Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What was Milo Pope Doing While AWOL from the August 24, 2010 Council Meeting?

[Edited/corrected 8/26/10]
Just one item in this blog. It pertains to Councilor Milo Pope's whereabouts during Tuesday's Council Meeting, and the resulting ruckus when two citizens, myself and Jason Bland, investigated reports that he was holding yet another meeting, or "get together" with ex-City Manager Steve Brocato and his friends.

- Yervasi-Pope Law Offices on Third St. across from the Courthouse

Before I get too far along, I want to explain the obvious. I, as a sometime no-profit (actual loss) blogger and reporter, run into situations where I am reporting on events in which I am a participant with a fairly clear bias. I have not pretended otherwise to the best of my knowledge. One of the problems with mainstream journalism, in my view, is that they present themselves as beyond bias and very objective, which I feel is unrealistic, and which most viewers and readers can discern by reading mainstream reporting. I once wrote articles for a publication called the "Peace and Freedom Partisan" and was entirely comfortable with that because readers understood that we actually stood for something and took partisan positions. My humble blog is no different. I will not report on the activities of my brother, for instance, and expect you to think that what I write has no slant, or meets journalistic ethics in regard to emotional conflicts of interest. I write a blog, and it has a political position of sorts, while also trying to report news (that often carries a particular viewpoint, perspective, and sometimes, clear bias--but at least my intent is not to deceive you into thinking that I have a non-partisan position, like so many publications do.

Just wanted to get that out of the way, as once again, I find myself reporting on public figures with whom I have expressed a clear difference of opinion on several occasions. In this blog, I am reporting an account of my experience, not the usual opinion piece, and not the least bit literary or even entertaining (although the latter is tempting). I just want my version of the events on the record, because I know that one or more papers will be reporting on it soon, with quotes from some of the other participants. My information is that one of the papers has a police report, which I do not posess, although if necessary, will obtain. I was given the opportunity to comment for a Record Courier article without knowing what other participants had said, and I chose instead to just report here what had happened. A response will be a forthcoming to any reporting by the papers that isn't in accordance with what I saw happen. I had intended, of course, to report on the event, but not necessarily in this manner.

So . . . here is an account.

This last Tuesday night (8/24/10) I received a call sometime after 6 PM from an interested citizen who told me that Councilor Milo Pope was not attending the Council meeting, and instead was involved in his own get together with Steve Brocato, Jennifer Watkins, and Dave Davis at the law offices of Yervasi & Pope. He told me that a friend of mine, Jason Bland, was there to document Milo's whereabouts while an executive session and a regular Council meeting was occurring at the Council chambers that same evening at about the same time. I had heard reports previously from this source about planning sessions taking place at the law offices of Yervasi & Pope at 1990 3rd. Street, across from the Court House, sometimes with Damien Yervasi in attendance, and normally with Milo Pope, Steve Brocato, and others. These meetings were alleged to have begun prior to the last Council election. It was also alleged that there was a well stocked bar in the building which supplied those present with copious amounts of alcohol during their meetings together. I have never attended such a meeting, but I believe the report, and those of others, to be credible, much like you trust someone who has not been shown to be untruthful in your dealings with them. The source had told me more than once that I should go down and see what I could find out about the participants of these meetings, and I wanted to do so. As it would be hard for me to document all that was mentioned above, please be clear that I am only reporting what I've been told by seemingly credible sources who have had the opportunity to know first hand.

I was soon enough in contact with Jason Bland, and decided to go down and offer whatever assistance I could in documenting that Milo was there and with whom. The main reason I wanted to do so was that most people expect that Councilors will attend Council meetings when in town so as to faithfully fulfill their duties as Councilors. They surely don't expect them to be off meeting with fired City Managers who are currently suing the city, as Steve Brocato is. Milo has held another seemingly uncalled for meeting with fired City Manager Steve Brocato that was reported on in the Herald.

Councilors do take an oath of office that reads as follows:

I, ______________________ being first duly sworn, depose and say that I will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States , the Constitution of the State of Oregon, and the Charter of the City of Baker City, and will perform the duties of Councilor of the City of Baker City to the best of my ability, so help me God. [emphasis added]

As far as I know, performing the duties of Councilor to the best of one's ability does not include ditching a Council meeting so as to meet and party with a fired City Manager who has a lawsuit against the city, or with other ex-councilors and ex-city employees.

So, given my interest in the issue, I rode down on my bicycle, cameras in basket, and tried to assist and witness what was happening. My biggest regret is that I didn't anticipate the aggressive response from the folks in the building and so didn't take my movie camera to document on video/audio what they did and said when we were about to leave. I only wanted a few photos to document that Milo Pope and and friends were there when he was supposed to be at a Council meeting.

When I arrived, we positioned ourselves on public property so as to view who was leaving the building. Here is some of what we saw when I was there. (Jason had showed me a photo of Dave Davis leaving before I arrived. I was obviously not there to witness that.) I have subsequently been informed that Andrew Bryan was not there earlier but that Jeff Petry was.

- Steve Brocato's & Milo Pope's Vehicles in Yervasi-Pope Law Offices Parking Lot, 1990 3rd Street. August 24, 2010; 6:43 PM. Jennifer Watkins' Dodge Durango was parked at the curb on Washington near the north east corner of the building. (Have photo but don't want to take up the space here.)

- Milo Takes a Break

At about 7:04 PM, according to my camera, Milo Pope emerged from the building and walked over to the large tree by the parking lot and stood there with his hands down near the front of his pants for a minute or so. It had become dark rather rapidly in that shaded area, and not being used to taking photos with a long lens at night without a flash, I didn't have the shutter speed set appropriately, thus resulting in a poor grainy photo (Although they all would probably been a bit grainy.). Check photo above very carefully to the left of the tree in front of Councilor Pope, where the dark grass meets the building in the background for other subtle details.

After taking a brief break by the tree, Councilor Pope went around the building and returned to the north east corner, where he checked his cell phone a few minutes later. (see photo below) He then returned to the get together in the building.

- Milo Checks Cell

- At 7:14 PM, Jennifer Watkins left the building and got into her Dodge Durango.

- At 7:16 PM, Former Councilor Andrew Bryan arrives and escorts Jennifer Watkins back into the building. (Apologies for the fuzzy, grainy photo, but by then the shutter speed was one second or more.)

- At 7:24 PM, Steve Brocato comes out of office and observes us from behind Andrew's car. (Again, apologies for the fuzzy photo.)

At around 7:30 PM, Milo came out and stared at me while I was preparing to leave on my bike. At about the same time, Steve, Jennifer, and Andrew came out and looked over at me, seemingly amused. I grabbed the long lens out of the basket and took two fuzzy photos, hand-held, without a tripod or support.

That's When Things Got A Bit Out Of Hand.

(Things got ugly pretty quickly, so this is my best recollection during a bad situation.) Milo then decided he needed to come over in a threatening manner and call me a "creep" while standing in front of my bike. A witness said he actually straddled my front tire. I am comfortable with who I am, and sort of understand that Milo likes to give people "hell," but I was worried from his demeanor and position that he was going to snatch my cameras, which I can't afford to lose. I humored him and put the "must save" camera around my neck for better protection. So he calls me a creep a few times and then was joined by Jennifer and Andrew. Jennifer was decent and just sobbed about my reporting with regard to her, and Andrew thought it would be important to take my picture too, so I waved and tried to smile. Jason was troubled by Milo's behavior and about the time Andrew was going to go over to Jason to take his picture, Jason came over to us. Milo touched Jason and they began shouting at each other, including Jason telling Milo not to touch him, and suggesting that Milo was subverting the Council. Then Steve Brocato rushed over from across the street and gets right in Jason's face, so there was more loud talk. Steve apparently thought that was an appropriate time to knock Jason's hat right off his head, which really brought the best out in Jason.;-)

Anyway, I believe that Milo and Andrew then tried to separate them by sort of pushing Steve back across the street, but the two continued their "communications" and Milo was apparently touching Jason again, so it seemed like the time to go across and help calm things down. When I crossed the street, Steve Brocato, in his always counterintuitive and seemingly arrogant way, decided to call the Baker PD, to whom he had gifted a building a few years earlier, even though it was he who initiated the scuffle by getting in Jason's face and knocking off his hat. Vintage Brocato in my view. I was told by one participant that his speech was slurred when he made the call to pd, but I have not confirmed that.

Two rather calm officers, Plaza and Downing, arrived shortly thereafter to help sort things out. Jason and I were interviewed first, and they ran a check on my name and license in the system. They then interviewed some, if not all, the other participants, but I don't know whether they ran their names and license numbers through the system. Jennifer called her husband who came and took her home, leaving the Dodge Durango parked at the curb. A little later, Becky Fitzgerald dropped by, saying hello, and that she was just passing by on her way home from the Council meeting.

Jason and I spoke with the two officers about the situation, and Jason was told he could file a charge of harassment against Steve Brocato, but he declined to do so. I wondered if any of Steve Brocato's behavior would be documented in a police report and I believe I was told that it would not be unless Jason filed charges. Not sure where that stands. I was just recalling some of the other incidents of people being thrown out of his office, the incident with the child, the interactions with myself and others at previous Council meetings, and etc., and wondering if any of this apparent pattern is ever on the record.

Milo asked if we would like to join him for coffee in his office but I declined as I wanted to get home, thanked him, and shook his hand. Jason had suggested an officer might want to look after Steve Brocato if he tries to drive home, but it is not clear that they did so. I do know that after talking to a witness and friend across the street at Ace Hardware, I left, but was stopped by Officer Plaza a few blocks west on Washington for a friendly chat. (Both officers were friendly and respectful.)

That's it--just about all the important details I can recall. Things happen when you catch someone apparently shirking their public responsibilities to meet with a friend and disgruntled former City Manager who is suing the City.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rocky Road Ahead for Democrats and Obama, plus July 27th Baker City Council Meeting.

In This Edition:

- Rocky Road Ahead for Democrats and Obama

- Frustration and Fireworks at July 27th Baker City Council Meeting

- On YouTube--"Democracy" sung by Don Henley, written by Leonard Cohen

- And Until they take it down: The Last Resort by Don Henley & The Eagles


Only two items in this blog, plus music. The first concerns the upheaval on the "progressive left," in which the comments, especially the lower half or so, are the more informative and enlightening. The second is three YouTube videos concerning the heated atmosphere at the July 27, 2010 Baker City Council Meeting. I've little to add to either segment, except that my hopefully objective descriptions of the Council Meeting clips can be found on YouTube, which is only a reflection of one of many aspects of Baker City, Oregon.

Either on my blog, or on the Herald website comment section, I used the following reference in the comment(s):

During the recess Bonebrake approached Pope and asked why he was opposed to the Council interviewing the two applicants.

“Oh go to hell,” Pope responded.

Pope argued that he was not allowed to express his anger toward other council members, and he accused them of not being trust worthy.
See: City Council will interview 2

After watching and listening carefully to the tape yesterday, I don't believe that the Herald's comments, or mine that depended upon them, were acurate. It appears to me, that the Herald didn't quite get it right. If you listen to the YoutTube video Fireworks and Frustration at July 27th Baker City Council Meeting, you will hear Milo telling Mayor Dorrah to go to hell, not Aletha Bonebrake.

Rocky Road Ahead for Democrats and Obama
Published on Friday, August 13, 2010 by The Hill
‘Professional Left’ Not Ready to Back an Obama Primary Challenger in '12
by Sam Youngman

As angry as it might be, the professional left isn't ready to back a primary challenger to President Obama just yet.

Two high-profile liberals on Thursday said they are not interested in running against the president in 2012, and liberal bloggers say any challenge to Obama would be fraught with difficulty.

"I haven't heard of a credible name that has been floated that would challenge President Obama," said David Sirota, a prominent liberal blogger. "I haven't heard of that. I think it would be very difficult to do."

Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos, who is also a columnist for The Hill, said he didn't think Obama would get a 2012 primary challenge "in a million years." In an e-mail, Moulitsas also said Obama shouldn't be challenged.

Still, some influential figures on the left, which erupted in fury this week at criticism White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made in an interview with The Hill, suggest a multitude of voices in New Hampshire and Iowa could be helpful to the party.

"I have always encouraged a diversity of voices in the primary process, within all parties and at all levels of government," said Jane Hamsher, founder of, a leading liberal blog.

"It's a sign of a healthy democracy," said Hamsher, who suggested this week that Gibbs's comments could depress turnout in the November midterm elections for Congress.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a frequent presidential candidate, both said Thursday they had no plans to challenge Obama.

Gibbs invoked Kucinich's name in The Hill interview, saying some on the left wouldn't be satisfied if the prominent progressive who has called for a Department of Peace were in the Oval Office.

But Kucinich told ABC he had no plans to challenge Obama in 2012, and he pressed Democrats to concentrate on coming together.

Challenges to sitting presidents have been uncommon in recent elections, but they are hardly unheard of.

President George H.W. Bush faced a primary challenge from conservative commentator Pat Buchanan in 1992 after Bush won scorn from the political right for breaking a pledge not to raise taxes.

After his election, President George W. Bush was determined to avoid the same fate.

Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, told The Hill on Thursday that the younger Bush was largely inoculated from intra-party challenges because he worked to make sure he "kept an open door to all elements of the party."

Like Bill Clinton in 1996, the second president Bush did not face a meaningful primary challenge when he was up for reelection.

Rove, now a commentator on Fox News, said Obama's advisers need to take steps on a daily basis to protect him so that he does not face a challenge from the left.

"The president's people ought to be doing things in a way that keeps from providing people reasons to challenge him," Rove told The Hill.

Liberal commentators this week said they had plenty to complain about. They're disappointed Obama has not closed the detention center at Guantanamo Bay despite his promise to do so. Most also oppose Obama's handling of the Afghanistan war.

The left was disappointed Obama did not do more to achieve a public option in the health insurance bill, and they would like the president to do more to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Sirota said liberals feel "100 percent" taken for granted by the Obama White House.

He and others on the left are worried Obama is taking a page from Clinton's playbook and using triangulation to move to the middle in advance of reelection.

Liberals are wary of some members of Obama's inner circle, including Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who worked in the Clinton White House and is a former investment banker.

"This is an administration that is teeming with Clintonites and former corporate-connected people," Sirota said.

Rove believes Obama has little to worry about it. In the end, he predicts, liberals will stick with Obama in 2012 in the primary and general elections.

"They'll grouse about it, they'll bitch and moan about it, but at the end of the day they will [vote for Obama]," Rove said.
© 2010 The Hill
Article printed from

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44 Comments so far

quidditas August 13th, 2010 7:45 pm
"‘Professional Left’ Not Ready to Back an Obama Primary Challenger in '12"

Where'd you get that idea? I was ready to primary Obama before he was even sworn in, the minute he adopted the Clinton administration in toto.

How many times do these state criminals get to swing the wrecking ball anyway?

doubledoot August 13th, 2010 7:36 pm
There needs to be a challange made as someone else aptly pointed out if just to move the Pres. form center to left. Remember Ross Perot ? Clinton may not have ever balanced the budget had he not run as a third (the turd in the punchbowl). It did tend to move Clinton more towards a "We The People" agenda that he would have otherwise ignored. It was a means to hold him somewhat accountable. It was very expensive to boot ! I doubt if most Progressive Left or third party potentials would want to shell out that kind of money.

No to Kucinich : He sees aliens !

No to Nadar : for many reasons I won't go into. He's a great consumer advocate but not presidential material. Also the fruitcake factor.

Definitely No to Libertarian Ron Paul. I can't stand a Libertarian any more than I can a Republican.

All three of the above also in my "WAKO" pile !
I don't even know anything about Howard Dean.

I support someone like Richard Trumka;Pres of the AFL-CIO becuse he would embody more of the values and ideals I have. He's fairly articlulate but he's probably not pretty enough to run for President. He has leadership skills and experience ;you don't get to the top of that dog pile w/ out them. Unions definitely know how to organize (a great party). He knows how to fight and will. Unfortunately labor is used to typically supporting the Dem candidate (right or left) and then just going along for the ride. I'd like to see a 'Labor Party' here. They exist in mamy of the European countries. If there were any entity in the Democratic Party that I'd entrust the running of the Gov to it would be a labor leader. More specifiaclly a left leaning labor leader as many uninons have been compromised by Republican types. I know that's true of the UAW (first hand).

I doubt if any labor leader would be silly enough to drop a hat in 2012 ring but beyond that to the 2016-17 election. It's wide open. We just need a dupe for now and any of those three 'wakos' I mentioned would fit the bill. I doubt Nadar would be stupid enough to run and throw more money away in this upcomming election. But Ron Paul : He's our man ! He'd be perfect. He'd attract right wing looney votes as well as the fringe liberal Libertarians (if there is such a thing). We don't need someone to defeat Obama just push him towards a more liberal agenda and at the same time take votes from the Republicans. I personally think Ron Paul and his boy (Ian) Rand Paul are nutcakes. But no matter : If they'd be stupid enough to run (either of them) : Fine !

The point : We on the left have to get physical about this. We've already tried the verbal route and they don't take us seriously. Now it's time to step up the game. Hell : I'll run : That would be good. I've got nothing to loose and every thing to gain. Send donations to "Cmapaign for ME" (lol). It coudn't be much worse that what we've just experienced. And now to get slandered on top of it. Gibbs didn't just mean the "Professional Left" he meant the entire "Left". We've all been pushing left and critiquing the Pres's performance in the negative. Gueas they really didn't mean that "We want your input" thing ; did they ?

Bottom line : You can trace much (if not all) of our present unemployment crisis directly back to NAFA and the Fast Tracking of jobs to cheap labor markets overseas and to management top down Team Concepts designed to elimiate jobs and to the robot technologies designed to eliminate people altogether. Match those with too liberal trade agreements that make this all possible and you have a Republican wet dream come true. You want jobs here : You have to take measures to protect them. You want long term prosperity instead of short sighted, short term profits that make the few rich, rich , richer at the expense of everyone else you have to make some hard (assed) decisions and take some decisive actions. Not pretty and not nicey nice but kick ass and take names. You want the Gov. back ? Take the damn thing ! Let's leave the wako mamby pambies in the dust and get on with it !

cadawa August 13th, 2010 7:15 pm
I respectfully disagree. That's what the suits in the Democratic Party want us to think.

I don't think anyone, professional or otherwise, left, right or center wanted 4 more years of Bush. They certainly don't want another 4.

The Democratic "elite" will refuse to back another candidate.
We have two years to pull it off anyway.

upstartgreen August 13th, 2010 6:18 pm
The hell with the Professional Left. After the Revolution they will go to the re-education camps along with Sarah Palin.

jbarret1 August 13th, 2010 5:59 pm
Get sh*t on by the guy you supported; and then turnaround and fully support him in the next election. Brilliant!

Obama has nothing to fear from this crew.

Mordechai Shiblikov August 13th, 2010 5:48 pm
But Kucinich told ABC he had no plans to challenge Obama in 2012, and he pressed Democrats to concentrate on coming together.

Take a hike to the edge of the ocean . . . then drink seawater.

bfriesen August 13th, 2010 5:47 pm
Wanna bet.....

hsansom August 13th, 2010 5:37 pm
What's the "professional left" anyway — people who make money by being progressives? The counterpart to the "professional right"? To the "professional moderates"?

Doesn't really matter. Nor does it matter whether one of the so-called "professional left" is going to challenge President Zero.

What matters is whether not-very-professional lefties like me are going to be dumb enough to get suckered by The Big 0 a second time round.


bfriesen August 13th, 2010 5:49 pm
I think the big Zero you are referencing was in office from 2000 - 2008. And maybe yourself for voting for him.

bardamu August 13th, 2010 7:22 pm
Then you should check the record. 0 hasn't come forward as progressive on a single issue, and has not gone so far left as "moderate" on many.

Unless you like the sweeter lies, how's 0 better than Cheney?

DCH August 13th, 2010 5:09 pm
So Hamsher, tell us about your healthy democracy hypothesis?

I think the voting patterns in the USA reflect the high number of Americans who are mentally ill. Some estimates say 25 % "have problems."

I think 50 percent are clearly mentally disabled.

Mordechai Shiblikov August 13th, 2010 5:51 pm
If stupidity and ignorance are mental or emotional diseases, then, yes, at least half of this nation is downright sick.

keithsoulasa August 13th, 2010 4:18 pm
Even though Obama hasn't turned water into wine yet he IS trying.
A thousand dollar increase in Pell Grants to kids that want to college in summer , making direct federal loans to students, that are automatically forgiven after 20 years . All these things are bits of progress.

Or you can put some republican in there , and roll all of these little steps back.

bardamu August 13th, 2010 7:46 pm
Tell him to drop the water and wine routine and the PR card tricks and focus on quitting the massive harm he's doing, at the very least:

Get out of Afghanistan (really, and stop the show)
Get out of Iraq
Get out of Pakistan
Ground the drones
Stop funding research for violent repression of protest
Actually quit funding and supporting torture, rather than making the claim in name
Quit blowing the tops off of the Appalachians for coal
Quit offshore drilling
Shift his support from nuclear and coal power to wind and solar
Rescind his grudging but genuine support of the coup in Honduras
Do not build the extra bases in Colombia
Quit sabre-rattling at the Iranians
Stop funding the Israeli occupations
Promote single payer healthcare instead of the insurance monstrosity he backed.

Gee, where do you start? How about a little shot in the arm to the states to generate employment instead of draining the money to foreign interests?

Could we see a visible attempt?

Sure an addition to the Pell Grants is a good thing, but $1,000 is not enough to cover the jump in tuitions that has come, in part, from his refusal to help the failing state governments. Even that is a net loss.

This is a massive betrayal of what people in 2008 thought of as his base: left-leaning and progressive-ish Democrats. Sadly, a primary challenge will either fail or fail to gel, though: there just are not enough progressive Democrats to control the party o, r, it seems, deeply influence it.

And I should think there will be fewer in 2010 and 2012, when corporations will be freer than ever to bribe candidates and forestall representation, and the people who were young and enthusiastic in 2008 have been either discouraged or wised up by 0's massive betrayal.

I'm still hoping for wisdom and a shrewder coalition of left-leaners, but I'm not taking any bets.

Diana August 13th, 2010 5:27 pm
good initiatives...but completely useless amid the dire, dire situation we are in. About as timid as one can imagine, and far, far from the substantial initiatives we need just to stay afloat!

Haven't you noticed the economy is still on brink? Haven't you noticed that O is escalating the middle east wars, and even using the same rhetoric as Jr.!? Haven't you noticed that substantial environmental regs are still not in place, EVEN with the horrifying, unending saga in the gulf, which O could've easily used to get his campaign-promised environmental initiatives through?

What IS he trying to do, exactly, Keith? He's barely made an effort for the people, certainly not using the bully pulpit or the mandate voters gave him. (See health insurance: consistently 80% of the people polled wanted single payer. He didn't even make it part of the bargaining process; it was off the table from the very start.)

The excuse we hear over and over for lack of progress is the 'just-say-no republicans.' Sorry, don't buy it. Sadly, what he's shown us is that he really agrees with the republicans and simply uses their obstructionism as an excuse for why things his base wants--why he was voted into office--can't get done.

keithsoulasa August 13th, 2010 6:27 pm
Remember all the money in our political system . Banks even wanted to stop nationalization of student loans . A thousand dollars extra for low income students is useless ? Maybe not enough but considering my mom still has student loan debt this is some small progress . Could you imagine the pure horror we'd be in if Obama didn't sign the unemployment extensions, exttensions all but 2 republican senators oposed.

your entitled to your opinion but president Mc Cain would of been much worse ." The Russian government is run by KGB spies " , " The Vietnam war was winable " I could list more Mc Cain quotes but the point is were better of with an ineffective democratic then a cold war artifact Republican .

Michael Goodhart August 13th, 2010 7:22 pm
Unemployment extensions don't mean anything if you're term unemployed or limping from one temp job to another unable to get a full time job.

What's the point of a student loan when the original costs are too high anyway? My parents didn't bother with student loans. Yeah, I had to temporarily suspend completing my college degree halfway into my third year when they were pushed into bankruptcy but I don't think the college loans would have changed the fate.

Michael Goodhart August 13th, 2010 3:41 pm
Go figure ! The Democratic Party activisits are organized with Netroots and able to meet up face to face. How about progressive challengers and why not just forget about a primary challenge and organize for some kind of a third party revolution?

speakout2 August 13th, 2010 3:39 pm
It is too bad that the "professional left" has either given up on the real Democratic principles and platform or has embraced the neo-liberal DLC platform or both. I am especially disheartened to read that David Sirota is basically giving up and endorsing President Obama. So, the "professional left" has officially become part of the MSM, status quo. Many of them have now made it clear where they stand without ambiguity.

The "professional left" however, does not represent the "amateur left". President Obama has pushed for an agenda that Republicans of the past only dreamed about. If the "professional left" wants to ignore this, well... I would like to hear someone from the "professional left" justify escalation of wars, further loss of privacy rights, going after "whistleblowers" instead of the real criminals, handing out money to financial institutions without conditions (who are now making record bonuses), mandating that people buy PRIVATE health insurance, a "stimulus program" with over 30% of it in tax CUTS and credits... how can they justify this as being from the "left". The only justification I can see is that our country is such a military, corporate empire that anything less is now considered to be "left". If that is the case, this country is going to collapse.

DCH August 13th, 2010 5:17 pm
I would respond that the "professional left" see the writing on the wall (if I may use a cliche'.) They know that the end is near for the republic.

So they want to take all they can, build their own nest and hope to ride out the storm without to much pain.

The rest of us are going down with the ship, as the professional left row away into the night while promising they are only going for help.

It is a sham within a sham within a tragedy.

delia_darrow August 13th, 2010 3:18 pm
Anyone on the left supporting any Democrat should have their heads examined. Who cares which Democrat challenges the Uncle Tom in 2012.

The left has to support third part candidates and no one else.

Or let Palin win, things can't get any worse under the bitch anyway. In fact Democrats are getting away with Right-wing laws and reforms that Republicans wouldn't. We'd be better off with Republicans, at least we have clear enemies in power, not a con artist like Oilbomber.

linkwray August 13th, 2010 4:30 pm
Direct action in the streets will quickly separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of where any movement goes. When you're facing nightsticks and smoke, lockup and probation, criminal record flagging and phonetaps, the stakes get personal real quick. Let's see who shows up to the 2nd rally wearing bandages and talking about how the jail food gave ya' the sxxts. Then the fight is on.

wanked August 13th, 2010 3:12 pm
This professional leftist SURE IS>>>>>> !

MakesMeWantNader August 13th, 2010 3:00 pm
Why is this article using Rove as a source for liberal views?

"Rove believes Obama has little to worry about it. In the end, he predicts, liberals will stick with Obama in 2012 in the primary and general elections."

This Rove statement about liberals is hardly relevant to the elections or Obama's fate. Self-described "liberals" are only 22% of the population. "The Left" is much bigger than that but the "Professional Left" primarily comes from this liberal wing.

Obama is in trouble from "anti-war folks", "progressive democrats", "labor groups", "centrists", "independent voters", "libertarians", "swing state voters" etc.

The fact that now more people disapprove of Obama than approve should be common news although I have not seen it reported on CD. Here is the link from Real Clear Politics:

What may be less well known is that the "disapproves" are largely "strongly disapproves", see:

Obama had a lot of people giving him a chance in the beginning of the administration and his support continually eroded as he continually sided against the public's strongest wishes in favor of entrenched Wall Street interests.

It's not just going against the public's current wishes. Obama has been breaking promises he specifically made to get elected, see for example:

That is a sure-fire way to become a 1-term president. Obama clearly appears to be at peace with this inevitable outcome. He is resigned to support his major campaign donors at the expense of losing 2012. His major campaign donors will still win in 2012 since they control both major horses [D] and [R].

I already predicted no primary challengers to Obama on this site. Co-running with Hillary will be the DLC/corporate strategy to fool the public with false change in 2012.

To Be Determined:

1. Is 2012 the year 3rd parties finally take off?
2. Are progressives going to join Ron Paul libertarians for a 2012 challenge to Obama's ongoing wars and bank bailouts?
3. Are progressives going to kick out pro-war, pro-bank fake Democrat congressmen and women (Democratic Leadership Council / "New Democrats") from office (and yes replace them with real Republicans who vote for same) for a term only to bring in fresh blood and possibly progressive Democrats in subsequent terms?
4. Can Americans strategize beyond any single upcoming election?

Stay tuned.

DCH August 13th, 2010 5:25 pm
He is my answers to your good questions:

1. No.

2. No.

3. No.

4. Hell, No.

Sorry, the Republic died years ago.

rvrwalker August 13th, 2010 1:37 pm
The Milken experiment! Obedience to authority! What is it, 90% of us will always defer to "authority" (the professional left, in this case) Ya don't think the psyops machinery knows that?! Ha!

I'm beginning to think the "professional left" is an entity cooked up by these psyops professionals. After Nader gave them a scare in 2000, the empire's duopoly became understandably nervous that a quantum leap by US progressives could do some real damage to the American Way of politics. Can't have that! The rug was easily pulled out from underneath this bottom up movement. For a long time, it appears. Way to go US Progressives!

In the 2000 elections, 10,000 motivated and impassioned progressives packed to capacity the Portland, Oregon Coliseum, all of them ready to take on the powers that be. All of them ready to draw the line at last. Nader is a very inspiring individual - and he has SPINE! (A powerful progressive with SPINE? - uh oh. RED FLAG!)

Of course, Nader was taken down in no time - the always reliable M&M treatment:

Marginalize/Malign! The sheople will go along with anything if the PR is just right. As you know, the left was particularly rabid against Nader.

Supporters of the Democratic Party are spineless, weak, and running on empty. Who in their right mind could support a man who is doing the things Obama is doing. Killing innocent people, many of whom are children!? Are they serious? Their going to support that? Propping up a brutal, bloody military/industrial complex, ditching his base? Screwing them on health care? They are still supportive? wow.

Go ahead, bend over again if you must, and I hope it doesn't hurt to much, but I happen to have a spine and will use it anyway I can. If you want to follow the duopoly around for another round of this, have a great campaign and don't forget to shout: YES WE CAN.

Progressives who are still supporting the empire's duopoly are equivalent to the "good Germans" and by now should be ashamed of themselves.

linkwray August 13th, 2010 2:40 pm
That's quite an interesting spin on Oregon in 2000. Nader, got what, 5-6% of the vote! I'm all for Oregon and in the 30 years I've been voting here 3rd parties have played an interesting an important role in local and state elections. But what did Nader do in Oregon in 2004 or 2008? Years you'd think he'd of thrived in. He got blackballed by state election officials, right? Well, if it can happen in Oregon what do think would happen in more mainstream states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania? Please! I'd rather have direct civil obedience, roadblocking, tax resistence, etc more than pushing the 3rd party boulder uphill. I think it's gotten beyond politics and clictivism. Where's the energy in Portland for that. I was there when 45K protested befor the Iraq War. That beats Nader's # but still too little, too late!

DCH August 13th, 2010 5:31 pm
You would think that Michigan would vote for anybody except the two main parties. Look at Detroit, it looks like Hiroshima just after WWII.

The jobs in the auto industry have pretty much left for the South or Asia.

Good Grief.

moonpie August 13th, 2010 1:25 pm
Nader needs to run against these criminals. There is just no other option, period. Not sure if it should be the Green Party or not, but he's got to run and at least split the vote, who knows at this point, he might even place second and the groundwork for some real opposition might be laid in the process. At least with republicans, we know what we're getting. The results with either party will be the same: more murder abroad and financial criminal behavior at home. The dems are obvious the worst offenders and the biggest liars,

As for the republican candidate, it may be they nominate a candidate who (like Dole, McCain, Gore and Kerry) are just stand-ins/throwaways, so Obama can complete his 8 years. Seems thats the way things are going with the real behind-the-scenes power brokers, everyone gets 8 years.

As for the stalwarts mentioned in this piece, they need to be seen for what they are: liars and backstabbing a-holes (listening, Little Dennis?).

What can we do in the meantime? Don't patronize the "Professional Left" and their sponsors, and withdraw from participation in the economy as much as possible. Stay-off Main Street. Our dollars work better than votes.

sLiMsHaDy August 13th, 2010 1:06 pm
One term "president". If there is no third party alternative on the ballot, I will write in "None of the above". That might be counted in a way as a vote for the rethuglican, but if that branch of the one party gets in, it's all over but for the civil war anyway.

Bring it.

Heavyrunner August 13th, 2010 1:03 pm
There is another party in the U.S. with good candidates and a solid record. The Green Party!

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BillyD1953 August 13th, 2010 11:57 am
I don't plan to ever vote for another Democrat again anyway. The only challenger we need against Obama is a legitimate progressive third party. The Dems (and of course, the GOP) are dead ends for true progressives seeking change. It's a 2-party-all-pro-war system. We can't get anywhere inside that kind of system. We need to work outside of it with a third party. I don't know what chance a progressive 3rd party would have, but it sure beats wasting time voting for Democrats anymore.

Big Mac August 13th, 2010 1:06 pm
Amen BillyD...A primary challenge would show there is hope (sorry) for Progressive change within the Democratic Party. Sorry, There isn't.

We have only so much time, talent and money. Why waste it on the Dems. Besides, they would certainly use every political and legal trick in the book, ethical or otherwise to stop a challenge from the left. They would fight us a lot harder than they ever fight Republicans.Screw 'em.

SJRyan August 13th, 2010 1:54 pm
I would like to see Obama challenged from the left to make him move to the left. That's politics. If you don't demand change or even expect change, you certainly won't get change. I just can't support DLC Dems. The ends do not justify the means. Especially when there are no good ends for Progressives. Obama has nothing to offer Progressives. Gibbs makes no bones about it.

Progressives are the new blacks of the Democratic Party. If we vote straight party line for the next 50 years, we may get a man in the White House but little else.

What do Afro-Americans have to show for their support? Up to 50% unemployment in Detroit. The first black president, Bill Clinton, ended welfare as we know it. Blacks have been displaced in the workplace by Latinos and Orientals. Regressive tax after regressive tax. The worst public schools in the America. No future for their children. The right to stand in line with 30,000 brothers to get on the waiting list for nonexistent Sec 8 housing.

What do Progressives have to show for their support of Obama in 2008? Will it take Progressives 50 years to see what's happenin'?

linkwray August 13th, 2010 11:40 am
This article is about 3 months premature, which, could be its' real point. The brinksmanship of cutting off being primaried may be Gibb's whole reason for going off. I think there will be a diffeerent tune sung after November. If Obama loses the House and or Senate, he's toast. The pols will abandon him quicker than they did single payer. That's how the game is now played. Who will rise? If Feingold wins in Wisconsin and Murray wins in Washington, watch out Obama. The Murray win would allow Cantwell to step out of the shadows while still protecting the state's seniority and economic interests. I think this would be a great ticket. Both are proven vote-getters and fundraisers and neither is particularly fond of Barack, albeit for different reasons. How's that for sideline quarterbacking?

raydelcamino August 13th, 2010 7:08 pm
Although Feingold and Cantwell have introduced legislation that was too progressive for Obama and both have voted against Obama's agenda on a few occassions, Murray has been an Obama rubber stamp every step of the way and even paraded a 10 year old orphan in front of Congress to bolster support for Obamacare. Based on that behavior its hard to believe any Senator is more fond of Obama than Murray.

linkwray August 13th, 2010 7:22 pm
I should have been clearer. Murray's win in November allows Cantwell to run in 2012 or 2016. Washington state Dems need someone down on the farm, so to speak. Murray will get to the White House as Secretary of Something, only. Cantwell has nat'l ambitions, is smart and well-connected in the money chase that is necessary. She's an intersting possibility with Feingold. Hell, I'm all for Bernie but where does he get the money and logistical support. From the deep pockets of CDers?

mtdon August 13th, 2010 11:40 am
it's good to hear the "professional left" finally starting to call Obama on his banskter led economic plans and endless empire and warfare as sound policy bullshit -

obama has surrounded himself with corporate whores ready able and willing to sell out the working and middle classes to enrich himself and his corporate whoring buddies......

my apologies to women in the "oldest profession" -

Stiv August 13th, 2010 11:31 am
"Professional Left"? That would be the people who are neo-con Democrats?

This article is so far out, perhaps it should be left on the "Hill"?

Build a third party or drop dead trying--that's the only lesson anyone on the "left" can take away from the Obama Presidency, anyone that involved in electoral politics.

Oh, and scrape those Obama stickers of the bumpers--yours or any you find in public places...

raydelcamino August 13th, 2010 6:29 pm
Anybody still displaying an Obama bumper sticker has a terminal case of denial and partisan delusion. No known cure for that.

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quickstepper August 13th, 2010 11:27 am
If Markos Moulitsos is a liberal then so is Bill O'Reilly.

Moulitsos is nothing more than a Democratic apparatchik and loudmouth at large.

"Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, told The Hill on Thursday that the younger Bush was largely inoculated from intra-party challenges because he worked to make sure he 'kept an open door to all elements of the party.'"

Translation: Rove threatened any and all prospective opponents with his slander machine.

DCH August 13th, 2010 5:35 pm
And the people who blog to the Daily Kos are just full of themselves.

Tiredoftrolls August 13th, 2010 12:21 pm
Bravo. Same for MoveOn, The Nation etc.

Vote progressive third party. Ditch the Dems.

raydelcamino August 13th, 2010 6:26 pm
Rahm's DNC has been following the Rove playbook to the letter for several years now and will not let a challenger interfere with the their corporate money magnet Obama in 2012.

See Also: Gut-Check Time for Progressives, and
US Staggers Toward Dysfunction

Fireworks and Frustration at July 27th Baker City Council Meeting
These Videos are in reverse order of occurence during the Council Meeting and are best viewed on the YouTube link provided in the title of the video.

Council Bickering Continues through Recess (Thanks for Sharing).m4v (On YouTube)


Councilor Pope & Mayor Dorrah Argue, Dorrah Calls Recess.m4v (On YouTube)


Councilor's Pope, Dorrah and Duman Discuss CM Problems.m4v (On YouTube)


"Democracy" by Don Henley


The Last Resort by Don Henley & The Eagles (Until they take it down)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Obama Critics-- Change that's Not; plus Gambling and Gluttony by the Disproportionately Powerful Led to Financial Collapse, & More

In This Issue:

- John Pilger: Change that's Not: 'Obama on Bush route'

- Cindy Sheehan: Hopium and Hypocritium

- Decline of the Middle Class as Metaphor for the Decline of America

- Disproportionate Representation on the Supreme Court (& Elsewhere) [Edited 8/12]

- Dean Baker's Beat the Press: Immigration and Population Comments


John Pilger: Change that's Not: 'Obama on Bush route'

RussiaToday | August 11, 2010

Recent sanctions against Iran are an attempt by the US to return the country to its sphere of influence, claims veteran journalist John Pilger. "Iran was a pillar of the American empire in the Middle East. That was swept away in 1979 by the Islamic revolution, and it has been American foreign policy to get that back," he said. "It has absolutely nothing to do with so-called nuclear weapons. The nuclear power in the Middle East is the fourth biggest military power in the world and that is Israel. It has something like 500 or more nuclear warheads. It is never discussed." Pilger added that Barack Obama has failed to change the trajectory of US foreign policy and following George W. Bush's line. "For the first time in US presidential history -- it has not happened before -- a president has taken the entire defense department bureaucracy, and the Secretary of State for Defense, from a previous discredited administration. We have basically Robert Gates and the same generals running American foreign policy with a lot of help from people of like mind."

[As I shared with used to be "Yes We Can--Hope & Change" democrat friends at the time of his appointments, the ramifications of Obama's selection of aids, councilors, and cabinet members, foretold the future we are now experiencing (but what does a poor white boy know? Criticism automatically becomes suspect racism. Frankly, I much prefer Martin Luther King or Malcom X to Obama.). - Chris]


Hopium and Hypocritium

By Cindy Sheehan

August 11, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- The arrogance of the Bush administration could never be surpassed, right? Wrong!

Today, Whore House (again, with my apologies to my sex-worker friends) spokeswhore, Robert Gibbs, was quoted as saying this of the “professional left” who liken Obama to his predecessor:

“(They) need to be drug tested,” and that these principled critics of the Empire are “crazy.” This kind of hearkens back to earlier in the Changery when Rahm Emmanuel, Obama Chief of Staff and committed Zionist, called us: “F@#king Retards.” Nice, huh?

Rahm Emmanuel is almost as sensitive as Dick Cheney and Robert Gibbs is almost as smart as Ari Fleischer—George’s first Press Secretary.

These quotes of Gibbs’ (who’s not nearly as perky as Dana Perino) highlight two things for me: the slipperiness of the Obama regime and the stubborn hopenosis of its supporters.

First of all, we were force fed daily doses of mass-media propaganda during the presidential campaign telling us that Obama was a “community organizer,” a “man of the people” and don’t forget the famous, “If you want Obama to do the right thing, then you have to make him.” Now the Changer in Chief’s staff is telling us if we are critical of him from the “professional” left, we are drug-crazed lunatics—not principled opponents of the Empire.

I know I have been out in front of Chéz Obama (loudly) expressing my views on his foreign policy many times (so much so, I was banned from the Whore House for four months) and single-payer healthcare advocates were doing the same during the entire fascist healthcare give-away to the corporations. Our voices and vision for a more peaceful, sane, and healthier way of doing things have not even been given a seat at the proverbial table. So, what Gibbs is telling us is to: “Just shut the eff up—we don’t care what you say or want.”

During the same interview where Robert Gibbs called me (yes, I take it personally) a “drug-crazed lunatic,” he also used the time-tested logical fallacy known as a non-sequitur (it does not follow) to say that we would only be happy if the president delivered “Canadian style healthcare,” and “closed the Pentagon.”

Of course, we advocated for single-payer healthcare and only a war-crazed maniacal empire needs a War Department the size of many small countries with budgets to match. But the “president” didn’t even get in the same universe as “Canadian style healthcare” and has vastly increased funding to the Pentagon and Bush’s wars of terror.

Also, the acceptance of this Imperial Faux Pas (IFP) illustrates how far this country is divided along faux political lines. The only change Obama has brought with him to the Whore House is negative, bad, bad, bad, change. We cannot, should not, must not, and better not criticize the Imperial First Family (IFF). However, we are supposed to take up pitchforks and torches when the barely functioning Sarah Palin says something stooopid and forget and forgive the Obamas for Imperial Excess (trips to Spain on our many dimes, $6000 handbags, etc) and their stooopidity.

We also have to ask ourselves a very important question—why did Gibbs do this? Of course, these people don’t make mistakes—even when they allow their true feelings to shine forth for the entire world to see, it is for very calculated reasons. Could it be because of the dismal jobless “recovery?” Could it be because of the obvious continuation and escalation of the wars? Could it be because the Obamas are finally being criticized for their “Let them eat cake” mentality? Could it be because Gibbs wants to blame the “professional left” for Obama’s failures and make it our fault when the Democrats get creamed in November?

So, I want to take Gibbs up on his offer—I will submit a vial of my urine to a location of his choosing—hell, I will even go and pee in the bathroom of the press corps room and hand him a warm sample, if that makes him happy—if he does the same. I seriously doubt that 535 members of Congress would pass the pee-test and I seriously doubt many denizens of the Whore House would, either.

I also wonder when Obama’s supporters will quit smoking the Hopium or taking their daily dose of Hypocritium—those are the people who need to be drug tested, not the ones who have remained ideological pure. What is so “crazy” about wanting things like indiscriminate killing of civilians to end globally and social justice here locally?

I’ll match my pee up against theirs any day!

Please visit Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox

Decline of the Middle Class as Metaphor for the Decline of America

By Raymond J. Learsy

August 09, 2010 "Huffington Post" - -Over the last decade this nation has experienced a massive loss of productive and high value jobs in manufacturing, trade, and the professions sending many overseas and having many destroyed through the egregious misdirection of the self serving priorities of our financial institutions encumbering viable companies making real goods and services with untenable debt. Leveraging their assets in order to maximize profits for the financial engineers before flipping the company or taking it to market as an IPO. Too often the workers who made the company are left with little or nothing while the Wall Street "whiz kids" march off with a bundle having destroyed the vision, imagination and the hard work that went into creating these companies, to their benefit and to the detriment of its workers and society at large.

'Disproportionate' is the freighted word that shackles our society. Over the past few years some two-thirds of the gain in national income has gone to the top one percent of Americans. Mostly those in the financial industry harbored in such government protected entities as 'bank holding companies', part of something that has come to be ominously called the "shadow banking system". They bring virtually nothing viable to the economic landscape other than egregious speculation gorging on complex derivatives enriching the financial players, while through their malign impact, impoverishing great swaths of the American and world economy (i.e. betting on the collapse of the housing market). When these bets go dramatically wrong also collapsing the institutions that took the long side of the bets, they are then bailed out by the government making good the value of these 'bet' instruments whose function had no greater economic justification than a compulsive gambler's casino bets. And the grim irony, when the red comes up instead of black it's the local inhabitants of the casino's venue who are asked to pay to keep the casino afloat, while the casino lets the gambler keep his chips.

And the local inhabitants pay dearly. Their services are curtailed, their stores are forced to close, their local banks are driven to the edge, the value of their houses plummet or are repossessed. Not having insider status their financial assets deteriorate dramatically and even in desperation had they wanted to get back into the casino to try their own luck given their new world being bereft of all other opportunity, the house wont extend them credit. Its just as well, because they wouldn't have to see our compulsive gambler swilling Dom Perignon and downing a small mountain of Pate de Foie Gras after having feasted on Beluga Caviar at the casino's resplendent restaurant.

The gambler is there, and he or his proxy will always be there. And the town and its inhabitants, tattered and poorer are still there trying to make do as best they can and trying to contain their simmering anger at the unfairness of it all, not quite knowing what to do. Some joining in the regional meanderings of the Tea Party, or some equivalent movement that promises to address the clear wrongs that are being inflicted and tolerated by those in charge.

When all is said and done it becomes clear that it is the Casino that needs fixing because it is the Casino that the set the rules, it is the Casino that has permitted the outrages that have resulted in the destabilizing of the norm and sanctioning the unexpected and unfair.

Now with a small leap of imagination lets transpose our government for the nefarious Casino. Clearly it needs a new management or a new way of managing. What has come before is not functioning and major changes are needed. The local inhabitants need a voice in running the Casino, which in a sense has been denied them because they are unable foot either the entry tab, or the needed cash to play at the tables. And that is what it has come to be, without access and without money no one at the Casino pays attention.

And that must now change for the inhabitants to ever again have a chance to rectify the wrongs imposed by the Casino's management and to fairly share in an equitable distribution of benefits should they accrue ahead.

As here, today too much of our political system is bought and paid for. Too much of our political system is self serving, responsive to the wings of our two parties and indifferent to the day to day concerns of middle Americans in spite of the incessant lip service extended to them. Yes, there is limp Wall Street reform, but no clawback of the exigencies that drove the nation to the brink. Yes there is a stimulus program, but faltering shamelesly through lack of clear direction. Yes, there is an alternative energy program without clear mandates nor meaningful results as the transfer of billions to the oil providers continues unabated. Yes, there are our soldiers dying in fragmented nation states far away without a modicum of sacrifice being asked of the home front. Yes, there are moneyed interests both domestic and foreign who have access to those who govern, without limitation and a shameless Congress ready to do their bidding in spite of the promises made in Presidential campaigns to curtail their influence. Yes we have courts of law who, through judicial minutiae rather than pragmatic sense of national welfare have given these moneyed interests even greater influence by striking down financial restraints on the powerfully funded in election laws, that make the middle class even more disenfranchised. Yes, there is talk of restraining government spending while special interests with access to government and its earmarks are encumbering the nation into ever greater indebtedness. Yes, while Main Street and middle class Americans continue to lose jobs, the pay checks on Wall Street and corporate boardrooms continue in their unabated and inflated manner while middle class Americans are absorbing pay cuts or shortened work weeks if they have any jobs at all, while teachers, the backbone of the nations future, police and firemen are losing their employment.

And so it goes, leaving the nation with a Frankenstein system whose core objective of governance has become self preservation of power and personal influence. This, while governing for the greater good of the nation has become a secondary and distant gerrymandered priority leaving the great body of the American electorate virtually without meaningful representation and forestalling and diminishing America's middle class' engagement with its government with every passing day.

And yet something is stirring. People throughout the land understand that the political system is broken and American's throughout the length and breadth of the county that their government no longer speaks for them no matter which party happens to be in power. They feel the system is gamed from within, for and about those who have access and the money to follow through to assure their parochial interests are taken into account and acted upon. How those interests impact the greater good has become dangerously secondary. Checks and balances seem to have gone by the board long ago.

Grass roots movements are beginning to stubbornly emerge from the depths of these frustrations of which I have touched on only a few, as the list could go on almost endlessly. Yes, there are the Tea Parties, and they should be listened to in order to begin to understand how people feel. But out there something much more significant is beginning to take hold. A movement new to many, headed by people of impeccable credentials who are devising a program using the new age technology to bring all Americans back into the political process in a meaningful way and most importantly in a way that each American can once again feel that he/she as a citizen once again has the stature and sense of prideful responsibility that his vote was meant to convey unto him as a meaningful participant in the process of nationhood.

The new organization is called "Americans Elect". I don't want to steal its thunder because it can much better directly convey its goals and points of engagement. It has the potential of becoming the salutary wave of America's political future. Their contact information is given as

Raymond J. Learsy, Scholar and author, "Over a Barrel: Breaking Oil's Grip on Our Future"

Disproportionate Representation on the Supreme Court (& Elsewhere)

The article above refers in the second paragrah to the word disproportionate:

'Disproportionate' is the freighted word that shackles our society.

I have to agree.


dis·pro·por·tion·ate (dspr-pôrsh-nt, -pr-)
Out of proportion, as in size, shape, or amount.

adj [ˌdɪsprəˈpɔːʃənɪt]
out of proportion; unequal

Think of the Supreme Court, with 9 Justices. Six Catholics (around 22% of the US Population, 66% of the Court; three Jews (1-3% of the US population, 33% of the Court); zero white Anglo-Saxon protestants (55-60% of the US population and changing fast).

Back when I was in college, in the late 60s and early 70s, WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) were seen as America's oppressive elite and were stereotypically demonized for having disproportionate representation and power in America. Given their lack of representation on the Supreme Court of the land today, I guess the demonization of WASPs has succeeded beyond the proponents wildest expectations.

[For the record, my mother and her family were Catholic, my father was an atheist, as I am. I was allowed to attend Protestant services with friends when I was a child. If necessary, I can sing the chorus to ""Jesus Loves Me:"

Jesus loves me,
this I know,
for the Bible tells mes so . . . .

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.]

In a New York Times article titled The Triumphant Decline of the WASP, by Noah Feldman, the decline is attributed to WASPs "hewing voluntarily to the values of merit and inclusion, values now shared broadly by Americans of different backgrounds:"

But satisfaction with our national progress should not make us forget its authors: the very Protestant elite that founded and long dominated our nation’s institutions of higher education and government, including the Supreme Court. Unlike almost every other dominant ethnic, racial or religious group in world history, white Protestants have ceded their socioeconomic power by hewing voluntarily to the values of merit and inclusion, values now shared broadly by Americans of different backgrounds. The decline of the Protestant elite is actually its greatest triumph.

Kevin MacDonald, editor of The Occidental Observer and a professor of psychology at California State University–Long Beach, while agreeing that WASPs have stood by their principles, sees the reasons for the WASP decline differently in his article "Elena Kagan and the new (unprincipled) elite," [See article for all links.]:

Indeed, Kagan’s arrival on the Supreme Court is a sort of official coming out party for the new elite. It’s been there for quite some time, but the Kagan nomination is an in-your-face-demonstration of the power of Jewish ethnic networking at the highest levels of government. And the first thing one notices is that the new elite has no compunctions about nominating someone for the Supreme Court even though she has no real qualifications. So much for the principles of merit and inclusion: Inclusion does not apply to WASPs now that they have been deposed. And the principle of merit can now be safely discarded in favor of ethnic networking.

[I should add that WASPs are not strangers to networking (i.e., Who you know--not what you know) of all sorts. Here in WASPy Baker City, the degree of in-group/out-group and religious networking in hiring, as opposed to purely merit-based systems, is truly astonishing in my view. - Chris]

[Back to Kevin MacDonald] As I noted previously:

This is a favorite aspect of contemporary Jewish self-conception — the idea that Jews replaced WASPs because they are smarter and work harder. But this leads to the ultimate irony: Kagan is remarkably unqualified to be a Supreme Court Justice in terms of the usual standards: judicial experience, academic publications, or even courtroom experience. Rather, all the evidence is that Kagan owes her impending confirmation to her Jewish ethnic connections (see also here).

The same goes for Jewish over-representation in elite academic institutions–far higher than can be explained by higher Jewish IQ. Does anyone seriously think that Jewish domination of Hollywood and the so much of the other mainstream media (see, e.g., Edmund Connelly’s current TOO article) is about merit rather than ethnic networking and solidarity? And then there’s the addiction of the new elite to affirmative action for non-Whites.

Whatever else one can say about the new elite, it certainly does not believe in merit. The only common denominator is that Whites of European extraction are being systematically excluded and displaced to the point that they are now underrepresented in all the important areas of the elite compared to their percentage of the population. The new elite distinguishes itself mainly by its hostility to the traditional people and culture of those they displaced. It is an elite that cannot say its name. Indeed the ADL was all over Pat Buchanan for merely mentioning that Kagan is Jewish and that, upon her confirmation, Jews would be one-third of the Supreme Court. . . . .


Dean Baker's Beat the Press: Immigration and Population Comments

Undocumented Workers and Low Cost Labor

Monday, 09 August 2010 04:20

[NPR's] Morning Edition had a piece on people who hire undocumented workers to do tasks like landscaping their yards or cleaning their toilets. It quoted one person as saying that they hire immigrants rather than U.S. citizens or green card holders because she "believes American prices are inflated."

The article doesn't tell listeners what any of the employers in the piece do, but it is an absolute certainty that there would be a huge number of qualified people around the world who would be willing to do their jobs at a much lower wage than they receive. However, most people who work in occupations requiring more education enjoy much more protection from immigrant workers than people who landscape yards or clean toilets.

The position of the people interviewed in this piece is that they are entitled to protection from competition to keep their wages high, while they should be able to hire workers from the developing world at low wages to save money. It would have been helpful if the piece had elucidated their view more clearly.
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Robert Samuelson Is Worried That the United States is Becoming Less Crowded

Monday, 09 August 2010 04:05

Yes, in the strange but true category, we have a columnist with a major national newspaper worrying that population growth in the United States could slow or even reverse. Yes, I have the same fear every time I push my way into the metro at the rush hour or get caught in a huge traffic jam. Imagine how awful it would be if cities were less crowded. It could make housing cheaper, reduce pressure on water and other resources and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Shortages of workers would drive up wages as the least productive jobs go unfilled (e.g. the midnight shift at 7-11 and parking valets at upscale restaurants). It's  a looming catastrophe if ever there was one.

Samuelson bizarrely thinks that slower or negative population growth will hurt the economy. He thinks that it will slow demand growth. There are two simple problems with this story. First, we are in an international economy, so if demand in the U.S. economy is growing less rapidly than we can sell our output elsewhere. The other problem is the big "so what?"
If we can produce everything we want in the United States and still not fully employ our workforce then we can all get longer vacations and have shorter workweeks. In a functioning economic system, having too much is not a problem -- you just work less. In the Netherlands they figured this out -- they use work sharing rather than layoffs to deal with inadequate demand. As a result its unemployment rate is close to 4.0 percent. In Germany, work sharing has been so effective that its unemployment rate is lower today than it was at the start of the downturn.

See, this is really simple for countries that have competent people guiding their economy. It is only inept economic policy that makes a shortage of demand a disaster for people and the economy. Too bad Samuelson won't discuss this failure of economic policy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Weekend Reading: Greenwald, Wolves, Israel & Iran

In This Edition:

- What Collapsing Empire Looks Like
- Center for Biological Diversity Press Releases on Reinstating Wolf Protections
- Male wolf from Wenaha pack radio-collared
- Will Israel Make War on Iran?
- Scott Horton interviews--AntiWar Radio


What Collapsing Empire Looks Like

What collapsing empire looks like
(updated below)

As we enter our ninth year of the War in Afghanistan with an escalated force, and continue to occupy Iraq indefinitely, and feed an endlessly growing Surveillance State, reports are emerging of the Deficit Commission hard at work planning how to cut Social Security, Medicare, and now even to freeze military pay.  But a new New York Times article today illustrates as vividly as anything else what a collapsing empire looks like, as it profiles just a few of the budget cuts which cities around the country are being forced to make.  This is a sampling of what one finds:

Plenty of businesses and governments furloughed workers this year, but Hawaii went further -- it furloughed its schoolchildren. Public schools across the state closed on 17 Fridays during the past school year to save money, giving students the shortest academic year in the nation.

Many transit systems have cut service to make ends meet, but Clayton County, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, decided to cut all the way, and shut down its entire public bus system. Its last buses ran on March 31, stranding 8,400 daily riders.
Even public safety has not been immune to the budget ax. In Colorado Springs, the downturn will be remembered, quite literally, as a dark age: the city switched off a third of its 24,512 streetlights to save money on electricity, while trimming its police force and auctioning off its police helicopters.

There are some lovely photos accompanying the article, including one showing what a darkened street in Colorado looks like as a result of not being able to afford street lights.  Read the article to revel in the details of this widespread misery.  Meanwhile, the tiniest sliver of the wealthiest -- the ones who caused these problems in the first place -- continues to thrive.  Let's recall what former IMF Chief Economist Simon Johnson said last year in The Atlantic about what happens in under-developed and developing countries when an elite-caused financial crises ensues:

Squeezing the oligarchs, though, is seldom the strategy of choice among emerging-market governments. Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or -- here's a classic Kremlin bailout technique -- the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk -- at least until the riots grow too large.

The real question is whether the American public is too apathetic and trained into submission for that to ever happen.
UPDATE:  It's probably also worth noting this Wall St. Journal article from last month -- with a subheadline warning:  "Back to Stone Age" -- which describes how "paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue."  Utah is seriously considering eliminating the 12th grade, or making it optional.  And it was announced this week that "Camden [New Jersey] is preparing to permanently shut its library system by the end of the year, potentially leaving residents of the impoverished city among the few in the United States unable to borrow a library book free."

Does anyone doubt that once a society ceases to be able to afford schools, public transit, paved roads, libraries and street lights -- or once it chooses not to be able to afford those things in pursuit of imperial priorities and the maintenance of a vast Surveillance and National Security State -- that a very serious problem has arisen, that things have gone seriously awry, that imperial collapse, by definition, is an imminent inevitability?  Anyway, I just wanted to leave everyone with some light and cheerful thoughts as we head into the weekend.

Center for Biological Diversity Press Releases on Reinstating Wolf Protections

Center for Biological Diversity Press Release on Reinstating Wolf Protections

For Immediate Release, August 6, 2010

Contact: Suzanne Asha Stone, Defenders of Wildlife, (208) 424-0932
Matt Skoglund, Natural Resources Defense Council, (406) 222-9561
Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club, (415) 977-5619
Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 534-0360
Liz Bergstrom, Humane Society of the United States, (301) 258-1455
Doug Honnold, Earthjustice, (406) 586-9699
Federal Court Reinstates Federal Wolf Protections

BOZEMAN, Mont.— In a victory for the gray wolves of the northern Rockies, a federal judge today granted conservationists’ request to stop the slaughter of wolves and reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections. The ruling prevents wolf hunting from going forward in Montana and Idaho. The court ruled the federal government illegally subdivided the northern Rockies wolf population, eliminating federal protections for the vast majority of the region’s wolves even while acknowledging that they remain endangered by Wyoming law.

Today’s ruling comes in response to a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of 13 conservation groups. The groups argued that the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by removing wolves in Idaho and Montana from the list of threatened and endangered species. As a result of today’s ruling, federal protections have been restored. Wolves throughout the rest of the lower 48 United States remain on the list.

The conservation groups also argued that the government’s determination that 300 wolves constitute a recovered wolf population in the northern Rockies ignored current science. Independent scientists have concluded that 2,000 to 5,000 wolves are necessary to secure the health of the species in the region. With continued recovery efforts, legitimate wolf recovery in the northern Rockies is readily attainable. However, wolf hunts and aggressive wolf killing by state and federal agencies jeopardize this result.

Both Idaho and Montana held wolf hunts in 2009. Hunters in those states killed 260 wolves.

Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society of the United States, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Western Watersheds Project, Wildlands Network, and Hells Canyon Preservation Council.



“People on both sides of the wolf issue should look at Judge Molloy’s ruling as an opportunity to hit the reset button and develop a legitimate recovery plan for northern Rockies wolves,” said Matt Skoglund, wildlife advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’re thrilled with today’s ruling, but now it’s really time to update the recovery standards and come up with a plan that ensures the recovery of wolves in the northern Rockies over the long term.”

“While we are pleased by the restoration of federal protection for wolves, the court’s decision demonstrates the problems inherent in the federal government’s current delisting scheme. We need a new approach. We need a new federal delisting plan based on current science that establishes a healthy, interconnected wolf population and adopts stakeholder-driven solutions to the current conflicts. It’s time to move beyond the gridlock over wolves,” stated Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife’s Northern Rockies representative.

Sierra Club Montana Representative Bob Clark: “We are thrilled that the integrity of the Endangered Species Act has been protected and that the court has ruled in favor of science. Now, this ruling gives us a chance at legitimate recovery if all sides can come together. In addition to attracting tourists and boosting the economy, wolves are an important part of America’s wild legacy and living with wolves and other wildlife is a fundamental part of life in the West.”

“This decision is great news for wolves in the northern Rockies, and a strong rebuke for those who would rather see wolves persecuted than protected,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation with The Humane Society of the United States. “The government’s decision to delist wolves would have led to widespread killings by trophy hunters, undermined wildlife conservation, and set the stage for the hunting and trapping of other imperiled species.”

Michael Garrity of Alliance for the Wild Rockies said: “We’re pleased that wolves are back under federal care. Since wolves were delisted last year, Montana and Idaho both increased wolf killing in response to livestock conflicts. With federal protections restored, we hope that the states will take a closer look at strategies to avoid livestock conflict, rather than simply reacting with lethal measures after conflicts have occurred.”

“Restoring Idaho and Montana wolves to the protections of the Endangered Species Act is very welcome,” said Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “I look forward to limiting the government’s ongoing and unlimited killing of wolves solely to benefit ranchers.”

“This is the sixth court ruling invalidating removal of Endangered Species Act protections for wolves,” said Michael Robinson, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s time for the Obama administration to step back from removing wolf protections until they’ve been recovered in a larger portion of their range, including additional areas like the southern Rocky Mountains, Cascade Mountains and elsewhere.”

Robert Klavins of Oregon Wild said: “We welcome today’s decision, but it’s not the end of the story. Oregon’s wolf population stands at less than 20, and this year’s state-sanctioned wolf hunt proves that federal protections are needed. We hope we have learned some important lessons and will use this reprieve to strengthen protections for wolves in Oregon and move beyond the frontier attitude that shooting wolves is the only way to manage them and prevent conflict. We look forward to the day when we can celebrate the legitimate delisting of wolves secure in the knowledge they are truly on their way to recovery and won’t simply be put back in the gun sights.”

“Wolves are once again protected in the northern Rockies. This is great news for the wolves. Montana and Idaho had plans to allow hunts this fall, hundreds of wolves were scheduled to be killed and now those plans are halted,” said Earthjustice attorney Doug Honnold.


Center For Biological Diversity Note To Supporters

In an email to supporters, Kierán Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity, also wrote:

In response to a suit by the Center for Biological Diversity and our allies, a federal judge yesterday stopped the killing of wolves in Montana and Idaho. Judge Molloy ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had illegally stripped the northern Rockies gray wolf of its Endangered Species Act protections in 2009 by relying on political, rather than biological, reasoning.

He ordered the wolves put back on the federal threatened list, which will end the hunting seasons that have killed more than 100 wolves in Montana and Idaho in the past year.

Yesterday's ruling will also help other wildlife because it strikes a down Bush-era policy adopted by the Obama administration allowing the government to protect only small populations of endangered species instead of the entire species. Reliance on this anti-environmental Bush policy has been one of the many low points of Interior Secretary Salazar's management of endangered species.

Thanks to Earthjustice for representing us in this case, and thanks to the thousands of members and supporters who wrote letters, made phone calls, waved signs and reminded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that wolf recovery in the northern Rockies needs to be completed, not abandoned.

This is a major win for the protection of these impressive and rare wolves.

The Center is also working to protect existing wolf populations in the Southwest and Great Lakes and to reintroduce them to former habitats in the Northeast, Utah, California and the Northwest.

Young Newly Collared Wenaha Wolf (ODFW Photo)

Male wolf from Wenaha pack radio-collared

Date: August 6, 2010
Meg Kenagy, ODFW Communications Coordinator (503) 947-6021
Michelle Dennehy, ODFW Communications Coordinator, (503) 947-6022
Male wolf from Wenaha pack radio-collared and released in northeast Oregon 
LA GRANDE, Ore. —A two-year old male gray wolf belonging to Oregon’s Wenaha wolf pack was captured, radio-collared and released on Wednesday Aug. 4. This is the first wolf in the Wenaha pack to be collared and will allow biologists to track the pack, make a more accurate population estimate, monitor breeding activity and collar other wolves in the pack.
The capture of the wolf was a collaborative effort between ODFW, Umatilla National Forest and the Pacific Northwest Region of the US Forest Service. The 97-pound wolf was in good condition.
“This is an important milestone in monitoring the Wenaha pack,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW Wolf Coordinator. “Now, we will be able to determine specific use areas of this pack, pack numbers and pup production.”
Although this is the first wolf from the pack to be collared, ODFW has been monitoring the pack since 2006. The Wenaha pack has an estimated four adult wolves; pups are possible but unconfirmed.  
The Wenaha wolf pack is one of two known packs in Oregon. The other, the Imnaha pack, has three radio-collared wolves. On July 3, 2010, a trail camera caught images of six adults in the Imnaha pack, including the alpha female, and four new pups. The alpha male has a GPS collar but has not been detected since May 31.
Additional information on gray wolves in Oregon is available on ODFW’s website,
Russ Morgan, ODFW Wolf Coordinator,  and Allison Field, OSU student, evaluating captured wolf. Aug. 4, 2010. ODFW photo.

Will Israel Make War on Iran?

Obama Warned Israel May Bomb Iran

By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
August 3, 2010


FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: War With Iran

We write to alert you to the likelihood that Israel will attack Iran as early as this month. This would likely lead to a wider war.

Israel’s leaders would calculate that once the battle is joined, it will be politically untenable for you to give anything less than unstinting support to Israel, no matter how the war started, and that U.S. troops and weaponry would flow freely. Wider war could eventually result in destruction of the state of Israel.

This can be stopped, but only if you move quickly to pre-empt an Israeli attack by publicly condemning such a move before it happens.

We believe that comments by senior American officials, you included, reflect misplaced trust in Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu.

Actually, the phrasing itself can be revealing, as when CIA Director Panetta implied cavalierly that Washington leaves it up to the Israelis to decide whether and when to attack Iran, and how much “room” to give to the diplomatic effort.

On June 27, Panetta casually told ABC’s Jake Tapper, “I think they are willing to give us the room to be able to try to change Iran diplomatically … as opposed to changing them militarily.”

Similarly, the tone you struck referring to Netanyahu and yourself in your July 7 interview with Israeli TV was distinctly out of tune with decades of unfortunate history with Israeli leaders.

“Neither of us try to surprise each other,” you said, “and that approach is one that I think Prime Minister Netanyahu is committed to.” You may wish to ask Vice President Biden to remind you of the kind of surprises he has encountered in Israel.

Blindsiding has long been an arrow in Israel’s quiver. During the emerging Middle East crisis in the spring of 1967, some of us witnessed closely a flood of Israeli surprises and deception, as Netanyahu’s predecessors feigned fear of an imminent Arab attack as justification for starting a war to seize and occupy Arab territories.

We had long since concluded that Israel had been exaggerating the Arab “threat” — well before 1982 when former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin publicly confessed:

“In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that [Egyptian President] Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

Israel had, in fact, prepared well militarily and also mounted provocations against its neighbors, in order to provoke a response that could be used to justify expansion of its borders.

Given this record, one would be well advised to greet with appropriate skepticism any private assurances Netanyahu may have given you that Israel would not surprise you with an attack on Iran.

Netanyahu’s Calculations

Netanyahu believes he holds the high cards, largely because of the strong support he enjoys in our Congress and our strongly pro-Israel media. He reads your reluctance even to mention in controversial bilateral issues publicly during his recent visit as affirmation that he is in the catbird seat in the relationship.

During election years in the U.S. (including mid-terms), Israeli leaders are particularly confident of the power they and the Likud Lobby enjoy on the American political scene.

This prime minister learned well from Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon.

Netanyahu’s attitude comes through in a video taped nine years ago and shown on Israeli TV, in which he bragged about how he deceived President Clinton into believing he (Netanyahu) was helping implement the Oslo accords when he was actually destroying them.

The tape displays a contemptuous attitude toward — and wonderment at — an America so easily influenced by Israel. Netanyahu says:

“America is something that can be easily moved. Moved in the right direction. … They won’t get in our way … Eighty percent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”

Israeli columnist Gideon Levy wrote that the video shows Netanyahu to be “a con artist … who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes,” adding that such behavior “does not change over the years.”

As mentioned above, Netanyahu has had instructive role models.

None other than Gen. Brent Scowcroft told the Financial Times that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had George W. Bush “mesmerized;” that “Sharon just has him “wrapped around his little finger.”

(Scowcroft was promptly relieved of his duties as chair of the prestigious President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and told never again to darken the White House doorstep.)

If further proof of American political support for Netanyahu were needed, it was manifest when Senators McCain, Lieberman, and Graham visited Israel during the second week of July.

Lieberman asserted that there is wide support in Congress for using all means to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power, including “through military actions if we must.” Graham was equally explicit: “The Congress has Israel’s back,” he said.

More recently, 47 House Republicans have signed onto H.R. 1553 declaring “support for Israel’s right to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by Iran … including the use of military force.”

The power of the Likud Lobby, especially in an election year, facilitates Netanyahu’s attempts to convince those few of his colleagues who need convincing that there may never be a more auspicious time to bring about “regime change” in Tehran.

And, as we hope your advisers have told you, regime change, not Iranian nuclear weapons, is Israel’s primary concern.

If Israel’s professed fear that one or two nuclear weapons in Iran’s arsenal would be a game changer, one would have expected Israeli leaders to jump up and down with glee at the possibility of seeing half of Iran’s low enriched uranium shipped abroad.

Instead, they dismissed as a “trick” the tripartite deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil with your personal encouragement, that would ship half of Iran’s low enriched uranium outside Tehran’s control.

The National Intelligence Estimate

The Israelis have been looking on intently as the U.S. intelligence community attempts to update, in a “Memorandum to Holders,” the NIE of November 2007 on Iran’s nuclear program. It is worth recalling a couple of that Estimate’s key judgments:

“We judge with high confidence that in fall of 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program. … We assess with moderate confidence Tehran has not restarted its nuclear program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons …”

Earlier this year, public congressional testimony by former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair (February 1 & 2) and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Ronald Burgess with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. James Cartwright (April 14) did not alter those key judgments.

Blair and others continued to underscore the intelligence community’s agnosticism on one key point: as Blair put it earlier this year, “We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build a nuclear weapon.”

The media have reported off-the-cuff comments by Panetta and by you, with a darker appraisal — with you telling Israeli TV “… all indicators are that they [the Iranians] are in fact pursuing a nuclear weapon;” and Panetta telling ABC, “I think they continue to work on designs in that area [of weaponization].”

Panetta hastened to add, though, that in Tehran, “There is a continuing debate right now as to whether or not they ought to proceed with the bomb.”

Israel probably believes it must give more weight to the official testimony of Blair, Burgess, and Cartwright, which dovetail with the earlier NIE, and the Israelis are afraid that the long-delayed Memorandum to Holders of the 2007 NIE will essentially affirm that Estimate’s key judgments.

Our sources tell us that an honest Memorandum to Holders is likely to do precisely that, and that they suspect that the several-months-long delay means intelligence judgments are being “fixed” around the policy — as was the case before the attack on Iraq.

One War Prevented

The key judgments of the November 2007 NIE shoved an iron rod into the wheel spokes of the Dick Cheney-led juggernaut rolling toward war on Iran. The NIE infuriated Israel leaders eager to attack before President Bush and Vice President Cheney left office. This time, Netanyahu fears that issuance of an honest Memorandum might have similar effect.

Bottom line: more incentive for Israel to pre-empt such an Estimate by striking Iran sooner rather than later.

Last week’s announcement that U.S. officials will meet next month with Iranian counterparts to resume talks on ways to arrange higher enrichment of Iranian low enriched uranium for Tehran’s medical research reactor was welcome news to all but the Israeli leaders.

In addition, Iran reportedly has said it would be prepared to halt enrichment to 20 percent (the level needed for the medical research reactor), and has made it clear that it looks forward to the resumption of talks.

Again, an agreement that would send a large portion of Iran’s LEU abroad would, at a minimum, hinder progress toward nuclear weapons, should Iran decide to develop them. But it would also greatly weaken Israel’s scariest rationale for an attack on Iran.

Bottom line: with the talks on what Israel’s leaders earlier labeled a “trick” now scheduled to resume in September, incentive builds in Tel Aviv for the Israelis to attack before any such agreement can be reached.

We’ll say it again: the objective is regime change. Creating synthetic fear of Iranian nuclear weapons is simply the best way to “justify” bringing about regime change. Worked well for Iraq, no?

Another War in Need of Prevention

A strong public statement by you, personally warning Israel not to attack Iran would most probably head off such an Israeli move. Follow-up might include dispatching Adm. Mullen to Tel Aviv with military-to-military instructions to Israel: Don’t Even Think of It.

In the wake of the 2007 NIE, President Bush overruled Vice President Cheney and sent Adm. Mullen to Israel to impart that hard message. A much-relieved Mullen arrived home that spring sure of step and grateful that he had dodged the likelihood of being on the end of a Cheney-inspired order for him to send U.S. forces into war with Iran.

This time around, Mullen returned with sweaty palms from a visit to Israel in February 2010. Ever since, he has been worrying aloud that Israel might mousetrap the U.S. into war with Iran, while adding the obligatory assurance that the Pentagon does have an attack plan for Iran, if needed.

In contrast to his experience in 2008, though, Mullen seemed troubled that Israel’s leaders did not take his warnings seriously.

While in Israel, Mullen insisted publicly that an attack on Iran would be “a big, big, big problem for all of us, and I worry a great deal about the unintended consequences.”

After his return, at a Pentagon press conference on Feb. 22 Mullen drove home the same point. After reciting the usual boilerplate about Iran being “on the path to achieve nuclear weaponization” and its “desire to dominate its neighbors,” he included the following in his prepared remarks:

“For now, the diplomatic and the economic levers of international power are and ought to be the levers first pulled. Indeed, I would hope they are always and consistently pulled. No strike, however effective, will be, in and of itself, decisive.”

Unlike younger generals — David Petraeus, for example — Adm. Mullen served in the Vietnam War. That experience is probably what prompts asides like this: “I would remind everyone of an essential truth: War is bloody and uneven. It’s messy and ugly and incredibly wasteful …”

Although the immediate context for that remark was Afghanistan, Mullen has underscored time and again that war with Iran would be a far larger disaster. Those with a modicum of familiarity with the military, strategic and economic equities at stake know he is right.

Other Steps

In 2008, after Mullen read the Israelis the riot act, they put their pre-emptive plans for Iran aside. With that mission accomplished, Mullen gave serious thought to ways to prevent any unintended (or, for that matter, deliberately provoked) incidents in the crowded Persian Gulf that could lead to wider hostilities.

Mullen sent up an interesting trial balloon at a July 2, 2008, press conference, when he indicated that military-to-military dialogue could “add to a better understanding” between the U.S. and Iran. But nothing more was heard of this overture, probably because Cheney ordered him to drop it.

It was a good idea — still is. The danger of a U.S.-Iranian confrontation in the crowded Persian Gulf has not been addressed, and should be. Establishment of a direct communications link between top military officials in Washington and Tehran would reduce the danger of an accident, miscalculation, or covert, false-flag attack.

In our view, that should be done immediately — particularly since recently introduced sanctions assert a right to inspect Iranian ships. The naval commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards reportedly has threatened “a response in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” if anyone tries to inspect Iranian ships in international waters.

Another safety valve would result from successful negotiation of the kind of bilateral “incidents-at-sea” protocol that was concluded with the Russians in 1972 during a period of relatively high tension.

With only interim nobodies at the helm of the intelligence community, you may wish to consider knocking some heads together yourself and insisting that it finish an honest Memorandum to Holders of the 2007 NIE by mid-August — recording any dissents, as necessary.

Sadly, our former colleagues tell us that politicization of intelligence analysis did not end with the departure of Bush and Cheney…and that the problem is acute even at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which in the past has done some of the best professional, objective, tell-it-like-it-is analysis.

Pundits, Think Tanks: Missing the Point

As you may have noticed, most of page one of Sunday’s Washington Post Outlook section was given to an article titled, “A Nuclear Iran: Would America Strike to Prevent It? — Imagining Obama’s Response to an Iranian Missile Crisis.”

Page five was dominated by the rest of the article, under the title “Who will blink first when Iran is on the brink?”

A page-wide photo of a missile rolling past Iranian dignitaries on a reviewing stand (reminiscent of the familiar parades on Red Square) is aimed at the centerfold of the Outlook section, as if poised to blow it to smithereens.

Typically, the authors address the Iranian “threat” as though it endangers the U.S., even though Secretary Clinton has stated publicly that this is not the case. They write that one option for the U.S. is “the lonely, unpopular path of taking military action lacking allied consensus.” O Tempora, O Mores!

In less than a decade, wars of aggression have become nothing more than lonely, unpopular paths.

What is perhaps most remarkable, though, is that the word Israel is nowhere to be found in this very long article. Similar think pieces, including some from relatively progressive think tanks, also address these issues as though they were simply bilateral U.S.-Iranian problems, with little or no attention to Israel.

Guns of August?

The stakes could hardly be higher. Letting slip the dogs of war would have immense repercussions. Again, we hope that Adm. Mullen and others have given you comprehensive briefings on them.

Netanyahu would be taking a fateful gamble by attacking Iran, with high risk to everyone involved. The worst, but conceivable case, has Netanyahu playing — unintentionally — Dr. Kevorkian to the state of Israel.

Even if the U.S. were to be sucked into a war provoked by Israel, there is absolutely no guarantee that the war would come out well.

Were the U.S. to suffer significant casualties, and were Americans to become aware that such losses came about because of exaggerated Israeli claims of a nuclear threat from Iran, Israel could lose much of its high standing in the United States.

There could even be an upsurge in anti-Semitism, as Americans conclude that officials with dual loyalties in Congress and the executive branch threw our troops into a war provoked, on false pretenses, by Likudniks for their own narrow purposes.

We do not have a sense that major players in Tel Aviv or in Washington are sufficiently sensitive to these critical factors.

You are in position to prevent this unfortunate, but likely chain reaction. We allow for the possibility that Israeli military action might not lead to a major regional war, but we consider the chances of that much less than even.

Footnote: VIPS Experience

We VIPS have found ourselves in this position before. We prepared our first Memorandum for the President on the afternoon of February 5, 2003 after Colin Powell’s speech at the UN.

We had been watching how our profession was being corrupted into serving up faux intelligence that was later criticized (correctly) as “uncorroborated, contradicted, and nonexistent” — adjectives used by former Senate Intelligence Committee chair Jay Rockefeller after a five-year investigation by his committee.

As Powell spoke, we decided collectively that the responsible thing to do was to try to warn the President before he acted on misguided advice to attack Iraq. Unlike Powell, we did not claim that our analysis was “irrefutable and undeniable.” We did conclude with this warning:

“After watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

We take no satisfaction at having gotten it right on Iraq. Others with claim to more immediate expertise on Iraq were issuing similar warnings. But we were kept well away from the wagons circled by Bush and Cheney.

Sadly, your own Vice President, who was then chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, was among the most assiduous in blocking opportunities for dissenting voices to be heard. This is part of what brought on the worst foreign policy disaster in our nation’s history.

We now believe that we may also be right on (and right on the cusp of) another impending catastrophe of even wider scope — Iran — on which another President, you, are not getting good advice from your closed circle of advisers.

They are probably telling you that, since you have privately counseled Prime Minister Netanyahu against attacking Iran, he will not do it. This could simply be the familiar syndrome of telling the President what they believe he wants to hear.

Quiz them; tell them others believe them to be dead wrong on Netanyahu. The only positive here is that you — only you — can prevent an Israeli attack on Iran.

Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Ray Close, Directorate of Operations, Near East Division, CIA (26 years)

Phil Giraldi, Directorate of Operations, CIA (20 years)

Larry Johnson, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Department of State, Department of Defense consultant (24 years)

W. Patrick Lang, Col., USA, Special Forces (ret.); Senior Executive Service: Defense Intelligence Officer for Middle East/South Asia, Director of HUMINT Collection, Defense Intelligence Agency (30 years)

Ray McGovern, US Army Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA (30 years)

Coleen Rowley, Special Agent and Minneapolis Division Counsel, FBI (24 years)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army Reserve (ret.), (29 years); Foreign Service Officer, Department of State (16 years)

Scott Horton interviews--AntiWar Radio

Some of the most informative and intelligent interviews of very knowledgeable people available on the internet can be found on AntiWar Radio with Scott Horton.

What really impresses me is Scott Horton's mastery of foreign policy subjects, combined with his unpretentious, almost "the guy next door" style of questioning. In addition, there is a long list of easily downloadable interviews in MP3, so that you can listen at your leisure. Really unheard of in the media. Please check it out!