To correct the damage the Supreme Court has done to the First Amendment, we need to pass a constitutional amendment of our own that puts people ahead of corporations.

"Free Speech for People Amendment"

WHEREAS the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations;

WHEREAS, for the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade and invalidate democratically-enacted reforms;

WHEREAS, this corporate takeover of the First Amendment has reached its extreme conclusion in the United States Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Citizens United v. FEC;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from spending their general treasury funds in our elections;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC will now unleash a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy;

WHEREAS, the people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that go to the heart of our democracy and self-government;


Learn more about the "Free Speech for People Amendment"


also a petition at

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Manchurian Candidates:
Supreme Court allows China and others unlimited spending in US elections

By Greg Palast | Updated from the original report for AlterNet
Thursday, January 21, 2010

In today's Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Court ruled that corporations should be treated the same as "natural persons", i.e. humans. Well, in that case, expect the Supreme Court to next rule that Wal-Mart can run for President.

The ruling, which junks federal laws that now bar corporations from stuffing campaign coffers, will not, as progressives fear, cause an avalanche of corporate cash into politics. Sadly, that's already happened: we have been snowed under by tens of millions of dollars given through corporate PACs and "bundling" of individual contributions from corporate pay-rollers.

The Court's decision is far, far more dangerous to U.S. democracy. Think: Manchurian candidates.

I'm losing sleep over the millions - or billions - of dollars that could flood into our elections from ARAMCO, the Saudi Oil corporation's U.S. unit; or from the maker of "New Order" fashions, the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Or from Bin Laden Construction corporation. Or Bin Laden Destruction Corporation.

Right now, corporations can give loads of loot through PACs. While this money stinks (Barack Obama took none of it), anyone can go through a PAC's federal disclosure filing and see the name of every individual who put money into it. And every contributor must be a citizen of the USA.

But under today's Supreme Court ruling that corporations can support candidates without limit, there is nothing that stops, say, a Delaware-incorporated handmaiden of the Burmese junta from picking a Congressman or two with a cache of loot masked by a corporate alias.

Candidate Barack Obama was one sharp speaker, but he would not have been heard, and certainly would not have won, without the astonishing outpouring of donations from two million Americans. It was an unprecedented uprising-by-PayPal, overwhelming the old fat-cat sources of funding.

Well, kiss that small-donor revolution goodbye. Under the Court's new rules, progressive list serves won't stand a chance against the resources of new "citizens" such as CNOOC, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Maybe UBS (United Bank of Switzerland), which faces U.S. criminal prosecution and a billion-dollar fine for fraud, might be tempted to invest in a few Senate seats. As would XYZ Corporation, whose owners remain hidden by "street names."

George Bush's former Solicitor General Ted Olson argued the case to the court on behalf of Citizens United, a corporate front that funded an attack on Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary. Olson's wife died on September 11, 2001 on the hijacked airliner that hit the Pentagon. Maybe it was a bit crude of me, but I contacted Olson's office to ask how much "Al Qaeda, Inc." should be allowed to donate to support the election of his local congressman.

Olson has not responded.

The danger of foreign loot loading into U.S. campaigns, not much noted in the media chat about the Citizens case, was the first concern raised by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who asked about opening the door to "mega-corporations" owned by foreign governments. Olson offered Ginsburg a fudge, that Congress might be able to prohibit foreign corporations from making donations, though Olson made clear he thought any such restriction a bad idea.

Tara Malloy, attorney with the Campaign Legal Center of Washington D.C. says corporations will now have more rights than people. Only United States citizens may donate or influence campaigns, but a foreign government can, veiled behind a corporate treasury, dump money into ballot battles.

Malloy also noted that under the law today, human-people, as opposed to corporate-people, may only give $2,300 to a presidential campaign. But hedge fund billionaires, for example, who typically operate through dozens of corporate vessels, may now give unlimited sums through each of these "unnatural" creatures.

And once the Taliban incorporates in Delaware, they could ante up for the best democracy money can buy.

In July, the Chinese government, in preparation for President Obama's visit, held diplomatic discussions in which they skirted issues of human rights and Tibet. Notably, the Chinese, who hold a $2 trillion mortgage on our Treasury, raised concerns about the cost of Obama's health care reform bill. Would our nervous Chinese landlords have an interest in buying the White House for an opponent of government spending such as Gov. Palin? Ya betcha!

The potential for foreign infiltration of what remains of our democracy is an adjunct of the fact that the source and control money from corporate treasuries (unlike registered PACs), is necessarily hidden. Who the heck are the real stockholders? Or as Butch asked Sundance, "Who are these guys?"
We'll never know.

Hidden money funding, whether foreign or domestic, is the new venom that the Court has injected into the system by its expansive decision in Citizens United.

We've been there. The 1994 election brought Newt Gingrich to power in a GOP takeover of the Congress funded by a very strange source.

Congressional investigators found that in crucial swing races, Democrats had fallen victim to a flood of last-minute attack ads funded by a group called, "Coalition for Our Children's Future." The $25 million that paid for those ads came, not from concerned parents, but from a corporation called "Triad Inc."

Evidence suggests Triad Inc. was the front for the ultra-right-wing billionaire Koch Brothers and their private petroleum company, Koch Industries. Had the corporate connection been proven, the Kochs and their corporation could have faced indictment under federal election law. As of today, such money-poisoned politicking has become legit.

So it's not just un-Americans we need to fear but the Polluter-Americans, Pharma-mericans, Bank-Americans and Hedge-Americans that could manipulate campaigns while hidden behind corporate veils. And if so, our future elections, while nominally a contest between Republicans and Democrats, may in fact come down to a three-way battle between China, Saudi Arabia and Goldman Sachs.


Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." Palast investigated Triad Inc. for The Guardian (UK). View Palast's reports for BBC TV and Democracy Now! at

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in dissent: "If taken seriously, our colleagues' assumption that the identity of a speaker has no relevance to the government's ability to regulate political speech would lead to some remarkable conclusions. Such an assumption would have accorded the propaganda broadcasts to our troops by 'Tokyo Rose' during World War II the same protection as speech by Allied commanders. More pertinently, it would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans."

"Capitalism has defeated communism. It is now well on its way to defeating democracy."
-- David Korten


What is Fascism?
What is Democracy?
It is all in who has the power...

"The end of Democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations."
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies . . . "

  ~ Thomas Jefferson

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." 
  ~ Thomas Jefferson

The father of the Constitution, President James Madison, wrote, "There is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by . . . corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses."

President Andrew Jackson, in a speech to Congress, said, "In this point of the case the question is distinctly presented whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages [votes] or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions."

And the president who followed him, Martin Van Buren, added in his annual address to Congress: "I am more than ever convinced of the dangers to which the free and unbiased exercise of political opinion -- the only sure foundation and safeguard of republican government -- would be exposed by any further increase of the already overgrown influence of corporate authorities."

 Abraham Lincoln warned, "We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood. The best blood of the flower of American youth has been freely offered upon our country's altar that the nation might live. It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless." 

"The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace, and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies, all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of today."


  We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
    They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.
~ President Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The real truth of the  matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson."
  ~ PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT in a letter to Colonel Edward M. House

Soon after his rise to power, Mussolini defined his economic stance by saying: "The [Fascist] government will accord full freedom to private enterprise and will abandon all intervention in private economy."
- which turned out to mean that corporations would have the power that used to reside in the people.

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
~ Benito Mussolini 

"There are none so blind as those who will Nazi."

~ Mrs. Betty Bowers



What Can I Do?
The Roberts Court showed its true colors last Thursday, with its brazen and intellectually dishonest power grab in the Citizens United case.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it shared those same unfortunate characteristics with the Rehnquist Court in its Bush v. Gore decision.
After all, the core trio is the same--Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas.
And the two newcomers, Roberts and Alito, showed they were as disingenuous, misleading, and unfaithful to their supposed principles as the Bush v. Gore crowd had been.
They really should be impeached. They deserve it. After all, they spit right in the Senate's eyes. I assume the Senate doesn't have enough self-respect to actually stand up for itself, but what does the Senate's right to confirmation mean if Roberts and Alito can carry enough votes only by knowingly spreading disinformation for several days? And if they then quickly prove they didn't tell the Senators the truth, shouldn't they be impeached? Just like Alberto Gonzales should have been impeached for pretending he couldn't remember anything...and Karl Rove for refusing to even show up...Don't they all have in common an intentional contempt for Congress?
This is a dangerous decision, deliberately designed to tilt the political playing field acutely towards corporations. Whatever responses we can creatively come up with, and organize around, we should pursue. Imho, this does not mean just one cure-all response; it means a whole range of push-backs.
We've launched a new activist group, , with the goal of rolling back the false premise of corporate free speech. We believe, like most Americans with common sense, that political free speech is for people, not for corporations. More important, that's really what the Constitution means, too.
So we will be supporting netroots favorite Rep. Donna Edwards' impending Constitutional Amendment to restore free speech rights for people in politics. We will be organizing lawyers to invalidate the bogus legal theories that the Roberts Court is trying to sell as the basis for their fraudulent ruling. We'll be working to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the Roberts Court, supposedly dedicated to stare decisis and strict constructionism, while trying to discredit their obviously fake opposition to judicial activism. And we will be glad to work in coalition with those who want to make rolling back this awful decision a key point in the selection of any new Supreme Court justices.
We chose this avenue because we believe this is very strong ground to fight back on. This is not only fairer for real people, it allows us to fight on the same side as the century of court cases, which favored the people's right to political free speech, not some invented corporate privilege. It allows us to stand on the side of the Constitution's Founders, which clearly did not have corporations in mind when they penned the First Amendment.
Oh, and for those of you who immediately object to the odds against a Constitutional Amendment, yes, we understand how hard that road is. But we also understand how much the Far Right has gained over the past half century by pushing for Constitutional Amendments and impeachments (from Earl Warren to Bill Clinton), even when they never got close to succeeding on those tasks.
They gained ground by changing the public debate, changing the issues being discussed, putting liberals on the defensive even when they were correct on key issues, intimidating centrist Democrats, and organizing supporters all over the country. They never got Earl Warren impeached or Bill Clinton convicted, haven't yet won their anti-choice or school prayer Constitutional Amendments--still, their issues usually drive the public debate.
Besides, it's a potentially populist moment in America, and millions of political conservatives and libertarians also fear the rising power of multinational corporations. There is potential here for a "strange bedfellows" organizing fight--which means that even a Constitutional Amendment or two might be possible.
So if you want to join us, please click here .
I do want to be clear--we do not believe we have the only solution to the dangerous and widespread increase in corporate power during the last few decades, of which the Citizens United ruling is just the latest abuse.
We support Public Campaign, Common Cause, U.S. Pirg, and all the other campaign finance activists who have worked for literally decades to publicly fund our elections. We support the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), sponsored by Rep. John Larson and Senator Dick Durbin. We agree with Public Campaign that clean money is a necessary step to rescuing our political system from the entrenched greed of too-powerful corporations.
You can help Public Campaign here.
We also agree with our friends at that a huge underlying problem in combatting corporate power is the misguided legal notion that got illegitimately injected into our body politic in the late 1880s, that wrongly suggested the idea of corporate personhood. It's a fiction. The Founders never believed it. So we also need a Constitutional Amendment to erase that stain on James Madison's best work.
Jump on MovetoAmend's petition here.
There are other good ideas out there. Public Citizen, for one, is pushing the concept of shareholder approval prior to corporate political spending. E. J. Dionne's column this morning suggests others, and I know many other creative people are responding angrily to this outrageous decision with good ideas.
And I would even suggest that one of the better short-term responses to the Roberts Court's impudent power grab would be to pass EFCA, the Employee Free Choice Act. Since the Roberts Court's ruling allows labor unions as well as corporations to spend directly from their treasuries on politics now, we could respond to this provocation by doing whatever we can to increase the power of labor unions.
Yes, they'll still be vastly outspent by corporate money--but at least if we pass EFCA, and make it easier to add millions of working Americans to the union movement, labor money can counteract some of the power imbalance the Supreme Court just created. Plus, we should pass EFCA anyway, on its own merits.
What do you think, Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi? The Roberts Court is trying a nasty, brazen power grab. How about fighting back immediately, with tough new restrictions on Wall Street and corporate execs, passing EFCA, and clean money public elections through FENA, combined with serious and well-publicized hearings on the need to roll back so-called corporate free speech and corporate personhood?
The Roberts Court is trying to steal the House and Senate majorities for its corporate team. It's trying to flood our political system with corporate money to cut off the Obama Administration at only one term. It's wrong, it's a stain on the Constitution, and we'd like to help fight back.


10 Ways to Stop Corporate Dominance of Politics


It's not too late to limit or reverse the impact of the Supreme Court's disastrous decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

by Fran Korten

The recent Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited corporate spending in politics just may be the straw that breaks the plutocracy's back.

Pro-democracy groups, business leaders, and elected representatives are proposing mechanisms to prevent or counter the millions of dollars that corporations can now draw from their treasuries to push for government action favorable to their bottom line. The outrage ignited by the Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission extends to President Obama, who has promised that repairing the damage will be a priority for his administration.

But what can be done to limit or reverse the effect of the Court's decision? Here are 10 ideas:

  1. Amend the U.S. Constitution to declare that corporations are not persons and do not have the rights of human beings. Since the First Amendment case for corporate spending as a free speech right rests on corporations being considered "persons," the proposed amendment would strike at the core of the ruling's justification. The push for the 28th Amendment is coming from the grassroots, where a prairie fire is catching on from groups such as Public Citizen, Voter Action, and the Campaign to Legalize Democracy.
  2. Require shareholders to approve political spending by their corporations. Public Citizen and the Brennan Center for Justice are among the groups advocating this measure, and some members of Congress appear interested. Britain has required such shareholder approval since 2000.
  3. Pass the Fair Elections Now Act, which provides federal financing for Congressional elections. This measure has the backing of organizations representing millions of Americans, including, the NAACP, the Service Employees International Union, and the League of Young Voters. Interestingly, the heads of a number of major corporations have also signed on, including those of Ben & Jerry's, Hasbro, Crate & Barrel, and the former head of Delta Airlines.
  4. Give qualified candidates equal amounts of free broadcast air time for political messages. This would limit the advantages of paid advertisements in reaching the public through television where most political spending goes.
  5. Ban political advertising by corporations that receive government money, hire lobbyists, or collect most of their revenue abroad. A fear that many observers have noted is that the Court's ruling will allow foreign corporations to influence U.S. elections. According to The New York Times, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) are exploring this option.
  6. Impose a 500 percent excise tax on corporate contributions to political committees and on corporate expenditures on political advocacy campaigns. Representative Alan Grayson (D-Florida) proposes this, calling it "The Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act."
  7. Prohibit companies from trading their stock on national exchanges if they make political contributions and expenditures. Another one from Grayson, which he calls "The Public Company Responsibility Act."
  8. Require publicly traded companies to disclose in SEC filings money used for the purpose of influencing public opinion, rather than for promoting their products. Grayson calls this "The Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act."
  9. Require the corporate CEO to appear as sponsor of commercials that his or her company pays for, another possibility from the Schumer-Van Hollen team, according to The New York Times
  10. Publicize the reform options, inform the public of who is making contributions to whom, and activate the citizenry. If we are to safeguard our democracy, media must inform and citizens must act.

The measures listed above-and others that seek to reverse the dominance of money in our political system-will not be easy. But grassroots anger at this latest win for corporate power is running high. History shows that when the public is sufficiently aroused, actions that once seemed impossible can, in hindsight, seem inevitable.

Fran Korten wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Fran is publisher of YES! Magazine.


A 2007 study by the Bush Administration’s Treasury Department found that the corporate tax burden  is lower, on average, in the United States than in other developed countries.

In addition, the Government Accountability Office has found that the United States collects only a very small amount of revenue on U.S. corporations’ foreign-source income.  In 2004, U.S. multinational corporations earned roughly $700 billion abroad but paid only $16 billion to the IRS on these earnings. 

The Obama proposal recognizes the current context — our nation’s grave fiscal outlook, a relatively low corporate tax burden by comparison to other countries, and a broken international tax regime — and advances a balanced approach that warrants careful consideration."

 Closing tax loopholes like Obama suggests could add $210 billion to our economy - money we can use for education, jobs and health care. But Corporate America's worst actors - including Bank of America, Citigroup and others - are fighting to hang on to their Cayman-islands loophole2. Tell your member of Congress to make Corporate America pay their share by eliminating these tax haven loopholes.

Tons of major corporations like American Express, A.I.G, Boeing, Hewlett-Packard and Pfizer hide profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens. In fact, over 18,000 U.S. companies currently maintain a post office box in one five story building in the Cayman Islands to take advantage of a tax loophole3.

And while those companies flaunt the law, we're stuck cleaning up their economic wreckage. We've spent over $600 trillion bailing out wall street, but those same corporations aren't playing by our rules, yet.

Taxpayers in every state would save millions of dollars, according to new research by the State Public Interest Research Groups. Click to find out how much it means to YOUR state, and then ask Congress to close these tax loopholes.


Drew Hudson
TrueMajority / USAction
1 -
2 -
3 -

White House Tax Proposals "Controversial," Senator Baucus Says
Martin Vaughan, Dow Jones Newswires: "Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said President Barack Obama's proposals to ratchet up taxes on the foreign profits of US firms are 'controversial' and may not be enacted this year. 'We want to make sure the playing field is level so our American companies are able to compete,' Baucus told reporters before Senate votes Monday evening. He said White House proposals to crack down on offshore tax evasion by individuals may well move more quickly, however."


Yesterday the Senate Banking Committee, with Democratic Senators joining a unified Republican base, killed a provision to allow bankruptcy judges re-negotiate home mortgages to stave off foreclosures. Yesterday Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois made an interesting, little-reported charge on the Ed Shultz Show (MSNBC):

"[Facing] 8 million mortgage foreclosures in America, that means 1 out of every 6 home mortgages will go into foreclosure, and that is not my estimate that is Moody's,..., sitting down and negotiating for months to find a reasonable way for people to keep their homes, to renegotiate the mortgage or have a bankruptcy judge make one last attempt----THE BANKS HAVE WALKED AWAY FROM THE TABLE, only CitiGroup is willing to work with us."

Ed Shultz quoting Durbin from another radio interview: "So after taking billions (if not trillions) of tax payer dollars, the banks are now so obstinate to refuse to negotiate and then quoted Durbin saying "THE BANKS OWN THE SENATE". 

Shultz repeating the question: "Do you believe the 'BANKS OWN THE SENATE'?"

Durbin: "It is an uphill battle right now, and I cannot get 60 votes in the Senate."

Shultz: "So the lobbying power is that strong?"

Durbin: "It is hard to believe that they bring us this crisis, the crisis that has brought us this recession [err DEPRESSION], when they receive billions of dollars of taxpayer money, for mistakes they have made, billions of dollars, that they refuse to sit down and work out a reasonable compromise....the next thing we are moving on is credit cards..."

Now you have that, then you have the failed Chrysler negotiations where Obama stated that a few [Wall Street] creditors [again] walked away from the table and refused to participate.

Here is the deal folks. Wall Street pirates have created an illusion that they are essential to capitalism, that they are capitalism and they must be served WITHOUT hair cuts, compromises or changes. This of course is unsustainable and irresponsible, as well as, how mobsters, gangsters, and pirates would react with total obstinance and arrogance. In short it is a developing class war.


Great Video - 
Hurrah for One World Government


Friday, May 1, 2009 by
Ronald Reagan: Vengeful, Score-Settling, Hard Left Ideologue
by Glenn Greenwald

No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. . .
Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law.

Convention Against Torture, signed and championed by Ronald Reagan, Article II/IV:

"The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention.  It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called "universal jurisdiction." Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.

Ronald Reagan, May 20, 1988, transmitting the Convention Against Torture to the Senate for ratification

It's literally true that if you say today verbatim what Ronald Reagan said in 1988 about torture and the need to prosecute those who do it, then you are immediately and by definition a rabid score-settler from the Hard Left who is unfit to be trusted with national security decisions.


In 2008, the first full year of the crisis, workers lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. During the same time period, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans increased by $30 billion, bringing their total combined wealth to $1.57 trillion, which is more than the combined net worth of 50% of the US population. Just to make this point clear, 400 people have more wealth than 155 million people combined.---David DeGraw, "The Economic Elite vs. People of the USA"

Why do Republican Crimes Go Unpunished?

Democrats' "Battered Wife Syndrome"

Saturday 25 April 2009

by: Robert Parry  |  Visit article original @ Consortium News

   In recent years, the Washington political dynamic has often resembled an abusive marriage, in which the bullying husband (the Republicans) slaps the wife and kids around, and the battered wife (the Democrats) makes excuses and hides the ugly bruises from outsiders to keep the family together.

    So, when the Republicans are in a position of power, they throw their weight around, break the rules, and taunt: "Whaddya gonna do 'bout it?"

    Then, when the Republicans do the political equivalent of passing out on the couch, the Democrats use their time in control, tiptoeing around, tidying up the house and cringing at every angry grunt from the snoring figure on the couch.

    This pattern, which now appears to be repeating itself with President Barack Obama's unwillingness to hold ex-President George W. Bush and his subordinates accountable for a host of crimes including torture, may have had its origins 40 years ago in Campaign 1968 when the Vietnam War was raging.

    President Lyndon Johnson felt he was on the verge of achieving a negotiated peace settlement when he learned in late October 1968 that operatives working for Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon were secretly sabotaging the Paris peace talks.

    Nixon, who was getting classified briefings on the talks' progress, feared that an imminent peace accord might catapult Vice President Hubert Humphrey to victory. So, Nixon's team sent secret messages to South Vietnamese leaders offering them a better deal if they boycotted Johnson's talks and helped Nixon to victory, which they agreed to do.

    Johnson learned about Nixon's gambit through wiretaps of the South Vietnamese embassy and he confronted Nixon by phone (only to get an unconvincing denial). At that point, Johnson knew his only hope was to expose Nixon's maneuver which Johnson called "treason" since it endangered the lives of a half million American soldiers in the war zone.

    As a Christian Science Monitor reporter sniffed out the story and sought confirmation, Johnson consulted Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Defense Secretary Clark Clifford about whether to expose Nixon's ploy right before the election. Both Rusk and Clifford urged Johnson to stay silent.

    In what would become a Democratic refrain in the years ahead, Clifford said in a Nov. 4, 1968, conference call that "Some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I'm wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have a certain individual [Nixon] elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country's interests."

    So, Johnson stayed silent "for the good of the country"; Nixon eked out a narrow victory over Humphrey; the Vietnam War continued for another four years with an additional 20,763 U.S. dead and 111,230 wounded and more than a million more Vietnamese killed.

    Over the years, as bits and pieces of this story have dribbled out - including confirmation from audiotapes released by the LBJ Library in December 2008 - the Democrats and the mainstream news media have never made much out of Nixon's deadly treachery. [See's "The Significance of Nixon's Treason."]

    The Watergate Exception

    The one exception to this pattern of the Democrats' "battered wife syndrome" may have been the Watergate case in which Nixon sought to secure his second term, in part, by spying on his political rivals, including putting bugs on phones at the Democratic National Committee.

    When Nixon's team was caught in a second break-in - trying to add more bugs - the scandal erupted.

    Even then, however, key Democrats, such as Democratic National Chairman Robert Strauss, tried to shut down the Watergate investigation as it was expanding early in Nixon's second term. Strauss argued that the inquiries would hurt the country, but enough other Democrats and an energized Washington press corps overcame the resistance. [For details, see Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]

    With Nixon's Watergate-compelled resignation in August 1974, the Republicans were at a crossroads. In one direction, they could start playing by the rules and seek to be a responsible political party. Or they could internalize Nixon's pugnacious style and build an infrastructure to punish anyone who tried to hold them accountable in the future.

    Essentially, the Republicans picked option two. Under the guidance of Nixon's Treasury Secretary William Simon, right-wing foundations collaborated to build a powerful new infrastructure, pooling resources to finance right-wing publications, think tanks and anti-journalism attack groups. As this infrastructure took shape in the late 1970s, it imbued the Republicans with more confidence.

    So, before Election 1980, the Republican campaign - bolstered by former CIA operatives loyal to former CIA Director George H.W. Bush - resorted to Nixon-style tactics in exploiting President Jimmy Carter's failure to free 52 American hostages then held in Iran.

    The evidence is now overwhelming that Republican operatives, including campaign chief Bill Casey and some of his close associates, had back- channel contacts with Iran's Islamic regime and other foreign governments to confound Carter's hostage negotiations. Though much of this evidence has seeped out over the past 29 years, some was known in real time.

    For instance, Iran's acting foreign minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh told Agence France Press on Sept. 6, 1980, that he knew that Republican candidate Ronald Reagan was "trying to block a solution" to the hostage impasse.

    Senior Carter administration officials, such as National Security Council aide Gary Sick, also were hearing rumors about Republican interference, and President Carter concluded that Israel's hard-line Likud leaders had "cast their lot with Reagan," according to notes I found of a congressional task force interview with Carter a dozen years later.

    Carter traced the Israeli opposition to him to a "lingering concern [among] Jewish leaders that I was too friendly with Arabs."

    Israel already had begun playing a key middleman role in delivering secret military shipments to Iran, as Carter knew. But - again for "the good of the country" - Carter and his White House kept silent.

    Since the first anniversary of the hostage crisis coincidentally fell on Election Day 1980, Reagan benefited from the voters' anger over the national humiliation and scored a resounding victory. [For more details on the 1980 "October Surprise" case, see Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]

    GOP's Growing Confidence

    Though much of the public saw Reagan as a tough guy who had frightened the Iranians into surrendering the hostages on Inauguration Day 1981, the behind-the-scenes reality was different.

    In secret, the Reagan administration winked at Israeli weapons shipments to Iran in the first half of 1981, what appeared to be a payoff for Iran's cooperation in sabotaging Carter. Nicholas Veliotes, who was then assistant secretary of state, told a PBS interviewer that he saw those secret shipments as an outgrowth of the covert Republican- Iranian contacts from the campaign.

    Veliotes added that those early shipments then became the "germs" of the later Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal.

    But the Republicans seemed to have little to fear from exposure. Their media infrastructure was rapidly expanding - for instance, the right- wing Washington Times opened in 1982 - and America's Left didn't see the need to counter this growing media power on the Right.

    The right-wing attack groups also had success targeting mainstream journalists who dug up information that didn't fit with Reagan's propaganda themes - the likes of the New York Times Raymond Bonner, whose brave reporting about right-wing death squads in Central America led to his recall from the region and his resignation from the Times.

    This new right-wing muscle, combined with Ronald Reagan's political popularity, made Democrats and mainstream journalists evermore hesitant to pursue negative stories about Republican policies, including evidence that Reagan's favorite "freedom fighters," the Nicaraguan contras, were dabbling in cocaine trafficking and that an illegal contra-aid operation was set up inside the White House.

    In mid-1986, when my Associated Press colleague Brian Barger and I put together a story citing two dozen sources about the work of NSC official Oliver North, congressional Democrats were hesitant to follow up on the disclosures.

    Finally in August 1986, the House Intelligence Committee, then chaired by Democrat Lee Hamilton and including Republican Rep. Dick Cheney, met with North and other White House officials in the Situation Room and were told that the AP story was untrue. With no further investigation, the Democratic-led committee accepted the word of North and his superiors.

    Lucky Exposure

    It was only an unlikely occurrence on Oct. 5, 1986, the shooting down of one of North's supply planes over Nicaragua and a confession by the one survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, that put the House Intelligence Committee's gullibility into focus.

    The plane shoot-down - and disclosures from the Middle East about secret U.S. arms sales to Iran - forced the Iran-Contra scandal into public view. The congressional Democrats responded by authorizing a joint House-Senate investigation, with Hamilton as one of the mild- mannered co-chairs and Cheney again leading the GOP's tough-guy defense.

    While the Republicans worked to undermine the investigation, the Democrats looked for a bipartisan solution that would avoid a messy confrontation with President Reagan and Vice President Bush. That solution was to put most of the blame on North and a few of his superiors, such as NSC adviser John Poindexter and the then-deceased CIA Director Bill Casey.

    The congressional investigation also made a hasty decision, supported by Hamilton and the Republicans but opposed by most Democrats, to give limited immunity to secure the testimony of North.

    Hamilton agreed to this immunity without knowing what North would say. Rather than show any contrition, North used his immunized testimony to rally Republicans and other Americans in support of Reagan's aggressive, above-the-law tactics.

    The immunity also crippled later attempts by special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh to hold North and Poindexter accountable under the law. Though Walsh won convictions against the pair in federal court, the judgments were overturned by right-wing judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals citing the immunity granted by Congress.

    By the early 1990s, the pattern was set. Whenever new evidence emerged of Republican wrongdoing - such as disclosures about contra-drug trafficking, secret military support for Saddam Hussein's Iraq and those early Republican-Iran contacts of 1980 - the Republicans would lash out in fury and the Democrats would try to calm things down.

    Lee Hamilton became the Republicans' favorite Democratic investigator because he exemplified this approach of conducting "bipartisan" investigations, rather than aggressively pursuing the facts wherever they might lead. While in position to seek the truth, Hamilton ignored the contra-drug scandal and swept the Iraq-gate and October Surprise issues under a very lumpy rug.

    In 1992, I interviewed Spencer Oliver, a Democratic staffer whose phone at the Watergate building had been bugged by Nixon's operatives 20 years earlier. Since then, Oliver had served as the chief counsel on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and had observed this pattern of Republican abuses and Democratic excuses.

    Oliver said: "What [the Republicans] learned from Watergate was not 'don't do it,' but 'cover it up more effectively.' They have learned that they have to frustrate congressional oversight and press scrutiny in a way that will avoid another major scandal."

    The Clinton Opportunity

    The final chance for exposing the Republican crimes of the 1980s fell to Bill Clinton after he defeated President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

    Before leaving office, however, Bush-41 torpedoed the ongoing Iran- Contra criminal investigation by issuing six pardons, including one to former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger whose cover-up trial was set to begin in early 1993.

    Special prosecutor Walsh - a lifelong Republican albeit from the old Eisenhower wing of the party - denounced the pardons as another obstruction of justice. "George Bush's misuse of the pardon power made the cover-up complete," Walsh later wrote in his book Firewall.

    However, the Iran-Contra investigation was not yet dead. Indeed, Walsh was considering empanelling a new grand jury. Walsh also had come to suspect that the origins of the scandal traced back to the October Surprise of 1980, with his investigators questioning former CIA officer Donald Gregg about his alleged role in that prequel to Iran- Contra.

    The new Democratic President could have helped Walsh by declassifying key documents that the Reagan-Bush-41 team had withheld from various investigations. But Clinton followed advice from Hamilton and other senior Democrats who feared stirring partisan anger among Republicans.

    Later, in a May 1994 conversation with documentary filmmaker Stuart Sender, Clinton explained that he had opposed pursuing these Republican scandals because, according to Sender, "he was going to try to work with these guys, compromise, build working relationships....

    "It seemed even at the time terribly naive that these same Republicans were going to work with him if he backed off on congressional hearings or possible independent prosecutor investigations." [See Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]

    No Reciprocity

    But the Democrats - like the battered wife who keeps hoping her abusive husband will change - found a different reality as the decade played out.

    Rather than thanking Clinton, the Republicans bullied him with endless investigations about his family finances, the ethics of his appointees - and his personal morality, ultimately impeaching him in 1998 for lying about a sexual affair (though he survived the Senate trial in 1999).

    After the impeachment battle, the Republicans - joined by both the right-wing and mainstream news media - kept battering Clinton and his heir apparent, Vice President Al Gore, who was mocked for his choice of clothing and denounced for his supposed exaggerations.

    Though Gore still managed to win the popular vote in Election 2000 and apparently would have prevailed if all legally cast votes had been counted in Florida, the Republicans made clear that wasn't going to happen, even dispatching rioters from Washington to disrupt a recount in Miami.

    George W. Bush's bullying victory - which was finalized by five Republican partisans on the U.S. Supreme Court - was met with polite acceptance by the Democrats who again seemed to hope for the best from the newly empowered Republicans. [For details on Election 2000, see our book, Neck Deep.]

    Instead, after the 9/11 attacks, Bush-43 grabbed unprecedented powers; he authorized torture and warrantless wiretaps; he pressured Democrats into accepting an unprovoked war in Iraq; and he sought to damage his critics, such as former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

    Now, after eight destructive years, the Democrats have again gained control of the White House and Congress, but they seem intent on once more not provoking the Republicans, rather than holding them accountable.

    Though President Barack Obama has released some of the key documents underpinning Bush-43's actions, he opposes any formal commission of inquiry and has discouraged any prosecutions for violations of federal law. Obama has said he wants "to look forward as opposed to looking backward."

    In dismissing the idea of a "truth and reconciliation commission," Obama also recognizes that the Republicans would show no remorse for the Bush administration's actions; that they would insist that there is nothing to "reconcile"; and that they would stay on the attack, pummeling the Democrats as weak, overly sympathetic to terrorists, and endangering national security.

    On Thursday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs admitted as much, saying that Obama rejected the idea of a bipartisan "truth commission" because it was apparent that there was no feasible way to get the Republicans to be bipartisan.

    "The President determined the concept didn't seem altogether workable in this case," Gibbs said, citing the partisan atmosphere that already has surrounded the torture issue. "The last few days might be evidence of why something like this might just become a political back and forth."

    In other words, the Republicans are rousing themselves from the couch and getting angry, while the Democrats are prancing about, hands out front, trying to calm things down and avoid a confrontation.

    The Democrats hope against hope that if they tolerate the latest Republican outrages maybe there will be some reciprocity, maybe there will be some GOP votes on Democratic policy initiatives.

    But there's no logical reason to think so. That isn't how the Republicans and their right-wing media allies do things; they simply get angrier because belligerence has worked so well for so long.

    On the other hand, Democratic wishful thinking is the essence of this political "battered wife syndrome," dreaming about a behavioral transformation when all the evidence - and four decades of experience - tell you that the bullying husband isn't going to change.


    Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, "Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush," was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, "Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq" and "Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth'" are also available there. Or go to

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During the month of March, 2006 alone, George AWOL Bush violated enough laws to make impeachment, indictment, conviction and imprisonment the right thing to do under U.S. law.

Here are just a few of the March violations:

Bush signed the spending bill, knowing that violated a Constitutional requirement that the bill must first pass in both chambers.

He violated the material witness law by using it as preventive detention authority against those who could commit terrorist acts some day, but for whom there is no cause for criminal charges.

He violated the Clean Air Act by by loosening emission standards for aging coal-fired power plants. The Clean Air Act makes it clear that only Congress may make such a decision.

In a legal brief written for the U.S. Supreme Court, Bush cited evidence from a debate by two Republican senators. There was no such debate. The evidence was manufactured by the White House.

Bush defined "material support" for terrorists in such a distorted fashion that victims of terrorists
  wound up being defined as terrorists.

He approved the ports deal, knowing that Dubai's boycott of Israel was illegal under U.S. law.

He failed to hand over delinquent mining company safety violation fees to the Department of the Treasury, as required by law. (He also decreased major fines, and did not collect any in half of the cases.)

He violated the law when he secured the UAE ports deal without the required national security review.

Bush's nuclear deal with India violates U.S. and international nuclear nonproliferation laws.

 List of International Obligations violated by George W. Bush

link to evidence of the above listed crimes, and other crimes

A roughly chronological list of the Bush administrations criminal or unconstitutional actions.

Remember, Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution reads:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.
so treaty violations are unconstitutional even if they do not violate a specific Constitutional amendment.

“Unsigned” the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Employed and deployed mercenaries in violation of the Geneva Convention, Protocol 1, Art. 37.

Detained American citizens indefinitely without charge or trial, and without any means of appeal in violation of the 1st, 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments to the Constitution.

Manufactured false documents regarding Iraqi WMDs in violation of U.S.C. TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 47 ´┐Ż 1001.

Knowingly used false documents regarding Iraqi WMDs in violation of U.S.C. TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 47 ´┐Ż 1001.

Conspired to commit the above offenses regarding Iraqi WMDs in violation of U.S.C. TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 19 > ´┐Ż 371.

Conspired to commit fraud against the United States Government regarding Iraq in the above offenses in violation of U.S.C. TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 19 > ´┐Ż 371.

Commited military acts of war in Iraq before Congress approved any such actions.

Invaded Iraq in violation of the United Nations Charter, Chapter 1, Art. 2 & Principle VI of the Nuremburg Charter.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and the Navy he bears ultimately responsible for and has allowed or commanded the armed forces of the United States to commit the following:

1.Executing wounded prisoners in violation of the Geneva Convention I, Art. 12.

2.Attacking civilian hospitals in violation of the Geneva Convention I, Art. 19.

3.Taking civilian hostages in violation of the Geneva Convention IV, Art 147 & Protocol 1, Art. 75.

4.Engaging in physical coercion against civilians in violation of the Geneva Convention IV, Art. 31.

5.Withholding of drinking water from civilian populations to coerce their cooperation in intelligence gathering in violation of the Geneva Convention, Protocol 1, Art. 54.

6.Employing cluster bombs in civilian areas in violation of the Geneva Convention, Protocol 1, Art. 57, Art. 35 and Art. 85.

7.Employing tons of depleted uranium shells in violation of the Geneva Convention, Protocol 1, Art. 35.

8.Employing chemical weapons (white phosphorous gas employed as a weapon rather than illumination) in violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare.

9.Holding prisoners of war and “enemy combatants” indefinitely without a fair trial in violation of the Geneva Convention IV, Art. 147 & Protocol 1, Art. 85.

10.Torturing prisoners of war and “enemy combatants” in violation of the Geneva Convention I, Art. 12, Protocol 1, Art. 75, Convention III, Art. 13, & Protocol IV, Art. 147.

11.Murdering prisoners of war and “enemy combatants” in violation of the Geneva Convention III, Art. 13, & Protocol 1, Art. 75.

12.Targeting and murdering civilian journalists in violation of the Geneva Convention, Protocol 1, Art. 75 & 79.

13.Murder of civilians in violation of the Geneva Convention IV, Art. 3, Protocol I, Art. 51, & Protocol II, Art. 13

Of the above violations, numbers 9, 10, 11,12 & 13 are considered Grave breaches of the Conventions and Protocols and are war crimes.

Ordered the confinement, transfer to foreign countries and CIA “shadow detention centers” and torture of civilians in violation of the Geneva Convention, Protocol IV, Art. 147. This is also considered a Grave breach of the Conventions and Protocols and is a war crime.

Ordered the abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in violation of U.S. law (the“McCain Amendment”) and the Geneva Convention I, Art. 12, Protocol 1, Art. 75, Convention III, Art. 13, & Protocol IV, Art. 147.

Ordered the illegal surveillance of American citizens in violation of U.S. law (the FISA) and the 4th amendment of the Constitution.

Refused to furnish Congress with information regarding FBI activities in violation of the USAPATRIOT Act.

Obstruction of justice. While the special counsel's investigation is continuing, it appears that Bush was at least aware of efforts to cover up, and may well have been involved in, a White House campaign to punish and discredit former ambassador Joseph Wilson by illegally exposing his wife, Valerie Plame, as an undercover CIA operative, which is itself a felony.

Benjamin Ferencz is a former chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials who successfully convicted 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating death squads that killed more than one million people in the famous Einsatzgruppen Case. Ferencz, now 87, has gone on to become a founding father of the basis behind international law regarding war crimes, and his essays and legal work drawing from the Nuremberg trials and later the commission that established the International Criminal Court remain a lasting influence in that realm.

Ferencz's biggest contribution to the war crimes field is his assertion that an unprovoked or "aggressive" war is the highest crime against mankind. It was the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 that made possible the horrors of Abu Ghraib, the destruction of Fallouja and Ramadi, the tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, civilian massacres like Haditha, and on and on. Ferencz believes that a "prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation."

Interviewed from his home in New York, Ferencz laid out a simple summary of the case:

"The United Nations charter has a provision which was agreed to by the United States formulated by the United States in fact, after World War II. Its says that from now on, no nation can use armed force without the permission of the U.N. Security Council. They can use force in connection with self-defense, but a country can't use force in anticipation of self-defense. Regarding Iraq, the last Security Council resolution essentially said, 'Look, send the weapons inspectors out to Iraq, have them come back and tell us what they've found -- then we'll figure out what we're going to do. The U.S. was impatient, and decided to invade Iraq -- which was all pre-arranged of course. So, the United States went to war, in violation of the charter."

It's that simple. Ferencz called the invasion a "clear breach of law," and dismissed the Bush administration's legal defense that previous U.N. Security Council resolutions dating back to the first Gulf War justified an invasion in 2003. Ferencz notes that the first Bush president believed that the United States didn't have a U.N. mandate to go into Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein; that authorization was simply to eject Hussein from Kuwait. Ferencz asked, "So how do we get authorization more than a decade later to finish the job? The arguments made to defend this are not persuasive."


Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
- Mark Twain 


I pledge allegiance to fossil fuel for the SUV's of America, and to the engine in which it burns,

one nation, under gas, combustible, with lung cancer and global warming for all.


Live Faust, Die Jung


Dateline Nov. 5, 2008
- Betty Bowers

Meet Tonya Jenkins. She died of shock this morning. You see, the poor thing had spent the past two years getting all of her information from Sean Hannity. She would then go to her favorite website,
Free Republic, and read thousands and thousands and thousands of vitriolic posts, all containing no facts inconsistent with Mr. Hannity’s and no opinions that caused Tonya to rethink her own. 

Tonya went to bed last night with a tumbler of cold tequila and a head full of comfy knowledge. She knew that the Lord Jesus would answer her prayer to never let no colored Muslim communist terrorist be no durn president. She was certain she would wake up to find that sassy Sarah Palin and her running mate, a wonderfully mavericky war hero, had been elected instead. In her Christian heart, Tonya was confident that Americans were every bit as racist as Republicans hoped they’d turn out to be, as the much discussed, posted about and wished for
Bradley Effect would work its reactionary magic at the polls.

But this morning at work, Tonya got sloppy. Maybe she was tired. Maybe just a bit hungover. Whatever the cause for her lapse, she became infected by the Liberal Elite Mainstream Media. As she carelessly bused her table, she inadvertently glanced at a New York Times a suspiciously informed dinner had mischievously left behind. Sensing danger, she tried to look away, but it was too late. She’d already read the headline. Before she could blindfold herself with the rag she was using to wipe the table and repeat her “la la la la MR. FACTS I DON’T HEAR YOU!  la la ” incantation, inconvenient information had already burrowed into her head like anthrax spores. Poor Tonya’s bitter heart just couldn’t take the shock: The America of FoxNews and her favorite right wing website wasn’t the America she was walking and breathing in. Before I could call out “But Florida and California still hate the homos!” to revive her, she was gone.
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Last revised: October 11, 2003.