Hillary Clinton collapses

No immediate word on condition

The Associated Press
Updated: 1:23 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2005
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton collapsed Monday during a speech in Buffalo.

Colleen DiPirro, president of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, told WBEN radio station that the 57-year-old Clinton told the audience she was feeling weak from a stomach ailment just before she collapsed at the Saturn Club, one of Buffalo's most prestigious private clubs.

There were no immediate details on whether she remained conscious.
Clinton's appearance at the Chamber of Commerce event came shortly before another speech scheduled at a nearby Catholic college, which was planned despite protests from anti-abortion groups and reluctance from the Catholic diocese.
She was planning to discuss health care, not her pro-choice stance on abortion, aides said. Several hundred people were waiting to hear that address. There were also hundreds of protesters waiting at the college.

A friend of mine has just informed me that his mother had symptoms very similar and it turned out to be a heart attack. Let's hope she's ok

Audit: $9 Billion Unaccounted for in Iraq

But really, what's $9 billion?

By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The U.S. occupation authority in Iraq (news - web sites) was unable to keep track of nearly $9 billion it transferred to government ministries, which lacked financial controls, security, communications and adequate staff, an inspector general has found.

The U.S. officials relied on Iraqi audit agencies to account for the funds but those offices were not even functioning when the funds were transferred between October 2003 and June 2004, according to an audit by a special U.S. inspector general.

The findings were released Sunday by Stuart Bowen Jr., special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. Bowen issued several reports on the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the U.S. occupation government that ruled Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004.

The official who led the CPA, L. Paul Bremer III, submitted a blistering, written reply to the findings, saying the report had "many misconceptions and inaccuracies," and lacked professional judgment.

Bremer complained the report "assumes that Western-style budgeting and accounting procedures could be immediately and fully implemented in the immediately and fully implemented in the midst of a war."

U.S. officials, the report said, "did not establish or implement sufficient managerial, financial and contractural controls." There was no way to verify that the money was used for its intended purposes of financing humanitarian needs, economic reconstruction, repair of facilities, disarmament and civil administration..

This is a joke...right?

The man replacing the mayor of Baghdad — who was assassinated for his pro-American loyalties — says he is not worried about his ties to Washington. In fact, he'd like to erect a monument to honor President Bush in the middle of the city.

"We will build a statue for Bush," said Ali Fadel, the former provincial council chairman. "He is the symbol of freedom."



The Iraqi's

As we all know, the Iraqi elections have been going on for about 8 hours now. There have already been several small attacks in which 22 people have been killed thus far. Let's hope that's the end of it and that these people will be allowed to safely vote and go about their day as we do.

For those of you who pray, keep them in your prayers, for those of you who don't, keep them in your thoughts, and lets hope it turns out ok.

Are you a fascist?

Take this little quiz and find out.

This quiz is designed only for right-wingers since sometimes they do not know if they are fascists or not. I am assuming that the people who take this test, believe already that the state should not focus in trying to redistribute wealth, an essential part of the right wing thought.

Answer all questions only once
Assign 0 points if A is the answer, 1 if B, 2 if C, 3 if D, 4 if E
Please be honest
Good luck

1. Do you consider that the nation, religion, political group or ethnic group you belong to makes you a human being of a different class?

A.- Not at all.
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

2. Do you believe that there are situations (e.g. danger to national security, fear to enemies) in which human rights (e.g. right to life, right to a fair trial, right against torture, etc) can be disregarded?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

3. Do you usually focus your energy against any particular ethnic group, ideology, religion or minority?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

4. Do you believe in the glory of the armed forces of the country you belong to?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

5. Do you believe in traditional gender roles?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

6. Are you against gay rights?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

7. Do you believe that the government has the right to control the media in special situations (e.g. war, national security?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

8. Do you believe that the government has the right to use fear in order to make the general public aware of "a dangerous" situation?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

9. Do you believe that the highest authorities of a government have the right to use religious rhetoric in their communication with the people?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

10. Do you believe that the corporations and the government should have common goals?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

11. What do you think of labor power?

A. It is important and necessary
B. Usually necessary but occasionaly it is not
C. Sometimes necessary, other times not
D. Not necessary, with exceptions
E. Never necessary, useless.

12. Do you think artists are...

A. Important and necessary
B. Usually necessary but occasionaly not
C. Sometimes necessary, other times not
D. Not necessary, with exceptions
E. Never necessary, useless.

13. Do you think academics/intellectuals are...

A. Important and necessary
B. Usually necessary but occasionaly not
C. Sometimes necessary, other times not
D. Not necessary, with exceptions
E. Never necessary, useless.

14. In order to suppress/control crime you are willing to...

A. try to control it without violating the rights of the perpetrators or the privacy of the rest of the people.
B. try to control it without violating the privacy of the people.
C. attempt to reduce it as much as possible accepting abuses as "collateral damage"
D. violate the rights of perpetrators but trying to respect the privacy of the people.
E. violate the rights of perpetrators and the privacy of people, crime prevention and punishment is essential for the survival of society.

15. Do you believe that the state has the right to expropiate businesses or natural resources from their legitimate owners for the sake of national security or better economic handling?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes.

16. Do you believe that in case the liberals, socialists, communists, libertarians or anarchists are ahead on the polls, the government has the right to alter the results of the elections to avoid a government of any of those groups?

A.- Not at all
B.- Occasionally
C.- Sometimes
D.- Yes, with exceptions.
E.- Definitely yes

From 0 to 16 points: You are not a fascist. Try talking to your left wing partners to find common goals in the fight against fascism

From 17-48: You lean towards fascism. You have to clarify certain ideas and decide if you are willing to support what fascist governments have done in the past or what they are doing right now

From 49-64: You are a fascist. If you already knew about it, just acknowledge me as your political enemy. If did not know you were one of them, please start being honest to people and say what you are. There is nothing worse than hiding behind a conservative mask


Cheney's Symbolic Gesture

At yesterday's gathering of world leaders in southern Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the United States was represented by Vice President Cheney. The ceremony at the Nazi death camp was outdoors, so those in attendance, such as French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin, were wearing dark, formal overcoats and dress shoes or boots. Because it was cold and snowing, they were also wearing gentlemen's hats. In short, they were dressed for the inclement weather as well as the sobriety and dignity of the event.

The vice president, however, was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.

Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood. It is embroidered with his name. It reminded one of the way in which children's clothes are inscribed with their names before they are sent away to camp. And indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults.

Like other attendees, the vice president was wearing a hat. But it was not a fedora or a Stetson or a fur hat or any kind of hat that one might wear to a memorial service as the representative of one's country. Instead, it was a knit ski cap, embroidered with the words "Staff 2001." It was the kind of hat a conventioneer might find in a goodie bag.

It is also worth mentioning that Cheney was wearing hiking boots -- thick, brown, lace-up ones. Did he think he was going to have to hike the 44 miles from Krakow -- where he had made remarks earlier in the day -- to Auschwitz? Washington Post

Iraq Elections, Militants, Death and Contradictions

I read a few intersting comments at the Standard made by Gen. George Casey the top US commander in Baghdad.

He described as inflated a recent estimate by Iraq's intelligence chief that the insurgency numbered as many as 40,000 hard-core fighters and swelled to 200,000 when part-time combatants and sympathizers were included.

“It's not a number I would subscribe to,” said Casey, a four-star general who is in charge of more than 150,000 US and other coalition troops. The insurgency, Casey said, had become “better organized” in recent months, though US commanders say the force still lacks a central command.

The top general predicted a successful election Sunday, even though the United States is braced for attacks on voters and polling stations.

I'll interject this here as for its relevance to the above sentence.

Overall, President Ghazi al-Yawer at a news conference the day before the vote, predicted that a majority of the country's eligible voters would not show up at the polls. Guardian

Back to Gen. Casey..“We can't stay in front on this over the long haul and be successful,” Casey said. “We're viewed by the people ... as an occupation force.”.

In his overview, Casey reiterated what has become the military's consensus view: the insurgency is largely a home-grown rebellion fueled by resentment among Iraq's Sunni Muslim Arab minority. Saddam Hussein loyalists, the general said, are seeking to revive “Sunni dominance” in Iraq.

Foreign fighters in Iraq, Casey said, likely number no more than 1,000. He also rejected the oft-repeated suggestion that suicide attackers were exclusively foreign fighters from other Arab and Muslim lands.

“There's kind of an axiom out there that says Iraqis aren't suicide bombers,” Casey said. “I believe there are Iraqi Islamic extremists [who] are very capable of getting into cars and blowing themselves up.”.

And from Breaking News. More Iraqi civilians may have been killed by coalition forces and their allies than by insurgents, according to Iraqi government figures.

The figures, which have been compiled by Iraq’s Ministry of Health, will be disclosed on the BBC’s Panorama programme tomorrow. They show coalition troops and Iraqi security forces were responsible for 60% of Iraqi civilian deaths in conflict-related violence in a six month period.

The data comes from conflict-related civilian deaths and injuries recorded by Iraqi public hospitals. It does not include the deaths of insurgents where they are known.

The BBC says that in an interview the US ambassador John Negroponte, prior to the release of the figures, said he believed the largest amount of civilian casualties were due to car bombings. Mr Negroponte said in the interview:

“My impression is that the largest amount of civilian casualties definitely is a result of these indiscriminate car bombings.” ... “You yourself are aware of those as they occur in the Baghdad area and more frequently than not the largest number of victims of these acts of terror are innocent civilian bystanders.”.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it would not make any comment on another international government’s statement.

Trash the Ten Commandments

Despite what orthodox factions may wish to claim, the global society is changing and we do not live in a world made up of kingdoms and slaves nor do most of us treat women as objects. It is possible to fight against change--as many conservatives do--but it must be recognized that we do live in a different society than we did at the time of the Old Testament. This is why we should axe most of the Ten Commandments. They may have served as a cornerstone for morality during the time of their inscription but they serve us little good today. My plan is not to suggest a substitute, but simply to explain why we should surrender the Ten Commandments to the annals of history.

First, the Ten Commandments as they appear in Exodus:

  • Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

  • Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth

  • But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work

  • Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

  • Honour thy father and thy mother

  • Thou shalt not kill.

  • Thou shalt not commit adultery.

  • Thou shalt not steal.

  • Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

  • Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Most of the commandments have no place in our society, and the ones that do ("You ought not kill", "you ought not steal", etc) are ground into the minds of the normal human. That is not to say that some humans, those we refer to as social outcasts or psychopaths, will reject the common morality we all share. There is no evidence to the contrary of this other than that of Eve pulling the fruit from the tree of knowledge but there is anthropological evidence to support this claim. For example, Sweden is a secular state yet the people are happy and free, allowed to do for the most part, that which they please. The Swedish recognize that basic human emotions require a certain amount of civility and do not need Biblical reinforcement.

One critical trend to note in the Bible and especially in the Ten Commandments is the equation of women with objects, possessions of their masters, the men. In the last commandment, God and Moses equate women with a house, an ox, and a donkey. What do you think of that, ladies? This sexist chauvinism does not flow with our "advanced" society in which women have the right to vote, to work, and to pursue property instead of simply be property.

While this is of course a brief analysis, I think it is sufficient enough to spark a little debate. If you disagree with my stance, I'd like to read a rebuttal which employs the liberal use of anthropological as well as historical data to support your ideological beliefs. If you agree with me, please offer a solution for what can replace the Ten Commandments in a modern society. I have some ideas, but I'd like to hear what others say before offering my own.


Cop Threatens to Arrest Woman For Fuck Bush Bumper Sticker

First posted here http://sisterstalk.tblog.com

Denver police officer Sgt. Michael Karasek threatened to arrest Shasta Bates because she flaunted a "Fuck Bush" bumper sticker on her truck. One man confronted Shasta Bates while she stood inside a UPS store about her bumper sticker, saying it bothered him. He then went out to find Karasek.

Karasek then entered the UPS and threatened to arrest Bates if she didn't remove the sticker. Bates filed a complaint. Karasek will be disciplined, but specifics on how he will be disciplined weren't mentioned. I keep thinking I need a "Dumb Ass" category. What was this guy thinking? Did he think he would be able to bully Bates into submission just because he was a cop? Props to Shasta Bates! Thanks to SistersTalk reader Dawn for the tip.

Hmmm, maybe I should reconsider my "Bush Thinks You're Stupid" bumper sticker?


Instantly Orphaned

I dare you to watch this slide show in its entirety. Since this murderous act is under investigation I'm not sure how long this will stay up considering US desire to coverup and brainwash the public about how good everything is going in Iraq. Certainly the cameraman will be called a traitor by many as was Kevin Sites after his footage in Fallujah. Read it and weep for the children, for Iraq and for what America has become.

Instantly Orphaned

Sen. Kennedy says, 'withdraw from Iraq'

Sen. Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat who opposed the US invasion of Iraq has layed out a plan for Bush to start withdrawing troops from Iraq. He said President Bush should state he intends to negotiate a timetable with the new Iraqi government to draw down US forces after Sunday's election. Kennedy also said the US must stop making political decisions in Iraq and turn over full authority to the UN to help Baghdad set up a new government with an international meeting led by the UN and Iraq convened immediately to start the process.

"We now have no choice but to make the best we can of the disaster we have created in Iraq," Kennedy in a speech to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. "The current course is only making the crisis worse."

He said the indefinite presence of U.S. troops is "fanning the flames of conflict" in what has become "a war against the U.S. occupation."

Kennedy also said Bush must also make it clear the US does not intend to have a long-term presence, and announce it will dramatically reduce its embassy in Baghdad..the largest in the world.

In the Republican-led House of Representatives, 24 Democrats this week introduced a resolution calling on Bush to begin an immediate pullout.

"We have reached the point that a prolonged American military presence in Iraq is no longer productive for either Iraq or the United States.."

Sounds like a plan to me. Where do I sign?

Much more here

The bounty on Osama's head

Maybe i'm a little behind on this one. I opened my new copy of Time Magazine yesterday, and inadvertantly, i'm sure, they offered more proof that Bush cared more about ousting Hussein than he did in finding the man responsible for killing 3,000 American citizens.

The excerpt from the article in the "notebook" section that caught my attention said this:
"What we're looking for is some young Pashtun living in a town, who knows the value of $25 million and can figure out how to reach us safely", says Kirk. He points out that the lure of a $30 million reward led to the capture and killing of Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay."

So, lets see if i've got this straight. The son's of a man who had done nothing to us, who's biggest crime to America was telling the truth, are worth more than the head of the MOST WANTED MAN ON THE PLANET? They were worth more than the man who carried out the biggest terrorist attack on American soil? They were worth more than the man who orchestrated the flying of our own aircraft into our own buildings and blowing up our citizens?

This is unacceptable. Even collectively (which is what i'm assuming because that's the way the article reads) that is too much. There is talk now of raising the bounty on his head to $50 million. 4 years too late if you ask me.

Riverbend has a question for America

The United States has ended its physical search for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, which was cited by the first administration of President George W Bush as the main reason for invading the country, the White House has said.

Why does this not surprise me? Does it surprise anyone? I always had the feeling that the only people who actually believed this war was about weapons of mass destruction were either paranoid Americans or deluded expatriate Iraqis- or a combination of both. I wonder now, after hundreds and hundreds of Americans actually died on Iraqi soil and over a hundred-thousand Iraqis are dead, how Americans view the current situation. I have another question- the article mentions a "Duelfer Report" stating the weapons never existed and all the intelligence was wrong. This report was supposedly published in October 2004. The question is this: was this report made public before the elections?

Did Americans actually vote for Bush with this knowledge?

The rest of the story

Riverbend is a 25 year old Iraqi woman who has been blogging from Iraq since 2003. Her identity has remained concealed for her own protection. She has been a valued source of information for me and many others as to what is happening in Iraq. I read this morning her post will be made into a book due out in March 2005. I wish her all the best. Her blog is here.


Mother of slain soldier speaks out

She held up family photos of her son Casey as a toddler, at his confirmation, as a 21-year-old in boot camp and then, the photo that appeared in The New York Times last April, of his coffin, his brother kissing it to say goodbye.

Opening her heart-wrenching talk, she said, “I am not a political expert or a pundit. I’m just a broken-hearted mother.” Cindy Sheehan said she hoped she wouldn’t offend anyone in the audience, but her purpose in speaking out was to raise awareness of “the travesty of this war” and to help bring the troops home.

Casey became a Humvee mechanic, and was in Iraq for only two weeks when he volunteered for a very dangerous mission. His convoy was attacked and he was one of six soldiers killed on April 4 of 2004.

Her grief was almost unbearable, but then she said, “I knew I had to do something to try to stop this illegal and immoral war to prevent more soldiers from dying. People are dying every day, soldiers - but also innocent Iraqis that our government doesn’t even count.”

Sheehan urged everyone to become more aware of what is really going on in Iraq, to read articles on websites like CommonDreams.org and Truthout.org. She said she hears from soldiers as to what is really going on, “and they are not building schools and sewer systems as the government is telling us. They are just out there killing and trying not to be killed.”

She said the mainstream media really “failed us” in the rush to war, and since then, has not been reporting much on the mistakes the U.S. occupation has made, such as disbanding the Iraq army and taking away jobs from citizens and giving them to outside contractors, creating animosity and anger toward the Americans. The tragic problem of inadequate armor for the troops, which is the reason her son and many other soldiers have died or been wounded, is another travesty not mentioned enough.

Her speaking out has not endeared her to her community, she said. “I am a pariah in my own town. My best friend won’t even talk to me anymore,” she said. Everyone had compassion for her when her son died, but they don’t seem to like the idea of her protesting the war. She said she has also been vilified in the press, accused of taking advantage of her family’s tragedy.

“The time for being nice is over. We have to let our leaders know what we think. We have to help vets who have been wounded, and we have to help kids find alternatives to being recruited to go to this war. We have to put this war in peoples’ faces to get them to see.

“I know Casey would want me to be doing this.”

The website for Cindy Sheehan’s Gold Star Families for Peace is:
Gold Star Families for Peace

Iraqi Elections... fools gold

Okay, so tomorrow we'll get back to the interview.

Hope everyone out there is healthy and appreciating their good fortune to feel decent.

I'm glad to say that in one sense, I've used this illness to my advantage, and finally quit smoking. Luckily, I was feeling so lousy for so long that getting by the physical cravings was pretty much a no brainer. But, nevertheless, I'm thankful that I seemed to have put the awful habit in my past....again. I'd quit for a number of years, but I started up again a few years ago for some pretty dumb reasons.

The funny thing to me about vices is that when we're addicted, it seems like almost an imposibility to get rid of them. I've never been a drinker, but I do have a compulsive side to my personality, so I'd bet that if I did drink, or have a drug - or any other substanse abuse problem, it would be a doosey for me to deal with. Thanks God for not making me deal with any of those.

So, we're four days away from elections in Iraq. So far, everything I hear about these elections points to them being nothing more than a big chunk of feta cheese for the U.S. to point to and say "See? We did it! We said we were going to make sure elections took place in Janaury and, by God, we did it!"

It sure doesn't sound as though there will be anything democratic about what takes place since so few people will actually take part - and whoever doesn't take part will have an awfully legitamate claim that they were to scared to take part.

Having said that. I'd love to be wrong! I listened to Bush's press conference this morning and heard his bravado and what sounded like sincere hopefullness. I would love to say, golly I was wrong, this Bush guy really did know what he was doing. How I'd love that. Doubt it'll happen though - if for no other reason than, in life, it's real unusual for good things to happen regarding any situation has been started based on arrogance or false justifications. Combine those things with a prideful inability to admit one's errors, and it's almost always a recipie for disaster.

Usually, until people decide to be honest with themselves and look hard at situation's for which they are responsible - that they've unwittingly allowed to get out of hand, nothing good will come of it.

But, like I said. I might be wrong.

Be good to everyone.

Big Freaking Suprise!

Bush was just asked by a reporter to condem the act of the Jordanian something or other who penalized a citizen for speaking out against the government. Guess what he said? "I'm not aware of this case and therefore cannot comment. Not every democracy has the same views as the United States" But wait, isn't that why we went in and bombed the shit out of Iraq? Because they don't have the view on democracy as us? And couldn't he have just said "If that is true, then yes i condemn it" ?

"Bush is NOT being fiscally irresponsible!!!!!"

The White House estimated on January 25, 2005 that the U.S. budget deficit for 2005, including an extra $80 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan operations, will total $427 billion.  (Reuters Graphic)

Now, in his defense, he probably doesn't understand these complicated graphs, but basically here's what it says:

From 1992-2000 (every year Clinton was in office) the defict shrunk by billions and billions of dollars until the last 3 years President Clinton was in office when we had a *big gasp everyone* 236 BILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS!

Enter Bush. The surplus shrink drastically (and if one more person blames it on 9/11 I swear....) and continues to go down every year the Bush is in office. Now look what we're stuck with. My bet is next year will be even worse.

Sign The Petition To President Bush

The documented torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib underscores the need for President Bush to rededicate the United States to the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that came about following World War II. Join us in urging the Bush administration to respect and honor the legacy of U.S. leadership, sacrifice, and American values that became international law.

To support the following statement and U.S. respect for international law, sign the petition today.

“We, the undersigned citizens of the United States, affirm the international cooperation, universal humanitarian principles, and human rights law that arose from the ashes of World War II, thanks to the unprecedented national sacrifice and service of a generation of Americans.

We call upon President George W. Bush to honor that legacy by rededicating our nation to the Geneva Conventions, the Charter of the United Nations, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a framework of law that protects the lives and dignity of civilians, prisoners of war, and wounded combatants – including the Iraqi people and our men and women serving today in Iraq.”

Notable supporters of the petition include:
Captain Kris Kristofferson, USA, Grammy Award-winning Singer/Songwriter
Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth, USN, Retired, World War II veteran
Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, Jr., USA, Retired, Korea and Vietnam veteran
Raymond C. Offenheiser, President, Oxfam America
Rev. Robert Edgar, National Council of Churches, six-term Member of Congress
Robert K. Musil, Ph.D, M.P.H., Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Specialist Erik K. Gustafson, USA, Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC)
Specialist Charles Sheehan-Miles, USA, Veterans for Common Sense (VCS)
Susan Shaer, Executive Director, Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)
and 14,308 veterans and concerned citizens (as of 11/11/04)

Sign Now

End-Timers & Neo-cons

I was looking around ZNet this morning trying to catch up on the latest and saw Paul Craig Roberts name in the list of recent articles. I'm always interested in what he has to say as he had a pretty Conservative resume at one time. He was quoted often by Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy.

"I remember when friends would excitedly telephone to report that Rush Limbaugh or G. Gordon Liddy had just read one of my syndicated columns over the air. That was before I became a critic of the US invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration, and the neoconservative ideologues who have seized control of the US government."

He was Contributing Editor of National Review, columnist for the Washington Times and many other icons of Conservative thought. "There was a time when I could rant about the "liberal media" with the best of them. But in recent years I have puzzled over the precise location of the "liberal media," says Mr. Roberts.

"America has blundered into a needless and dangerous war, and fully half of the country's population is enthusiastic. Many Christians think that war in the Middle East signals "end times" and that they are about to be wafted up to heaven. Many patriots think that, finally, America is standing up for itself and demonstrating its righteous might. Conservatives are taking out their Vietnam frustrations on Iraqis. Karl Rove is wrapping Bush in the protective cloak of war leader. The military-industrial complex is drooling over the profits of war. And neoconservatives are laying the groundwork for Israeli territorial expansion.

In the ranks of the new conservatives, however, I see and experience much hate. It comes to me in violently worded, ignorant and irrational emails from self-professed conservatives who literally worship George Bush. Even Christians have fallen into idolatry. There appears to be a large number of Americans who are prepared to kill anyone for George Bush.

The Iraqi War is serving as a great catharsis for multiple conservative frustrations: job loss, drugs, crime, homosexuals, pornography, female promiscuity, abortion, restrictions on prayer in public places, Darwinism and attacks on religion. Liberals are the cause. Liberals are against America. Anyone against the war is against America and is a liberal. "You are with us or against us."

This is the mindset of delusion, and delusion permits no facts or analysis. Blind emotion rules. Americans are right and everyone else is wrong. End of the debate.

That, gentle reader, is the full extent of talk radio, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal Editorial page, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and, indeed, of the entire concentrated corporate media where noncontroversy in the interest of advertising revenue rules.

Once upon a time there was a liberal media. It developed out of the Great Depression and the New Deal. Liberals believed that the private sector is the source of greed that must be restrained by government acting in the public interest. The liberals' mistake was to identify morality with government. Liberals had great suspicion of private power and insufficient suspicion of the power and inclination of government to do good.

Liberals became Benthamites (after Jeremy Bentham). They believed that as the people controlled government through democracy, there was no reason to fear government power, which should be increased in order to accomplish more good.

The conservative movement that I grew up in did not share the liberals' abiding faith in government. "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Today it is liberals, not conservatives, who endeavor to defend civil liberties from the state. Conservatives have been won around to the old liberal view that as long as government power is in their hands, there is no reason to fear it or to limit it. Thus, the Patriot Act, which permits government to suspend a person's civil liberty by calling him a terrorist with or without proof. Thus, preemptive war, which permits the President to invade other countries based on unverified assertions.

There is nothing conservative about these positions. To label them conservative is to make the same error as labeling the 1930s German Brownshirts conservative.

American liberals called the Brownshirts "conservative," because the Brownshirts were obviously not liberal. They were ignorant, violent, delusional, and they worshipped a man of no known distinction. Brownshirts' delusions were protected by an emotional force field. Adulation of power and force prevented Brownshirts from recognizing implications for their country of their reckless doctrines.

Like Brownshirts, the new conservatives take personally any criticism of their leader and his policies. To be a critic is to be an enemy. I went overnight from being an object of conservative adulation to one of derision when I wrote that the US invasion of Iraq was a "strategic blunder."

It is amazing that only a short time ago the Bush administration and its supporters believed that all the US had to do was to appear in Iraq and we would be greeted with flowers. Has there ever been a greater example of delusion? Isn't this on a par with the Children's Crusade against the Saracens in the Middle Ages?

Delusion is still the defining characteristic of the Bush administration. We have smashed Fallujah, a city of 300,000, only to discover that the 10,000 US Marines are bogged down in the ruins of the city. If the Marines leave, the "defeated" insurgents will return. Meanwhile the insurgents have moved on to destabilize Mosul, a city five times as large. Thus, the call for more US troops.

There are no more troops. Our former allies are not going to send troops. The only way the Bush administration can continue with its Iraq policy is to reinstate the draft.

When the draft is reinstated, conservatives will loudly proclaim their pride that their sons, fathers, husbands and brothers are going to die for "our freedom." Not a single one of them will be able to explain why destroying Iraqi cities and occupying the ruins are necessary for "our freedom." But this inability will not lessen the enthusiasm for the project. To protect their delusions from "reality-based" critics, they will demand that the critics be arrested for treason and silenced. Many encouraged by talk radio already speak this way.

Because of the triumph of delusional "new conservatives" and the demise of the liberal media, this war is different from the Vietnam war. As more Americans are killed and maimed in the pointless carnage, more Americans have a powerful emotional stake that the war not be lost and not be in vain. Trapped in violence and unable to admit mistake, a reckless administration will escalate."

The rapidly collapsing US dollar is hard evidence that the world sees the US as bankrupt. Flight from the dollar as the reserve currency will adversely impact American living standards, which are already falling as a result of job outsourcing and offshore production. The US cannot afford a costly and interminable war.

Falling living standards and inability to impose our will on the Middle East will result in great frustrations that will diminish our country.

ZNet Thank you Mr. Roberts.


Well Said!

Folks, this is an excellently penned suggestion on what being faithful Christains is all about - in the face of the current political makeup in the U.S. today. At least, it suggests the kind of Christains I think Jesus was hoping for.

Oklahoman Minister Speaks Out
Dr. Robin Meyers Oklahoma University Peace Rally November 14,2004

As some of you know, I am minister of Mayflower Congregational Church in
Oklahoma City, an Open and Affirming, Peace and Justice church in northwest
Oklahoma City, and professor of Rhetoric at Oklahoma City University. But
you would most likely have encountered me on the pages of the Oklahoma
Gazette, where I have been a columnist for six years, and hold the record
for the most number of angry letters to the editor.

Tonight, I join ranks of those who are angry, because I have watched as the
faith I love has been taken over by fundamentalists who claim to speak for
Jesus, but whose actions are anything but Christian.

We've heard a lot lately about so-called "moral values" as having swung the election to President Bush. Well, I'm a great believer in moral values, but we need to have a discussion, all over this country, about exactly what constitutes a moral value. I mean what are we talking about? Because we don't get to make them up as we go along, especially not if we are people of faith. We have an inherited tradition of what is right and wrong, and moral is as moral does. Let me give you just a few of the reasons why I take issue with those in power who claim moral values are on their side:

When you start a war on false pretenses, and then act as if your deceptions
are justified because you are doing God's will, and that your critics are
either unpatriotic or lacking in faith, there are some of us who have given
our lives to teaching and preaching the faith who believe that this is not
only not moral, but immoral.

When you live in a country that has established international rules for
waging a just war, build the United Nations on your own soil to enforce
them, and then arrogantly break the very rules you set down for the rest of
the world, you are doing something immoral.

When you claim that Jesus is the Lord of your life, and yet fail to
acknowledge that your policies ignore his essential teaching, or turn them
on their head (you know, Sermon on the Mount stuff like that we must never
return violence for violence and that those who live by the sword will die
by the sword), you are doing something immoral.

When you act as if the lives of Iraqi civilians are not as important as the
lives of American soldiers, and refuse to even count them, you are doing
something immoral.

When you find a way to avoid combat in Vietnam, and then question the
patriotism of someone who volunteered to fight, and came home a hero, you
are doing something immoral.

When you ignore the fundamental teachings of the gospel, which says that the
way the strong treat the weak is the ultimate ethical test, by giving tax
breaks to the wealthiest among us so the strong will get stronger and the
weak will get weaker, you are doing something immoral.

When you wink at the torture of prisoners, and deprive so-called "enemy
combatants" of the rules of the Geneva Convention, which your own country
helped to establish and insists that other countries follow, you are doing
something immoral.

When you claim that the world can be divided up into the good guys and the
evil doers, slice up your own nation into those who are with you, (or with
the terrorists?), and then launch a war which enriches your own friends and
seizes control of the oil to which we are addicted, instead of helping us to
kick the habit, you are doing something immoral.

When you fail to veto a single spending bill, but ask us to pay for a war
with no exit strategy and no end in sight, creating an enormous deficit that
hangs like a great millstone around the necks of our children, you are doing
something immoral.

When you cause most of the rest of the world to hate a country that was once
the most loved country in the world, and act like it doesn?t matter what
others think of us, only what God thinks of you, you have done something

When you use hatred of homosexuals as a wedge issue to turn out record
numbers of evangelical voters, and use the Constitution as a tool of
discrimination, you are doing something immoral.
When you favor the death penalty, and yet claim to be a follower of Jesus,
who said an eye for an eye was the old way, not the way of the kingdom, you
are doing something immoral.

When you dismantle countless environmental laws designed to protect the
earth which is God?s gift to us all, so that the corporations that bought
you and paid for your favors will make higher profits while our children
breathe dirty air and live in a toxic world, you have done something
immoral. The earth belongs to the Lord, not Halliburton.
When you claim that our God is bigger than their God, and that our killing
is righteous, while theirs is evil, we have begun to resemble the enemy we
claim to be fighting, and that is immoral.

We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.

When you tell people that you intend to run and govern as a "compassionate
conservative", using the word which is the essence of all religious
faith-compassion, and then show no compassion for anyone who disagrees with
you, and no patience with those who cry to you for help, you are doing
something immoral.

When you talk about Jesus constantly, who was a healer of the sick, but do
nothing to make sure that anyone who is sick can go to see a doctor, even if
she doesn?t have a penny in her pocket, you are doing something immoral.

When you put judges on the bench who are racist, and will set women back a
hundred years, and when you surround yourself with preachers who say gays
ought to be killed, you are doing something immoral.

I'm tired of people thinking that because I'm a Christian, I must be a
supporter of President Bush, or that because I favor civil rights and gay
rights I must not be a person of faith. I'm tired of people saying that I
can't support the troops but oppose the war.

I heard that when I was your age, when the Vietnam War was raging. We knew
that that war was wrong, and you know that this war is wrong, the only
question is how many people are going to die before these make-believe
Christians are removed from power?

This country is bankrupt. The war is morally bankrupt. The claim of this
administration to be Christian is bankrupt. And the only people who can turn
things around are people like you, young people who are just beginning to
wake up to what is happening to them. It's your country to take back. It's
your faith to take back. It's your future to take back.

Don't be afraid to speak out. Don?t back down when your friends begin to
tell you that the cause is righteous and that the flag should be wrapped
around the cross, while the rest of us keep our mouths shut. Real Christians
take chances for peace. So do real Jews, and real Muslims, and real Hindus,
and real Buddhists, so do all the faith traditions of the world at their
heart believe one thing: life is precious. Every human being is precious.
Arrogance is the opposite of faith. Greed is the opposite of charity. And
believing that one has never made a mistake is the mark of a deluded man,
not a man of faith. And "war is the greatest failure of the human race" and
thus the greatest failure of faith.

There's an old rock and roll song, whose lyrics say it all: War, what is it
good for? Absolutely nothing. And what is the dream of the prophets? That we
should study war no more, that we should beat our swords into plowshares and
our spears into pruning hooks. Who would Jesus bomb, indeed? How many wars
does it take to know that too many people have died? What if they g ave a war
and nobody came? Maybe one day we will find out.

Time to march again my friends. Time to commit acts of civil disobedience.
Time to sing, and to pray, and refuse to participate in the madness. My
generation finally stopped a tragic war. You can, too!

Bush Admin Supports Oil Drilling In Rare Desert

This is just more proof that the only thing on the Bush admin's agenda is oil. They don't give a damn about anything or anyone.

By Julie Cart Times Staff Writer

Overriding objections by New Mexico's governor, the Interior Department announced a final plan Monday for expanding oil and gas drilling on Otero Mesa, a rare desert grassland and one of a handful of places in the western U.S. where opposition to drilling had united ranchers, property rights advocates, hunters and conservationists.

The plan, crafted by the Bureau of Land Management (news - web sites), is smaller in scope than originally contemplated, but much larger than what Gov. Bill Richardson indicated he would support. It allows drilling a maximum of 141 exploratory wells and 84 producing wells on nearly 2 million acres of Chihuahuan grassland in southern New Mexico.

The decision sets aside 36,000 acres as habitat for the endangered Aplomado falcon and forbids leasing in wilderness study areas and other designated protected areas. In total, the plan prohibits drilling on 124,000 acres.

Richardson, a Democrat who was secretary of Energy in the Clinton administration, proposed a compromise last March that allowed some drilling but would have placed more than 75% of the federal land off-limits to energy exploration.

On Monday, Richardson lashed out at the Bush administration's "one-way, oil-only energy policy."

"I am very disappointed by the Bush administration's failure to respect New Mexico's position on oil and gas leasing in this precious, sensitive and world-renowned area," Richardson said in a statement.

"The Interior Department is ignoring its stated policies of respecting and working with states regarding major land management decisions."

New Mexico's attorney general, Patricia A. Madrid, said the state would appeal the decision.

"We need to ensure that the state's voice is heard by national policymakers," she said.

More than 85% of public comments regarding Otero Mesa favored no drilling.

Efforts to forestall drilling on Otero Mesa were led by a diverse coalition of New Mexicans concerned about groundwater, wildlife and the preservation of grazing land.

The rugged and rocky desert west of Carlsbad is home to herds of pronghorn antelope, migratory songbirds and countless Indian petroglyphs.

One of the most contested issues is water — both the quantity used for oil and gas production and the quality of water after it is used.

Energy companies pump large amounts of groundwater while operating wells, and the used water is sometimes contaminated with saline or petroleum byproducts.

A study commissioned by the state found that Otero Mesa was the largest source of untapped groundwater in New Mexico.

"There is really nothing in the plan that speaks to the issue of groundwater," said Stephen Capra of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Capra said there were no limits on the amount of water that energy companies could pump.

"The bottom line continues to be we are talking about destroying the largest remaining desert grasslands in America for at best a few days worth of oil and gas. That is shortsighted," Capra said.

BLM officials called the plan innovative and environmentally sensitive, noting a requirement that companies restore disturbed areas around drill pads before moving on to new sites.

Moreover, BLM officials said that if the damage caused by drilling could not be repaired, no further drilling would be allowed in the area.

"We're trying to listen, we're trying to do the right thing; we have an obligation to manage the energy resource for the good of the country," said Ed Roberson, manager of the BLM field office in Las Cruces, N.M. Roberson said leasing could begin by the end of the year.

The potential energy yield from the area is unclear.

According to the BLM, about 100 wells have been drilled in the last century and two have produced oil or gas. The state BLM office rates Otero Mesa's production potential as low to moderate.

Please Read Carefully

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, as well as narrows the mind....And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no needs in siezing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Ceasar"

-william shakespeare



Hello all. There is a new petition (created by moi (is that right phillipe?)) Recallbush. If you feel that something needs to be done about this man please sign the petition!! http://www.PetitionOnline.com/81178/petition.html

Soldier, blogger dies in Iraq

Mike Smith was 24 years old, from Media, Penn. He died Jan. 11 in , Iraq when his military vehicle was hit by a rocket propelled grenade.

I feel terribly sad, sick, angry. I rarely post about soldiers. I never talk about support as mine is for them to go home. No, don't read into this that I wish them harm. That would be against everything I believe in. Mike's blog is here but he is not. There will be no more post. He was only 24 years old.

Mike had this to say 24 short days ago.

well.. i know i haven't been updating much, or really talking about my time here, so i'm going to have a run down of some things.

1. don't ask me if i've killed anyone. i don't like this question. just know i've done what i've had to, to survive, and this doesn't mean i have or haven't.

2. this is a run down of whats happened to me personally since i've been here.

a. been the victim of 3 roadside bombs (IED's) but haven't been injured in any of them.
b. been in 8 firefights. i was shot in one of them, but it only went through my cargo pocket, didn't hit my body.
c. been mortared more times than i can count. our unit is the most heavily mortared unit since the start of the war. but we've had no casulties from them, except for some vehicle damage.
d. i've been in more iraqi homes than i can count, and the people seem nice, some of the time. i've had lunch with one family, and i've detained another.
that is about all i can think of right now. if i think of more, i'll update.

3. if any of you are thinking about sending care packages, i have thought of something you can throw in there that would make me very very happy. Cloves. Djarum Blacks to be precise. Lots and lots.... actually, not lots, since they are expensive. but one or 2 packs would go a long way. thank you all in advance.

also, i've become somewhat of a star wars nut, so any little trinket would tickle my pickle.

well, just know that i'm alive, and i'm thinking of all of you. i miss you all so much


Bye Mike..I'm sorry..I hope you called your dad.


Racial problems in France

Just recently, I yet again came across articles/blogs inferring France is the dark pit of anti-semite sentiments.

While my blogging experience has been that nobody has hardly ever shown any interest on my occasional posts denouncing the wrongs of this country, I'll give it another shot.

So, do you ppl want to know what racial problems WE have here? If yes, read on. If no, move on to the next post.


Ever since the infamous Algeria war and the chaos France left behind her after her imperialist, greedy & brutal conquests, South West Europe has been progressively inundated with North Africans. Little wonder: we French went there like Ceasar, veni vidi vici and fuckedi alli, then left the place looking like a disaster zone.

This Arab population is now one tenth of France's population. One person in 10 here is not caucasian but from Arabic origin. This explosion has taken place in less than 50 years.

As seen elsewhere time and time again, such a rapid influx of foreigners invariably results in resentment at the grass-root level, especially when economic harshness sets in and jobs are a scarcity. The usual xenophobic sentiment takes over, making those *foreigners* responsible for every evil our great western democracies would otherwise be immune from if we kept them White and clean.

So, yes, here we are: there is widespread racism here in France, and it's directed against the Arabic population. It's by and large very subdued because 1) the anti-racial laws are significant here, and 2) there is something in the culture that makes overt racial statements very uncool, even if ppl think it within.

Still, whichever reason predominates, the fact is that anyone who lives here for an extended period of time can sense the underlying racism, but the racism very rarely blows out into ugly outburts. In fact, incidents of violence against Arabs by caucasians are extremely rare, much rarer than the everyday non-racially motivated youth delinquence in general.

If anything, in the last few years the situation has improved significantly, in part because Arabs living here are stepping into the broad culture in a decisive way (music and sport in particular).

The only really worrying bit is the openly fascist and racist component of the caucasion population, rallying under the banner of Le Pen's exteme right party. But they are still a small minority.

Conversely, there is a small minority of nutcase Muslims who want nothing else but the total eradication of the entire French culture and its secular way, and replace is with an Islamic government. LOL, sure. But here again they are an even smaller minority. I've never come across one in the 20 odd years I lived in this country. And yet, living in the south, close to the Mediteranean sea, and thus where Arabs abound, I sure bump into them all the time. In fact, the small block of apartments Dianne and I live in is occupied all by Arabs - we're the only caucasians in the joint. I yet have to come across more friendly and helpful neighbors. They are all thrilled Dianne is American - wow, a *real* American, right here. An old lady, with the complete muslim apparel, veil and all, who lives upstairs, knocked at the door a few weeks ago, and in broken French explained she wanted to make a gift to Dianne. The gift was a huge plate of arab cakes and sweets she'd made herself.


Only 3 hours ago, on the 8pm national news, we saw the inauguration of a monument, right in the heart of Paris, in commemoration of the holocaust. A Great Wall of Names of French Jews deported during the war, some 76 thousand names, carefully researched by historians to avoid painful mistakes - not such an easy task in the midst of people whose identity papers disappeared and whose bodies went in smoke, literally.

Anyway, more to the point:

Whereas I can observe a subjacent anti-arab feeling at the grass root level in this country, even if unspoken, it is obvious that there is no such anti-jew/anti-semite sentiment equivalent. It is pure fiction. It exists NOT.

Of course, there are nutcases around, like everywhere else. Whether caucasians or arabs, there are a few psycopaths who will scream for the death of every jew on this planet. What's new? Same with nutcase jews who scream for the death of every palestinian. And so on. Take you pick.

The reality though is that claiming there is a rampant & wide-spread anti-jew sentiment here is not only bullshit, it's actually ridiculous. Anyone who would like to spend 6 months here would realize it. It simply doesn't make sense. One of the reasons is simply that to the average French caucasian, nothing differentiates a jew from a caucasian. Furthermore, jews who practice their religion do it here in a very private manner. Half the staff at my work place could be practising Jews and I wouldn't have a fuckin' clue, nor would anyone else.

And lastly, for those religious paranoiacs, religion in France is all but dead. Nobody gives a fuck about what religion you belong to. The only thing ppl care about is the preservation of a secular system by which anyone can practice any religion they want so long as they don't try to shove it down other ppl's throats. The still overwhelming *christian/catholic* population is so reserved and private about their *religiousness* that once again, you'd be hard pressed to know, even after working for 5 years with a colleague, whether (s)he is catholic or atheist.

And so a *possible* religious motive for anti-semite sentiment clearly does not stand to reason. Religion conflicts here are a thing of the past, thank goodness. Religious-based hatred of other ppl, let alone entire sections of the population, is pure fiction. Chritians fanatics are as rare as hen's teeth. So are Jewish ones (Jewish in the religious sense). Muslim fanatics are also a very tiny minority even if they get very vocal.

Bullshit headline news

A few months ago, France got the world media focus, mostly thanks to the US mass media always in search of a good French-bashing story. It was about the jewish cemeteries desecrated in Alsace, region north east of the country, right next to Germany. Oh boy, what a brouhaha there was. Even asshole Sharon made his grand ignorant speech calling for all French Jews to urgently go home to Israel as if their lives were on the line.

Strangely enough there was no international coverage on the fact that as many catholic and muslim cemeteries were also desecrated. And when, just recently, the investigations at last bore their fruits and found that in all cases, it wasn't at all a case of *broad* anti-jew sentiment born by either caucasions nor arabs, but in fact the product of a handful of neo-nazi youths, then the entire world media was silent about it.

Now, fire the questions. I'll answer them as honestly, truthfully and knowledgeably as I can. I know this country pretty well, and can certainly give you a more meaningful understanding of its problems than a once-off Reuters article taken out of context and read without having a single clue of the entire picture.

I don't make the mistake of reading a few headlines about KKK members actions and equating it with "the entire US is one big anti-black pit". I have the unfair advantage over most of you that I also understand the American culture very well, for both having lived there and being married to a *native*.

Lastly, I also know all about the Australian way of life, after 24 years of hell living there, LOL.

Take advantage of my advantage if you're fair dinkum, as they say in Oz, and really want to know what it's like here.
PS: I noticed in the comments some ppl suggesting it would be a good idea if this post was spread for everyone interested in the subject to see. Please feel free to copy/paste and distribute it anywhere you like. You don't even need to credit me for it - just say "here is what some French dude wrote".

The White Power Movement Part I, Nazi.org

I've recently been reading a lot of KKK and Neo Nazi websites. Although I find their ideals and platforms really disgusting, I also find reading their websites somewhat addicting. It's not because I agree with what they're saying but perhaps because I like being shocked or gasping in awe. I plan to outline various sites and organizations over the next few days, starting with Nazi.org as it is the premiere site for the White Power Movement.

Nazi.org and Environment
My "favorite" site has been Nazi.org which is the forerunner of the American Nazi movement. Interestingly, they claim origins from libertarian ("[W]e favor a world where the individual would have relatively few experiences of authority, unless it was doing something truly out of line"), National Socialist, and Green environmental ideals. The problem with the Nazi movement today is that it is so race oriented. They've taken Green policy and warped it, pitting various "races" against each other. "'Blood and Soil' is our doctrine of homeland, or origin to each person, and thus which ground is sacred to them and they upkeep for generations. Each ethnic group should have a homeland, because in a consensus group one can declare poisoning the earth to be a great offense." Their tax system to improve the environment

The Nazi platform is simple, but weak. They say about crime, "We will concentrate city areas and make land use more efficient, and deploy more street cops to patrol. No record database or DNA database will be kept. Those who commit repeated crimes will be exiled." Although I am strongly opposed to the death penalty (because I believe human redemption in the prison system is the best solution to crime) I don't really agree with exile either.

Although the Nazi movement is rather racist--that is, they feel that whites are supreme to other races, and that racial factions exist--it seems to claim to be libertarian in nature. I'm afraid I don't understand how racism and libertarianism can be combined. They really cannot. How does a libertarian government justify shipping Asians back to Asia by force? It can't.

I urge you to read this website... it's very distasteful but is interesting and shockingly entertaining. They claim the Republicans and Democrats are thuggish parties (which for the most part is true) but fail to realize that their own ideals are any less thuggish. Of course, one must be moderately thuggish, to the point of standing up for yourself and ideals, but these Nazis take it too far and are blinded by their own books and history.


Dobson is worth watching.

James Dobson has been on my personal radar screen for some years now.

It was in the months leading up to my divorce that I discovered my beloved ex-wife had taken to listening to his early morning radio address on her way to work as a means for finding some solace and comfort. At the time, I really don't think either of us thought that we were really going to end up splits-ville.

She'd had some really awful things occur in her life, one on top of the other and had gone searching through her religious upbringing and heritage just trying to find some peace. During those months she'd told me that she thought she'd been "saved" at some religious concert she'd attended, but had been afraid to tell me thinking I'd laugh at her. Wonder if I would have? She was hurting so badly.

Anyway, Sometimes she'd come home and it seemed that we could talk about his (Dobson's little Focus thingy) innocuous little point of the day a bit and that once in a while it lead to real conversation. I didn't care about it much, but if it made her happy and got her talking, it was fine with me. It got so I'd try to listen to the rebroadcast in the afternoon just so I'd be ready when she came home.

Usually, the topics were pablum really - Brothers and sisters getting along, tolerating family gatherings....that sort of thing. Then one morning, he announced that marriages between born again Christians, and "others" were in fact - not marriages at all.

We discussed it a bit when she got home that day, but the absurdity left me speechless. I couldn't form words to argue the point.

A year or two earlier my ex had begun attending had a little Roman Catholic Church in the next Town with a real evangelical bent to it, at least among about 25% of the membership. (a little "the cardinal meets Johnny Appleseed") She sang in the choir and attended a weekly bible study. I didn't attend regularly, but would go to hear her sing once in a while. This bunch was a little touchy feely for my boring Methodist upbringing, but she liked it, so it was fine with me. Most of the folks I met I truly liked.

So, as it happens, she had a Bible study that night, She said she'd discuss this Dobson thing there and let me know what folks thought. To my surprise, They all seemed to agree with Good James.

Our marriage (and therefore, I assume, our two kids) did not really exist.

I'd wasted 23 years on something that hadn't happened!

Thanks for clearing things up Mr. Dobson!

So, Really, it's "focus" on exactly YOUR idea of what a family OUGHT to be! Fuck what families actually ARE! Right? Got it.

It certainly wasn't the cause of our divorce and I'm not suggesting it was.

What is was, to me, was a booby trap, -an additional hidden obstical placed there by someone who, instead, I'd have assumed, would have offered a good map, a bright little flashlight just in case - and good wishes - in a desire to see us travel on steadily, unimpeeded. OOps! My bad!

Now, of course, the idea here was to coerce the unsaved member of the wedding party to get with the program post haste, thus saving.. blah ..blah ..blah

Doesn't seem sincere to me.

Since then I've heard this man say at least fifty things that are meant to do nothing but divide people... and I've come to dispise him. We don't need imp-ish guides in life.

A Look into Homeland Security

I was listening to NPR on my ride home today and they ran a very interesting article on some 'sensitive' documents which leaked from the Department of Homeland Security. Apparently, the documents included daily briefings for former Secretary Tom Ridge, and are all posted here: Cryptome.org. As Cryptome.org says, the files were found off Google archived searches.

According to the site, the Department of Energy sent Cryptome.org an email on January 19. The site says, "19 January 2005. A person claiming to be a Department of Energy contractor telephoned this morning to ask in a friendly manner if the Homeland Security Operations Morning Briefs could be removed. We said no. He said, "I didn't think so. But the briefs are for official use only, couldn't they be removed." We said no, the briefs provide good public information. He said, "okay, thanks for talking to me." A courteous homeland security contractor, that's good news, unlike the briefs."

There are some pretty interesting briefs, take this one for example:

1. (FOUO) MICHIGAN: Train Derailment and HAZMAT Leak. According to the Department of Transportation, on 25 October, near Detroit, nine cars of an 81-car Canadian National Railroad train derailed. Four of the derailed cars were carrying methyl alcohol—a flammable liquid. One of the four cars developed a leak and local authorities evacuated a one-mile radius for precautionary measures. Reportedly, rail officials quickly contained the leak. A preliminary police investigation revealed no evidence of terrorist or criminal activity; however, their investigation is continuing. (DOT e-mail, 25 Oct 04; HSOC 4063-04)


2. (FOUO) SOUTH CAROLINA: Unknown Possible Gang Symbol on Military Uniform. According to JRIES reporting, a commander at the Fort Jackson U.S. Army Training Center reported an unknown possible gang symbol drawn on a military cap belonging to a soldier in training. The symbol, seen below, is a numeral “8” with “777” resting on the top of the “8”. Anyone with information as to the meaning or possible gang relation of this symbol is requested to contact: Gunnery Sergeant Cindy A. Whetzel, USMC Criminal Intelligence Fusion Center at Quantico, VA, at (703) 784-2962 or Fax (703) 784-2733 (JRIES, Oct 25 04; HSOC 4086-04)

I find this whole thing a little funny... it is amusing to see the Department of Homeland Security fail at security. It makes me wonder though, there are daily events which threaten our national security but most of these seem like they're not that big issues, dwelled upon only by paranoid beaurocrats. Terorrism is a serious issue (though there are those far more serious) and it is reassuring to know that some people look into them. They of course feel that they have to cross the line to do that.


Conservatives, Homosexuals, and Harry Potter

You might being saying to yourself, "Self, what do these things have to do with each other?" I shall explain.

I'm sure many of you have heard about the new book that questions Abraham Lincoln's sexuality. It is indeed ironic that the party against homosexuality was founded by someone who may have been one. Arguably the greatest president in our nation's history, it does in fact appear the he was a fag. In fact, up until the last 100 years or so, homosexuality was quite common among men. Some of the greatest artists, authors, and leaders in the history of the world were homosexual or practiced homosexuality. Shakespeare, Alexander the Great, Leonardo DaVinci, it is speculated that Walt Whitman was gay, Tinkie Winkie, and now Spongebob Squarepants.

I read an article this morning ([link]) about a video that is going to be distributed to school children staring the gay sea sponge (and we all know that NO gay man would wear white knee-high socks with black patent leather shoes and brown shorts. so clearly he is straight), barney and other famous cartoon characters. The video is supposed to teach acceptance and tolerance for those who are different than you. However, some conservitave christian (i like how they refer to themselves as christian when their message is one of hate. wwjd?) groups are saying that we should not show this video to our children because ut teaches tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality. "Their inclusion of the reference to 'sexual identity" within their 'tolerance pledge' is not only unnecessary but it crosses a moral line," said Dr James Dobson.

And of course the LAST thing we want to do is teach our children to accept others who are different from them, This might lead to one big gay love fest. It might lead to black's and white's hanging out with each other even more. Or worse yet (gasp) more interracial mariages. It might even lead to the world being a more peaceful place and we can't have that.

Now, what does all this have to do with Harry Potter you might be asking yourself. Well, since we are on the verge of a new year at Hogwarts, it doesn't hurt to bring up that these are the same people who try to stop their children from reading books. Because Harry Potter is, as we are all aware, the devil. They fail to see the symbolism of Harry defeating the serpant (a traditional symbol of the devil) with the help of a pheonix (a traditional symbol of Jesus) because Ms, Rowling does it with the use of, oh no, sorcery!!! Lets just forget about the fact that it's hard enough to get children to expand their minds with books to begin with. What with 300 channels to chose from on tv and 3 different kinds of video games for each child. These books are 1,000 PAGES AND KIDS ARE STANDING IN 2 HOUR LONG LINES TO GET THEM. So, lets try o discourage them from reading books that have sorcery in them, rather, lets just give them video games that let them shoot people, have sex with hooker, and have them parked in front of the tv for 8 hours at a time so they become as fat as us.

Great ideas don't become reality without a lot of hard work!

This post will be more for the members here but outside readers might find something in it of interest also as they try to build up their sites. My words are based on my experiences in the past year with Bouillabaisse.

Great ideas don't become reality without a lot of hard work!

I have had Bouillabaisse up for almost a year now and have managed to build up a very small readership, finally. Some actually leave a comment now and then but not often. Most help me out by linking my page. This I appreciate but I've found linking actually doesn't do much especially when the list is as long as the page. I do check links looking for other sites of interest but in viewing stats I see very few hits come from pages that carry my link. For me my blogroll is more a handy way for me to keep up with pages I like and to show support. I try to take time everyday to visit a few of the sites in my blogroll in order to show my support. If they have posted something I can relate to I leave a comment. I also link to pages that don't link me just because they have a great site. I don't link to every page that links me because this is just impossible.

I'm going to use Bible talk here but not for any religious connotation. It just makes sense. If one would have friends he must show himself friendly. I think this is in Proverbs somewhere. LOL

Bloggers come in all varieties as we know. We see sites whose style catches our eyes but content leaves us bored. We hit sites that may have great content but the page is so badly done...dark font on dark background is one example, we quickly move on.

So style and content do matter if you want to intice people to stay awhile and visit.

I find many such sites. The page is sharp. The content is interesting. I take a look at their comments and see they have no readership or at least none that feel inclined to chat. Now I can't say why each and every such blogger gets no interaction but I can guess after almost a year of blogging and investigation.

There is no one out there who is spending inordinate amounts of time working on a great template and writing out their thoughts that doesn't covet interaction. No one. Many will say they don't give a damn but this is only to make themselves feel better about the lack of attention. This blog's for me and I don't care if anyone reads it is baloney most of the time.

You want support? You have to give support. If you're an extraordinary writer you may be able to build up readers on your writing alone but even then you will be alone for a very long time unless you advertise. The blogging community is too large. Bloggers are busy. If you're like me your working on your blog's content and style along with visiting friends who have blogs, commenting and searching out other like-minded bloggers who may be interested in your blog. It's work!

As an example of what I'm talking about here is a comment I recieved at Bouillabaisse this morning. Read the last sentence carefully.

Sadly, the most in-depth article I have seen on the protests thus far was about a group of conservatives (ProtestWarriors, I believe) who were protesting the protesters, which doesn't really get the point across that people are upset with the current administration. *sigh*

Anyway, thanks for visiting my blog through BE! I'll be back to visit yours again.

I am BlogSurfing everyday literally for hours for both blogs. WhyNot tries to do a bit also but he's the maintenance man. He spent hours yesterday setting up the new commenting system. First thing this morning he finds there's a problem with one of the scripts on the page etc. etc.

There are several ideas behind this blog. Two heads (or more) are better than one. Someone said recently most of the time they felt like a gnat on an elephant's ass. I think this describes it perfectly. We are stronger as a group. Too many times good workers burn out just from trying to carry the whole load alone.

We have a mission. We are not blogging because it's fun although it can be at times. We were selective about the people we asked to join this group. More than likely we will ask others to join in the future. There is strength in numbers. I actually have an idea about asking a certain Conservative blogger who I have a lot of respect for, not with the idea of conversion but discussion.

Trying to bring this to and end let me repeat..we are on a mission that has a better chance of success because we are a group, but it will take a lot of effort and time from all of us. Visit other sites when you can leaving comments and the url to the page.
Most importantly, support one another. I will visit every members personal site each week and comment. You can count on my doing this at least once each week and more often if I have the time. I have added all of your personal sites plus this one to Bouillabaisse.

WhyNot and I are excited about this site. We think the idea is a great one but realize if we aren't willing to make a lot of effort we will end up with just another group of people spinning back and forth to themselves. This is not what we want. I have seen other political bloggers out there who have had the same idea but have ended up preaching to the choir. I don't intend to let this happen here.

Great ideas don't become reality without a lot of hard work!

If I've missed something please say it in the comments. Thanks to all of you for joining hands with us. We picked you for a reason and have confidence in your abilities.

Mark Twain speaks to us today

But it was impossible to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work. Trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home. Multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people's liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake in their own persons. The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on; the suffrage was become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket.

--Mark Twain


Why is George Bush President...Stupidity!

Well, I have never gone along with calling Conservatives stupid. Many have and do. I haven't and don't until now. After reading this article which is filled to overflowing with stupidity I will conceed that Conservatives are stupid, dazed, stupified and just plain old unintelligent. The article is 5 pages long but worth every bit. It will make you gasp and at time laugh right outloud. Then you will cry. God help us all. As a person who believes in God consider this a prayer.

Oh yes, John Kerry and the DNC are stupid as well.

Yes, I know they're nice people and all that. You can be nice and stupid at the same time.

You can't make a judgement without proof. Don't just say they're stupid without reading the article. Read the article, dammit! Yes, I know it's long. Read it anyway!

As a tease I'll give you this little gem taken from the article:

"We might not have had to fight World War II if someone had stood up to Hitler."

The Red Sea

I'll be cross-posting this one to Bouillabaisse as well. I just took a shower and thought I would look at the news, read a bit and sleep. I'm mad as a wet hen now. I'll probably be up all night. Maybe I'll apologize tomorrow...maybe.

Condi’s Senate Hearing: Nothing but Rice Pudding

I found this post whilst (I love that word lol)surfing tblog. The guys name is Jeffrey Rowan. It is one of the best posts I've read on tblog in a while:

Kudos to Senator Barbara Boxer, of California, for her tough, unstinting questioning of Condoleeza Rice during Rice’s confirmation hearing to become Secretary of State. While Rice cried foul, claiming that Boxer was impugning her integrity, in fact, Boxer was simply applying an old-fashioned, conservative idea: You are responsible for your prior acts and statements. This is an idea that doesn’t sit well with the Bush administration. Boxer held Rice’s feet to the fire for being the Iraq War’s biggest apologist and cheerleader—or more accurately, misleader—by simply listing the false statements that Rice had made during the run-up to the war: That there was a collaborative relationship between Saddam and Al Qaeda; that Iraq had recently purchased aluminum tubes from Africa “that are really only suited for a nuclear weapons program;” that Iraq had purchased yellow-cake, enriched uranium from Niger; that an important rationale for invading Iraq was its use of chemical weapons against the Iranians in the 1980’s—despite the fact that the attacks against Iran were at the time done with U.S. knowledge and complicity. Boxer charged Rice with untruths that were integral to the public’s initial support for the war, a war that has now killed 1300, and severely wounded over 10,000. Partly to explain her passion on this subject, Sen. Boxer offered a statistic of which very few of us were aware: Of those American soldiers killed in Iraq, 25% have come from California. Rice, for her part, acted as if the public airing of her statements over the last four years was some sort of unseemly personal attack.

While Boxer was Rice’s toughest critic, the most eloquent critic of the Bush/Rice team was Senator Joe Biden who had just returned from one of his many fact-finding trips in Iraq. Biden called Rice’s contention that there were “120,000 trained Iraqi troops,” ludicrous, pointing out that our own military authorities had told him that if one defined “trained” as being able to take the place of an American soldier, that there were only 4,000 trained Iraqi troops in the country. Biden grew so frustrated with Rice’s inability to identify an exit strategy, to give some clear measure of progress, to offer the committee her own definition of what torture was, and to acknowledge past administration mistakes, that he zinged Rice with the wittiest comment of the hearing: “It’s a little bit like I told my daughter when she was 16 -- I have no doubt by the time she was 30 years old, she would be a beautiful, intelligent, well-educated, happy lady. I just wondered how much pain there was going to be between then and 30.” The analogy was apt, because one of the things that the Rice hearing revealed was the breathtaking immaturity of the Bush administration. It was apparent that the Bush team did not see a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing as an opportunity to make a fresh start, to offer some serious reflection on past policy, to speak honestly with a co-equal branch of government and with the American people. Rather, they saw it as just another game of gotcha, in which the object is to never admit a mistake, never acknowledge a problem. The Bush administration is a massive vacuum cleaner that sucks up all principle in its path. From the standpoint of those seeking plain, honest talk, Rice’s presentation at the hearing was terrible failure: she was tenaciously and transparently evasive throughout. It was enough to give one instant nostalgia for Colin Powell, perhaps the one gold-plaited adult in the Bush administration. Yes, Powell did get co-opted into scamming the United Nations. But Powell still represented a counterweight to the war fever of the administration, and one had the sense of him wrestling with his tortured conscience throughout the last four years.

Perhaps that is what is so vexing about Condi Rice. Matters of war and peace seem as simple and one-dimensional to her as they do to George W. Bush. While superficially the committee vote looks lopsided at 16-2 (Senators Boxer and Kerry opposed) in favor of Rice’s confirmation, there was enormous dissatisfaction among Senators Biden, Dodd, Feingold, Obama, and Chafee, a number of whom indicated that they had to swallow hard before voting for Rice. This support was both an attempt at civility, and a tactical maneuver: “We’re supporting you now, so remember that when we decide to kick your behind in the future!”

If Rice’s hearing was marked by evasion and denial, the President this week set a new standard for denial in an interview given this week to the Washington Post. The Post asked Bush:

“In Iraq, there’s been a steady stream of surprises. We weren’t welcomed as liberators, as Vice President Cheney had talked about. We haven’t found the weapons of mass destruction as predicted. The postwar process hasn’t gone as well as some had hoped. Why hasn’t anyone been held accountable, either through firings or demotions, for what some people see as mistakes or misjudgments”?

Responded the President:

“Well, we had an accountability moment, and that’s called the 2004 election. And the American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me, for which I’m grateful.”

The President now implies, with a straight face, that every half-baked, poorly articulated policy idea floated by his administration has been certified, simply because he won the election. According to Bush, not only did the election ratify his prosecution of the war, it also absolves him of holding any administration officials responsible for the failure of the war. If you win the election, everything’s ok, right? All prior misdeeds get sanitized.

The arrogance of Bush and the arrogance of Rice are object lesson in why administrations go off the tracks during second terms in office. The sense of “we’re on top, and we can do what we want,” becomes the guiding ethos of the administration. This hubris will be on full display this week during the inauguration. Take a look at these interesting notes about the cost of the inauguration:

1. Total cost of the Inauguration: 50 million dollars.

2. Total cost of one fully armored Humvee: $125,000. In other words, the cost of the Inauguration could provide the military with 200 new, armored Humvees for the troops.

3. Cost of Laura Bush’s Inaugural Gown by Oscar de lat Renta: $10,000.

4. Cost of supplemental body armor for one soldier: $285. One ball gown could give 35 soldiers needed body armor.

5. Cost of Jenna Bush’s beaded gown: $10,000. Cost to update Kevlar Interceptor vests, to protect one soldier from AK-47: $650. Fifteen soldiers could be protected with these funds.

Finally, a media note. Of all the proliferating political roundtable shows, my favorite for years has been the Capital Gang on CNN, with such notables as Mark Shields, Al Hunt, Robert Novak, Kate O’Beirne, and Margaret Carlson. The show is long running, has become a signature CNN show, and is illuminating. Hence my shock when I read in various media that the show was slated for cancellation. To confirm what I had read, I called CNN two days ago, and was referred to “public relations.” My interlocutor was not pleased at my question. “We have no comment to make at this time,” she said. She continued suspiciously, “Who are you?” “I’m just a private citizen and a blogger who has enjoyed the show for many years.” She was still suspicious: “Are you from the Washingtonian Magazine?” “No,” I insisted. “I’m just a private citizen trying to get some information.” Her final comment was, “All I can say is that the show will run for the foreseeable future.” Hmmmm. Your guess is as good as mine.