Saturday, September 18, 2010

How Corporations Own the US Congress

By Shamus Cooke

Global Research
September 15, 2010

With the November elections quickly approaching, the majority of Americans will be thinking one thing: "Who cares?” This apathy isn't due to ignorance, as some accuse. Rather, working people's disinterest in the two party system implies intelligence: millions of people understand that both the Democrats and Republicans will not represent their interests in Congress.

This begs the question: Whom does the two party system work for? The answer was recently given by the mainstream The New York Times, who gave the nation an insiders peek on how corporations "lobby" (buy) congressmen. The article explains how giant corporations — from Wall-mart to weapons manufacturers — are planning on shifting their hiring practices for lobbyists, from Democratic to Republican ex-congressmen in preparation for the Republicans gaining seats in the upcoming November elections:

"Lobbyists, political consultants and recruiters all say that the going rate for Republicans — particularly current and former House staff members — has risen significantly in just the last few weeks, with salaries beginning at $300,000 and going as high as $1million for private sector [corporate lobbyist] positions." (September 9, 2010)

Congressmen who have recently retired make the perfect lobbyists: they still have good friends in Congress, with many of these friends owing them political favors; they have connections to foreign Presidents and Kings; and they also have celebrity status that gives good PR to the corporations.

Often, these congressmen have done favors for the corporation that is now hiring them, meaning, that the corporations are rewarding the congressmen for services rendered while in office, offering them million dollar lobbyist jobs (or seats on the corporate board of directors) that requires little to no work.

The same New York Times article revealed that the pay for 13,000 lobbyists [!] currently bribing Congress is a combined $3.5 billion. It was also explained how some lobbying firms keep an equal amount of Democrats and Republicans on hand, so they can be prepared for any eventuality in the elections.

This phenomenon is more than a little un-democratic: when millions of people vote for a candidate, the outcomes are quickly manipulated and controlled before the election even happens.

Interestingly, the corporate-directed Wall Street Journal wrote a similar article in 2008, as the Democrats had begun to dominate politics in Washington:

"Washington's $3 billion lobbying industry has begun shedding Republican staffers [politicians], snapping up Democratic operatives [politicians] and entire firms, a shift that started even before Tuesday's ballots were counted and Democrat Barack Obama captured the presidency." (November 5, 2008)

This article was appropriately titled “Lobbyists Put Democrats Out Front as Winds Shift.”

The corporate money flows from party to party, so that the same goals are achieved: higher profits for corporations. The sums thrown at these politicians are mind boggling: the Associated Press reported that the corporate-orientated Chamber of Commerce spent "... nearly $190 million since Barack Obama became president in January 2009." (August 21, 2010)

These numbers explain the "deeper" differences between Democrats and Republicans — money. Each party is a machine that vies for power because this power carries with it vast sums of corporate money. The longer a party is in office and the more connections it makes, the more its net worth to corporations, the more that these rewards can be spread to the different layers of the party. There is indeed a real-life, nasty fight between the Republican and Democratic Parties to dominate this corporate money.

One "interest group" that ex-Congressmen don't work for is labor unions. Unions spend millions of dollars to help get Democrats elected, and millions more is spent trying to get their ear while they're in office.

But unions cannot out-spend the banks; and they can't offer millionaire retirement packages to retired Senators. The corporate retirement plans of Congressmen prove where their minds are while in office, and whose interests are being looked after.

Unions cannot continue to pretend that the Democrats are their "friends.” Labor has very little to show for this dysfunctional, decades-long friendship: union membership continues to shrivel as do jobs, wages and benefits for workers – a losing strategy if ever there was one.

A “lesser of two evils” approach to politics equals evil politicians for labor, no matter who wins. In fact, the lesser-evil Democrats have become increasingly evil over the years, to the point where the party as a whole is more Conservative than the Nixon-era Republicans.

The point has been reached where — in various states — Democratic governors are being endorsed by unions after promising to attack the wages and benefits of public workers!

To get out of this vicious, dead-end cycle, unions could unite their strength to form coalitions that promote independent labor candidates: (Editor's bold emphasis throughout) 100 percent funded by labor to govern 100 percent in the interest of working people. All other roads lead back to the corporate lobbyists.

Gulf Oil Update: Day 152

What's Going On In The Gulf?

Washington's Blog
Thursday, September 16, 2010

BP and the government decided that millions of gallons of dispersants should be dumped into the Gulf to sink and hide the oil.

They succeeded in sinking it. As ABC, CBS and NPR note, huge quantities of oil are blanketing the ocean floor, killing virtually all of the sealife which lives there.

And giant new underwater plumes have been found in the water column itself.

But officials don't want to hear about them. As one member of the oil spill recovery team said:

“My biggest concern is there’s [a plume of oil] five miles by 30 miles out there that was reported and no one responded. The Coast Guard said for days that they wanted to run tests, and if they don’t test it when it’s called in, they’ll never find it”

But didn't the oil-eating microbes eat alot of the oil? No ... they mainly ate gas.

And the oil is not staying underwater.
Oil is suddenly emerging in many parts of the Gulf.

Oil "patties", 1 to 3 inches across, have been discovered floating along the seawall in Alabama.

16 miles of beaches in Louisiana have been hit. And scientists say that the oil will arise and wash ashore in pulses, and will hit sensitive areas like coastal marshes.

As the Christian Science Monitor notes, oil can remain hidden under sand for decades: MORE...

Obama Oil Spill Commission INTIMIDATING SCIENTISTS — Investigating whether they ILLEGALLY SAMPLED GULF without permits


Shallower plume found at Deepwater Horizon site HERE...
September 12, 2010

A previously unidentified plume of hydrocarbons approximately 200 meters deep has been discovered by scientists on the R/V Cape Hatteras. The new plume appears to run south and east of the Deepwater Horizon site.

Earlier in the week, the Cape Hatteras collected samples to the west of the main plume, which runs southwest from the well site at about 1,200 meters. A number of research cruises have been collecting data on this plume, which the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is aggregating onto one grid. But on Thursday last week, the R/V Oceanus, conducting research under the same National Science Foundation (NSF) grant as the Hatteras, reported lower beam transmission, a data signal indicative of increased methane levels and the presence of hydrocarbons, between 200 and 300 meters. The Hatteras steamed more than 10 hours back to where these readings were taken, in the vicinity of the well site, to investigate further. "While I would like to have found the western edge of the main plume we've all been mapping," chief scientist Tracy Villareal said, "this new development was way too exciting not to pursue.”

Indeed, data collected by the Hatteras all day on 10 September along a transect some 40 nautical miles long, provided strong evidence of a new, shallower plume. Those data include real-time high beam attenuation measurements, says Villareal, and elevated levels of methane in lab tests of water samples. Antje Vossmeyer, a scientist with the University of Georgia, Athens, working on board the Hatteras (see picture), reports measuring consistently elevated methane on the order of as much as 100 times background levels along this transect.

By end of the day on Friday, the Hatteras had completed the transect, which ran south and east of the well. Villareal notes that while some earlier models indicated a plume to the southeast of the well, the model placed it at much great depths. "This is not the plume shown on the model," he said. "This is an entirely new one." The final station on Friday recorded smaller anomalies, indicating that the eastern edge of the plume might be near. On Saturday 11 September, the ship ran a transect northward, on the east side of the well, hoping to locate the northern edge of the plume.

Last week, the Oceanus also discovered oiled sediment on the bottom of the Gulf, reported in a previous 'oil spill science' post and on the University of Georgia marine science department Gulf Oil Blog.

This search for oil faces many challenges, not least of which is the sheer size of the Gulf of Mexico. The Hatteras can steam for hours and cover mere inches on the map. So much water, often thousands of meters deep, offers so many places oil could be, or could go. It would take months, even years, of the methodical, careful sampling these scientists are carrying out to say with any confidence that all the oil has been found.

It will take even more work, back in labs as well as at sea, to say what effect that oil has had on the Gulf's ecosystems.
But those on the Hatteras, working diligently through station after station on this 27-day cruise, believe it is important to try. They clearly get excited about discoveries such as the new plume, which warranted a posting on the lab whiteboard, "We are documenting a new hydrocarbon plume. Very cool!”


The distribution of these newly-identified layers showing elevated concentrations of methane and particles present an unusual pattern, but scientists involved in the sampling mission are emphasising that their origin is not yet clear. “We cannot with any level of confidence whatsoever link this methane or other data to the Deepwater Horizon wellhead,” cautioned Samantha Joye, a University of Georgia Athens scientist on board the R/VOceanus, which is working in tandem with the Hatteras. (Two scientists on the Hatteras, including Vossmeyer, collect data specifically for Joye's studies.) “At this time, use of the word plume is even inappropriate.”

The northern Gulf of Mexico contains many natural seeps, and there is, as yet, no clear linkage between these latest data and the well blow-out. This contrasts with the plume found earlier in the summer, where it was possible to track an increasing intensity of hydrocarbons along transect lines running southwest from the wellhead, clearly connecting that deep plume to the well.

To determine whether this new feature derives from Deepwater Horizon, Joye says, will require “fingerprinting” the samples in the lab after the cruise ends this Thursday. Throughout Sunday and Monday, the Hatteras continued running transects in shallower waters to the north of the well site, collecting data to map the extent and intensity of these new layers.

Posted on behalf of Melissa Gaskill

Focusing in on oil

By Samantha Joye PhD, University of Georgia, Marine Biology
The Gulf Oil Blog
Published: September 6, 2010 8:55am

September 5th, 2010: Sometimes, I get a feeling that the day is going to offer some surprises. This morning, I had a feeling.

We’ve spent a lot of time in the Southwest quadrant over the past two weeks searching for oil and gas. We’ve seen mostly weak signals. The sediments at the sites we visited during that time were oxidized and did not contain a lot of gas or oil.

Until we sampled at a site about 20 miles offshore from Mississippi, we did not see oil along the seafloor. At that station, we saw a thin layer (couple of mm) of what looked like sedimented oil. We won’t know the oil content (or source) until we do detailed analyses after the cruise but oil has a distinct feel and this sediment felt oily. We got a glimpse of what we had expected to see.

Today, at a site about 16 nautical miles from the wellhead, we dropped the multicorer into a valley. When the instrument returned from the bottom, it contained something we had not seen before: a layer of flocculent, sedimented oil that was cm’s thick.

At a natural oil seep, the entire sediment column is saturated with oil. Cores of sediment collected from natural seeps are oil-stained top to bottom and often the water overlying the sediment core has a thick (mm to cm) layer of crude oil floating at the top. Natural oil seep sediments are distinctive. The photos of cores [proceed to the Gulf Oil Blog to view pictures of core sediments] shown from GC185 are extreme examples (they are VERY oily!) but the point is that the entire sediment column is oil stained at a natural seep. At the site we visited today, the oil obviously came from the top (down from the water column) not the bottom (up from a deep reservoir).

What we found today is not a natural seep.

We collected control sediments in a region to the south east of the wellhead that was never overlain by the blowout oil slick. Those sediments consisted of fine grained sediment mixed with calcareous ooze. There was no hint of oil in the control sediments.

The near shore sediments contained grayish muddy clay and a thin layer of orange-brown oil at the surface.

The sediments we collected today were similar at the bottom — gray muddy clay — but the upper few cm consisted of oil floc — we call it “oil aggregate snow”, because it settled down to the water column to the seafloor just like snow falls from the sky to the ground.

If you take a close look at the snow layer, oil aggregates are clearly visible. Also visible are pteropod shells (which must have been recently deposited because the shells dissolve rapidly) and remnants of zooplankton (skeletons) and benthic infauna (dead worms and their tubes). Microbial aggregates are visible and abundant but the normal invertebrate fauna you’d expect to see in these sediments are not.

We will determine how much oil is in this thick layer and evaluate the rates of microbial breakdown when we return to UGA. We want to know how much oil there is along the seafloor at other sites. So, tomorrow, we will go to a site about 12 nautical miles northwest of the wellhead and run a full station there. We’ll see what the sediments look like there and with that knowledge, we’ll decide where to go next.


Bio-Remediation or Bio-Hazard? Dispersants, Bacteria and Illness in the Gulf

Riki Ott (Marine toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor at
The Huffington Post
Posted: September 17, 2010 12:28 AM

Ocean Springs, MS -- A grandmother made me rethink all the bio-remediation hype. The "naturally-occurring oil-eating bacteria" have been newsworthy of late as they are supposedly going to come to the rescue of President Obama and BP and make good on their very premature statement that "the oil is gone." (Editor's NOTE: one in particular Alcanivorax borkumensis is detailed HERE...)

We were talking about subsurface oil in the Gulf when she said matter-of-factly, "The bacteria are running amok with the dispersants." What? "Those oil-eating bacteria -- I think they're running amok and causing skin rashes." My mind reeled. Could we all have missed something so simple?

The idea was crazy but, in the context of the Gulf situation -- an outbreak of mysterious persistent rashes from southern Louisiana across to just north of Tampa, Florida, coincident with BP's oil and chemical release, it seemed suddenly worthy of investigating.

I first heard about the rash from Sheri Allen in Mobile, Alabama. Allen wrote of red welts and blisters on her legs after "splashing and wading on the shoreline" of Mobile Bay with her two dogs on May 8. She reported that "hundreds of dead fish" washed up on the same beach over the following two days. This was much too early for the summer sun to have warmed the water to the point of oxygen depletion, but not too early for dispersants and dispersed oil to be mixed into the Gulf's water mass. By early July, Allen's rash had healed, leaving black bruises and scarring.

Dr. Riki Ott’s Concern Over Dispersants


Gulf Shores Alabama Mayor Opens West Beach Pass Despite Oil On Beach

By admin
September 15, 2010

The Mayor of Gulf Shores, Robert Craft, opened West Beach Pass the gateway to the most pristine estuary in Alabama; the only oil free area left in the state. The mayor stated, “There’s no indication of any contaminates coming in from the mouth of the Pass”.

James Fox visited the beaches there and took footage of the oil in the waters.

Will you allow your children to swim in these waters?

Toxic Oil & Dispersant Found On Gulf Floor 8/17/10
Oil Sedimenting on Floor of Gulf of Mexico also Affecting Phytoplankton

911 Foreknowledge and Who Benefitted

The ‘Meaning’ of 9/11

It’s not what you think

by Justin Raimondo,
September 10, 2010

One would think that after nine years at least some of the anger, the horror and shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks would have dissipated: but no. A glimpse at the headlines, a few days before the somber anniversary, disabuses us of this hopeful notion: a crazed pastor out in the boonies somewhere is burning Korans, and the commander of our forces in Afghanistan feels compelled to respond, as does the President. The proposal to build a Muslim community center blocks from "ground zero" – modeled on Jewish community centers ubiquitous in New York – is met with furious opposition, and the "anti-Islamization" movement spearheaded by bigots takes off, with mosques all over the country under attack. Physical attacks on Muslims, or people perceived as Muslim, escalate: a New York City cabbie is assaulted by a crazed Islamophobe, and people who have lived in this country for the whole of their lives are afraid.

What’s going on? Andrew Sullivan, writing on his popular blog, writes he is "at a loss to understand why so many have reacted so ferociously to this project." After all, Imam Feisel Rauf, the Muslim cleric who wants to build Cordoba House, is a moderate who has condemned Islamic extremism: Rauf was sent by the Bush administration overseas to act as an ambassador of good will to Muslim countries. So where is the ferocity coming from?

To find the answer to this question, we just have to follow the money, and thankfully Ken Vogel and Giovanni Russonello over at Politico have done just that. After detailing the money coming into the Cordoba House project from mainstream donors like the Rockefellers, they write:

"There’s also big money behind the mosque opposition, as highlighted by the relationship between [David] Horowitz’s Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Jihad Watch – the website run by Spencer "dedicated to bringing public attention to the role that jihad theology and ideology play in the modern world" – and Joyce Chernick, the wife of a wealthy California tech company founder.

"Though it was not listed on the public tax reports filed by Horowitz’s Freedom Center, Politico has confirmed that the lion’s share of the $920,000 it provided over the past three years to Jihad Watch came from Chernick, whose husband, Aubrey Chernick, has a net worth of $750 million, as a result of his 2004 sale to IBM of a software company he created, and a security consulting firm he now owns.

"A onetime trustee of the …Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Aubrey Chernick led the effort to pull together $3.5 million in venture capital to start Pajamas Media, a conservative blog network …

"The David Horowitz Freedom Center had a budget of $4.5 million last year, according to its tax filings, of which $290,000 came from the conservative Bradley Foundation, which also gave $75,000 to the Center for Security Policy last year. Horowitz has received an average of $461,000 a year in salary and benefits over the past three years, while Spencer has pulled in an average of $140,000, according to the center’s IRS filings."

Laura Rozen follows up on her Politico blog, detailing the trail of donations from 2008 990 filings for Chernick’s charitable foundation, the Fairbrook Foundation, listing all the familiar suspects – CAMERA, Horowitz, MEMRI, Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, the Israeli nationalist "Stand With Us" campus project – and a few less familiar, such as the American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, dedicated to thwarting our stated policy of no more settlements where it counts: in East Jerusalem.

Millions pour into the coffers of these groups, all of which are dedicated to one overriding principle, one goal: advancing Israel’s national interests in the US. The serpentine convolutions of the Chernick connection, linking one front group to another, encircle the political and temperamental spectrum, ranging from the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles (over $900k) to the many hundreds of thousands given to hardline neoconservative outfits like the Hudson Institute, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, not to mention Pajamas Media ($7 million, in collusion with venture capitalist James "extensively experienced in multimillion-dollar technology transfer and license agreements " Koshland) and a mass campaign to distribute DVDs of the virulently anti-Muslim film "Obsession."

The aim of all this giving is to create and sustain an obsessive hatred of Muslims, all Muslims, and garner support for Israel. The fulminations of Newt Gingrich and the flaxwn-haired harpies of Fox News, who rail against the "ground zero mosque" seem, on the surface, to make no sense. Are they really saying that they want the US to declare war on the billion-plus Muslims who inhabit the planet earth? This, after all, is precisely what Osama bin Laden has repeatedly said: that all the world’s Muslims must unite under al-Qaeda’s bloody banner because the West, in alliance with Israel, is out to destroy Islam, and it is therefore the duty of the faithful to wage jihad against the US.

The Israelis, having long ago declared war on all the other nations of the region, want us in their camp, and that is precisely what occurred with stunning speed before the smoke cleared from the site where the World Trade Center once stood. "We’re all Israelis now!" exulted Martin "Palestinians are subhuman" Peretz, over at The New Republic. Benjamin Netanyahu, who is today the Prime Minister of Israel, told an audience at Bar Ilan University “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” according to the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv. The attack, he averred, “swung American public opinion in our favor” – and now that he and his fellow extremists are in power in Tel Aviv, they are making sure public opinion stays in their favor.

The craziness that ensued in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks had to be sustained if Israel was to take full advantage of the moment – a moment their intelligence operatives anticipated, according to Fox News, in a four-part series by their topnotch journalist Carl Cameron, which started out as follows:

"Since September 11, more than 60 Israelis have been arrested or detained, either under the new patriot anti-terrorism law, or for immigration violations. A handful of active Israeli military were among those detained, according to investigators, who say some of the detainees also failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States.

"There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks (Editor's NOTE: this is at least a debatable issue), but investigators suspect that they Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are “tie-ins.” But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, ‘evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.’"

Fox News has never retracted a word of this story, although they did – after pressure from the Israel lobby – delete it from their web site. It was never mentioned again, at least in "respectable" quarters, and, to be sure, it was never forgotten, thanks to the Internet, where Carl Cameron will be exposing the Israeli connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks unto eternity.

Cameron’s noting that "more than sixty" Israelis had been arrested immediately after 9/11, along with and under the same legal rubric as thousands of Arabs, had also been noted here in this space, before the Fox News broadcasts. Why, I asked in a column, was the US government rounding up Israelis, of all people – unless there was some kind of Israeli connection to the attacks? The answer came in Cameron’s reporting, and subsequent stories in the "mainstream" media: the Israelis, whose intelligence services had been very active on our soil in the months leading up to 9/11, had been following the hijackers, shadowing their every move, without telling us – almost as if they were protecting them rather than trying to stop them.

What happened on September 11, 2001, has changed the shape of history, and certainly determined the utterly disastrous course of US foreign policy since that day. We have launched a war of retribution against the entire Muslim world, a vast campaign of bombings, drone attacks, occupation, and terror unleashed on the peoples of the Middle East, from Iraq to Pakistan. This is precisely why the Israelis didn’t tell us what Mohammed Atta and his co-conspirators were up to, although – if we take Fox News seriously, and I realize there are plenty who don’t – there is no doubt that they had it in their power to stop the whole operation before the hijackers had a chance to strike. All they had to do was tell us – and they didn’t. This is the "intelligence failure" – not the lack of centralized information, not the competition between the CIA and the FBI – that made the 9/11 terrorist attacks possible: the perfidy of our Israeli "ally."

The Israelis didn’t dive-bomb the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with commandeered airliners: Atta and his gang did. Yet they could have prevented it – but why should they have? After all, the attacks have swung public opinion in their favor, as Netanyahu boasted – surely a foreseeable development.

Today, nine years after the event, the Israel lobby is using the anniversary of the attacks to whip up anti-Muslim hysteria to a fever pitch, and they have plenty of bucks to do it. These people – who, as Juan Cole points out, represent a minuscule fraction of the pro-Israel population in the US, and stand out like a couple of sore thumbs from the overwhelmingly liberal Jewish community – mean business, and there’s only one way to fight them. It’s time to play hardball – just like they do.
(editor's bold emphasis throughout)

I was warned, before raising the possibility of an Israeli connection to 9/11, that I was touching a live wire, that my career – such as it is – would be destroyed, and that I would be banished to the hinterlands, where various obsessives trade conspiracy theories and argue over whether it’s the Bilderbergers or the Illuminati who control the world.

It hasn’t happened, but I wouldn’t care if it did. As Ayn Rand once said: I’m not brave enough to be a coward – I see the consequences too clearly. We see the consequences of 9/11 all around us, in the hate-wrinkled face of the Koran-burning preacher, in the shrill shrieking of Pamela Geller whose anti-Muslim rallies in the vanished shadow of the Trade Towers are as ugly as she is: we see it in the faces of Pakistani refugees, huddled in disease-infested camps, as they flee the US invasion of death-dealing drones.

Think about it: the leadership of a nation that betrayed us, that watched, impassively – or, perhaps, gleefully – as Islamist terrorists wreaked deadly havoc on our two biggest cities, has a vast and well-funded propaganda network in this country dedicated to stoking hatred of Muslims. And they are certainly doing a very good job of it.

How do they get away with it?

So, you want to know the "meaning" of 9/11? It is, as Martin Luther King put it, this:

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."


Obama Extends Bush’s 9/11 State of Emergency
America to Enter Tenth Year of 'Emergency' Next Week

by Jason Ditz,
September 10, 2010

In a letter issued to the heads of Congress today, President Barack Obama announced yet another one year extension of a State of National Emergency which has been going on in the United States since September 14, 2001. This means that as of Tuesday America will officially be entering its tenth year at an emergency posture that seems destined to last pretty much forever.

Established in 1976, the National Emergencies Act grants certain powers (established in Title 50 Chapter 34 of the United States legal code) to the president during times of emergency. Amongst the law’s primary purposes was to prevent a US president from creating an open-ended state of emergency.

Ironically however the law provides for the annual renewal of an existing state of emergency with only a notification of Congress required. This has meant, in a state of open-ended warfare, Presidents Bush and Obama have been able to maintain a state of open-ended emergency anyhow.

The current state of emergency empowers the president in a number of manners, including allowing him to suspend officer personnel laws related to the US military, suspending all legal limits on the number of commissioned officers, authorizations to grow the size of the military beyond the legal appropriations, waive limits on reserves, and the right to recall retirees to active duty. The claim of “time of emergency” has also been cited in countless other measures taken by the presidents to expand their own power.


Who Benefitted from 911 Attacks?

By: Dr. J. P. Hubert

By now it should be clear that the main beneficiaries of the 911 so-called "Terrorist Attacks" include:

1) The Zionist Power Configuration
2) The Likud Party in Israel
3) Israeli Intelligence
4) The MIMIC (Media,Intelligence, Military, Industrial Complex) of the US
5) Neoconservatives (AKA Neo-Nazi's) who effectively hijacked the Republican/Democratic Parties--see Jim Marrs, The Rise of the Fourth Reich: The Secret Societies that Threaten to Take Over America (New York: Harper Collins, 2008)
6) US intelligence conglomerate i.e. CIA, DHS, DNI, DCI, FBI, NSA, NCIS etc
7) Private military/intelligence contractors including Halliburton, KBR etc
8) US "Defense" (War) Department

It behooves Americans to at least ask whether some of the above beneficiaries could have played a role in allowing if not facilitating the 911 attacks. As I have written before, it is vital that a completely independent and totally transparent re-investigation of the 911 attacks be commenced ASAP.


The Anniversary of 9/11:
Don't want to hear this?

Tough. Grow up.

Washington's Blog
September 9, 2010

9/11 Commissioners:

The 9/11 Commission's co-chairs said that the 9/11 Commissioners knew that military officials misrepresented the facts to the Commission, and the Commission considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements.

9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton says "I don't believe for a minute we got everything right", that the Commission was set up to fail, that people should keep asking questions about 9/11, and that the 9/11 debate should continue.

9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer said "We were extremely frustrated with the false statements we were getting."

9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland resigned from the Commission, stating: "It is a national scandal"; "This investigation is now compromised"; and "One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up."

9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey said that "There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version . . . We didn't have access . . . ." He also said that the investigation depended too heavily on the accounts of Al Qaeda detainees who were physically coerced into talking.

And the Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) - who led the 9/11 staff's inquiry - recently said "At some level of the government, at some point in time...there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened". He also said "I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described .... The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years.... This is not spin. This is not true." And he said: "It's almost a culture of concealment, for lack of a better word. There were interviews made at the FAA's New York center the night of 9/11 and those tapes were destroyed. The CIA tapes of the interrogations were destroyed. The story of 9/11 itself, to put it mildly, was distorted and was completely different from the way things happened."

If even the 9/11 Commissioners don't buy the official story, why do you?

Senior intelligence officers:

Former military analyst and famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers". He also said that the government is ordering the media to cover up her allegations about 9/11. And he said that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that "very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been", that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of the current administration, and that there's enough evidence to justify a new, "hard-hitting" investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath.

A 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials (Raymond McGovern) said “I think at simplest terms, there’s a cover-up. The 9/11 Report is a joke”

A 29-year CIA veteran, former National Intelligence Officer (NIO) and former Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis (William Bill Christison) said “I now think there is persuasive evidence that the events of September did not unfold as the Bush administration and the 9/11 Commission would have us believe."

A number of intelligence officials, including a CIA Operations Officer who co-chaired a CIA multi-agency task force coordinating intelligence efforts among many intelligence and law enforcement agencies (Lynne Larkin) sent a joint letter to Congress expressing their concerns about “serious shortcomings,” “omissions,” and “major flaws” in the 9/11 Commission Report and offering their services for a new investigation (they were ignored)

A decorated 20-year CIA veteran, who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh called "perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East”, and whose astounding career formed the script for the Academy Award winning motion picture Syriana (Robert Baer) said that "the evidence points at" 9/11 having had aspects of being an inside job.

The Division Chief of the CIA’s Office of Soviet Affairs, who served as Senior Analyst from 1966 - 1990. He also served as Professor of International Security at the National War College from 1986 - 2004 (Melvin Goodman) said "The final [9/11 Commission] report is ultimately a coverup"

If even our country's top intelligence officers don't buy the official story, why do you?


According to the Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, an FBI informant had hosted and rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House.

Current Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy said "The two questions that the congress will not ask . . . is why did 9/11 happen on George Bush's watch when he had clear warnings that it was going to happen? Why did they allow it to happen?" MORE...

Friday, September 17, 2010

About 44 million in U.S. lived below poverty line in 2009, census data show

By Carol Morello
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 16, 2010; 11:22 PM

In the second year of a brutal recession, the ranks of the American poor soared to their highest level in half a century and millions more are barely avoiding falling below the poverty line, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.

About 44 million Americans - one in seven - lived last year in homes in which the income was below the poverty level, which is about $22,000 for a family of four. That is the largest number of people since the census began tracking poverty 51 years ago.

The snapshot captured by the census for 2009, the first year of the Obama presidency, shows an America in the throes of economic upheaval.

Since 2007, the year before the recession kicked into gear, the country has almost 4 million fewer wage-earners. There are more children growing up poor. And for the first time since the government began tracking health insurance in 1987, the number of people who have health coverage declined, as people lost jobs with health benefits or employers stopped offering it.

With midterm elections less than two months away, the statistics bare the reality fueling much of the anger toward Washington.

In the Washington region, Virginia's poverty rate rose the most, to 10.5 percent from 8.6 percent. Maryland's edged up half a percentage point to 9 percent. The District's rate was the highest, but it declined from 18 percent to 17 percent.

Although the recession's impact was broad-based, there were disparities among groups. The official poverty rate increased for all races and ethnicities except Asians, who continued to have the highest median household income. More working-age adults lived in poverty, while the number of poor people 65 or older fell, largely as a result of increases in Social Security payments.

More than 51 million Americans lack health insurance, the census reported, and a greater-than-ever percentage of those who do have insurance are getting it from the government.

Scholars, nonprofit groups that work with the poor and President Obama all expressed concern about the gloomy picture.

Obama said the numbers could have been much worse were it not for government assistance.

"Because of the Recovery Act and many other programs providing tax relief and income support to a majority of working families - and especially those most in need - millions of Americans were kept out of poverty last year," he said in a statement.

Many conservatives, however, laid the blame on government programs that don't work.

"We're spending more money fighting poverty than ever before, yet poverty is up," said Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. "Clearly, we're doing something wrong."

Along with a rise in the number of people living in poverty, the census reported a decrease in the number of people who are living just above poverty level, suggesting that many of those just slightly above poverty slipped over the edge in the previous year.

Food banks and shelters around the country say they are seeing former donors asking for help.

Dale City resident Jamie Imler is one. She used to give money to charity and make quilts for homeless shelters. But since she began treatment for breast cancer last year, she has been too weak to work at either of the two jobs she held, one in a restaurant and one for a recruitment agency. Her income has dropped from $2,000 a month to less than $700 - not enough to cover her rent - and she has been coming for the past six months to a food pantry in Prince William County called Action Through Service.

"Things were good," she said. "I was a single mom, raised my son and needed food stamps."

"And now I'm here," she added.

While the number of the country's poorest people is higher than in any other recorded period, the rate is not without precedent. The last time it was this high was 1994. And in the early 1960s, it was over 20 percent.

Despite the jump in poverty, median income did not go down for those who still had jobs. Men working full time saw their median earnings rise 2 percent, to $47,000, while the median wage of women rose about the same amount, to a little over $36,000.

The median household income declined a little, to just under $50,000. But household income is down 4.2 percent since the recession began and 5 percent from its peak of more than $52,000 in 1999. Black households fared particularly poorly, as incomes dropped 4.4 percent compared with 1.6 percent for white households.

"We always have a situation where some population groups have higher poverty rates than others," said Margaret Simms, who directs the Low Income Working Families Project at the Urban Institute. "During recessions, we see who bears the brunt in hard times in the kinds of numbers we see today."

The statistics have quickly become fodder for a debate on the proper role of government in combating economic downturns.

"It's a strong indication that there is not enough focus on growth and investment in job production," said Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio state treasurer who is a fellow at the Family Research Council.

Ron Haskins, a head of the Brookings Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, said government programs do not have enough money to make up for the decline among private and employer-provided health care. "Is the government going to pick it up?" he said. "That means bigger government, bigger expenses, more taxes."

This summer, a proposal to extend jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed came under attack by Republicans, who objected to more spending that would add to the soaring deficit. The measure eventually passed.

Some of those who have struggled to find work are making their way to Good Shepherd Alliance, a food pantry in Loudoun County, which is one of the country's wealthiest jurisdictions.

Vickie Koth, executive director, said she has grown accustomed to hearing clients say, almost as if dazed by their dizzying descent, that they used to volunteer at nonprofits like hers. The downturn will end some day, she noted, and hard times should be remembered.

"A lot of the community is really seeing this issue for the first time," she said. ". . . Once this turns around, I hope that people will remember what we went through so that our communities will be more open to serving those around us who are in need."

Staff writers Jennifer Buske and Caitlin Gibson contributed

Monday, September 13, 2010

Implications of a Pointless War

by Robert Koehler,
September 09, 2010

What does it mean that the New York Times, upon the occasion of President Obama’s announced drawdown of forces in Iraq last week, called our seven and a half years of invasion and occupation of the country "a pointless war"?

The editorial proceeded to do what Obama himself seemed to be under enormous political pressure to avoid: It skewered his predecessor, mildly perhaps, but repeatedly throughout the 645-word editorial: "the war made America less safe," "it is important not to forget how much damage Mr. Bush caused by misleading Americans," etc. The editorial even acknowledged an Iraqi death toll: "at least 100,000."

Why am I underwhelmed — disturbed, even — by this evidence of mainstream disavowal of the disastrous war that had such overwhelming support at its bloody, shock-and-awe onset? While Obama said it was time to "turn the page" on Iraq, the Times and the constituency it represents apparently feel compelled to wad it up as well and toss it into the dustbin of history. And thus, even though 50,000 U.S. troops, a.k.a., "advisers," remain in the shattered country and our commitment there, let alone our responsibility, is far from over, the Iraq war has officially become a consensus mistake, right alongside Vietnam.

Considering that I agree with the editorial, I marvel at how agitated it makes me. Maybe what troubles me is the unappreciated enormity of the phrase "pointless war" and the easy, consequence-free blame for it assigned to George Bush and his inner circle. Between the lines, I feel the rush to move on, to learn nothing, to throw berms around the insidious spread of responsibility (my God, what if it reaches us?). Better to cut our losses than to cut the Defense budget.

But this was $3 trillion worth of pointless war, which left in its wake a wrecked and polluted country with millions of displaced people, soaring cancer and birth defect rates, "at least" 100,000 dead Iraqis and by some measures more than a million. If we’re actually at the point of acknowledging that the war was a "mistake," that all this carnage, all this wasted blood and treasure, were "pointless," isn’t an accounting of some sort required — a pause in governmental operations, a national soul-searching, an inquiry? How in God’s name does the largest military machine in human history get mobilized into a pointless war?

And beyond that, where does our atonement lie? If we have just waged a war of pointless aggression and in the process killed between 100,000 and a million people, who are we? Are we capable of doing it again? Somehow, laying the whole blame on one lying president, who managed to deceive an entire industry of investigative journalists and an innocent, trusting public, doesn’t wash.

Indeed, if that’s the explanation, I would call it criminal naïveté on the part of every facet of American society, beginning with the media, that let itself be suckered into supporting, and continuing to support, a pointless war. And I don’t see anything much changing, despite our dishonorable drawdown in Iraq. We still have implicit faith in the military as the protectors of our safety and look toward the next war being shopped around and focus-grouped with a helpless credulity that would give P.T. Barnum pause.

Tom Engelhardt, writing the other day at about "the nonstop growth of the Pentagon and its influence," notes the irony of the fact that "even as the U.S. military has failed repeatedly to win wars, its budgets have grown ever more gargantuan, its sway in Washington ever greater, and its power at home ever more obvious."

He adds: "In Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, you can see that Pentagon version of an American foreign policy straining to be born. In the end, of course, it could be stillborn, but it could also become an all-enveloping system offering Americans a strange, skewed vision of a world constantly at war and of the importance of planning for more of the same."
Military-industrial capitalism, with its arrogant disregard for the human and environmental consequences of its activities, can have only a limited run on Planet Earth, but it doesn’t know this and has no inner, self-restraining mechanism. If we wait for its natural collapse, we’ll all go down with it. I would call this security code red, ladies and gentlemen. (editor's bold emphasis throughout)

But perhaps a door is opening. I repeat the question I asked at the beginning of this column. What does it mean that the New York Times is calling the Iraq disaster a pointless war? I know what it should mean: that such an awareness triggers an outbreak of responsible journalism throughout the corporate media, beginning with a curbing of military and disgraced neocon influence over what is proclaimed news.

Even this is too much to expect, of course, but we must demand it anyway, as we limp toward the ninth anniversary of 9/11, amid the screaming forces of fear and hate that would militarize this day of reverence and turn it into a grand occasion to make more enemies and celebrate our ignorance and isolation.

(c) 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.