2006/02/28

Wiretap Petition

PLEASE SIGN

A Manifesto Slams Islamic Totalitarianism

Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali et al Slam Islamic Totalitarianism
This just in, stay tuned as the story develops. I think we’ll be seeing people die in the coming days. You know, from "reactions"….
MANIFESTO:
Together facing the new totalitarianism
After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.
We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.
The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.
Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.
We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.
We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.
We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.
12 signatures
Ayaan Hirsi Ali Chahla ChafiqCaroline FourestBernard-Henri LévyIrshad ManjiMehdi MozaffariMaryam NamazieTaslima NasreenSalman RushdieAntoine SfeirPhilippe ValIbn Warraq
Michelle Malkin has their bios here
Attention New Yorkers: rally for solidarity with Denmark this Friday from noon to one.
Address: Outside the Danish Consulate at One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 885 Second Avenue.

2006/02/26

The goat bride



A south Sudanese man was caught making sweet love to someone else's goat, and was subsequently forced to "marry" the goat.
Tribal elders ordered the goat-lover to pay a dowry of 150,000 Sudanese dinars to the owner.
"They said I should not take him to the police, but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife," the owner told the Juba Post.
"
We have given him the goat, and as far as we know, they are still together."
May all goats someday be so lucky to
find true love.

Blogger Widget

I just downloaded a blogger widget from yahoo widgets. It's pretty cool, you can blog without opening any windows. Only drawback I have found besides the pain in the butt initial set up, is you can't do images, but if you just want to put a quick post, it is pretty handy.

2006/02/25

Graphic Posts

Ok, I know some of my recent posts have had some very graphic images. If you are offended, or upset by the images, too bad. If you want to hear me apologize, you can go fuck yourself. I hope your disgusted, angry, offended. I hope your speechless with rage. Now take that anger, rage, and focus it at doing some good. Write every congressman and representatives you can. Write the white house( a waste of time but still). Go to peace rallies, and support people and groups fighting to end this war. Do all you can to stop images like these. You have the choice to look away, but others are there, everyday they have to live in this mess, and we must unite to end this. Stop being afraid of making waves. Stop being to lazy to get up and do something for the betterment of someone other then yourself. We have to share this planet, bush is taking us down a dark path. We must fight and take our country back. DO SOMETHING POSITIVE!!!!!!

Are there any innocents in a war zone?

A young boy caught in the middle



A boy shot while waving a white surrender flag, guess that only works in bugs bunny cartoons



A young boy killed when a tank opened fire on his home



A old man and his daughters shot while there sleeping



Yet we still want to try to justify our invasion, and our soldiers actions

Helping people with war

In Iraq many families have been forced to move into dumps, as the only means to servive.



This is one family's home



This is about a million flies living in there home



and this is there baby.

Still think the war is helping???

This is for those of you who still think war is like you see in the movies

These are pictures taken by the US military, there graphic, sorry, but sometimes you need to see the truth.



Democrat's new ad campaign


Democrats in order to thin the herds of mindless republicans following blindly, have started this new ad campaign. So far results have been good, but the union representing the poor guys who get stuck cleaning the bugs off the windshields of the trains, are threatening to strike, if there not provided with bigger squeegees.

Kidnap and Torture American Style

This video is pretty scary, but you should watch it.

Rumsfeld Zeros in on the Internet

By Mike Whitney 02/24/06 "ICH" -- --

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was warmly greeted at the recent meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. The CFR is the hand-picked assemblage of western elites from big-energy, corporate media, high-finance and the weapons industry. These are the 4,000 or so members of the American ruling class who determine the shape of policy and ensure that the management of the global economic system remains in the hands of U.S. bluebloods. As the Pentagon’s chief-coordinator, Rumsfeld enjoys a prominent place among American mandarins. He is the caretaker of their most prized possession; the high-tech, taxpayer-funded, laser-guided war machine. The US Military is the crown-jewel of the American empire; a fully-operational security apparatus for the protection of pilfered resources and the ongoing subjugation of the developing world. Rumsfeld’s speech alerted his audience to the threats facing America in the new century. He opined: “We meet today in the 6th year in what promises to be a long struggle against an enemy that in many ways is unlike any our country has ever faced. And, in this war, some of the most critical battles may not be in the mountains in Afghanistan or in the streets of Iraq, but in newsrooms—in places like New York, London, Cairo, and elsewhere.” “New York”?“Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today’s media age, but for the most part our country has not”. Huh? Does Rummy mean those grainy, poorly-produced videos of Bin Laden and co.? “Consider that the violent extremists have established ‘media relations committees’—and have proven to be highly-successful at manipulating opinion-elites. They plan to design their headline-grabbing attacks using every means of communications to intimidate and break the collective will of free people”.

-Continued-

'The cheapest thing in Iraq is a human life'

'By Anthony Loyd, Ali Hamdani, and Ali al Khafaji in Baghdad 02/25/06 "The Times" 02/24/06 “- Baghdad --

WILL all those from the Sha’ab district come forward?” a policeman shouted from the doorway of the mortuary. A group of Sunni men detached themselves from the crowd in the yard and shuffled towards him over the blood-stained ground. The hopeless among them wept and cursed. Others, clinging to the belief that their missing relatives were somehow still alive, stood in ashen-faced silence. Sporadically a spasm of rage ran through the crowd and accusations were yelled at the gate of the yard, where a checkpoint of police commandos stared dispassionately at the crowd, blaring Shia “latmia” music through the loudspeakers on their vehicles as if in triumph. Atta Dulaimi, 57, was one of those from the Sha’ab district of Baghdad, a mixed area in the northeast of the capital, who moved towards the mortuary door. The Sunni teacher’s son, Walid, had returned home to Iraq on Wednesday after nine months working in Syria. Hours after his return, as he sat talking with his family at his father’s house, gunfire and explosions erupted outside. A Shia militia unit was attacking the neighbourhood’s Sunni mosque, blasting it with rocketfire and bullets. Seconds later gunmen dressed in black burst into Mr Dulaimi’s house. They dragged Walid out to the street where two pick-up trucks were waiting. His father stumbled out into the street after them. “It was no use. I couldn’t do anything. They were so aggressive. They took my son away and dragged away a neighbour’s son too,” Mr Dulaimi told The Times yesterday.

-continued-

Dick Cheney’s Song of America

The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful.

By David Armstrong
Harper's Magazine, 0017789X, Oct 2002, Vol. 305, Issue 1829


Few writers are more ambitious than the writers of government policy papers, and few policy papers are more ambitious than Dick Cheney’s masterwork. It has taken several forms over the last decade and is in fact the product of several ghostwriters (notably Paul Wolfowitz and Colin Powell), but Cheney has been consistent in his dedication to the ideas in the documents that bear his name, and he has maintained a close association with the ideologues behind them. Let us, therefore, call Cheney the author, and this series of documents the Plan.
The Plan was published in unclassified form most recently under the title of
Defense Strategy for the 1990s, (pdf) as Cheney ended his term as secretary of defense under the elder George Bush in early 1993, but it is, like “Leaves of Grass,” a perpetually evolving work. It was the controversial Defense Planning Guidance draft of 1992 – from which Cheney, unconvincingly, tried to distance himself – and it was the somewhat less aggressive revised draft of that same year. This June it was a presidential lecture in the form of a commencement address at West Point, and in July it was leaked to the press as yet another Defense Planning Guidance (this time under the pen name of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld). It will take its ultimate form, though, as America’s new national security strategy – and Cheney et al. will experience what few writers have even dared dream: their words will become our reality.
The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful.
The Plan is disturbing in many ways, and ultimately unworkable. Yet it is being sold now as an answer to the “new realities” of the post-September 11 world, even as it was sold previously as the answer to the new realities of the post-Cold War world. For Cheney, the Plan has always been the right answer, no matter how different the questions.

A gleefully fiendish read

Not One Penny More for War!

UFPJ National Call-In DayTuesday, February 28, 2006Call Congress: 202-224-3121
President Bush has asked Congress for another $72 billion for his illegalwar in Iraq. This will bring the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistanto almost $120 billion for 2006 -- that's on top of the $432 billion themilitary is already spending this year, and in addition to the more than$250 billion already spent on the Iraq war!
Call your Representative and Senators at202-224-3121 on Tuesday, Feb.28th, and tell them: Not one penny more for war!
Members of Congress are afraid to vote against this money because theydon't want to be accused of not supporting the troops. It is time to stopusing the troops as a shield for failed policy. It is time for the peopleof this country to speak up and show Congress how to stand up to thePresident.
Help us flood the Capitol Switchboard with calls for peace by forwardingthis email to your friends and family. (If you received this email from afriend, please consider joining United for Peace and Justice's ongoingaction network to keep receiving our alerts.)

-Continued-

FBI Memos Reveal Allegations of Abusive Interrogation Techniques

OK, Maybe it's just me, but isin't this just a normal friday night??

By Drew Brown, Knight Ridder
WASHINGTON - Military interrogators posing as FBI agents at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, wrapped terrorism suspects in an Israeli flag and forced them to watch homosexual pornography under strobe lights during interrogation sessions that lasted as long as 18 hours, according to one of a batch of FBI memos released Thursday.FBI agents working at the prison complained about the military interrogators' techniques in e-mails to their superiors from 2002 to 2004, 54 e-mails released by the American Civil Liberties Union showed. The agents tried to get the military interrogators to follow a less coercive approach and warned that the harsh methods could hinder future criminal prosecutions of terrorists because information gained illegally is inadmissible in court.
FBI officials raised repeated objections to "aggressive interrogation tactics" at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, documents show. FBI officials said they raised their objections with Major General Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the Guantanamo task force seen here in 2004, arguing that the aggressive tactics were ineffective and unreliable.(AFP/POOL/File)
Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who was in charge of the prison at the time, overrode the FBI agents' protests, according to the documents.

-Continued-

Victims of War Are Not To Be Seen Or Heard Or Mentioned

By Robert Weitzel, ICH
"The greatest dignity and respect you can give [victims of war] is to show the horror they suffered, the absolute gruesome horror." -War Photographer David Lesson
Joseph Bonham was an American soldier. He lost both of his arms and legs and all of his face to an artillery shell. He could not see or hear or speak. Other than that he was healthy and lucid. That was Joe's nightmare. He could be kept alive a long time.
Joe remained an anonymous torso until his head tapping was recognized as Morse code. When his message was finally understood, it was assumed he'd gone insane. Joe asked to be put on exhibit so that children and parents and teachers and politicians and preachers and patriots of every stripe could have a close-up look at war's leavings. It was the only way he could give his nightmare meaning.
Joseph Bonham's request was denied. It was not in the best interest of the country to foist him on an unsuspecting public. He died an "unknown soldier."
On March 18, 2003, two days before her son launched the invasion of Iraq, Barbara Bush appeared on Good Morning America. Our nation's "First Mother" asked Diane Sawyer, "Why should we hear about body bags and death and how many? . . . Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that."
First Mother Bush knows her children well. When it comes to war's gallery of death and grotesqueries the big difference between Joseph Bonham and ourselves is that we choose not to see or hear or speak.
We resist and resent any reminder of the human cost of war with epithets and accusations. It is a breech of good taste. It undermines morale on the home front. It is aiding and abetting the enemy. It is unpatriotic and irrelevant. It is a waste of our beautiful minds.
In November 2004 Travis Babbitt was mortally wounded while on patrol in Baghdad. An Associated Press photographer captured his last moments on film. When the Star Ledger of Newark, N. J. and several other papers published the picture their editors were excoriated by readers who called them "cruel, insensitive, even unpatriotic."
Defending the decision to print the photograph, Star Ledger's assistant managing editor, Pim Van Hemmen wrote, "Writing a headline that 1,500 Americans have died doesn't give you nearly the impact of showing one serviceman who died."
Six months after the publication of the picture Babbitt's mother told a Los Angles Times reporter, "That is not an image you want to see like that. Your kid is lying like that and there is no way you can get there to help them. I do think it's an important thing, for people to see what goes on over there. It throws reality more in your face. And sometimes we can't help reality"
In war soldiers and civilians die gruesome deaths and suffer horrific wounds. This is reality. Pictures that capture this miserable fact are not meant to be gratuitously violent. They are merely the unvarnished truth.
Veteran war photographer, Chris Hondros, admits that many of his imagines of war are indeed horrible, but says, " . . . war is horrible and we need to understand that. I think if we are going to start a war, we ought to be willing to show the consequences of that war."
But it is not only the dying that remains invisible and unheard and never mentioned. The armless and the legless and the blind and the burned, the destroyed minds and the disfigured bodies "recovering" at Walter Reed Army Hospital remain as unknown as Joseph Bonham. The national myths and political lies that sent these casualties marching to war cannot abide their wounds.
Joseph Bonham lived in the fictional world of Dalton Trumbo's antiwar novel, "johnny got his gun." But the victims of war are flesh and blood. They have weight. Their lives are counted in years. We cannot turn them into a work of fiction and then refuse to even look at what we have written.
March 20 is the third anniversary of the start of the "The Long War" (formerly the War on Terror) in Iraq. It has cost America more than 340,650 pounds of flesh and bone and viscera, 2,838 gallons of blood, 6,813 pounds of brain matter, and 113,550 unlived years. It has cost Iraq over 18 million pounds of flesh and bone and viscera, 125,000 gallons of blood, 300,000 pounds of brain matter, and 5 million unlived years.
Imagine if we could see this . . . one picture at a time.
On January 31, 2006, Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, appeared in the gallery of the House of Representatives to hear President Bush's State of the Union address. She was manhandled, shunted from view, and arrested for wearing a t-shirt that displayed the number of American war dead and that asked, "How many more?"
Robert Weitzel lives in Middleton, WI. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He has also been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Skeptic Magazine, Freethought Today, and on the web sites, smirkingchimp.com and talkreason.org. He can be contacted at: debraw@chorus.net
http://www.mathaba.net/

I HATE THIS FUCKER!!!!!!!!


Olympic skier Bode Miller
choked yet again in his final race on Saturday. He straddled a gate in the men's slalom just a few seconds into the run.
Miller stood to win five medals at the Olympics this year. However, he finished
no better than fifth in any race, and was disqualified from three.
"
I've straddled probably more times than most people have finished the slalom," he told reporters after he whiffed in a race earlier this week.
He hurt his ankle on Tuesday in a basketball game. Some say he's "
partied harder than he's skied."
Four months ago,
he told a Newsweek reporter:
For me, the ideal Olympics would be to go in with all that pressure, all that attention and have performances that are literally tear-jerking, that make people put their heads down because they’re embarrassed at how emotional they’re getting, that make people want to try sports, talk to their kids, call their f---ing ex-wives—and come away with no medals. I think that would be epic. That would be the perfect thing.
In this respect, Bode's living his Olympic dream.

Sex Pistols to Hall of Fame: Up yours

The Sex Pistols have declined induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with their usual good manners.
"
That hall of fame is a piss stain. Urine in wine," reads an official statement on JohnLydon.com. "We're not coming. We're not your monkey."
The legendary punk band, along with Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, and others, will be inducted (in absentia) into the Hall of Fame on March 13.
After the 1977 release of
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, the band broke up. They reunited in 1996, 2002, and 2003 for brief tours.
When they were
nominated for entry into the Hall of Fame in late November, guitarist Steve Jones said, "If I was 20, maybe I'd be upset, but it's all part of the game."
Susan Evans, the executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said she wasn't offended by their decision not to attend. "They are being
the outrageous punksters they are, and that's rock 'n' roll."

Take one for the team,,,,PLEASE!!!!!!

Bill Would Block Republicans From Adopting Children

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Akron, Ohio) An Ohio Democrat is proposing legislation that would prevent Republicans from adopting children, a move aimed at embarrassing the GOP over moves to block gay adoptions.
State Sen. Robert Hagan (D-Youngstown) admits his bill is purely "tongue-in-cheek" but says that the message is anything but a joke.
In an email sent to fellow legislators, and obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers, Hagan says he's looking for co-sponsors to "introduce legislation in the near future that would ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents."
Earlier this month a bill to ban gays, bisexuals, and transgenderds from adopting was proposed by 10 far-right Republicans. It was introduced in the House this month by state Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville)
"We need to see what we are doing," said Hagan, who called Hood's proposed bill blatantly discriminatory and "homophobic."
When Hood introduced his gay adoption ban he said that, "Studies have shown that the optimal setting to raise children in is a traditional setting with a mom and a dad."
Hood claims that children raised in gay households are at "increased risk" of physical and emotional problem.
In Hagan's email to fellow lawmaker's he skewers Hood's assertions, offering his own "credible research" shows that adopted children raised in Republican households are more at risk for developing "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities."
Hagan knows his mock bill has no chance of getting to the floor for a vote let alone passing. And, Hood's bill appears to be headed for a similar fate.

'Never Before!' Our Amnesiac Torture Debate

Naomi Klein

It was the "Mission Accomplished" of George W. Bush's second term, and an announcement of that magnitude called for a suitably dramatic location. But what was the right backdrop for the infamous "We do not torture" declaration? With characteristic audacity, the Bush team settled on downtown Panama City.
It was certainly bold. An hour and a half's drive from where Bush stood, the US military ran the notorious School of the Americas from 1946 to 1984, a sinister educational institution that, if it had a motto, might have been "We do torture." It is here in Panama and, later, at the school's new location in Fort Benning, Georgia, where the roots of the current torture scandals can be found. According to declassified training manuals, SOA students--military and police officers from across the hemisphere--were instructed in many of the same "coercive interrogation" techniques that have since migrated to Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib: early morning capture to maximize shock, immediate hooding and blindfolding, forced nudity, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep and food "manipulation," humiliation, extreme temperatures, isolation, stress positions--and worse. In 1996 President Clinton's Intelligence Oversight Board admitted that US-produced training materials condoned "execution of guerrillas, extortion, physical abuse, coercion and false imprisonment."
Some of the Panama school's graduates returned to their countries to commit the continent's greatest war crimes of the past half-century: the murders of Archbishop Oscar Romero and six Jesuit priests in El Salvador, the systematic theft of babies from Argentina's "disappeared" prisoners, the massacre of 900 civilians in El Mozote in El Salvador and military coups too numerous to list here. Suffice it to say that choosing Panama to declare "We do not torture" is a little like dropping by a slaughterhouse to pronounce the United States a nation of vegetarians.
Continued-

The End of the Internet?

Jeff Chester

The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.
Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to
white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers--would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.
Under the plans they are considering, all of us--from content providers to individual users--would pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry planners are mulling new subscription plans that would further limit the online experience, establishing "platinum," "gold" and "silver" levels of Internet access that would set limits on the number of downloads, media streams or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received.
-continued-

Bloggers at the Gate

Ari Melber

By now, most people are weary of hearing how blogs are changing American politics. The search engine Technorati estimates 70,000 new blogs are created every day, but most are obscure and will remain so forever. Only a few bloggers have the audience and credibility to effectively break stories, pressure the traditional media, incubate new ideas or raise real money. These influential bloggers are usually sharp, opinionated and focused on the world "offline." They refuse to view events through the solipsistic blinders of their own websites.
Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, the founding writers of
MyDD and Daily Kos, are two such influential bloggers. They've written a provocative new book that offers a perceptive analysis of progressive politics and proposes to revolutionize the Democratic Party through a "bloodless coup."
Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics is both of the blogosphere and beyond it. Writing with the outrage of outsiders and the access of insiders, the two bloggers analyze a Democratic Party they find oddly complacent despite its losing record and tarnished reputation. They argue that the party's most consequential problem is not branding but its sclerotic leadership, quarrelsome coalitions and anachronistic fundraising methods

2006/02/24

Why's a Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel on the "No-Fly" List?

The federal officials who are busy assuring Americans that they've got their act together when it comes to managing port security are not inspiring much confidence with their approach to airline security.
When Dr. Robert Johnson, a heart surgeon who did his active duty with the U.S. Army Reserve before being honorably discharged with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, arrived at the Syracuse airport near his home in upstate New York last month for a flight to Florida, he was told he could not travel.
Why? Johnson was told that his name had been added to the federal "no-fly" list as a possible terror suspect.
Johnson, who served in the military during the time of the first Gulf War and then came home to serve as northern New York's first board-certified thoracic surgeon and an active member of the community in his hometown of Sackets Harbor, is not a terror suspect. But he is an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, who mounted a scrappy campaign for Congress as the Democratic challenger to Republican Representative John McHugh in 2004 and who plans to challenge McHugh again in upstate New York's sprawling 23rd District.
Johnson, who eventually made it onto the flight to Florida, is angry. And, like a growing number of war critics whose names have ended up on "no-fly" lists – some of them prominent, many of them merely concerned citizens – he wants some answers.
"Why would a former lieutenant colonel who swore an oath to defend and protect our country pose a threat of terrorism?" he asked, in an interview with the Plattsburgh Press-Republican newspaper.
So far, he's not getting satisfactory responses to his questions.
No one at the Syracuse airport would tell him why he was on the list.
Nor has the federal Transportation Security Administration, which compiles the "no-fly" files, been forthcoming – except to say that names are added to the watch lists on the "recommendations and information received from federal agencies, including intelligence and law-enforcement agencies."
The story's gotten a good deal of media attention in upstate New York, and Johnson is speculating with reporters about whether his name ended up on the list because he ran against McHugh as a veteran who boldly declared that: "I know the ravages of war and I know the sacrifices that have to be made when a war is in our national interest. This war is not in our national interest."
McHugh's office denies any wrongdoing by the Republican congressman, a senior member of the powerful House Armed Services Committee who brags about working closely with the Pentagon and intelligence agencies.
Johnson's not backing off his call for an explanation.
The physician-candidate told the Plattsburgh paper that the secrecy surrounding his name's addition to the "no-fly" list, and the prospect that it might be there because of his anti-war views, is outrageous.
"This is like McCarthyism in the 1950s," says Johnson.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

William Greider

David Brooks, the high-minded conservative pundit, dismissed the Dubai Ports controversy as an instance of political hysteria that will soon pass. He was commenting on PBS, and I thought I heard a little quaver in his voice when he said this was no big deal. Brooks consulted "the experts," and they assured him there's no national security risk in a foreign company owned by Middle East Muslims--actually, by an Arab government--managing six major American ports. Cool down, people. This is how the world works in the age of globalization.
Of course, he is correct. But what a killjoy. This is a fun flap, the kind that brings us together. Republicans and Democrats are frothing in unison, instead of polarizing incivilities. Together, they are all thumping righteously on the poor President. I expect he will fold or at least retreat tactically by ordering further investigation. The issue is indeed trivial. But Bush cannot escape the basic contradiction, because this dilemma is fundamental to his presidency.
A conservative blaming hysteria is hysterical, when you think about it, and a bit late. Hysteria launched Bush's invasion of Iraq. It created that monstrosity called Homeland Security and pumped up defense spending by more than 40 percent. Hysteria has been used to realign US foreign policy for permanent imperial war-making, whenever and wherever we find something frightening afoot in the world. Hysteria will justify the
"long war" now fondly embraced by Field Marshal Rumsfeld. It has also slaughtered a number of Democrats who were not sufficiently hysterical. It saved George Bush's butt in 2004.

Continued-

They should have joined the Navy!!!!!!

By ESTES THOMPSON Associated Press Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) --


The Army has charged seven paratroopers from the celebrated 82nd Airborne Division with engaging in sex acts in video shown on a Web site, authorities said Friday.
Three of the soldiers face courts-martial on charges of sodomy, pandering and engaging in sex acts for money, according to a statement released by the military.
Four other soldiers received what the military calls nonjudicial punishments.
The Army has recommended that all be discharged.

Clash Brews Over Tainted Waters


Imperial County authorities are angry over claims made by an L.A.-based agency for control over the New and Alamo rivers.
By Tony Perry, Times Staff WriterFebruary 24 2006
CALEXICO —


Immigrants wear trash bags and hide in pollution as they ford the New River — the unlikely object of a drinking water rights fight in Southern California.

If ever you doubted the dictum often attributed to Mark Twain that in the West whiskey is for drinking but water is for fighting over, the New River stands as proof.Long branded the dirtiest river in America, this aquatic nightmare slithers into the United States from Mexico through this border city in the Imperial Valley.

Technically, it is not a river but a ditch carrying drainage water the color of pea soup that brims with sewage, animal carcasses and industrial waste from Mexicali. This toxic stew contains bacteria and viruses known to cause tuberculosis, polio, hepatitis and typhoid.Drug smugglers and illegal immigrants use the smelly, sudsy river as an illicit entryway to the United States, confident that U.S. Border Patrol agents will not pursue them into the murky water.When divers from the Imperial County Sheriff's Department need to retrieve a drowned body from the river, they don hazardous-materials suits.Surely no one would fight for ownership of what one county health official has called "a rattlesnake in our backyard."Wrong.This is California. If there is water, even filthy water, there are lawyers and politicians arguing over who owns it.
-continued-

Corpses in the Garden

By Charles Sullivan 02/24/06 "ICH" -- -- Knowing what I know about the history of my country, it is often difficult for me to fathom how my fellow countrymen have shaped their views. I have come to believe that they have created a mythical America that is not a real place. The perceived necessity of substituting a fantasy world for the real world suggests there is something terribly wrong with the American psyche. If there are corpses buried in our gardens, surely they must gnaw at our conscience and produce pathological behavior, even if we did not put them there. Subconsciously, we know they are turning in their graves trying to be free. We fear that they will awaken and climb out of their graves, forcing their way into our conscience, and revealing our complicity in the crimes committed in our name. Pretending that these corpses do not exist leads to a recklessness of language and perversion of truth that is both deplorable and manipulative. Denial of this magnitude requires deliberate and wanton ignorance that can only be based upon fear. It makes a mockery of our sacred institutions—the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Self respect demands that we know truth and that we always convey truth to the best of our ability. Living in denial does not serve our cause; it serves the interest of wealth and power—the plutocracy. A fabricated life of denial allows the atrocities to continue without anyone being held accountable. Imagine what an enigma we are to those people in other parts of the world who have experienced first hand Pax Americana. Throughout the world our government is engaged in acts of terror that inflict misery and suffering upon untold millions of innocent people. These acts of terror easily dwarf the infamous events of 9-11 that occurred on our own soil. We are told that these amoral actions are necessary to protect American interests. The widely held assumption is that American interests are noble and high minded; that they have much to do with democracy and liberation; the florid language of presidents. In truth, however, American interests are construed to mean corporate interests. The corporate interest and the welfare of American citizens must never be confused—they are mutually exclusive.
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GW's calloused right hand

By Sidney Blumenthal02/24/06 "The Guardian" -- -- After shooting Harry Whittington, Dick Cheney's immediate impulse was to control the intelligence. Rather than call the president directly, he ordered an aide to inform the White House chief of staff, Andrew Card, that there had been an accident - but not that Cheney was its cause. Then surrogates attacked the victim for not steering clear of Cheney when he was firing without looking. The vice-president tried to defuse the furore by giving an interview to friendly Fox News.His most revealing answer came in response to a question about something other than the hunting accident. Cheney was asked about court papers filed by his former chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby, indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice in the inquiry into the leaking of the identity of the undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. In the papers, Libby laid out a line of defence that he leaked classified material at the behest of "his superiors" (to wit, Cheney). Libby said he was authorised to disclose to members of the press classified sections of the prewar National Intelligence Estimate on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, Cheney explained, he has the power to declassify intelligence. "There is an executive order to that effect," he said.On March 25 2003 President Bush signed executive order 13292, a hitherto little-known document that grants the greatest expansion of the power of the vice-president in US history. It gives the vice-president the same ability to classify intelligence as the president. By controlling classification, the vice-president can control intelligence and, through that, foreign policy. Bush operates on the radical notion of the "unitary executive", that the presidency has inherent and limitless powers in his role as commander in chief, above the system of checks and balances. Never before has any president diminished and divided his power.
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Cost of Iraq

Ok, so lets pretend that EVERY American pays taxes, I mean everyone, kids, men, women, EVERYONE!!!! So if that were true, then we have all paid aprox. $2083.00 for the Iraq,,,,War? Invasion? What ever you want to call it. So, that dream you had of going to Vegas for a week and parting with a really hot call girl,,,,gone,,,,or getting freaky with two decent looking hookers, gone,,, or drinking/parting yourself into a coma, with four nasty hookers,,,,gone. Thanks GW, Thanks for everything!!!!!

After Downing Street

Blogging Beyond Downing Street

Have Americans gotten in the habit yet of reading Mick Smith's blog? Remember Michael Smith, the reporter who broke the Downing Street Memo story? He's still at it, and has some great stories up recently. Mick also has on his site the full text of the Iraq Options Paper, which was missing a couple of sentences in the version we all got last Spring.

The Middle Ages are here again!

Torture is legal, science is heresy, magic is studied in secrecy, leaders rely on religious fanaticism, poverty sweeps the land as murderous despots hoard wealth behind walls, mysterious plagues terrify the people, inquisitors hunt dissidents, and crusades against Arabs are used to distract the masses from revolt.
That describes Europe's grim Middle Ages, but
medieval scholar Eric Jager says it also describes the United States in 2006, in an era many Americans consider to be a glorious information age of technological wonders.
"The word modern was actually coined by medieval people to distinguish themselves from the ancients," Jager writes in the
Los Angeles Times.
Or, as one of Jager's history students said, "
Medieval people were so ignorant, they had no idea they were living in the Middle Ages."
During those long dark centuries between the Roman Empire's decline and the Renaissance, corrupt and amoral popes ruled Europeans with lies and terror. Kings were notoriously and proudly stupid.
Parish priests were whoremongers and crooks. Scientists and magicians -- they were
one and the same -- practiced their arts hidden from the Christian mobs and sadistic Inquisitors.
To avoid revolt, popes and kings sent Europe's healthy young men and even children off to faraway Arab lands to plunder or die trying.
Yet it wasn't until the Renaissance era that historians realized just how pathetic things had become during the Dark Ages.
"The Renaissance stole the label of modernity for itself and invented a prior 'middle age' when
classical civilization lay dormant, awaiting a glorious rebirth," Jager says. "The Enlightenment made the 'barbaric' and 'superstitious' Middle Ages seem even more obsolete."
While ignorance, poverty and fear were all most people knew in the Middle Ages, technological progress raced onward.
The
inventions and advances of medieval Europe -- Gutenberg's printing press, banking, navigation, wheelbarrows, mirrors, magnets, rudders, soap, shoes and stirrups and harnesses for horses, eyeglasses, windmills, spinning wheels, and the adoption of foreign technologies such as Arabic math and astronomy and Chinese gunpowder -- made our "modern era" possible.
But the gadgets themselves couldn't make medieval Europeans any less stupid or savage. That wouldn't begin to happen until the late 13th century in Florence, where the
Italian Renaissance began, and up to two centuries later in the most barbaric parts of northern Europe.
Five centuries later, Europe would again plunge into darkness as the German masses used the latest and greatest technology to murder millions of people and destroy much of what had been built.
"Like our gadgets, we ourselves are only temporarily modern, and that label will be taken from us very soon," Jager writes.
"What sort of mirror will later generations find in us? The people of the future, looking back on our violent and benighted era, may decide to call us 'medieval,' so I suggest we just go ahead and accept that the New Middle Ages have begun."

New Orleans Doesn't want Poor Back

By ERIC BERGER

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

New Orleans doesn't want its poorest residents back — unless they agree to work.
That was the message from three New Orleans City Council members who said government programs have "pampered" the city's residents for too long.
The news that some New Orleans City Council members weren't keen on the city's poorest returning home added another layer of discomfort in Houston, where local residents and elected officials alike have stretched to meet the needs of thousands of Louisiana residents in the months after Hurricane Katrina.
Chief among the complaints: Houston didn't discriminate when New Orleanians — from the poorest to the richest — filled this city's homes, hotels, motels and shelters. And Houston didn't flinch when nearly 100,000 evacuees needed subsidized housing for up to a year. So why, asked one Houston city councilman, are only the educated, healthy and employable welcome back in New Orleans?

Let them eat cake!!!!

The number of starving Americans has risen rapidly since 2000, with children and old people suffering more than ever.
The U.S. government says there are now 38 million hungry Americans, 5 million more than just a few years ago.
America's Second Harvest, a nationwide network of soup kitchens, now gives food to 25 million hungry people -- an 8% increase in just five years.
And one-third of those needing the soup kitchens are in households with at least one working adult.
"Even though individuals may have a job, they still are having a hard time making ends meet," Second Harvest's Maura Daly told the Christian Science Monitor.
"We find many people have to make choices between food and other basic necessities like paying for utilities and heat."
With income not keeping up with living expenses for so many Americans, going to the soup kitchen for some meals is the only way to keep on top of their mounting bills for housing, utilities and health care.
Some 30% of hungry people in the United States have been forced to choose between eating and getting urgent medical treatment.

2006/02/22

The FISA File

Athan G. Theoharis

With a debate now raging over George W. Bush's secret authorization of warrantless wiretaps by the National Security Agency in defiance of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, we must take another look at why Congress passed the act in the first place. The legislative history clearly shows that the intention was to deny the President the unchecked right to determine whether a proposed target met a legitimate "foreign intelligence" need. Instead, Congress ordained that all proposals to intercept such communications with foreigners must first be reviewed and approved by a special FISA court.
Prodding Congress into action in 1978 were recent revelations of abuses by the NSA. One was Operation Shamrock, instituted in 1947 to intercept telegraph messages; another was Operation Minaret, created in 1967 to intercept the electronic communications of militant civil rights and anti-Vietnam War activists. NSA officials knew these programs were illegal and accordingly devised procedures to preclude discovery of their actions. Also important were revelations that President Nixon had co-opted the NSA and the FBI to advance his own political and policy agendas.
Nixon's abuses started after Congress passed the 1968 Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act. This law included a section allowing wiretapping that had been banned by the 1934 Communications Act and authorizing its use if a warrant had been obtained. But it also stated that the warrant requirement would not "limit the constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the Nation against actual or potential attack or other hostile acts of a foreign power, to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essential to the security of the United States, or to protect national security information against foreign intelligence activities." During the debate on this proposal, Senator Philip Hart asked Senators John McClellan and Spessard Holland, the floor leaders on the bill, whether this provision gave "the President a blank check to tap or bug without judicial supervision, when he finds, on his own motion, that an activity poses a 'clear and present danger to the Government of the United States.'" McClellan and Holland denied that it would. They contended that the language was neutral and did not "affirmatively" grant any such powers to the President but merely stated that the President's (undefined) constitutional powers were not restricted.


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Abramoff's Evangelical Soldiers

Max Blumenthal

Gambling might not rank as high as homosexuality or abortion on the list of social evils monitored by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, but its growth has provided many occasions for his jeremiads. The indictment of Indian casino lobbyist and influential GOP activist Jack Abramoff was one such occasion. In a January 6 press release issued three days after Abramoff's indictment, Dobson declared, "If the nation's politicians don't fix this national disaster, then the oceans of gambling money with which Jack Abramoff tried to buy influence on Capitol Hill will only be the beginning of the corruption we'll see." He concluded with a denunciation of vice: "Gambling--all types of gambling--is driven by greed and subsists on greed."

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Rumsfeld Declares War on Bad Press

Analysis by Emad Mekay WASHINGTON, Feb 21 (IPS) - Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld has signaled that he plans to intensify a campaign to influence global media coverage of the United States, a move that is likely to heighten the debate over press freedom and propaganda-free reporting. Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York last week, Rumsfeld said that Washington will launch a new drive to spread and defend U.S. views, especially in the so-called war on terror. He cited the Cold War-era initiatives of the U.S. Information Agency and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, widely viewed outside the United States as sophisticated propaganda outlets, as a model for the new offensive. If similar efforts over the past five years are any example, the campaign is likely to take place in two main areas -- the U.S. media and the press in the Arab and Muslim worlds, where Washington sees its strategic influence as pivotal. On Tuesday, Rumsfeld also said that the Pentagon is "reviewing" its practice of paying to plant good news stories in the Iraqi news media, contradicting a previous assertion that the controversial propaganda programme had been halted. Critics here say the new media blitz joins a long list of decisions by the George W. Bush administration, such as ordering the National Security Agency to spy on U.S. citizens without warrants, monitoring library records, and compiling databases on U.S. citizens who disagree with the administration's policies, that are leading the country down an authoritarian path -- ironically, one that is not far from those Middle Eastern regimes that have long clamped down on freedom of expression and independent journalism. And they note that the U.S. mainstream media already tends towards a conservative interpretation of events, with scant regard for opposing views. According to a study released this month by the U.S.-based media organisation Media Matters for America, conservative voices have considerably outnumbered liberal voices for the past nine years on the Sunday morning television news shows, considered among the pinnacles of U.S. journalism. The report analysed the content of influential shows such as NBC's Meet the Press, CBS' Face the Nation, and ABC's This Week. It classified each of the nearly 7,000 guests who appeared during the 1997-2005 period as either Democrat, Republican, conservative, progressive, or neutral. It found that guests opposing the Bush administration's policies, during both terms, were given only enough space to maintain a veneer of fairness and accuracy. Congressional opponents of the Iraq war, for example, were mostly missing from the Sunday shows, particularly during the period just before the war began in March 2003. "If conservative dominance in this major arena of (U.S.) public opinion-making continues as it has in the past nine years, it may have serious consequences for future policy debates and elections," said David Brock, president of the Washington-based NGO Media Matters for America. "This study should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who thinks they are seeing balanced discourse on Sunday mornings -- and to those responsible for producing this imbalanced programming," he said. Rumsfeld's plan would almost certainly seek to bolster such sympathetic reporting. In his speech, the U.S. military chief used war terminology to refer to the media. He said that "some of the most critical battles may not be in the mountains of Afghanistan or the streets of Iraq, but in newsrooms -- in places like New York, London, Cairo, and elsewhere." According to Jim Naureckas, editor of Extra!, a magazine put out by the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), "They see the mutilation of information that reaches the public as a key part of their war strategy, and I think that is a very dangerous way for the military to be looking at their job in a democracy." "When people talk about the ‘home front' they do not realise what sinister implications that has. The public is seen as another front that the military is fighting out." Rumsfeld recommended that the media be part of every move in the so-called war on terror, including an increase in Internet operations, the establishment of 24-hour press operations centres, and training military personnel in other channels of communication. He said the government would work to hire more media experts from the private sector and that there will be less emphasis on the print press. The State Department, under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is also stepping up its propaganda efforts. Last week, Rice asked for 74 million dollars to expand broadcasting and internet campaigns in Iran, as well as to promote student exchanges, in order to destabilise the regime there. But to many independent media analysts, the Bush administration has too often confused propaganda with facts and information. "I think that in the Pentagon world view, facts become instrumentalised," Naureckas said. "The point of putting out information is to achieve your military objectives. It's not to serve truth in some kind of abstract sense. And once you start looking at it this way, the difference between a true statement and false statement really becomes very little." The Bush administration has had some success in influencing the media at home in the United States, a country with generally sophisticated and discerning media operations. Last week, U.S. lawmaker Henry Waxman and other senior Democratic leaders released a new study by the Government Accountability Office, a Congressional oversight body, which found that the Bush administration spent a whopping 1.6 billion dollars in public relations and media over the last two and a half years to sway public opinion. "The government is spending over a billion dollars per year on PR and advertising," said Congressman Waxman. "Careful oversight of this spending is essential given the track record of the Bush administration, which has used taxpayer dollars to fund covert propaganda within the United States." The opposition Democrats had asked the GAO to conduct that study after evidence emerged last year that the Bush administration had commissioned "covert propaganda" from public relations firms that pushed video news releases that appeared to regular viewers as independent newscasts. The report found that the administration's public relations and advertising contracts spanned a wide range of issues, including message development presenting "the Army's strategic perspective in the Global War on Terrorism". The study found that the Pentagon spent the most on media contracts, with contracts worth 1.1 billion dollars. And all that money was before the new Rumsfeld plan. (END/2006)

In Defense of Free Thought

Robert Scheer

I think as I pleaseAnd this gives me pleasure.My conscience decrees,This right I must treasure.My thoughts will not caterTo duke or dictator,No man can deny--Die gedanken sind frei.
--(Sixteenth-century German peasant song revived as a protest anthem against the Nazi regime)


The news on Monday that an Austrian court has sentenced crackpot British historian David Irving to three years' imprisonment for having denied the Holocaust seventeen years ago should have alarmed free speech advocates--particularly at a time when Muslim fundamentalists are being lectured as to the freedom of expression that should be afforded cartoonists. In the event, however, a lack of noticeable outcry has exposed a longstanding double standard in the West about who is entitled to free speech and why.
To be sure, Nazi propaganda is an extremely sensitive issue in Hitler's birth country, which for the most part endorsed the madman's vision of the Third Reich. But the repression of the free marketplace of ideas is an endorsement of tyranny rather than its repudiation. And it is not just Austria, and Germany itself, that have banned the views of Holocaust deniers: Eight other European states have joined in. Muslim fundamentalists outraged by the cartoons that have appeared widely in the European media thus have the right to question the conflicting standards of what is considered worthy of censorship.

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THE THIRD WAVE


This is a great read, very scary, but a real insight about how easily we can be lead.

2006/02/20

'The Aussie PM can go f@ck himself'

On a recent flight from New Zealand to Australia a man found himself seated next to a musclebound gentleman reading a book bearing the ominous tile "Jihad: The Rise Of Militant Islam In Central Asia."
He did what any hopelessly paranoid slab of quivering milquetoast would do: He reported the guy to Australia's National Security hotline.
That guy was punk rock legend Henry Rollins.
Rollins received a letter warning him of his status as a suspected terrorist from a "nice lady" in the Australian government:
The person who sat next to you on the flight from New Zealand does not agree with your politics or choice of reading and so nominated you as a possible threat. As they were too cowardly or stupid to leave their details I can’t call them to discuss their idiocy with them.
In his response to the kindly tipster the former
Black Flag frontman noted the irony that the book is written by a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, one of America's more conservative newspapers, and was published by Yale University, President Bush's alma mater.
The D.C. native then asked the woman to send along a message to her higher-ups:
Please tell your government and everyone in your office to go f*ck themselves. Tell them twice. If your boss is looking for something to do, you can tell him I suggest he go f*ck himself. Baghdad's safer than my hometown and your PM is a sissy. You have a nice night.
Though
firmly against the war in Iraq and no fan of President Bush, Rollins is an unassailable patriot and supporter of the Armed Services. During the Christmas season he made his sixth USO tour.
"The troops, they're my heroes," Rollins said. "You don't need me out there like some Tokyo Rose. I wouldn't go on a tear on Bush out there, because it'd be distracting."

2006/02/19

Terror stalks the yellow bus

The Department of Homeland Security has new recruits in the war on terror: school bus drivers.

The new School Bus Watch program will train bus drivers to spot potential terrorists. They'll also learn how to look out for people casing their routes or plotting to explode buses full of happy tots.

One driver who attended a training session said, "I don't think I ever thought about, 'Oh, well, here, let me check my bus for a bomb.' So, you know, all of that stuff is very helpful."


For several years, municipal bus drivers have been trained in anti-terrorism techniques.

However, school bus drivers -- often retirees, mothers with young children, or people between jobs -- are a different matter.

Now, in addition to watching out for child molesters, reckless drivers, and pot-smoking teens in the back seat, bus drivers will have to look out for terrorists.

John Rollins, a former senior Homeland Security intelligence official, sees the beginning of a worrisome trend.

"Today it's bus drivers, tomorrow it could be postal officials, and the next day, it could be, 'Why don't we have this program in place for the people who deliver the newspaper to the door?"' he said.

"We could quickly get into a society where we're all spying on each other. It may be well intentioned, but there is a concern of going a bit too far."

Dale Krapf, the hilariously named president of the National School Transportation Association, disagreed.

"School bus drivers already play an important role in the safety and security of their communities," he said.

"School Bus Watch represents an important part of continuing that role and gives them some additional tools that will help them to keep their communities, their vehicles, and our children safe."


Several years ago, the city of Modesto held a busjacking drill for 60 school bus drivers. Many were reduced to tears.

But they'll probably do just super when it comes to foiling real terrorists.

Why America will reap in Iran what it doesn’t expect

By abid Ullah Jan

02/19/06 "ICH" -- -- Many anti-war analysts believe that Iran has no nuclear weapons program in place and no one has ever produced a shred of credible evidence to the contrary. Yet they fear that the Bush administration’s spurious accusations and subsequent war will lead to a wider World War.

If Iran has no nuclear weapons, as concludes Mohammed el-Baradei the respected chief of the IAEA, the war on Iran, in itself, will not lead to the speculated World War 3. It will only worsen the situation worldwide. Instead of directly ending up in a World War, the war on Iran will only become a next phase in spreading the World War that is already on without our realizing that we are passing through its initial phases. [1]

On the other hand, a false assumption that Iran has no nuclear weapons will, in fact, quickly engulf many more countries and take the World War that is already on to a quick climax.[2]

Under-estimating Iran’s nuclear capacity is pushing the extremists in Washington into launching a war that the US administration has been planning since a long time. The IAEA’s inspections and confirmation that Iran has no nuclear weapons and there is no nuclear program in operation are no different than the confirmation by the United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. Confirmation of the absence of weapons actually led to the United States' final decision to launch a war of aggression on Iraq.

WWIII or Bust: Implications of a US Attack on Iran

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous... Having said that, all options are on the table." George W. Bush, February 2005

By Heather Wokusch

02/19/06 "ICH" -- -- Witnessing the Bush administration's drive for an attack on Iran is like being a passenger in a car with a raving drunk at the wheel. Reports of impending doom surfaced a year ago, but now it's official: under orders from Vice President Cheney's office, the Pentagon has developed "last resort" aerial-assault plans using long-distance B2 bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles with both conventional and nuclear weapons.

How ironic that the Pentagon proposes using nuclear weapons on the pretext of protecting the world from nuclear weapons. Ironic also that Iran has complied with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, allowing inspectors to "go anywhere and see anything," yet those pushing for an attack, the USA and Israel, have not.

The nuclear threat from Iran is hardly urgent. As the Washington Post reported in August 2005, the latest consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies is that "Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years." The Institute for Science and International Security estimated that while Iran could have a bomb by 2009 at the earliest, the US intelligence community assumed technical difficulties would cause "significantly delay." The director of Middle East Studies at Brown University and a specialist in Middle Eastern energy economics both called the State Department's claims of a proliferation threat from Iran's Bushehr reactor "demonstrably false," concluding that "the physical evidence for a nuclear weapons program in Iran simply does not exist."

Constant Conflict

US Army War College Quarterly

There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing.

We have entered an age of constant conflict. Information is at once our core commodity and the most destabilizing factor of our time. Until now, history has been a quest to acquire information; today, the challenge lies in managing information. Those of us who can sort, digest, synthesize, and apply relevant knowledge soar--professionally, financially, politically, militarily, and socially. We, the winners, are a minority.

2006/02/17

American Heroin

It oftentimes boggles the mind to try and understand the ease with which the Establishment can manipulate the American citizenry into another warmongering escapade, this time an ominous foray into the Persian lands of Iran, a nation rich in history, culture, location and most importantly to the Evil Empire, oil and gas. Yet upon further inspection it is easy to comprehend this phenomenon, for we live, as Gore Vidal has labeled it, inside the United States of Amnesia, a country where all semblance of the yesterday becomes but a haze of blatant forgetfulness and convenient whitewash, a black hole of Alzheimer’s-like darkness from where no recollection of past lessons, mistakes, errors or history can be seen or touched.We live in a nation of gluttonous stupor and comfortable surroundings, easily distracted by the cocktail of materialism that lines our homes. We are trained to live to work, not work to live, sacrificing love of life for love for the Almighty dollar, becoming worker bees and soldier ants, selling our souls to the demons of capitalism in exchange for the happiness and stress-free lives of yesteryear, needing pharmaceutical drugs to escape the depression of our daily lives, willingly choosing to indebt our present and future in order to possess the vast array of adult toys marketed to manipulate our emotions, wrongly thinking this or that product will reincarnate lost happiness. America is the land of plenty, where waistlines expand, stress increases, mental problems grow, work hours increase and vehicles get bigger and bigger, a land addicted to the devil’s excrement, like a heroin user injecting black gold into its ever thirsty veins, becoming a violent, warmongering junkie when the perpetual case of cold turkey arises.

I love this guys blog, He is a great writter, and I highly recommend you read the rest of this post, and all of his other posts

Mother of the Year

This is Fucked up Beyond Words!!!!! I'm just totally speechless!!!!

2006/02/13

Do Bush supporters hate their country?

By Jaime O'Neill
Sometimes the people who still fervently support George W. Bush seem just plain stupid, and other times it seems they must be dishonest and even malevolent, harboring a hatred for their country that allows them to support misguided ideas and private agendas over the public good. In more reasonable moods, I want to believe that the Bush supporters are just like me in simply wanting what is best for the country safety, security, fairness and a commitment to a government that observes the principles upon which our nation was founded. When I'm thinking that way, I assume we don't disagree on goals and objectives, just on the most effective way to achieve those goals and objectives.
It's hard to keep that thought, though, when the lies keep piling up higher and deeper, and when so much of the energy of Bush supporters goes into evading reality. Is it really possible for there to be an honest difference of opinion about the calamitous Bush decision to invade Iraq? No weapons of mass destruction there, as we were told there were. No link between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein, as we were told there was, and as we continue to be urged to believe by deceptive administration rhetoric. Almost no likelihood that a stable democracy will be possible in an Iraq rent by ethnic feuds and anti-democratic traditions. Billions upon billions of dollars squandered in Iraq, and billions more stolen by corrupt U.S. contractors. Meanwhile, the Homeland Security entity Bush created has shown itself to be yet another huge government boondoggle, and utterly witless in responding to a national emergency.
Beyond that, we have the shameful spectacle of Americans who call themselves patriots urging a forfeiture of our rights and liberties as U.S. citizens the rights to due process and the protections devised by the founding fathers to guard against abuses of power.
And beyond that, we have breaches of national security in the outing of a CIA agent for no better reason than spite. We have the staffing of all kinds of highly paid and important government jobs with incompetent administration cronies and partners in crime. We have repeated and massive failures of imagination. No one could have imagined a) people flying planes into U.S. skyscrapers, b) a storm of the magnitude of Katrina, or c) a Palestinian militant group like Hamas winning elections in Palestine these being just a few of the things Condoleezza Rice has said the administration couldn't imagine.
Beyond all of that, we have the growing gap between rich and poor, the exportation of American jobs by the hundreds of thousands, the wasteful and exploitive health care system that continues to bankrupt American industries, the packing of the Supreme Court with judges confirmed despite their stonewalling before the congressional oversight committees charged with vetting them before they assumed lifetime appointments. We have been unable or unwilling to secure our borders. We have seen corruption on an unprecedented scale and massive neglect of dozens of urgent national needs. Science has been disregarded whenever it runs afoul of the profit motive, and we have a foreign policy no one, least of all the people in charge of it, seems to understand.
Our actions in Iraq have fueled the most extreme anti-Western views throughout the Islamic world, and the entire Middle East is less stable than it was when the Bush bunch took office.
Meanwhile, we build for our children and grandchildren a legacy of international hatred, plus a huge debt burden as the Bush administration spends and spends as though there is no tomorrow.
We've squandered our good name and our moral authority in the world as we've watched Rumsfeld and Cheney and other spokesmen for our nation argue to justify torture in the interest of our safety.
At a time when it was absolutely essential that the world know unequivocally just who the good guys were, Bush and Co. have sullied the image of America all over the globe, drawing a portrait of a nation that behaves with arrogance, defies world opinion, ignores planetary environmental concerns, and treats other nations with disdain.
All of this harm has come to our nation and to its image, and still a cluster of supporters insist on tarring anyone who might question this ruinous administration. One of the ignorant nimrods who regularly write to this paper to call me a Marxist argues that those who disagree with the president are delighted to see America fail, that people like me take pleasure in anything that gives comfort to our enemies. He argues that people who question the reckless use of the military are "pacifist military haters." There is no truth to such baseless and childish nonsense, but he seems to think it sounds persuasive, or perhaps he thinks it's a kind of logical argument.
That's one of the reasons it's difficult not to think some of these Bush supporters are just willfully stupid.
These people grow more tiresome as they have less and less with which to argue. Their recourse, it seems, is to tag people they disagree with by calling them "leftists" and "liberals," as if those words cancel out all arguments. These people exploit the nation's soldiers to bolster their arguments.
They claim to support the troops, but you never hear a peep from them about cuts to the Veterans Affairs budget or the shameful number of avoidable deaths and injuries suffered by our soldiers because the Bush administration still has not provided frontline troops with the kind of armored vehicles that could have saved them from many of those deaths and injuries.
But to people who are either stupid or malevolent, hatred of those they would label as "liberals" trumps love of country every time and blinds them to the harm being done to our security, our heritage and our well-being.

The War on Privacy, Circa 1984

Rumsfeld warns that the enemy can succeed in changing our way of life. It already has.

"There was, of course, no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. . . . But at any rate they would plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and except in darkness, every movement scrutinized. "George Orwel

By Nat Hentoff02/13/06 "
Village Voice" -- --One morning, in his Supreme Court chambers, Justice William Brennan was giving me a lesson on the American Revolution. "A main precipitating cause of our revolution," he said, "was the general search warrant that British customs officers wrote—without going to any court—to break into the American colonists' homes and offices, looking for contraband." Everything, including the colonists, was turned upside down. He added that news of these recurrent assaults on privacy were spread through the colonies by the Committees of Correspondence that Sam Adams and others organized, inflaming the outraged Americans. Now, the Congressional Democratic leadership has finally found an issue to focus on—the vanishing of Americans' privacy, as happened before the American Revolution, but currently on a scale undreamed of by Sam Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the other patriots in the Committees of Correspondence. The rising present anger around the country, across party lines, is reflected in a February 3 Zogby Interactive poll that "finds Americans largely unwilling to surrender civil liberties—even if it is to prevent terrorists from carrying out attacks. . . . Even routine security measures, like random searches of bags, purses, and other packages, were opposed by half (50 percent) of respondents in the survey. . . . Just 28 percent are willing to allow their telephone conversations to be monitored." On the other hand, nearly half (45 percent) favored at least "a great deal" of government secrecy in the war on terror. But the public's awareness that the United States has increasingly become a nation under surveillance is indicated by resistance not only to random searches and tapping into our telephone conversations. Zogby says: This is a "public obsessed with civil liberties." Well, not obsessed yet, but growingly apprehensive. In 2001, for example, 82 percent of those surveyed by Zogby favored government video surveillance of street corners, neighborhoods, and other public places. By 2006, this approval has dropped to 70 percent, still a formidable figure. But the decline is part of an across-the-board change in public willingness to give up civil liberties from 2001 to the present awakening to the vanishing of the "reasonable expectation of privacy" that used to be in our rule of law. James Madison, the principal architect of the Bill of Rights, warned: "It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment in our liberties." Because of the continually expanding surveillance technology available to the government, no administration in our history has been engaged in more pervasive "experiments" on our liberties than Bush's regime. And even more penetrating means of surveillance will be available to future presidents who claim that their "inherent powers" in a war on terrorism allow them to ignore laws and the other branches of government. The present and future dangers to Americans' individual liberties have been underscored in a revealing speech by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on February 2 at the National Press Club in Washington. (The ramifications of this analysis of our future are deeper than he may have intended.) Rumsfeld said flatly that this war to keep us secure from worldwide, dedicated lethal terrorists can last for decades! At last, this crucial difference from all the other wars in which we have been involved is sinking into the American consciousness. In their February 3 Washington Post coverage of the Rumsfeld address, Josh White and Ann Scott Tyson valuably added this context: "Iraq and Afghanistan are the 'early battles' in the campaign against Islamic extremists and terrorists, who are profoundly more dangerous than in the past because of technological advances that allow them to operate globally, said Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon K. England in an address on Wednesday [February 1]." At the core of Rumsfeld's own remarks is this admission: "Compelled by a militant ideology that celebrates murder and suicide with no territory to defend, with little to lose, they will either succeed in changing our way of life, or we will succeed in changing theirs." (Emphasis added.) But our enemies are changing our way of life, beginning with the 2001 Patriot Act that, among other invasions, expanded the FBI's ability to use National Security Letters—without going to judges—to collect personal information about us. This marked the return of the "general search warrant" of our colonial past. Because the New York Times exposed how the National Security Agency's spying is further changing our way of life, the administration is intent on punishing the Times—with the support of Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. In an afterword to George Orwell's 1984, Eric Fromm emphasized: "Orwell . . . is not a prophet of disaster. He wants to warn and awaken us. He still hopes— but . . . his hope is a desperate one. . . . Books like Orwell's are powerful warnings, and it would be most unfortunate if the reader smugly interpreted 1984 as another description of Stalinist barbarism, and if he does not see that it means us, too." Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, in an interview with the New York Times' Bob Herbert, tells how Orwell is indeed speaking to us: "The more people grow accustomed to a listening environment in which Big Brother is assumed to be behind every wall, behind every e-mail, and invisibly present in every electronic communication, telephonic or otherwise—that is the kind of society, as people grow accustomed to it, in which you can end up being boiled to death without ever noticing that the water is getting hotter, degree by degree." (Emphasis added.) Will the Democrats become a truly serious opposition party before privacy disappears entirely?

Every move you make ... they'll be watching you

By Joe Burris Baltimore Sun Posted February 6 2006, 9:57 AM EST

Ever get the feeling that someone's eyeballing you? You're probably right.These days, between the news that the National Security Agency has been eavesdropping without warrants and that the Justice Department wants to know what searches have been conducted on Google and elsewhere, it's no wonder you feel under watch.
The real surprise, though, may be how so much of what you do on an everyday basis already gets screened, monitored, tracked, scanned and observed - often without your ever knowing it.From spyware on your computer to police cameras on your street to GPS devices on your cell phone, how much of your private life is really private any more?

ASU

Started my first class at ASU, it's pretty amazing to be in the big time.