Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sam Webb betrays working people and sows divisions in labor movement

This appeared on the Internet. Will Sam Webb respond?


On the issue of Ford "buy-outs," I read in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Ford Motor Company is offering another round of "buy-outs." This time they are offering workers more than the last time.

What this means is those workers who took the buy-out packages before lost in two ways.

First they lost out on a better "buy-out" package being presented now.

Second, they could have been making a lot more money because the Plant never closed as Ford had threatened.

Now employment at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant is back up to almost one-thousand workers--- the majority getting "temporary worker pay, " which is half the pay of what the workers who were tricked into taking buy-outs were getting in wages!

Talk about your brazen exploitation and theft all perpetrated on the premise of corporate lies... notice a similarity to anything?

Kind of like the lies Bush used to get the
United States into an imperialist war of occupation in Iraq.

This provides an interesting dilemma for those who tout the
United States as the world's greatest bastion of democracy: How can democratic decision making take place when top corporate and government officials are lying about everything from the war in Iraq right down to the level of a job?

Then again, corporations never have intended for workers to participate in the decision making process at work any more than they have intended for working people to participate in the affairs of government.

What I find really strange is Sam Webb has produced a new You Tube video about how the 2008 elections are all about "democracy" when he fails to address the very specific issues surrounding plant closings and massive lay-offs and job terminations taking place now... is he muzzled by some kind of right-wing Gestapo force?

Never before have I ever heard of a Communist Party leader joining together with the auto industry
CEO's and class collaborationist labor leaders claiming things are all a "done deal" as plants close and workers lose their jobs... even Earl Browder never engaged in such working class betrayal.

In Minnesota the struggle to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly plant is expanding and growing as more people from diverse walks of life are being drawn in more and more as participants in the struggle to save this plant through public ownership, and Sam Webb has dictated that the South/Central Minnesota District of the Communist Party USA must remain out of this struggle lest members face expulsion.

On the other hand, Webb in his new You Tube video claims he is supporting the Democrats because defeating the rabid right-wing Republicans will offer more opportunity for working people to participate in the democratic process. How much more of a democratic process does Webb require to join with labor and community organizations and progressive elected officials who right now are challenging the "right" of the Ford Motor Company to be the sole decision maker?

Why would anyone expect that Webb would participate in saving a plant and two-thousand jobs any more after a Democratic President takes office when he refuses to participate in this democratic struggle right now.

Legislators have created an important piece of legislation aimed at depriving the Ford Motor Company of dictating what it will do with this modern plant it wants to first close then turn into a pile of rubble so it can become a joint partner with a bunch of real-estate speculators and contractors who want to build a little up-scale, yuppie, "green community" in its place.

Webb should have to explain why he is sitting out this struggle to save two-thousand jobs; any thinking person would assume that the leader of the Communist Party USA would be first in line defending the democratic rights of working people and the community to participate in the democratic process.

Webb sitting on his hands sowing division among the progressive community in
Minnesota on this issue is classic revisionism which always leads to the betrayal of working people just as has happened in this instance. Then Webb has the nerve to say there can be no democratic advances unless Democrats are elected.

One can only conclude Webb does not respect democratic decision making inside the Communist Party any more than he dares to challenge the corporate dictate of what plants will be closed as thousands of workers lose their jobs.

I have never seen, nor heard, of such vile revisionism based on such a perversion of Marxism. Ok, maybe Gorbachov was worse.

This perplexing question has to be asked: Why is Sam Webb refusing to support Minnesota Senate File 607 as advocated by United Auto Workers Local 879 representing workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant?

Perhaps Webb should consult with Frank Lumpkin on this issue.

It is interesting that Dean Gunderson is catching hell for spilling the beans in telling everyone he and the St. Paul Club of the CPUSA must refrain from participating in this struggle as they have been ordered by Webb.

Webb complains working people have had no victories in the last thirty years even though 12 of those years have been presided over by Democrat. How is a Democrat in the oval office with a majority Senate and House going to change the outcome of the struggle to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Plant when a Democratic controlled State Senate Committee couldn’t even pass a bill aimed at saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant? Perhaps if Webb would spend a few dollars organizing here in Minnesota the Ford Plant could be saved.

Last night a major labor leader in the Twin Cities announce a coalition of labor and community activists was forming to take on the Ford Motor Company… this doesn’t sound like a “done deal to me… apparently the spokesman for the Ford Motor Company doesn’t think so either judging by the way he clutched his head in his arms in desperation listening to this latest news.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant

It looks like there might be movement towards developing a massive community/labor coalition to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant. It is about time. Organized labor has been dragging its feet.

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but not one single union was consulted by the consultants who came up with various scenarios of how the Ford Site should be used:

Notice in this study below only business organizations have been consulted. No one asked Ford Workers if they wanted the plant to stay open so they could keep their jobs.

Case Studies

« Becton, Dickison, and Company | Main

Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant

St. Paul, MN

Location: 966 Mississippi River Blvd South
St Paul, MN

Size: 135 Acres

Building class: Heavy Industrial

Colliers Services:
Redevelopment Market Analysis

Colliers Project Team: Jefferson Patterson, CRE, MCR, Second Vice President, Director of Corporate Solutions; Rodger Skare, MAI, Senior Vice President, Appraisal & Consultation Services

The Project:

In March 2007, the Port Authority of the City of Saint Paul (Minnesota), the economic development arm of the City, contracted with the Minneapolis office of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker to perform a real estate market and redevelopment analysis of the 135-acre Ford Assembly Plant site. Ford had recently designated the plant for an August 2008 closure and sale in the Highland Park neighborhood of Saint Paul. Colliers’ Consulting and Valuation Group, led by Jeff Patterson and Rodger Skare, was asked to research and advise on numerous aspects of the soon-to-be closed industrial site including: possible redevelopment scenarios, baseline socio-economic profiles, site specific analysis for office, industrial, retail, residential, institutional, corporate campus and mixed-use development concepts. In addition, Colliers was asked to identify realistic, market-based price points for specific real estate products and absorption timelines and capabilities.

The Challenge:

Colliers was asked to interface closely with and respond to numerous, and often conflicting stakeholder groups, including the Ford Land and Development Co., a 25-member Citizens Task Force, a separate 25-member Business Advisory Group, the City Planning and Economic Development Staff, many local neighborhood special interest groups, the City’s lead planning consultant (EDAW), and a private developer panel. Colliers was challenged to bring a sense of market reality to a multi-faceted planning effort designed to formulate 3-5 redevelopment “scenarios” to be further studied in an Alternative Urban Area Review process. To make the project even more interesting, Colliers proceeded with its analysis, with little or no information on the highly suspect, environmental condition of the property.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Impeachment resolution a matter of accountability

I agree with Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin... impeach!


Impeachment resolution a matter of accountability

By Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - January 19, 2008

On Dec. 14, I joined with my colleagues on the House
Judiciary Committee
, Reps. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and
Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), in urging Chairman Rep. John
(D-Mich.) to conduct hearings on a resolution
of impeachment now pending consideration in that

Among my constituents, there are those who say I have
gone too far in calling for Congress to examine
possible impeachable offenses by the Bush
administration. There are also those who argue I have
not gone far enough. In letters, emails, phone calls,
personal conversations and listening sessions, I have
heard passionate arguments from those who think we are
losing our democracy and that I should do more to hold
the Bush administration accountable for its actions.

The call to impeach is one I did not take lightly. But
as we said in our letter to Chairman Conyers, the
issues are too serious to ignore. We simply cannot
discount or overlook numerous, credible allegations of
abuse of power by the Bush administration that, if
proven, may well constitute high crimes and
misdemeanors under our Constitution. To prove this, we
must follow the form of the signers of our own
Declaration of Independence who wrote, "let Facts be
submitted to a candid world."

Impeachment hearings in the House Judiciary Committee
will establish the facts and prove whether or not this
administration did the following:

* Spied on Americans without a court order in violation
of the Fourth Amendment;

* Directed senior members of the administration to
ignore subpoenas in contempt of Congress;

* Outed Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent of the
CIA and then intentionally obstructed justice by
disseminating false information through the White House
press office;

* Ordered U.S. attorneys to pursue politically-
motivated prosecutions in violation of the law;

* Fired eight U.S. attorneys and allowed others to
retain their jobs because of partisan political

* Refused to provide subpoenaed emails and other

* Purposefully manipulated intelligence to deceive
American citizens and the Congress;

* Fabricated a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass
destruction to justify the war in Iraq - a war that has
taken the lives of nearly 4,000 U.S. troops, injured
60,000 more, and that will cost more than a trillion
dollars by many accounts;

* Alleged, despite all evidence to the contrary, a
relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida, to justify the
war in Iraq;

* Manipulated and exaggerated evidence of Iran's
nuclear weapons capabilities;

* Undermined national security by openly threatening
aggression against Iran, despite no evidence that Iran
has the intention or capability of attacking the U.S.;

* Suspended habeas corpus by claiming the power to
declare any person an "enemy combatant" - ignoring the
Geneva Convention protections that the U.S. helped

* Endorsed torture and rendition of prisoners in
violation of international law and stated American
policy and values, and destroyed videotaped evidence of
such torture;

* Awarded unlawful no-bid contracts to political
friends at home and abroad; and

* Skirted legal consequences by employing paid
mercenaries to act as bodyguards for American diplomats
in Iraq.

The abuses of this administration demand a formal
response. Congressional oversight is a fundamental part
of our constitutionally-proscribed system of checks and

I had hoped that Congress could begin to repair the
damage that has been done to our democracy, our
Constitution and our standing in the world, so that
censure or impeachment could be averted. Unfortunately,
this administration not only fails to accept
responsibility for its misdeeds, but it also blocks
attempts to right the wrongs and address the tragic
consequences of those misdeeds. We have seen the
American people's will thwarted by the exercise of veto
power. We have seen subpoenas ignored. We have seen
signing statements used to circumvent the law of the

If we fail to take action to either impeach or repair
the damage, then the next president will "inherit"
unchecked powers. Unchecked powers are unacceptable no
matter who is president.

It is unlikely that impeachment will move forward this
session. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
expressed her view that impeachment should be "taken
off the table," and that is her prerogative. I took an
oath of office to uphold the Constitution. That sacred
pledge gives me no choice but to call for executive
branch accountability in any and all forms possible.

[Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, represents Wisconsin's
second congressional district.]

False Pretenses

False Pretenses

Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war.

It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda. This was the conclusion of numerous bipartisan government investigations, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (2004 and 2006), the 9/11 Commission, and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, whose "Duelfer Report" established that Saddam Hussein had terminated Iraq's nuclear program in 1991 and made little effort to restart it.

In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003. Not surprisingly, the officials with the most opportunities to make speeches, grant media interviews, and otherwise frame the public debate also made the most false statements, according to this first-ever analysis of the entire body of prewar rhetoric.

President Bush, for example, made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).

The massive database at the heart of this project juxtaposes what President Bush and these seven top officials were saying for public consumption against what was known, or should have been known, on a day-to-day basis. This fully searchable database includes the public statements, drawn from both primary sources (such as official transcripts) and secondary sources (chiefly major news organizations) over the two years beginning on September 11, 2001. It also interlaces relevant information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches, and interviews.

Consider, for example, these false public statements made in the run-up to war:

  • On August 26, 2002, in an address to the national convention of the Veteran of Foreign Wars, Cheney flatly declared: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." In fact, former CIA Director George Tenet later recalled, Cheney's assertions went well beyond his agency's assessments at the time. Another CIA official, referring to the same speech, told journalist Ron Suskind, "Our reaction was, 'Where is he getting this stuff from?' "
  • In the closing days of September 2002, with a congressional vote fast approaching on authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, Bush told the nation in his weekly radio address: "The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given. . . . This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year." A few days later, similar findings were also included in a much-hurried National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction — an analysis that hadn't been done in years, as the intelligence community had deemed it unnecessary and the White House hadn't requested it.
  • In July 2002, Rumsfeld had a one-word answer for reporters who asked whether Iraq had relationships with Al Qaeda terrorists: "Sure." In fact, an assessment issued that same month by the Defense Intelligence Agency (and confirmed weeks later by CIA Director Tenet) found an absence of "compelling evidence demonstrating direct cooperation between the government of Iraq and Al Qaeda." What's more, an earlier DIA assessment said that "the nature of the regime's relationship with Al Qaeda is unclear."
  • On May 29, 2003, in an interview with Polish TV, President Bush declared: "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories." But as journalist Bob Woodward reported in State of Denial, days earlier a team of civilian experts dispatched to examine the two mobile labs found in Iraq had concluded in a field report that the labs were not for biological weapons. The team's final report, completed the following month, concluded that the labs had probably been used to manufacture hydrogen for weather balloons.
  • On January 28, 2003, in his annual State of the Union address, Bush asserted: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production." Two weeks earlier, an analyst with the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research sent an email to colleagues in the intelligence community laying out why he believed the uranium-purchase agreement "probably is a hoax."
  • On February 5, 2003, in an address to the United Nations Security Council, Powell said: "What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources." As it turned out, however, two of the main human sources to which Powell referred had provided false information. One was an Iraqi con artist, code-named "Curveball," whom American intelligence officials were dubious about and in fact had never even spoken to. The other was an Al Qaeda detainee, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, who had reportedly been sent to Eqypt by the CIA and tortured and who later recanted the information he had provided. Libi told the CIA in January 2004 that he had "decided he would fabricate any information interrogators wanted in order to gain better treatment and avoid being handed over to [a foreign government]."

The false statements dramatically increased in August 2002, with congressional consideration of a war resolution, then escalated through the mid-term elections and spiked even higher from January 2003 to the eve of the invasion.

It was during those critical weeks in early 2003 that the president delivered his State of the Union address and Powell delivered his memorable U.N. presentation. For all 935 false statements, including when and where they occurred, go to the search page for this project; the methodology used for this analysis is explained here.

In addition to their patently false pronouncements, Bush and these seven top officials also made hundreds of other statements in the two years after 9/11 in which they implied that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or links to Al Qaeda. Other administration higher-ups, joined by Pentagon officials and Republican leaders in Congress, also routinely sounded false war alarms in the Washington echo chamber.

The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war. Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, "independent" validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq.

The "ground truth" of the Iraq war itself eventually forced the president to backpedal, albeit grudgingly. In a 2004 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, for example, Bush acknowledged that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. And on December 18, 2005, with his approval ratings on the decline, Bush told the nation in a Sunday-night address from the Oval Office: "It is true that Saddam Hussein had a history of pursuing and using weapons of mass destruction. It is true that he systematically concealed those programs, and blocked the work of U.N. weapons inspectors. It is true that many nations believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As your president, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. Yet it was right to remove Saddam Hussein from power."

Bush stopped short, however, of admitting error or poor judgment; instead, his administration repeatedly attributed the stark disparity between its prewar public statements and the actual "ground truth" regarding the threat posed by Iraq to poor intelligence from a Who's Who of domestic agencies.

On the other hand, a growing number of critics, including a parade of former government officials, have publicly — and in some cases vociferously — accused the president and his inner circle of ignoring or distorting the available intelligence. In the end, these critics say, it was the calculated drumbeat of false information and public pronouncements that ultimately misled the American people and this nation's allies on their way to war.

Bush and the top officials of his administration have so far largely avoided the harsh, sustained glare of formal scrutiny about their personal responsibility for the litany of repeated, false statements in the run-up to the war in Iraq. There has been no congressional investigation, for example, into what exactly was going on inside the Bush White House in that period. Congressional oversight has focused almost entirely on the quality of the U.S. government's pre-war intelligence — not the judgment, public statements, or public accountability of its highest officials. And, of course, only four of the officials — Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz — have testified before Congress about Iraq.

Short of such review, this project provides a heretofore unavailable framework for examining how the U.S. war in Iraq came to pass. Clearly, it calls into question the repeated assertions of Bush administration officials that they were the unwitting victims of bad intelligence.

Above all, the 935 false statements painstakingly presented here finally help to answer two all-too-familiar questions as they apply to Bush and his top advisers: What did they know, and when did they know it?

The Top Officials

George W. Bush is the 43rd president of the United States.

Richard "Dick" Cheney is the vice president of the United States. As the secretary of defense under President George H.W. Bush, he directed the U.S. military effort in the 1991 Gulf War. After leaving the government Cheney became the chairman and chief executive officer of Halliburton Company. He was President Gerald Ford's chief of staff from 1975 to 1977. From 1979 to 1989, he served as a U.S. Representative from Wyoming.

Ari Fleischer was the White House press secretary from January 20, 2001, to July 14, 2003, serving as President Bush's principal spokesperson and conducting daily news briefings. Prior to his White House appointment, he served as the senior communications adviser and spokesman for the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign.

Scott McClellan was the White House press secretary from July 15, 2003, when he succeeded Ari Fleischer, to May 10, 2006; before that he was the principal deputy White House press secretary. During the 2000 presidential campaign he was George W. Bush's traveling press secretary.

Colin Powell was the secretary of state from January 20, 2001, to January 26, 2005. His 35-year army career included assignments as national security adviser to Ronald Reagan from 1987 to 1989 and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 until 1993, when he retired as a four-star general.

Condoleeza Rice has been the secretary of state since January 26, 2005, succeeding General Colin Powell. During the 2000 presidential campaign she was George W. Bush's chief foreign policy adviser, and in 2001 she became President Bush's national security adviser — the first woman to hold the post. Rice was provost of Standford University from 1993 to 1999.

Donald Rumsfeld was the secretary of defense from January 20, 2001, to December 18, 2006. In that role he directed the U.S. military effort in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Rumsfeld, a former U.S. Representative from Illinois, also served under President Gerald Ford as White House chief of staff from 1974 to 1975 and as defense secretary from 1975 to 1977.

Paul Wolfowitz was the deputy secretary of defense from March 2, 2001, until May 13, 2005. He became the president of the World Bank in June that year. He resigned that position effective June 30, 2007, in the wake of the disclosure that he had played a direct role in giving a promotion to a World Bank employee with whom he had a longstanding personal relationship. From 1973 to 1993, Wolfowitz served in several different positions in the State Department, Defense Department, and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

Key False Statements

On September 8, 2002, Bush administration officials hit the national airwaves to advance the argument that Iraq had acquired aluminum tubes designed to enrich uranium. In an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, for example, Vice President Dick Cheney flatly stated that Saddam Hussein "now is trying through his illicit procurement network to acquire the equipment he needs to be able to enrich uranium."

Condoleezza Rice, who was then Bush's national security adviser, followed Cheney that night on CNN's Late Edition. In answer to a question from Wolf Blitzer on how close Saddam Hussein's government was to developing a nuclear capability, Rice said: "We do know that he is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. We do know there have been shipments going into . . . Iraq, for instance, of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to—high-quality aluminum tools that only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs."

In April 2001, however, the Energy Department had concluded that, "while the gas centrifuge application cannot be ruled out, we assess that the procurement activity more likely supports a different application, such as conventional ordnance production." During the preparation of the September 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, the Energy Department and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research stated their belief that Iraq intended to use the tubes in a conventional rocket program, but the Central Intelligence Agency's contrary view prevailed.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence subsequently concluded that postwar findings supported the assessments of the Energy Department and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.


There was dissent within the intelligence community in the first 48 hours after 9/11 over the connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Richard Clarke, President Bush's chief counterterrorism adviser, has written that President Bush asked him on September 12 to "see if Saddam did this. See if he is linked in any way. . ." Clarke said that he responded by saying, "Absolutely, we will look . . . again," and then adding, "But you know, we have looked several times for state sponsorship of al Qaeda and not found any real linkages to Iraq."

Beginning apparently in late November 2001, a team in the office of Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith, working independently of the formal intelligence community, reviewed intelligence data related to Al Qaeda. In August and September 2002, this team provided three separate briefings to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet, and finally to high-level White House officials. The briefings, titled "Assessing the Relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda," included the assessment that "Intelligence indicates cooperation [with Al Qaeda] in all categories: mature, symbiotic relationship."

Bush administration officials were soon publicly linking the two. For example, on September 25, 2002, in response to a reporter's question, President Bush said: "They're both risks, they're both dangerous. The difference, of course, is that Al Qaeda likes to hijack governments. Saddam Hussein is a dictator of a government. Al Qaeda hides, Saddam doesn't, but the danger is, is that they work in concert. The danger is, is that Al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world."

Such statements were not supported by the intelligence community's findings. In July 2002, the Defense Intelligence Agency had concluded that "compelling evidence demonstrating direct cooperation between the government of Iraq and Al Qaeda has not been established, despite a large body of anecdotal information."

In September, the CIA circulated a draft report titled Iraqi Support for Terrorism, which found "no credible information that Baghdad had foreknowledge of the 11 September attacks or any other al-Qaeda strike." On September 17, CIA Director George Tenet reiterated this point in testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "The intelligence indicates that the two sides at various points have discussed safe-haven, training, and reciprocal non-aggression," he said. "There are several reported suggestions by Al Qaeda to Iraq about joint terrorist ventures, but in no case can we establish that Iraq accepted or followed up on these suggestions."

The 9/11 Commission Report found that while there may have been meetings in 1999 between Iraqi officials and Osama Bin Ladin or his aides, it had seen no evidence that the contacts "ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship." It added: "Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with Al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States."


In a speech on August 26, 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney flatly asserted that "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."

Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet later wrote that Cheney's statement "went well beyond what our own analysis could support." Tenet was not alone within the CIA. As one of his top deputies later told journalist Ron Suskind: "Our reaction was, 'Where is he getting this stuff from? Does he have a source of information that we don't know about?'"


In a national radio address on September 28, 2002, President Bush flatly asserted: "The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given. The regime has long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist groups, and there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq. This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year."

What the American people did not know at the time was that, just three weeks before Bush's radio address, in early September, Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee that there was no National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Such an assessment had not been done in years because nobody within the intelligence community had deemed it necessary, and, remarkably, nobody at the White House had requested that it be done.

The CIA put the NIE together in less than three weeks. It proved to be false. As the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence later concluded, "Postwar findings do not support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) judgment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.


In his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003, President Bush said: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

But as early as March 2002, there was uncertainty within the intelligence community regarding the sale of uranium to Iraq. That month, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research published an intelligence assessment titled, "Niger: Sale of Uranium to Iraq Is Unlikely." In July 2002, the Energy Department concluded that there was "no information indicating that any of the uranium shipments arrived in Iraq" and suggested that the "amount of uranium specified far exceeds what Iraq would need even for a robust nuclear weapons program." In August 2002, the Central Intelligence Agency made no mention of the Iraq-Niger connection in a paper on Iraq's WMD capabilities.

Just two weeks before the president's speech, an analyst with the Bureau of Intelligence and Research had sent an e-mail to several other analysts describing why he believed "the uranium purchase agreement probably is a hoax." And in 2006 the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded: "Postwar findings do not support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assessment that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake' from Africa. Postwar findings support the assessment in the NIE of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) that claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are 'highly dubious.'"


In his dramatic presentation to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said: "My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources." In preparation for his presentation, Powell had spent a week at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters sifting through intelligence.

One of the "human sources" that Powell referenced turned out to be "Curveball," whom U.S. intelligence officials had never even spoken to. "My mouth hung open when I saw Colin Powell use information from Curveball," Tyler Drumheller, the CIA's chief of covert operations in Europe, later recalled. "It was like cognitive dissonance. Maybe, I thought, my government has something more. But it scared me deeply."

In his presentation to the U.N. Security Council, Powell described another of the human sources as "a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons [of mass destruction] to Al Qaeda." Six days earlier, however, the CIA itself had come to the conclusion that this source, a detainee, "was not in a position to know if any training had taken place."

In a report completed in 2004, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded: "Much of the information provided or cleared by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for inclusion in Secretary Powell's speech was overstated, misleading, or incorrect."


In an interview with Polish television on May 29, 2003, President Bush stated: "We found the weapons of mass destruction." Bush was referencing two trailers or "mobile labs" discovered in Iraq.

Just days earlier, the Defense Intelligence Agency had concluded that the trailers "could not be used as a transportable biological production system as the system is presently configured." It was ultimately acknowledged that the trailers had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction and were probably used to manufacture hydrogen employed in weather balloons.


On July 30, 2003, in an interview with Gwen Ifill of PBS's NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, Condoleezza Rice said: "What we knew going into the war was that this man was a threat. He had weapons of mass destruction. He had used them before. He was continuing to try to improve his weapons programs. He was sitting astride one of the most volatile regions in the world, a region out of which the ideologies of hatred had come that led people to slam airplanes into buildings in New York and Washington. Something had to be done about that threat and the president to simply allow this brutal dictator, with dangerous weapons, to continue to destabilize the Middle East."

Just two days earlier, David Kay, the Bush administration's top weapons inspector in Iraq, had briefed administration officials. "We have not found large stockpiles," he told them. "You can't rule them out. We haven't come to the conclusion that they're not there, but they're sure not any place obvious. We've got a lot more to search for and to look at."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Question for the Democratic Presidential Candidates

Alan Maki has sent this question for consideration to be asked of Democratic Presidential Candidates... it's a good question...

First of all, please allow me to object to your excluding Dennis Kucinich from the debate on January 15 the way African-American school children were denied and excluded from attaining a public education in Parma, Ohio for so long while their parents were denied the right to purchase homes in Parma, Ohio because of the color of their skin for over 100 years after the North won the Civil War.

With that said, please allow Dennis Kucinich to participate in this debate on January 15, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada so all of America can hear his answer, along with the other candidates’ answers, to my question:

What do you intend to do to

end the injustice of some

two-million casino workers

being forced to work in some

four-hundred smoke-filled

casinos strung out across

our country all of whom are

employed at poverty wages

without any rights under

state or federal labor laws in

the Indian Gaming Industry

created under the terms of

“Compacts” negotiated with

so-called “sovereign” Indian

Nations who need the

approval of the Federal and

state governments to operate


I think Las Vegas would be

a great and appropriate

venue to have this question

asked from since many of

these Indian casinos are

managed very profitably by

Station Casinos and the

infamous and illustrious

Fertitta family and their

equally illustrious business


As you know, second-hand smoke in the workplace has become a very important health concern. The majority of casino workers employed in these smoke-filled casinos are women of child-bearing age who the American Cancer Society and the Heart and Lung Association say are placed at greatest risk in such a working environment.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing, Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council


Elected Member, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (Democratic Party) State Central Committee

Contact info at very bottom

Should we allow the media to pick which candidates we are allowed to see?

NBC Rewrites its Own Rules to Prevent America from Hearing Kucinich

By Kevin Tillman, AlterNet. Posted January 11, 2008.

As a political writer, I have to follow these endless primary-season debates. But when it comes to NBC's Democratic show-down in Vegas next Tuesday, I'll read the transcript and check out the highlights on YouTube, but I won't tune into NBC's live broadcast.

Here's a press release from the Kucinich campaign explaining why:

Less than 44 hours after NBC sent a congratulatory note and an invitation to Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich to participate in the Jan. 15 Democratic Presidential debate in Las Vegas, the network notified the campaign this morning it was changing its announced criteria, rescinding its invitation, and excluding Kucinich from the debate.

NBC Political Director Chuck Todd notified the Kucinich campaign this morning that, although Kucinich had met the qualification criteria publicly announced on December 28, the network was "re-doing" the criteria, excluding Kucinich, and planning to invite only Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and former senator John Edwards.

The criteria announced last month included a fourth-place or better showing in a national poll. The USA/Gallup poll earlier this month showed Kucinich in fourth place among the Democratic contenders.

In an email to the Kucinich campaign at 2:35 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9, Democratic Party debates consultant Jenny Backus wrote:

"Congratulations on another hard-fought contest. Now that New Hampshire is over, we are on to Nevada and our Presidential Debate on Tuesday January 15. This letter serves as an official invitation for your candidate to participate in the Nevada Presidential Debate at Cashman Theatre in downtown Las Vegas. You have met the criteria set by NBC and the Debate."

Todd notified the Kucinich campaign this morning that the network had decided to change the criteria and limit participation in the debate to only three candidates.

Take Action!

(and please forward this email when you are finished)

To complain to NBC News and MSNBC, contact the Today show at:

Also, Weekend Today at:

For good measure, send a copy to this link:

Call NBC Studios in Los Angeles at 818 840 4444.

To leave a voice message on the NBC/MSNBC comment line, call 212-664-4444 (you have to ask for the comment line).

You can also contact the debate moderators to complain -- but be nice, they probably weren't involved in the decision to exclude Dennis Kucinich.

Email to Brian Williams at NBC Nightly News:

Tim Russert at Meet The Press:

NBC invites you to suggest a question for the Jan. 15th Democratic Presidential Debate in Nevada. Ask why they're excluding Dennis Kucinich. (If you get a runtime error, try again two or three times-- a lot of us are complaining, and it may take several tries.)

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541


Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Always Bring A Crowd the story of Frank Lumpkin, Steelworker

Always bring a crowd is good advice for working people when dealing with employers or the government. More and more employers and the government are one and the same whether talking about Democrats or Republicans.

I was informed there is a book of the same name, "Always Bring A Crowd; The Story of Frank Lumpkin, Steelworker." This book is written by his wife, Beatrice Lumpkin. I didn't even obtain the book myself. My friend had it sent to me. I read it in one night and have been going through it more thoroughly ever since.

I am not writing a book review here, although this book deserves to be reviewed on every working class blog and in any form of media available. "Always Bring A Crowd" is a very powerful story of our time concerning the struggle of working people for justice. I think many of us here in the Iron Range cities can identify with the struggle of Frank Lumpkins and his brothers and sisters because as people whose lives are entwined with the mining and steel industry we find it very easy to emphasize with their struggle.

I think it is unfortunate so few working class struggles are turned into movies as was the case with the struggle of women miners on the Mesabi Iron Range whose struggle for justice and human dignity was made into the movie "North Country," which is based on the book "Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law" by Clara Bingham.

My reason for writing about this book is because, after reading it I have come to wonder even more, what the heck is going on with our Party, the Communist Party USA when our publishing house, International Publishers puts out such an outstanding book that is a handbook for rank and file action and the Party leaders have done virtually nothing to put this book into the hands of working class activists.

I am boiling mad after reading this book. To think that this book is sitting in boxes in an office building that has gone through a one-million dollar renovation that included putting windows on walls that you cannot see out of and putting carpeting made from the garbage others threw out into dumpsters as was done with Gus Hall's books and pamphlets infuriates me to no end.

For all I know the "recycled" carpeting was made out of Gus Hall's books and pamphlets.

To think that we have people in leadership positions who would be traversing across our country and they are not carrying with them this book, "Always Bring A Crowd; The Story of Frank Lumpkin, Steelworker," really makes me not only angry, but it causes me to wonder how sincere these people like Sam Webb and Jarvis Tyner really are about anything.

I hear stories from friends who tell me they have attended these "Take Back America" conferences and they have seen these Party "leaders" there but there is no literature table, no PWW distribution, no leaflets.

Then the other day I get a long diatribe against Gus Hall written by Erwin and Doris Marquit condemning our long-standing policy of industrial concentration. I put this together with Gus Hall's writings being liquidated and tossed into dumpsters and hear of a garbageman on some stinking barge full of garbage picking up a book by Gus Hall to read from a box among the other debris, and I not only wonder, but I know, that we have all been had by Sam Webb.

Webb is the most despicable, two-faced, lying, deceitful piece of crap I have ever heard of.

I am told in a round-a-bout way that while in the Twin Cities, Sam Webb told the Chair of the Minneapolis Club of the Communist Party that, "I never really liked the term 'Marxism-Leninism.'"

Good enough; Webb doesn't have to like the term "Marxism-Leninism;" but why the hell is he in the Communist Party then? He is just like Gorbachov; a rank and rancid opportunist using the Communist Party to push his social democratic ideas. Truthfully, I don't even think Sam Webb has any kind of allegiance to any ideas.

Frank Lumpkin has some very good ideas. Gus Hall had some very good ideas. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn had some very good ideas. William Z. Foster had some very good ideas. Brother Bill McKie had some very good ideas.

The best ideas Sam Webb has been able to come up with is attacking Gus Hall in newspaper interviews; liquidating Gus Hall's excellent books which make great companion pieces to the Frank Lumpkin book and figuring out how to prevent people from knowing that "Always Bring A Crowd" is even available.

I would like to know how Sam Webb can spend money flying in and out of Minnesota without bringing along Party publications like "Always Bring Along A Crowd" as two-thousand autoworkers with families are facing being thrown out into the street and and tens of thousands are being foreclosed on and evicted from their homes and Sam Webb is worried about a couple people wearing t-shirts with pictures of Marx and Lenin emblazoned with "Working Class Communists."

I so want to use the "F" word to ask what is going on. It all just makes me sick.

And then this pig called Sam Webb sits in a million dollar glass office calling me "the bitch from Duluth." Maybe if Webb would be as worried about the problems of the working class as he is about renovating his office, and then calling the capitalist news media in to see the way our Party is pissing away OUR money we might be well on our way to organizing the anti-monopoly coalition.

I received another publication by Gus Hall writing about revisionism. In it, Gus Hall refers to revisionists as "egg heads." Here is what an "egg head" looks like, this is Sam Webb who takes up space in a renovated million dollar office:

Working from a million dollar glass-walled office, Sam Webb better be careful who he throws rocks at.

Ask Sam Webb what excuse he has for not distributing this book where ever he travels at OUR expense:

Preview this book

Check out sections of this fantastic book at:,M1

We all know why Sam Webb liquidated this book:

"Working Class USA; The Power and the Movement"

Here you can get a glimpse of what the "egg heads" don't like in Gus Hall's writings: