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Archive for January, 2009

Fonterra Advised Sanlu on ‘Safe’ Melamine Level

Posted by terres on January 28, 2009

Thanks to TEAA, our valuable friend in Wellington, for sending the link to the New Zealand article

The Moderators have vociferously maintained that Fonterra executives knew about Sanlu’s melamine-tainted infant formula years in advance of the scandal breaking out, despite their denials.

The truth is now beginning to come out in dribs and drabs! Here’s how the story is unfolding:

Tian Wenhua, the former President and General Manager of Sanlu, who received a life sentence for her part in the Sanlu tainted infant formula scandal,  said during her trial that “she made the decision not to halt production of the tainted products because a board member, designated by New Zealand dairy product giant Fonterra that partly owned Sanlu Group, presented her a document saying a maximum of 20 mg of melamine was allowed in every kg of milk in the European Union. She said she had trusted the document at that time.” Xinhua reported.

[Note: Readers are reminded that Sanlu Was First Banned in 2004, then Reinstated.]

sue-kedgley

Fonterra should set the record straight and release minutes at the center of the Chinese contaminated milk scandal, Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says. (January 28, 2009, 8:09 pm). Source Stuff.co.nz. Image may be subject to copyright.

NZ Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said Fonterra’s credibility was on the line after the statement made by Tian Wenhua that “Fonterra approved a level of melamine in baby milk formula sold in China,” and has asked the New Zealand dairy cooperative to release the minutes of the conversation between the Fonterra director and Sanlu’s former president.

“Fonterra is our biggest exporter and it is critical for its international reputation that the dairy company front up with evidence to dispel any doubts about its business practices in China,” Ms Kedgley said.

“If the minutes of the recorded conversation demonstrate—as Fonterra claims—that Fonterra was adamant it was totally unacceptable to sell milk with any level of melamine contamination in it, this will help set the record straight.”

“Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier today said the conversation had been minuted, but he did not intend to release it to media while a court appeal was pending.” NZPA reported. [Moderators wonder how difficult it might be  for Fonterra to change the content of the said minutes to save its own backside.]

andrew-ferrier Fonterra chief executive, Andrew Ferrier. Do you trust him with your little baby’s kidneys? Ferrier on Tuesday confirmed Tian had been given a document by a Fonterra board member, but he is economical with the truth about the content of the document. Mr Ferrier and his colleagues have so far gotten away with murder. Photo: NZPA. Image may be subject to copyright.

“Everybody wants to move on, I think that’s the message that we’re getting from our shareholders. We’ve learned some painful lessons, we’ve learned to be more suspicious about supply chains, we’ve learned to shrink down our time of implementation of measures.” Ferrier said.

[Mr Ferrier, due to their kidney failures, at least 6 Chinese babies will never be able to "move on!" And another ½ million or so babies could move only with great difficulty.  MSRB Moderators.]

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This post has 570 words, 2 images, 6 links.

Posted in Andrew Ferrier, China, Chinese Govt, corporate manslaughter, New Zealand dairy | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

China’s military is rapidly expanding

Posted by msrb on January 28, 2009

Whatever the Moderators concerns about the political corruption in China, the rapid military expansion in the so-called “Chinese People’s Liberation Army” appears to be directly related to ‘wealth’ inequality and, consequently, China’s limited access to natural resources.

The following stats may explain why:

population-gdp2
China’s population is nearly 4 times larger than the US, yet its GDP is about ¼ of the United States, creating a disparity of about 16 to1 against China.

The following article appeared in the Mainlyichi Daily News on January 28, 2009 [See link below]

Why does China continue to undergo such rapid military expansion?

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/news/20090127p2a00m0na001000c.html

China has issued a white paper entitled “China’s National Defense in 2008,” tracing shifts in its defense budget since the nation first implemented its open door policy in 1978. The dramatic increase in defense spending over the past 30 years is striking.

The first decade saw an average 3.5 percent rise in the defense budget. In the second decade the figure rose to an average increase of 14.5 percent, and the last decade, 15.9 percent. In recent years, the figure has exceeded Japan’s overall spending on national defense — in 2008, China’s military budget was 417.7 billion yuan (approximately 5.849 trillion yen). [US$1 = 90 yen - see date.]

According to Western military experts, however, China’s military spending is actually said to be two to three times the figure, once other military-related expenses designated for categories such as space exploration and foreign aid are taken into account.

Why does China continue to undergo such rapid military expansion? The white paper says that, “China will never seek hegemony or engage in military expansion now or in the future, no matter how developed it becomes.” But this does not amount to a rational explanation and does nothing to reassure neighboring countries.

At one time, China offered an increase in military personnel costs as a result of improved labor conditions as its justification for soaring military expenses. It is more realistic to assume, however, that China’s defense budget increase of recent years is due to qualitative changes made under the country’s shifting military strategy.

The white paper touches upon the military’s pelagic and space capabilities, and as if to confirm the country’s focus, the government has acknowledged its consideration of constructing aircraft carriers. China, furthermore, has succeeded in several manned spacecraft missions, has developed the missile technology necessary to shoot down satellites in orbit, and has continued launching its own positioning satellites crucial to guiding these missiles. China’s aspirations are transparent.

The country’s goal is no longer the preservation of its land, territorial waters, and airspace, but the safeguarding of national interests, now spread across the globe. A debate has emerged within the military about replacing the protection of “territorial boundaries” with that of “boundaries of national interests.” If military expansion is the purpose of this shift, how does it differ from the pursuit of hegemony? The white paper, alas, does not shed light on this question.

Currently the world’s third biggest economy, China obtains the oil and natural gas necessary to support its economic growth via massive pipelines running from Central Asia, Myanmar, and Russia. It has participated in oil field development in Africa and the Middle East, its tank vessels loaded with oil forming a queue in the Indian Ocean, and is hoping to explore undersea resources in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

The economic interests of the country have expanded on a worldwide scale. The Chinese Navy’s deployment of cutting-edge missile destroyers to the waters off the coast of Somalia was not a mere short-term measure for dealing with pirates, but a way to establish the foundations to develop sea lane defense capabilities to Africa’s coast.

How will China’s military buildup be affected by economic growth that has slowed drastically this year? Had this been the China of yesterday, it would have focused its budget on building the economy. Putting the brakes on military expansion once it has gained momentum is no easy task, however, and, whether there will be a shift in the relationship between the government and the military remains to be seen.

Copyright 2009 THE MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS. All rights reserved.

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Posted in access to resources, China's military, China's National Defense, economic interests, military buildup | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

What happens when you kill Chinese babies?

Posted by msrb on January 24, 2009

Q. What happens when you knowingly sell poisoned food products and kill at least six Chinese babies [the actual toll is a state secret] and sicken about ½ million other infants?

A. It all depends on who you are!

If you are a prominnet member of ‘National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference,’ like Tian Wenhua, 66, the former President and General Manager of Sanlu, you get a prison sentence!


Sanlu Group‘s official logo. Image may be subject to copyright despite Sanlu bankruptcy!

If you are not politically well connected, and haven’t paid the right amount of kickbacks to the corrupt officials, like the two men who supplied melamine to adulterate the milk, you would get a  death sentence.


Sanlu show trial:
Sanlu Group executives Tian Wenhua, Wang Yuliang, Hang Zhiqi and Wu Jusheng stand trial on 31 December 2008. (Xinhua/Ding Lixin. Image may be subject to copyright.

As for other executive/employees:

  • The three other former top Sanlu executives on trial together with
    Tian under the same charge got sentences varying from five to 15 years.
  • Wang Yuliang and Hang Zhiqi, both top executive of
    Sanlu, were respectively sentenced to 15 years and 8 years in
    prison.
  • Wu Jusheng, former manager responsible for Sanlu’s  raw milk department, received a 5-year sentence.

[Note: A total of two death sentences, three life sentences and six sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years were handed to the defendants, while 40 others still await trial.]

Q. What about Fonterra, which owned 43% of the joint venture company?

A. Fonterra directors literally got away with murder!

But how could that be? Surely China is no longer a  colony.  Even Hong Kong …

Fonterra’s new Logo. Readers will excuse the “Dairy for life [sentence]” pun.  Image may be subject to copyright.

This is how it works. It always has. If the others who were involved in killing Chinese babies come from a country where the corrupt Chinese officials have a personal interest/stake, then those foreign nationals and their agent are excused.

As for the response by the baby-killer Fonterra directors: They are “still studying the verdict.”

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363 words – 3 images – 3 links

Posted in China, Corrupt Chinese Communist Party, corruption in China, show trial, Tian Wenhua | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Punishing the Palestinians

Posted by msrb on January 17, 2009

In the Public Interest
by Ralph Nader
January 16, 2009

In the long sixty-year tortured history of the Palestinian expulsion from their lands, Congress has maintained that it is always the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority, and now Hamas who are to blame for all hostilities and their consequences with the Israeli government.

The latest illustration of this Washington puppet show, backed by the most modern weapons and billions of taxpayer dollars annually sent to Israel, was the grotesquely one-sided Resolutions whisked through the Senate and the House of Representatives.

While a massive bombing and invasion of Gaza was underway, the resolution blaming Hamas for all the civilian casualties and devastation—99% of it inflicted on Palestinians—zoomed through the Senate by voice vote and through the House by a vote of 390 to 5 with 22 legislators voting present.

There is more dissent against this destruction of Gaza among the Israeli people, the Knesset, the Israeli media, and Jewish-Americans than among the dittoheads on Capitol Hill.

The reasons for such near-unanimous support for Israeli actions—no matter how often they are condemned by peace advocates such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, United Nations resolutions, the World Court and leading human rights groups inside and outside of Israel, are numerous. The pro-Israeli government lobby, and the right-wing Christian evangelicals, lubricated by campaign money of many Political Action Committees (PACs) certainly are key.

There is also more than a little bigotry in Congress against Arabs and Muslims, reinforced by the mass media yahoos who set new records for biased reporting each time this conflict erupts.

The bias is clear. It is always the Palestinians’ fault. Right-wingers who would never view the U.S. government as perfect see the Israeli government as never doing anything wrong. Liberals who do not hesitate to criticize the U.S. military view all Israeli military attacks, invasions and civilian devastation as heroic manifestations of Israeli defense.

The inversion of history and the scope of amnesia know no limits. What about the fact that the Israeli government drove Palestinians from their lands in 1947-48 with tens of thousands pushed into the Gaza strip. No problem to Congress.

Then the fact that the Israeli government cruelly occupied, in violation of Israeli government the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 and only removed its soldiers and colonists from Gaza (1.5 million people in a tiny area twice the size of the District of Columbia) in 2005. To Congress, the Palestinians deserved it.

Then when Hamas was freely elected to run Gaza, the Israeli authorities cut off the tax revenues on imports that belonged to the Gaza government. This threw the Gazans into a fiscal crisis—they were unable to pay their civil servants and police.

In 2006, the Israelis added to their unrelieved control of air, water and land around the open-air prison by establishing a blockade. The natives became restless. Under international law, a blockade is an act of war. Primitive rockets, called by reporters “wildly inaccurate” were fired into Israel. During this same period, Israeli soldiers and artillery and missiles would go into Gaza at will and take far more lives and cause far more injuries than those incurred by those rockets. Civilians—especially children, the infirm and elderly—died or suffered week after week for lack of medicines, medical equipment, food, electricity, fuel and water which were embargoed by the Israelis.

Then the Israeli bombing followed by the invasion during the past three weeks with what prominent Israeli writer Gideon Levy called “a brutal and violent operation…far beyond what was needed for protecting the people in its south.” Mr. Levy observed what the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann called a war against “a helpless and defenseless imprisoned population.”

The horror of being trapped from fleeing the torrent of the most modern weapons of war from the land, air and seas is reflected in this passage from Amira Hass, writing in the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz:

“The earth shaking under your feet, clouds of choking smoke, explosions like a fireworks display, bombs bursting into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, mushroom clouds of pinkish-red smoke, suffocating gas, harsh burns on the skin, extraordinary maimed live and dead bodies.”

Ms. Hass is pointing to the use of new anti-civilian weapons used on the Gazan people. So far there have been over 1100 fatalities, many thousands of injuries and the destruction of homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, pharmacies, granaries, farmer’s fields and many critical public facilities. The clearly marked UN headquarters and UN school were smashed, along with stored medicines and food supplies.

Why? The Congressional response: “Hamas terrorists” everywhere. Sure, defending their Palestinian families is called terrorism. The truth is there is no Hamas army, airforce and navy up against the fourth most powerful military in the world. As one Israeli gunner on an armored personnel carrier frankly said to The New York Times: “They are villagers with guns. They don’t even aim when they shoot.”

Injured Gazans are dying in damaged hospital corridors, bleeding to death because rescuers are not permitted to reach them or are endangered themselves. Thousands of units of blood donated by Jordanians are stopped by the Israeli blockade. Israel has kept the international press out of the Gazan killing fields.
What is going on in Gaza is what Bill Moyers called it earlier this month – “state terrorism.”  Already about 400 children are known to have died.  More will be added who are under the rubble.

Since 2002, more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations have had a standing offer, repeated often, that if Israel obeys several UN resolutions and withdraws to the 1967 borders leaving 22 percent of the original Palestine for an independent Palestinian state, they will open full diplomatic relations and there will be peace.  Israel has declined to accept this offer.

None of these and many other aspects of this conflict matter to the Congress.  Its members do not want to hear even from the Israeli peace movement, composed of retired generals, security chiefs, mayors, former government ministers, and members of the Knesset.  In 60 years these savvy peace advocates have not been able to give one hour of testimony before a Congressional Committee.

Maybe members of Congress may wish to weigh the words of the founder of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, years ago when he said:

“There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis Hitler Auschwitz but was that their [the Palestinian’s] fault?  They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country.”

Doesn’t that observation invite some compassion for the Palestinian people and their right to be free of Israeli occupation, land and water grabs and blockades in the 22 percent left of Palestine?

END.

Posted in Israeli government, state terrorism, U.S. military, UN HQ, UN resolutions | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bolivia, Venezuela Break Ties with Israel

Posted by msrb on January 15, 2009

The blog Moderators salute the brave people and leaders of Bolivia and Venezuela for breaking diplomatic ties with illegitimate Jewish state

Bolivia

Bolivian President Evo Morales said his country is cutting diplomatic ties with Israel, describing the Israeli slaughter in Gaza “genocide.”

“Considering these grave attacks against … humanity, Bolivia will stop having diplomatic relations with Israel.” Morales said in a speech to foreign diplomats in the government palace yesterday. “The crimes committed by the Israeli government affect peace and stability in the world,” said Morales.

evo-fidel-chavez
These South American leaders are morally superior to their US, European, Japanese, and Arab counterparts! L to R:   Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro and Evo Morales. [Photo credit: Wikipedia User: Salvador1248. GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or later versions.]

Venezuela

Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations with Israel, a week after it expelled the Israeli ambassador in Caracas and seven embassy staff members.

A Foreign Ministry statement said Wednesday that Venezuela “has decided to break off diplomatic relations with the state of Israel given the inhumane persecution of the Palestinian people.”

The Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip reached 1,027 with at least 4,700 others injured by Wednesday, as the Israeli offensive entered its 19th consecutive day, the Ministry of Health in Gaza said. Ten Israeli soldiers and three “civilians” have reportedly been killed.

Kuwait

A Kuwaiti MP called for moving Arab League headquarters from Cairo to Caracas after Venezuela expelled the Israeli ambassador because of the Jewish state’s onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

“I call for moving the Arab League from Cairo to Caracas,” MP Waleed al-Tabtabai said during a special session in parliament concerning the Israeli offensive. “[Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez] has proved that he was more Arab than some Arabs.” [Perhaps "human" or "morally superior" would have been more appropriate adjectives. Moderator]

He criticized Egypt,  which hosts the headquarters of the 22-member Arab League, for “refusing to open the Rafah” border to allow the passage of food and medical supplies to the battered Palestinian territory, AFP reported.

“Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania, the only Arab countries to have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, have ignored public calls to expel Israeli diplomats. An Israeli trade office in Qatar also remains open.”

Another Kuwaiti MP, Ahmad Lari, urged Kuwaitis to donate one month of their salaries to the Palestinians in Gaza.

gaza_deaths1

Source: BBC UK

Posted in Arab League, Gaza genocide, Hugo Chávez, Israel, Palestine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cost of Your Upkeep: Your Freedom, Your Rights and Your Money

Posted by msrb on January 14, 2009

Neo-Slavery is Alive and Well

Handling your ‘new’ freedoms and money the old-fashion way!

Thought for the Day: Taking away your freedoms and your money to provide security and employment

The so-called Department of Homeland Security [sic] and the Federal Reserve System [sic] operate within an identical discourse structure:

Homeland Security says to guarantee your physical safety, they must take away all of your constitutional rights.


Michael Baruch Chertoff, United States Secretary of Homeland Security.

Federal Reserve says to guarantee your job they must take away all of your [and your children's] money to bailout the banks.


Ben [NOT Benjamin] Shalom Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors, The Federal Reserve Board, USA.

However, neither of the two organizations tells you that if ordinary people operated and supervised cooperative banks on local, state and national levels [remember, its all of your money] not only more jobs and a sustainable economy could be created, but gangsters like Maddoff et al would go out of business. And both the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Reserve would become obsolete.

Bankster Bernie [before he went to jail]: Hey, I’m one of them. Your money is safe with me. If you can’t trust us, who can you trust?

bernard-madoff
Bernard Lawrence Madoff (Bankster Bernie), former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange. Photo: AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

He founded the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in 1960 and was its chairman until December 11, 2008, when he was charged with perpetrating what may be the largest investor fraud ever committed. He is free under house arrest until his indictment with a deadline of February 11, 2009. [Wikipedia]

Could it be that the parasitic triumvirate grow on the same tree? Would that surprise you?

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Posted in bank bailout, Bernard Madoff, cooperative banks, creating jobs, employment data | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

A Letter to George W. Bush

Posted by msrb on January 13, 2009

NO Pardons for War Criminals!

Citizens Against Presidential Pardon Abuse
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036

January 12, 2009

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.

RE: Pardon Power

Dear Mr. President:

We strongly urge you to demonstrate a devotion to the rule of law by refraining from presidential pardons for any current or former White House, Cabinet or agency official in your administration for torture, illegal surveillance, unconstitutional imprisonments, obstruction of justice, perjury, violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, or otherwise. These crimes rank among the most serious in the entire federal criminal code. The pardons would be tantamount to shredding the rule of law which all presidents are constitutionally obligated to honor. A signed, delivered, and accepted pardon would also be an admission of guilt.


The disgraced former Secretary of State Colin Powell holding a model vial of anthrax at a presentation to the United Nations Security Council. Mr. Powell’s longtime aide-de-camp Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson said that he participated in a hoax on the American people in preparing Mr. Powell’s erroneous testimony before the United Nations Security Council.

Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis declared in Olmstead v. United States: “Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

The list of officials you should exclude from pardons under this standard includes, but is not limited to, Vice President Richard Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Department general counsel William Haynes, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, former Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, former White House Counsel and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former White House political director Karl Rove, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel John Yoo, Chief of Staff to the Vice President David Addington, Director of Central Intelligence General Michael Hayden, and former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet. It goes without saying that you should not pardon yourself in light of the time-honored constitutional principle that no man should be a judge in his own case. This principle stems back to Dr. Bona hm’s Case in 1610. Further, the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon under an impeachment cloud marked a rejection of the monarch-like principle that if the President does it, it’s legal.

That you and the enumerated officials were involved in fighting the so-called War on Terror, or that their crimes may have been committed in connection with the Iraq War is not exculpatory. To the contrary, Congress and the courts have extended to the Executive Branch in general, and your administration in particular, extraordinary latitude in purportedly defending the United States. Any criminal acts committed in this context are thus particularly egregious because they exceeded even lawful authority to impinge on cherished freedoms. The crimes are also troublesome precedents that invite maltreatments of the United States military or civilians if captured or detained by our adversaries.

Nor is the excuse of “emergency” an exculpatory factor. It remains for future juries to determine definitively whether official actions were criminal, but the range of actions potentially transgressing the law is long, varied and persistent. Criminality that continues day-after-day for years cannot be rationalized as inescapable emergency irregularities. The suspected crimes reflected deliberate policies, not “heat of battle” errors of judgment.

During the constitutional convention, George Mason worried that a president might use the pardon power to evade rather than achieve justice by “pardon[ing] crimes which were advised by himself,” or before formal accusation “to stop inquiry and prevent detection.” But James Madison, father of the Constitution, answered that the constitutional deterrent or remedy would be impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate: “If the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds [to] believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty.”

Later as a Member of Congress, Madison underscored that a conspicuous difference between the President and the British Monarch was that the former would be subject to impeachment for pardon abuses. In other words, the pardon was never intended to be an instrument of the President to conceal his own wrongdoing.

In 2000, you trumpeted to the American people: “I’m running for President because I want to help usher in the responsibility era, where people understand they are responsible for the choices they make and are held accountable for their actions.” To pardon yourself or your inner circle to circumvent criminal responsibility would make a mockery of that high-minded pledge.

Such pardons would additionally be condemned by the rule of law teaching and practices of President Abraham Lincoln. He orated: “As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;–let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the laws… be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice.” As President during the Civil War, Lincoln’s actions at Fort Sumter and unilateral suspension of the the Great Writ of habeas corpus were presented to Congress for repudiation or endorsement according to law.

The last page of your presidency should be an oblation to the rule of law. The pardons that we urge against would be a defilement.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader
Bruce Fein
Senator James Abourezk
Public Citizen
Mark Green
Senator George McGovern
Edgar Cahn
Rocky Anderson

Posted in Alberto Gonzales, colin powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith, Richard Cheney | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nader’s Open Letter to Obama

Posted by msrb on January 10, 2009

In the Public Interest
January 9, 2009

Dear President-Elect Obama:

You have been receiving a great deal of advice since November 4, 2008 from people and groups who either want you to advance policies not covered in your campaign or who want you to be more specific about initiatives you emphasized.

There are two suggestions which may not be among your store of recommendations that need to be considered before you take office on January 20, 2009.

First, the public would benefit from a concise recounting of the state of the union and where the Bush Administration has left our country. As is your style, you can render such a bright line of serious problems inside and outside the government in a matter-of-fact manner. Otherwise, a blurring of who was responsible for what can taint your presidency.

Second, you need to make a clean break from the Bush regime’s law of rule to our declared commitment to the rule of law as in the firm adherence to constitutional requirements and statutory and treaty compliance. There is a Bush-Cheney stream of criminal and unconstitutional actions which are on auto-pilot day after day. You have pointed out some of these abominations such as a policy and practice of torture and violations of due process and probable cause. The task before you is to break these daily patterns just as soon as you ascend to the Presidency or be held increasingly responsible for them. This can be significantly accomplished by executive orders, agency or departmental directives, whistle-blower protections, enforcement actions and explicit legislative proposals.

With Americans wishing you well in this most portentous of times, the last thing they want to see is you tarnished by the preceding rogue regime and its ruthless monarchical forays. To avoid this contagion of power over law and its contiguous accountabilities at a time when you are striving for a “clean slate” administration, you must be decisive and eschew any excessive harmony ideology which has seemed to be your nature vis-à-vis those who are powerful but are opposed to your views.

One possible impediment to your making a comprehensive clean break for restoring the rule of law is that you have too easy an act to follow. There are a long list of violated civil liberties that need to be restored (the American Civil Liberties Union has compiled a list of immediate actions for you to take), and resolute commitments must be made so that it is clear the United States, for example, will not engage in, or countenance, torture. Only a few restorations, however, would produce a sense of relief and flurry of accolades — but they are hardly sufficient.

There are also regulations and interpretations of statutes that scholars believe to have been erroneous as a matter of law. As one guide for your new era of overdue regulation or reregulation—given the corporate wrongdoing these days—you may wish to refer to the Center for Progressive Reform’s report By the Stroke of the Pen.

The Bush lawlessness and state terrorism are like a contagious disease. If you do not remove their sprawling incidence, you will become their carrier. This means you must move fast to eject the mantle of war criminality and repeated unconstitutional outrages committed in the name of the American people here and abroad.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader

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Posted in American people, civil liberties, Ralph Nader, state terrorism, war crimes | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Image of the Day: Human Cage, Chicken Coop?

Posted by msrb on January 10, 2009

Future in Now: Future is bleak!

The Poultry Market Economy: A fate not unlike your chicks


A man sleeps next to chickens he will sell at a poultry market in Shanghai January 8, 2009. Chinese health authorities closed poultry markets for disinfecting in a province surrounding Beijing on Wednesday after a woman died of bird flu, the first such death in the country in almost a year. REUTERS/Nir Elias. Image may be subject to copyright.

Posted in Beijing, caged, market economy, recession | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Insane chutzpah, deadly nonchalance

Posted by msrb on January 9, 2009

submitted by a reader:

The insane chutzpah by which Israeli Occupation Forces are obliterating Gaza, killing about 1,450 people, is parallel only to the deadly nonchalance of Zionist Jewish mafia on 9/11 when they carried out the controlled demolition of WTC Twin Towers and Building No 7, killing about 3,800 people.


Building destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza January 1, 2009. Israeli warplanes attacked government buildings in the Gaza Strip on New Year’s Day. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA). Image may be subject to copyright.



New York City, N.Y. (Sept. 17, 2001) — An aerial view of  a small portion of the so-called Ground Zero, where World Trade Center towers were destroyed by controlled demolition.

The Bloomberg Protocol

Why did Bloomberg travel to Israel?


Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (L) shakes hands with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg during their meeting in Tel Aviv, January 4, 2009, in this picture released by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO).

Was it to reassure Israelis that they can continue to commit mass murder with absolute impunity?

Related Links:

Posted in deadly nonchalance, Israel Occupation forces, Israel war crimes, Michael Bloomberg, Zionist Jewish mafia | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Restoring the Constitution: ACT II

Posted by terres on January 6, 2009

As President, [Obama] cannot remain silent and do nothing, otherwise he will inherit the war crimes of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and become soon thereafter a war criminal himself. Inaction cannot be an option. ~ Ralph Nader

Monday, January 5, 2009  San Francisco Chronicle:

Bush-Cheney deserve censure for declaring war against the Constitution

Bruce Fein, Ralph Nader

Before Inauguration Day, the 111th Congress should pass a forward-looking resolution censuring President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for executive aggrandizements or abuses that have reduced Congress to vassalage and shredded the rule of law. The resolution should express a congressional intent to prevent repetitions by the President-elect Barack Obama or his successors. The objective is not Bush-Cheney bashing, but to restore a republican form of government in which “We the People” are sovereign, and the president is checked and publicly scrutinized by Congress and the courts. The Bush-Cheney duumvirate won an undeclared war against the Constitution. Most troublesome, they captured the power to initiate war from a spineless Congress. The Founding Fathers were unanimous in denying the president that constitutional authority. They knew that presidents would chronically deceive Congress and concoct excuses for war to control public information, benefit political friends through government contracts, quell dissent, assert emergency powers and enjoy the intoxicating thrill of, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

By wielding the threat of international terrorism, the Bush-Cheney team put the nation on a permanent war footing – the first time in history that war has been undertaken against a tactic. They maintained that the entire post-9/11 world is an active battlefield where United States military force may be used to kill suspected members of al Qaeda irrespective of international boundaries.

They claimed executive privilege and state secrets to conduct secret government – thereby circumventing political and legal accountability. This included directives to former White House officials Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to flout congressional subpoenas for testimony. They detained hundreds of people (including American citizens) as enemy combatants without accusation or trial. They authorized torture (waterboarding and extraordinary rendition), abductions, secret prisons and illegal surveillance of American citizens.

Like its immediate predecessors, the 110th Congress eagerly yielded its authorities – even the power of the purse – to the president. The Iraqi War Resolution, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendments, and the declination to hold Rove in contempt of Congress were emblematic.

If left unrebuked, the Bush-Cheney usurpations of power will become part of the constitutional firmament and risk creating a safe harbor for future presidential abuses. Every member of Congress, moreover, is required to take an oath to “support (the) Constitution” pursuant to Article VI. There is no corresponding oath to support the Republican or Democratic parties or to subordinate the Constitution in the name of political harmony. Censure would be no novelty.

The Senate voted to rebuke President Andrew Jackson for constitutional lawlessness in 1834: “Resolved, That the President, in the late executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue, has assumed upon himself authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and laws, but in derogation of both.”

The censure resolution we contemplate would enumerate the serial Bush-Cheney constitutional violations; and, censure them for complicity in wrecking the Constitution’s finely tuned balance of powers. In two previous congressional sessions, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., introduced censure resolutions against the president and vice president for deceiving Congress about the war in Iraq and warrantless spying on American citizens in contravention of FISA.

The resolution should also endorse a remedial legislative agenda that would be binding on all future presidents, including the president-elect. It should include a criminal prohibition on intentional misrepresentations to Congress to obtain authorization for war; or, the president’s initiation of war without an express congressional mandate. The president’s withholding of information demanded by Congress should likewise be prohibited.

An independent prosecutor should be created to prosecute crimes allegedly perpetrated by high-level executive-branch officials in the course of executing presidential directives or defending presidential prerogatives. FISA should be amended to restore individualized warrants based on probable cause to spy on Americans in order to gather foreign intelligence.

Censure will not, by itself, remedy the Bush-Cheney vandalizing of the Constitution. But if members of Congress neglect even that modest step, our republic and democracy will have been irreparably harmed.

Bruce Fein, a deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, is chairman of the American Freedom Agenda and author of “Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for our Constitution and Democracy” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). Ralph Nader is a citizen advocate and author.

This article appeared on page B – 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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Posted in Congress, Founding Fathers, Iraqi War, lawlessness, secret prisons | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

China on the brink of mass unrest

Posted by msrb on January 6, 2009

China: A New Revolution May Be in the Making

Out with the old corrupt regime; in with the young new visionaries

Outlook (Liaowang) Magazine, produced by the official Xinhua news agency, warned this week that weakening economic outlook could result in large scale unrest by millions of disparate migrant workers and university graduates without jobs.

“‘Without doubt, now we’re entering a peak period for mass incidents,’ a senior Xinhua reporter, Huang Huo, told the magazine, using the official euphemism for riots and protests.” Reuters reported.


Migrant workers wait to board a train back home at the waiting room of a railway station in Taiyuan, Jiangxi province December 16, 2008. Rising unemployment and a widening income gap are the two issues of most concern to Chinese people, an annual report released on Monday by the Chinese Academy of Social Science said, China Daily reported. REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA). CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA. Image may be subject to copyright.

“In 2009, Chinese society may face even more conflicts and clashes that will test even more the governing abilities of all levels of the Party and government.” Huang Huo said.

“The candor about these problems reflects the severity of the unemployment problem. It’s meant to attract the attention of all levels of government,” said Mao Shoulong, a professor of public policy at Beijing’s Renmin University.

“The government wants to show that stability is at the top of its agenda.”

“The biggest threats to China’s social fabric will come from graduating university students, facing a shrinking job market and diminished incomes, and from a tide of migrant laborers who have lost their jobs as export-driven factories have shut.” The report said.

“Factory closures, sackings and difficulties paying social security had already unleashed a surge of protests, the report said. Officials in provinces that have provided tens of millions of low-paid workers for coastal factories have reported a leap in the number returning to their farm homes without work.”

The authorities estimated that there were about 10 million jobless rural migrant workers, the magazine said.

A total of 7 million university and college graduates, including the ones who are still jobless since graduating in 2008, would be hunting for jobs this year, Huang estimated.

Based on its 8 percent GDP growth target, the government could probably generate about 8 million new jobs for the whole country this year, he added. Bearing in mind that in 1989,  the core of the pro-democracy protests comprised of university students.

“If in 2009 there is a large number of unemployed rural migrant laborers who cannot find work for half a year or longer, milling around in cities with no income, the problem will be even more serious,” said Huang.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: “We have the ability and the confidence to ensure the Chinese economy’s stable and relatively fast growth and to ensure social stability.”


The Morning After. Victims of Tiananmen Massacre-Beijing, June 4th, 1989.  More horrific images available at source.

The Outlook report said that the protests were “increasingly politicized, making it harder for officials to douse them by force or cash hand-outs.”

“Social conflicts have already formed a certain social, mass base so that as soon as there is an appropriate fuse it always swiftly explodes and clashes escalate quickly,” said Huang. Source

Related Links:

Posted in Beijing, Renmin University, riots, Tiananmen massacre, Xinhua | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Government Without Law

Posted by msrb on January 3, 2009

December 26, 2008

Government Without Law
By Ralph Nader

Over thirty years ago, a book came out titled “How the Government Breaks the Law, by Jethro K. Lieberman.” Even then it was old news and the examples cited seemed small compared to today’s chronic law-breakers in the White House and at many federal departments and agencies. Many recent books have been written on the expansive outlaw behavior of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Less attention has been devoted to the explosion of unauthorized actions by the Executive in recent years. What should be the most frequent question by reporters to government officials — namely, “By what authority are you acting?” – is the rarest of inquiries.

A two part series on Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. in the Washington Post by David Cho in late November brought this point out in a stunningly frank admission by the Corporate bailout czar himself.

Speaking of the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as other megaseizures of failing Wall Street firms, Mr. Paulson expressed these anarchic words: “Even if you don’t have the authorities – and frankly I didn’t have the authorities for anything – if you take charge, people will follow.”

Whew! There you have it! He becomes the law and the law is what he says it is because no one – neither a rubber-stamping President, nor a supine Congress, nor any citizen, deprived of any standing to sue, is going or can do anything about it.

Reporter Cho goes on to write: “Senior government officials said Paulson helped craft rescue programs for financial firms, though he was not sure he had an unquestionable legal basis for the initiatives including the bailouts of the failing investment bank Bear Stearns in March and the wounded insurance giant American International Group (AIG) in September.”

Mr. Paulson went further. Playing Congress, he backed the Federal Reserve – already a government within a government funded by banks– to unprecedented unilateral expansion of its powers and its self-made assets. The Post reported that officials from the Treasury and the Fed “never knew whether they had the legal authority to interfere with the market for such derivatives but did so anyway because the opaque trading threatened the wider financial system.”

Unauthorized Executive Branch actions tend to be contagious. Noticing that the crisis left Wall Street on its knees and willing to unilaterally assume over $8 trillion in a variety of loan, subsidy and capital obligations, the Bush regime kept making more of its powers all by itself. Why not, they may have been thinking? Look what they’ve gotten away with in the areas of military and foreign policy actions.

Weekend gigantic corporate bailouts – a more recent one being the $300 billion plus assumption of Citigroup’s financial risks – engineered by Citigroup co-boss, Robert Rubin–were very secret affairs.

The more public grab of power was the $700 billion goliath to rescue the casino capitalists on Wall Street which was submitted in only 3 ½ pages of proposed legislation to Congress by Paulson and Ben Bernake, the Fed’s chairman in September.

This was too much for the ideologies of House Republicans who beat it on the first round. Even the spineless Democrats thought the requested authority was too much of a blank check. So what happened? Bush told Paulson to give various members of Congress “sweeteners” such as pork and tax breaks for favored lobbyists to get the required votes. Consequently, Paulson was granted staggering discretion to spend the $700 billion when, where and to whom he wanted under whatever conditions or no conditions at all. All in the name of socialism saving capitalism from massive collapse. Ironic.

Mr. Paulson came away from Capitol Hill with Congress in his hip pocket – not exactly what the framers of our Constitution had in mind in 1787.

Thus embolden, Paulson initiated a unilateral, administrative repeal of a Congressional enactment in the tax code – section 382 – to give the banks a huge windfall of about $140 billion. George K. Yin, former chief of staff of the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, rejected the legality of the Treasury Department’s decision. He told the Post: “I think almost every tax expert would agree that the answer is no. They basically repealed a 22-year-old law that Congress passed [and Reagan signed] as a backdoor way of providing aid to banks.”

Section 382 of the Tax code “sharply restricts a company from using the tax losses of a company it acquires to reduce its own tax liability,” according to the respected Citizens for Tax Justice.

The Treasury’s two-page notice generated a brief specialized display of outrage from members of the Tax writing committees in Congress and a hundred national, state and local organizations signed a joint letter to Congress demanding the legislators reverse the Treasury’ unauthorized edict.

So what did the House of Representatives do? It passed, later rejected by the Senate a provision in the auto bailout bill, a provision that would have extended the unauthorized Treasury ruling to the automobile industry!

What is going on here is a revolutionary coup d-etat of our legal system by executive branch diktats.

Is the organized legal profession through their bar associations in challenge mode? Are law professors churning over this mockery of the legislature and executive branch administrative law? Are conservative groups – always upset about judicial activism – going into high gear against the new monarchy in and around the White House in downtown Washington, D.C.? Are all those futurists worried enough about the trillions of debt dollars being piled on our children and grandchildren to protest and act? Not really.

Obviously, all this is a developing story. Stay tuned, unless you are willing to be turned out.

Posted in Congress, Federal Reserve, Henry M. Paulson, Wall Street | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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