. On the ground in Pashtun-speaking Afghanistan, the war is largely between armies run by heroin merchants, some aligned with the Americans, others with the Taliban. The Taliban appear to be gaining the upper hand in this Mafiosa gang war, the origins of which are directly rooted in U.S. policy. . .
Folks, while this is fabulous news, there is no guarantee they will get a contract.
Under current law, the employer can stall negotiations for a year and then try to get a decertification vote.
We need the Employee Free Choice Act to rectify this problem.
Please sign the online petition at:
For information on the Employee Free Choice Act, see:
It’s Time to Restore Workers’ Freedom to Form Unions
America’s working people are struggling to make ends meet these days and our middle class is disappearing. The best opportunity working people have to get ahead economically is by uniting to bargain with their employers for better wages and benefits. Recent research has shown that some 60 million U.S. workers would join a union if they could.
But the current system for forming unions and bargaining is broken. Every day, corporations deny workers the freedom to decide for themselves whether to form unions to bargain for a better life. They routinely intimidate, harass, coerce and even fire workers who try to form unions and bargain for economic well-being.
The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800, S. 1041), supported by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, would level the playing field for workers and employers and help rebuild America’s middle class. It would restore workers’ freedom to choose a union by:
* Establishing stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiations.
* Providing mediation and arbitration for first-contract disputes.
* Allowing employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.
For a better formatted version, follow the link:
WHY MAJORITY SIGN-UP?
One of the most common lines of attack corporate special interests are using to stop the Employee Free Choice Act is the charge that we are trying to abandon sacred "secret ballot elections." How do we respond?
* The real issue is how we can restore the freedom of working people to make their own decision about joining together to bargain for better wages and working conditions. Until working people can exercise a free choice, they will continue to lose power in our country, living standards will continue to suffer and our middle class will continue to decline. Workers need a real choice. They don't have it now.
Do so-called secret ballot elections allow employees a free and fair opportunity to make their own decisions about unions?
* No. By the time employees get to vote, the environment has been so poisoned that free and fair choice isn't an option. People call the current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election system a secret ballot election—but in fact it's not like any democratic election held anywhere else in our society. It's really a management-controlled election process because corporations have all the power. They control the information workers can receive and routinely poison the process by intimidating, harassing, coercing and even firing people who try to organize unions. No employee has free choice after being browbeaten by a supervisor to oppose the union or being told they may lose their job and livelihood if workers vote for the union.
Among Private-Sector Efforts to Form Unions
Employers that illegally fire at least one worker for union activity during organizing campaigns:
Chance that an active union supporter will be illegally fired for union activity during an organizing campaign:
1 in 5
Employers that force employees to attend one-on-one meetings against the union with their own supervisors:
Employers that force employees to attend mandatory closed-door meetings against the union:
Companies that threaten to close the plant if the union wins the election:
Cases in which the employer never agrees to a contract after workers succeed in forming a union:
1 in 3
Just filing a petition for an NLRB election generally triggers a bitter, divisive and
often lengthy campaign against pro-union employees designed to chill or destroy union support.
* Management is allowed to bombard employees with anti-union messages anywhere, anytime in the workplace. Workers can only talk about the union while they’re on
breaks in the break room or before or after work. Union organizers have no right to set foot in the workplace.
* Human Rights Watch, a respected international organization that investigates human rights abuses in 70 countries, has concluded that “freedom of association is a right under severe, often buckling pressure when workers in the United States try to exercise it.”
* Firing workers can kill an organizing campaign by intimidating other workers; a “secret ballot election” doesn’t change that. A secret ballot election doesn’t make workers feel protected from management threats to shut down. The harassment of anti-union group
meetings and one-on-ones with supervisors makes workers just want the conflict to go away, and an election doesn’t change that. These meetings also enable management to identify and target union supporters, and coercion isn’t undone even if workers vote in the privacy of a voting booth.
* Free choice should not be restricted to the heroic few. Although the right of workers to join unions is enshrined in U.S. law and international agreements, in reality the
only workers who can succeed in forming unions under the NLRB election process are those willing to undertake an enormous effort, withstand tremendous pressure, undergo inordinate amounts of stress and risk losing their livelihoods. It should not be this way.
Why is majority sign-up a better way to protect employees’ free choice?
* Majority sign-up minimizes workplace conflict. This process avoids coercion and harassment of employees and eliminates some of the delays that frustrate workers’
efforts to form unions. Majority sign-up has been shown to reduce conflict, coercion and harassment as well as the delays, business disruptions and legal costs associated with the NLRB “election” process.
* Majority sign-up is a proven approach. Many responsible major companies such as Cingular Wireless have agreed to recognize a union when a majority of employees signs up. They have found majority sign-up to be a free and fair way to assess workers’ choice—and
it results in less conflict between employers and employees.
* Majority sign-up is democratic. Under majority sign-up, a union is formed only if a majority of all employees signs written authorization forms. Employees vote to
have the union represent them by signing the forms. Any employee who does not sign a written authorization form is presumed not to support union representation.
Are workers are more likely to be coerced to sign cards under majority sign-up, as opponents say?
* No. In fact, academic studies1 show that workers who organize under majority sign-up feel less pressure from co-workers to support the union than workers who
organize under the NLRB election process. Workers who vote by majority sign-up also report far less pressure or coercion from management to oppose the union than workers who go through NLRB elections. In addition, it is illegal for anyone to coerce employees to sign a union authorization card. Any person who breaks the law will be subject to penalties under the Employee Free Choice Act.
Once a majority of workers indicates they want a union by signing cards, the company should not be able to drag the process out for months as they can under a management-controlled election process. The will of the majority should be recognized.
1 Reported by American Rights at Work and conducted by Adrienne Eaton of Rutgers University and Jill Kriesky of Wheeling Jesuit University.
2008 Election a Defeat for Ideology of Greed
by Tula Connell, Nov 5, 2008
Even in his concession speech, Sen. John McCain got it wrong. Telling his supporters gathered at the ritzy Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix on Tuesday night that it’s natural to feel some disappointment in the loss of his campaign, he went on to say:
"We fought — we fought as hard as we could. And though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours."
Not so. Despite a badly run campaign, McCain’s defeat is not a personal failure but a massive, popular rejection of eight years of Bush-Cheney mismanagement, corruption, malfeasance and aggressively anti-worker policies that McCain embraced throughout his years in the Senate. The message that McCain voted 90 percent of the time with Bush struck a chord of horror among those whose economic livelihoods have been decimated by what economist Jamie Galbraith calls the “predator state.” That is, a government run by individuals beholden to corporations who shower the largesse of federal spending on rewarding corporate greed, rather than on building a sustainable future for America’s workers and our future generations.
McCain’s defeat is the rejection of a government that rewards the rich at the expense of the rest of us.
McCain’s defeat is the repudiation of extremist economic policies that have resulted in 3.6 million home foreclosures, unaffordable health care, a worsening unemployment rate and the proliferation of jobs that don’t support families.
(more at link. . .)
Top 5 Reasons to Vote Against Wall Street's $700 Billion Bailout
By David Sirota
September 28th, 2008 - 4:01pm ET
There's news this Sunday afternoon of a congressional deal to bailout Wall Street fat cats with $700 billion of taxpayer cash (you can read the draft legislation here). Though the deal negotiated between congressional leaders and the White House is better than what Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson originally proposed early last week, it remains an insulting atrocity, having omitted even basic aid to homeowners, bankruptcy reforms and any modicum of future financial industry regulation. Now, the New York Times reports that the Democratic leadership may not have the votes to pass this bailout. So without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons (in no order) why every single member of Congress - Democrat and Republican - should vote this sucker down. Please feel free to copy and paste this post into an email to your congressperson. They are deciding right now - let them hear your voice.
1. BAILOUT'S INHERENT FISCAL INSANITY COULD MAKE PROBLEM WORSE
. . .
2. EXPERTS ON BOTH THE LEFT AND RIGHT SAY THIS BAILOUT COULD MAKE THINGS WORSE
. . .
3. THERE ARE CLEARLY BETTER AND SAFER ALTERNATIVES
. . .
4. ANY INCUMBENT VOTING FOR THIS PUTS THEMSELVES AT RISK OF BEING THROWN OUT OF OFFICE
. . .
5. CORRUPTION AND SLEAZE ARE SWIRLING AROUND THESE BAILOUTS - AND AMERICA KNOWS IT
. . . (see link for details on each reason)
In the article below, Robert Borosage describes in layman's terms the situation. How is it possible that the government will be able to recover the money from bad loans? Where will the money come from if the borrowers don't have it?
Behind The Financial Debacle: Conservative Misrule
By Robert Borosage
September 22nd, 2008 - 11:00am ET
. . .The immediate cause is the inflating and busting of the housing bubble. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan will be remembered for stoking a bubble economy. Coming out of bursting of the dot.com bubble, Greenspan lowered interest rates and kept them there. With his war and tax cuts, President Bush racked up record deficits. Struggling with stagnant incomes, Americans took on record debts. Foreign creditors, like Chinese central bankers happy to loan us money to buy their goods, flooded the U.S. with dough. With mortgage rates low, housing prices rose. An unregulated shadow banking system began marketing exotic mortgage-backed securities across the globe. As the housing bubble grew, brokers hawked shakier and shakier Alt-A and subprime mortgages. Ninja loans—no income, no jobs, no assets—became the rage.
Since the brokers sold off the mortgages immediately, they had a stake in making the loan, not whether the loan would be repaid. The banks and investment houses sliced and diced the loans into ever more exotic securities, which got prime ratings, although no one really knew what was in them. European banks and others bought more and more of the stuff. To escape capital limits, they invented credit default swaps in which companies like AIG guaranteed the loans in case of default. That totally unregulated over-the-counter market soared to $60 trillion. Banks set up off-balance-sheet entities to evade capital limits. Investment houses like Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers borrowed at 30 times their capital to speculate in these markets. Wall Street’s executives were pocketing tens of millions from the take.
The regulators turned their heads. Greenspan not only fueled the cheap money; he cheered on the exotic mortgages, even while refusing to acknowledge, much less limit, the housing bubble. The Securities and Exchange Commission exempted five major investment houses from their normal capital requirements. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s executives profited personally as their enterprises started buying Alt-A mortgages.
Everything was great so long as housing prices went up. When they topped out, the bottom fell out. Defaults and foreclosures soared. Suddenly, no one knew what the value of the securities they held was, much less what was in the balance sheets of other banks. Much of the exotic paper turned toxic; no one wanted to buy it. As the banks slowly were forced to write down its value, they had to raise capital. With everyone trying to sell at the same time, the values went through the floor. Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch collapsed into bankruptcy or fire-sale mergers. The insurance giant AIG and Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the federal government.
And now, Washington is gearing up for the largest bailout in history, throwing an estimated $700 billion more to buy up the toxic paper from the banks to keep the entire financial system from collapsing.
. . . (more at link)
. . .
The Real Reasons Behind Torture?
What, then, accounts for the descent into Inquisition practices of waterboarding and other torture techniques? What accounts for the bizarre decision to round up a whole bunch of people with no provable attachment to terrorism, designate them terrorist suspects, herd them into prisons in New York, New Jersey, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and God knows where else, where they could be — and were — abused?
What accounts for the blithe departure from international and national law — not to mention time-honored civilized procedures for dealing with prisoners and detainees?
What accounts for the marginalization of those military, FBI and other professionals who warned that torture is not only a war crime but also that it doesn’t yield reliable information — that, rather, it is the very best recruiting tool for terrorists?
We suggest four reasons why I-don’t-care-what-the-international-lawyers-say George Bush and dark-side Dick Cheney opted for torture:
1 -- Deceit . . .
2 -- Sadism. . .
3 -- Intimidation. . .
4 -- Because We Can . . .
Chris Hedges gets it:
. . .I spent the last two years reporting and writing “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” The rise of the Christian right—the most dangerous mass movement in American history—can be traced directly to the corporate rape of America. This movement, which calls for the eradication of real and imagined enemies, all branded as “satanic,” at home and abroad, is an expression of rage. This rage rises out of the deep distortions and dislocations that have beset tens of millions of Americans shunted aside in the new global marketplace. The massive flight of manufacturing and professional jobs overseas, the ruthless slashing of state and federal assistance and the rise of an unchecked American oligarchy have plunged many Americans into deep economic and personal despair. They have turned, because of this despair, to “Christian” demagogues who promise magic, miracles, angels, the gospel of prosperity and a fantastic Christian utopia. And the Republicans and the Democrats are equally culpable for this assault.
There are only two solutions left. We must organize to fight the corporate state, to redirect our national wealth and resources to fund a massive antipoverty campaign and curb the cycle of perpetual war that enriches the military-industrial complex and by extension the two political parties that dominate Washington, or we must accept an inevitable Christo-fascism backed by these corporations. Don’t expect glib Democratic politicians such as John Edwards, Sen. Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama to address these issues. They are, as Nader understands, hostage to corporate money.
Nader, perhaps better than anyone else, has grasped the long, disastrous rise of the corporate state.
(much more at link . . .)
The Plague of Potomac Fever
By David Sirota
May 2, 2008
If any publication was going to document the sickness known as Potomac Fever, it was going to be the Washington Post.
Last month, the newspaper penned a front-page dispatch headlined “Housing Accord Puts Builders First; Strapped Homeowners Offered Little Aid.” It described congressional leaders agreeing to “provide billions of dollars in tax rebates to the slumping home-building industry while offering little to homeowners threatened with foreclosure.” The bill proposes $6 billion in corporate tax cuts, while “families who cannot afford to repay their home loans — the group at the heart of the mortgage meltdown” would get less than 2 percent of that for “counseling services.”
Next to this story was a report labeled “Sweeping Bills Passed to Help Homeowners.” It told of Maryland state lawmakers “toughening oversight of the mortgage-lending industry and establishing preemptive measures to help people at risk of foreclosure.”
The newspaper page was a scientific proof, with states as the control. They show what minimally healthy democratic systems do: help ordinary people. That’s different from a Congress ravaged by Potomac Fever — the disease inside the Washington Beltway inhibiting emotions like compassion and integrity. As the housing crisis intensifies, this malady is getting worse.
(more at link)
Posted by pberq in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Jan 05th 2008, 08:56 PM
that's some information that the DU Edwards camp needs to see.
And here is what we've seen is right on the money:
"What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne."
A great article on the history of Taft-Hartley, right-to-work laws, etc.
January 2, 2008
A Country Gone Cynical
Labor Unions and Taft-Hartley
By DAVID MACARAY
Polls show that upwards of 50% of working people say they'd be interested in joining a labor union, but only 12% of America's workforce is unionized. Even acknowledging that some of those expressing an interest in joining up were fooling themselves and misleading the pollster, there is still a huge number of working people out there who would like to become union members but either don't quite know how to proceed or, frankly, are too frightened to make their feelings known, fearing management retaliation.
This discrepancy (between the number of those who'd like to join and actual membership) reflects brutal two truths: management has the statutory ability to limit organized labor's power; and companies are still dedicated to the point of obsession to keeping non-union workers away from union organizers.
While insuring that the workforce remain unrepresented has always been a cat-and-mouse game, one which management has played well through the use of flattery, deceit, rewards and intimidation, the statutory limits on labor's power are directly traceable to the Taft-Hartley Act, passed in 1947. The Act was passed by a Republican congress, with the help of southern Democrats ("Dixiecrats"), over the veto of President Truman.
Taft-Hartley not only amended or rescinded many of the bedrock components of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (commonly known as the "Wagner Act"), it more or less defanged the labor movement. It domesticated the movement. By adopting a set of "unfair labor practices" (ULPs) that applied to unions in the much the same way that the Wagner Act applied ULPs to management, Taft-Hartley effectively blunted labor's ability to resort to "radical" action.
Taft-Hartley outlawed the closed shop, eliminated the sanctity of the union shop (allowing "right-to-work" states to exist), enacted a mandatory waiting period before calling a strike, made it illegal to engage in jurisdictional strikes, secondary strikes and boycotts, gave management the right to stall and impede a membership certification vote, and expanded the NLRB's governing board from three to five members. In a word, Taft-Hartley made unions infinitely more "controllable."
(more at link . . .)
The ten most recent threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums.
FL GOP tries to close state pension system to new workers, yet take THEIR pension at 2X accrual rate
FL GOP denies $51 billion federal Medicaid to poor, yet order cheap health care for themselves
Happy Mother's Day
I love DU2!
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R) ran company now accused of Medicaid fraud (Rick Scott redux)
Mediterranean diet cuts risk of heart dis-ease
By No Elephants
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
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