2006/03/30

"If You Start Looking at Them as Humans, Then How Are You Gonna Kill Them?"

By Inigo Gilmore and Teresa Smith
The Guardian UK
Wednesday 29 March 2006

They are a publicity nightmare for the US military: an ever-growing number of veterans of the Iraq conflict who are campaigning against the war. To mark the third anniversary of the invasion this month, a group of them marched on Katrina-ravaged New Orleans. Inigo Gilmore and Teresa Smith joined them.

At a press conference in a cavernous Alabama warehouse, banners and posters are rolled out: "Abandon Iraq, not the Gulf coast!" A tall, white soldier steps forward in desert fatigues. "I was in Iraq when Katrina happened and I watched US citizens being washed ashore in New Orleans," he says. "War is oppression: we could be setting up hospitals right here. America is war-addicted. America is neglecting its poor."
A black reporter from a Fox TV news affiliate, visibly stunned, whispers: "Wow! That guy's pretty opinionated." Clearly such talk, even three years after the Iraq invasion, is still rare. This, after all, is the Deep South and this soldier less than a year ago was proudly serving his nation in Iraq.
The soldier was engaged in no ordinary protest. Over five days earlier this month, around 200 veterans, military families and survivors of hurricane Katrina walked 130 miles from Mobile, Alabama, to New Orleans to mark the third anniversary of the Iraq war. At its vanguard, Iraq Veterans Against the War, a group formed less than two years ago, whose very name has aroused intense hostility at the highest levels of the US military.
Mobile is a grand old southern naval town, clinging to the Gulf Coast. The stars and stripes flutter from almost every balcony as the soldiers parade through the town, surprising onlookers. As they begin their soon-to-be-familiar chants - "Bush lied, many died!" - some shout "traitor", or hurl less polite terms of abuse. Elsewhere, a black man salutes as a blonde, middle-aged woman, emerging from a supermarket car park, cries out, "Take it all the way to the White House!" and offers the peace sign.
Michael Blake is at the front of the march. The 22-year-old from New York state is not quite sure how he ended up in the military; the child of "a feminist mom and hippy dad", he says he signed up thinking that he would have an adventure, never imagining that he would find himself in Iraq. He served from April 2003 to March 2004, some of that time as a Humvee driver. Deeply disturbed by his experience in Iraq, he filed for conscientious objector status and has been campaigning against the war ever since.
He claims that US soldiers such as him were told little about Iraq, Iraqis or Islam before serving there; other than a book of Arabic phrases, "the message was always: 'Islam is evil' and 'They hate us.' Most of the guys I was with believed it."
Blake says that the turning point for him came one day when his unit spent eight hours guarding a group of Iraqi women and children whose men were being questioned. He recalls: "The men were taken away and the women were screaming and crying, and I just remember thinking: this was exactly what Saddam used to do - and now we're doing it."
Becoming a peace activist, he says, has been a "cleansing" experience. "I'll never be normal again. I'll always have a sense of guilt." He tells us that he witnessed civilian Iraqis being killed indiscriminately. It would not be the most startling admission by the soldiers on the march.
"When IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] would go off by the side of the road, the instructions were - or the practice was - to basically shoot up the landscape, anything that moved. And that kind of thing would happen a lot." So innocent people were killed? "It happened, yes." (He says he did not carry out any such killings himself.)
Blake, an activist with IVAW for the past 12 months, is angry that American people seem so untouched by the war, by the grim abuses committed by American soldiers. "The American media doesn't cover it and they don't care. The American people aren't seeing the real war - what's really happening there."
We are in a Mexican diner in Mississippi when Alan Shackleton, a quiet 24-year-old from Iowa, stuns the table into silence with a story of his own. He details how he and his comrades in Iraq suffered multiple casualties, including a close friend who died of his injuries. Then he pauses for a moment, swallows hard and says: "And I ran over a little kid and killed him ... and that's about it." He has been suffering from severe insomnia, but later he tells us that he has only been able to see a counsellor once every six weeks and has been prescribed sleeping pills.
"We are very, very sorry for what we did to the Iraqi people," he says the next day, holding a handwritten poster declaring: "Thou shall not kill."
As we get closer to New Orleans, the coastline becomes increasingly ravaged. Joe Hatcher, always sporting a keffiyeh and punk chains, reflects on his own time in the military and the hostility he has met from pro-war activists at home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a town with five army bases where he campaigns against the war at town hall forums. He says: "There's this old guy, George, an ex-colonel. He shows up and talks shit on everybody for being anti-war because 'it's ruining the morale of the soldier and encouraging the enemy'.
"I scraped dead bodies off the pavements with a shovel and threw them in trash bags and left them there on the side of the road. And I really don't think the anti-war movement is what is infuriating people."
When we reach Biloxi, Mississippi, the police say that there is no permit for the march and everyone will have to walk on the pavement. This is tricky because Katrina has left this coastal road looking like a bomb site.
Jody Casey left the army five days ago and came straight to join the vets. The 29-year-old is no pacifist; he still firmly backs the military but says that he is speaking out in the hope of correcting many of the mistakes being made. He served as a scout sniper for a year until last February, based, like Blake, in the Sunni triangle.
He clearly feels a little ill at ease with some of the protesters' rhetoric, but eventually agrees to talk to us. He says that the turning point for him came after he returned from Iraq and watched videos that he and other soldiers in his unit shot while out on raids, including hour after hour of Iraqi soldiers beating up Iraqi civilians. While reviewing them back home he decided "it was not right".
What upset him the most about Iraq? "The total disregard for human life," he says, matter of factly. "I mean, you do what you do at the time because you feel like you need to. But then to watch it get kind of covered up, shoved under a rug ... 'Oh, that did not happen'."
What kind of abuses did he witness? "Well, I mean, I have seen innocent people being killed. IEDs go off and [you] just zap any farmer that is close to you. You know, those people were out there trying to make a living, but on the other hand, you get hit by four or five of those IEDs and you get pretty tired of that, too."
Casey told us how, from the top down, there was little regard for the Iraqis, who were routinely called "hajjis", the Iraq equivalent of "gook". "They basically jam into your head: 'This is hajji! This is hajji!' You totally take the human being out of it and make them into a video game."
It was a way of dehumanising the Iraqis? "I mean, yeah - if you start looking at them as humans, and stuff like that, then how are you going to kill them?"
He says that soldiers who served in his area before his unit's arrival recommended them to keep spades on their vehicles so that if they killed innocent Iraqis, they could throw a spade off them to give the appearance that the dead Iraqi was digging a hole for a roadside bomb.
Casey says he didn't participate in any such killings himself, but claims the pervasive atmosphere was that "you could basically kill whoever you wanted - it was that easy. You did not even have to get off and dig a hole or anything. All you had to do was have some kind of picture. You're driving down the road at three in the morning. There's a guy on the side of the road, you shoot him ... you throw a shovel off."
The IVAW, says Hatcher, "is becoming our religion, our fight - as in any religion we've confessed our wrongs, and now it's time to atone."
Just outside New Orleans, the sudden appearance of a reporter from al-Jazeera's Washington office electrifies the former soldiers. It is a chance for the vets to turn confessional and the reporter is deluged with young former soldiers keen to be interviewed. "We want the Iraqi people to know that we stand with them," says Blake, "and that we're sorry, so sorry. That's why it was so important for us to appear on al-Jazeera."
A number of Vietnam veterans also on the march are a welcome presence. For all the attempts to deny a link between the two conflicts, for both sets of veterans the parallels are persuasive. Thomas Brinson survived the Tet offensive in Vietnam in 1968. "Iraq is just Arabic for Vietnam, like the poster says - the same horror, the same tears," he says.
Sitting on a riverbed outside New Orleans, Blake turns reflective. "I met an Iraqi at one of the public meetings I was talking at recently. He came up to me and told me he was originally from the town where I had been stationed. And I just went up to this complete stranger and hugged him and I said, 'I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.' And you know what? He told me it was OK. And it was beautiful ..." He starts to cry. "That was redemption".

Matthew Shepard Online Resources


This is a very interesting site. Definitely worth checking out.

http://www.hatecrime.org/

Army Bans Use of Privately Bought Armor

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 56 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Soldiers will no longer be allowed to wear body armor other than the protective gear issued by the military, Army officials said Thursday, the latest twist in a running battle over the equipment the
Pentagon gives its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Army officials told The Associated Press that the order was prompted by concerns that soldiers or their families were buying inadequate or untested commercial armor from private companies — including the popular Dragon Skin gear made by California-based Pinnacle Armor.
"We're very concerned that people are spending their hard-earned money on something that doesn't provide the level of protection that the Army requires people to wear. So they're, frankly, wasting their money on substandard stuff," said Col. Thomas Spoehr, director of materiel for the Army.
Murray Neal, chief executive officer of Pinnacle, said he hadn't seen the directive and wants to review it.
"We know of no reason the Army may have to justify this action," Neal said. "On the surface this looks to be another of many attempts by the Army to cover up the billions of dollars spent on ineffective body armor systems which they continue to try quick fixes on to no avail."
The move was a rare one by the Army. Spoehr said he doesn't recall any similar bans on personal armor or devices. The directives are most often issued when there are problems with aircraft or other large equipment.
Veterans groups immediately denounced the decision.
Nathaniel R. Helms, editor of the Soldiers for the Truth online magazine Defense Watch, said he has already received a number of e-mails from soldiers complaining about the policy.
"Outrageously we've seen that (soldiers) haven't been getting what they need in terms of equipment and body armor," said Sen. Christopher Dodd
(news, bio, voting record), D-Conn., who wrote legislation to have troops reimbursed for equipment purchases. "That's totally unacceptable, and why this directive by the Pentagon needs to be scrutinized in much greater detail."
But another veterans group backed the move.
"I don't think the Army is wrong by doing this, because the Army has to ensure some level of quality," said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "They don't want soldiers relying on equipment that is weak or substandard."
But, Rieckhoff said, the military is partially to blame for the problem because it took too long to get soldiers the armor they needed. "This is the monster they made," he said.
Early in the Iraq war, soldiers and their families were spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on protective gear that they said the military was not providing.
Then, last October, after months of pressure from families and members of Congress, the military began a reimbursement program for soldiers who purchased their own protective equipment.
In January, an unreleased Pentagon study found that side armor could have saved dozens of U.S. lives in Iraq, prompting the Army and Marine Corps to order thousands of ceramic body armor plates to be shipped to troops there this year.
The Army ban covers all commercial armor. It refers specifically to Pinnacle's armor, saying that while the company advertising implies that Dragon Skin "is superior in performance" to the Interceptor Body Armor the military issues to soldiers, "the Army has been unable to determine the veracity of these claims."
"In its current state of development, Dragon Skin's capabilities do not meet Army requirements," the Army order says, and it "has not been certified to protect against several small arms threats that the military is encountering in Iraq and Afghanistan."
The Marine Corps has not issued a similar directive, but Marines are "encouraged to wear Marine Corps-issued body armor since this armor has been tested to meet fleet standards," spokesman Bruce Scott said.
Military officials have acknowledged that some troops — often National Guard or Reservists — went to war with lesser-quality protective gear than other soldiers were issued.
"We'll be upfront and recognize that at the start of the conflict there were some soldiers that didn't have the levels of protection that we wanted," Spoehr said. Now, he added, "we can categorically say that whatever you're going to buy isn't as good as what you're going to get" from the military.
In interviews Thursday, Army officials said aggressive marketing by body armor manufacturers was fueling public concerns that troops are not getting the protection they need.
Army Lt. Col. Scott Campbell said the Army has asked Pinnacle to provide 30 sets of the full Dragon Skin armor so it can be independently tested. He said Pinnacle has indicated it won't be able to provide that armor until May, and the company said that is still the plan.
Campbell said initial military tests on small sections of the Dragon Skin armor had disappointing results. He said Pinnacle has received $840,000 in research funding to develop improved armor.
Spoehr said he believes the directive will have little impact on soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan because it's likely that nearly all are wearing the military-issued body armor.
There have been repeated reports of soldiers or families of soldiers buying commercial equipment or trying to raise thousands of dollars to buy it for troops who are preparing to deploy overseas.

Iran given stark nuclear choice

Iran has 30 days to return to the negotiating table or face isolation, foreign ministers from the US and five other major powers have warned.

The comments at talks in Berlin reinforced a deadline in a statement by the UN Security Council, which urged Iran to halt uranium enrichment.
However the UN nuclear watchdog's chief said Iran was not an imminent threat and sanctions would be a "bad idea".
Iran says its activities are peaceful and has rejected the Council's call.
The UK's Jack Straw warned sanctions could follow if Iran remained defiant.
But speaking in Qatar, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief said sanctions were "a bad idea".
"We need to lower the pitch," Mohamed ElBaradei said.
'Miscalculated'
The Berlin talks included the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Council - the US, China, France, Russia and the UK - as well as Germany.


The foreign ministers were discussing what to do if Iran refused to drop its nuclear ambitions.
Their talks came a day after the UN Security Council finally approved a non-binding call on Iran to end uranium enrichment, after weeks of wrangling.
"Iran has a choice between isolation brought about through enrichment" or a return to talks, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the meeting sent "a very strong signal to Iran that the international community is united".
The British foreign secretary said "the onus is on Iran to show the international community that its programme is entirely for civil purposes".
When asked by reporters if the Council might pass a legally binding resolution if Iran did not comply, Mr Straw said: "It can certainly include a resolution... and the possibility of measures after that."
Asked if such measures could include sanctions, he said: "It could do."
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country remained opposed to such a move against the Islamic Republic.
The "sole solution" would come through the IAEA, he said.
'Mistrust'
The 15-member Security Council unanimously approved the non-binding statement on Wednesday - one month after Iran's nuclear activities were reported to the Council by the IAEA.


The statement was the third version of a draft drawn up by France and the UK, which made significant concessions to Russia and China.
Moscow and Beijing, both allies of Iran, were concerned that Security Council involvement could lead to sanctions against Iran and wanted the IAEA to take the lead.
Iran was defiant. "We will not, definitely, suspend enrichment," its ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Aliasghar Soltaniyeh, said earlier on Thursday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran was still open to talks on the issue with the IAEA, but that there was "mistrust" over negotiations with European nations.
He condemned the West's "unjustified propaganda", insisting that Iran's nuclear programme was peaceful.

Weeping schoolkids forced to be Jews


Outraged parents in Apopka, Florida, are demanding to know why their children came home crying after being forced to be "Jewish" for the day.
For Holocaust Remembrance Day at Apopka Memorial Middle School, children whose names ended in the letters L through Z were forced to wear yellow five-pointed stars. The chosen ones were then denied simple comforts at every turn.
John Tinnelly was furious upon learning that his son was made to stand in the back of the classroom and sent to the end of the lunch line simply for being "Jewish."
"He was forced to go to the back of the lunch line four times by an administrator," Tinnelly said.
The man's soon came home in tears.
"He was crying," Tinnelly said. "I said, 'What are you crying about?' He said, 'Daddy, I was a Jew today.'"
The little boy was even denied the use of some water fountains that bore signs that said, 'If you're wearing a yellow star, you can't use this water fountain.'
Instead of learning lessons of history or tolerance, the younger Tinnelly came home with one lesson seared into his fragile psyche: "Daddy, the only thing I found out today is I don't want to be Jewish."
As monstrous as the Nazis were, they at least told the Jews the persecution was simply for being Jewish. Some of the Florida schoolchildren had no idea why they were being forced to stand or go with out water or wait for food.
"Teachers felt that it would have defeated the purpose to tell the students ahead of time because that would have prepared them," Principal Douglas Guthrie said. "Students came in and all they got was a star."
Guthrie thought the day was a great success.

"I feel that it was very effective to have students feel what it's like to be persecuted," he said.

Bush spends heavily to get message out


The Bush administration, amid record budget deficits, has been spending huge amounts on advertising and public relations contracts to counter a hostile media environment.

The administration spent $1.62 billion on advertising and public relations contracts over two and a half years. Most of the money was spent by the Defense Department amid its efforts to recruit soldiers for the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The extent of the Bush administration's propaganda effort is unprecedented and disturbing," said Rep. George Miller, California Democrat.

Mr. Miller and other Democrats ordered a study of the administration's PR budget. In January, the Government Accountability Office issued a report that examined the media budgets of seven federal departments.

In all, the seven departments reported a total of 343 media contracts from 2003 to mid-2005. Forty percent of the contracts were with advertising agencies and 38 percent were with media organizations.

Another two percent of the contracts were with "individual members of the media." They were not identified in the report.

The Pentagon hired agencies to do everything from designing Web sites, drafting a logo for the Air Force to placing ads for leisure travel, bowling and "football frenzy." The U.S. Army spent millions of dollars in media messages and staff to promote the "strategic perspective in the Global War on Terrorism."

Officials were also coached on how to be interviewed, the report said. Several other departments hired media consultants to present a positive spin on their performance.

In November 2005, the U.S. military was found to have used the Lincoln Group to plant articles written by American troops in Iraqi newspapers. An inquiry ordered by Gen. George Casey, the commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, found that the Washington-based public relations group did not violate policy by paying Iraqis to post the articles.

But Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has called for a Pentagon review of the practice of paying the Iraqi media to plant pro-American stories.

2006/03/29

Halliburton's Performance Worsens Under Second Iraqi Oil Contract

By Representative Henry Waxman's Office t r u t h o u t Press Release
Tuesday 28 March 2006
Washington, D.C. -
Today Rep. Waxman released the first analysis of Halliburton's RIO 2 contract to restore Iraq's southern oil fields. The examination of previously undisclosed correspondence, evaluations, and audits reveals that government officials and investigators have harshly criticized Halliburton's performance under RIO 2. The documents disclose an "overwhelmingly negative" performance, including:
Intentional Overcharging: Halliburton repeatedly overcharged the taxpayer, apparently intentionally. In one case, "[c]ost estimates had hidden rate factors to increase cost of project without informing the Government." In another instance, Halliburton "tried to inflate cost estimate by $26M." In a third example, Halliburton claimed costs for laying concrete pads and footings that the Iraqi Oil Ministry had "already put in place."
Exorbitant Costs: Halliburton was "accruing exorbitant indirect costs at a rapid rate." Government officials concluded that Halliburton's "lack of cost containment and funds management is the single biggest detriment to this program." They found a "lack of cost control ... in Houston, Kuwait, and Iraq." In a partial review of the RIO 2 contract, DCAA auditors challenged $45 million in costs as unreasonable or unsupported.
Inadequate Cost Reporting: Halliburton "universally failed to provide adequate cost information," had "profound systemic problems," provided "substandard" cost reports that did "not meet minimum standards," and submitted reports that had been "vetted of any information that would allow tracking of details." Halliburton produced "unacceptable unchecked cost reports."
Schedule Delays: Halliburton's work under RIO 2 was continually plagued by delays. Halliburton had a "50% late completion" rate for RIO 2 projects. Evaluations noted "untimely work" and "schedule slippage."
Refusal to Cooperate: Evaluations described Halliburton as "obstructive" with oversight officials. Despite the billions in taxpayer funds Halliburton has been paid, the company's "leadership demonstrated minimal cooperative attitude resolving problems."
--------
The report is available online at
http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/ or emailed upon request.

8-year-old criminal of love!

An 8-year-old honor student is in big trouble for giving a note to a classmate.
The note said "I love you."
The second-grade boy was thrown out of his school in the quiet town of Lorain, Ohio.
His crime?
Sexual harassment and assault.
Using the love note as hard evidence, school officials then cooked up a physical-assault charge: They say the well-behaved little boy touched his little girlfriend's backside.
The parents, Frank and Tammy Johnson, say it's a bunch of baloney. The "emergency removal" of the now-humiliated little boy will scar him forever.
''It's an embarrassment to me and it's an embarrassment to him because he doesn't understand what's going on,'' she said.
''He started crying and he thinks he did something wrong,'' Johnson said of the love-note crime. ''He's a good kid and he's very, very shy. And now he's emotionally distraught.''
All four of the family's children are honor students. The little boy has been friends with the little girl for "a long time," mom Tammy said.
Worse, the whole "sexual harassment" charge came from an alleged incident in gym class, when several little boys were accused of playing the annoying children's game known as "Grab Ass."
Each of the accused second-grade boys was savagely interrogated, and when Johnson's son was put under the light, he broke down and admitted he liked the girl in question and had given her a sweet little love note ... weeks earlier.
A weeping little boy was forced to sign a confession before being tossed out of school. Where the form required a signature, the little boy's first name is awkwardly hand-printed.
But to the low-rent Nazis who run
Lorain's miserable schools, justice was served.
''It's our job to teach students at a young age that inappropriate behavior is unacceptable,'' Schnurr proudly told the
Morning Journal. ''The student did something wrong, admitted he did something wrong and received the proper discipline.''
"He added it is unfortunate that this discipline is not emphasized at the student's home," the paper reported.
As for the Johnson kids, they're all being yanked from Lorain's shameful little school district and will be enrolled in a neighboring school district where the officials aren't such hateful jackasses, the parents say.
"''I want them out of there before [the school system] does some damage," said the little boy's mom.

Amoral America


A new study proves Americans are a bunch of homophobic fatties without any real morals at all.
But they're also blind followers of rules, which is good news for the IRS and cops everywhere.
A staggering 79% of Americans believe it's "immoral" to get
creative on your tax return to avoid giving all your money to the federal government.
Yet other recent U.S. polls show only 33% support President Bush's disastrous policies and more than
65% oppose his failed war in Iraq, while overwhelming majorities of Americans are equally disgusted with Congress and Democrats.
The Pew survey makes it clear that Americans have absolutely no morals when it comes to paying for things they find reprehensible. As long as there's a rule such as "pay your taxes," Americans will follow it.
So what do majorities of U.S. folks
consider to be immoral?
Cheating on your spouse tops the list: 88% say having an extramarital affair is just plain wrong, which helps explain why 50% of all American marriages end in divorce.
And a solid half of America says all homosexual activity, any sort of abortion and smoking pot are totally immoral.
A prudish
36% of Americans are even against unmarried people having sex.
But of the 10 "moral questions" asked by pollsters, the one sin people found the least morally offensive is the one sin they all commit every day: overeating.
Just 32% said they believe gluttony is immoral.
With two-thirds of Americans officially obese, the question hardly needed to be asked.
The Pew Research survey of 1,500 people was conducted in February. Results were released Tuesday.

A new study proves Americans are a bunch of homophobic fatties without any real morals at all.
But they're also blind followers of rules, which is good news for the IRS and cops everywhere.
A staggering 79% of Americans believe it's "immoral" to get
creative on your tax return to avoid giving all your money to the federal government.
Yet other recent U.S. polls show only 33% support President Bush's disastrous policies and more than
65% oppose his failed war in Iraq, while overwhelming majorities of Americans are equally disgusted with Congress and Democrats.
The Pew survey makes it clear that Americans have absolutely no morals when it comes to paying for things they find reprehensible. As long as there's a rule such as "pay your taxes," Americans will follow it.
So what do majorities of U.S. folks
consider to be immoral?
Cheating on your spouse tops the list: 88% say having an extramarital affair is just plain wrong, which helps explain why 50% of all American marriages end in divorce.
And a solid half of America says all homosexual activity, any sort of abortion and smoking pot are totally immoral.
A prudish
36% of Americans are even against unmarried people having sex.
But of the 10 "moral questions" asked by pollsters, the one sin people found the least morally offensive is the one sin they all commit every day: overeating.
Just 32% said they believe gluttony is immoral.
With two-thirds of Americans officially obese, the question hardly needed to be asked.
The Pew Research survey of 1,500 people was conducted in February. Results were released Tuesday.

Moscow on the Potomac

America’s Superpower Days Are Over
By Paul Craig Roberts

President George W. Bush has destroyed America’s economy along with America’s reputation as a truthful, compassionate, peace-loving nation that values civil liberties and human rights.
Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University budget expert Linda Bilmes have calculated the cost to Americans of Bush’s Iraq war to be between one and two trillion dollars. This figure is 5 to 10 times higher than the $200 billion that Bush’s economic adviser, Larry Lindsey, estimated. Lindsey was fired by Bush, because Lindsey’s estimate was three times higher than the $70 billion figure that the Bush administration used to mislead Congress and the American voters about the burden of the war. You can’t work in the Bush administration unless you are willing to lie for Dub-ya.

-Continued-

2006/03/26

Pam's House Blend


My new friend, the captain, recommended this site, and it is great. Lots of interesting reads. Check it out!!!

The 'satanic art' made them do it


"These images, unrecognized by the untrained eye, can be a ticking time-bomb to an individual who is unaware of their presence, especially someone who is already predisposed to deviant sexual behavior."-- author and "pornography expert" Judith Reisman, featured in a documentary that suggests art is responsible for deviant priests.

Is this going to be proposed to Papa Ratzi as the excuse for all the pedophile priests he allowed to run wild, raping and molesting innocent children? From the "breaking news" section at WingNutDaily, another "I'm not sh*tting you" item.

Could the Roman Catholic Church's sex abuse crisis be tied to embedded Satanic and occultic imagery in its artwork – some of it hundreds of years old? That is the seemingly incredible thesis of a new documentary, "Rape of the Soul," made not by anti-Catholic bigots, but by devout followers of the Church. The documentary explores the prevalent use of satanic, sexual, occult and anti-Catholic images in historical and contemporary religious artwork. The film also discusses the mysterious acceptance of the artwork at the highest and most trusted levels of the Catholic Church."Rape of the Soul" is rated R because of the disturbing content involving demonic, violent and sexual imagery. The film, which is being released by Silver Sword International, contends a major cause of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church could be due to prolonged exposure to sexual and satanic images being incorporated into the religious art. ...Experts are featured in the film to offer detailed accounts of the subconscious programming effects of the sex and occult images on the human brain and how it promotes sex, Satanism and the occult. Religious education materials, songbooks, children's story books, devotionals and the Sunday Missals all have been found to contain embedded imagery.

quotes

"A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
-- MarkTwain

"The only difference between Bush and Hitler is that Hitler was elected.”
-- Kurt Vonnegut

"our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost." Thomas Jefferson to Dr. James Currie, January 28, 1786

"nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle."
Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, June 11, 1807

"bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. education & free discussion are the antidotes of both."
Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, August 1, 1816

"What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment . . . inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose."
Thomas Jefferson to Jean Nicholas Demeunier, January 24, 1786

I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.
-- Thomas Jefferson

We did not raise armies for glory or for conquest.
-- Thomas Jefferson

Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.
-- Thomas Jefferson

A government is like fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master.
-- George Washington

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence -- it is force.
--George Washington

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
--George Washington

Condi Rice Declares Yet Another New War Justification on Meet the Press

By Andy Ostroy,

The Bush administration's rationale for invading Iraq has changed more times in the past four years than most thinking people can stomach. It's been everything from WMD to Al Qaeda connections; humanitarian reasons to nation-building. On NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice added yet another justification. One can only imagine just how many there'll be by the time Bush leaves office.
"We're in Iraq because the Unites States of America faces a different kind of enemy in a different kind of war," she told host Tim Russert, "and we have to have a different kind of Middle East if we're ever going to resolve the problems of an ideology of hatred so great that people flew airplanes into buildings. Iraq, Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a threat..."
With that she was interrupted by Russert with the obvious follow-up, one that's been asked of this administration countless times: "But Saddam was not related to flying airplanes into building..."
"No, and we have never said," Rice began to say (obviously about to lie about the bazillion times she Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have made that very connection)..."Saddam was not related to the events of September 11, but if you really believe that the only thing that happened on September 11 is people flew airplanes into buildings, I think you have a very narrow view of what we faced on September 11. We faced the outcome of an ideology of hatred throughout the Middle East that has to be dealt with. Saddam Hussein was a part of that old Middle East. The new Iraq will be a part of a new Middle East, and we will all be safer."
Well there you have it. Radicals in the Middle East attacked America on September 11. Radicals in the Middle East hate America. Iraq is in the Middle East. Saddam hated America. Therefore, Saddam was indirectly related to September 11 and was a threat that needed to be taken out.
Now we're in Iraq over hatred. Give these bastards credit. They're getting more and more creative.

Bushflash video

Another great video from bushflash. Graffic, so be warned.

Impeach Bush, spreading on the web

Check out thess groups:
http://groups.myspace.com/impeach2006
http://groups.myspace.com/impeachbushnow
http://groups.myspace.com/impeachment06

What Happened in the village of Isahaqi on March 15th?

This web site has some amazing video's. Really worth watching. Some are a little hard to watch, due to the graphic nature of the images.

2006/03/25

V Fof Vendetta


Go see this movie!!!!!!


Please go see it, were begging!!!!!

Karzai Under Pressure to Free Christian

By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer 18 minutes ago

KABUL, Afghanistan - Under mounting foreign pressure, President Hamid Karzai searched on Saturday for a way to free an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity without angering Muslim clerics who have called for him to be killed.
Karzai and several Cabinet ministers discussed the case of Abdul Rahman, who faces a possible death sentence for alleged apostasy, an official at Karzai's palace said. But she declined to comment on the outcome of the talks on Saturday.
Hours earlier, another official said Rahman "could be released soon." Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.
But clerics have questioned Karzai's authority to order Rahman's release and have warned of a possible revolt if he tries.
"The Quran is very clear and the words of our prophet are very clear. There can only be one outcome: death," said cleric Khoja Ahmad Sediqi, who is also a member of the Supreme Court. "If Karzai releases him, it will play into the hands of our enemy and there could be an uprising."
Rahman is being prosecuted under Afghanistan' Islamic laws for converting 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
The case has put Karzai in an awkward position.
-Continued-
How many people are killed there a year, and no one even cares, but because he is a christian,, all of a sudden he's a fucking saint, and we have to do everything to save him. He knows the laws there, and knew what would happen if he returned. He should be getting the same amount of news coverage as everyone else in that country, who is in jail or on trial. I don't agree with sentencing someone to death for there religous beliefs, but that is neither here nor there, we should not be interfearing with them. I mean countries disagree with Texas killing mentally handicapped people, yet we still did it. Coutries disagreed with our attack on Iraq, yet we still did it, why do our beliefs and opinions matter more then others? I kind of remember hearing something about all men being created equal,,sound familiar to anyone?

Bush Calls for Fair Immigration Bill

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer
Washington, President Bush,bracing for more street protests and a Senate showdown on immigration reform, called Saturday for legislation that does not force America to choose between being a welcoming society and a lawful one.
"America is a nation of immigrants, and we're also a nation of laws," Bush said in his weekly radio address about the emotional immigration issue that has driven a wedge in his party.
Bush sides with business leaders who want legislation to let some immigrants stay in the country and work for a set period of time. Others, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, say national security concerns should drive immigration reform.
On Monday, Bush is to attend a naturalization ceremony in Washington where he will watch a group of new citizens raise their right hands and swear to uphold the laws of the United States. Later in the week, immigration likely will surface as a topic in Cancun, Mexico, where Bush is scheduled to meet with Mexico's President Vicente Fox'.
Congress is considering bills that would make it a felony to be illegally in the United States, impose new penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants and erect fences along one-third of the U.S.-Mexican border. The proposals have angered many Hispanics, a key voting bloc both parties are courting.
-continued-
Bush siding with big business,,,,,anyone else shocked?? No one,,,really??

No respect for hero's religion

Nevada National Guard Sgt. Patrick Stewart paid the ultimate price for his patriotism.
In September, he was riding with fellow U.S. soldiers on a Chinook helicopter when it was shot down in Afghanistan. Stewart and four others were killed.
But the spot for his memorial plaque at the Northern Nevada Veteran's Cemetery remains blank.
Stewart was a Wiccan.
The Veteran's Administration has never authorized the use of Wicca's pentacle on grave markers, even though it allows the use of symbols from 38 other beliefs, including obscure or possibly fictional religions such as Ixumo Taishakyo, Soks Gakkai, Aaronic Order, Seicho-no-ie and Presbyterians.
Stewart's 12-year-old stepdaughter, Alexandria, sent a heartfelt letter to the secretary of veterans affairs:
""Why won't you put my dad's religion sign on a plaque? He respected you and your rules and went and fought for our country and died for our country and this is how you treat him and his family."The 34-year-old veteran of the first Gulf War had long been a practicing Wiccan, his wife Roberta Stewart said. After his tragic death, he was awarded the Air Medal, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Nevada Distinguished Service Medal and Combat Action Badge.
Sgt. Stewart is hardly the only Wiccan serving in the U.S. armed forces. There are at least 2,000 and possibly as many as 50,000 American heroes who follow Wicca.
The
online group Military Pagans says Wiccans have been trying to get their symbol recognized for a decade, but VA bureaucrats have yet to simply approve the pentacle.
Some find it ironic that American troops serve a
Pentagon -- the heart of every Wiccan pentacle -- but aren't allowed to have a pentacle mark their final resting place.
But the publicity around his widow's crusade may finally push the Veteran's Administration to allow the pentacle.
"
We expect a decision soon," VA spokeswoman Jo Schuda said Thursday.
Wicca is a
relatively new religion, introduced in 1954 by British civil servant and Freemason Gerald Gardner.
Although its founder claimed it was a resurgence of ancient Celtic nature worship and witchcraft, most of its ritual and culture were lifted from British occultist
Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis, itself a mix of Western ritual magic, Eastern mysticism and the secret-society language of Freemasonry.
Nonetheless, Wicca is known as a feminine religion because many adherents worship a goddess and (sometimes) a secondary male horned goat god, a nature symbol Christians adopted as the face of their own devil.
Wicca is
not the only religious group without its symbol in veterans' graveyards.
Pagans, Spiritualists, Scientologists, Deists, Taoists, Druids and Rastafarians are just a few of the scores of faiths ignored by the U.S. military, even when its volunteer heroes die for their country.
-This is really sad, I mean were suppose to be all about freedom, yet here we are with another example of how your only free, as long as you stay between the lines of the christian beliefs. I know from my time in the Army, there are quite a few Wiccan, and other similiar types of religions, practiced by servicemen. I hope there given the respect they trully deserve, no matter there beliefs. When I was serving, I know there was only one or two forts that had buddhist ministers, and or any typs of services, even though in my company alone there was 10-12 people who were buddhist. There was one Wiccan, that I was aware of, and I know he paid dearly for his beliefs. He was tormented 24-7. He got more crap then the openly gay guy. Also I think he kind of asked for the abuse, with his behavior, but most of the abuse was focused at his beliefs instead of the fact that he was a ass.

2006/03/24

'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-

Remark By George W. Bush on the Third Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq

Calvin Trillin
posted March 23, 2006 (April 10, 2006 issue)

Our strategy for peace there Is really working well.It's just that all the killing Can make it hard to tell.

But other then all the killings, things are going great.

Censoring Censure

editorial posted March 23, 2006 (April 10, 2006 issue)
John Nichols

If there remained any doubt about whether US Senator Russ Feingold did the right thing when he moved to censure President Bush for illegally ordering warrantless wiretapping of Americans, it should have been removed by the news that the Wisconsin Democrat's call for accountability immediately earned the wrath of Vice President Dick Cheney, Washington's pre-eminent advocate of executive excess. Rejecting the suggestion that citizens might be concerned about the Administration's disregard for laws written to protect the constitutionally defined right of Americans to be secure from secret searches and seizures, Cheney said, "The American people have already made their decision. They agree with the President."
Cheney knows that's not the case. The warrantless wiretapping was kept strictly secret before the 2004 presidential election--by the White House and by the New York Times, which apparently had the story--so voters never had an opportunity to decide whether they wanted to re-elect a President who first lied to them about the spying and then, when caught, brazenly declared that he would continue to authorize eavesdropping on the phone conversations of US citizens.
If Cheney was deliberately disingenuous, so too were Republican political operatives who churned up the spin machine to suggest that the censure move would mark the Democrats as vindictive Bush haters and doom their prospects in November's Congressional elections. That fantasy was dispelled by an American Research Group poll that showed a slight plurality of Americans supporting censure, with Democrats backing it overwhelmingly, independents split and a remarkable 29 percent of GOP loyalists in favor of making Bush the first President since Andrew Jackson to be called to account by the Senate.

Bush Slipping and Spinning on Iraq and Wiretaps

In his Tuesday press conference, President Bush delivered the good news:
But I believe -- I believe the Iraqis -- this is a moment where the Iraqis had a chance to fall apart, and they didn't. And that's a positive development.
Not falling apart. That's hardly the prewar view of post-invasion Iraq Bush sold the American public three years ago. But "positive" has become a rather relative term regarding Iraq.
When asked whether he was concerned by the growing number of Americans who, according to the polls, are "questioning the trustworthiness of you and this White House," Bush replied,
I believe that my job is to go out and explain to people what's on my mind. That's why I'm having this press conference, see. I'm telling you what's on my mind. And what's on my mind is winning the war on terror.
Is that supposed to reassure Americans--or Iraqis? Such a remark prompts a larger question: why does Bush and the White House believe that sending him out to give a seemingly endless series of speeches on Iraq--and his plan for victory there--is going to change anything at this stage? This is the guy who said the war was about WMDs and who said virtually nothing when senior members of his administration before the war made it sound as if the post-invasion period would be a breeze. With that history, is sharing what's on Bush's mind about Iraq an effective strategy?
Asked about Senator Russ Feingold's bill to censure him for approving warrantless wiretapping conducted by the National Security Agency, Bush replied,
I think during these difficult times -- and they are difficult when we're at war -- the American people expect there to be an honest and open debate without needless partisanship. And that's how I view it. I did notice that nobody from the Democrat Party has actually stood up and called for getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program. You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it. They ought to stand up and say the tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used. They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program.
No needless partisanship? It's not needless partisanship to accuse the Democrats of being opposed to a "terrorist surveillance program"? This was a good example of the White House's Rove-ian response to criticism of the wiretapping program: equate the controversial (if not illegal) wiretapping with all surveillance conducted of terrorist suspects, including that which occurs lawfully under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and is monitored by the FISA court established by that law. No Democrat puts forward the "message" that "we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program." The only issue is whether wiretapping can be done outside of the FISA law--which Bush claims is permissible and which others (including assorted legal scholars) argue is illegal.
Dick Cheney took this counteroffensive one step further the day before Bush's press conference. Speaking at a GOP fundraiser at the Spread Eagle Tavern and Inn in Hanoverton, Ohio--pop. 388--he blasted Feingold and other critics of the warrantless wiretapping, by saying, "This outrageous proposition that we ought to protect al Qaeda's ability to communicate as it plots against America poses a key test for the Democratic leaders."
So here Cheney was not only whacking Democratic critics for being opposed to what Bush calls "a terrorist surveillance program." He assailed these Democrats for protecting al Qaeda's "ability to communicate."
Is not such rhetoric a tad partisan--and demagogic? He is accusing Dems of helping the mass murderers of 9/11. But since the Bush administration decided not to extend its "terrorist surveillance program" to domestic communications of terrorism suspects (and limited the warrant-free wiretapping to communications involving at least one overseas party), couldn't the same be said of the Bush-Cheney administration--that the president and the vice president are protecting the ability of al Qaeda suspects to communicate within the United States? It certainly could--if you were willing to engage in needless partisanship.
As for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, Bush did set something of a negative timetable. "Will there come a day--and I'm not asking you when, not asking for a timetable--will there come a day," a reporter asked, "when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?" Bush answered:
That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future Presidents and future governments of Iraq.
In other words, three more years of US troops in Iraq--at least. Now that sounds like a no-spin-answer.

Bush Tries to Backtrack

Ari Berman

Every once in a while a politician stumbles into telling the truth. Even George W. Bush. Unwittingly, of course.
At his Tuesday press conference, Bush dropped one of the biggest bombshells of his presidency: American troops would not leave Iraq on his watch. Not in 2006 or 2008. Let John McCain or Hillary Clinton make that call. Bush's plan for victory amounts to: someone else clean up my mess. If Bush were a five-year-old, he'd undoubtedly receive a spanking.
His "plan" is the inverse of Colin Powell's famous Pottery Barn rule. Bush broke Iraq, never acknowledged owning it and now refuses to fix it.
The White House quickly tried to spin their own spin. The President's counselor, Dan Bartlett, said Bush's comment had been "over-interpreted." White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush never said what he said. Troops will come home, McClellan insisted, just not all of them. And don't you dare ask when, pesky media. It's your fault we're talking about this in the first place.
I think some of the coverage also seemed to leave the impression with readers or viewers that the President was saying that there will be large or significant numbers of troops in Iraq after he leaves office, and that's not what the question was. The question was will there be zero -- when will there be zero or no American troops in Iraq. So he was referring to that specific question.
I'm sure that explanation will satisfy the 61 percent of Americans who disapprove of Bush's handling of the war. CNN's John Roberts rightly told Bartlett: "You've given Democrats a real opening here."
If only they would take it. Sure, Harry Reid called Bush "dangerously incompetent." And Ted Kennedy noted that "the patience of the American people is wearing thin." No surprise there. But most of the party's leaders, including virtually all of the prospective nominees for the '08 nomination, stuck to silence.
MSNBC right-winger Joe Scarborough, of all people, nicely summarized the current debate: "When it comes to getting out of Iraq, Republicans may be clueless, but Democrats are spineless."

Thousands of German WW2 corpses in Czech factory

Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:21 AM ET
USTI NAD LABEM, Czech Republic (Reuters) - Thousands of corpses of German soldiers killed in World War Two are being kept in boxes in a northern Czech factory due to a lack of funds, officials said Tuesday.
The exhumed bodies have been kept for three years in the rundown factory 90km (54 miles) north of Prague on the border with eastern Germany and are now guarded by police who are waiting for the bodies to be moved.
A Reuters photographer at the site said the remains -- an estimated 4,000 sets in total -- lie in small black boxes as they wait for a new burial site.
The German wartime graves association led a project in the mid-1990s to exhume the remains, which include soldiers who fought across eastern Europe in the war, with plans to bury them in a Prague cemetery until a lack of funds halted the plan.
"We are very sorry, but our People's Association for Care for Wartime Graves has run out of money, so I cannot say what will be done with the remains," Sebastian Gerhardt, a spokesman for the German embassy in Prague was quoted as saying in the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes.
He was not immediately available to comment on the report.
A police spokeswoman said an investigation was ongoing into how the remains ended up at the factory, a former pipe fittings plant.
City officials said talks between the German and Czech foreign ministries were planned for this week to find a solution to the affair.
The Czech Republic, which was invaded by Germany in 1939 just ahead of World War Two, already has some 10 military cemeteries where German war dead are buried.
I guess there safe, as long as none of them want to be burried near each other, then the catholics will just have a field day.

Reid Criticizes President Bush as 'Dangerously Incompetent'

Thursday March 23, 2006 5:53am
LAS VEGAS (AP) -
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid called President Bush (website - news - bio) "dangerously incompetent" on Wednesday and said the administration ought to be doing more to prevent increasing sectarian violence in Iraq."Where is (Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice? Why isn't she over in the Middle East, as the chief diplomat of this country should be, trying to get the political forces to form a government over there?" Reid told The Associated Press.
Reid said the U.S. was "failing three different ways in Iraq." Military efforts have lagged, the economy is crippled by decreased oil and electricity production, and attempts to form a representative government are behind schedule, he said.The White House did not return calls seeking comment. Rice last visited Iraq in November and she is currently in the Bahamas meeting with Caribbean trade bloc members. She also traveled this month to Australia, South America and Asia, and visited the Middle East in February.Reid criticized Bush for a series of recent appearances in key political states in which the president defended his Iraq war policies."Why isn't he spending time with these leaders in the Middle East trying to get this government formed?" Reid said.Reid also criticized Bush's statement Tuesday that his successor in the White House would likely be responsible for deciding when U.S. troops leave Iraq."To me it shows how dangerously incompetent he is," Reid said. "'Stay the course, mission accomplished, bring 'em on' - the American people are sick of that. We need to change course in Iraq. ... I think the president burying his head in the sand is not going to do the trick."Reid described conditions in Iraq as "low-grade civil war.""I don't know how you define civil war. We know they're killing an average of 50 Iraqis a day. At least it's a low-grade civil war," he said.Republican National Committee spokesman Tucker Bounds said the situation in Iraq is getting the "utmost attention from the president and Republican leadership," and he accused Reid of blocking efforts to fight the war on terror and wanting to "cut and run.""Harry Reid is the figurehead of a party that stood in steadfast obstruction to virtually all the tools that are being used to keep the American people safe and being used to help win the war on terror," Bounds said. Copyright 2006 by
The Associated Press.

America hates atheists


At least 9 million of them live in the United States, mostly trying to avoid the wrath of neighbors, colleagues and relatives.
But they do not pray for help, for they are America’s atheists – the most hated people in the country.
In a new study by University of Minnesota sociologists, more than 2,000 people were asked which of their fellow citizens lacked the proper "vision of American society."
More than blacks or gays or immigrants or lesbians or even Muslims, atheists are viewed as the least American, according to the survey. And those without a god are the last people most folks would want their children to marry.
"Atheists, who account for about 3% of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years," says Penny Edgell, the study's lead researcher.
Most studies combine atheists and agnostics for a total of 12%, meaning some 36 million Americans – more than one in 10 – either don't believe in a god or couldn’t care less about the whole subject. A survey of 50,000 adults in 2001 showed that 14% of Americans "identify with no religion," nearly doubling from just 8% in 1990.
At this rate, by the year 2030 Christians and other religious people will be a minority and the last American god-worshippers will be buried by 2050 ... just 44 years from today!
But for the time being, atheists are weak in number and openly despised.
Atheists don't demand anything, they don't preach or riot, they have no real organization and they are completely unelectable. Nonetheless, Americans don't trust them.
“It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy – and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell.
Not surprisingly, people who haven’t had much of a life – the majority of Americans – were the most likely to fear atheists.
But those who live on the coasts, have a decent education and know a wide variety of people were the ones who didn’t stay up nights worrying about the godless.
America's atheists are considered so loathsome that no other news outlet could be bothered to report the survey’s findings.
It's still "A-OK" to hate an atheist!

Ma Bush's Katrina money funneled to prez' little bro

The depths to which the president's little brother will go were revealed again yesterday when it was learned that he benefited from a charitable donation made by his mother.
Neil Bush may have achieved a new low when his mommy gave money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, with the stipulation that it be used to buy services from Ignite! Learning, a company owned by her idiot son.
In 1999 he founded Ignite! Learning, a company that creates multimedia curriculum for kids. Their latest product is the COW, curriculum on wheels. A bizarre hybrid of Barney and R2D2, it's basically a computer and projector on a stick with wheels.
While some have hailed the progress students have mad using COW, Ignite! has run afoul of some who question its methods. Perhaps they were put off by how it frees kids from the tedium of reading.
"Ignite! is designed to make learning fun for "hunter-warrior" kids who don't like reading," he excitedly explained during a 2002 visit to Whitney High School, a school for gifted students in Cerritos, California.
Neil's track record is a rich tale of a young man with lots of friends but very few brains, who, like his brother, keeps managing to fall up.
He's driven an savings & loan into bankruptcy, engaged in insider day-trading, swapped spouses, taken a sex tour across Asia, travelled the world with the Moonies and helped the Pope get away with aiding and abetting child molesters.
Now he's gotten his mommy a tax write-off that makes him richer still.

2006/03/23

U.S. Retaining Wartime Command on S. Korea

By WILLIAM C. MANN, Associated Press Writer Thu Mar 23, 5:59 PM ET
WASHINGTON -

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday the United States must retain wartime command of South Korea's military until that country's forces are strong enough to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea's president has said he hopes an agreement to turn over wartime command can be negotiated this year. The effect of any change would be felt only if war should return to the peninsula.
In a Pentagon news briefing, Rumsfeld said South Korea has brought up the idea, and "everyone agrees that 55 years after the war, it's reasonable that the South Korean forces would increasingly take on more and more responsibility."
Asked whether he thought the change in command structure could start this year, Rumsfeld replied: "No, no, I don't at all."
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has been talking since January about negotiating a way for homegrown officers to recover wartime command of South Korea's military. He specified in a speech to cadets at the Korea Military Academy this month that he hoped the turnover would come this year. -continued-

Ok, so after 55 years, there still not ready to do it on there own? Sometimes you have to kick the baby bird out of the nest, force it to kind of fend for it's self, and learn to fly on it's own. I think this whole occupation is just because Korean chicks are so hot, and we can't get enough of them. No one in N. Korea is dumb enough to try invading S. Korea, even on a double dare. Thats like the militant wing of the salvation army trying to stage a coup d'etat.

The Cost Of Incompetence


There's a realization going around Washington these days. It goes something like this: If an administration gets elected by saying government is bad, it follows that they will appoint people who don't care about governing. Hurricane Katrina demostrated this in spades last year. But two stories this week illustrate just how endemic, and costly, this anti-government problem is at a strategic level.
The first story this week was the announcement by the United Arab Emirates that they would shift 10 percent of their foreign exchange reserves from dollars to Euros. In real terms, this move alone will not seriously impact the value of the dollar, but it's symbolic significance is great. That's because the UAE's move represents more than just retribution for the horrible way in which U.S. politicians distorted the issue. Simply the fact that it is happening represents a real move away from the dollar by a major energy player. When South Korea, a major holder of foreign exchange, made some similar diversification noises a year ago, the news roiled the markets.
The UAE move is a direct result of the Bush administration's lack of concern about governing the nation. A responsible executive would have placed port security at the top of its priority list in the wake of 9/11. Instead, the Bush administration spent most of its energy on building the case for invading Iraq while its homeland security agenda amounted to a massive and innefectual restructuring of the bureaucracy. In turn, the overly-politicized Department of Homeland Security spent most of its money on red-state pork instead of securing our vulnerable blue-state ports.
The fear of the Arab world sown by the Bush administration and the derrogation of duty in regards to port security combined into a perfect storm called Dubai Ports World. Faced with a misled and insecure nation and an opposition party convinced that to fight the Rove/DeLay/Abramoff corruption ring they had to be like them, the outcome of this episode was mostly pre-ordained.
The second story is the revelation of Don Rumsfeld's ideological intervention in the Iraq war planning. Writing in the New York Times, Michael Gordon and retired General Bernard Trainor excerpted a powerful article from their newly-released book, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq. Speaking on last night's Charlie Rose program on PBS, Gordon and Trainor said that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld believed that "America doesn't do nationbuilding" and believed that their understanding of the Iraqi order of battle was so complete that a the war would be "a cake-walk."
They were wrong, of course. Not only did the administration seem to believe its self-fabricated intelligence about Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, Gordon and Trainor have exposed the fact that Rumsfeld and his regional commander, General Tommy Franks, could not or would not integrate contradictory intelligence coming from the battlefield. That intelligence, of course was that the Iraqi battle plan relied more on the irregular fedayeen paramilitaries to prosecute a dispersed insurgency than on conventional forces fighting a defensive, traditional war. That the White House could not admit that its WMD intel was wrong has, of course, been well documented in the Plame affair.
In both cases, the Bush administration's incompetence and short-cutting proved the decisive factors. That attitude belies their well-established disdain for government and, by extention, for the welfare of the majority of the American people. And for that incompetence America is now paying an obscenely high price in terms of blood and treasure.

The Catholic Church is the most bigoted homophobic cult in the world

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
March 23, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Cranston, Rhode Island) A walk through St. Ann's Cemetery in Cranston, Rhode Island is walk through people's lives - the markers tell the stories of 'loving fathers', 'caring wives' and 'devoted couples'.
But not if those couples happen to be gay, as Rick Paolino discovered when he made arrangements for the crypt marker for his late husband Justin.
The Paolino's were married in Massachusetts. Justin, a bus monitor for the West Warwick School Department, died unexpectedly last month at home.
He was burried at St. Ann's. When Rick went to order the inscription on the crypt cemetery officials turned him down when he said he wanted the marker to indicate he was Justin's husband.
They also turned down "spouse" and finally "beloved".
-Continued-

2006/03/19

"Those who Plundered, Colonized, Occupied, Killed, Executed, and Dropped Nuclear Bombs And Depleted Uranium [Shells] are Considered Men Of Peace, Who Spread Democracy"

Operation B.S.


The reported "largest air assault since the start of the Iraq War" was a total dud, eyewitnesses report.
While U.S. media claimed "Operation Swarmer" was some massive military campaign, in reality it was nothing but some helicopters flying around.
There were no air strikes.
Just 48 "suspected insurgents" were captured, and 17 of those were immediately released.
"A spokesman for the U.S. military, Lt. Col. Craig Collier, says it has been difficult to differentiate between insurgents and the local community," Australia's ABC reported today.
Time Magazine put it more bluntly:
"In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What's more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders."
The world news media was duped.
"So how and why did this latest apparently routine combing operation, yielding a few arms caches and netting some low-grade suspects, manage to win stop-press coverage around the world?," the BBC asked.
"The use of the phrase 'the largest air assault operation' was clearly crucial, raising visions of a massive bombing campaign."

V for Vendetta















Saw the movie last night.
it was amazing !!!!!!!!

I always get nervous when I hear there making a movie out of a book, or comic that I really love. I was a nervous wreck when I heard Sin city was being made, same with the first x-men. Then when I heard Vendetta was being made I was afraid that some director was going to twist the story to push there own political agenda. Now I don't get worried about these movies being made badly because I don't wish to sit through a bad movie, I worry that someone who is not familiar with the story, who is seeing it for the first time, is going to walk in and see a bad movie, and form there opinion based on what they just saw. I hate the idea of someone hating something, just because some Hollywood fuck did a bad job interpreting the story. Thankfully, my worries about V were for not. The movie was amazing. I have always been a fan of Portman's, and can say in all honesty, it was by far her best performance ever!!! The special effects were great, the fight scenes were choreographed flawlessly. From watching the crowd, I am guessing that the majority of viewers were not familiar with the graphic novel, and I think it is safe to say, the morals of the storey went far above most heads, but still, I recommend it to all, unless you can't handle blood and death. If you get the chance, please watch it, and really try to think about the morals, not just the cool fight scenes.

2006/03/18

Bush's Fake Aid


Rolling Stone
The president's $5 billion program does more for foreign banks than the needy

In March 2002, with one war raging in Afghanistan and another looming in Iraq, President Bush announced that he intended to undercut terrorism by attacking poverty overseas. "I'm here today to announce a major new commitment by the United States to bring hope and opportunity to the world's poorest," Bush declared. Under his watch, the president said, America would increase its annual foreign aid to $5 billion. And instead of giving handouts, he added, the program would employ an entirely new model: investing in countries to spark their economic growth and holding them accountable for their policies. "I carry this commitment in my soul," Bush said, concluding his speech with a trademark religious touch. "We will make the world not only safer but better."

The president's plan looked revolutionary. U.S. aid efforts, long hampered by an ossified bureaucracy, often fail to ensure that recipient nations spend the money wisely. Bush's plan, by contrast, recognized that poverty cannot be conquered without economic development, and that countries should continue to receive aid only if they use it effectively. "It seemed a bold, exciting new experiment in development policy," says Mary McClymont, the former head of InterAction, the largest alliance of aid organizations in the U.S.

In a pattern that has become a hallmark of the administration, however, Bush's aid initiative -- the Millennium Challenge Corporation -- has become an object lesson in dramatic ideas followed by disastrous action. Over the past three months, Rolling Stone has reviewed the MCC's "compacts" with foreign countries, compared the work of similar agencies and spoken with a wide range of supporters and critics -- including many of the conservative insiders responsible for creating the program. Instead of hiring aid experts, the administration at first staffed the MCC with conservative ideologues. Rather than partnering with other countries, the White House operated on its own, disconnected from the rest of the world. And when experts criticized the new agency, the administration responded with a bunker mentality, refusing to talk to detractors and learn from its mistakes.

Today, four years after the president announced his initiative, the MCC has signed compacts with six countries -- offering only $1.2 billion in assistance. In February, Bush released a budget for 2007 that falls another $2 billion short of his pledge, bringing the total aid to less than half of what he promised. And the new budget once again pushes back the goal, stating that the administration "expects" to provide $5 billion annually in 2008.

"Not only has President Bush broken his word on funding, he has not put in the effort required to turn this excellent idea into a lifesaving reality," says Jamie Drummond, executive director of DATA, the international aid organization co-founded by Bono.

Even leading conservatives who initially supported the program are now blasting the MCC. "The great promise of the Millennium Challenge was met with tremendous hope and anticipation," said Rep. Henry Hyde, who voted to authorize the initiative as chairman of the House International Relations Committee. But now, he said, "we see a program struggling to get off the ground . . . lacking the boldness necessary to break the cycle of poverty" -- a failure that "belies the original vision."
-Continued-

Inside Scientology


Rolling Stone

Unlocking the complex code of America's most mysterious religion

The faded little downtown area of Clearwater, Florida, has a beauty salon, a pizza parlor and one or two run-down bars, as well as a bunch of withered bungalows and some old storefronts that look as if they haven't seen customers in years. There are few cars and almost no pedestrians. There are, however, buses -- a fleet of gleaming white and blue ones that slowly crawl through town, stopping at regular intervals to discharge a small army of tightly organized, young, almost exclusively white men and women, all clad in uniform preppy attire: khaki, black or navy-blue trousers and crisp white, blue or yellow dress shirts. Some wear pagers on their belts; others carry briefcases. The men have short hair, and the women keep theirs pulled back or tucked under headbands that match their outfits. No one crosses against the light, and everybody calls everybody else "sir" -- even when the "sir" is a woman. They move throughout the center of Clearwater in tight clusters, from corner to corner, building to building.

This regimented mass represents the "Sea Organization," the most dedicated and elite members of the Church of Scientology. For the past thirty years, Scientology has made the city of Clearwater its worldwide spiritual headquarters -- its Mecca, or its Temple Square. There are 8,300 or so Scientologists living and working in Clearwater -- more than in any other city in the world outside of Los Angeles. Scientologists own more than 200 businesses in Clearwater. Members of the church run schools and private tutoring programs, day-care centers and a drug-rehab clinic. They sit on the boards of the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Boy Scouts.

In July 2004, The St. Petersburg Times dubbed Clearwater, a community of 108,000 people, "Scientology's Town." On the newspaper's front page was a photograph of Scientology's newest building, a vast, white, Mediterranean Revival-style edifice known within Scientology circles as the "Super Power" building. Occupying a full square block of downtown, this structure, which has been under construction since 1998, is billed as the single largest Scientology church in the world. When it is finally completed -- presumably in late 2006, at an estimated final cost of $50 million -- it will have 889 rooms on six floors, an indoor sculpture garden and a large Scientology museum. The crowning touch will be a two-story, illuminated Scientology cross that, perched atop the building's highest tower, will shine over the city of Clearwater like a beacon.
-Continued-

Undressing the Church of Scientology


This is a great site to learn the truth about the Cult. There are all kinds of internal documents from ex-members. It's a scary, but great read.

'South Park'-Scientology Battle Rages On

Friday March 17 7:35 PM ET

"South Park" has declared war on Scientology. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the animated satire, are digging in against the celebrity-endorsed religion after a controversial episode mocking outspoken Scientologist Tom Cruise was yanked abruptly from the schedule Wednesday with an Internet report saying it was covert warfare by Cruise that led to its departure.

"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!" the "South Park" creators said in a statement Friday in Daily Variety. "Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies... You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail!"

The Internet blogger hollywoodinterrupted.com said Thursday that Cruise threatened to not promote "Mission: Impossible 3," a surefire summer blockbuster, if the offending episode ran. Comedy Central is owned by Viacom, as is Paramount, which is putting out the film.


But Cruise's representative, Arnold Robinson, told The Associated Press Friday that the mega-star made no such demands.

"Not true," Robinson said. "I can tell you that he never said that."

A call by The Associated Press to a Paramount representative was not returned Friday.

The episode in question, "Trapped in the Closet," which first aired last November, shows Scientology leaders hailing Stan, one of the show's four devilish fourth-graders, as a savior. A cartoon Cruise locks himself in a closet and won't come out. An animated John Travolta, another famous Scientologist, enters the closet to try to get him out.

The battle began in earnest earlier this week when Isaac Hayes, another celebrity Scientologist and longtime show member voicing the ladies' man Chef quit the show, saying he could no longer tolerate its religious "intolerance and bigotry."

Stone and Parker didn't buy that either.

On Monday, Stone told The Associated Press, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith in Scientology...He has no problem and he's cashed plenty of checks with our show making fun of Christians."

A Comedy Central spokesman said Friday that the network pulled the controversial episode to make room for two shows featuring Hayes.

"In light of the events of earlier this week, we wanted to give Chef an appropriate tribute by airing two episodes he is most known for," the spokesman said.

Governments should be afraid of there people


Going to see the movie tonight. Can't wait. I was a big fan of the graphic novel

LDS Temple in Mesa

Wife took me to this temple to walk around the grounds, very pretty place.