- Peace Garden: 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006

For your viewing pleasure...

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Visit Loose Change and click to watch the trailer. Raises many questions about 9/11.

As Rod Serling would say, "For your viewing pleasure..."

Question everything.

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Pondering...

As we near the end of '05 and are ready to welcome in a "better" '06, I hope this is read and considered.
I hope those who are ruled by "fear" think about this as they allow and condone the taking away of an individual's liberty and freedom through illegal wiretaps, secret prisons, abuse of power....
I hope the words are considered by those who love "power and might" and call for the "death of others" based on creed, race, nationality, political leanings as they applaud the torture and murder of "enemies", as they applaud the death penalty, as they welcome and encourage the continuation of our occupation of Iraq based on their "ideal nation"....
I hope all read this as 2006 demands a greater voice and presence to end the war and abuse of power...

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller

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Great shirt!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Found this at E-bay. Priceless!

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12 Days of Whoopsmas!

Mark Fiore has another great offering. What day are we in now?

Love the 12th day!

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Bush reads?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

We know he tried real hard to read the book on 9/11. So what is W straining to read now? Anti-Imperialists Beware – Bush Is Reading Again answers the question but raises many concerns.

Indeed, Bush is known to read so little – both for official business and for diversion – and to be so impressed by the few books he does read that it is imperative for people who are paid to know what's happening in Washington to find out what's on the president's nightstand when he turns out the light.
So what are the books:
The first, "When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House", concerns his favorite presidential antecedent, whose famous or infamous 1904 Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine shortly after the Spanish-American War heralded Washington's claim to great-power status and its right to intervene unilaterally anywhere in the Americas against "chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society."
The choice may suggest that Bush, who clearly subscribes to the "great man" theory of history that was the rage in Roosevelt's time, is contemplating a very active retirement. If it doesn't take him on safari in Africa or on scientific expeditions to the Amazon (unlikely pastimes for a man who by all accounts is an unenthusiastic and incurious traveler), it could make him a permanent force in the Republican Party and for the kind of aggressive nationalism that Roosevelt espoused through much of his career.
The second book on Bush's reading list, "Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground" by Robert Kaplan, is far more worrisome in its implications, at least for the remaining three years of his presidency.
Kaplan, who began his career as a self-described "travel writer" in the 1980s, has evolved into a political thinker whose outlook is explicitly imperialist – a term that he has used and reused in recent years with unabashed approval – and, in the words of one conservative reviewer and retired Army colonel, Andrew Bacevich, "reactionary."
In his view (and one that would be shockingly familiar to Roosevelt in his "Rough Riding" days in Cuba more than 100 years ago), the "war on terror" and associated conflicts is simply a repeat of the U.S. Army's Indian Wars, but on a nearly planetary scale.
Instead of the Great Plains and western reaches of the 19th century U.S., however, today's "Injun Country," as Kaplan calls it, consists of the entire Islamic world, from the southern Philippines to Mauritania, as well as other ungoverned or misgoverned areas in desperate need of order and civilization.
Kaplan states that it is our
"righteous responsibility [is] to advance the boundaries of free society and good government into zones of sheer chaos."
Expand the empire. Bring our ways to the "savages." Bring civilization (our brand) to all corners of the world. Yeah, it does sound like to late 1800's!

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U.S. Interventions

Global Policy Forum has an interesting timetable of U.S. interventions throughout the world. The list excludes WWI and WWII. Take a look at the number of "interventions" as well as the many countries we have "saved."

The list starts in 1798 with an "undeclared naval war against France" and ends with our Iraqi occupation and adventure in Haiti (2004).

A "rich" history of might and power?

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The Next Empire...

Thanks to Global Policy Forum.

The Bush administration says it will carry its "war against terrorism" to many lands.
Many lands, many nations... Our reach is getting bigger - but what about Africa?

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NSA Web Site Puts 'Cookies' on Computers -

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I warned you that if you go to the NSA Web Site I mentioned you'll join the LIST.

The National Security Agency's Internet site has been placing files on visitors' computers that can track their Web surfing activity despite strict federal rules banning most of them...
Until Tuesday, the NSA site created two cookie files that do not expire until 2035 — likely beyond the life of any computer in use today.
I love the company.

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NSA and kids

Not only is the NSA and W's wiretaps illegal (I know - IMO), the NSA is also trying to get our kids to spy on us. America's Crypotokids is the kid-friendly site for America's "future codemakers and codebreakers." With cartoon character spies like T. Top, CSS Sam and Slate, how bad can they be?

Warning! If you click on the link, you may just be welcomed on to the new Enemy List. Might as well though - we all will be on the list sooner or later.

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The Fourth Amendment

Does the Fourth Amendment still count? In W's view, I guess not. But as far as the courts:

Unanimously, the Court held that at least in cases of domestic subversive investigations, compliance with the warrant provisions of the Fourth Amendment was required.Whether or not a search was reasonable, wrote Justice Powell for the Court, was a question which derived much of its answer from the warrant clause; except in a few narrowly circumscribed classes of situations, only those searches conducted pursuant to warrants were reasonable. The Government's duty to preserve the national security did not override the gurarantee that before government could invade the privacy of its citizens it must present to a neutral magistrate evidence sufficient to support issuance of a warrant authorizing that invasion of privacy. This protection was even more needed in ''national security cases'' than in cases of ''ordinary'' crime, the Justice continued, inasmuch as the tendency of government so often is to regard opponents of its policies as a threat and hence to tread in areas protected by the First Amendment as well as by the Fourth. Rejected also was the argument that courts could not appreciate the intricacies of investigations in the area of national security nor preserve the secrecy which is required.
The question of the scope of the President's constitutional powers, if any, remains judicially unsettled. Congress has acted, however, providing for a special court to hear requests for warrants for electronic surveillance in foreign intelligence situations, and permitting the President to authorize warrantless surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information provided that the communications to be monitored are exclusively between or among foreign powers and there is no substantial likelihood any ''United States person'' will be overheard.
Next argument will be that PETA and other U.S. based groups that were targeted were "foreign agents".

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NSA Spied on U.N. Diplomats in Push for Invasion of Iraq

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

To all those who say that the wiretaps were in the interest of national security, whose security is safeguarded in this report?

Despite all the news accounts and punditry since the New York Times published its Dec. 16 bombshell about the National Security Agency's domestic spying, the media coverage has made virtually no mention of the fact that the Bush administration used the NSA to spy on U.N. diplomats in New York before the invasion of Iraq.
That spying had nothing to do with protecting the United States from a terrorist attack. The entire purpose of the NSA surveillance was to help the White House gain leverage, by whatever means possible, for a resolution in the U.N. Security Council to green light an invasion. When that surveillance was exposed nearly three years ago, the mainstream U.S. media winked at Bush's illegal use of the NSA for his Iraq invasion agenda.
This story is not new. It was crushed, relegated to the backpages, forgotten...

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Troop reduction?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Washington Post reports

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq have surged this fall, jumping to nearly five times the average monthly rate earlier in the year, according to U.S. military figures.
Until the end of August, U.S. warplanes were conducting about 25 strikes a month. The number rose to 62 in September, then to 122 in October and 120 in November.
With the Pentagon preparing to reduce the level of U.S. ground forces in Iraq next year, some defense experts have speculated that U.S. airpower will be used more intensively to support operations by Iraq's fledgling security forces and protect U.S. advisers embedded with them. Indeed, American commanders have said that U.S. air forces in the region will not be drawn down as quickly as ground forces.
Ground troop reduction? Maybe? Force reduction? No way.

Interesting this is not hitting all the media sites. The increase is buried in the back. The scary thought is that the public will probably favor an increase in bomb runs. Withdraw our troops but continue to grow the air campaign. They will applaud that US troops will be pulled out of harm's way. But what about the other casualties - Iraqi civilians - just casualties of war. The question is - whose war at this point?

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Big Brother Bush Is Listening

George Orwell's book "1984" was first published during the heyday of McCarthyism in 1949. In the society Orwell described, everyone was under surveillance by the authorities. The people were constantly reminded of this by the phrase, "Big Brother is watching you."
But are we venturing in to the world so many feared? Are we seeing the reality of "1984" twenty years late? And wht now? Is it "terrorism?'
The real motivation underlying Bush's unprecedented assertion of executive power was revealed by Dick Cheney: "Watergate and a lot of the things around Watergate and Vietnam, both during the 1970's, served, I think, to erode the authority I think the president needs to be effective, especially in the national security area. The President of the United States needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired."...
Bush has gone far beyond what the Constitution authorizes, however. Only Congress has the power to make laws. Congress has not authorized the president to suspend the law. And FISA makes it a crime, punishable by up to five years in jail, for the executive to conduct a wiretap without statutory authorization.
So what is FISA? It is the acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act established in 1978 and created to regulate electronic surveillance.

W did not ask Congress to suspend the law. He did not approach the courts prior to the wiretap. W broke the law, it is time to pay the piper.

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Agent W

Friday, December 23, 2005

Agent W from the mind of Mark Fiore. Don Adamms, Agent 86, must be rolling over in his grave to be associated with Agent W. "Get Smart" becomes "Get Stupid..Get Lies...Get Power..."

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And she probably....

Thursday, December 22, 2005

wishes you a Merry Christmas with the same mouth. Ann Coulter - we thank you for making the world safer and saner with comments like this:

Which brings me to this week's scandal about No Such Agency spying on "Americans." I have difficulty ginning up much interest in this story inasmuch as I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo...
Among the things that war entails are: killing people (sometimes innocent), destroying buildings (sometimes innocent) and spying on people (sometimes innocent).
From Ann's Christmas Carol book: Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men Except.......

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Senate Blocks Alaska Refuge Drilling

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Another defeat for W.

The Senate blocked opening the nation's largest untapped oil reserve in an Alaska wildlife refuge Wednesday, denying President Bush his top energy priority and delivering a victory to environmentalists who said drilling would threaten wildlife.
The presents are rolling in.

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Time to go...


 Posted by PicasaExecutive Summary of Conyers' Report

There is a prima facie case that these actions by the President, Vice-President and other members of the Bush Administration violated a number of federal laws, including (1) Committing a Fraud against the United States; (2) Making False Statements to Congress; (3) The War Powers Resolution; (4) Misuse of Government Funds; (5) federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; (6) federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other individuals; and (7) federal laws and regulations concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence.
While these charges clearly rise to the level of impeachable misconduct, because the Bush Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have blocked the ability of Members to obtain information directly from the Administration concerning these matters, more investigatory authority is needed before recommendations can be made regarding specific Articles of Impeachment. As a result, we recommend that Congress establish a select committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the Iraq war detailed in this Report and report to the Committee on the Judiciary on possible impeachable offenses.
In addition, we believe the failure of the President, Vice President and others in the Bush Administration to respond to myriad requests for information concerning these charges, or to otherwise account for explain a number of specific misstatements they have made in the run up to War and other actions warrants, at minimum, the introduction and Congress approval of Resolutions of Censure against Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. Further, we recommend that Ranking Member Conyers and others consider referring the potential violations of federal criminal law detailed in this Report to the Department of Justice for investigation; Congress should pass legislation to limit government secrecy, enhance oversight of the Executive Branch, request notification and justification of presidential pardons of Administration officials, ban abusive treatment of detainees, ban the use of chemical weapons, and ban the practice of paying foreign media outlets to publish news stories prepared by or for the Pentagon; and the House should amend its Rules to permit Ranking Members of Committees to schedule official Committee hearings and call witnesses to investigate Executive Branch misconduct.
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

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In His Own Words...

The White House transcript from a W speech on April 20, 2004.

Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way.
He said "court order." So what made him change his mind? Does he have a mind? Or was this just another lie?

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Want to be part of the list?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Wonder when the Rotary Club will be added? From the NY Times:

One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Terrorist organizations? Ties to Bin Laden? Consorting with the "enemy?" Far from it. But that is what the response is - and will be from the regime.

Newsweek has an interesting take on the Times being called into W's office.

December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story...
The problem was not that the disclosures would compromise national security, as Bush claimed at his press conference. His comparison to the damaging pre-9/11 revelation of Osama bin Laden’s use of a satellite phone, which caused bin Laden to change tactics, is fallacious; any Americans with ties to Muslim extremists—in fact, all American Muslims, period—have long since suspected that the U.S. government might be listening in to their conversations. Bush claimed that “the fact that we are discussing this program is helping the enemy.” But there is simply no evidence, or even reasonable presumption, that this is so. And rather than the leaking being a “shameful act,” it was the work of a patriot inside the government who was trying to stop a presidential power grab.
No, Bush was desperate to keep the Times from running this important story—which the paper had already inexplicably held for a year—because he knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker. He insists he had “legal authority derived from the Constitution and congressional resolution authorizing force.” But the Constitution explicitly requires the president to obey the law. And the post 9/11 congressional resolution authorizing “all necessary force” in fighting terrorism was made in clear reference to military intervention. It did not scrap the Constitution and allow the president to do whatever he pleased in any area in the name of fighting terrorism.
What is especially perplexing about this story is that the 1978 law set up a special court to approve eavesdropping in hours, even minutes, if necessary. In fact, the law allows the government to eavesdrop on its own, then retroactively justify it to the court, essentially obtaining a warrant after the fact. Since 1979, the FISA court has approved tens of thousands of eavesdropping requests and rejected only four. There was no indication the existing system was slow—as the president seemed to claim in his press conference—or in any way required extra-constitutional action.
Out of Iraq NOW! Stop the spy patrols NOW! Impeach NOW!

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Bush says leaking spy program a ‘shameful act’

Monday, December 19, 2005

He has got to be joking - Right? To call truth "shameful" is beyond belief.

“It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this important program in a time of war. The fact that we’re discussing this program is helping the enemy,” he said at the White House event.
The spying program allows the National Security Agency to intercept the communications without court approval. A 1978 law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, makes it illegal to spy on U.S. citizens in the United States without court approval.
Bush said he approved the action without such orders “because it enables us to move faster and quicker. We’ve got to be fast on our feet.
“It is legal to do so. I swore to uphold the laws. Legal authority is derived from the Constitution,” Bush added.
It is shameful that you disregarded the 1978 law. It is disgusting that you hold yourself above the law. It is a disgrace that you, once again, use "fear" to justify lies and disregard for the Bill of Rights.

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Did an American President Really Utter These Words?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Haven't seen much about this exchange. But based on his escapades, I expect this happened.

"Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act. Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.
"GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
"I don't give a goddamn," Bush retorted. "I'm the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way."
"Mr. President," one aide in the meeting said. "There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution."
"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face," Bush screamed back. "It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"
Thompson goes on to say, "I've talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution "a goddamned piece of paper."
The problem with impeaching W is that we are stuck with Uncle Dick or one of his cronies. I wonder - does that piece of paper say anything about throwing out an entire "regime?"

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Turks Defer Trial of Novelist Who Cited Armenian Deaths

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Turkish court put off the trial of a prominent novelist on Friday after a brief hearing, giving the government until Feb. 7 to decide whether to go ahead with criminal proceedings against him. The charge involves his mentioning the killing of a million Armenians by the Turks in 1915 when he gave a magazine interview, in which he also said 30,000 Kurds had been killed since the late 1980's.
Angry nationalists booed the bestselling writer, Orhan Pamuk, and jostled the police as they escorted him into the packed courthouse, where the proceedings were monitored by observers from the European Union, which Turkey hopes to join in coming years.
Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, revised last summer as part of Turkey's efforts to meet the legal and economic standards required to join the European Union, still criminalizes public comments that "denigrate Turkishness" or criticize the state, the army or the founder of the republic, Ataturk. Nearly 60 intellectuals have been charged under it.
We, in the U.S., are not so far behind. Traitor or "enemy" sympathizer lately refers to anyone brave enough to talk against the war or to ask for an immediate pullout. Critics of this war and W's regime are not taken to court (except for a few cases). Instead they are taken to task in the public arena by the keepers of the law - Hannity, Coulter, Rush, O'Reilly. We are dragged through the mud - Swiftboat... Criticism or calling for an end to the war "jeopardizes our troops" and "encourages the insurgents."

Are we that much different from the Turks?

The Armenian Genocide was a tragedy and must never occur again. The attacks against Kurds must be brought to light and not happen again. The lies that led us to invade Iraq must be exposed and never happen again. The atrocities in the detention camps in Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and secret prisons in Europe must never happen again.

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Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?

More on the domestic spying story.

The DOD database obtained by NBC News includes nearly four dozen anti-war meetings or protests, including some that have taken place far from any military installation, post or recruitment center. One “incident” included in the database is a large anti-war protest at Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles last March that included effigies of President Bush and anti-war protest banners. Another incident mentions a planned protest against military recruiters last December in Boston and a planned protest last April at McDonald’s National Salute to America’s Heroes — a military air and sea show in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The Fort Lauderdale protest was deemed not to be a credible threat and a column in the database concludes: “US group exercising constitutional rights.” Two-hundred and forty-three other incidents in the database were discounted because they had no connection to the Department of Defense — yet they all remained in the database.
Still, the DOD database includes at least 20 references to U.S. citizens or U.S. persons. Other documents obtained by NBC News show that the Defense Department is clearly increasing its domestic monitoring activities. One DOD briefing document stamped “secret” concludes: “[W]e have noted increased communication and encouragement between protest groups using the [I]nternet,” but no “significant connection” between incidents, such as “reoccurring instigators at protests” or “vehicle descriptions.”
Were you at one of those rallies or meetings? Did you visit "certain" websites? Well expect your IP address or photo or name to be in some file. It is the Nixon years all over again. Paranoia and fear at the top drives policy.

Fun isn't it?

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Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts

Friday, December 16, 2005

Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.
Sure, I can hear it now - that action targeted "terrorists".
Didn't have to spy on those attending peace vigils, marches, or reading this blog. The Patriot Act takes care of YOU!.

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Thank you Senators!

Senate rejects reauthorization of Patriot Act

The U.S. Senate on Friday rejected attempts to reauthorize several provisions of the nation’s top anti-terror law as infringing too much on Americans’ privacy, dealing a major defeat to President Bush and Republican leaders.
In a crucial vote early Friday, the bill’s Senate supporters were not able to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a threatened filibuster by Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and their allies. The final vote was 52-47.
There is some sanity in D.C. Whatever their motives - no matter how political - Thanks!

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House renews Patriot Act, but Senate could balk

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Shame on the House. It's up to the Senate now.

The House easily approved renewing a modified USA Patriot Act on Wednesday, but with the bill facing a Senate filibuster, its Republican leader began talks with the White House on instead extending the current law unchanged for a year.
The House voted 251-174 to approve a House-Senate compromise that would modify and make permanent most of the Patriot Act’s 16 expiring provisions. But a group of Republican and Democratic senators is lobbying for more time to add additional safeguards on the law.
By reauthorizing the law, “we’re set to pass a whole new round of democracy rollbacks,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.
So our civil liberties are in jeopardy unless the Senate finds some balls. So is there any chance for decency when it comes to prisoners of war and detainees? Well at least McCain was successful - I think!
President Bush reversed course on Thursday and accepted Sen. John McCain’s call for a law banning cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of foreign suspects in the war on terror.
Bush said the agreement will “make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention of torture, whether it be here at home or abroad.”
But what about the private security firms, the black ops? Something tells me W found a loophole and it may be apparent in his statement.

So all looks good in the Senate -right?

However, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., told NBC News’ Mike Viqueira on Thursday that he plans to oppose McCain’s bill.
He said he would try preventing the measure from reaching a House vote unless he got White House assurances that the new rules would still allow “the same high level of effective intelligence gathering” as under current procedures.
A proponent of torture? I guess we know how Hunter will vote when the Patriot Act is presented.

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The Emperor Has Spoken

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The reasons for W's recent "open talks":

His poll numbers are in the toilet, and congressional elections are less than a year away. His speeches about staying the course and the light at the end of the tunnel are Nixonesque. When will we hear him speak of “Iraqization”? The president gives the impression that if he uses the word “victory” enough times, we will believe him. To revive his poll numbers he has hired a political scientist, Peter Feaver, to craft a message and campaign. As reported in the New York Times, Feaver came to Bush’s attention by arguing that Americans would accept high military casualties if they could be persuaded they were for a good cause. Feaver is able to measure what he calls “casualty sensitivity.” He and his Duke University coauthors have written, “Mounting casualties did not produce a reflexive collapse in public support. The Iraq case suggests that under the right conditions, the public will continue to support military operations even when they come with a relatively high human cost.” And what would those “right conditions” be? Apparently, they include filling the air with a lot of talk about victory, alleged Iraqi assumption of security responsibilities, and the usual war-on-terror buncombe. This last was in ample supply in Bush’s recent speech at the U.S. Naval Academy. In that speech, he called Iraq the “central front in the war on terror,” although he acknowledged that non-Iraqis make up but a small part of resistance to the U.S. presence there. Facts be damned; the president is not giving up on convincing the American people, contrary to the evidence, that Iraq had something to do with 9/11. He insists on ignoring the self-fulfilling character of his war: it has made Iraq a hotbed of anti-American violence because it has made the U.S. forces an army of occupation. None of this confirms Bush’s position that “they” hate “us” because of our way of life. “They” hated “us” because of a long history of U.S. intervention in the Middle East, and Bush has only given “them” more reason to hate “us” now. But in fact, it’s not the American people that anyone hates; it’s the American policy.
I guess I am "they" - W's policies are wrong and must be changed!

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Does 30,000 Mean Anything to Bush?

“Q: Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I’d like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.”
“Bush: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say, 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We’ve lost about 2,140 of our own troops.”
Bush may have severely underestimated the total number of Iraqi dead.
Iraqbodycount.net estimates that a minimum of between 27,383 and 30,892 civilians alone have died as a result of Bush’s war. But it recognizes that this civilian count, which it bases on published news reports, is lower than the actual figure. “Our maximum therefore refers to reported deaths, which can only be a sample of true deaths unless one assumes that every civilian death has been reported. It is likely that many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported by the media. That is the sad nature of war.”
Bush in the very next breadth made a joke as he interrupted the next questioner to say, “I’ll repeat the question. If I don’t like it, I’ll make it up.” The White House transcript reads: “(Laughter and applause.)”
That is the definition of obscenity. To segue from the deaths of 30,000 Iraqis and 2,140 U.S soldiers to a poor attempt at humor is to reveal a frightening callousness. What will it take for Bush to grasp the meaning and the magnitude of 2,140 dead U.S. soldiers and 30,000 dead Iraqis or more? He has said over and over again that he came to liberate the people of Iraq and deliver them the gift of freedom. But he didn’t liberate those 30,000 or those 100,000. They didn’t get to unwrap their gift, or if they did, it blew up in their faces.
Each dead Iraqi has a name.
Each dead Iraqi leaves a family that will never be the same again.
At what point does the President acknowledge the horrific pain he has inflicted on the people of Iraq?
Mentioning a mere number and then blithely moving on does not cut it.
Such indifference permitted their mass killing in the first place.
It should not be blanketed over them again..
His recent "war is good" speeches may have pleased some, but these speeches really show the world how low our nation and leader has gone.

We should mourn the deaths on all sides. All life is important.

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Tookie Williams - On the Killing Floor

Monday, December 12, 2005

What does the US have in common with China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia? All four countries support the death penalty. And, account for most of the world's executions. America's membership in this macabre club is an indication that the focus of our prison system is on punishment.
Great company we keep.

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Eugene McCarthy - Farewell

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Former Senator Eugene McCarthy Dies at 89

Former Minnesota Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy, whose insurgent campaign toppled a sitting president in 1968 and forced the Democratic Party to take seriously his message against the Vietnam War, died Saturday. He was 89.
In an interview a month before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, McCarthy compared the Bush administration with the characters in the William Golding novel ''Lord of the Flies,'' in which a group of boys stranded on an island turn to savagery.
''The bullies are running it,'' McCarthy said. ''Bush is bullying everything.''
He was not afraid to go up against the "leaders." He was one voice against the war. We could use his voice today.

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Patriot Act is the tool

U.S. President George W. Bush called on Congress to quickly renew the USA Patriot Act, saying that the law's expiration at the end of this month might lead to terrorist violence.
``The terrorist threats will not expire on that schedule,'' Bush said in his weekly radio address. ``In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without that vital law for a single moment.''
``By renewing the Patriot Act, we will ensure that our law enforcement and intelligence officers have the tools they need to protect our citizens,'' Bush said. ``The Patriot Act tore down the legal and bureaucratic wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence authorities from sharing vital information about terrorist threats.''
Using a sledge hammer when a small screwdriver is needed.

The real tool - Bush.

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Israel readies forces for strike on nuclear Iran

Ariel Sharon may just be what the doctor ordered to boost W's polls.

ISRAEL’S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed. The order came after Israeli intelligence warned the government that Iran was operating enrichment facilities, believed to be small and concealed in civilian locations. Iran’s stand-off with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over nuclear inspections and aggressive rhetoric from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, who said last week that Israel should be moved to Europe, are causing mounting concern. The crisis is set to come to a head in early March, when Mohamed El-Baradei, the head of the IAEA, will present his next report on Iran. El-Baradei, who received the Nobel peace prize yesterday, warned that the world was “losing patience” with Iran. A senior White House source said the threat of a nuclear Iran was moving to the top of the international agenda and the issue now was: “What next?” That question would have to be answered in the next few months, he said.
An "action" by "Iranian agents" would be a nice start to the conflict. It would also give a nice boost to W's polls. What better way than instilling fear followed by a show of force after a terrorist act to appear "presidential."

Conspiracy nut? Paranoia on my part? Or is it just reality that this administration has lied before and used fear as a tool to bring about the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, the occupation of Iraq...?

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P is for Peace Garden

Friday, December 09, 2005

Amazon.com.

Not only a "North Dakota (Peace Garden State) alphabet" but a Connecticut-based blog.

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The Fence

Poster from www.Ishmael.org.

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Ishmael

Thom Hartmann recently reviewed Quinn's "Ishmael." Hartmann's own book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight", touches on many of Quinn's ideas. Hartmann writes:

The story we're told about the human race is that our population was relatively stable for over a hundred thousand years, then slowly grew to around a quarter-billion about the time of Christ. A thousand years later, deep in the "dark ages," it hit around a half-billion. And, finally, in 1800, we hit our first one billion humans.
From there, our population exploded like cockroaches in a dirty New York apartment. Two billion by 1930. Three billion in 1960. Four billion in 1974. Five billion in 1987. Six billion around 2000. The human race has run amok on the planet, we're told, and nobody's sure why.
But there's a fundamental flaw in this story -- it's not the story of the human race. There are many cultures -- indeed, thousands -- around the world whose populations have been relatively stable for the past 50,000 years. (Most are now in decline, in fact, because of pressure from the rest of us.) The story of the population explosion isn't the story of the human race, it's the story of a single culture -- our "modern" culture of written language, agriculture, mechanism, and written law.
So what do those other cultures know that we've missed? How did they manage to live on the earth -- and included among "them" are all of our ancestors -- for over 100,000 years without nearly destroying the planet?
In "Ishmael," Quinn introduces the concept of two basic ways humans have historically organized ourselves -- what he calls "Takers" and "Leavers." Takers fundamentally believe that "the world is here for humans." Leavers understand that we're one species amongst millions who are part of the extraordinary and sacred web of life. We -- the culture that has grown to six billion -- are the Takers, and we began "taking" when we broke the first and most fundamental law of all life on earth...
For those who have not read "Ishmael" or Quinn's other works, you really are missing a great thought-provoking body of literature. Read it, think, process, discuss and change...
What if, instead of talking about "God," we were talking about everything being sacred, even the rocks being infused with the "fire of life"?

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The Night John Lennon Died

Thursday, December 08, 2005

John Marchand writes

...John Lennon mattered. He was smart and he was funny and he was arrogant and he was a man who loved what he loved and who hated what he hated with utter clarity and no apology at all. He would have been an important voice in the Reagan eighties, and if he was with us today, at sixty-five years of age, it's hard to envision him quietly suffering the brutish voices that defend the use of torture in the name of humanity and who blithely dismiss the counting of war casualties who don't wear a particular uniform.
"Imagine all the people/Living life in peace"
On December 8, 2005, sadly, we still have to imagine that. But we can also remember the man who wrote the words, and who wrote "Give Peace a Chance" and "Happy Christmas/War is Over." We can remember, vividly, how it felt when he died, and how many of us wept.

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Jonathan Tasini For New York

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jonathan Tasini has announced his campaign for NY U.S. Senate. Jonathan offers:

My position is a responsible one: the troops must be brought home now. It is the best solution for our country and for Iraq. I reject the myths that have been promoted against proponents of withdrawal.
My opponent voted for the war and supports the idea that there is a "winning" strategy for the war.
My positions are consistent with what the majority of New Yorkers believe. My opponent is out-of-step with New Yorkers throughout the state.
The Iraq war has cost the lives of more than 2,100 American men and women, and many more thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children.
His opponent? Senator Clinton. This may stop her slide to the right of Genghis Khan. This may start other Dems thinking too.

Good luck Jonathan.

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the Revolt of the Generals

Alexander Cockburn writes:

A CounterPuncher with nearly 40 years experience working in and around the Pentagon told me this week that "The Four Star Generals picked Murtha to make this speech because he has maximum credibility." It's true. Even in the US Senate there's no one with quite Murtha's standing to deliver the message, except maybe for Byrd, but the venerable senator from West Virginia was a vehement opponent of the war from the outset , whereas Murtha voted for it and only recently has turned around.
So the Four-Star Generals briefed Murtha and gave him the state-of-the-art data which made his speech so deadly, stinging the White House into panic-stricken and foolish denunciations of Murtha as a clone of Michael Moore.
It cannot have taken vice president Cheney, a former US Defense Secretary, more than a moment to scan Murtha's speech and realize the import of Murtha's speech as an announcement that the generals have had enough.
When we are at war and the generals say "enough"...shouldn't the Commander-in-Chief listen?

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25 years ago this Thursday...

Monday, December 05, 2005

John, the world misses you...

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A Conversation with the "Chimpanzee Lady":

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Jane Goodall was interviewed on Democracy Now. She was there to promote her new book "Harvest For Hope."

In her book, Goodall examines the danger of corporate ownership of water and the patening of seeds, the hazards of genetically modified foods and the existence of inhumane animal factories.
In the interview she touches on many items such as Genetically Modified foods, the Slow Food Movement and agribusiness. I especially love her closing comments:
JANE GOODALL: It seems that — I don't understand this, but it seems that peace has become a political word. For me, that's not so. Peace means being able to live in harmony with each other. And I was made a U.N. Messenger of Peace, and Kofi Annan did that because of Roots & Shoots, because I could honestly say, ‘Kofi, wherever I go, I'm spreading seeds of global peace.’ We have our own Roots & Shoots Peace Day, and because when you're made a messenger of peace, a little dove is pinned to you — for some reason I'm not wearing mine today, but here it is on your mug — then one of the Roots & Shoots groups in New York created this giant pea-stuffed puppet out of old sheets, recycled sheets, and a bit of chicken wire, and when I was wondering how I could help promote the U.N. Day of Peace, I thought, ‘Yes, we'll fly these around the world.’
So this — we had our Peace Day on the 24th of September. I think we flew doves in about 50 countries. In Los Angeles, they flew 30 in a wonderful parade. I was on the Snake River flying two doves on two canoes and, you know, my vision is that the day will come when as the sun goes around the world these giant wings will spread out, and you'll be able to look down from the satellite and see them, and surely because the young people are building into these doves their own commitment to living in peace with themselves and their family, their environment, then some of these dreams will drift off in the wind and settle on areas still torn apart by conflict.
AMY GOODMAN: So who is warning you against using the word “peace”?
JANE GOODALL: It's just that some N.G.O.s are being warned that there are certain things which they shouldn't be using, certain words that will bring them into disrepute. And peace — it can't be true, can it? That cannot be a political — peace is something we all aspire to. Peace is something every child dreams about. You ask children around the world what are their dreams, and one of the things they'll say is “Peace.” I don't believe there's a single living person who really wants to be involved in a war if there was any way out.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Jane Goodall, as we wrap up, your plans for the future, and how they're informed by what you've done, living very remotely, first, well, in your twenties with animals, with the chimpanzees. Do you have hope for the future as you look at the powers that are arrayed against the principles that you care about?
JANE GOODALL: That's the question I'm asked most often: Can I really have hope when I see animal species becoming extinct, when I see forests giving place to deserts, when I see the suffering, the poverty, and so much of the developing world and the sickness, the hunger, when I see the ethnic violence everywhere and the tremendous social injustice? Do I really have hope for peace?
And I wouldn't write books about peace if I didn't have hope, and maybe my hope for peace is — and my hope for the future and my hope that we'll get out of this mess, this monstrous mess that we find ourselves in, maybe they're simplistic. Maybe they're idealistic. But they work for me. The human brain and, you know, if you actually check around to see what people have invented that will allow us to live in more harmony with nature, I mean, there are many, many scientists who say if we would just do these things and stop talking about them, we have the way to get out of so much of the mess we've made. So that's one reason for hope and that more people are thinking about the way they live and realizing that what we do each day does, in fact, have an impact on the world.
Second reason for hope: the resilience of nature, the places we destroy which can be given a second chance. The animal species on the very brink of extinction, and in some cases down to just two individuals, but they can, too, be given a second chance, if we care enough.

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General Odom Calls for Immediate Exit from Iraq

Saturday, December 03, 2005

And another voice rises:

The US general who used to head the National Security Agency says the only way to stabilize the Middle East is to leave Iraq.
Retired three star Lt. Gen. William Odom, writing for NiemanWatchdog.org, wrote that while President George W. Bush wants to bring democracy and stability to the Middle East, the only way to achieve that goal is for the US armed forces to get out of Iraq now.
Odom, one of the most respected US military analysts and a prominent figure at the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington, wrote, "We have seen most of our allies stand aside and engage in Schadenfreude over our painful bog-down in Iraq. Winston Churchill's glib observation, 'the only thing worse that having allies is having none,' was once again vindicated.
"There is no chance that our allies will join us in Iraq," he wrote. "... Iraq is the worst place to fight a battle for regional stability. Whose interests were best served by the US invasion of Iraq in the first place? It turns out that Iran and al-Qaida benefited the most, and that continues to be true every day US forces remain there."
The calls are reaching fever pitches. When will they listen?

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Bomb Kills 10 Marines, Wounds 11 in Iraq

Ten dead. The senseless war keeps rolling along.

A roadside bomb killed 10 Marines and wounded 11 others on a foot patrol near Fallujah, the U.S. military announced Friday. It was the deadliest attack against American troops in four months.
The ambush occurred Thursday against Marines from Regimental Combat Team 8, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The Marine unit has suffered some of the highest casualties of the Iraq war.
The unit's latest losses were among 14 new deaths in Iraq announced by the military Friday. With at least 793 American lives lost since January, 2005 appears on track to become the deadliest year for the troops since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. There were 846 deaths in 2004, and 485 the previous year.
So what did our regime say about the deaths? "We're saddened."
Press Secretary Scott McClellan says a loss like this represents a "tough day" for the U-S cause -- the kind that President Bush has warned about.
But the spokesman says the soldiers sacrificed "for an important cause," and America will be forever grateful.
Too many tough days and for what? Are there positive prospects on the near horizon? And positive for who? Zogby International's poll paints a picture that the majority of U.S. citizens accept and realize.
Most Arabs continue to believe the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq has harmed prospects for both stability and democratic development in the region, as well as the welfare of Iraqis themselves, according to survey's designer, Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development Studies at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
"Iraq has become the new prism of pain through which Arabs are looking at the U.S. and the world," he said, noting that 80 percent of respondents said they based their views on U.S. "policies," rather than U.S. or Western "values" or way of life.
So when will W realize it? Not until he stops listening to those voices in his head. Not until he stops listening to neo-cons who want to build the next "Holy Empire." Not until he stops listening to the money-men looking for the "next big market."

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We're on the road to nowhere....

Thursday, December 01, 2005


From Pat Oliphant. A true assessment. Posted by Picasa

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Fuel Pact Defended at Local Signing

Venezuela is trying to spread their Chavez-inspired "ism" to our shores. Damn Them!!

Local legislators and Venezuelan officials yesterday vigorously defended an agreement that will bring discounted heating oil to more than 40,000 low-income Massachusetts residents courtesy of a Latin American leader engaged in an acerbic public campaign against President Bush and US foreign policy.
The deal, signed yesterday in a Quincy couple's front yard, will provide more than 12 million gallons of heating oil from Venezuela, with each qualifying household eligible to buy up to 200 gallons, enough to last several weeks, at a 40 percent discount. The Quincy couple, Linda and Paul Kelly, were the first beneficiaries of the arrangement.
The agreement has come under fire because President Hugo Chávez, whose nation is the fourth-largest supplier of US oil, has used harsh language to criticize Bush policies on free trade, poverty, and the war in Iraq. But representatives from his government yesterday said politics played no role in the gesture, which was negotiated recently in a face-to-face meeting between Chávez and Representative William D. Delahunt, a Quincy Democrat.
How dare they try to save our citizens. The nerve. No wonder Robertson wanted Chavez's head. No wonder right-nut talking heads hate this man. Trying to infiltrate Quincy, Mass.

His obejective? It's clear - bleacher seats at Fenway. That bastard.

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Plan: We Win

NY Times editorial via Common Dreams.

We've seen it before: an embattled president so swathed in his inner circle that he completely loses touch with the public and wanders around among small knots of people who agree with him. There was Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's, Richard Nixon in the 1970's, and George H. W. Bush in the 1990's. Now it's his son's turn.
It has been obvious for months that Americans don't believe the war is going just fine, and they needed to hear that President Bush gets that. They wanted to see that he had learned from his mistakes and adjusted his course, and that he had a measurable and realistic plan for making Iraq safe enough to withdraw United States troops. Americans didn't need to be convinced of Mr. Bush's commitment to his idealized version of the war. They needed to be reassured that he recognized the reality of the war.
Instead, Mr. Bush traveled 32 miles from the White House to the Naval Academy and spoke to yet another of the well-behaved, uniformed audiences that have screened him from the rest of America lately. If you do not happen to be a midshipman, you'd have to have been watching cable news at midmorning on a weekday to catch him.
The address was accompanied by a voluminous handout entitled "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," which the White House grandly calls the newly declassified version of the plan that has been driving the war. If there was something secret about that plan, we can't figure out what it was. The document, and Mr. Bush's speech, were almost entirely a rehash of the same tired argument that everything's going just fine. Mr. Bush also offered the usual false choice between sticking to his policy and beating a hasty and cowardly retreat.
So what did we expect from W? Profound statements? Apologies for all the lies? Rational plans? Reality?
A president who seems less in touch with reality than Richard Nixon needs to get out more.
Get out. Talk to the majority of citizens who say "Out Now!" Talk to the families who lost loved ones. Talk to the folks left out of this economy because of all the funds going to support the war machine. Talk to someone else other than Condi, Rummy and Uncle Dick. Talk to someone else other than that inner voice who is calling itself "god."

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