The US is not a republic anymore

Related article:US needs 100 years to recover from Bush


Gore Vidal

An interview with Gore Vidal by Afshin Rattansi, Press TV, Tehran:

Press TV:We hear that Michael Mukasey is going to become the latest of the President’s Attorney-Generals to be subpoenaed, this time over his conversations with Bush and Cheney – does this show that Congress is serious about calling the executive to account?

Gore Vidal: No, Congress has never been more cowardly, nor more corrupt. All Bush has do is to make sure certain amounts of money go in the direction of certain important congressmen and that’s end of any serious investigation. After all, one of the bravest members of Congress is Dennis Kucinich who brought the article of impeachment in to the well of the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives must then try the president, and then after that it goes to the Senate for judgment. However, none of these things will happen because there’s nobody there except for Mr. Kucinich who has the courage to take on a sitting president who is kind of a Mafioso.

Press TV: How can it just be one person among so many hundreds of Congressmen who wants the impeachment of George W. Bush in these circumstances?

Gore Vidal: Well it’s because we no longer have a country. We don’t have a republic any more. During the last 7 or 8 years of the Bush regime, they’ve got rid of the Bill of Rights, they’ve got rid of habeas corpus. They have got rid of one of the nicest gifts that England ever left us when they went away and we ceased to be colonies – the Magna Carta – from the 12th century. All of our law and due process of law is based on that. And the Bush people got rid of it. The president and little Mr. Gonzales who for a few minutes was his Attorney General. They managed to get rid of all of the constitutional links that made us literally a republic.

Press TV: You have often written about the US’s superpower status in terms of the history of previous superpowers. Do you think we’re witnessing the end of US power as some suggest. Will the White House be seen like Persepolis?

Gore Vidal: Well it won’t make such good ruins, no. It’ll be more like the tomb of Cyrus nearby. They managed to destroy the United States – why? Because they’re oil and gas people and they’re essentially criminals. I repeat that this is a criminal group that’s seized control of the country through what looked like an ordinary election. But there’s some very nice films and documentaries about what happened in the year 2000 when Albert Gore won the election for president and they saw to it that he couldn’t serve. They got the Supreme Court – which is the Holy of Holies ordinarily in our system – to investigate and then accuse the thieves of being absolutely correct and the winners – Mr. Gore and the Democrats – of being the cheaters. It’s the first law of Machiavelli, whatever your opponent’s faults are, you pick his virtues and you deny he has them. That’s what they did when Senator Kerry ran a few years ago for president. He’s a famous hero from the Vietnam War. They said he was a coward and not a hero. That’s how it’s done. When you have a bunch of liars in charge of your government you can’t expect to get much history out of that. But later on we’ll dig and dig… and we will dig up Persepolis.

Press TV: Senator Obama talks about change but of course he has courting Wall Street as well as the Israeli lobby – do you see any prospect of change with him as president?

Gore Vidal: Not really. I don’t doubt his good faith, just as I do not doubt the bad faith of Cheney and Bush. They are such dreadful people that we’ve never had in government before. They would never have risen unless they were buying elections as they did in Florida in 2000, as they did in the State of Ohio in 2004. These are two open thefts of the Presidency. When I discovered that this did not interest the New York Times or the Washington Post or any of the press of the country I realized our day was done. We are no longer a country we are a framework for crooks to go in and steal money. Knowing that they’ll never be caught and they’ll be admired for it. Americans always take everybody on his own evaluation. You say I’m a state and they say “oh, yeah yeah yeah, he’s a state, isn’t that great.” And you accuse the other people of your crimes before you commit them. It’s an old trick which was known to Machiavelli who wrote about it in his handbook, the Prince.

Press TV:Finally that issue which is exercising so many minds in the Middle East and beyond. You, yourself have written about so many Imperial wars of the United States. Do you think Bush and Cheney would risk another war in what Mohammad ElBaradei of the IAEA calls a fireball?

Gore Vidal: They are longing to but they have spent all of the money. They have got it in their own private companies like the Vice-President and a company called Halliburton which is stealing more money and should be on trial sooner or later before Congress. But perhaps not, who knows? But it’s well known in Washington, these people are leaking away the money of the country. Well there’s no more money. They are longing for a war with Iran. Iran is no more a harm to us than was Iraq or Afghanistan. They invented an enemy, they tell lies, lies, lies.
The New York Times goes along with their lies, lies, lies. And they don’t stop. When the public that’s lied to 30 times a day it’s apt to believe the lies, is not it?

Read moreThe US is not a republic anymore

US: Oil blockade constitutes an act of war


Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff

The commander of US naval forces in the Persian Gulf says any attempt by Iran to shut down the Strait of Hormuz will be an ‘act of war’.

Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, the commander of the Fifth Fleet – responsible for naval operations in the Persian Gulf -, said Monday that the White House will not allow the strategic Persian Gulf oil passage to be sealed off.

Cosgriff made the remarks after Iran warned that it would not hesitate in taking all necessary measures to safeguard its national interests in case of an enemy offensive.

“When a country comes under attack, it naturally uses all its capacities to confront the enemy,” said Major General Mohammad-Ali Jafari on Saturday in reference to the country’s ability to cut oil supplies by closing the Strait of Hormuz.

The commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, however, warned that such comments by high-ranking Iranian officials are ‘not helpful’.

Cosgriff suggested that a blockade ‘will not be an action against the United States but against the international community’.

While the Bush administration continues to beat the drums of war against Tehran, Tel Aviv has fueled speculation about the possibility of an attack on Iran. Recent reports indicate that the Israeli regime may have staged military maneuvers to prepare for air strikes on Iranian nuclear sites.

The Islamic Republic, however, affirms that it is fully prepared to counter any act of aggression on its soil.

Mon, 30 Jun 2008
Source: Press TV

Related article: America Is the Rogue Nation:
(“More to the point, Iran has been equipped by Russia with the fastest anti-ship missile on the planet. The SS-N-22 Sunburn can travel at Mach 3 at high altitude and at Mach 2.2 at low altitude. That is faster than anything in our arsenal.

Iran’s conventional forces include an army of 540,000 men and 300,000 reserves, including 120,000 Iranian Guards especially trained in unconventional warfare. It has more than 1,600 main battle tanks and 21,000 other armored combat vehicles. It has 3,200 artillery pieces, three submarines, 59 surface warships and 10 amphibious ships.”)

Iran ‘digging 320,000 graves for invaders’


Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh

A senior Iranian commander says the country is digging some ‘320,000 graves’ in its bordering provinces for future slain invaders.

Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, the Head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense, said Sunday that the decision had been approved by Iran’s Armed Forces Headquarters.

“We will dig 15,000 to 20,000 graves in each of the border provinces,” he said.

“We do not wish the families of enemy soldiers to experience what Americans had to go through in the aftermath of the Vietnam War,” added Brig. Gen. Baqerzadeh, who is also the head of the search committee for missing soldiers.

The commander said the preemptive measures would decrease the time slain soldiers would be ‘missing in action’.

“The burial of slain soldiers will be carried out decently and in little time,” he continued.

Baqerzadeh added that the decision is in line with the Islamic Republic’s commitment to comply with the Geneva Convention and the additional protocol regarding wartime cooperation between Iran and the Red Cross.

Read moreIran ‘digging 320,000 graves for invaders’

A Declaration of U.S. Independence from Israel

This is a talk given at the Nassau Club in Princeton by Chris Hedges, former New York Times Middle East bureau chief:

Israel, without the United States, would probably not exist. The country came perilously close to extinction during the October 1973 war when Egypt, trained and backed by the Soviet Union, crossed the Suez Canal and the Syrians poured in over the Golan Heights. Huge American military transport planes came to the rescue.

They began landing every half-hour to refit the battered Israeli army, which had lost most of its heavy armor. By the time the war as over, the United States had given Israel $2.2 billion in emergency military aid. The intervention, which enraged the Arab world, triggered the OPEC oil embargo that for a time wreaked havoc on Western economies. This was perhaps the most dramatic example of the sustained life-support system the United States has provided to the Jewish state.

Israel was born at midnight May 14, 1948. The U.S. Recognized the new state 11 minutes later. The two countries have been locked in a deadly embrace ever since.Washington, at the beginning of the relationship, was able to be a moderating influence. An incensed President Eisenhower demanded and got Israel’s withdrawal after the Israelis occupied Gaza in 1956.

During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israeli warplanes bombed the USS Liberty. The ship, flying the U.S. Flag and stationed 15 miles off the Israeli coast, was intercepting tactical and strategic communications from both sides. The Israeli strikes killed 34 U.S. Sailors and wounded 171.

The deliberate attack froze, for a while, Washington’s enthusiasm for Israel. But ruptures like this one proved to be only bumps, soon smoothed out by an increasingly sophisticated and well-financed Israel lobby that set out to merge Israel and American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Israel has reaped tremendous rewards from this alliance. It has been given more than $140 billion in U.S. Direct economic and military assistance. It receives about $3 billion in direct assistance annually, roughly one-fifth of the U.S. Foreign aid budget. Although most American foreign aid packages stipulate that related military purchases have to be made in the United States, Israel is allowed to use about 25 percent of the money to subsidize its own growing and profitable defense industry. It is exempt, unlike other nations, from accounting for how it spends the aid money.

Read moreA Declaration of U.S. Independence from Israel

Philippines: Food Shortage Looms – Arroyo Adviser

Related article (Typhoon Fengshen):
Fishing industry suffers after ferry tragedy:

“The government suspended all diving operations to recover bodies inside the vessel and banned fishing around the island on Friday after it was revealed the ferry was carrying a highly toxic pesticide.”

“Should the chemicals leak into its pristine waters the impact on local marine life would be devastating, according to marine biologists.”
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ILOILO CITY, Philippines – A “food shortage” looms in the next one to two months after massive floods due to typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen) devastated farm lands and livestock in the Western Visayas, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s adviser for the region said Sunday.

“We may face a food shortage, that is the extent of the damage from the typhoon,” Presidential Adviser on the Western Visayas Raul Bañas told reporters here after he received a delivery of relief supplies from Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Alexander Yano.

“In our aerial sorties, we saw firsthand how grave the damage is to crops. I think that’s one of the major problems we are facing,” he said.

Bañas said one of the affected provinces, Iloilo, is one of the top three rice-producing provinces in the country.

He said the floods destroyed 22 hectares or rice lands, equivalent to 66,000 metric tons of rice, and “almost wiped out” livestock and fisheries in the region.

In Cadiz town in Negros Occidental, Bañas said the storm destroyed half a billion pesos worth of fishing boats.

Bañas appealed for donations of potable water, saying the water systems destroyed by the storm have not been repaired.

By Joel Guinto
06/29/2008

Source: Inquirer.net

Philippines: Fighting to survive on mountain of trash


Thousands of Manila’s poorest scavenge for recyclables daily at the city’s main waste disposal site in a smouldering district known as “Smokey Mountain.” Rice price spikes have caused greater hardship.

A spike in rice prices means increased hardship for millions of Filipinos living on less than $2 a day

MANILA – Amid the sprawl and stench of this city’s main dump – its air thick with charcoal and fleas – Redentor Escarcha is beaming.

The sinewy 26-year-old, his skin glistening with sweat, is one of thousands who come here every day to mine the Philippines’ capital’s garbage for recyclables: cans, cardboard, copper cables, anything of value.

It’s only 11 a.m. but Escarcha knows that what he has collected in his sack so far is worth more than 200 pesos (about $4.50). Most days this father of four earns about $3.

He knows the precise value of everything here – and he should. Escarcha is a veteran who has worked this dump for 19 years, ever since he was 7 years old.

He was born here.

“I was just lucky,” he says, explaining how he hit upon a treasure trove of high-quality glass this particular morning.

Lucky?

Yes. In Escarcha’s value system, today is another day he’ll be able to feed his family.

To appreciate the impact of increases in the cost of food in the developing world, you have to appreciate the depths of its poverty.

Here in “Smokey Mountain,” as this dump is known, poverty runs about as deep as it can get.

An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people live on the margins of the landfill.

Read morePhilippines: Fighting to survive on mountain of trash

Floods may boost world food prices for years

Related articles:

Floods wipe out US crops

The Best Farmland in the U.S. Is Flooded; Most Americans Are Too Stupid to Panic
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LEVEES on the cresting Mississippi River held today as the worst US Midwest flooding in 15 years began to ebb, but multibillion-dollar crop losses may boost world food prices for years.

Water levels on the river receded for the second straight day as mostly clear weather gave saturated areas a chance to start draining. Forecasts for similar dry weather in coming days gave further encouragement.

The swollen river was expected to crest tomorrow in St Louis at 11.9 metres, 3.3 metres below the record set in 1993 and a level considered “manageable”, said US Army Corps of Engineers St Louis District spokesman Alan Dooley.

“The crest in the areas up the Mississippi River in the district has passed,” Dooley said. “The water is still up very high and it is up against levees.”

Read moreFloods may boost world food prices for years

Pentagon Fights EPA On Pollution Cleanup

The Defense Department, the nation’s biggest polluter, is resisting orders from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up Fort Meade and two other military bases where the EPA says dumped chemicals pose “imminent and substantial” dangers to public health and the environment.

The Pentagon has also declined to sign agreements required by law that cover 12 other military sites on the Superfund list of the most polluted places in the country. The contracts would spell out a remediation plan, set schedules, and allow the EPA to oversee the work and assess penalties if milestones are missed.

The actions are part of a standoff between the Pentagon and environmental regulators that has been building during the Bush administration, leaving the EPA in a legal limbo as it addresses growing concerns about contaminants on military bases that are seeping into drinking water aquifers and soil.

Under executive branch policy, the EPA will not sue the Pentagon, as it would a private polluter. Although the law gives final say to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson in cleanup disputes with other federal agencies, the Pentagon refuses to recognize that provision. Military officials wrote to the Justice Department last month to challenge EPA’s authority to issue the orders and asked the Office of Management and Budget to intervene.

Experts in environmental law said the Pentagon’s stand is unprecedented.

“This is stunning,” said Rena Steinzor, who helped write the Superfund laws as a congressional staffer and now teaches at the University of Maryland Law School and is president of the nonprofit Center for Progressive Reform. “The idea that they would refuse to sign a final order — that is the height of amazing nerve.”

Pentagon officials say they are voluntarily cleaning up the three sites named in the EPA’s “final orders” — Fort Meade in Maryland, Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.

Fort Meade borders residential areas in fast-growing Anne Arundel County; Tyndall and McGuire are in less-populated regions. At all three sites, the military has released toxic chemicals — some known to cause cancer and other serious health problems — into the soil and groundwater.

But the EPA has been dissatisfied with the extent and progress of the Pentagon’s voluntary efforts.

“Final orders” are the EPA’s most potent enforcement tool. If a polluter does not comply, the agency usually can go to court to force compliance and impose fines up to $28,000 a day for each violation.

Read morePentagon Fights EPA On Pollution Cleanup

IMF orders X-ray of the entire US financial system

IMAGINE the Reserve Bank of Australia, concerned that its friends in the city of Sydney (but perhaps Melbourne) who, having wallowed in wealth all their adult lives, were no longer gainfully employable and their wildly extravagant lifestyles were in danger, and, having the powers to intervene in the market, decided to do just that on their behalf.

Imagine them offering to enter the market and buy shares that would prop up the foolish gambles of the bankers, gambles they had encouraged them, until recently, to take by providing them with cheap money.

On top of that, they told this group they would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in credits to these same profiteers on the grounds they were so big and important to the economy they were indeed too big to fail.

Then, imagine, despite pouring untold taxpayers money into stocks and allowing their cronies access to vast sums, the system continued to fail. So they announced they would need greater power and with it more secrecy.

For its growing band of critics has, perhaps unwittingly and in the interest of public good, this has become the principal function of the US Federal Reserve.

If this was to happen in Australia the International Monetary Fund would be hammering at the door of the Reserve Bank. But Australia does not have a President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, commonly known as the Plunge Protection Team, that allows the US Government to prop up the markets by buying shares. But to imagine the IMF investigating the US financial system is unthinkable, or was. But, at the weekend, Der Spiegel reported that the IMF would conduct a full investigation into virtually every aspect of it.

Der Spiegel wrote that the IMF had “informed” Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke of plans that would have been unheard of in the past: a general examination of the US financial system. The IMF’s board of directors has ruled that a so-called Financial Sector Assessment Program is to be carried out in the US.

This, Der Spiegel wrote, “is nothing less than an X-ray of the entire US financial system”, adding that “no Fed chief in US history has been forced to submit to the kind of humiliation that Ben Bernanke is facing”.

The fact that the IMF is knocking on the very doors of its parents and waving legal papers about who lost the house, the car and the kids will, if the past is anything to go by, be buried in the US by pom-pom waving on CNBC telling all what a great time it is to buy.

But the news that the US Fed has now lost its last vestige of credibility did not end with the German report.

The Telegraph from London weighed in, following the Royal Bank of Scotland’s statement last week (also lost on the US public) that it was time to head for the crags, and reported Barclays Capital’s closely watched Global Outlook analysis that said US headline inflation would hit 5.5% by August and the Fed would have to raise interest rates six times by the end of next year to prevent a wage spiral.

If the Fed hesitates, the bond markets will take matters into their own hands. “This is the first test for central banks in 30 years and they have fluffed it,” the report found. “They have zero credibility, and the Fed is negative if that’s possible. It has lost all credibility.”

Der Spiegel reports that the IMF is threatening to seriously study the accounts of America, something President George Bush is determined to prevent at least while he is in the White House, informing the IMF that it can begin its investigation but cannot complete it until he leaves office.

Read moreIMF orders X-ray of the entire US financial system