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Thursday, December 8, 2011

GSRBO — Presidentially certifiable

Center for Responsive Politics
Lethal mixture of insanity, ignorance, prone to violence
Re-reporting, editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

We can do better than this staged “leadership”

Madison was right: “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”  Knowledge — not threats and drones. Critical judgment, independent thought — far from the herd, moneyed politics and partisanship, celebrity and fan worship, messianic mentality.

Without it, we are screwed — as in what goes for “leadership” in the United States of America today. This cast is not only antagonistic to U.S. public interests but it is the Number One enemy of global well being. Glaring examples are to be found in the U.S. presidential candidates declaring war on countries, increased destabilization in the Middle East, and assassination of foreign nationals.

U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on the record

“… [T]here are a number of ways to be smart about Iran and there are also a few ways to be dumb, and the administration has skipped all the ways to be smart.…

“First of all, maximum covert operations to block and disrupt the Iranian program, including taking out their scientists, including breaking up their systems, all of it covertly, all of it deniable.

“Second, maximum coordination with the Israelis in a way which allows them to maximize their impact in Iran.

“Third, absolute strategic program comparable to what President Reagan, Pope John Paul II and a Margaret Thatcher did to the Soviet Union of every possible aspect short of war of breaking the regime and bringing it down.”

Daniel Larison comments on Gingrich

“Many Republicans flatter Gingrich by treating him as one of the party’s intellectuals, but Gingrich frequently shows that he is unable or unwilling to make crucial distinctions in his treatment of international problems.

“He complains on his campaign website that ‘we currently view Iraq, Afghanistan, and the many other danger spots of the globe as if they are isolated, independent situations,’ and that America ‘lacks a unified grand strategy for defeating radical Islamism.’

“However, these conflicts are largely separate from one another, and there is no such thing as a monolithic, global, radical Islamism that can be addressed by one strategy. No conflicts around the world can be properly understood except by focusing on local circumstances, but for Gingrich, the ideological emphasis on a unified global threat takes priority over proper analysis.
“There is every reason to expect that U.S. foreign policy under a President Gingrich would become even more militarized and confrontational, and America’s relations with much of the world would deteriorate quickly.

U.S. presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s quest to murder scientists

“On occasion, scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead … I think that's a wonderful thing, candidly.…

“I think we should send a very clear message that if you are scientist[s] from Russia or North Korea or from Iran, and you are going to work on a nuclear program to develop a nuclear bomb for Iran, you are not safe.”

In addition to his quest for murder and the U.S. presidency, he was a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and on occasion has “declared that life was a civil right” not extended apparently to “scientists in other counties.”

American Iranian Eleanor Ommani comments on candidates’ Iran “cover”

Ommani said she was appalled by “American political figures’ talk against all international laws and the U.S. Constitution [which any student knows] “do not advocate assassination, killing scientists, breaking down the regime …”

However, she suggested that both major U. S. political parties and candidates are using Iran as a cover. The reasons being, “To boost their own career and at the same time strengthen U.S. capitalism, U.S. imperialism, which has been dealt a blow by Washington failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and changes in Egypt and Tunisia, and the fight going on in Yemen.

“It is truly regional uprising of the oppressed people,” she said, “of poor people against the very wealthy people; and the center of wealth exists in the United States, in my country.”  

Former U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Mike Gravel also responded to the rhetoric of murder.

“I can't tell you how dangerous this kind of rhetoric is in the United States,” Gravel said, “and how the American people have been hoodwinked by these people and by U.S. mainstream media organizations that give credibility to these statements, which have no credibility.

“They’re immoral. They’re dishonest. They’re wrong, internationally. I just can’t give you enough reaction to the stupidity of Newt Gingrich, the irresponsibility of Mitt Romney, and the insanity in the others in articulating this.”

For the past five, six to eight years, the American government has been doing this …  Congress has been appropriating money on average about $200 million a year to bring about regime change in Iran. … Now we see this [latest] incident with the drone that was over Iranian territory.”

“Iran is doing nothing illegal. The intelligence community has repeatedly said that Iran is not pursuing any weaponization program. Yet the president has said it twice — once he said that they [Iranians] are not pursuing, and then on another occasion he said that they are.”

Even if weaponization were a fact in Iran, Gravel said, “In this insanity of our global situation,” to acquire such use, “is for self defense. Morally, international law dictates that any country is entitled to pursue its self defense.”

However, “to go out and advocate war when we’ve just been through ten years of it … and for these people to be considered as presidential candidates in the United States, [this is] really a sad reflection on the state of our government.

“… As an American, I am deeply ashamed of the ridiculous nature of these charges,” Gravel said. “The kindest thing I can say about [the candidates] is that they are morally bankrupt and somewhat insane.”


Again, Madison, “Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty but also by the abuse of power. …

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.”

I believe the progressive must take the best from the past — not entrench or merely reference leaders such as Lincoln or Roosevelt (FDR or ER), Eisenhower, Kennedy or King; but intelligently, critically, consciously (with conscience and care) push constructively forward, beyond ideas and actions and leadership which might have, to the best of our knowledge, seemed to contain the best.

Sources and notes

James Madison (1751-1836) was the fourth President of the United States (1809-1813).

 “Newt Gingrich Advocates Assassinating Iranian Scientists as Drum Beat for War Continues at GOP Debate,” posted November 12, 2011, at http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/newt-gingrich-advocates-assassinating-iran

“Newt Gingrich’s dangerous, self-aggrandizing foreign policy” (Daniel Larison The Week), http://news.yahoo.com/newt-gingrichs-dangerous-self-aggrandizing-foreign-policy-104800717.html

“Santorum: Dead Foreign Scientists a ‘Wonderful Thing,’ posted October 27, 2011, at http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/david/santorum-dead-foreign-scientists-wonderful-t

“U.S. Gingrich says kill Iranian scientists — U.S. presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has openly called for sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program through terrorism and assassinating Iranian scientists as part of Washington’s policy,” November 14, 2011,

Press TV has conducted an interview with Co-founder of American-Iranian Friendship Committee Eleanor Ommani.

“‘Insane’ U.S. politicians to wage more wars — Republican presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich  and Rick Santorum U.S. Republican presidential candidates have renewed calls for covert operations including acts of sabotage, assassination and aid to terrorist groups against Iran”  [Press TV interview], December 8, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/214513.html

More related news context, update

Bachmann, Obama

U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann reveals plans to close the U.S. embassy in Iran though the U.S. has had no embassy there since 1980.  The candidate reportedly told a crowd in Waverly, Iowa, “‘That’s exactly what I would do [if I were president]. … We wouldn’t have an embassy in Iran. I wouldn’t allow that to be there.’”

The sitting president apparently “slipped up when “denouncing the storming of an ‘English’ embassy in Tehran, which is actually ‘British.’”
“Oops! Presidential hopeful plans to close U.S. embassy in Iran,” December 1, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/213227.html

“Speaking at a Wednesday gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington D.C, former House speaker and leading Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich said he would resort to ‘covert capability’ to bring about ‘regime replacement’ in Iran. ‘They only have one very, very large refinery. I would be focused on how to covertly sabotage it every day’ [AFP quoted him as saying].

“Last month, Gingrich proposed that Washington kill Iranian scientists to disrupt the country’s atomic energy program. At the Wednesday gathering, former senator Rick Santorum redoubled the call for assassination of Iranian scientists. ‘We need to say very clearly that we will be conducting covert activity to do everything we can to stop their nuclear program.’

“The other Republican presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, called on Washington to even openly help seditionists in Iran. ‘We should also have covert and overt activities to encourage voices of dissent within the country. Ultimately regime change is what's going to be necessary in that setting.’

“On November 12, during a debate among a number of Republican presidential hopefuls, calls ranging from executing covert operations such as terrorism and assassinations to launching a military strike on Iran to subvert Tehran’s nuclear program were made.

“The calls for assassinations and terrorist acts directed at Iran are not idle threats as a number of Iranian scientists have been assassinated over the past few years, including Professor Majid Shahriari and Professor Masoud Ali-Mohammadi, who were both killed in 2010.

“On Nov. 4, 2011, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, announced that Tehran had irrefutable evidence proving that the U.S. government was involved in anti-Iran conspiracies and dispatched elements to carry out acts of sabotage and terrorism in Iran and other regional countries.

“The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used the false charge as a pretext to push for the imposition of sanctions on the country.

“Iran argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

“Iranian officials have promised a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that such a measure could spark a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.” [ASH/GHN/MA], Press TV transcript of news report

“GOPers call for covert ops on Iran,” December 8, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/214448.html


A former U.S. presidential candidate (2008) Maurice Robert ‘Mike’ Gravel (b. May 13, 1930)   is a former U.S. Senator (1969-1981) from Alaska most prominently known for his release of the Pentagon Papers, the secret official study that revealed the lies and manipulations of successive U.S. administrations that misled the country into the Vietnam War. After the New York Times published portions of the leaked study, the Nixon administration moved to block any further publication of information and to punish any newspaper publisher who revealed the contents.

From the floor of the senate, Gravel (a junior senator at the time) insisted that his constituents had a right to know the truth behind the war and proceeded to read 4,100 pages of the 7,000-page document into the senate record. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Senator Gravel did not have the right and responsibility to share official documents with his constituents.

He then published The Senator Gravel Edition, The Pentagon Papers, Beacon Press (1971). This publication resulted in litigation, Gravel v. U.S., resulting in a landmark Supreme Court decision (No. 71-1017-1026) relative to the Speech and Debate Clause (Article 1, Section 6) of the United States Constitution.
Mike Gravel is said to be “a passionate advocate of direct democracy and the National Initiative” and ran for the presidency on these ideas in the 2007-08 campaign/election season.

Gravel served in the Alaska House of Representatives (1963-66), and as Speaker (1965-66). He then represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate (1969-81) where he served on the Finance, Interior, and Environmental and Public Works committees, chairing the Energy, Water Resources, Buildings and Grounds, and Environmental Pollution subcommittees.

In 1971, Gravel waged a successful one-man filibuster for five months that forced the Nixon administration to cut a deal, effectively ending the draft in the United States.

Senator Gravel served in the U.S. Army (1951-54) and as special adjutant in the Communication Intelligence Services and as a Special Agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps. His academic credentials are in economics (B.S., Columbia University); and in law and public affairs (four honorary degrees). Mike Gravel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to French Canadian immigrants.

He was founder and president of The Democracy Foundation, Philadelphia II, and Direct Democracy, nonprofit corporations dedicated to the establishment of direct democracy in the United States, through the enactment of the National Initiative for Democracy by American voters.  Senator Gravel is author of Jobs and More Jobs, and Citizen Power. He lectures and writes about governance, foreign affairs, economics, Social Security, tax reform, energy, environmental issues and democracy. http://www.mikegravel.us/bio


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