Media Shouldn't Protect Power from Embarrassment: Why WikiLeaks Had to Release the US Embassy Cables

This article provides all the rationale that is needed for the Wikileaks leaks. Peacenik is still hoping for something embarrassing for Harper to come out. But Peacenik knows Harper has never been and will never be embarrassed about anything. Least of all war crimes and war mongering.

It is for governments -- not journalists -- to guard public secrets, and there is no national jeopardy in WikiLeaks' revelations.

Is it justified? Should a newspaper disclose virtually all a nation's secret diplomatic communication, illegally downloaded by one of its citizens? The reporting in the Guardian of the first of a selection of 250,000 US state department cables marks a recasting of modern diplomacy. Clearly, there is no longer such a thing as a safe electronic archive, whatever computing's snake-oil salesmen claim. No organisation can treat digitised communication as confidential. An electronic secret is a contradiction in terms.

Anything said or done in the name of a democracy is, prima facie, of public interest. When that democracy purports to be "world policeman" – an assumption that runs ghostlike through these cables – that interest is global. Nonetheless, the Guardian had to consider two things in abetting disclosure, irrespective of what is anyway published by WikiLeaks. It could not be party to putting the lives of individuals or sources at risk, nor reveal material that might compromise ongoing military operations or the location of special forces.

WikiLeaks US embassy cables: live updates

Peacenik is scanning some of the Wikileaks documents. So far, apparently no significant mention of Canada. What is predictable and disappointing is the reaction of the U.S. mainstream media. They are saying the leaks are irresponsible, dangerous, outrageous, etc., etc. So much for transparency. The link below is to the British Guardian newspaper which is doing a good job providing access to the leaks. And just to illustrate how hopeless the U.S. has become read this pathetic quote from John Kerry: "This is not an academic exercise about freedom of information and it is not akin to the release of the Pentagon Papers, which involved an analysis aimed at saving American lives and exposing government deception. Instead, these sensitive cables contain candid assessments and analysis of ongoing matters and they should remain confidential to protect the ability of the government to conduct lawful business with the private candor that's vital to effective diplomacy." Wanker.

Reaction and updates following the release of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks. Tomorrow, revelations about North Korea and the UK.

6.15pm: It is, without a doubt, the biggest leak of secret diplomatic missives in the history of international relations – a total of 251,287 cables from more than 250 US embassies and consulates around the world, many of them frank, a number of them shocking and all of them previously secret.
Over the coming days the Guardian will publish extracts from the cables, obtained by the whistleblowing website Wikileaks, along with its international partners, the New York Times, Le Monde, El País and Der Spiegel.

Even today there's a lot to read through so here's a brief precis of the initial revelations:

The US is engaged in a spying campaign against the leadership of the United Nations. A directive issued under Hillary Clinton's name last year ordered American diplomats to seek details about both UN communication systems and personal details for top officials.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has "frequently" urged the US to launch an attack against Iran in order to scupper Tehran's nuclear ambition.

The US has relentlessly pressured other countries, including close allies such as Italy and France, to distance themselves from Iran and assist American efforts to isolate Tehran
There's plenty more to come, including "claims of inappropriate behaviour" by a British royal and allegations of links between Russia's government and organised crime.


U.S. warns Ottawa about fallout from pending WikiLeaks release

The Wikileaks has already shown the wars were promoted with lies. Wikileaks has already confirmed indiscriminate killing. War Crimes. Torture. And nothing shook Harper's solidarity with the Obama/Bush warmongers. But maybe, just maybe, the new Wikileaks will have some juicy quotes from high ranking U.S. military and political leaders. Maybe they think Harper is a twitt. Or an asshole. Maybe they say mean things about Harper behind his back. Maybe they don't respect Canada's contribution. Heck if Harper's feelings get hurt it might change his whole mindset. Too bad Canada has to hang it hopes for withdrawal on such a slender thread. They already probably call him an asshole to his face. Peacenik says bring the troops home now.

OTTAWA— The Canadian Press
The U.S. government has notified Ottawa that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive U.S. diplomatic files that could damage American relations with allies around the world.

U.S. officials say the documents may contain accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians as well as activities that could result in the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from foreign postings.

U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson phoned Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon to inform him of the matter, a foreign affairs spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Melissa Lantsman said the Canadian embassy in Washington is “currently engaging” with the U.S. State Department on this matter.

Read on...


Warmonger: Bush in His Own Words

Peacenik says that what is scary about Ray McGovern's article is that it demonstrates just how much institutional momentum there is in the U.S. for war. The administration, the military, the media, all wanted war with Iran. And today no doubt the same people, who still infest the body politic in the U.S., will be pushing for war with Korea. Will the neo cons get their wars? Peacenik hopes not but isn't confident. Peacenik will be shelf loading......again.....this week.

US Intelligence Thwarted Attack on Iran

by Ray McGovern
Why should George W. Bush have been "angry" to learn in late 2007 of the "high-confidence" unanimous judgment of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon four years earlier? Seems to me he might have said "Hot Dog!" rather than curse under his breath. 
Nowhere in his memoir, Decision Points, is Bush's bizarre relationship with truth so manifest as when he describes his dismay at learning that the intelligence community had redeemed itself for its lies about Iraq by preparing an honest National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. As the Bush-book makes abundantly clear, that NIE rammed an iron rod through the wheels of the juggernaut rolling toward war.
Nowhere is Bush's abiding conviction clearer, now as then, that his role as "decider" include the option to create his own reality.
The Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) has missed that part of the book. And hundreds of Dallas "sheriffs," assembled to ensure decorum at the Bush library groundbreaking last week, kept us hoi polloi well out of presidential earshot.


Afghanistan: The new Hundred Years War?

punditman says...

What the heck, this is starting to turn into another Hundred Years' War. The Afghan War going beyond 2015? Why, of course it will! How about another 40 years? No problem!

You have to admire the candid honesty of the UK's General Sir David Richards.

But Punditman has heard all this before: politicians and generals going on about how you can't defeat an idea militarily, that you also need to "nation-build." Even Stevie Harper intuited such brilliance awhile back.

But punditman detects a vast disconnect between word and action amongst those who on the one hand recognize the futility of an occupying force trying to achieve military victory against an insurgency but nevertheless keep trying to do just that. Or something like it. It's the old winning people's hearts and minds argument while you cut off their limbs.

We keep hearing how we are just about to "turn the corner," maybe this year, or next year, or 2014. But these clowns need to stop channeling the ghost of LBJ because there really is no light at the end of this tunnel any more than there was in the Mekong Delta, circa 1968. At least not as long as long as they keep creating new enemies with each air strike, while simultaneously mumbling about including moderate Taliban and Pashtuns in some sort of Afghan power sharing arrangement. Imagine how perplexing this must seem to many an Afghan villager:
"Yeah, these NATO guys are smart. They blew away those drug lords and bandits who kept harrasing my niece and stealing from my uncle's orchard. But then their air strike killed my entire clan including my wife! Fuck 'em, I am starting my own militia. Local Taliban said they'd train me up and promised me a new wife too."
Not to sound glib, but this can't be far from the reality. Ninety percent of the people NATO is fighting are part of a tribal, localized insurgency. Only 10% are hardcore fundamentalist jihadis who profess loyalty to the Taliban. In fact those Taliban who harboured al Qaeda before 9-11 are involved in a very small share of attacks against Western forces, mostly in southern Afghanistan.

The point is that the only hope for a lessening of violence amongst the many social and tribal groupings that comprise the Afghan enigma is through negotiation, integration and accomodation. Obama and NATO have clearly chosen a military "surge" instead. And now Western forces are planning on sticking around indefinitely in a "non-combat" role to train people how to use guns in a country that has been awash in guns for generations. Brilliant.

Punditman says the only way out of this morass for the West is troop withdrawal. And the only way out of it for Afghanis is through negotiation because the only people that can solve Afghanistan are Afghanis. We may not like what they come up with. But we don't have much choice and the truth is, many realists inside government agree; they readily admit there is no exit strategy in place and probably no plausible one that can be invented.

Punditman is suspicious of even the realists in government. The fact is, a permanent "low-level conflict" fought with modern technology fits in nicely with a permanent war economy which benefits the high tech defense sector. It is very profitable to fight jihadism with drones and highly equipped, occupying armies. And as long as the West retains volunteer armies and Western casualties don't get too out of hand, elites have much to gain. Of course it is not so low level for those on the receiving end of the bombs and bulletsbut that never stopped them.

Do the idealists and ideologues who continue to prosecute this depressing war understand Afghan history? Or history in general?  It is naive to think they do not. Maybe that is precisely the point. Punditman says that is a scary thought.


Liberals accuse NDP of ‘hypocrisy’ on Afghanistan

Peacenik emailed Ignatieff and asked him to not support the extension of Canada's role in Afghanistan. Ignatieff didn't respond. Peacenik has voted for the Liberals strategically in the past. Peacenik will not be voting for the Liberals ever again. The Globe's view is that "leaving Afghanistan entirely after years of brave service would be foolish." Peacenik's view is that staying in Afghanistan is insane. But Harper, Ignatieff, Nato, and the U.S. cannot admit a mistake. Has Canada beat the USSR's record for occupying Afghanistan yet? A record of futility and stupidity. Bring the troops home now.

1. Divide and conquer. Without the Conservatives to attack, Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals are gunning for Jack Layton and the NDP, accusing them of adopting a position on Afghanistan that is “simply not credible.”

The Liberals support the Harper government’s decision to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan after the scheduled July pull-out; the New Democrats do not – playing right into the Tory strategy of splitting the opposition.

The criticism of the NDP is contained in a series of talking points issued by the Grits to their supporters Tuesday.

“Jack Layton has called for a ‘massive civilian deployment’ to provide stability in Afghanistan, but you can’t achieve this in the midst of conflict without providing Afghans with the tools to protect their security and their democracy,” the memo says. “Liberals firmly support ending the combat mission in Afghanistan as scheduled in July 2011 and we support the new post-combat training presence as outlined by the government today.”

Read on...

The Beatles - Revolution (Live)

punditman says...To mark the fact that the Beatles are now on Itunes:


Punditman Musical Interlude

punditman says: The Bastard Fairies make social commentary fun!

The 10 Best Political Cult Horror Films Ever

Peacenik tends to avoid gory horror films but Peacenik is surprised that Peacenik has only seen Night of the Living Dead in this list. What have you seen?

Social commentary shows up in the unlikeliest places. Here, our list for the most awesome films that double as political allegory.

November 12, 2010

In a new book about John Carpenter's Orwellian masterpiece, They Live, author Jonathan Lethem does some well-deserved justice to the film -- if it’s not the best-ever social commentary out there, it’s at least one of the most fun to watch. But They Live is far from the only movie to shed light on society’s woes. Directors have a long tradition of using horror as an allegory for what we most fear. Here are 10 awesome films that analogize, encapsulate -- and, in some instances, predicted -- true-life political nightmares.

1. Night of the Living Dead (1968). A classic among classics, George Romero’s debut feature not only influenced every quality cult/B-movie to come, he developed a template for political commentary in horror films that both he and his disciples follow to this day. Released in 1968, its slow pacing set the tone for the paranoia that gripped the nation the following year and never left, and the utter humanness of the voracious zombies was a reminder of humankind’s capacity for horrific acts.

Read on...

Courageous Myanmar Pro-Democracy Leader Is Freed From Prison

punditman says...Some good news. Burmese pro-democracy activist and Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 15 years out of the past two decades under house arrest as a political prisoner. In the face of brutal injustice, she has maintained hope and has come to symbolise the struggle of Burma’s people against dictatorship. She was released from her current third period of detention on Saturday. The military junta in Burma still holds 2,200 political prisoners.

Keep Reading...


Outrage Mounts over Bush’s Waterboarding ‘Confession’

punditman says...

So now we have Bush confessing to a war crime. Of  course he doesn't believe it is a war crime because the lawyer told him so. Bush doesn't think he did anything "wrong" in his 8 years of incompetent rule. Just a few honest mistakes.

After a three-year investigation, President Barack Obama’s mantra – "look forward and not backwards" – appears to have trumped the rule of law as a special prosecutor declined to pursue criminal charges against the Central Intelligence Agency operatives involved in the destruction of video recordings of interrogations of "war on terror" suspects.

The human rights community and many legal scholars from both ends of the political spectrum are up in arms about the decision. And they were further angered by the remarks made by former president George W. Bush during recent television and radio interviews promoting his new memoir, Decision Points.

For example, Bush admitted to Matt Lauer of NBC’s "Today" program that he authorized the use of waterboarding on two CIA prisoners. He said further that the technique was legal and that he would make the same decision again.
Lauer then asked him, "Why is waterboarding legal, in your opinion?>

Bush responded: "Because the lawyer said it was legal. He said it did not fall within the anti-torture act. I’m not a lawyer. But you gotta trust the judgment of the people around you, and I do."

Keep Reading...


PM plans ‘inside the wire' Afghan role while U.S. presses for riskier one

Its bad enough that Obama has sided with Wall Street against mainstreet. He's backed down on almost every policy initiative that got him elected. Now he is twisting the arm of a very pliable Stevie Harper to continue Canada's combat role in Afghanistan. Obama is a George Bush acolyte. He is a warmongerer. As is Harper. Peacenik wants to puke. Bring the troops home now.

The United States is asking Canada to take on a more robust – and risky – role after the planned 2011 pullout of combat troops from Afghanistan, including risking enemy fire outside of bases to mentor Afghan security forces in the field.
The push comes as Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce next week the government's new plan for Afghanistan – a plan that will likely keep Canada “inside the wire.”

But the United States wants more. The Americans are seeking greater Canadian participation – a role “outside the wire” – and are hoping for such an announcement before next week's NATO summit in Lisbon.

Read on...


On Poppies and Politics

Punditman says...

Punditman is hesitant to even write this, knowing the strong emotions that surround Remembrance Day. In fact, if the symbol of the poppy had arisen out of the horrors of World War Two and the fight against fascism, punditman would not have written this piece. But the poppy's legacy surfaced out of the horrors of World War One (which punditman will return to shortly). It has been used henceforth in remembrance throughout the Western world.

So I write this with all due respect to those who may take offence; however, there is a certain irrationality in the air that should be addressed.

Punditman feels that since Canada became involved in Afghanistan, poppy wearing begins earlier and is more widespread than in past eras. No surprise there, punditman supposes; these days, war is never far from people's minds. Does punditman detect a subtle but increased social pressure to wear a poppy? Perhaps. Are the two issues connected? Does wearing a poppy presuppose support for the Afghan mission? Punditman thinks he is not alone with such questions. But wearing a poppy should be a personal and reflective act, not an ideological reflex that feels socially enforced.

The poppy owes its heritage to Guelph's John McCrae, a Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel, who wrote the poem "In Flander's Fields" on May 3, 1915, after witnessing the death of his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer the previous day. It was published on December 8, 1915 by Punch magazine in Britain:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The poem, which we all learned as school children, has not escaped critique. Wikipedia cites Paul Fussell, cultural and literary historian, and professor emeritus of English literature at the University of Pennsylvania:
Critic Paul Fussell, in The Great War and Modern Memory, pointed out the sharp distinctions between the pastoral, sacrificial tone of the poem's first nine lines and the "recruiting-poster rhetoric" of the poem's third stanza; Fussell said the poem, appearing in 1915, would serve to denigrate any negotiated peace which would end the war, and called these lines "a propaganda argument," saying "words like vicious and stupid would not seem to go too far."
Those strong words come from a decorated American World War Two veteran; but who is better equipped to opine on the power of propaganda?

Irrationality comes into play when the poppy is used not simply to honour veterans and all of war's victims and to recognize their sacrifice and sufferings but to also attack the voices of dissent. Irrationality’s ignorant face is displayed in the attitudes of those who have been attacking writer Peter Smollett for writing a piece entitled, War resisters also deserve a memorial in yesterday’s Toronto Star. Some of the reactions to this well researched article are disturbing.

Remember, Smollet is talking about World War One only here, a conflict that began 96 years ago when Canadian forces were still under British command. But for the militarist faction of today's right wing, the political subtext of Remembrance Day is that all Canada's wars are by default noble endeavours that protect our freedom and security; and all soldiers from all wars are heroes, while all pacifists are cowards. They will hear nothing of dissent or from those who happen to believe that most wars are unnecessary and unjust.

In writing about World War One, Peter Smollet's great sin was to outline the generalized slaughter and senselessness of what was essentially a struggle between imperial powers divvying up the spoils of their colonies. He explains how they used the working classes as cannon fodder and how generals and politicians advanced their careers off the blood of the poor. How can anyone who knows their history seriously disagree with this assessment? Many veterans of that conflict arrived at the same conclusion.

The so-called "war to end all wars" was a major factor in the rise of Bolshevism and revolution in Russia; and the Armistice and Treaty of Versailles contributed to fascism taking root in Germany and the rise of Hitler. This was the lovely little war that the would be over by Christmas!

Resistance to the First World War's bloodbath was widespread throughout belligerent countries and Smollet does a good job outlining the various anti-war movements of the time, including Canadians who made great sacrifices, including losing their lives, in the name of peace. For his efforts, Smollet gets a ton of brickbats tossed at him from wingnut corner.

Punditman believes in remembering the war dead and all of war’s casualties—but on all sides, including all the civilians who have perished or have been maimed in war. It seems this is what the remembering part of Remembrance Day should be about.

There was a time not so long ago when the sentiment for peace was as strong as for war, when people were not afraid to speak up and when wearing a poppy could just as easily mean "never again" as "support out troops."

Honouring conscientious objectors and others who bravely stood in opposition to the slaughter of World War One is not about to happen any time soon. The current zeitgiest leaves no room for nuance, only group think. Important symbols are easily used to keep the herd in line. Those who lambast Smollet's opinion piece say it is a disgrace to publish it during Remembrance Week because they believe World War One was all about protecting our freedoms. But if they truly understood freedom, they should have no problem with the Star publishing a different viewpoint.

So wear a poppy if it feels right. But don't be afraid to say what you think—of any war.

Punditman is wearing a poppy.

Note in the margin:
The lines, "To you from failing hands we throw / The torch; be yours to hold it high" are also written on the wall of the Montreal Canadiens dressing room. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment ownership take note: stirring, inspiring words apparently help teams win Stanley Cups. Or at least make them playoff bound!


Netanyahu Pounds War Drums

Peacenik think these people are insane. Totally insane. But Peacenik also thought all the idiots banging the drums for war with Iraq were insane as well. All Netanyahu needs is a couple of front page stories in the New York Times about toy planes that could deliver a non-existent bomb to New York, and maybe some talk about killing them there so you don't have to kill them here, and there will be war mania. In the meantime, could someone refresh everyone's memory about the consequences of war with Iran. It would be an express trip back to the 15th Century for the world.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem

WASHINGTON - Less than a week after Republicans made major gains in the U.S. midterm elections, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called on President Barack Obama to "create a credible threat of military action" against Iran.
Initial official reaction was negative, with Defence Secretary Robert Gates insisting that Obama's preferred strategy of enhanced multilateral sanctions and negotiations, which may resume after a year's hiatus later this month, was working better than expected.
"I disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran to take the actions that it needs, to end its nuclear weapons programme," Gates said when asked about Netanyahu's remarks during a visit in Australia.
"We are prepared to do what is necessary, but at this point, we continue to believe that the political, economic approach that we are taking is, in fact, having an impact in Iran.

This is the Security State Steve Built

Yep, this is the society Stevie Harper wants for Canada. And for some weird reason lots of Don Cherry type neanderthals seem to want it too. Peacenik thinks people should stop spending all their time watching Dancing with the Stars, and start thinking about what is happening. Mr. Ignatieff. What do you have to say? Mr Ignatieff?

Why the Tories keep whipping up fear of terrorists, criminals and peaceful protestors.


Police apprehend G20 protestor Natalie Gray in Toronto. Photo: Natalie Gray.

For those considering issue triage -- picking five or six issues to focus on -- in the fight to rid the country of the current government, one area that is critical to the outcome is exposing the Harper government's construction of the national security state.

I am referring here to the commitment of the Harper government to implementing policies that increase the importance of a war-fighting military in Canadian society, its preoccupation with tough-on-crime legislation, its blank cheque to security operations like the one "protecting" the G20 summit, and its continued efforts to convince Canadians that they face the constant risk of terrorist attack.

The flip side of the coin: criminalizing dissent and trashing civil liberties so that opposition to this agenda can be kept to a minimum.

Read on...


GOP Senator: US Needs to 'Neuter' Iran Sends ripples through an international audience in Halifax

Can there be any doubt that the U.S. is a rogue state? Threatening a sovereign state with neutering. This is warmongering, plain and simple. The international community has to bring pressure to bear to get the U.S. to stand down. The U.S. needs to stop destabilizing the world. Peacenik thinks sanctions may be in order. All options should be on the table.

US Senator Lindsey Graham sent ripples through an international audience Saturday saying his country should be prepared to launch a military attack on Iran that would "neuter" the country. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- A U.S. lawmaker sent ripples through an international audience Saturday saying his country should be prepared to launch a military attack on Iran that would "neuter" the hard line regime.

But Defense Minister Peter MacKay, who was in attendance, said a military attack on Iran would have negative fallout, and that international sanctions are preferable.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Saturday his party would support military action against Iran that would destroy its ability to fight back while allowing its people to rise up.

Graham surprised attendees at the Halifax International Security Forum with his hawkish rhetoric, saying an attack could cripple Iran's nuclear program as well as its armed forces.

Ottawa talks of extending Afghan mission

Peacenik doesn't have the will to go back and document why it is crazy for Ottawa to extend the Afghan mission. Everyone knows all the arguments. There is no mission being a major one. There can be no victory. Torture and war crimes are part of everyday life in Afghanistan. Canada can't afford to be pissing money away in Afghanistan. But lies, propaganda and irrelevancies will be used to bang the drums for more war. The Conservative Party of Canada is addicted to war. And the other parties are too gutless to say enough. Bring the troops home now.

Bowing to intense pressure from the United States and other allies, the Harper government now acknowledges that hundreds of Canadian troops could remain in Afghanistan years after its long and bloody combat mission officially ends in 2011.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Ottawa is looking at the possibility of keeping a significant number of soldiers “behind the wire” in the war-torn country to help train the Afghan army and local police.

“Knowing that the mission in Afghanistan has work that is yet to be done, we are now considering this,” Mr. MacKay told reporters in Halifax Sunday at the conclusion of an international security conference.

“Training is an option and it’s something we’re very good at, quite frankly.”

Read on...


The United States is a silly place!

Punditman tweets...In view of the resurgent Republicans and their Tea Party insurgents winning back the House of Representatives, punditman can only paraphrase Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 
King Arthur - "Well, on second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place."

The United States is a silly place.


The Right Wing Gears Up to Suppress the Vote

Peacenik hopes Peacenik can avoid the news today, and for a while. Watching vote suiciders vote is not pleasant. Watching the results of vote suiciders is not pleasant. Today will illustrate what is wrong with the U.S.A...again...

There are lots of reasons to lament the missed opportunities of the last two years. Peacenik watched the Bush crime administration commit crimes for two terms. And Peacenik watched the bankers and Wall streeters commit crimes. But no one has been punished. Remember how Karl Rove just ignored a subpoena. And Harriette Myers ignored a subpoena. The Democrats didn't investigate anyone while they had control of Congress. Will the Tea Partiers and Republicans return the favour. Peacenik doesn't think so. Obama couldn't even get his appointments of judges approved even though the Democrats were in control. Now Obama won't be able to get a dog catcher approved. Now the Republicans can investigate whether Obama is a muslim and whether Obama was born in the U.S.A. While the country circles down the toilet.

by Laura Stampler

On November 2, GOP and Tea Party election observers will be coming to a polling center near you. Although Republicans cry “voter fraud” almost every year, this election is unique in that the GOP now has an army of Tea Party foot soldiers to man the polls.

Numerous reports have documented how state GOP chapters, local Tea Party groups and organizations like Americans for Prosperity are mobilizing across the country—holding training sessions and posting instructional videos on their websites about how to challenge suspicious voters. But the right’s concern about widespread voter fraud has virtually no basis in empirical reality; a 2007 study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that “an American is more likely to get struck by lightning than impersonate another voter at the polls.”

Yet many conservatives believe that voter fraud is all the rage among progressives. Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin announced recently that “We are all voter fraud police now.” The 600 people who attended California’s Central Valley Tea Party coalition meeting on August 5th were urged to join an “Army of Republican Poll Watchers” because (according to their website) “it’s not just Bosnia that needs election observers to keep voter fraud in check.”


Now What?

Jim Kunstler asks a very good question. And Peacenik is afraid that the answer is that there is no answer. Politicians in the U.S.A are not able to solve the problems that Kunstler lists in the article below. And the soon too be elected Tea Partiers only offer solutions that will make the problems worse. Peacenik thinks lots of Tea Partiers will get elected tomorrow. Is this the beginning of this sucker going down bigtime? Can the U.S.A and world economy be saved? Peacenik doesn't think so. Do you?

On Tuesday, when the Republican Party and its Tea Party chump-proxies re-conquer the sin-drenched bizarro universe of the US congress, they'll have to re-assume ownership of the stickiest web of frauds and swindles ever run in human history - and chances are the victory will blow up in their supernaturally suntanned, Botox-smoothed faces.

But don't cry for John Boehner, Barack Obama.

The President and his Democrats may have inherited this clusterfuck from the feckless George Bush but they flubbed every chance to mitigate any part of it, ranging from their failure to restore the rule of law in banking (by prosecuting the executives of major banks who oversaw the systematic swindle), to mis-directing our dwindling resources toward ends (such as "shovel-ready" new super-highways) that won't promote a credible future for this society, to misleading the public in the fantasy that alt-energy will offset the disruptions of peak oil (and allow us to keep running suburbia, the US Military, and WalMart by other means).