Monday, October 30, 2006

An extraordinary interview with an extraordinary man

Once you have read it, I believe you won't be able to forget this article.
It's an amazing tale of one man's journey. Through what appear to be horrendous trials and tribulations, Michael Hutchison has come to a profound yet simple understanding of the meaning of life.  I was fascinated by the information on medicine, science, and the connections to higher understanding that is emerging, such as talked about in the following paragraph:

Scientists studying complexity have found that complex systems such as the heart, the brain, and the body, all have a quality that they call "dimensionality". Degrees of dimensionality run along a spectrum from low to high. High dimensionality systems are characterized by great amounts of flexibility, novelty, unpredictability, variability, adaptability, resiliency, and so on. Low dimensionality systems are characterized by rigidity, stiffness, predictability, regularity-- the opposite of high dimensionality. The important fact to note is that high dimensionality biological systems are extremely healthy, with high vitality, while low dimensionality is a sign of disease, age, and dysfunction. Cardiologists, for example, are finding they can measure the dimensionality of the heart rate, and if the heart shows low dimensionality--rigidity and extreme regularity-- then that is a sign of heart pathology, and there is danger of a heart attack. Similarly, research has proved that healthy humans have a high dimensionality gait, while low dimensionality gait is characteristic of sick or aging people.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Inspiring story about Itzhak Perlman

I know this isn't new but I just loved reading it again...   Artist's Inspiration   On November, 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.  If you have ever been to a Perlman concert you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him.  He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches.  To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight.  He walks painfully, yet magestically, until he reaches his chair.  Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward.  Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.  But this time, something went wrong.  Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke.  You could hear the snap ....  it went off like gunfire across the room,  There was no mistaking what that sound meant.  There was no mistaking what he had to do. People who were there that night thought to themselves, "We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off state ... to either find another violin or else find another string for this one."  But he didn't.  Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again.  The orchestra began, and he play from where he had left off.  And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before.  Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings.  I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that.  You could see his modulating, changing, re-composing the piece in his head.  At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.  When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room.  And then people rose and cheered.  There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium.  We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.  He smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said, not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone: "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can  still make with what you have left."  What a powerful line that is.  It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it.  And who knows?  Perhaps that is the definition of life - not just for artists but for all of us.  Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings; who all of a sudden, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that he had ever made before, even with four strings.  So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have; and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left.  Jack Riemer, Houston Chronicle, February 10, 2001


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Excellent Essay--says it all

EXCERPT: it is with laughter, gloating and gleeful anticipation that things will indeed get even worse for all the potential victims involved that I note Bush's latest bit of news-making -- "Listen, we've never been stay the course" in Iraq, as he recently fibbed to ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

Nearly inconceivable is that even devout Bush boosters will swallow that hogwash, but swallow it they will. Why? Again, that has to do with nearly unplumbable human behavior -- the irradicable preference among some to live in utter, abject ignorance and simply follow the lead of authoritarian sleaze.

Manipulative, hypocritical sloganeering has always been one of Bush's fortes, because it comes naturally to the complexity-reducing, authoritarian type. It's pithy and easily digestible, requiring no thought whatsoever among intended consumers, especially the base. And slogans are so damn easy to shuffle and modify.  During the 2000 campaign, for instance, before he realized that five hypocrites could dispense with messy democracy and simply appoint a dictator, Bush shuffled slogans as quickly and easily as a deck of Iraqis-wanted cards.

Starting with read-my-lips, not-my-position-papers "Compassionate Conservatism," he jumped to "Prosperity with a Purpose" when some began asking why they should trade the proven prosperity of Clinton-Gore for a flop of a businessman. When things looked grim after his New Hampshire primary loss to reform-talking John McCain, Bush then decided he was a "Reformer with Results." Then, knowing he harbored no really good plans for real people, Bush hung the banner: "Real Plans for Real People." (Swear to God I'm not making this history up. It's in the books.)

Laughing and crying at the same time

by P.M. Carpenter

I have always found the hardest part of writing about the Bush administration is the twofold problem of decorum and guilt. There's the urge to laugh at its utter ineptitude, but there's also the very real human misery that its towering ineptitude produces like popcorn. And there's the urge to gloat at its predictable failures -- we really did tell you so -- but those failures also mean untold human misery. And of course there's the urge to gleefully anticipate more failures, despite the resulting misery, although I tell myself that that urge is actually just the well-intentioned hope that exposed failure heaped on exposed failure will forever turn the electorate off the kind of criminals we have in charge.

My training is in history, not the sociopsychology of human behavior, but I suspect there's some truth in the speculation that laughing at Bush's misery-quotient is a perverse, mirror-image emotion of Gore Vidal's admission that "Every time a friend succeeds, a little part of me dies." Bush is no friend, for sure, and just as sure, he's scored no successes, but even in that long-ago time of friendly political competition, sadness over a foe's success -- especially one producing a popular, social good -- was a natural, inescapable feeling. Watching failure (in this case) is pure ecstasy.

It's human nature. We're a seedy little species, and I take pride in confessing that my seediness bows to no man.

So yes, it is with laughter, gloating and gleeful anticipation that things will indeed get even worse for all the potential victims involved that I note Bush's latest bit of news-making -- "Listen, we've never been stay the course" in Iraq, as he recently fibbed to ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

Nearly inconceivable is that even devout Bush boosters will swallow that hogwash, but swallow it they will. Why? Again, that has to do with nearly unplumbable human behavior -- the irradicable preference among some to live in utter, abject ignorance and simply follow the lead of authoritarian sleaze.

If you haven't read John Dean's excellent exchange with Robert Altemeyer, a sociopsychology expert on pathological gullibility, I recommend you do. Building on Theodor Adorno and others' groundbreaking work of the 1940s, Altemeyer lays out some living, breathing, voting human realities in our midst:

"Authoritarian followers ... haven't thought about things to any great degree and then decided what they believe in," he tells Dean. "To maintain their beliefs in a world of challenging discoveries and conflicting beliefs, they associate as much as possible with others who agree with them. They travel in small circles, getting booster shots of faith from one another. They rely upon social support, rather than evidence or logic, to keep on believing what in many cases they've simply memorized. But this makes them quite vulnerable to manipulators who tell them what they want to hear.... Since the in-group is made up of followers clinging to each other and looking for a leader, it's pretty easy for an unscrupulous person to take over."

Altemeyer compares the "amoral" personality of authoritarian leadership such as Bush's to that of "faith healers" and "enterprising evangelists," who strive for "personal power" through "manipulating others, exploiting the gullible, intimidating, cheating, and being a hypocrite," since these behaviors are "justified if they get [the leaders what they want]. They say one of the best skills a person can develop is the ability to look someone straight in the eye and lie convincingly. They say the world is full of suckers who deserve to be 'taken' because they are so stupid" -- a major theme of faith-initiator David Kuo's recent, and hard-learned, exposé.

Manipulative, hypocritical sloganeering has always been one of Bush's fortes, because it comes naturally to the complexity-reducing, authoritarian type. It's pithy and easily digestible, requiring no thought whatsoever among intended consumers, especially the base. And slogans are so damn easy to shuffle and modify.

During the 2000 campaign, for instance, before he realized that five hypocrites could dispense with messy democracy and simply appoint a dictator, Bush shuffled slogans as quickly and easily as a deck of Iraqis-wanted cards.

Starting with read-my-lips, not-my-position-papers "Compassionate Conservatism," he jumped to "Prosperity with a Purpose" when some began asking why they should trade the proven prosperity of Clinton-Gore for a flop of a businessman. When things looked grim after his New Hampshire primary loss to reform-talking John McCain, Bush then decided he was a "Reformer with Results." Then, knowing he harbored no really good plans for real people, Bush hung the banner: "Real Plans for Real People." (Swear to God I'm not making this history up. It's in the books.)

On the heels of "Real Plans for Real People," Bush mixed it up with "Real Purposes for Real People" and "Real Tax Relief for Real People," finally deciding he actually offered "Real Savings for Real People." The cymbal-crashing crescendo came when his stunningly obvious divisiveness prompted the deliverance of a "Uniter, not a divider."

So just you wait. Bush is hard at work at a replacement slogan for "Stay the Course." It's sure to be a humdinger, full of things-will-change promise, signifying nothing.

And yep, even though the new slogan will effect no new strategy, no improvement and even more victims, I, as a fallible human, and as shameful as it is, will laugh and gloat and gleefully anticipate even more of Bush's destructive ineptitude. Because years ago, a lot of us told you so.


Fw: A U.S. Fortress Rises in Baghdad: Asian Workers Trafficked to Build World's Largest Embassy

omigod...could it get any worse?  Don't ask.  Just read this and weep.

A U.S. Fortress Rises in Baghdad: Asian Workers Trafficked to Build World's Largest Embassy

by David Phinney

Things began looking more sketchier than ever to John Owen as he boarded a nondescript white jet on his way back to Iraq in March 2005 following some R&R in Kuwait city.

Employed by First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, the lead builder for the new $592-million US embassy in Baghdad, Owen remembers being surrounded at the airport by about 50 company laborers freshly hired from the Philippines and India. Everyone was holding boarding passes to Dubai -- not to Baghdad.

"I thought there was some sort of mix up and I was getting on the wrong plane," says the 48-year-old Floridian who was working as a general construction foreman on the embassy project.

He buttonholed a First Kuwaiti manager standing near by and asked what was going on. The manager waved his hand, looked around the terminal and whispered to keep quiet.

"'If anyone hears we are going to Baghdad, they won't let us on the plane,'" Owen recalls the manager saying.

'Not Valid for Iraq'

The secrecy struck Owen as a little odd, but he grabbed his luggage and moved on. Everyone filed out to the private jet and flew directly to Baghdad. "I figured that they had visas for Kuwait and not Iraq," Owen offers.

The deception had all the appearances of smuggling workers into Iraq, but Owen didn't know at the time that the Philippines, India, and other countries had banned or restricted their citizens from working in Iraq because of safety concerns and growing opposition to the war. After 2004, many passports were stamped "Not valid for Iraq."

Nor did Owen know that both the US State Department and the Pentagon were quietly investigating contractors such as First Kuwaiti for labor trafficking and worker abuse. In fact, the international news media had accused First Kuwaiti repeatedly of coercing workers to take jobs in battle-torn Iraq once they had been lured to Kuwait with safer offers.

The Kuwait-headquartered, Lebanese-run company has billed several billion dollars on US contracts since the war began in March 2003. Much of its work is performed by cheap labor largely hired from South Asia and the company has an estimated 7,500 foreign laborers in the theater of war.

Now, with a highly secretive contract awarded by the US State Department, First Kuwaiti is in the midst of building the most expensive and heavily fortified US embassy in the world. Scheduled to open in 2007, the sprawling complex near the Tigris River will equal Vatican City in size.

But Owen says that working on the project proved to be one of the worst jobs he has ever had in his 27 years of construction work.

Not one of the five different US embassy sites Owen had worked on around the world previously compared to the mess he describes. Armenia, Bulgaria, Angola, Cameroon and Cambodia all had their share of dictators, violence and economic disruption, but the companies building the embassies were always fair and professional, he says. First Kuwaiti is the exception. Brutal and inhumane, he says "I've never seen a project more fucked up. Every US labor law was broken."

Seven months after signing on with First Kuwaiti in November 2005, he quit.

In the resignation letter last June, Owen told First Kuwaiti and US State Department officials that his managers physically assaulted and beat the construction workers, demonstrated little regard for worker safety, and routinely breached security.

And it was all happening smack in the middle of the US-controlled Green Zone -- right under the nose of the State Department that had quietly awarded the controversial embassy contract in July 2005.

He also complained of poor sanitation, squalid living conditions and medical malpractice in the labor camps where several thousand low-paid migrant workers lived. Those workers, recruited on the global labor market from the Philippines, India, Pakistan and other poor south Asian countries, earned as little as $10 to $30 a day. As with many US-funded contractors, First Kuwaiti prefers importing labor because it views Iraqi workers as a security headache not worth the trouble.

Despite numerous emails and phone calls about such allegations, neither First Kuwaiti general manager Wadih Al Absi nor his lawyer Angela Styles, the former top White House contract policy advisor, have responded. After a year of requests, State Department officials involved with the project also have ignored or rejected opportunities for comment.

Your Passports Please

That same March Owen returned to work in Baghdad, Rory Mayberry would witness similar events after he flew to Kuwait from his home in Myrtle Creek, Oregon.

The gravely voiced, easy-going Army veteran had previously worked in Iraq for Halliburton and the private security company, Danubia. Missing the action and the big paychecks US contractors draw Iraq, he snagged a $10,000 a month job with MSDS consulting Company.

MSDS is a two-person minority-owned consulting company that assists US State Department managers in Washington with procurement programming. Never before had the firm offered medical services or worked in Iraq, but First Kuwaiti hired MSDS on the recommendation of Jim Golden, the State Department contract official overseeing the embassy project. Within days, an agreement worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical care was signed.

The 45-year-old Mayberry, a former emergency medical technician in the Army who worked as a funeral director in Oregon, responded to a help wanted ad placed by MSDS. The plan was that he would work as a medic attending to the construction crews on the work site in Baghdad.

Mayberry sensed things weren't right when he boarded a First Kuwaiti flight on March 15 to Baghdad -- a different flight from Owen's.

At the airport in Kuwait City, Mayberry said, he saw a person behind a counter hand First Kuwaiti managers a passenger manifest, an envelope of money and a stack of boarding passes to Dubai. The managers then handed out the boarding passes to Mayberry and 50 or so new First Kuwaiti laborers, mostly Filipinos.

"Everyone was told to tell customs and security that they were flying to Dubai," Mayberry explains. Once the group passed the guards, they went upstairs and waited by the McDonald's for First Kuwaiti staff to unlock a door -- Gate 26 -- that led to an unmarked, white 52-seat jet. It was "an antique piece of shit" Mayberry offers in a casual, blunt manner.

"All the workers had their passports taken away by First Kuwaiti," Mayberry claims, and while he knew the plane was bound for Baghdad, he's not so sure the others were aware of their destination. The Asian laborers began asking questions about why they were flying north and the jet wasn't flying east over the ocean, he says. "I think they thought they were going to work in Dubai."

One former First Kuwaiti supervisor acknowledges that the company holds passports of many workers in Iraq -- a violation of US contracting.

"All of the passports are kept in the offices," said one company insider who requested anonymity in fear of financial and personal retribution. As for distributing Dubai boarding passes for Baghdad flights, "It's because of the travel bans," he explained.

Mayberry believes that migrant workers from the Philippines, India and Nepal are especially vulnerable to employers like First Kuwaiti because their countries have little or no diplomatic presence in Iraq.

"If you don't have your passport or an embassy to go to, what you do to get out of a bad situation?" he asks. "How can they go to the US State Department for help if First Kuwaiti is building their embassy?"

Deadly 'Candy Store' Medicine

Owen had already been working at the embassy site since late November when Mayberry arrived. The two never crossed paths, but both share similar complaints about management of the project and brutal treatment of the laborers that, at times, numbered as many as 2,500. Most are from the Philippines, India, and Pakistan. Others are from Egypt and Turkey.

The number of workers with injuries and ailments stunned Mayberry. He went to work immediately after and stayed busy around the clock for days.

Four days later, First Kuwaiti pulled him off the job after he requested an investigation of two patients who had died before he arrived from what he suspected was medical malpractice. Mayberry also recommended that the health clinics be shut down because of unsanitary conditions and mismanagement.

"There hadn't been any follow up on medical care. People were walking around intoxicated on pain relievers with unwrapped wounds and there were a lot of infections," he recalls. "The idea that there was any hygiene seemed ridiculous. I'm not sure they were even bathing."

In reports made available to the US State Department, the US Army and First Kuwaiti, Mayberry listed dozens of concerns about the clinics, which he found lacking in hot water, disinfectant, hand washing stations, properly supplied ambulances, and communication equipment. Mayberry also complained that workers' medical records were in total disarray or nonexistent, the beds were dirty, and the support staff hired by First Kuwaiti was poorly trained.

The handling of prescription drugs especially bothered him. Many of the drugs that originated from Iraq and Kuwait were unsecured, disorganized and unintelligibly labeled, he said in one memo. He found that the medical staff frequently misdiagnosed patients. Prescription pain killers were being handed out "like a candy store ... and then people were sent back to work."

Mayberry warned that the practice could cause addiction and safety hazards. "Some were on the construction site climbing scaffolding 30 feet off the ground. I told First Kuwaiti that you don't give painkillers to people who are running machinery and working on heavy construction and they said 'that's how we do it.'"

The sloppy handling of drugs may have led to the two deaths, Mayberry speculates. One worker, age 25, died in his room. The second, in his mid-30s, died at the clinic because of heart failure. Both deaths may be "medical homicide," Mayberry says -- because the patients may have been negligently prescribed improper drug treatment.If the State Department investigated, Mayberry knows nothing of the outcome. Two State Department officials with project oversight responsibilities did not return phone calls or emails inquiring about Mayberry's allegations. The reports may have been ignored, not because of his complaints, but because Mayberry is a terrible speller, a problem compounded by an Arabic translation program loaded on his computer, he says.

Accidents Happen

Owen's account of his seven months on the job paints a similar picture to Mayberry's. Health and safety measures were essentially non-existent, he says. Not once did he witness a safety meeting. Once an Egyptian worker fell and broke his back and was sent home. No one ever heard from him again. "The accident might not have happened if there was a safety program and he had known how to use a safety harness."

Owen also says that managers regularly beat workers and that laborers were issued only one work uniform, making it difficult to go to the laundry. "You could never have it washed. Clothing got really bad -- full of sweat and dirt."

And while he often smuggled water to the work crews, medical care was a different issue. When he urged laborers to get medical treatment for rashes and sores, First Kuwaiti managers accused him of spoiling the laborers and allowing them simply to avoid work, he says.

State Department officials supervising the project are aware of many such events, but apparently do nothing, he said. Once when 17 workers climbed the wall of the construction site to escape, a State Department official helped round them up and put them in "virtual lockdown," Owen said.

Just before he resigned, hundreds of Pakistani workers went on strike in June and beat up a Lebanese manager who they accused of harassing them. Owen estimates that 375 laborers were then sent home.

'Treated Like Animals'

Recent First Kuwaiti employees agree that the accounts shared by Owen and Mayberry are accurate. One longtime supervisor claims that 50 to 60 percent of the laborers regularly protest that First Kuwaiti "treats them like animals," and routinely reduces their promised pay with confusing and unexplained deductions.

Another former First Kuwaiti manager, who declines to be named because of possible adverse consequences, says that Owen's and Mayberry's complaints only begin "to scratch the surface."

But scratching the surface is the only view yet available of what may be the most lasting monument to the US liberation and occupation of Iraq. As of now only a handful of authorized State Department managers and contractors, along with First Kuwaiti workers and contractors, are officially allowed inside the project's walls. No journalist has ever been allowed access to the sprawling 104-acre site with towering construction cranes raising their necks along the skyline.

Even this tight security is a charade, says on former high-level First Kuwaiti manager. First Kuwaiti managers living at the construction site regularly smuggle prostitutes in from the streets of Baghdad outside the Green Zone, he says.

Prostitutes, he explains are viewed as possible spies. "They are a big security risk."

But the exposure that the US occupation forces and First Kuwaiti may fear most could begin with the contractor itself and the conditions workers are forced to endure at this most obvious symbol of the American democracy project in Iraq.


It would all be hysterically funny, if it weren't so damned tragic

How anyone could still follow this pretzledent is beyond me.  If there are still followers, they are proof of the statement, "You can fool some of the people all of the time." 

A Study in Constant Motion

    By William Rivers Pitt

    Tuesday 24 October 2006

    "We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve," said George W. Bush during a press conference in December of 2003. "And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We're just going to stay the course."

    "And so we've got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course," Bush said again on April 5th, 2004. On the 13th of that month, he said, "And my message today to those in Iraq is: We'll stay the course." Three days later, he said, "And that's why we're going to stay the course in Iraq. And that's why when we say something in Iraq, we're going to do it." In August of 2005, he said, "We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq." A year later, in Utah, he said, "We will stay the course."

    Got the picture? We are staying the course in Iraq. Period. No cutting and running here.

    Not so fast.

    This past Sunday, George Stephanopoulos put the question to Bush in an interview for ABC's "This Week" news show. "James Baker," said Stephanopoulos, "says that he's looking for something between 'cut and run' and 'stay the course.'"

    Bush's reply? "Well, hey, listen, we've never been 'stay the course,' George," he said. "We have been - we will complete the mission, we will do our job, and help achieve the goal, but we're constantly adjusting to tactics. Constantly."

    Press Secretary Tony Snow was able to blend the facts on this matter with true poetic voice when asked if "stay the course" is being abandoned by the White House. "What you have is not 'stay the course,'" said Snow, "but, in fact, a study in constant motion by the administration and by the Iraqi government, and, frankly, also by the enemy, because there are constant shifts, and you constantly have to adjust to what the other side is doing."

    A study in constant motion?

    James Crabtree, writing for the UK Guardian, attempted to analyze the phrase. "A brief search for the phrase on Google isn't terribly revealing," wrote Crabtree. "A study in constant motion is, apparently, a way to describe an obscure Michelangelo Antonioni movie, a description of a soccer game, and an advert for a rental home in North Carolina's Outer Banks. It is also, intriguingly, a way to describe the oeuvre of Scot's born film Director Norman McLaren, and the 'approach to global success' of computer giant Microsoft. It certainly, however, is not a description of how to succeed in Iraq."

    Poetry notwithstanding, the Bush administration's handling of Iraq has indeed been a study in constant motion. Recall, if you will, the claims made by Bush in his January 2003 State of the Union address: Iraq is in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons (which equals 1,000,000 pounds) of sarin, mustard, and VX nerve agent, nearly 30,000 munitions to deliver the stuff, mobile biological weapons labs, uranium from Niger for use in a robust nuclear weapons programs, and connections to al Qaeda that led directly to the attacks of September 11.

    Yes, these claims can still be found on the White House web site. Yes, these claims do not stand alone.

    "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction," said Dick Cheney during a speech to VFW National Convention on August 26, 2002..

    "There is already a mountain of evidence that Saddam Hussein is gathering weapons for the purpose of using them. And adding additional information is like adding a foot to Mount Everest," said press secretary Ari Fleischer on September 6th, 2002.

    "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons," said George W. Bush in his September 12th speech to the UN General Assembly.

    "The president of the United States and the secretary of defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it," said Ari Fleischer on December 4th, 2002. A little more than a month later, Fleischer said, "We know for a fact that there are weapons there."

    "There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction. If biological weapons seem too terrible to contemplate, chemical weapons are equally chilling," said Secretary of State Colin Powell in his February 5th, 2003, address to the UN Security Council.

    The study in constant motion truly began after these horrific weapons failed to turn up in Iraq. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously claimed of the Iraqi WMD during a March 30th, 2003, interview with ABC News, "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Not two months later, Rumsfeld said during a Fox News interview, "We never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country."

    Ari Fleischer's tapdancing behind his podium reached mythological status in July of 2003 when, during a briefing in which he was pressed to explain why no WMD had been found in Iraq, said, "I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are."

    Come again? The people who said Iraq had no weapons and posed no threat must be the ones to explain where the weapons are? Certainly, the myriad administration officials who promised that stockpiles of WMD were practically falling out of the sky in Iraq shouldn't have to explain themselves. That wouldn't be cricket.

    The rest, as they say, is history. The weapons stopped being the story, so put away your plastic sheeting and duct tape. The whole point was to bring democracy to the Middle East by way of Iraq. Then it became about fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here. Then it became about us standing down when the Iraqis stand up. Then it became about standing as referee between factional militias. For a while, it was about staying the course.

    Not so much anymore.

    Constant motion indeed.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Bush Drops `Stay the Course' on Iraq to Emphasize Flexibility

What a hoot...Bush now says it "was never about staying the course" in Iraq.  Nope.  He never said those words, folks.  So who do you believe--Bush or your lying eyes and ears?  How many fools do you think will fall for this and say, "By gosh, our pretzledent is right...and by gum, I'm a gonna' vote for Republicans 'cause you can trust 'em."???? 

And guess what else?  Now Bush is talking about cutting and running--but of course he doesn't use those words.  He's just saying what the Democrats have been saying all along--we need to get out of Iraq and we need to set a timetable for doing so. this be called "flip-flopping"?  Naahhh...not if you're a Bush loyalist.  To them it's "stategery" (Bush's own word).  But, of course, it's Democrat strategy, having been put forth by Democrats for months now.

Bush Drops `Stay the Course' on Iraq to Emphasize Flexibility

By Richard Keil and Demian McLean

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The Bush administration has dropped the phrase ``stay the course'' from discussions about Iraq as a recent surge in violence has forced a change in tactics on the ground and renewed calls in the U.S. for a different approach to the conflict.

President George W. Bush remains committed to the goal of setting Iraq up to govern itself and take responsibility for quelling sectarian strife, Press Secretary Tony Snow said today. Because the administration is flexible about how to achieve those goals, he said, Bush is no longer talking about sticking to one approach.

``It left the wrong impression about what was going on,'' Snow said. ``And it allowed critics to say, `Well, here's an administration that's just embarked upon a policy of not looking at what the situation is,' when, in fact, it's just the opposite.''

Democrats have been repeating the phrase, which Bush has used in speeches and other remarks, in their criticism of the president's policy as they campaign overturn the Republican majority in Congress in the Nov. 7 election. The administration and congressional Republicans are countering by trying to reshape the debate on the war, which polls show is increasingly unpopular with the U.S. public.

Snow and White House Counselor Dan Bartlett stressed that the U.S. is being flexible while staying true to the president's overall strategy.


``It's never been a stay-the-course strategy,'' Bartlett said on CBS's ``Early Show,'' one of five morning news programs where he gave interviews today. ``Strategically, we think it's very important that we stay in Iraq and we win in Iraq.''

Snow also said the U.S. is pressing the Iraqi government to take more responsibility for quelling the sectarian and insurgent violence that has wracked the country, while declining to issue firm deadlines for achieving milestones.

``We're not in the business of issuing ultimatums,'' Snow said.

``This has always been a dynamic policy that is aimed at moving forward, at all times, on a number of fronts,'' he said. Bush hasn't used the phrase ``stay the course'' for at least two months, according to Snow.

Communications strategists working with House Republicans circulated a three-page memo today that advises candidates to stress those same points in their campaigns. It suggests Republicans highlight past statements by military and administration officials that show that the U.S. is adapting to changing military conditions and requiring Iraqi police and security forces to take a more prominent role in combating sectarian violence.


``Winning means helping the Iraqis achieve stability and security and doing it as quickly and effectively as possible in order to bring our troops home,'' the memo states in a section outlining suggested talking points for candidates. ``We continue to work with the Iraqis to do this.''

Bush is under increasing pressure to change his Iraq strategy as casualties mount more than three years after the U.S.-led invasion. At least 81 military personnel have been killed in action this month, the highest total since November 2004. Six soldiers and four Marines were killed since Oct. 21, the U.S. Army said in e-mailed statements.

An independent bipartisan commission established by Congress and headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Representative Lee Hamilton plans to make recommendations on U.S. policy in Iraq after the November election.

Britain's army chief, General Richard Dannatt, said Oct. 13 that U.K. soldiers in Iraq are in danger of exhaustion and that they should be withdrawn in ``a year or two or three.''


Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent critic of the administration's Iraq policy, said a change in Congress may bring a change in Iraq.

The outcome of the election ``will determine if we have any chance of getting the administration off its absolutely, totally failed policy in Iraq,'' Biden said in a conference call with reporters.

Biden said that two Republican senators, who he refused to name, have given him private assurances that they will join a bipartisan effort to force a change in administration policy if Democrats make significant gains in the election.

Bush met two days ago with his military commanders to discuss strategy, after a security clampdown by U.S. and Iraqi troops in Baghdad was met with a surge in sectarian violence.

Bush acknowledged the same day that the situation in Iraq remains difficult. ``As we engage our enemies in their stronghold, these enemies are putting up a tough fight,'' he said in his weekly radio address.

U.S. public optimism about the outlook for the war in Iraq has dropped to just 20 percent, compared with 45 percent in June, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll of 1,006 registered voters. The survey, published Oct. 19, had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Happy Hallowe'en!


Fw: My Way News - Bush: I Won't Change Strategy in Iraq

Bush will stay stubborn and unyielding, as long as it's somebody else's kids who are getting killed and maimed--and not his.  His inflexibility, combined with his duplicity, make for a very dangerous man.  Lacking humility, compassion, and empathy--but full of dictatorial arrogance--he will "stay the course" he and the neocons set on LIES, no matter what the cost to us or the Iraqis. 

Impeachment is too good for Bush and Cheney....but it's a start, before they are charged with treason and war crimes.  (I can dream, can't I?)


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Priest tells of Foley relationship

Yet another wolf pretending to be a shepherd.  Don'tcha' just love his
narcissism in his "shocked" question:  Why does he [Foley] want to
destroy me in my old age?


Fw: Iraq for Sale--a must-see new documentary

Iraq for Sale - Another Referendum Against Republican Control

by Scott Schuster

I had the opportunity to catch this new documentary this week. It is a film that every American should see. It's an exposé on the egregious and gratuitous privatization of America's effort in Iraq, collating the hypocrisy, fraud, waste, corruption, & mismanagement under the Bush Military-Industrial-Complex ... er... Administration.

What I COULD talk about...

There has been plenty written about this documentary already, so I'm not going to simply give a review. I'dfhg like to attack a specific angle.

  • I could talk about how the private contractors in Iraq are earning far greater wages and living far more lavishly than our own troops. This is a microcosm proving the relationship between accountability and benefits in the Bush Administration is inversely proportionate.
  • I could talk about Halliburton's KBR subsidiary grossly overcharging for their services, coupled with their failure to provide them sufficiently (some of these accounts are astonishing).
  • I could talk about the animosity built up by the Iraqi people because the jobs and contracts are going to American companies instead of Iraq companies, leaving them with unemployment rates in the 30's. Gee... what's an out-of-work Iraqi to do?
  • I could talk about the conflict-of-interest in Dick Cheney's Halliburton (yes, he's still receiving compensation) and the fact that Halliburton received no-bid, multi-billion dollar contracts. Why let pesky competition get in the way of free enterprise?

But I don't want to talk about those... heh, heh, heh

And now for MY angle

Quite frankly, the war profiteering in Iraq is not news. It's been going on since the conquest started in March of 2003. Nothing is new. Nothing has changed. And those of us who HAVE been paying attention were not surprised by this film's content. Those of us who have been paying attention know that this same profiteering is also going on in the Gulf coast following Hurricane Katrina. Those of us who have been paying attention know that this same profiteering has been going on from the moment George W. Bush stepped into the White House and handed the keys over to the big business interests by deregulating every industry, nominating lobbyists from the industries to positions of oversight of those industries, and de-funding the teeth out of governmental protection agencies.

What I really wanted to call attention to is the fact that it's the rubber-stamp, Republican-controlled Congress which has allowed the Bush Administration to get away with all of this. Not only have they completely backed Bush in almost every dirty, sleazy, slimy, power-grabbing move he's made (except privatizing Social Security, of course), but they've also thwarted every effort the Democrats have attempted to add oversight to the process.

This is the two minutes of "Iraq for Sale" that bothered me the most - footage of Democrats raising amendments to the war appropriations bill to investigate the profiteering & oversee the contract bidding process, and they were shot down by the Republican majority, largely along party lines. SIX YEARS - NO ACCOUNTABILITY. This is the message that really needs to get out.

My soapbox moment

Ladies & gentlemen, this is the reason to vote Democratic on November 7th. This is the best reason to shift Congress over to the Democratic Party: to restore checks-&-balances in our government. The first six years of this Bush Administration have been unchecked and unbalanced. There has been NO legislative oversight and there is so much evidence and reason to believe that our world is so much more damaged under the Bush Administration and Republican control.

We live in fear. We live in fear from terrorists. Terrorists - both foreign and domestic. Terrorists - both Muslim and American. Terrorists - both Middle Eastern and Washingtonian. After falling asleep at the wheel and allowing 9/11 to happen, the Bush Administration has gone on a campaign to alienate our allies, escalate the arms race, and deteriorate the very fabric of our democracy - the freedoms, liberties, & rights afforded to us by our Constitution & Bill of Rights. And through it all, the rubber-stamp Republican-controlled Congress has allowed it to happen, because of the lack of balance in our government.

Our only chance to fix this problem is on November 7th. Otherwise, it's two more years of the same.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How's That Again? Department: Cheney says the "general overall situation in Iraq is going remarkably well"

Cheney: 'General Overall Situation' In Iraq Is Going 'Remarkably Well'


Rush Limbaugh interviewed Vice President Cheney on his show today. At one point, Limbaugh asked Cheney to respond to growing frustration over U.S. efforts in Iraq.

Cheney acknowledged there is a "natural level of concern out there" because fighting didn't end "instantaneously." (Next month, the war will have lasted longer than U.S. fighting in World War II.) Cheney then pointed to various news items to paint a positive picture of conditions in Iraq and concluded, "If you look at the general overall situation, they're doing remarkably well."   So, rest assured, all you folks in America.  Just like "the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz," Cheney has spoken! (But please don't look behind the curtain.)


Can this be POSSIBLE? I';m afraid so....

My friend Claire sent me the following message (in black and green type below).  I have been thinking the same thing.  But are the American people SO Stupid as to allow all this to happen?  So far, they have been.  I agree with Claire's friend who wrote the words in green below...I would put NOTHING past Bush/Cheney, but I have some faith that the American people will rise up en masse against their turning us into a complete totalitarian government.  The thing is, as I write those words, I am well aware that, with their latest coup, the Military Commissions (Goodbye Habeas Corpus, Hello Torture) Act, the neocons have already taken us WAY beyond what I would ever have thought possible.  I watched Keith Olbermann's show last night on which he and Jonathan Turley, Georgetown Law professor, were giving a sad adieu pronouncement to our rights as citizens with Bush's signing of this horrible Nazi-like bill into law. For more information on the bill and its ramifications for us, go to:    Unless the Supreme Court overturns it (as the Court is now packed with Bush-loving appointees, that is a long shot, at best), Bush now has the right to arrest any American citizen he deems "dangerous," have them slammed into prison without charging them, deny them the right to bail and legal representation forever--and he can have them tortured at will.  All of this is now possible for the dictator/president to do in OUR country!  And, horror of horrors, we all know he is an evil idiot who cannot ever be trusted to make a right decision based on honesty and truth. 

My god, it is a tragedy what we have come to.  And we have two more years of this brutal regime to endure--unless we can impeach them out of office.  Claire's friend is right.  These evil men will do ANYTHING to prevent the takeover of the House and Senate by Democrats.  If vote fraud and Diebold machine hacking don't work this time for them, as they did in the last two (s)elections, we have a good chance of being in a full state of fascism within months.  I am wondering WHERE are our Democrat leaders as our rights are being taken away?  I was only aware of Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold speaking out yesterday with harsh statements against Bush's signing of the Torture bill!  WHERE are the rest of our so-called "leaders"?  HOW can they stay SILENT on this issue?  WHERE are Hillary Clinton--and Bill Clinton when we most need them to speak up for us?!!!
The death knell of our democratic republic is being sounded.  But how many citizens are able to hear it?  Will we be just like Germany under the Nazis?  Allowing ourselves to be manipulated and controlled by a propagandistic evil fascist group of men--and letting them take our rights away with only a whimper instead of a ROAR?!!!  This all remains to be seen, but thus far the portents are not looking very positive.

If you think I am being too worried about this, please take a look at the bill Bush signed yesterday and tell me if you can believe this has happened in the United States of America. 

The comments below just came from my friend on the east coast. I hope his possible scenarios are far from what will unfold if the Democrats do indeed take the houses...

I think the question above is the penultimate question for the next 3 weeks or maybe 11 weeks (when a new Congress is due to be sworn in).  I fear that if the neo cons and Bush feel like they will lose both houses, they can see the end game will be impeachment proceedings, so they will do ANYTHING including nuking Iran to create chaos and try to terrify the American people.  They might even suspend the constitution before a new Congress is sworn in.  I would put NOTHING past them.

As the days tick away, the Democrats are looking more likely to take the House and possibly the Senate.  Therefore, I think anything could happen in the next three weeks.  If the elections happen and Diebold can't rig them enough to keep a Republican majority, then look for a move to strip Americans of their rights and a new fascist state to be born.   You may color me very surprised if on February 1, we still have our present style of government and Democratic majority in both houses.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

As Talk Radio Wavers, Bush Moves to Firm Up Support - New York Times

Rallying the listen, fellas and gals, this is what we want you to say....
Fox News, Rupert has given instructions you are to shore up that base--and pronto!  As part of our "fair and balanced" news, we're gonna' have a blitzkrieg of pro-Bush interviews to get those religious "nuts" back kneelin' at the feet of Bush and Cheney....What? Oh yeah--of Jesus, too, of course.



We cannot let this evil regime continue--or happen again

Can this Bushite Era Become an Innoculation Against Such Evils in the Future?

by Andrew Bard Schmookler

The writings of William Rivers Pitt on the Bushite menace are almost always excellent. So when I saw he'd published a piece lately on truthout entitled "The Wretched Years," I went to check it out.

In Pitt's fine piece, I came upon this passage:

Much of this can be undone or contained, to be sure, except for all the death. The laws can be rolled back. Sensible policies can be applied to the wars we are losing. New Orleans can be rebuilt. The media can be re-regulated. With a proper amount of effort and attention, most of the damage that has been done can be fixed. Except for all the death.

But that is not winning, not really, because the problem is not so much that these things happened and now have to be fixed. The problem is that they were allowed to happen at all. A lot of things have gone astonishingly wrong in America if a passage of time such as this exists in the first place. It has happened, all of it. This is no long nightmare. It is as real as the nose on your face.

It is a disgrace, a scar on our history and our consciousness. Worse, the fact that all this did happen means it can happen again. The power-hungry now have a marvelous blueprint for the unmaking of a republic, and they will likely be surprised at how trifling easy it is to pull off.

It was at this point that I began to protest inwardly against Pitt's analysis. The idea that the Bushites have laid out a "blueprint" for future power-hungry predators in America, and that these future would-be despots eager to unmake our republic will likely find it "trifling easy" to pull it off-- these simply did not ring true to me.

I continue to worry --though less with every new flock of Bushite chickens coming home to roost-- about America's capacity to overcome the evil regime still in power. But as for future recurrences of democratic deconstruction following the same blueprint, I think the truth is quite the contrary.

As the costs of this American dalliance with evil continue to mount, this era is more likely to be an innoculation against America going down this road again, than the clearing of a trail for future travelers.

Nations can become deeply sensitized to old errors and excesses-- particularly those which proved to be the path to national disaster. Consider the example of Japan and Germany after their catastrophic defeats in World War II.

Japan, ruined by its militaristic ventures, repudiated militarism more fully than any other major power had ever done. True, in the case of Japan, the occupying American power played a major role in getting Japan's new constitution to codify Japan's commitment to limiting its military to purely defensive postures. But the Japanese embrace of its non-militaristic path shows that it was not American pressure alone that has preserved that commitment for more than two generations.

And with West Germany, it was the Germans themselves who enacted laws --laws that in America would be violations of the first amendment-- forbidding the kind of hate speech that had played so nefarious a role in the Nazis' rise to power and to creating the environment in which the Holocaust could take place.

In America, as the Bushite regime (one hopes) is increasingly discredited and stripped of its power, a similar kind of national sensitization to the components of the Bushite disgrace is likely to occur. Not, to be sure, to such a degree as with those two fascist powers that lost millions of lives and were physically in ruins at the close of a war in which the victors came to occupy them. But in the same direction, nonetheless.

At the very end of his essay, William Rivers Pitt seems to hold out a related kind of hope. He starts talking about "winning," apparently indicating that he is coming to believe, as am I, that the Bushite regime is starting to head toward the stage that Dick Cheney so famously declared the Iraqi insurgency to be in not so terribly long ago, it's "death throes." And then Pitt looks toward what winning should mean in the wake of such "wretched years" --such wanton damage to so many things-- that the Bushites have brought to America:

winning means trying to fix everything that is broken, that it means holding the proper people accountable for their actions. Be it likewise resolved that winning means not forgetting, that it means something good absolutely must come from these wretched years. If that good boils down to two words - "Never Again" - then that is victory enough.

There are two elements here that will help to assure that the pattern of evil employed by the Bushites becomes not a blueprint to be followed again but an innoculation to mobilize the immune system of the American body politic to repel in the future: "holding the proper people accountable for their actions" and "not forgetting."

Those two elements point toward the larger and deeper point: what is important here is not just that this particular regime be overcome, but that the patterns expressing themselves through the regime be exposed and discredited. The contempt for law. The lust for power. The constant strategy of dividing people and creating enmity. The arrogance and bullying. The unbridled greed. The lust for domination. The self-righteousness. And above all, the lies upon lies upon lies so that the foundations of the democratic process were eaten up by the acid of deception.

The fall of these Bushites should not be a time for indulging in revenge. But it should be a time to imprint upon the consciousness of the American people just what it is that evil looks like when it comes to America to seduce the American people. For that smiling face of evil --with its false righteousness and sense of entitlement-- affords a look into the dark places in the American soul. A look into the forces that, though they may always linger in this nation, should "Never again" be allowed to rule its destiny.


Monday, October 16, 2006

ABC News: Dark Side of Being Cured of Childhood Cancer

Sad statistics on western medical care.


Important free online videos about depleted uranium weapons...

....and what they are doing to our soldiers and to the civilians in the countries in which we are using them.  If, after viewing the videos, you think it is important to share this information, please forward these links to your friends.  If we don't know what is going on, we can't do anything about it.


October 14, 2006

The United States must order an end to illegal use of depleted uranium munitions DU is a waste product of the process that produces enriched uranium for use in atomic weapons and nuclear power plants. Much like natural uranium, it is both toxic and radioactive.
When DU burns, it spews tiny particles of poisonous and radioactive uranium oxide in aerosol form, which can then travel for miles in the wind. Humans can ingest or inhale the small particles. Even one particle, when lodged in a vital organ--which is most likely to happen from inhalation-- can cause illnesses from headaches to cancer. Death & mutations...the Silent Killer.
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7


New NYT/CBS poll shows most Americans do not believe the government's 9/11 explanation

A monumental new scientific opinion poll has emerged which declares that only 16% of people in America now believe the official government explanation of the September 11th 2001 terror attacks.

According to the new New York Times/CBS News poll, only 16% of Americans think the government is telling the truth about 9/11 and the intelligence prior to the attacks:

"Do you think members of the Bush Administration are telling the truth, are mostly telling the truth but hiding something, or are they mostly lying?

Telling the truth 16%

Hiding something 53%

Mostly lying 28%

Not sure 3%"

The 84% figure mirrors other recent polls on the same issue. A Canadian Poll put the figure at 85%. A CNN poll had the figure at 89%. Over 80% supported the stance of Charlie Sheen when he went public with his opinions on 9/11 as an inside job.

A recent CNN poll found that the percentage of Americans who blame the Bush administration for the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington rose from almost a third to almost half over the past four years. This latest poll shows that that figure has again risen exponentially and now stands at well over three quarters of the population.

It took 35 plus years for the majority of Americans to wake up to the fact that the assassination of JFK was a government operation. It has only take five years for MORE Americans to wake up to the fact that 9/11 was an inside job on behalf of the Neoconservative crime syndicate within the US.

Reference to past polls show that in the last five years there has been an explosion in numbers of those who do not buy the official line.

In 2004 a Zogby Poll showed that just over half of New Yorkers believed there was a cover up.

In May of this year another Zogby poll indicated that around half of ALL Americans did not buy the official story.

The latest poll also shows a massive awakening has occurred recently given that previous estimates indicated that around 34% still believed the official story and around 30% were oblivious altogether.

"TerrorStorm sets a new standard in documentary filmmaking. Alex Jones knocks it out of the park yet again." -Dylan Avery, Director, "Loose Change" - Click here to get the DVD or click here to watch online now!

Alex Jones declared that the Truth movement has cause to celebrate this evening as it is now beyond any doubt that the vast majority of Americans know that the official story of 19 Saudis with box cutters is ludicrous.

The diligence of those who have worked to educate the world on 9/11 truth from day one cannot be underestimated. We are now seeing the fruits of this hard and at times extremely trying labor hit home.

We would add that although this is a major victory for the truth movement it does not mean that the hard work can stop.

The next step is to use the majority opinion as leverage towards officially changing the record of what happened on 9/11, forcing the mainstream media into addressing the issue, not as a quirky news item, but as a serious re-defining of the state of the nation and the world today.

We have not taken the country back yet and the cabal that has taken control of the government continues to systematically use 9/11 and the war on terror as an excuse to destroy the Constitutional foundations of law and order in America.

As it becomes clearer that more and more Americans KNOW that their government is lying to them on the most fundamental issue of their lifetimes, we must consider what kind of reaction the government will undertake.

Remember that the majority of American voters now believe the Sept. 11 terrorist attack was a more significant historical event than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The criminal elements of the government now know that they have been totally exposed and are reviled by the majority of free thinking Americans. Will their response be to vamp up the crack down on that free thinking itself?

In essence Americans have outright REJECTED giving up their liberty for security in the wake of 9/11. The only security IS liberty itself, and the only way to stay secure is to constantly defend liberty.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

I just watched an excellent film on DVD

It is called 9/11 Press for Truth, in which the most prominent members of the Family Steering Committee tell their story, providing powerful arguments for why 9/11 still needs investigation.  Adapting Paul Thompson's definitive Complete 9/11 Timeline (a book published by HarperCollins as The Terror Timeline, also well worth ordering), the filmmakers put together rare, overlooked news clips, buried stories, and government press conferences, revealing a pattern of official lies, deception, and spin.  Paul Thompson's onlite site provides meticulously researched information on 9/11 from hundreds of different news articles and news reporters.  You can see it at:   New, up-to-date information on current news and happenings can be found at

There is also an excellent site called Scholars for Truth, on which you can read some in-depth 9/11 research.  It's at:

I encourage everyone to see th eye-opening film 9/11 Press for Truth.  It's one you will want to share with friends.  You can order it on for $9.99.  Go to:

Another excellent film I recently ordered and watched yesterday is Iraq for Sale--The War Profiteers.  You can read more about it at  Another shocking eye-opener! 

If you are interested in truth, the above are two films to get you started on the search for it.  If you would rather condemn everyone who does not believe everything Bush and Cheney tell them and label them all "conspiracy nuts who hate your country," you can tune in Bill O'Reilly and listen to him rant about it, too. 

To watch some free online videos that are excellent, you can go to the following sites:

9/11 Mysteries (video)

Loose Change, 2nd Edition (Recut)

Terror Storm with Alex Jones (video)

9/11: A Conversation with Jim Fetzer (video)


White House Upbeat About GOP Prospects -

The only way Rove and Bush could be upbeat about the Republican
prospects in November is if they already have their hackers in place to
assure that the votes go their way.  They did it before--and they will
do it again.  Whatever it takes.  Because, as we have seen over and over
with this administration, for them the end always justifies the means,
no matter how down and dirty the means may be.

If the Republicans end up with more votes in the seats that are strongly
looking pro-Democrat now and that contradict the exit poll numbers, I
predict that will raise a hue and cry from the people that won't go
away!  I predict the Democrats will challenge those "close" races,
unlike what they did in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004 in just
letting it go.  I believe the Dems and the majority of the people are
finally, FINALLY aware of the lengths to which the Repugs will go in
lies, deceit, and fraud in order to maintain control in their power
seats.  And, even if the Repugs succeed in illegally divesting certain
voters of their rights and in manipulating the votes as they did in 2000
and 2004, I don't think it will carry them to "victory" this time! The
people will not buy it, and the Dems will contest it.  Of this I feel
absolutely certain!

Hang on tight--I think we are in for a very bumpy ride.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Wretched Years

    The Wretched Years
    By William Rivers Pitt

    Friday 13 October 2006

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

- Maya Angelou

    George W. Bush gave a press conference this past Wednesday in an attempt to snatch back the conversation from North Korea's nukes and Mark Foley's instant messages. A reporter from CNN asked him about the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health report that puts the civilian death toll in Iraq at 655,000. "I am, you know, amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they're willing to - you know, that there's a level of violence that they tolerate," he responded.

    Yes. That's what he said.

    This is, to a degree, not terribly surprising. Mr. Bush has a penchant for casually saying the most abominable things imaginable without blinking. Recall, if you will, the days following the attacks of September 11th. A pall of poison smoke still hung low over New York City. Americans were suddenly living in fear of blue skies and airplanes. The as-yet-unsolved anthrax attacks on Congress and the media had us all collecting our mail with oven mitts while holding our breath.

    On October 4th, 2001, less than a month after the attacks, Mr. Bush said, "We need to counter the shock wave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates."

    Yes. That's what he said.

    These two statements serve as bookends for the wretched years we have endured. The worst attack in American history is used to pimp a plan for tax cuts, and the unimaginable slaughter of Iraqi civilians is a platform for praising the survivors of the carnage because they are so darned good at tolerating it.

    What will history have to say about these times? History, it has often been said, is written by the victors, but who really wins anything after all this? If the most delectable left-wing fantasies come true - the Democrats take Congress in November, Bush and his cronies are impeached by a fire-breathing Conyers Judiciary Committee - little will be left to win.

    People will still be dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. New Orleans will still be destroyed. The environment will still be poisoned. Laws that all but eviscerate the Bill of Rights will still be on the books. The same unimaginably wealthy industrialists will still have the same clout. The news media will still be controlled by people whose interests lie far afield from telling us the truth.

    Much of this can be undone or contained, to be sure, except for all the death. The laws can be rolled back. Sensible policies can be applied to the wars we are losing. New Orleans can be rebuilt. The media can be re-regulated. With a proper amount of effort and attention, most of the damage that has been done can be fixed. Except for all the death.

    But that is not winning, not really, because the problem is not so much that these things happened and now have to be fixed. The problem is that they were allowed to happen at all. A lot of things have gone astonishingly wrong in America if a passage of time such as this exists in the first place. It has happened, all of it. This is no long nightmare. It is as real as the nose on your face.

    It is a disgrace, a scar on our history and our consciousness. Worse, the fact that all this did happen means it can happen again. The power-hungry now have a marvelous blueprint for the unmaking of a republic, and they will likely be surprised at how trifling easy it is to pull off. Americans, it seems, have at least one thing in common with Iraqis. We are great, apparently, at tolerating the intolerable.

    Is George W. Bush the cause of all this, or merely a symptom? I used to be fond of telling people that blaming Bush for everything that has gone wrong is like blaming Mickey Mouse when Disney screws up. This is still true, to a large degree. But then again, he said those things. Perhaps he is a little of both.

    History is written by the winners. Be it resolved, then, that winning means trying to fix everything that is broken, that it means holding the proper people accountable for their actions. Be it likewise resolved that winning means not forgetting, that it means something good absolutely must come from these wretched years. If that good boils down to two words - "Never Again" - then that is victory enough.


Inside Washington: Bush Is Said to Have No Plan if GOP Loses

What do they expect, for God's sake?  Of course he has no plan!  This is
the same leadership that had no plan for Iraq, either, should their
Shock and Awe campaign fail (which it did, miserably, as we can all
see).  Then again, in addition to his stupidity, perhaps he has no plan
because Karl Rove (Turdblossom) has assured him the Repug hackers will
make sure the Diebold no-paper-trail machines register the votes in
their favor, as they did in the 2004 selections.  ("We got it all
covered, boss...not to worry!  Ohio will go Republican big time, and so
will Florida!")


Stop Bush's "October Surprise" Attack on Iran

While North Korea is dominating the headlines, the threat of an "October Surprise" U.S. attack on Iran has not diminished.

Pentagon planners have moved from routine "contingency" war plans to "second-stage" war plans. And the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. Eisenhower and its accompanying strike force of cruiser, destroyer and attack submarine are sailing towards Iran.

How would Iran respond to an attack? Iran has three times the population of Iraq, and a modern military capable of firing missiles at our oil-producing allies and shutting down all shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world's oil travels every day. The 140,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq would be attacked by Iran's Iraqi allies, and Hezbollah would attack Israel.

So why would Bush want war with Iran? For one obvious reason: to prevent Democrats from sweeping the November elections, as all polls now predict.

How could Bush attack Iran with all of our soldiers tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan? By relying entirely on bombs and missiles delivered by planes and ships. After all, Bush threatened to bomb our ally Pakistan back to the "stone age" if Gen. Musharraf refused to help us after 9/11. If conventional bombs won't cause enough destruction, Bush's neocon supporters are urging Bush to use nuclear weapons.

How would Bush start a war? By provoking an Iranian attack on U.S. forces - most likely by sending a U.S. warship near Iranian waters, or flying a U.S. warplane near Iranian airspace. After all, Bush planned to send a U.S. spyplane over Saddam Hussein's Iraq painted in U.N. colors to provoke an Iraqi attack that would get Bush the U.N. resolution he desperately wanted.

Bush fooled America once already with his invasion of Iraq. How can we stop him from invading Iran?

1. Tell your Representative to support Rep. Peter DeFazio's resolution requiring a Congressional vote prior to military action against Iran.

2. Join 60,000 people who have signed our petition:

3. Forward our message to your friends.

4. Call talk shows and write letters to your newspaper - and don't hesitate to express your fear and anger.

5. Challenge your Congressional candidates to declare their opposition to a U.S. attack on Iran.

6. Register to vote immediately and vote on November 7.

7. Read Scott Ritter's new book, Target Iran.

8. Follow important Iran War news at

9. Be prepared to march peacefully if the White House starts signaling an imminent attack on Iran.


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