Saturday, February 10, 2007
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and several freshmen senators recently met to share their concerns over U.S. trade policies. They are rallying around the message in Dorgan’s hard-nosed book, entitled Take This Job and Ship It. The book examines rampant job losses under internationalist free trade policies but also includes proposed solutions to the nation’s downward economic spiral.
When AFP picked up this story Jan. 30, President Bush reportedly was on the brink of asking Congress to again grant him so-called “fast track” authority for negotiating trade deals with foreign nations. To regain that authority, Bush needs Congress to vote to give him license to negotiate trade pacts—without meaningful legislative oversight.
Congress could only vote up or down on any negotiated pacts, without being able to amend them.
The fast track status granted to Bush several years ago carries a “sunset” provision and is approaching expiration. Bush is seeking an extension before it expires.
These developments were shared with American Free Press at Dorgan’s office, when his assistant, Elizabeth Gore, met with Kansas resident and activist Abner Deatherage, a retired U.S. agricultural foreign service worker who for decades has traveled extensively and has some experience in the oil industry. Deatherage is informed about key issues and has been taking his concerns to Capitol Hill.
Deatherage was featured recently in AFP’s story about his National Grassroots Demonstration, which involves activating an extensive phone/fax network of union and farm group leaders, other members of such groups, and individuals, all of whom share strong concerns about the nation’s future—especially regarding job losses, dependency on foreign oil, and stemming the tide of illegal aliens crashing the southern border.
“We’ve got plenty of oil in this country,” Deatherage told Gore.
AFP accompanied Deatherage to meet Gore on Jan. 30. As Deatherage and Gore discussed U.S. job losses and energy issues, she noted that Dorgan had met with freshman Democratic senators such as Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, James Webb of Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Moreover, another newcomer, Sen. Ben Cardin, is known as a free trader, but Gore said he is looking at the issue more closely.
Gore indicated that with the president’s low public approval rating, the state of the economy, public opinion trends and the changes in the legislature since the November elections, this is the right time to rethink U.S. trade policies.
“CAFTA [Central American Free Trade Agreement] passed last year, but it was a close vote,” Gore noted. The senators’ concerns over current trade policies and the related job losses, however, cross party lines. Gore noted that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) shares similar concerns because his state’s once-vibrant textile industry has hit the skids. Deatherage also plans to take these and other issues to House Republicans Ron Paul of Texas, Tom Tancredo of Colorado and others.
Deatherage told AFP after the Jan. 30 meeting that some basic matters that are fundamental to his work on Capitol Hill include the following:
America must pursue energy independence by uncapping existing domestic oil wells and drilling new ones, along with encouraging wider use of alternative fuels. He also supports the concept behind a bill he said Dorgan introduced in 2005 regarding windfall profits, which contains incentives for domestic oil production.
The United States must also incorporate so-called absolute advantage trade policy, which means that America should only import what it cannot make (or grow) itself and export those things that other nations cannot manufacture or grow. Due to climate, for example, America imports coffee and bananas, and the nations that produce those crops receive American hardwoods that do not grow near the equator.
As author, trade specialist and former General Motors executive Gus Stelzer has repeatedly noted, this idea was favored by classic economist Adam Smith, whose famed book, The Wealth of Nations, is wrongly considered the bible of modern-day free traders, when, in fact, it supports tariffs and other nationalistic measures that free traders oppose.
The Bush administration and the British government are under increasing pressure from the Israelis to conduct an illegal air strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to a number of reports in Europe’s largest newspapers.
In London, The Sunday Telegraph and the daily Telegraph have reported that war clouds are spreading as Iran continues its nuclear development and Israel reacts to it.
According to The Sunday Telegraph Israel has appointed Maj. Gen. Elyezer Shkedy, commander of the Israeli air force, to direct military action against Tehran. Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that Britain is holding secret talks “at which senior defense chiefs and government officials will consider the consequences of an attack on Iran.”
The Pentagon is also drawing up plans for an attack. U.S. military ground forces are already bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in dozens of other deployments abroad.
Still, irresponsible air strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites, which would inevitably result in massive, insoluble geopolitical, military, energy and economic problems, are planned by Bush administration numbskulls.
Israel, as usual, is counting on U.S. backing—and it is making it obvious that if there is no strike on Iran it will act on its own.
In a recent visit to the United States, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned “friend and foe alike” that Israel is prepared to “take on any country or combination of countries” to protect itself.
The Israelis refer to the “Iran Front,” The Sunday Telegraph reports. “Israel is becoming extremely concerned now with what they see as Iran’s delaying tactics,” an Israeli-Iran analyst told the newspaper. “The [Israeli] planners think negotiations are going nowhere, and Iran is becoming a major danger for Israel. Now they are getting ready for living with a nuclear Iran or letting the military take care of it.”
According to the British publication “Gen. Shkedy will coordinate the intelligence gathered by Israel’s foreign spy agency Mossad and military sources, in order to draw up battle plans. . . . He will command the campaign from a ‘hot seat’ in the Israeli army’s headquarters in Tel Aviv.”
Uri Dromi, a former air force colonel and analyst, told The Sunday Telegraph: “It’s natural that Shkedy is nominated in this role, because the air force is Israel’s only force that can reach and sustain a military operation against Iran. . . .Everyone is playing with dates and time frames . . . but the list of options is becoming shorter. I think we have one year open [to launch military action].”
Israel reportedly has an arsenal of at least 200 nuclear warheads and as many as 400.
The Telegraph reported wishfully:
[It is] believed that an American-led attack, designed to destroy Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear bomb, is ‘inevitable’ if Tehran’s leaders fail to comply with United Nations’ demands to freeze their uranium enrichment program..
Tactical Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from U.S. Navy ships and submarines in the gulf would, it is believed, target Iran’s air defense systems at the nuclear installations.
That would enable attacks by B2 Stealth bombers equipped with eight 4,500-pound enhanced BLU-28 satellite-guided bunker busting bombs, flying from Diego Garcia, the isolated U.S. Navy base in the Indian Ocean, RAF [Royal Air Force] base Fairford in Gloucestershire and Whiteman USAF base in Missouri.
It is understood that any direct British involvement in an attack would be limited but may extend to the use of the RAF’s highly secret airborne warning aircraft. The belief in some areas of Whitehall is that an attack is now all but inevitable.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
In every news story, from the Associated Press to CNN, the falsified statements of Iranian President Ahamdinejad concerning Israel are presented as though proof of Iranian bellicosity. He allegedly possesses an impounding desire to "wipe Israel off the map" - indeed, this is often the only evidence that justifies the deluded pro-war campaign and offers "balance" to news stories that are, sans the statement, lacking in umph. Yet, in various analyses of the translation, Ahamdinejad was in fact calling for "regime change" in Israel. Juan Cole, Persian and Arabic linguist, offers the following translation and reasoning:
Obvious sympathy with Jews regarding their Nazi wartime experience on the part of American readers is drawn upon here. In essence, they ask their opinion-hungry readers, "should the Jews be faced with extermination once more?" As if that is the real question here. Repeat the lie often enough, and the people will come to believe it.
The phrase he then used as I read it is "The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] from the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad)."
Ahmadinejad was not making a threat, he was quoting a saying of Khomeini and urging that pro-Palestinian activists in Iran not give up hope-- that the occupation of Jerusalem was no more a continued inevitability than had been the hegemony of the Shah's government.
The very foundation for all this at the present time is Bush's feigned anxiety regarding Iran's nuclear program (but, in a few years, will most likely be freedom and democracy in an already democratic country. Irony?). Back in August 2005, the Washington Post reported that Iran was "about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon." Meanwhile, Cheney states that "Iran is a top threat to world peace and Middle East stability, accusing Tehran of sponsoring terrorism against Americans and building a 'fairly robust new nuclear program.'" Such obfuscation of the reality of the situation is blatant mischaracterization of Iran's threat to the US and evinces the inside push for war.
Every deadline imposed and subsequently ignored by Iran constitutes a leap towards malevolence that shall somehow spread its unerring tentacles into US cities. Each such report frets the instrument of fear in US minds, creating an impression of imminent threat from a country half-way across the world and in whose affairs the US government meddles more so than vise-versa.
The plans are reportedly drawn up. Using unholy nukes to prevent unholy nukes. That is the political possibility that ominously reverberates on our television screens and print media. Air strikes using "tactical nuclear weapons," plans of which were denied immediately after leakage given the predictable fanfare against such obscene rationale (which is not to say that it will not occur in the name of the defense of freedom guided by the all-knowing hand of big government, as it has, ahem, in the past).
Cui bono? To whose benefit? Obviously not ours. So let's stop it.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
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