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Undernews For June 16, 2008

Undernews For June 16, 2008

FROM THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW
Washington's Most Unofficial Source
611 Pennsylvania Ave SE #381
Washington DC 20003
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Editor: Sam Smith

16 JUN 2008

MORNING LINE
OBAMA HAS SLIGHT LEAD, 162 ELECTORAL VOTES UP FOR GRABS
Obama is 32 electoral votes ahead of McCain with 162 undecided

SWAMPOODLE REPORT: CAMPAIGN SEA STORIES

Sam Smith

From the beginning, I have been one of those rare Americans who thought that if Barack Obama had gone to a Muslim school, it was probably a good thing. Unlike much of the country and almost all of the conventional media, I don't think being a Muslim is an evil act and I find it odd that people who write so enthusiastically about the gender and ethnic breakthroughs of the current campaign can also off handedly describe Muslims as intrinsically on the wrong side of life. We're talking about a subset of Americans who are, according to one recent study, slightly more numerous than Jews, yet are treated with at least as much prejudice, magnified by the problem that nobody admits it and that the "objective" media casually trashes their culture.

My view is also affected by the fact that I was raised as an Episcopalian yet no one considers me to have been unduly influenced in the slightest by that extremist religion. I belong to a happy congregation of those raised in one faith or another who found the back door out. For many of us, whatever the negatives, there is still the affection of memory, the chap book of funny stories, a fondness for the poetry, a command of the dialect and cliches, but, most of all, an understanding of what it was all about that you can't learn from a National Security Council briefer. If I were in the White House facing an international Episcopal jihad, I would know exactly how to hit them where it hurts.

Thus, from the start, I thought Obama overplayed his distance from Muslim culture. You could feel it in the spin: too much, too hard. It's the sort of thing that campaign staff sell you, but which is almost guaranteed to fail. The past is complex; far better to admit it from the start, rather then to create little fibs that only get you through the next few weeks.

John Kerry proved it when he overplayed his hero shtick. I could sense it from the moment he did that excruciatingly pompous salute at the convention. Decent heroes let others do the talking; Kerry, by elaborating the story for his play book, was just asking for trouble. . . which he got.
And now this from the Israeli Insider:
|||| Apparently the Obamas of Kenya have been reading those scurrilous emails to which Barack likes to refer, because they have no doubt -- contrary to the claims of the Obama campaign, that the presidential candidate was raised a Moslem. They take that as a given.
As the Jerusalem Post reports, "Barack Obama's half brother Malik said Thursday that if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background. In an interview with Army Radio he expressed a special salutation from the Obamas of Kenya."
The Obama brothers' father, a senior economist for the Kenyan government who studied at Harvard University, died in car crash in 1982. He left six sons and a daughter. All of his children - except Malik -- live in Britain or the United States. Malik and Barack met in 1985.
In a remarkable denial issued last November that still stands on the official campaign website, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs issued a statement explaining that "Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian."
Apparently Malik Obama, himself a Muslim, had not read the press release.
Melanie Phillips is the most recent commentator to draw attention to the massive body of evidence that leaves no doubt that Barak Hussein Obama was born a Muslim (Islam is patrilineal) and raised a Muslim (so registered in school, acknowledging attending Islamic classes, reported accompanying his step-father to the mosque, and able to recite the Koran in the original Arabic). ||||
And so the debate will go on - intense and mean, no doubt - and happily indifferent to the point that Obama might have made in the first place: that his past experience adds to his value in the White House, that having lived in a Muslim culture means one understands it in a way that, say, a Bill O'Reilly growing up in Long Island never could. In the end, we either have to fight the Muslim world or learn how to live with it, and Obama - even if the perversions of a campaign led him to obscure the fact - may have had a head start in achieving the latter, and far better, result.

PAGE ONE MUST

LAW SCHOOL TO PLAN BUSH WAR CRIMES TRIAL

OP ED NEWS A conference to plan the prosecution of President Bush and other high administration officials for war crimes will be held September 13-14 at the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.

"This is not intended to be a mere discussion of violations of law that have occurred," said convener Lawrence Velvel, dean and cofounder of the school. "It is, rather, intended to be a planning conference at which plans will be laid and necessary organizational structures set up, to pursue the guilty as long as necessary and, if need be, to the ends of the Earth."

"We must try to hold Bush administration leaders accountable in courts of justice," Velvel said. "And we must insist on appropriate punishments, including, if guilt is found, the hangings visited upon top German and Japanese war-criminals in the 1940s."

Velvel said past practice has been to allow U.S. officials responsible for war crimes in Viet Nam and elsewhere to enjoy immunity from prosecution upon leaving office. "President Johnson retired to his Texas ranch and his Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was named to head the World Bank; Richard Nixon retired to San Clemente and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was allowed to grow richer and richer," Velvel said.

He noted in the years since the prosecution and punishment of German and Japanese leaders after World War Two those nation's leaders changed their countries' aggressor cultures. One cannot discount contributory cause and effect here, he said.

"For Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Yoo to spend years in jail or go to the gallows for their crimes would be a powerful lesson to future American leaders," Velvel said.

The conference will take up such issues as the nature of domestic and international crimes committed; which high-level Bush officials, including Federal judges and Members of Congress, are chargeable with war crimes; which foreign and domestic tribunals can be used to prosecute them; and the setting up of an umbrella coordinating committee with representatives of legal groups concerned about the war crimes such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, ACLU, National Lawyers Guild, among others.

The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover was established in 1988 to provide an affordable, quality legal education to minorities, immigrants and students from low-income households that might otherwise be denied the opportunity to obtain a legal education and practice law. Its founder, Dean Velvel, has been honored by the National Law Journal and cited in various publications for his contributions to the reform of legal education.

WILL OBAMA TAKE ON CREDIT CARD USURY?

If Obama takes on this issue, one the Progressive Review has long pushed, it would be his first strong move in the economic area and unique in modern traditional politics.

ABC NEWS One of the more ambitious ideas [Obama] is considering, according to a campaign spokeswoman, would be to restore government regulation of credit card interest rates. The government has not been involved in interest rate regulation for 30 years, after a Supreme Court ruling blocked states from effectively engaging in the practice. . .

Stricter regulation of interest rates would likely provoke a titanic struggle with the credit card industry, which would argue that the government should not meddle in the free market. But advocates of re-regulating interest rates argue that this change is needed to prevent more families from falling into bankruptcy.

As part of his "Change That Works for You" tour, Obama held a roundtable talk in Chicago last week with three consumers apparently gouged by the credit card industry. He was joined at the event by Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, the nation's leading advocate of re-regulating credit card interest rates.

"The key is that you need to break the cycle of no regulation," Warren told ABC News. "Currently, the states can't regulate and the federal government won't. So there are two ways to fix that: Either let the states do the regulating or put some regulation in at the federal level."

Harvard Law School professor David Wilkins introduced Warren to Obama when the Democratic senator from Illinois was getting ready to run for the U.S. Senate in 2004. . .

Warren says that she has not directly discussed the reimposition of usury laws with Obama, but she hopes that he will take up the cause if elected. .

If Obama goes beyond studying ways to more strictly regulate interest rates to actually proposing such changes, credit card companies are sure to argue that such a move would dry up credit for higher-risk borrowers.

Warren dismisses such arguments.

"That is the most astonishing claim that I can imagine a corporate representative making," said Warren. "Let me retranslate it: 'If I can't trick these people and fool these people about the actual cost of credit, then I can't make a profit off of them, and I will stop lending it."

"To state the question is to answer it," she continued.

"The truth is," she said, "I think there is a profit to be made in lending to low-income working families. ... There are lenders who do it every day."

RUSSERT COVERAGE: NO ONE LOVES JOURNALISTS LIKE JOURNALISTS DO

HAL BOEDEKER, ORLANDO SENTINEL Here's one thing you can say about journalists: Surely no one loves us as much as we love ourselves. That's one lesson of the Tim Russert coverage.

A friend told me Sunday: "I now know more about Tim Russert than I do many members of my family."

After Russert's shocking death Friday at age 58, television kept serving up witnesses to his expertise, intelligence, diligence, kindness, faith, love of family, Buffalo and the Buffalo Bills. The self-indulgence was breathtaking.

On Monday's "Today," Matt Lauer interviewed Russert's son, Luke. The show basically gave over the first half-hour to the Russert story. Presidential candidates aren't questioned at such length on morning programs.

And the children of America's fallen heroes don't receive such a platform, either.

Here are a few points to consider:

Does the coverage move the story along? "ABC World News" examined heart disease, which killed Russert. Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren took up the same issue. But so much of the coverage was of the "I remember Tim" variety. Sad to say, a lot of it was repetitive.

Is there a sense of proportion? Peter Jennings didn't receive such heavy coverage when he died -- ABC doesn't own a cable channel. And he was in our homes, night after night, for 20 years. MSNBC kept Russert front and center through the weekend. How will NBC cover the passing of Tom Brokaw? Hasn't he been the most influential figure at NBC for the past two decades?

Do the hours of coverage inflate the story? Tim Russert was excellent at his job, make no mistake. He worked hard, he treated his guests fairly, and he asked tough questions. But by weekend's end, some commentators had elevated him to preeminent journalist of his time. And one reader wrote: "His was the most noteworthy and untimely 'public' death in the past 20 years." Really? Beware hyperbole. . .

EXPANDING FREE TRADE MAY BE NEARING END

BLOOMBERG After six decades of ever-expanding international commerce, the high tide of free trade is ebbing. As tens of thousands of South Koreans protest U.S. beef imports, rising commodity prices push nations to keep more food for domestic consumption and the U.S. chooses a new president who might be less supportive of free trade than his immediate predecessors, the world may be facing the end of a cycle that began in the immediate aftermath of World War II.

The liberalization of global trade has come "to a screeching halt,'' said Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. "It'll take years to rebuild the foundations of free-trade policy.''

The cause is more political than economic. "This is a challenging time to be in the pro-trade wing of any party in virtually any country,'' U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said June 12 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "It's hard to be for open trade, whether you are in India or the European Union or in China.''. . .

European Union trade negotiators expressed concern this week about "a re-emergence of protectionist sentiment in the U.S.'' after Congress approved a new $289 billion farm bill that extends price supports and other subsidies developing nations oppose. . .

Reservations about a new WTO agreement have grown into a general aversion to free trade in many countries, including France and Italy, where cheap imports are blamed for job losses. That's causing some governments to rethink their pro-trade policies.

Most important is the U.S., the world's largest economy and biggest importer. Democrats, who took control of Congress in 2007, have postponed a decision on a trade deal with Colombia by amending so-called fast-track authority, which guards against amendments and filibusters and requires a timely vote. . .

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says that if elected, he might reopen the world's largest trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. The Illinois senator, 46, says the pact should include new labor and environmental standards.

Mexican farmers want to renegotiate NAFTA too: They shut down Mexico City's main boulevard in January to protest the pact, which they say hasn't done enough to protect them from cheaper U.S. imports of sugar, beans, corn and milk.

HOME ELECTRICITY PRICES SOARING

USA TODAY Utilities across the USA are raising power prices up to 29%, mostly to pay for soaring fuel costs, but also to build new plants and refurbish an aging power grid. Even more dramatic rate increases are ahead. The mounting electric bills will further squeeze households struggling with spiraling gasoline prices. The increases come after rising fuel prices already have driven up utility bills nearly 30% in the past five years, the sharpest jump since the 1970s energy crisis. Fuel costs are again the main culprit.

DEMOCRATS SELL OUT ON TELECOM IMMUNITY FOR ILLEGAL SPYING

REUTERS White House and congressional negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on an anti-terror spy bill that would permit court dismissal of potentially billions of dollars in lawsuits against phone companies, sources familiar with the talks said.

Under the possible accord, a federal court could immunize a company by ruling it had been given written assurances that its participation in the U.S. government's warrantless domestic spying program was legal and authorized by President George W. Bush, one source said.

It was unclear what would happen with suits against the government. But the government could claim state secrets, arguing information needed to prosecute was confidential and that suits should thus be dropped, the source said.

About 40 civil lawsuits have been filed accusing AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. of violating Americans' privacy rights in the surveillance program begun by Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks.

"This is a terrible deal," said Caroline Fredrickson of the American Civil Liberties Union. "It's just a quick way to dismiss the cases. They (phone companies) just have to show that the president told them to break the law.". . .

Critics charge Bush violated the law in authorizing warrantless surveillance after the September 11 attacks. But Bush maintains he had the wartime power to do it. He later put the program under FISA jurisdiction. Terms remain secret.

EUROPEAN UNION SEEKING WAYS TO ISOLATE IRELAND FOR STANDING UP FOR ITS SOVEREIGNTY

GUARDIAN, UK Germany and France moved to isolate Ireland in the European Union y, scrambling for ways to resuscitate the Lisbon Treaty a day after the Irish dealt the architects of the EU's new regime a crushing blow. Refusing to take Ireland's 'no' for an answer, politicians in Berlin and Paris prepared for a crucial EU summit in Brussels this week by trying to ring fence the Irish while demanding that the treaty be ratified by the rest of the EU.

The scene is now set for a major clash between the Irish and their European partners after a Dublin minister and sources in the ruling Fianna Fail party ruled out any chance of a second Irish referendum on the treaty. . .

The Tories said that after the rejection of the treaty's forerunner - the now abandoned EU constitution - by French and Dutch voters in 2005, EU leaders should finally accept that their blueprint for reform was dead. Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said: 'It is time to turn away from this whole centralizing project and concentrate on things that really matter.'

However France's Europe minister, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, said a search was on for a way to accommodate the Irish verdict without derailing plans to implement the treaty that aims to change how the EU is run and gives the Union its first sitting president and foreign minister. The Franco-German plan is to get all 27 EU states to ratify the treaty as soon as possible, to quarantine the Irish and then come up with some legal maneuver enabling the treaty to go ahead.

It is not clear yet how or if this will succeed. 'The legal situation is clear,' said a European Commission official. 'Unless the treaty is ratified by all, there is no treaty.'

BOOKSHELF

WHEN CHILDHOOD COLLIDES WITH NCLB
Susan Ohanian

PAT HINCHEY, BOOK SMARTS Susan Ohanian is one of the many voices urging a more activist defense of public schools and teachers, a rejection of privatization strategies, and a return of humanity, common sense and sane pedagogical strategies to schools. . . Ohanian's newest book, When Childhood Collides with NCLB, surely "breaks new ground in the literature of educational criticism," as promised in the introduction. Unlike all of the research and reports and critiques, this book doesn't try to add to a reader's informational stockpile: instead, it tries to get the reader to feel the mixture of indignation, outrage and sadness that so many feel about what is happening to children and teachers in schools, using an innovative format resembling a double-entry journal. The right column of each page contains snippets of news, opinion and quotes from the world of media, with sources ranging from NPR, the New York Times and the Children's Defense Fund to luminaries like President Dwight Eisenhower . . . and Rick of Casablanca ("Suppose you run your business and let me run mine" ). On the left side of each page is original poetry by Ohanian, which serves as a kind of reflection and commentary on the media material that focuses now and then on bits of relevant wisdom ORDER: $9 from VSSE, Box 26, Charlotte, VT 05445

BREVITAS
EMENDATION

Because of technical problems the video musical version of editor Sam's "Apology to Younger Americans" has been moved to Youtube

FREEDOM BEAT

On June 5th, after a federal judge cleared the way, Blackwater Worldwide, the 'World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army', opened a large training facility in San Diego, just three blocks from the border that separates California and Mexico. Blackwater is setting its sights on the so-called "war on drugs" and recently opened its own private CIA, called "Total Intelligence Solutions," marketing "CIA-type services" to Fortune 500 companies. Indybay
BUSH WHACKED

Steve Aftergood, Secrecy News: Secrecy News was removed from the distribution list for the U.S. State Department history publication "Foreign Relations of the United States" after we reported on errors in several FRUS volumes. A spokesman for the State Department Historian's Office confirmed that officials had ordered the removal of Secrecy News from the FRUS mailing list in response to our critical coverage. In an email message to the series editor yesterday, I asked the Historian's Office to reconsider its action. To do so would serve the best interests of FRUS, I suggested. The request to reinstate Secrecy News on the FRUS mailing list awaits a decision by the State Department Historian, Dr. Marc J. Susser.
OUTLYING PRECINCTS

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama called for higher payroll taxes on wage-earners making more than $250,000 annually, a step that would affect the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans. The presidential candidate told senior citizens in Ohio that it is unfair for middle-class earners to pay the Social Security tax "on every dime they make," while millionaires and billionaires pay it on only "a very small percentage of their income." The 6.2 percent payroll tax is now applied to all wages up to $102,000 a year, which covers the entire amount for most Americans. Under Obama's plan, the tax would not apply to wages between that amount and $250,000. But all annual salaries above the quarter-million-dollar amount would be taxed under his plan, Obama said. AP

Obama's tax plan is one of the more radical to be proposed by a major candidate. It's the sort of thing progressives have urged for years without attracting much support or interest in the media.

READER COMMENTS

NOTE: You can post your comments on any of the above stories by going to our Undernews site and searching for the headline. Once posted, a copy is immediately mailed to the Review and we pick some of the most interesting to publish here. http://prorev.com/indexa.htm

FIST BUMPS

T.E. Lawrence was a keen observer of such mannerisms. One of his theories was that the British got on better with the Arabs, particularly the Bedouins, than the French or Spanish because there were similarities in body language. Neither liked to be touched and neither thought it appropriate to get too close to one another. He also observed that the energetic gesturing of East Indians aggravated the Arabs, particularly the Gulf Arabs and that they were inclined to mimic the Indians behind their backs. For all that Germans and British share certain traits, he noticed that a German tendency to level a more fixed gaze at people upset the Bedouins who considered it invasive, the same way dogs do not like to be stared stand will begin to growl if stared at too long.

Lawrence also quickly observed that the Arabs were as racist as the British, and he posited that British racism actually helped them get along with the Arabs better than the French or Spanish did. He characterized the situation like this: The British thought of the Arabs, you poor blackguards, you never can be British, and the Arabs thought of the British, You poor bastards, you never can be Arab. The French, on the other hand, wanted to Europeanize the Arabs, the same way the damned fools in the current administration have wanted to bring them the glories of American democracy when they know perfectly well their tribal society has served them far longer than our republican society has served us. Indeed, in their case their caliphates faltered whenever they veered away from tribal organization. - Del Marbrook

THE CLINTON STORY

- - The Clinton rap sheet should be placed in context. On the face of it, you would rank Bill Clinton with Coolidge - as a complacent beneficiary of an economic bubble. But the impeachment invites comparison to Andrew Johnson, Nixon and the incumbent. Johnson can be excused as Lincoln's mistake. Was Clinton worse than Nixon? Clinton's Iraq bombing and the secret war in Cambodia cancel themselves out. Perhaps the best you can say about Clinton is that he controlled the budget, whereas Nixon opened China and had a strong record on domestic issues. The third rate break-in is probably outweighed by the Clinton crimes, all but of few of them overlooked by Ken Starr. Clinton's triangulation of his own party - essentially changing parties while in office - contrasts with Nixon's resignation and the quick reemergence of that party in 1980 for dominance through the rest of the century. Presidential historians could possibly rank Clinton behind Nixon, but not as bad as George W. Bush, perhaps as the second worst president, counting only two-termers. This explains the Obama euphoria, after 16 years of these cellar-dwellers, and other long droughts, voters see a rookie who is already better than a Hoover (McCain's equivalent), and maybe could match Wilson some day.

- - Obama can't put Hillary on the ticket because Bill would come tottering after her and he can't shut up. Before Obama knew it Bill would be trying to pull the strings. Can't you just see it? What a screwed up mess we are in. I still am sad Edwards is not the one. I will not get over how silly the Dems are taking risks on greenhorns and crazy chicks when Edwards would have been a shoe in and the best person for the job to boot. - Beth

CHART OF GLOBAL CONFLICT

- - With reference to your very informative graph, do you see a relationship between the rise of capitalism in the late middle ages and the take off in warfare? - John Schoonover

OBAMA REALITY CHECK: GLIMPSES OF A GOSSAMER

- - True on many points, or at least accurate, but so what? How many of the author's criticisms could not be applied to any politician? Grow up. You're not the only idealist out there. We move closer to the ideal with every barrier that we remove. Given the nature of our society today, how far do you think a man of color would have gotten had he followed your advice. Obama as president would be an enormous idea. Ideas are far more important than policy. If we should be so fortunate as to make this a reality, it would be up to us, the idealists, to move things along. He's doing his part, what are you doing?

BAGHDAD ON THE POTOMAC

- - Not even 8 years of Bush Co., and Washington D.C. will soon look like occupied Palestine. That didn't take long.

- - This is news? Ask anyone who has grown up in an inner-city neighborhood, moved to the suburbs, and attempts to visit the old 'hood to see how things have changed. You are stopped, harassed, asked for ID. If you are a "salt and pepper" couple -- one black one white -- (or any other combination), you can count on being stopped, questioned, challenged, etc. In all fairness, some of the police incredulity is based on, "Why would anyone want to visit here?"

SWAMPOODLE REPORT: ENTROPIC ELOQUENCE

- - If he means the words, I could care less who first uttered or wrote them. Sincerity trumps originality.

TERRORISM: WRONG PICTURES

- - The whole War on Terror thing has been nothing but showbiz from the beginning. The actions being taken by the government are not at all intended to catch terrorists. The instant 9/11 gave them the pretext, the paranoid power-hungry elite decided this was the perfect excuse to create an SS/KGB-style police state in America by which everyone is made afraid of everyone else. All honest people are expected to inform on anyone they see whose behavior does not match white middle-class social norms. Since the average is that which no one ever exactly matches, we can all be made suspects.

OBAMA WOULD GIVE ALL OF JERUSALEM TO ISRAELIS

- - Perhaps he should change his name to "Status Quobama".

- - So Obama is just as willing to ignore international law and the United Nations as Bush is:

UN Resolution 250: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem".

UN Resolution 251: " . . . 'deeply deplores' Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250".

UN Resolution 252: " . . . 'declares invalid' Israel's acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital".

UN Resolution 267: " . . . 'censures' Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem".

UN Resolution 271: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem".

UN Resolution 298: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's changing of the status of Jerusalem".

UN Resolution 476: " . . . 'reiterates' that Israel's claim to Jerusalem are 'null and void'".

UN Resolution 478: " . . . 'censures (Israel) in the strongest terms' for its claim to Jerusalem in its 'Basic Law'"

HOW MUCH WATER ARE YOU REALLY USING?

- - How do we get the gallon I don't use to people in Bangladesh who don't have clean water? - Wellbasically

- - I'm a chemist living in a farming community out west." The proportion of water to food sounds rather extreme to my ear, particularly for areas of dry land (non-irrigated) farming.

-- I'm not sure if I understand the point of calculating virtual water. Some food may end up in landfills, but the water used to grow it doesn't remain permanently trapped there. This is not to say that we shouldn't plan our water use carefully. I just think the virtual water stat is a bit bogus.

- - The concept of "virtual water" may be useful in indicating the importance of water, but it has little to no meaning in the discussion of water use in agriculture.

- - I brew coffee using a single cup filter system with unbleached filters. Afterward, the grounds and filter end up in my compost pile. Coffee ground are also an excellent mild fertilizer, having an NPK ratio on average of 2-0.3-0.2.

OLMERT SAYS END OF IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM COMING UP

- - "The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington. The Israeli puppeteer meets with the puppet in the White House, and then moves down Pennsylvania Avenue, and meets with the puppets in Congress. And then takes back billions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Washington puppet show to be replaced by the Washington peace show." - Ralph Nader

OBAMA USES CLINTON HACK TO VET VEEP CHOICES

- - I've no love for Billery and I have my doubts about Obama, but I do respect Al Giordano who's dedicated his life to authentic journalism. He says, " the Obama campaign is the first mass multi-racial collaboration in the United States since the Southern Civil Rights movement." That has to give some hope.

POETIC JUSTICE

"Three foggy mornings and one rainy day
Will rot the best birch fence a man can build."

- - The ephemeral nature of life is something you'll sure as hell learn from experience if you don't learn it from Frost first. - Home Burial

- - Giordano's observation refers to the long overdue type of effective popular collaboration necessary to derail the hack-based machine that was propelling the presumptive nominee to the White House. Sam Smith is talking about another kind of collaboration, the kind that generates badly conceived deals between the Obama campaign and the disreputable remnants of the defeated hack wing of the Democratic party. Whether the popular forces behind Obama are able to detect, head-off , or even just mitigate the effects of similar self destructive pacts entered into by the Obama brain trust remains to be seen. Will we settle for a rhetorical "new day" or will we demand the real thing? - John A. Joslin, Detroit

NUCLEAR POWER

"Two-thirds of Americans (67%) said they support the construction of new nuclear power plants in the U.S., with nearly half (46%) who indicated strong support for new nuclear plants, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows."

"The Energy Department's safety plan for handling containers of radioactive waste before they are buried at the proposed Yucca Mountain dump has become a "fool's errand," according to a major nuclear equipment supplier....The blistering critique of safety standards is in a newsletter that Holtec sent last week to its customers and suppliers, warning that the project has become a "doomed undertaking."

- - I just love the way these two stories play out together. The answer: those who support nuclear power must agree to move to the Yucca Mountain area in a show of confidence and support. Or refuse in an admission of their stupidity in supporting nuclear energy in the first place.

GREEN VICTORIA

- - The Victoria Capital Regional District pumps 120 million litres of raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca every single day. The effluent flows through 6mm screens which removes large solids, but little of the sediment and none of the toxic cleaners, solvents, medicines, and other contaminants that go down our sinks and toilets. This is harmful to the marine environment, embarrassing to the majority of local residents and presents a significant potential liability for tourism and other businesses in this city. It is amazing that in the 21st Century a community as affluent as Greater Victoria is simply flushing its wastes into the ocean. Victoria stands alone as the only Canadian city of its size without even a plan to have secondary treatment. Bill Hennessey

U.S. QUITS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

-- If the goal is furtherance of human rights worldwide, than the departure of the U.S. is a major improvement.

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