Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Neocons Embeded In Our Media ?

The NYT Veers Neocon

By Robert Parry
February 28, 2010

Many American progressives don’t want to recognize how bad the U.S. mainstream news media has become. It’s easier to praise a few exceptions to the rule and to hope that some pendulum will swing than to undertake the challenging task of building a new and honest media infrastructure.

But the hard reality is that the U.S. news media is getting worse, with now both premier national newspapers – the New York Times and the Washington Post – decidedly sliding into the neocon camp, where the likes of the Wall Street Journal have long resided.

For the Post, this may already be an old story, given its enthusiastic cheerleading for the Iraq War. The Times, however, was a somewhat different story. Yes, it did let Judith Miller and other staff writers promote the fictions about Iraq’s WMD, but it hadn’t sunk to the depths of the Post.

That is now changing as the Times – behind executive editor Bill Keller and editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal – tosses aside all pretense of objectivity in the cause of seeking “regime change” in Iran, today’s top priority for the neoconservatives.

At, we have noted this trend for some months, not only in the New York Times opinion section but in its news columns where Iran’s alleged interest in acquiring a nuclear weapon is trumpeted incessantly (despite its denial of such a desire), while rogue nuclear states in the region (such as Israel, Pakistan and India) are given a pass. [See, for example, “US Media Replays Iraq Fiasco in Iran.”]

This Sunday, the Times’ bias was on display again in the lead editorial entitled, “New Think and Old Weapons,” which purported to examine the state of nuclear weapons in the world.

Fitting with the Times’ deepening neocon tendencies, Iran’s nuclear weapons (even though they don’t exist) were a major topic, while the rogue nuclear states of Israel, Pakistan and India (which have refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) weren’t mentioned.

So, you had formulations like this: “Iran, North Korea and others have seemingly unquenchable nuclear appetites” and the need to “bolster American credibility … to rein in Iran, North Korea and other proliferators.” In all, there were four such references to North Korea and Iran, but no specific references to Israel, Pakistan and India.

The Times also observed that China was “the only major nuclear power adding to its arsenal [which] is estimated to have 100 to 200 warheads.” There was no mention of Israel, which is believed to possess one of the most sophisticated nuclear arsenals in the world, totaling some 200 or more devices.

Ironically, the Times editorial also cited problems of “hypocrisy and double standards” and noted that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was “battered.”

The Times did not seem at all embarrassed by its own hypocrisy and double standards. Nor did it bother to note that one of the key reasons this “bedrock” treaty is in trouble is that non-signatories – like Israel, Pakistan and India – have built nukes, often with a wink and a nod from Washington.

As neocon propagandists pursue their goal of riling up the American public against some new foreign threat, that effort requires highlighting certain facts (and even fictions). But the propagandists equally must make sure that many inconvenient truths are conveniently forgotten. Otherwise the alleged threat might not seem all that unusual or threatening.

So, in the world of neocon propaganda, Iran – a treaty signatory that has no nuclear weapons and insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes – must be endlessly badgered, but Israel – an undeclared rogue nuclear state with a vast arsenal – must be shielded from similar criticism and pressure.

That the New York Times has now embraced these neocon biases, almost with the ardor of the Washington Post, is a serious development for the U.S. news media and for the nation.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to

To comment at Consortiumblog, click here. (To make a blog comment about this or other stories, you can use your normal e-mail address and password. Ignore the prompt for a Google account.) To comment to us by e-mail, click here. To donate so we can continue reporting and publishing stories like the one you just read, click here.

The American Empire Abruptly Disappears ?

America, the fragile empire

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The War on Terror Is Anti-Conservative

The War on Terror Is Anti-Conservative

Why Real Conservatives Oppose the War on Terror

[This speech was part of a panel sponsored by the Future of Freedom Foundation, Campaign for Liberty and the Ladies of Liberty Alliance (LOLA) held on February 20th at the 2010 CPAC. The panel presentation was titled "Why Real Conservatives Are Against the War on Terror."]

Benjamin Franklin once observed that those who would trade their liberties for security will wind up losing both. James Madison stated that no nation can preserve freedom in the midst of perpetual warfare. Few can question that America's Founding Fathers epitomize true conservatism. There is something seriously wrong in America today precisely because the elites from both political parties have forgotten about Franklin and Madison and ignored their wise counsel.

No one should doubt that ill-conceived security measures and the greatly exaggerated fear of terrorism have driven much of both foreign and domestic policy since 9/11 -- it was undeniably a horrific experience for this nation, but it did not threaten the survival of the American Republic. Its perpetrators and their heirs do not do so today. Only we Americans can do that and we are doing so by overreacting to the danger and compromising our own liberties.

Conservatives should be the voice of reason. They should demand commensurate and realistic responses to genuine foreign and domestic threats rather than overkill, more bureaucracy, and lots of unneeded government pork. The government's creation of a no-fly list with one million names and a terrorist suspects list with nearly half a million entries exemplify that damage that has already been done. If there were even one per cent that many people in the US actually threatening terrorist acts there would be waves of bombings in the streets. That that has not taken place tells you that both the lists and the process used to compile them are essentially bogus.

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This thread is dedicated to my new " conservative" friend Silverfiddle. He runs the Western Hero blog.

Mr. Giraldi can also be read at on occasion.

U.S. Dollar Under Attack As Currency Reserve?

Head of IMF Proposes New Reserve Currency

IMF's Strauss-Kahn suggests IMF may one day provide global reserve asset

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, suggested Friday the organization might one day be called on to provide countries with a global reserve currency that would serve as an alternative to the U.S. dollar.

"That day has not yet come, but I think it is intellectually healthy to explore these kinds of ideas now," he said in a speech on the future mandate of the 186-nation Washington-based lending organization.

Strauss-Kahn said such an asset could be similar to but distinctly different from the IMF's special drawing rights, or SDRs, the accounting unit that countries use to hold funds within the IMF. It is based on a basket of major currencies.

He said having other alternatives to the dollar "would limit the extent to which the international monetary system as a whole depends on the policies and conditions of a single, albeit dominant, country."

Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister of France, said that during the recent global financial crisis, the dollar "played its role as a safe haven" asset, and the current international monetary
system demonstrated resilience.

"The challenge ahead is to find ways to limit the tension arising from the high demand for precautionary reserves on the one hand and the narrow supply of reserves on the other," he said.

Several countries, including China and Russia, have called for an alternative to the dollar as a reserve currency and have suggested using the IMF's internal accounting unit.


This chatter about the IMF, and their SDR'S replacing the U.S. Dollar has been around for some time.
I believe that this idea has now accelerated after we have caused this global financial toxicity.
If the Dollar is no longer the world's currency reserve, then this will bring a major global shift. One that Americans may not like. We will have to adapt to this new financial system quickly.
Can anyone suggest why the Dollar should still have the status as a currency reserve?
China and most of Asia is coming out of the recession, while we still linger in the abyss. We have shown the world that our greed, non-regulation of our Banksters, and Casino finances, do not work. We will never be trusted again.
Do not make the mistake and think that the Dollar is too big to fail.
If America were a corporation it would be rated as JUNK. We have shown that we can not govern ourselves, much less other peoples finances.
Oil is traded on the U.S. Dollar, once this goes away everything changes.
I have always asked what America would look like once we are out of the re-depression. Well now we have a better picture. We will be a third world country. Not because of the O Team, but because this is what the powers that be [TPTB] have been working on for decades.
There is a possibility that sooner or later we will have to DEFAULT. We could also possibly be having an external Dollar, and in internal Dollar.
Our system is broken, and it will stay broken until we come out of denial.
The coma that Americans still live in is that we think that WE are the best, the one and only. This is a major fallacy. We are, and have been bankrupt.
Unless there is a whole new mind set, a new era. We will become a Hamburger HELPER REPUBLIC. We came in second to last out of 22 rich countries where workers own their own business.
Is this capitalism or is this Corporatism?

U.S. Puts Bulls Eye On Kandahar ?

US Eyes Massive Offensive in Kandahar

Administration Officials Say Marjah a "Prelude"

by Jason Ditz, February 26, 2010

Reiterating previous comments, several officials in the Obama Administration say that they will soon launch a massive offensive against Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province.

They provided new details, however, saying that the Marjah offensive going on right now was simply a “prelude to larger, more comprehensive operations.” Marjah’s offensive is the single largest single the 2001 invasion, but it seems officials are already looking past the operation and its mixed results to even bigger things.

But while the agricultural community of Marjah had some value to the Taliban, it was mostly by virtue of it being entirely out of the Karzai government’s control since the 2001 US invasion. Kandahar, on the other hand, is the Taliban’s “heartland,” and resistance is likely to be enormous.

Officials say that control over Kandahar city is the primary goal for 2010. But it has been one of NATO’s primary goals for the better part of the last decade, and while the number of troops being thrown at the region is increasing, the strategy seems roughly unchanged.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Patriot Act, And Torture, Now Belongs To The Spineless Dems ?

House Abandons Privacy Protections, Approves PATRIOT Act

Parts of Act Were Poised to Expire Sunday

by Jason Ditz, February 26, 2010

The House of Representatives narrowly averted allowing the US Patriot Act to expire, abandoning all the proposed privacy provisions to the bill and approving it exactly as worded by the Senate in a vote earlier this week. Parts of Patriot Act would have expired Sunday, but passed through the Senate without debate.

The vote, incredibly enough titled the “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act,” passed 315-97. The bill was so named because Senate Democrats inserted the Patriot Act’s extension into a Medicare reform bill.

Three sections of the Patriot Act were to “sunset” this year, including the roving wiretap provision, the library records seizure provision, and the “lone wolf” provision, which permitted surveillance against possible terrorists even if there was no evidence tying them to any terror organization.

The Obama Administration had expressed concern about the addition of civil rights protections to the bill, but said they would consider them so long as they didn’t weaken the president’s powers. In the end such consideration will be unneccesary, because the neither the House nor the Senate saw fit to include any protections at all.

House Dems Strip Torture Ban, Pass Intel Bill

$50 Billion in Classified Funding for Agencies Passes 235-168

by Jason Ditz, February 26, 2010

In a vote which still broke down almost entirely around party lines, House Democrats managed to pass the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 by a vote of 235-168, a bill which will provide $50 billion in funding for classified intelligence operations.

The Democratic leadership only managed to win this passage after hastily removing the “Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Interrogation Act of 2010,” an amendment to the funding act which would have criminalized the torture or other abuse of detainees. Interrogators violating a long list of very specific torture bans would have faced up to 15 years in prison, and a maximum of life in prison if they tortured the detainee to death.

It became clear last night that there were not enough votes to pass the act with the torture ban attached, after Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) angrily condemned the ban as “outrageous” and claimed that the funding act was supposed to be about “defending our nation, not giving greater protections to terrorists.

Though Hoekstra still voted against the bill even with the ban removed (as did every other Republican who voted except for Joseph Cao (R-LA)), the ruckus he raised over the torture ban led several centrist Democrats to voice their opposition to the ban as well, which would have made it impossible to pass the funding with the ban included.

The White House has expressed opposition to several provisions of the bill over the past six months, but appears to have gotten materially everything it wants. The only provision regarding detainee treatment remaining in the bill at this point is a requirement that the CIA videotape all interrogations they perform.

These are not Democrats. These are political WHORES. They make me sick.

I hope they are proud of themselves, hiding this in obscure titled legislation. The Democratic party should be ashamed of themselves. They are collaborators, and are complicit in the coming FASCIST CORPORATE STATE OF AMERICA.

There is no difference between the two, they just want you to believe there is. We are their little ant farm. They play with us at their will.

Shame on all of them for being sell outs to their own insecurity.

I despise them all. Our government is broken.

The Constitution is suppose to be a living document. IMO: it has been hung out to dry, and shredded by both parties [actually one].

Iran Arrests Leader Of Jundallah: Possibly Tied To U.S.A.?

Jundallah arrest proves timely for Iran
By M K Bhadrakumar

TEHRAN - If the snow-covered Elbruz mountains rising just north of Tehran took on an extra glint in the bright wintry sunshine on Wednesday, there was good reason. It was the morning after the dramatic capture of the 31-year-old leader of the dreaded Pakistan-based terrorist group Jundallah, Abdulmalik Rigi, in a stunning operation by Iranian intelligence.

The Soureh Cinema Institute in Tehran and Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance are already contemplating making a movie about the capture of Rigi, who headed Jundallah (Soldiers of God), a Sunni insurgent group that operates mostly in Iran's southeastern province of Sistan-Balochistan against the Shi'ite regime.

The operation had all the ingredients of a thriller. From available details, Iranian intelligence, which has been stalking Rigi for months, grabbed him while he was on a flight from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Kyrgyzstan. The aircraft was forced to land in Bandar Abbas, in southern Iran, where Rigi and an accomplice were forcibly deplaned.

However, Rigi's capture has wider ramifications going well beyond the stuff of high drama. For one thing, the Iranian public was dazzled by the intelligence operation and it has provided a morale boost at a critical juncture when the West is besieging Iran over its nuclear program and the political class in Tehran is more polarized than at any time in the three decades of the Islamic Republic.

Ironically, the Iranian performance stands out in sharp contrast with the fallout from the Israeli intelligence operation in Dubai in the UAE to assassinate prominent Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh on January 19. (See Dubai hit exposes Hamas' weaknesses, Asia Times Online, February 23) Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar made this clear when he said, "Such an operation by the Islamic Republic's security forces indicates that the country's intelligence and security have the upper hand in the region."

No doubt, Iranian public opinion will identify with this mood of self-confidence, no matter the political persuasions of various factions at this current juncture as regards the ruling establishment.

In turn, that would have implications for the United States-Iran standoff. But that is only one aspect. The fact is that Tehran has put Washington on the back foot at a critical juncture. Rigi is bound to spill the beans - he may already have begun - and much is going to surface about the covert activities by the US forces based in Afghanistan to subvert Iran by hobnobbing with Jundallah, which, incidentally, is also known to have links with al-Qaeda.

Rigi apparently had a meeting with his US mentors in an American base just a day before his journey to the UAE. It seems he was traveling with a fake Afghan passport provided by the Americans. A lot of highly embarrassing details are trickling in already that will be eagerly lapped up by the so-called "Arab street" and which will make the entire American position on the situation around Iran look rather weak.

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There here has been chatter for some time, that the U.S.A is involved with Jundallah. If that is so, then I believe Saudi Arabia, and other Sunni countries are also involved with Jundallah. If this is proven it will not look good for the U.S.A., considering their possible ties to A/Q. It seems we are always making a deal with one devil, to over throw another devil.
Sleeping with devils has severe consequences.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who Speaks For The "Anti -War Movement" ?

With 1000 US Soldiers Dead in Afghanistan, Time to Revive the Anti-War Agenda

by Medea Benjamin

U.S. Corporal Gregory S. Stultz, 22, of Brazil, Indiana, died on February 19, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. According to, Stultz's death marks the grim milestone of 1,000 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

This week has also been a grim one for civilian casualties as a result of NATO's Operation Mushtarak in the Marjah district of Helmand and an airstrike in Oruzgan province that killed 27 innocent people. Despite strong denunciations by President Karzai and a steady stream of "I'm sorry's" from US General Stanley McChrystal, the civilian casualties keep mounting alongside President Obama's surge in Afghanistan.

The good news is the surge in anti-war sentiment abroad, particularly in NATO countries. The most spectacular case is that of the Netherlands, where the Dutch coalition government collapsed over the issue. A marathon cabinet meeting this weekend ended with the walkout of the second largest party in the government, the Labor Party, which accused the main Christian Democratic Alliance of reversing a 2007 agreement to bring the troops home this year. The Dutch Prime Minister now says that the Dutch will be completely out of Afghanstian by the end of next year.

Public opinion against the war is forcing other governments to consider withdrawal, despite strong pressure from the Obama administration. Canada has announced it will withdraw its 2,800 troops by the end of the year. European countries are struggling to find their share of the 10,000 extra troops requested by General McChrystal to join the 30,000 extra U.S. troops. France has declined to send more forces and the German government is facing fierce opposition at home.

Here in the United States, the debate on the war has been overshadowed by the debate on healthcare and the domestic economy. While progressives have consistently tried to link the two, these ties are increasingly coming from the conservative end of the political spectrum as well. Republican Congressman Ron Paul won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Progressive Action Committee this weekend on a strong anti-war platform. "The constitution does not give us the authority to be the policemen of the world," he said to roars of approval from young conservatives. "We spend a trillion dollars a year maintaining an empire, but we're broke." His solution? Conserve our taxdollars by practicing diplomacy.

Anti-war sentiments are brewing within the Tea Party as well. Former Arizona Sheriff and Tea Party spokesperson Richard Mack expressed his view on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews last week. "Both parties have us involved in the war in Iraq and other wars that we shouldn‘t be involved in," he said. "There‘s no end in sight in this ridiculous war. ... It‘s ridiculous." And conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, talking on with Chris Matthews on Monday, said we had three options for dealing with our gigantic deficit: cut entitlement programs, raise taxes or cut the trillion dollars we spend on maintaining an empire abroad. "That cow is going to be on the chopping block," he said of the bloated Pentagon budget, and insisted that the anti-war conservatives are growing in strength.

Unfortunately, the anti-war sentiment lacks visibility. Gone are the days when the peace movement could turn out hundreds of thousands of people. The Obama administration not only led to a surge in Afghanistan, but it sucked the air out of the anti-war movement. United for Peace and Justice, once a vibrant coalition of over 1,300 groups with large offices in New York and a dozen staff, has become a network based on volunteers, and grassroots peace groups across the country have folded.

But March promises to be a revival of sorts. The ANSWER coalition is gearing up for the first significant anti-war marches since Obama took office, planned for the March 20 anniversary of the Iraq war. Progressive Democrats of America, along with groups like CODEPINK, have been encouraging people to gather for a brown bag lunch at congressional offices in districts across the country. With the message of Healthcare not Warfare, there are now over a hundred monthly lunches outside congressional offices. And a group called Peace of the Action is organizing a campout on the DC mall starting March 13.

As the fighting surges, the spending on war surges and the deaths surge, it's time for the U.S. peace movement to regather its energy and push the anti-war agenda back onto the national scene.

Medea Benjamin ( is the cofounder of CODEPINK: Women for Peace and Global Exchange.

Except for a very few, and select leaders in our government, I do not see any real leadership in stopping this madness.

We now have 1,000 dead, countless troops have been injured physically and mentally.

Who knows exactly how many innocent Afghans have died, been injured, or displaced.

Iraq is now on the back burner, yet people are dying there every day. There is even chatter that we will not pull out if the situations on the ground do not warrant us leaving. No big surprise there. That is always their loophole for extending our presence in Iraq.

How many more dead soldiers must we send home in body bags before the O Team can declare "Mission Accomplished"?

Enough is enough.

I am tired of hearing "support the troops, support the mission, support the President". Or " We need to fight them over there, so we do not have to fight them over here"? How about. "We can not allow Al Quaida safe refuge in Afghanistan so they can plot another 9/11." How about "We are bringing democracy to a war torn country". ETC, ETC.

This is all nonsense, we know it, the government knows it. And most importantly the Afghans know it. We are occupiers of their country. The reason that there are insurgents is because we are occupying their country. It is high time to call it a day and bring our troops home.

OH, and please do not let me hear " We can not leave without victory, or our soldiers will have died in vain."

Iran: In U.S, Israeli Crosshairs ?

Attack Iran?

posted by Robert Dreyfuss on 02/23/2010 @ 09:09am

More huffing and puffing about war with Iran, this time from Anne Applebaum of the hawkish Washington Post, but first some words of caution from Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. At a news conference with Secretary of Defense Gates yesterday, Mullen once again reiterated his long-standing caution about a military attack on Iran, even as he laced it with concern about Iran's nuclear program and Iran's "hegemonic" goals in the area of the Persian Gulf. Said Mullen:

"I maintain my conviction that Iran remains on a path to achieve nuclear weaponization, and that even this very pursuit further destabilizes the region.

"But like us, it isn't just a nuclear-capable Iranian military our friends worry about -- it's an Iran with hegemonic ambitions and a desire to dominate its neighbors. This outcome drives many of the national security decisions our partners there are making, and I believe we must be mindful of that as we look to the future, post-Iraq and post-Afghanistan.

"Let me be clear: We owe the secretary and the president a range of options for this threat. We owe the American people our readiness. But as I've said many times, I worry a lot about the unintended consequences of any sort of military action. For now, the diplomatic and the economic levers of international power are and ought to be the levers first pulled. Indeed, I would hope they are always and consistently pulled. No strike, however effective, will be, in and of itself, decisive."

Applebaum, not exactly an Iran expert, used her ink in the Post today to warn that President Obama had better start preparing for an Israeli strike on Iran. In fact, that was the title of her op-ed: "Prepare for war with Iran." In it, she suggests that "at some point" Israel's restraint vis-avis Iran could evaporate, partly because President Ahmadinejad "makes(s) the Israelis paranoid." An Israeli strike, she says, "would be followed by retaliation, some of which would be directed at us, our troops in Iraq, our ships at sea." And she adds:

"I do hope that this administration is ready, militarily and psychologically, not for a war of choice but for an unwanted war of necessity."

That, of course, is exactly what Obama should not be doing. Instead, as I suspect they've done already -- indeed, even during the Bush administration, Admiral Mullen did this -- is make it clear to the Israelis that under no, repeat no, circumstances will an Israeli strike on Iran be tolerated by the United States. Bombing a would-be reactor in Syria, as Israel did three years ago, is one thing, but attacking Iran, a powerful regional actor and oil exporter with lots of muscle in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Gulf, is another. The United States simply has to let Israel know that attacking Iran would be considered an act of unprovoked aggression by Washington, resulting in a suspension of military assistance and a vote to condemn Israel at the UN.

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Exactly who are these talking heads that are always advocating to attack Iran? What could possibly be their reasoning?
Israel is spearheading this propaganda for their own gains.
If Israel should attack Iran, then Israel should be treated as a rogue warrior state. One that could possibly set off WW III. They should be told by the global community that any aggression against Iran will not be tolerated, in the harshest possible words.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sen. Sanders: Necessity And Common Sense = 51 Votes ?

The Senate's Reconcilable Differences

by: Sen. Bernie Sanders | In These Times

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Phillip Ritz, Kevin Dean)

The United States is in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Millions of Americans continue to lose their jobs, homes, life savings and ability to send their children to college.

Since December of 2007, more than 7 million Americans have lost their jobs; a staggering 17.3 percent of the American workforce is either unemployed or under-employed; and over 6 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months, the highest on record.

In America today we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income in the industrialized world. With the top 1 percent earning more income than the bottom 50 percent, we have the highest rate of childhood poverty among major countries. About a quarter of our children are dependent on food stamps. Today, as the middle class continues its decline, one in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards, and 120,000 Americans are declaring bankruptcy every month.

Sadly, this economic pain didn't begin when the financial sector nearly collapsed over a year ago. It has been going on for a decade. As the Washington Post reported in January, "The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times ... It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers ... There has been zero net job creation since December 1999 ... Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999--and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009."

Last September, USA Today reported that, "The incomes of the young and middle-aged--especially men--have fallen off a cliff since 2000, leaving many age groups poorer than they were even in the 1970s."

In order to strengthen and expand the collapsing middle class during these very difficult economic times, President Obama and Congress need to stand up to the big money interests and take bold steps to protect working families. Among many other initiatives:

We need to fundamentally change the way Wall Street does business so that it invests in the job-creating productive economy instead of engaging in the casino-style risk-taking that led to the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. history. Financial institutions that are "too-big-to-fail" need to be broken up so they no longer pose a threat to the entire economy. And we need to establish a national usury law to stop banks from ripping off the middle class by charging outrageous interest rates and exorbitant fees on credit cards.

We need to create millions of good jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure through major investments in roads, bridges, dams, culverts, schools and sewers.

We need to transform our energy system and break our dependency on foreign oil by investing in energy efficiency and such renewable energy technologies as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. Making these investments will lead not only to the creation of decent-paying green jobs, save money on energy bills, and cut greenhouse gas emissions, but also will improve our geo-political position and keep us out of wars fought for oil.

We need to fundamentally rewrite our trade policy in order to rebuild our industrial base. Today, the U.S. employs fewer manufacturing workers than in April 1941, eight months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. This has got to change. No nation can maintain a strong economy if it is dependent upon other countries for the products it consumes.

We need to join the rest of the industrialized world and make healthcare a right of citizenship for every man, woman and child in this country through a Medicare-for-all single-payer program. It is unacceptable that more than 46 million Americans are uninsured and 45,000 die each year because they don't get to a doctor in time.

Unfortunately, if we are to do any of these things we have got to end the Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate, which has forced Democrats to get 60 votes to pass any legislation.

Enough is enough. When the Republicans controlled the Senate and George W. Bush was in the White House, they were able to pass two major tax breaks for the wealthy with only 58 votes in 2001 and only 51 votes in 2003 through a process called reconciliation. Simply put, reconciliation allows the Senate to pass legislation with a simple 51-vote majority instead of a 60-vote super majority.

It's time for the Democrats to use these same reconciliation rules--which the Republicans used to benefit the wealthy--to rebuild the middle class. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

China,- U.S.A.: Financial And Or Military Threats ?

Caution urged on dollar assets

By Xin Zhiming (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-02-22 07:07
Dumping could lead to domino effect and affect value of holdings

China can reduce its holdings of dollar assets, but should not "overdo" it as the country tries to adjust the structure of its dollar asset-dominated foreign exchange reserves, analysts said.

The country's foreign exchange reserves amounted to nearly $2.4 trillion by the end of last year - a third of the global total - raising concerns that the massive scale of the holdings could backfire.

About 70 percent of the reserves are dollar assets, according to various estimates by scholars, and the high proportion means that once the dollar's value slumps, China will incur huge losses.

Related readings:
Caution urged on dollar assets China's current account balance falls 35% in 2009
Caution urged on dollar assets Can China reduce foreign reserve risks?
Caution urged on dollar assets China defends currency after Obama criticism
Caution urged on dollar assets China's currency regulator to promote trade balance

But it is equally difficult for China to dump its dollar assets because that could lead to a domino effect on other investors and cause depreciation of China's holdings.

"China is in a dilemma," said Dong Yuping, economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

According to the latest US Treasury International Capital (TIC) data, China was a net seller of US Treasuries in December, cutting its holdings by $34.2 billion to $755.4 billion.

China's share of total outstanding short- and long-term US Treasury securities among foreign holders declined to 20.9 percent in December from 23 percent in mid-2009, yielding its position as the largest investor in US treasuries to Japan.

"The data suggest that China could be more actively diversifying its currency reserves away from US Treasuries," said Jing Ulrich, managing director and chairman of China Equities and Commodities, J.P. Morgan. "We expect the country might be marginally shifting some exposure to other currencies."

While it is not clear that the selling is part of a consistent strategy, the country should keep a "considerable" proportion of dollar assets in its foreign exchange reserves, said Sun Lijian, economist with the Fudan University.

"China should not overly reduce its dollar assets, given their high market liquidity," he said. Dollar assets are relatively easy to sell if China needs quick money to safeguard its financial stability, he said.

More than a decade after the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, there are increasing suggestions that China use its growing reserves to buy resources, technologies and attract high-caliber professionals from abroad. While they are important, Sun said, China must have enough reserves available for protecting its financial stability.

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China circled by chain of US anti-missile systems

By Qin Jize and Li Xiaokun (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-02-22 07:17

Washington appears determined to surround China with US-built anti-missile systems, military scholars have observed.

According to US-based Defense News, Taiwan became the fifth global buyer of the Patriot missile defense system last year following Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Germany.

Quite a few military experts have noted that Washington's latest proposed weapon deal with Taiwan is the key part of a US strategic encirclement of China in the East Asian region, and that the missiles could soon have a footprint that extends from Japan to the Republic of Korea and Taiwan.

Air force colonel Dai Xu, a renowned military strategist, wrote in an article released this month that "China is in a crescent-shaped ring of encirclement. The ring begins in Japan, stretches through nations in the South China Sea to India, and ends in Afghanistan. Washington's deployment of anti-missile systems around China's periphery forms a crescent-shaped encirclement".

Ni Lexiong, an expert on military affairs with the Shanghai Institute of Political Science and Law, told the Guanghzou Daily yesterday, "The US anti-missile system in China's neighborhood is a replica of its strategy in Eastern Europe against Russia. The Obama administration began to plan for such a system around China after its project in Eastern Europe got suspended".

Tang Xiaosong, director of the Center of International Security and Strategy Studies with Guangdong University of Foreign Studies noted that the ring encircling China can also be expanded at any time in other directions. He said that Washington is hoping to sell India and other Southeast Asian countries the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 missile defense system.

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Mc Chrystals Role Overlooked By Inquiry Of "Ambush" ?

Probes Overlook McChrystal's Role in Costly Afghan Battles

by Jonathan S. Landay

WASHINGTON - Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, kept a remote U.S. base in the country manned last year at the local governor's request despite warnings from his field commanders that it should be closed because it was vulnerable and had no tactical or strategic value.

[Head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, speaks during a press conference in front of Afghan president Hamid Karzai's portrait, at Governors' house in Lashkar Gah, Helmend province, southern Afghanistan, Monday, Feb.15, 2010 (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)]Head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, speaks during a press conference in front of Afghan president Hamid Karzai's portrait, at Governors' house in Lashkar Gah, Helmend province, southern Afghanistan, Monday, Feb.15, 2010 (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
McChrystal's decision to maintain the outpost at Barg-e Matal prompted the top American commanders in eastern Afghanistan to delay plans to close a second remote U.S. outpost, Combat Outpost Keating, where insurgents killed eight U.S. troops in an assault Oct. 3, a McClatchy investigation has found.

Keeping Barg-e-Matal open also deprived a third isolated base of the officer who would have been its acting commander and left its command to lower-ranking officers whose "ineffective actions" led "directly" to the deaths of five American and eight Afghan soldiers in an ambush Sept. 8, according to a high-level military investigation.

In addition, an unidentified witness told the military investigators that the operations center that failed to provide effective artillery and air cover to the U.S. and Afghan force that was ambushed in the Ganjgal Valley was focused instead on Barg-e Matal.

However, the ambush inquiry and a similar high-level Army probe into the Oct. 3 deaths at COP Keating, the worst single American combat loss in 2009, don't mention that McChrystal's decision to keep Barg-e Matal open made the combat outpost and the Ganjgal operation more vulnerable.

Instead, the inquiries hit lower-ranking officers - including two field commanders who'd urged McChrystal for months to close Keating and Barg-e Matal - with administrative penalties.

The two officers, Col. Randy George and Lt. Col. Robert B. Brown, and other U.S. officials had warned repeatedly that the two outposts were worthless and too costly to defend, two American defense officials and a former NATO official told McClatchy.

Neither George nor Brown could be reached for comment.

A spokesman for McChrystal said the U.S. commander had ordered American troops to remain in Barg-e Matal to prevent it from falling to insurgents while a local militia was being trained there.

"The threat at that time was both significant and real," Rear Adm. Gregory Smith wrote in an e-mail.

Nuristan Gov. Jamalluddin Badr pressured the United States publicly and privately to keep troops in Barg-e Matal to prevent the village from falling to the Taliban before Afghanistan's Aug. 20 presidential election. The two U.S. defense officials said McChrystal's decision to keep the outpost there open until the local militia was trained was intended to help Badr survive the political fallout had insurgents captured the village after an American withdrawal.

"Everyone knew why we were in Barg-e Matal," one U.S. defense official said. "McChrystal . . . was not in favor of pulling out because of the political ramifications."

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McClatchy's Jonathan S. Landay talks about the ambush of U.S. and Afghan troops he was embedded with on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009.

Video Here

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Yoo: OK For Bush To Exterminate A Civilian Village ?

DOJ Report on Torture Memo: Yoo Said Bush Could Order Civilians "Exterminated"

For background on Jason Leopold's extensive work on the Yoo/Bybee torture memo report please see here, here, here, and here. Leopold will also be writing a through analysis of the voluminous report this weekend.

A long-awaited report into the legal memos former Justice Department attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee prepared for the Bush administration on torture was released Friday afternoon and concluded that the men violated "professional standards" and should be referred to state bar associations where a further review of their legal work could have led to the revocation of their law licenses.

But career prosecutor David Margolis, who reviewed the final version of the report, changed the disciplinary recommendations to "exercised poor judgment." [There are three versions of the report, all of which can be found here.]

That means Yoo and Bybee will not be punished for having fixed the law around Bush administration policy that allowed the CIA to subject suspected terrorists to torture techniques, such as waterboarding, beatings, and sleep deprivation, as the report notes.

Yoo is a law professor at UC Berkeley and Bybee is a 9th Circuit Appeals Court judge. Former Justice Department official Steven Bradbury also authored several torture memos and was criticized in the OPR report. Investigators said they had "serious concerns about his analysis." But the report did not charge him with ethical violations.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft and Michael Chertoff, who was head of the Justice Department's criminal division at the time the torture memos were prepared, were also criticized for not conducting a critical legal analysis of the memos, though neither was charged with misconduct. Ashcroft refused to cooperate with the investigation.

According to a January 5 memo Margolis sent to Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) issued a final report on July 29, 2009 and "concluded that former Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee engaged in professional misconduct by failing to provide 'thorough, candid, and objective' analysis in memoranda regarding the interrogation of detained terrorist suspects."

Yoo specifically was found to have "committed intentional professional misconduct when he violated his duty to exercise independent legal judgment and render thorough, objective, and candid legal advice."

Bybee was found to have "committed professional misconduct when he acted in reckless disregard of his duty to exercise independent legal judgment and render thorough, objective, and candid legal advice."

The report says that Yoo believed that George W. Bush's Commander-in-Chief powers gave him the authority to unilaterally order the mass murder of civilians.

In the final version of the report, an OPR investigator questioned Yoo about what he referred to as the "bad things opinion," where Yoo discussed what the president could do during wartime.

"What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred?" an OPR investigator asked Yoo. "Is that a power that the president could legally—"

"Yeah," Yoo said.

"To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?" the questioner replied.

"Sure," Yoo said.

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This was the mind set of the W/Cheney regime. He wrote what they wanted to hear, in order to facilitate, legalize, their crimes.
And to think that people worry about "liberal"professors teaching in our universities. Here is a professor that advocates mass murder of civilians. AMAZING ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.
To think that the O Team is going to sweep this under the rug is morally criminal in its self. The question for today is.

What in the world has America become?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Israels Foreign Minister: "Israel never responds, never confirms and never denies,"

Tourists with a License to Kill

A Look at the Mossad's Assassination Squads

By Yassin Musharbash

A composite of Dubai police handout photos released on Feb. 15, 2010 showing 11 people suspected of being involved in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
DPA/ Dubai Police

A composite of Dubai police handout photos released on Feb. 15, 2010 showing 11 people suspected of being involved in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Many intelligence agencies are suspected of carrying out assassinations, but few are as notorious for doing so as Israel's Mossad. Although the agency has become legendary for its amazing successes, it has still had its share of failures. If the Mossad was behind the recent killing in Dubai, it might be another blemish on the agency's reputation.

In 1955, seven years after the Israeli state was founded, the philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz wrote a letter to then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. In it, he complained that innocent Palestinians were being killed in Israeli operations. "I do not agree with you," responded Ben-Gurion. "While it is good that there be a world full of peace, fraternity, justice, and honesty, it is even more important that we be in it."

This notion of a well-fortified state that eliminates its enemies by force whenever possible is still supported by a large majority of Israelis. Such actions include assassinations carried out by Israel's military and the Mossad, its foreign intelligence service. Indeed, human rights organizations estimate that the Israeli military has killed more than 100 people in the Palestinian territories in so-called "targeted killings."

The most recent incident that the Mossad is embroiled in shows that the majority of Israelis continue to believe that such killings are justified. In January, the Mossad is said to have killed a weapons buyer from Hamas in Dubai. Earlier this week, authorities in Dubai made public a compilation of surveillance photos showing the members of the alleged hit squad. German intelligence sources say that only an intelligence agency is capable of carrying out such a professional operation. In Britain, government officials were more explicit: They said they were convinced that the Mossad was behind the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

But, in Israel, the debate revolves primarily around two questions. First, did the operation have the Mossad's usual degree of "professionalism"? And, second, should the operation be considered a failure because photos of 11 suspected agents have been made public and the world now believes that the Mossad is not above creating fake passports from friendly countries, such as Germany or Great Britain, or "borrowing" the identities of their citizens.

A Chronicle of Successful Hits

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

U.S.A., Israel, Want Another Color Revolution In Iran ?

The Iranian Greens and the West

A Dangerous Liaison


In the 1979 Revolution in Iran the liberal forces made a fatal mistake: they adopted the old dictum of the enemy of my enemy is my friend and allied themselves with just about every force that opposed the tyrannical rule of the shah. The result was helping to replace one form of despotism for another: monarchy for theocracy. A similar mistake seems to be made today. Many liberal elements are once again allying themselves with anyone who opposes the current regime in Iran, including the same “Western” countries that nourished the despotic rule of the shah in the first place.

For decades these countries, particularly the US and Israel, helped the shah to deprive Iranians of their most basic rights and freedoms. With the assistance of these countries, the demented despot silenced all opposition to his rule, built and expanded his notorious secret police, made his opponents disappear, and filled Iran’s dungeons, particularly the infamous Evin prison that is still in use, with political prisoners. He had them tortured, mutilated, and executed. The US, Israel and their allies, had no problem with these violations of basic human rights in Iran as long as the “son of a bitch” was “their son of a bitch” and made them a partner in the plunder of the wealth of the nation.

Afterward, these same countries gave us the dual containment policy that helped Saddam Hussein start one of the longest wars in the 20th century, the Iran-Iraq War. They closed their eyes to Saddam’s crimes and even assisted him in his criminal acts. With their help, the butcher of Baghdad killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people by deploying chemical agents in the war, bombing civilians and laying cities to waste. The West had no problem with Saddam Hussein as long as he was their “son of a bitch.” But once the Iraq-Iran War ended and Saddam tried to become a free agent, the US, Israel and their allies gave us the first invasion of Iraq and the subsequent inhumane sanctions against the country, which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Then they brought about the second invasion of Iraq, the “shock and awe,” indiscriminate bombing of the civilians, sadistic and horrendous treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the savagery in Fallujah, more death, destruction, and mayhem. Then Israel, that “only democracy in the Middle East,” and its Western allies, gave us the brutal war against the helpless Lebanese and the massacre in Gaza.

Has all this been forgotten? Have the liberal Iranian forces lost their memory? Are they suffering from historical amnesia? Indeed, the behavior of some of the supporters of the Iranian “Greens” leaves one with no choice but to conclude that they are either experiencing a memory loss or are amazingly ignorant. For example, according to The Washington Post, on November 2, 2009, “Ataollah Mohajerani, who has been a spokesman in Europe for presidential candidate-turned-dissident Mehdi Karroubi, came to Washington to address the annual conference of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.” True, according to the report, Mr. Mohajerani’s talk, which included such things as “a rehashing of U.S. involvement in the 1953 coup in Tehran,” did not exactly please his audience. But why would a supporter of the Iranian “Greens” appear before the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) crowd in the first place? Doesn’t he know what WINEP represents? Has he no idea that this “institute” is a “think tank” affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)? Is he not aware that AIPAC is the Israeli fifth column in the US, which, in spite of formulating US foreign policy in the Middle East, is caught every few years in the act of espionage? Is he ignorant of the fact that AIPAC-WINEP has been underwriting every sanction act against Iran since the early 1990s? Is he unaware that AIPAC-WINEP gave us Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and associates, the Bush era architects of the genocidal war in Iraq? Does he not know that AIPAC-WINEP has brought us Dennis Ross and associates, the architects of the Obama era policy of “tough diplomacy,” a policy that was intended to bring nothing but more sanctions against Iran and, possibly, a war? Is he not aware that AIPAC-WINEP’s interest in Iran stops at the doorstep of “Eretz Israel” and has nothing to do with democracy or human rights in Iran? How forgetful or ignorant can a supporter of the cleric Karroubi be?

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It is always the same Neocons, Neolibs, Israel Firsters, and Zionists, that are beating the war drums.

The same shadows behind the curtains are marching us into the Empire of the Abyss.

All of their policies have given us nothing but blood, sweat, and tears. Why are Israel Firsters always engineering our foreign policy in the middle east for their own personal gain?

We had the Neocons, now we have the Neolibs. Both pay homage to Israel, not the U.S.A. WHY?

The U.S.A. and the CIA helped bring the Shah of Iran into power. They over threw a democratically elected government. The Shah was a puppet for the West, and a brutal Dictator for Iran. But as usual that was accepted by the West because he was OUR brutal Dictator.

So, now they are at it again. Wanting regime change once again. Would we be so intereted if Iran had no natural resources? I rather doubt it.

When Hillary speaks,ask your selves this.

Is she speaking for the U.S.A., or is she speaking for Israel?

Remember now. Iran has no nukes, and has signed the NPT. Israel DOES HAVE NUKES, and has NOT signed th NPT.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cheney: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding,"

by: Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | News Analy

(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Mike Licht,, World Economic Forum, stevefaeembra, MissusK)

Dick Cheney is a sadist.

On Sunday, in an exclusive interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC News' "This Week," Cheney proclaimed his love of torture, derided the Obama administration for outlawing the practice, and admitted that the Bush administration ordered Justice Department attorneys to fix the law around his policies.

"I was a big supporter of waterboarding," Cheney told Karl, as if he were issuing a challenge to officials in the current administration, including President Barack Obama, who said flatly last year that waterboarding is torture, to take action against him. "I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques..."

The former vice president's declaration closely follows admissions he made in December 2008, about a month before the Bush administration exited the White House, when he said he personally authorized the torture of 33 suspected terrorist detainees and approved the waterboarding of three so-called “high-value” prisoners.

“I signed off on it; others did, as well, too,” Cheney said in an interview with the right-wing Washington Times about the waterboarding, a drowning technique where a person is strapped to a board, his face covered with a cloth and then water is poured over it. It is a torture technique dating back at least to the Spanish Inquisition.

The US has long treated waterboarding as a war crime and has prosecuted Japanese soldiers for using it against US troops during World War II. And Ronald Reagan's Justice Department prosecuted a Texas sheriff and three deputies for using the practice to get confessions.

But Cheney's admissions back then, as well as those he made on Sunday, went unchallenged by Karl and others in the mainstream media. Indeed, the two major national newspapers--The New York Times and The Washington Post--characterized Cheney's interview as a mere spat between the vice president and the Obama administration over the direction of the latter's counterterroism and national security policies. The Times and Post left Cheney's admissions about waterboarding and torture in general out of their reports.

Cheney told Karl, as if he were issuing a challenge to officials in the current administration, including President Barack Obama, who said flatly last year that waterboarding is torture, to take action against him. "I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques..."

The former vice president's declaration closely follows admissions he made in December 2008, about a month before the Bush administration exited the White House, when he said he personally authorized the torture of 33 suspected terrorist detainees and approved the waterboarding of three so-called “high-value” prisoners.

“I signed off on it; others did, as well, too,” Cheney said in an interview with the right-wing Washington Times about the waterboarding, a drowning technique where a person is strapped to a board, his face covered with a cloth and then water is poured over it. It is a torture technique dating back at least to the Spanish Inquisition.

The US has long treated waterboarding as a war crime and has prosecuted Japanese soldiers for using it against US troops during World War II. And Ronald Reagan's Justice Department prosecuted a Texas sheriff and three deputies for using the practice to get confessions.

But Cheney's admissions back then, as well as those he made on Sunday, went unchallenged by Karl and others in the mainstream media. Indeed, the two major national newspapers--The New York Times and The Washington Post--characterized Cheney's interview as a mere spat between the vice president and the Obama administration over the direction of the latter's counterterroism and national security policies. The Times and Post left Cheney's admissions about waterboarding and torture in general out of their reports.

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Every one knows this came from Cheney. He admits it, he encouraged it, he LIKED IT.

So, the simple question for today is.

Why is team Obama, {Dept. of Justice} {Eric Holder}, not going after this criminal?