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Bush's church vs. Bush

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) - Bishops and other leaders of the United Methodist Church -- which counts President George W. Bush among its adherents -- dominate the religious opposition against his preparations for a war on Iraq.

One of the bishops, Melvin G. Talbert, the UMC's chief ecumenical officer, stars in a 30-second commercial claiming that the war would "violate God's law and the teachings of Jesus Christ." The ad is scheduled to appear next week on the CNN and Fox cable networks but can already be seen Friday on the Web site of the National Council of Churches of Christ.

Twenty other Methodist bishops are among the 46 prominent mainline Protestant and Orthodox clerics who signed a petition Thursday requesting "with utmost urgency" a face-to-face encounter with Bush.

"We want to meet with the president before he decides to go to war with Iraq," said NCCC's General Secretary Bob Edgar, just back from a fact-finding trip to Iraq after which he and his 12 fellow-delegates concluded that a preemptive war would be "immoral, illegal and theologically illegitimate."

Edgar, too, is a UMC theologian.

There is, however, opposition within the UMC to such activism, which according to Drew University theologian Thomas C. Oden grew out of the Vietnam War era. "They have not thought through the criteria for just war thoroughly," Oden said. "They are not considering the consequences of inaction."

When asked about Talbert's statement, "Iraq hasn't wronged us," Oden commented: "They (the bishops) are simplistic in their response to political questions generally. This is just another example of sloganeering against war."

Jack M. Tuell, retired UMC bishop of Los Angeles and signatory to the position for a face-to-face meeting with Bush, told United Press International Friday that his denomination's last General Conference in Cincinnati two years ago had qualified its previous flat rejection of war as an instrument of foreign policy.

"The conference injected the word, 'usual,'" he said in a telephone interview, implying that exceptions to this rule may be considered. He added, however, "Only if you have been attacked you must respond. But we have not been attacked."

Then again, Tuell expressed his conviction that Bush "does not want to go to war. If he could find a way to avoid it, he'd be very happy."

Asked about the peace initiatives by Bush's Methodist coreligionists and other Christians, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told UPI, "The president meets with religious leaders on a regular basis. He wants nothing more that making the world a more peaceful place. But his top priority is the protection of the American people."

The administrations says that using force would be the last resort if Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein refuses to disarm peacefully and continues to remain a threat to his own people, the region and the world. "Last resort" is one of the most important theological criteria for just war, according to St. Thomas Aquinas.

According to Oden, co-founder of the burgeoning renewal movement within the UMC, there is a gaping chasm between his denomination's religious leadership and its laity. "I believe most of our 70 bishops are liberal Democrats and pacifists," he said.

"On the other hand, the faithful in the pews don't pay any attention to them. They don't care. They don't know what the bishops are saying. The bishops have lost their moral authority when they speak."

Oden allowed that the traditionally social-activist positions of the Methodist Church, going back centuries, had praiseworthy roots: "liberal pietism, shot through with a lot of idealism."

The trouble was, he went on, "that the bishops suffer from a real deficit in realistic analysis."
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posted by West 10:08 PM

Carter Says Bush Has Not Proven Case for Iraq War

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The Bush administration has not convinced Americans or Europeans that a military attack on Iraq is necessary, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter said on Friday.

"Our government has not made a case for a pre-emptive military strike against Iraq, either at home or in Europe," the Democratic former president said in a statement.

"It is sobering to realize how much doubt and consternation has been raised about our motives for war in the absence of convincing proof of a genuine threat from Iraq."

Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, also said it would be "suicidal" for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to threaten any of his neighbors at a time when the United States was deploying its military forces in the Gulf in preparation for a possible war against Iraq.

The Bush administration has threatened to use military action to remove Saddam if he does not comply with United Nations efforts to ensure he has no weapons of mass destruction.

U.N. weapons inspectors, who returned to Iraq last November after a four-year hiatus, are scheduled to present a progress report on Iraq's compliance with U.N. resolutions on Feb. 14.

Carter said the United States and the world would be better off if the White House supported the strengthening of the inspection process in Iraq.
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posted by West 10:04 PM

Vets Filed Court Appeal Against Loss of Medical Care Benifits
Mike Gaddy - Via Press Release - Sierra Times - 01. 30. 03 at 11:09
FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. � (27 January 2003) True to his word, Col George "Bud" Day, attorney, Medal of Honor recipient, and former POW officially filed a petition with the United States Supreme Court on 24 January 2003 seeking justice for hundreds of thousands of living WWII/Korea era military retirees. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Washington, D.C. ruled on 18 November 2002 that Military Retirees have no legal standing and the U.S. government was authorized to break the offer of lifetime, free medical care to those servicemen and women who served their country honorably for 20+ years. Col Day expects a hearing before the US Supreme Court and reversal of the 18 November 2002 Federal Circuit order. ..."Our fight is geared to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that military retirees are legally guaranteed to receive the benefits they were promised by the government when they signed up to devote their lives to the service of their country. We should never have been forced to wage this fight, but we are in it and four Federal Appeals Court Judges in their support of our cause gives strong hope." Col Day believes his arguments are strong and our government cannot be allowed to trample her warriors in favor of budgetary waste and continued political pork abuse. One of the most highly decorated military officers since General Douglas MacArthur, Colonel Day, MOH, former POW, took on this case more than six years ago. "This has been the crusade of my life and I won�t rest until the last round is fired." "I hope every military retiree and veteran takes the Appeals Court set-back personally, join us for a rally Feb 12, 2003 in Washington, DC, and demand your Congressional Representative and Senators take legislative action in conjunction with our legal fight to right this wrong." Officials at the Department of Defense breached their contract with military retirees over the age of 65 � mostly World War II and Korea War career veterans � to receive medical care in military hospitals. This forced the retired members to buy Medicare B and other supplemental insurance costing thousands of dollars per year, to have the coverage which the U.S. previously provided for decades. The payment of several hundred dollars per month is cost prohibitive for many elderly G.I.s and particularly widows. "After 20 years of care in military hospitals, my wife and I were kicked out and forced to rely on Medicare," says Robert "Bob" Reinlie, one of the Plaintiff's. "This is not what I was promised when I pledged to serve my country for 20 years. I�m astonished that at the age of 82 years I must now fight for the medical care I earned."

*****My father is one of these unfortunates. And unfortunately, he and many of those who are affected by this theft voted for and continue to vote for those in authority who have authorized this action and will continue to authorize this actioin; "Have to reduce the costs!!! the bean counters say". I'm amazed, again and again, that the masses fail to see the truths behind the actions. They don't care about those that offer their lives for the idea of a free country. They have never cared about those that stand out front and go to places where we have no business going but go because the leaders say we have to as a free nation. But, that's just this old Curmudgeon's opinion.*****
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 7:41 AM

The Truth We Can't Face - America As A Third Rate Nation
By Dorothy Anne Seese - Sierra Times - 01. 30. 03
No nation with a sinking economy and continuing depletion of resources is a free nation. It is a dependent nation.
No country where the unemployment is rising, costs and prices are rising, and businesses are moving to other countries can long call itself a free nation. It is an interdependent nation at best.
No people who look to the government to solve their problems from cradle to grave can look in the mirror and call themselves a free people. At best they are dependents, at worst they are serfs.
Any country that abandons its hard precious metal standards (gold and silver) as the United States did in 1934 and 1973, respectively, and operates on funny money cannot sustain either a free economy or a free country.
Uneducated people who cannot think, regardless of the number of diplomas or degrees they obtain, can never be free. They can't handle freedom.
A nation that must monitor every move of every citizen, using technology to keep people in captivity or fear of captivity, is not a nation of free people.
Representatives of the people who willingly obey a mandate to approve bills drafted by the executive branch of government, abdicating their responsibility to be the legislators, are not free, and they do not represent a free people.
A managed media does not represent a free people and free people do not tolerate a managed media.
Free people never let any government official rise to the level of total control, because free people insist that the government work for them, not enslave them.
And free people know the difference between the appearance of freedom, and true freedom.
Is America a nation of free people by these standards? No.

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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 7:25 AM

The Great Internet Shakedown
By J.J. Johnson - Sierra Times - 01.30.03
An Internet tax would be the equivalent of an economic virus hitting everyone. As of now, the California proposal would only tax business that do retail in California and have online sales. They would, of course, only tax California residents. States are currently prohibited from collecting taxes on out-of-state purchases because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the variety of tax systems would burden retailers (read: be impossible to enforce). But the National Governor's Association is leading a coalition to make state sales tax systems more consistent in what is taxed and what rate is charged. The coalition then plans to challenge the Supreme Court decision once 10 states have adopted the simplified system. Sales, like electricity, water and traffic follow the path of lease resistance. Just wait and see what happens when states make laws, then can't collect the taxes when online folks simply log on elsewhere, or states like Nevada suddenly become a dot-com hub for Internet businesses to avoid California. That's right - you'll hear Nancy Polosi & Company in Congress demanding more federal regulations on the Internet itself to keep everyone in line.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 7:09 AM

The Looters are Loose...
Who WAS John Galt? Looting is UN-American
By Glenn R. Jackson - Sierra Times - 01. 29. 03
Long, long ago, in a land now far away there lived a philosophy of individual self-sufficiency and enlightened self-interest. In this land the innovator, the creator, and the wealth producer recognized that their ability to produce was built on mutual cooperation and support from workers of like mind and inclination. An enlightened workforce recognized that their efforts were also essential to the production of the wealth of all. That was before the Looters appeared. With unemployment over 6%, and underemployed American's having lost good paying jobs for bad, the American Worker Replacement Program of America's new business elites welcomes increasing numbers of foreign "guest" workers to work American jobs. High Tech positions in Information Technology, Engineering, Healthcare, Education, and the Media are being taken from Americans by H-1B visa holders (supposedly limited to 195,000 per year), L-1 visa holders (unlimited per year), and by "off-shoring" of American jobs.

*****This is Personal as I am the product of this Program by Corporate Amerika. As they (U.S. corporations) all step forward to wave the flag with Dubya and fellow Kabalists, to spout their support of the American way of life and commiserate with their fellow millionaire CEO's, behind the American public's back, and out of the media spotlight (as if THEY would say anything!!), they quietly REPLACE taxpaying (most of us) Americans with foreigners, who then send their paychecks back to India and Pakistan, where ANTI-American crusaders are fed and clothed and trained, to replace more American workers. It just stuns me that our elected officials (notice I do not refer to them as REPRESENTATIVES) have the gall to wave the flag and continue to vote to give corporations larger and larger H-1B quotas, year after year. The original intention of this policy has been completely gutted by corporations as a way to reduce their wages (and increase profits) - and the result? America's unemployment increases, buying power is reduced which affects the overall economy, and, btw, the ability to support those charities and welfare organizations that Dubya pushes so hard is terminated as the priority now becomes plain old survival. I urge those fellow AMERICAN readers to write your congressman and urge them to support HR 3222 - it's the first step in completely eliminating this scourge on the American workforce. But, then, that's just this old Curmudgeon's opinion...*****
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 8:47 AM

All He Left Unsaid by William Rivers Pitt
(William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Perspective, 29 January 2003)
He failed, of course, to mention the devious Total Information Awareness database that came along with Homeland Security, and he failed to mention how bitterly he fought to keep those 50,000 screeners out of the airports, because they would be Federalized workers and thus able to unionize. . . . The first twenty-five minutes of the Bush speech was dedicated to domestic and economic issues. These are proving to be the Achilles heel of this administration, just as they were the last time a Bush occupied the Oval Office. . . . He spoke of holding corporate criminals to account, failing to mention the incredible number of Enron executives - including his beloved Kenny-Boy - who still walk free and clear across the nation they defiled with their fraud and deceit. . . . After an inordinate amount of praise for his tax cuts, and no mention of how the budget can survive them, Bush went on to rhetorically spend billions and billions of dollars he does not have on hand. He proposed an end to the 'marriage penalty', and went on to propose $1.2 billion in spending to develop hydrogen-powered automobiles. He failed to explain how he can afford any of this, and likewise failed to parse the hypocrisy of touting hydrogen cars while his new tax plan provides tens of thousands of dollars worth of write-offs for owners of gas-guzzling SUVs. . . . The mother of all financial boondoggles, the Ballistic Missile Shield, got it's due to no one's great surprise. . . . "Put it this way," said Bush. "They are no longer a problem." He failed to describe the premises upon which those 3,000 were detained, and likewise failed to mention that in the process of rendering those others 'non-problematic,' his war in Afghanistan sent more civilians to death than were lost on September 11th. . . . Bush on several occasions linked Hussein directly to al Qaeda, painting at one point a picture of nineteen hijackers directed by Hussein commandeering aircraft and loading them with chemical or biological weapons. He offered no proof of this. He failed to mention that Hussein is a secular dictator who has spent the last thirty years crushing Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq, failed to mention the death threats levied against him by al Qaeda, and failed to mention the absolute fact that Hussein would never be so stupid as to give weapons or aid to blood enemies. Were he to do so, he would find those weapons immediately turned against him. . . . Bush failed to mention how the American economy could handle the billions of dollars needed to support the war, the inevitable oil shock that would come as a result of the war, the billions more needed for his missile shield, the billions needed to push his new tax cut through, the billions needed to make his old tax cut permanent, and the billions needed to pay for the new programs he proposed. . . . Bush failed to explain why so many Admirals and Generals, including Generals Zinni and Schwartzkopf, have spoken about the recklessness of this war plan. He failed to mention the inevitable blowback of terrorism that America would suffer should this war take place, especially if it takes place with a 'coalition of the willing' that does not include a UN sanction. . . . At no time, and in no way, did George W. Bush mention the name Osama bin Laden. . . . As the elder Bush discovered, after his empty speech of 1992, baseless rhetoric with no follow-up is as the crack of doom. Bush cannot afford the domestic policies he has proposed, and charts a deadly path to war abroad. There was so much left unsaid during this speech. Those empty spaces may prove, in the end, to be his downfall.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:43 PM

Embattled Bush now faces trouble on many fronts
(Rupert Cornwell, Independent, 28 January 2003)
George W Bush is in trouble. This is not wishful thinking by Europeans who cannot abide a man they see as a trigger-happy, unilateralist half-wit. . . . Few ruling politicians would admit to allowing polls to influence their pursuit of the national good. But this White House � the most efficient and secretive in recent memory � pays as much attention to them as its predecessors. The indications are not good. . . . Mr Bush's approval ratings have slipped to the mid-50s � respectable enough for a President in normal times halfway through his term. But they have dipped 10 per cent since the mid-terms, bringing his popularity back to levels before the 2001 terrorist attacks. . . . A majority of Americans disapprove of his handling of the US economy, the bread and butter issue that over the longer term will eclipse even Iraq as a priority for voters. More than 1.5 million jobs have been lost on this Bush's watch. . . . Seven out of 10 [in the US] believe that United Nations inspectors should be given months or more to complete their work. The country, according to one finding yesterday, is split down the middle when asked whether it trusts the President or the UN to make the right decisions on Iraq. Though 60 per cent broadly support military action against Iraq, Newsweek found, that backing plummets if the US were to act alone, or with the backing of just "one or two" allies, for example Britain. . . . Mr Bush's problem is that he is trying to achieve two goals which are irreconcilable: to unite a sceptical country behind him in launching an unprovoked war, and pursue nakedly partisan domestic policies � not just over the economy. Mr Bush wants to further privatise health care, one day even social security. He seems oblivious to the collapse of US public finances � from a federal surplus of $250bn two years ago to a similar deficit this year. . . . If Saddam Hussein is quickly and comprehensively defeated, and US casualties are few, Mr Bush will bask in a victor's acclaim. But that is scant comfort. It happened 12 years ago when his father assembled a far wider coalition to drive Iraq from Kuwait. Barely a year later Bush Senior had lost the presidency.
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posted by Lorenzo 12:27 PM

Is It Time to Move to Canada?
(Anis Shivani, Counterpunch, January 18, 2003)
The government has been conducting an unprecedented campaign of psychological warfare against Americans. . . . The more we lose our formal, procedural freedoms at home, the more obsessively the dissenting media latch on to Palestine and Iraq. The world's worst propaganda sheet's [The Nation] former other stylist, in a prolonged fit of fanciful insanity, wants to bring democracy to Iraq, while being completely blind to the totalitarian transformation occurring right here under his contrarian nose. The world's worst propaganda sheet joins Naomi Klein, the Canadian student of protest currently at the London School of Economics, in asking for more funds for bioterror preparedness (leaving out a discussion of how those with weakened immune systems might be affected by mass vaccinations). . . . These are signs of massive psychological dissonance. In the last two years, the world's most advanced democracy, at least in terms of its formal acclamation of human rights, has become potentially the most dangerously totalitarian regime in recent history (the liberal journals always tell us, we're not there yet). The Progressive, The Nation, In These Times, Mother Jones, The Village Voice and all the rest have failed to note this transformation, or collapse, in these stark terms. They talk about "secrecy" in government, to echo the New York Times. This is like talking about the difficulty of journalists obtaining court records on the deportation of Jews during the Nazi reign of terror (the same routinization of evil, making it banal by bureaucratization, is in operation in America today: for instance, the mass deportation of Arab and Muslim men under the guise of following immigration technicalities that have never been enforced). . . . The most sweeping set of changes in American history has occurred in two short years, all our cherished freedoms annihilated beyond recognition, and the happy-faced dissenters and self-proclaimed contrarians have for the most part failed to raise the alarm. . . . In fact, there are mass arrests and mass deportations, with the potential for rapid escalation. . . . Events have lost all connection with facts. The worst economic crisis in either two decades, three decades, or seven decades, depending on the angle of concern, failed not only to result in loss of congressional representation for the ruling party, but led instead to historic, unprecedented gains at all levels of government. . . . The aim of this regime is to cleanse the entire country of undesirables, eventually including whites, the elite, the intellectuals, the rich, the privileged, everyone. In the next stage of the crackdown, borders will be shut down, people will not be allowed to leave, and emergency powers will let them coerce us into feeling completely naked and exposed. . . . What's in store for the next couple of years? Surely, no Democrat will dare to call for suspension of the Patriot Act or any part of Homeland Security. Optimists are mistaken to have any hope for 2004; this regime can change the whole subject of discourse to terror should the need arise. If the economy starts doing better, there may not be as much need to declare an emergency, to give unprecedented search and arrest powers to the military. But they may do that anyway, just to make the point, just to show us that they can do that if they want. . . . We are now living in potentially the most totalitarian regime the world has seen since the catastrophes of the middle of the last century. . . . The FBI can now spy on political groups without warrants, without the primary purpose being intelligence gathering. . . . The FBI on New Year's Eve put out pictures of five men it said were of Middle Eastern descent ... Now the FBI has admitted that the whole story was made up ... A Canadian Mountie told the Toronto Globe and Mail, "It was a slow week at the White House. They needed something to stir the pot because nothing was happening in Iraq." . . . Bookstores and libraries have been complicit for some time now in giving the FBI information about customers' and clients' reading habits. Bookstore employees and librarians may not divulge to patrons that they are being surveilled; this would subject employees or librarians to criminal prosecution. . . . Internet service providers, as part of "The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace" prepared by the president's Critical Infrastructure Board, are to take part in universal surveillance of internet use. . . . The official calls it ten times worse than Carnivore, because "Carnivore was working on much smaller feeds and could not scale," while "this is looking at the whole Internet." . . . The Denver police recently revealed that they have gathered information on thousands of political activists going back to the 1950s. . . . The foreign intelligence agencies are back in the business of domestic spying, and more ominously, the focus has shifted to military intelligence agencies linking up with local police to infiltrate and disrupt political groups. ... This program is being tested in San Diego, Baltimore, Seattle, St. Louis, Portland, and Norfolk. . . . At no point in our degeneration did liberals in the established media come out to protest the gravity of the situation. They have always underestimated the powers they were up against. Where has the smallpox threat come from? What information does the government have that leads it to believe that this is a real threat? Why is nobody asking this question? Will the military be involved in quarantining large segments of the population if mass vaccinations are ordered? Will door to door searches be permitted? Is the INS special registration a mere prelude to registration (next of Middle Easterners, South Asians, and Muslims, even if citizens), detention, and deportation on a colossal scale? How many other Americans will fall under the ambit of "enemy combatant?" . . . Do Americans seek refuge in Canada? Do we go to Britain, France, Italy? Do we figure out how to protect ourselves from smallpox vaccinations, although the trap is so elegantly laid that there seems no escape from it? Do we destroy the papers and documents in our homes, so that the wrong hands don't get a hold of them? Do we cease "dangerous" email and phone conversations? Do we continue to risk flying, despite the fact that any of us might at any time end up on a no-fly list, and face harassment, arrest, even torture, depending on what other disagreeable parts of our lives the government databases can get hold of? Do we drive and walk around and travel like cowards, afraid of the cop pulling us over, interrogating us about anything he wants to, making us feel naked and exposed and weak? Do we disconnect our association with organizations and interests that we feel may taint us by guilt with association? Do we cease all activity, all thought, all dissent, all individuality, because anything different we do stands out, noticed by the snoops and spies? Do we cease to exist as human beings? Is there any way to stop this dehumanization before we lose memory of how things used to be?
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posted by Lorenzo 12:21 PM

Bush Is Losing It
(Marty Jezer, AlterNet, January 23, 2003)
The great coalition that George W. Bush proposes to lead against Saddam Hussein is now a coalition of two, and British prime minister Tony Blair has lost the support of his own people, most especially members of his own Labor Party, who warn of a political revolt if Britain goes to war without a new UN resolution. . . . In France, 75 percent oppose Bush's policy; in Germany the number is 76, in Italy it's 61. In Turkey, a country crucial to the Administration's military effort, opposition to the war, according to the Wall Street Journal, registers at between 80 and 90 percent. . . . In the United States, confidence in the Bush Administration is evaporating, and it's no wonder. Reality is out-running the rhetoric. . . . Anticipating the coming deficits, the Administration has shamelessly cut veteran benefits to what it describes as higher-income veterans. In fact, the new cut-off applies not to wealthy veterans but to middle-class veterans with annual incomes of $30,000 to $35,000. . . . What Bush proposes is class war. . . . A war in Iraq risks destabilizing the Middle East, invites terrorist attacks against Americans all over the world, and will encourage politically motivated attacks on civil liberties here at home. . . . Bush is losing it. His composure, his "good-guy" image, the debate about economic policy, the sympathy and support of the international community and, as polls indicate, the backing of the American people.
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posted by Lorenzo 12:01 PM

God shed dis-grace on thee: Will that be our new national anthem?
By Meria Heller
Online Journal Contributing Writer
January 23, 2003�America is changing. In two short years we've lost a huge budget surplus and no one seems to know where it went. It's not in my pocket, is it in yours? We went from having a Constitution and Bill of Rights to the USA PATRIOT Act and the Homeland "In-Security" Act. War is now a common term and the target seems to change weekly. With a declaration of total lunacy an "axis of evil" was condemned by an un-elected pResident. A few months later those very same nations are acting according to accusation. My mother used to say, "If you're going to have the name, you might as well play the game." Obviously this is not just an American-Italian expression. America went from the illusion of a two party system to the reality that Corporatism rules and owns our government. It is no longer a government by, for and of the people. It is a fascistic regime under the rule of Corporations. The people and organizations that we pay to protect us haven't. They have capitulated to the dictums from the White House to continue throwing "fear" and lies of "terrorism" at the population. Fear is all about control.

****Good essay - worth the read*****
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 11:03 AM


"The spirit was freedom and justice and it's keepers seemed generous and kind. It's leaders were supposed to serve the country but now they won't pay it no mind 'cause the people grew fat and got lazy ,and now their vote is a meaningless joke. They babble about law and order but it's all just an echo of what they've been told. Our cities have turned into jungles and corruption is stranglin' the land. The police force is watching the people and the people just can't understand. We don't know how to mind our own business 'cause the whole world has got to be just like us. Now we are fighting a war over there, no matter who's the winner we can't pay the cost 'cause there's a monster on the loose. It's got our heads into a noose and it just sits there watching. America where are you now? Don't you care about your sons and daughters? Don't you know we need you now, we can't fight alone against the monster . . . Heed the threat and awesome power of the mighty Pentagon . . . Which is wasting precious millions on the toys of Washington . . . Just one time I'd like to be somewhere where none of your clever lies fill the air. I'm tired of your frozen smile and your voice of tin . . ." Monster by Steppenwolf, 1970.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 10:50 AM

USA Oui! Bush Non!
by Eric Alterman - January 23, 2003

You can tell a lot about a continent by the way it reacts to Bruce Springsteen. Tonight, at the Bercy Stadium, the typically multigenerational, sold-out Springsteen audience could be from Anytown, USA. Everybody knows all the lyrics, even to the new songs. Toward the end of the evening, Bruce announces, in French, "I wrote this song about the Vietnam War. I want to do it for you tonight for peace," and 15,000 Parisians, standing in the historic home of cultural anti-Americanism, scream out at the top of their collective lungs, "I was born in the USA," fists in the air. You can't be anti-American if you love Bruce Springsteen. You can criticize America. You can march against America's actions in the world. You can take issue with the policies of its unelected, unusually aggressive and unthinking Administration, and you can even get annoyed with its ubiquitous cultural and commercial presence in your life. But you can't be anti-American. George W. Bush is "like a cartoon stereotype" representing "the worst side of the US culture," Jordi Beleta, 45, told Phil Kuntz of the Wall Street Journal, outside Barcelona's Palau Sant Jordi two nights after Paris. "Bruce is real. He's a street man." A Reuters reporter found a similar story in Berlin: "America can keep Bush but Springsteen can come back here as often as he wants," said Rumen Milkov, 36. To be genuinely anti-American, as the Italian political scientist Robert Toscano points out, is to disapprove of the United States "for what it is, rather than what it does." Bush Administration officials and their supporters in the media would like to confuse this point in order to dismiss or delegitimize widespread concern and anger about the course of US foreign policy. To listen to their words, Europe has become a smoldering caldron of anti-Americanism, in which even our best qualities are held against us by a jealous, frustrated and xenophobic population led by cowardly, pacifistic politicians. The picture painted in the US media is one of almost relentless resentment.

...but even in Britain, whose prime minister, Tony Blair, has proven Bush's most reliable and articulate ally across the pond, mainstream papers like the Mirror announce in large headlines--on July 4, no less--"The USA Is Now the World's Leading Rogue State." (The more liberal Guardian said the United States is an "unrepentant outlaw" nation.) Will Hutton, a former editor of the Observer, wrote a book portraying the United States as in "the extraordinary grip of Christian fundamentalism"; boasting a "democracy" that is "an offense to democratic ideals," where the "dominant conservatism is very ideological, almost Leninist," and is bolstered by "tenacious endemic racism," with an economy that "rests on an enormous confidence trick," and in which, incidentally, "citizens routinely shoot each other."

And there was a general disgust with the Bush Administration's formulation--initially explicated in Bush's 2002 State of the Union speech--of an "Axis of Evil" against which all civilized nations must ally themselves. In England, the Guardian termed the speech "Hate of the Union." As J�rg Lau, a Die Zeit correspondent in Berlin who is quite sympathetic to the United States, ruefully notes, the speech was "unanimously unpopular" in Europe. "I mean it was just so stupid, they are always talking about good and evil, in quasi-religious terms, and it gives us a strange sense of relief. Bush is always showing himself to be utterly stupid.... And we just sit back and wait for him to do it. It's unhealthy."

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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 7:13 AM

Hillary assails Bush on readiness 'myth'
NEW YORK � Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton last night said President Bush's homeland security plan is a "myth" and the nation is only marginally safer than it was before the September 11 terrorist attacks. "Our people remain vulnerable, nearly as vulnerable as we were before 8:56 a.m. on September 11," Mrs. Clinton said of the Bush administration's domestic anti-terror efforts at a homeland security conference in Manhattan. "Our vigilance has faded at the top, in the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., where the strategy and resources to protect our nation are supposed to originate, where leaders are supposed to lead," the New York Democrat said. Mrs. Clinton's attack on the president's anti-terror initiatives at home came four days before he is to deliver the State of the Union address and on the same day Tom Ridge was sworn in as the first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. A department spokesman had no immediate comment on her speech. "We have relied on a myth of homeland security � a myth written in rhetoric, inadequate resources and a new bureaucracy, instead of relying on good, old-fashioned American ingenuity, might and muscle," Mrs. Clinton said. "The truth is, we are not prepared, we are not supporting our first responders, and our approach to securing our nation is haphazard at best," she said. "Somewhere along the line, we lost our edge. We let our guard down." Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, said the Bush administration's top priority is homeland security and Mrs. Clinton's criticism only exposes the country to more terror. "I just think it was a cheap shot," Mr. King said. "It just invites the enemy to attack again."

Mrs. Clinton also promoted her Provide for the Common Defense Act, which she argues will force the federal government to help states and cities protect the public from terrorist threats. The legislation calls for developing anti-terror technologies, creating a task force to set minimum security standards and adding federal security personnel in areas with large populations, including New York City.

****** Well, she got part of it right - we are still vulnerable and the current junta is doing nothing of substance to change that fact. Her PCDA is not the answer but the American public has been conditioned to expect our government to "pass legislation and create task forces" as answers to all problems...But that's just this old curmudgeon's opinion******
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 6:52 AM

Total Information Awareness funds blocked
Senate Blocks Funding for Pentagon Database
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saying they feared government snooping against ordinary Americans, U.S. senators voted on Thursday to block funding for a Pentagon computer project that would scour databases for terrorist threats. By a voice vote, the Senate voted to ban funding for the Total Information Awareness program, under former national security adviser John Poindexter, until the Pentagon explains the program and assesses its impact on civil liberties. The measure, introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, also said the computer dragnet being developed could not be deployed without congressional approval, although it allowed exceptions for national security. It was tacked onto a spending package in the Senate, but it is not yet law. It is now expected to go to House and Senate negotiators. If the negotiators keep the provision in the spending package, it will advance to the House and Senate for final passage before going to the president for signing into law.

"This makes it clear that Congress wants to make sure there is no snooping on law-abiding Americans," Wyden told Reuters after the vote. He said the electronic data dragnet as proposed was "the most far-reaching government surveillance program in history." The Defense Department says the aim of the Total Information Awareness project, which is still in its infancy, is to seek patterns in transactions data like credit card bills and travel records to stop terrorist plots. Wyden and other Democrats announced last week they would try to block funding for it, citing concerns that it will amount to electronic surveillance of personal data of all Americans by the government and trample privacy rights.
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posted by Hal 7:02 AM

Office of Strategic Influence: The United States of Apathy

Graphic courtesy of SiGa
Take a close look at the text on these bills, and checkout the URLs shown.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:46 PM

Rumsfeld Claims Vietnam-era Draftees were of "No Value"
(Associated Press, January 21, 2003)
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld came under fire Tuesday for saying Vietnam-era draftees added "no value, no advantage" to the U.S. military because they served for such short periods. . . . The letter signed by Sens. Tom Daschle of South Dakota and John Kerry of Massachusetts and Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois argued that Rumsfeld's remarks at a Jan. 7 Pentagon news conference were offensive to veterans. . . . "We are shocked, frankly, that you were apparently willing to dismiss the value of the service of millions of Americans, tens of thousands of whom gave their lives for their country in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam," they wrote. . . . Rumsfeld said. "Big categories were exempted people that were in college, people that were teaching, people that were married. It varied from time to time, but there were all kinds of exemptions. And what was left was sucked into the intake, trained for a period of months, and then went out, adding no value, no advantage, really, to the United States armed services over any sustained period of time, because the churning that took place, it took enormous amount of effort in terms of training, and then they were gone." . . . The letter to Rumsfeld said he had distorted the historical record. . . . "It is not only inaccurate, but also deeply offensive, to describe the service of these men who answered the call of their country as without value," they wrote. "A more careful look at the record indicates that America's draftees played a crucial role in defense of liberty and democracy around the globe." . . . The letter said that about one of every three Americans killed in combat in Vietnam was a draftee, approximately 20,000 draftees in all. "Many more draftees came home with severe physical and emotional scars," they added. "Those who served in Korea and the two world wars can also attest to the value added by draftees."

[Comment: Listen to what this jerk Rumsfeld is saying. He's saying that:
- if you weren't able to get a deferment (like those who are now running this country did...except for Jr., of course, who went AWOL for 18 months and never served any time for it)
- and you got drafted ("sucked into the intake" as Rumsfeld calls it)
- that during those years you spent in service of this country you were

"adding no value, no advantage"

I find it outrageous that the women and men of our armed forces are reporting to someone like Rumsfeld who obviously holds almost everyone on earth in contempt.]
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posted by Lorenzo 12:25 PM

State of the Union: Congress Meets Wall Street
This poster says it all . . . check it out.
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posted by Lorenzo 6:25 PM

Bin Laden's Escape-plot Fools the U.S.
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden escaped Afghanistan by giving his satellite phone to his Moroccan bodyguard, who served as decoy for US forces tracking the signal, The Washington Post has reported....Abdallah Tabarak was captured at Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan in November 2001 and sent to the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is now a leader among fellow al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees, senior Moroccan officials told the daily...."He agreed to be captured or die," one official said. "That's the level of his fanaticism for bin Laden."
"You go this way and I'll go that way!"
Tabarak, 43, used bin Laden's phone while moving around the cave complex at Tora Bora that was besieged by US and pro-US Afghan forces.
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posted by Hal 7:07 AM

So Much for Homeland Security...
Marthe Dare - The SierraTimes.com - 01. 20. 03
While the usurpers prepare to perpetrate and unconstitutional invasion of a sovereign nation, our borders remain wide open to those who would cross the border undocumented; whether for "a better life", or fleeing a(nother) tyrant, or circumventing the racial/ethnic profiling being performed at our official ports of entry, or delivering the next terrorist "message", our Border Patrol (as a representative of the Administration's efforts (failures) at Homeland Security) remains the incompetant organization it has become over the last 30 years. How much longer before those that care about who and what crosses the borders take the responsibility into their own hands? It may have already started. And meanwhile, the Shrub stands behind the podium and with a smirk, tells the fawning masses that he "feels our pain" and "understands" what we're going through and that we should sacrifice more of our freedoms and rights....

Ummmm, yeah, right.
But that's just this old curmudgeon's opinion...
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 4:50 AM

Kurt Vonnegut speaks out against the war
(David Hoppe, NUVO, January 10, 2003)
Vonnegut continues to be a cultural presence, speaking out against war with Iraq to 10,000 protestors at a rally in New York's Central Park . . . Vonnegut has long argued that we are, ultimately, planetary citizens � whether we realize it or not. . . . don't want to belong to a country that attacks little countries. I don't want to belong to that kind of a country. . . . psychopathic personalities � hereinafter P.P.s � the medical term for smart, personable people who have no conscience. P.P.s are fully aware of how much suffering their actions will inflict on others but do not care. They cannot care. . . . An American P.P. at the head of a corporation, for example, could enrich himself by ruining his employees and investors and still feel as pure as the driven snow. A P.P., should he attain a post near the top of our federal government, might feel that taking the country into an endless war with casualties in the millions was simply something decisive to do today. . . . They really don't give a fuck what happens � not even to themselves. But this is a serious defect and, no, we haven't been invaded and conquered by Martians. We have been conquered by psychopathic personalities who are attractive.
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posted by Lorenzo 12:10 PM

(The Guardian, January 13, 2003)
Where are the pointy-head liberals now? The change can be summed up in Woodward's own career. As the Watergate investigator, he not merely protected his sources, he glamorised them. Now, still on the Post staff, he functions as a semi-official court stenographer to the Bush White House. And it is notable that those who talk to him - such as the president himself - always play the heroic role in his stories. . . . In the American press, day after day, the White House controls the agenda. The supposedly liberal American press has become a dog that never bites, hardly barks but really loves rolling over and having its tummy tickled. . . . Day after day, rightwing radio talk hosts dominate the airwaves, deriding opponents and cutting off callers who argue. . . . On TV Rupert Murdoch's Fox network, pursuing a thinly disguised rightwing agenda, has taken over the No 1 cable news spot from CNN; Bill O'Reilly, the host of its flagship show, makes Limbaugh seem wishy-washy. An attempt by the No 3 channel, MSNBC, to counter this with a liberal alternative by bringing the old master Phil Donohue out of retirement has been an embarrassing failure. . . . "It's not that the press is uncritical of the people it covers," says Steven Weisman, the New York Times's chief diplomatic correspondent, "but it's critical the way a sportswriter is critical, calling the points and measuring success or failure based on wherever the administration wants to be. So in a situation like this, when the administration is set on waging a war, is enacting its programme and is winning seats at elections, then in a funny way the press becomes like a ga-ga sportswriter. Except for scandals, the press is unable to set the agenda in this country." . . . Only about a dozen cities still have competing newspapers, and even there the competition is usually notional: either the main paper - as in Washington and Los Angeles - is so dominant it can ignore the opposition or the papers have joint operating agreements to cut costs. The major papers are so fat with ads they hardly notice that circulation is drifting ever downwards. The pressure on editors is not to increase sales but to maintain the industry's phenomenal record of profitability, which is not quite the same thing. . . . And political courage is especially rare. reporters in Washington are kept in line by the standard threat: annoy us, and your stories dry up. . . . In the face of this, only one White House reporter, Dana Milbank of the Post, regularly employs scepticism and irreverence in his coverage of the Bush administration - he is said to dodge the threats because he is regarded as an especially engaging character. It is more mysterious that only the tiniest handful of liberal commentators ever manage to irritate anyone in the government: there is Paul Krugman in the New York Times, Molly Ivins down in Texas and, after that, you have to scratch your head. . . . Even that cannot explain how the papers cravenly ignored the Trent Lott story. Lott, the veteran senator from Mississippi, made his pro- segregation statement on a Thursday, in full earshot of the Washington press corps. The Times and Post both failed to mention it. Indeed, it was almost totally ignored until the following Tuesday, kept alive until then only by a handful of bloggers. If there is a Watergate scandal lurking in this administration, it is unlikely to be Woodward or his colleagues who will tell us about it. If it emerges, it will probably come out on the web. That is a devastating indictment of the state of American newspapers.
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posted by Lorenzo 5:37 PM

The Smirking Chimp
"On Dec. 9, 2000, the day he left the White House, Clinton's approval rating was 68 percent; on Feb. 12, 1999, the day after his impeachment vote, Clinton held a 73 percent rating. By contrast, and I repeat for emphasis, Bush's rating is currently at 55 percent. Some lessons can be deduced from this. One, Bush's support is as soft as the ice cream at Dairy Queen. Two, the media has a knee-jerk aversion to reporting anything that sheds a negative light on this administration."

Another undereported is the strong negatives that Bush gets on re-election. From the latest Zogby poll "Slightly more than one in three voters (35%) say they would vote to re-elect President Bush regardless of who he runs against, compared to 56% who would not vote to re-elect Bush REGARDLESS of who he runs against."

Click on the above link for more...

There are victims, there are executioners, and there are bystanders...
Unless we wrench free from being what we like to call 'objective', we are closer psychologically, whether we like to admit it or not, to the executioner than to the victim.

--Howard Zinn
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posted by Lorenzo 3:32 PM

Bush sidelines his Cuban hardman
(Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, January 10, 2003)
The Bush administration yesterday announced a new job - in effect a demotion - for Otto Reich, the controversial Cuban-American who has been responsible for policy in Latin America for the past year. . . . Mr Reich, a hardline anti-communist, has been accused of supporting terrorists in Central America and appearing to welcome a military coup in Venezuela. . . . Mr Reich had originally been appointed to placate "the Miami Cubans", who are a significant body of support for the governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, the president's brother. . . . Mr Powell had become increasingly aware of the negative effect Mr Reich's position had on Latin American relations, particularly since the election of the leftwingers Ignacio Lula da Silva in Brazil and Lucio Gutierrez in Ecuador. . . . Last April Mr Reich came under scrutiny for apparently welcoming the military coup which led to the brief removal from office of President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. . . . Mr Reich, 57, rose to promi nence in the 80s when he was a public diplomacy adviser at the state department. . . . He used his office to promote the cause of the contras, who were then trying to overthrow the leftwing Sandinista government in Nicaragua. An investigation by the comptroller general found that Mr Reich's office had engaged in "prohibited, covert propaganda" on the contras' behalf. . . . He has been accused by his critics of supporting terrorism by his assistance to the contras. He was also accused of assisting the convicted Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch to gain the right to live in the US . . . Mr Birns predicted that Mr Reich would shortly return to the business world, where he used to be a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin and Bacardi rum.
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posted by Lorenzo 7:22 PM

(An Address by Representative Dennis Kucinich)
"We are in a period of chaos," Kucinich said, "which is driven by fear, by control, by power, by secrecy, mistrust, fragmentation, isolation, and by policies which use the lexicon of unilateralism and of preemption. . . . "But the world view - that system - cannot stand. That system is falling apart - we're seeing its last gasp right now. We are in the midst of an evolution in politics. We're not seeing the beginning of a new empire because that's ridiculous. What we are seeing is this old energy playing itself out in the world. And with its disintegration we will see a new integration; chaos will yield to harmony." . . . Kucinich believes that this political evolution can occur fairly rapidly. . . . One such rapid transformation, Kucinich noted, was the birth of America in 1776. It was not just an American revolution, he pointed out, but an evolution in human consciousness, an event that created a new form of government for this country, and for the world. We need to imagine and work for such a sudden shift today. . . . "It's a conscious effort. We have to call it forward. that's the power of consciousness - to call it forward." . . . "Our founders, and those who followed is that spirit, had an understanding of America's connection to something transcendent. We need to recreate the America of our dreams, an America that is a country of peace, a country that stands for human rights, that works for total nuclear disarmament, that leads the way to abolish biological and chemical weapons, that works to achieve cooperation in protecting our global environment, that works to achieve cooperation in international law through an inter-national criminal court, that works to abolish all land mines, that works for a small-arms treaty. We need to confirm America's purpose through cooperating with a community of nations, with the understanding that our country's role always has been to be a light to the world. . . . Our country is about to wage an immoral war in Iraq. But if we can avoid getting hooked by the anger - try not to judge the individuals involved, but keep our eyes focused on creating that world that we desire - then there's hope. You bring that hope to the moment because you are claiming the essence of your own humanity. Each of us has the power to change someone else's thinking, and as we approach that moment - inspired and with compassion - chances are we may well change peoples' thinking." . . . Our politics removed itself from the grassroots years ago when federal campaigns began relying on TV to communicate the message. Activities that were aimed at going directly to people began to change and the emphasis was 'raise the money so you can get on TV. . . . What is the right to assemble? We have to celebrate it by coming together. What is freedom of speech, except that someone stands up and expresses a point of view in a community meeting. We have to exercise those freedom muscles again, and then we strengthen our country. . . . You can change anything. There is no institution in a democratic society that is beyond our reach. If we have faith in ourselves, then we can have faith in our country.
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posted by Lorenzo 10:02 AM

War's Cost May Dwarf Stimulus Effect
(Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post, 8 January 2003)
Bush is plowing ahead with an ambitious 10-year, $674 billion economic stimulus plan even as U.S troops pour into the Persian Gulf region preparing for war. . . . The president's determination to push more tax cuts as the nation prepares for war has struck some economists as folly, since the economic shock of war would likely dwarf the impact of Bush's stimulus plan. Moreover, no tax policy at the moment could actually address what many economists believe to be the greatest drag on the nation's economy: the uncertainty of war. . . . But it is becoming increasingly difficult to address those domestic needs without first confronting the problems abroad, economists said. . . . The cost to the Treasury of a war with Iraq could be as low as $100 billion over the next decade or as high as $1.6 trillion, he concluded. Most likely, the economy would take a $391 billion hit in the next two years, Nordhaus predicted, which would dwarf the cash infusion the president is offering. . . . A recent analysis by experts convened by the Center for Strategic and International Studies predicted that any war would knock down stock prices by as much as 25 percent, more than undoing the anticipated benefit of the dividend tax elimination. . . . But if the war lasted even six to 12 weeks, stock prices would continue to fall, interest rates would rise and economic growth would slow by 1 3/4 percent, the CSIS analysis said. A worst-case scenario -- in which the war dragged on for 90 to 180 days, oil supplies were significantly disrupted, and serious terrorist attacks ensued -- would push the economy back into recession, regardless of economic policymaking. . . . "Whenever the president talks about war, he talks about a spirit of shared sacrifice," Gale said. "But for rich people, shared sacrifice appears to be accepting tax cuts, and for the poor, it seems to be accepting cuts in social spending. [And, of course, it is the sons and daughters of the poor who will be dying in battle.] There seems to be a disconnect bordering on the dishonest."
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posted by Lorenzo 12:44 PM

Was Senator Paul Wellstone Murdered?
Links to Facts & Commentaries about the plane crash of Senator Paul Wellstone including:
*The Co-incidence Theory - The strongest article yet by R B Ham on Print Think at Truth & Consequences
*Assassinated by Covert US Terror Group - Heavy duty article on voxnyc.com, 121 Viewer Commentaries
*Paul Wellstone Murder - Good summary, remote control takeover and simultaneous radio blackout
*How Very Convenient - Good Commentary by John Bottoms on strike the root.com
*Terror on the Hill - Very Good November 10 online article by Marc Ash of Truthout.com
*Jackson Thoreau Commentary - Did the CIA or the Right-Wing tamper with the plane?
*How the assassin did it - Also 'Plane gave no indication of trouble' on Rense.com
*Do Not Let the Murder of Paul Wellstone be the Murder of America - By Cheryl Seal, Nov. 1 News Insider.org
*Wellstone plane crash media survey good summary from Scoop in New Zealand, Nov. 7
*Some of the best Analyses of the Plane Crash and possibilities
Was Wellstone Assassinated? - Very thorough article, many details, Center for an Informed America NEW
Connecting the Dots - By David Spring on Liberal Slant (archives)
Why Wellstone? - By David Spring on Liberal Slant (archives)
The Reverberating Mystery of Paul Wellstone's Death - By Lisa Walsh Thomas on Liberal Slant (archives)
Good commentary by Dr. Michael I. Niman on Alternet
Good commentary by Jackson Thoreau on Liberal Slant
Was Wellstone Murdered? - Commentary by Kellia Ramares on Online Journal.com
Assassinations, Phony Wars, Stolen Elections - Article by Bev Conover in Online Journal
Brief statement by Marc Ash of Truthout.com
Media Survey by Scoop of New Zealand - Several good articles
Commentary by Cheryl Seals on Unknown News
Commentary by Ted Rall on Yahoo! News
*Cirisi's law firm looking into Wellstone plane crash - Star Tribune story on Nov. 14
Possible Assassination of Wellstone - Thorough article on the latest evidence at Twin Cities Indymedia
Short article about NTSB findings
Initial Crash Facts - An eye witness to the crash said he heard "a loud gunshot".
Plane Pointing Away from Airport - Story of Oct. 26 on CNN.com
Wellstone's Co-Pilot - Michael Guess played minor role in Moussaoui involvement -His link to Flying School
Details of pilot's felony record - Message on wnyc.com forum
Wellstone Pilot Exaggerated His Airline Experience - Story in Nov. 10 Star-Tribune
Wellstone Pilot had Felony Record - Served time for mail fraud, Story in Nov. 1 issue of Star-Tribune
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posted by Lorenzo 10:50 AM


When Congress rejects the will of the people, the people must act themselves. Congress has rubber-stamped Bush's criminal war that seeks to conquer the oil, land and resources of the Middle East. Bush and Congress have shown that they represent the interests of Corporate America rather than the people of the United States. . . . A people's movement is growing to stop them. Tens of thousands of people will participate in mass protest activities on the Martin Luther King Jr. anniversary weekend. . . . Dr. King publicly condemned the U.S. war in Vietnam, provid-ing a powerful connection between the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. In his �Beyond Vietnam� speech at Riverside Church in 1967, he stated, �The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today [is] my own government. ...[F]or the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.� . . . Dr. King believed that it was impossible to successfully wage a war on poverty at home while waging a war of aggression in Vietnam. The same can be said today about George W. Bush's global war drive. Social programs and services are being looted as Bush and Congress provide record-breaking sums for weapons of mass destruction and war. . . . The thousands of people who are coming to Washington, D.C., honor Dr. King and his legacy by opposing another criminal war--this time in the Middle East--and by demanding instead that these hundreds of billions of dollars be spent on jobs, education, housing, healthcare and to meet human needs.

[Click on link above for full SCENARIO & POLITICS OF JAN. 18]

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posted by Lorenzo 1:32 PM

Bush and bin Laden, Partners in Terror
Having difficulty telling the good guys from the bad guys? Use this handy guide to tell the difference between Terrorists and the Bush Administration:
TERRORISTS: Supposed leader is the spoiled son of a powerful politician, from extremely wealthy construction family. BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Supposed leader is the spoiled son of a powerful politician, from extremely wealthy oil family.

TERRORISTS: Supported by extreme fundamentalist religious leaders who preach hatred, intolerance, subjugation of women and persecution of non-believers. BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Supported by extreme fundamentalist religious leaders who preach hatred, intolerance, subjugation of women and persecution of non-believers.

TERRORISTS: Kills thousands of innocent civilians, some of them children, in cold blooded bombings. BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Kills thousands of innocent civilians, some of them children, in cold blooded bombings.
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posted by Lorenzo 7:51 AM

Top Ten Conspiracy Theories of 2002
(Mike Ward, PopMatters, January 2, 2003)
[NOTE: Click the above link to go to the full story, which has many links to details about these theories.]
Following are the ten most alarming theories about September 11, the "war on terror," and the future of the world.
Among the theories about the administration's real reasons for bombing and occupying Afghanistan, the one with the most traction argues that Afghanistan provides the best real estate for an oil and natural gas pipeline. . . . But the most telling evidence of all: Now that Afghanistan is a satellite state of the Bush administration, the pipeline is actually being built!. . . . the power plant became a cash sinkhole that threatened to send Enron into insolvency � unless the plant could tap into a pipeline network to be spun off from the Caspian Sea venture and recover some of its losses by operating on natural gas. A detailed and intriguing read, this document explains why Dick Cheney would sooner chug a quart of 10W-40 than surrender the minutes of those energy meetings. . . . This incriminating item [Mohamed Atta's passport] was thrown intact from a cataclysmic fireball and miraculously plucked from 1.6 million tons of debris in a matter of hours. The corporate media rarely mention the unlikelihood of this. Many in the alternative press, though, are unafraid to draw an obvious, albeit taboo, inference: that the Atta passport is planted evidence. According to Washington, DC, peace activist John Judge, other potential plants include the Arabic-language flight manuals left in one of the hijackers' cars . . . the British Daily Telegraph also ran an article on the subject, claiming to have found no fewer than four of the supposed September 11 attackers � alive, well, and hopping mad. Pending long overdue clarification from John Ashcroft's vaunted Bureau, one can hardly blame the conspiracy-minded for crying "patsy." . . . Another theory about the hijackers' real identities takes as its departure an utterly bizarre and largely overlooked story on MSNBC.com, which says that some of the hijackers may have trained at U.S. Army bases. . . . even if Al Qaeda placed the 4,744 suspicious [stock] transactions, wouldn't the story still be useful, if only to further illuminate the terrorist network's money machine? Apparently not, because the story didn't just fade away over time; it suddenly vanished. . . . today a handful of multinationals control most of what is said in the U.S. about military actions overseas and the reasons for them. At least one of these companies � General Electric � has financial stakes in the weapons racket as well, but this blatant conflict of interest gets as much coverage as the Telecommunications Act originally got when it was on the floor of Congress . . . It takes only a few clicks on the IAO's homepage to learn that the agency is presided over by Iran/Contra luminary John Poindexter, just one weapons-running Reagan-era alumnus to find an honored seat in Dubya's star chamber. Also plucked from political ignominy is Elliot Abrams, who has gone from pleading no-contest to charges of perjury before Congress to helping lead the Bush Administration's Mid-East policy. These are only two of the administration's many questionable appointments . . . The Northwoods memo invites us to rethink what some in the government might be capable of not only in terms of September 11 but also the Kennedy assassination. After all, if spectacular murders of people like John Glenn are conceivable, is it so fantastic to plot the assassination of a sitting president?

The top 10 conspiracy theories, speculations, and plain odd things I didn't have space to discuss here:
The Mel Carnahan and Paul Wellstone plane crashes.
Jeb Bush's 7 September 2001 martial law declaration in Florida (Executive Order 01-261).
The Flight 93 debris patterns and the ease with which the Flight 93 story that circulated in the major media fits into an archetypal "hero" narrative.
Warren Buffett, who � among with several other World Trade Center executives � went to Offutt AFB before the attacks on the morning of September 11. This is where Bush went after the attacks began.
Potential CIA links to the coup in Venezuela.
Cynthia McKinney's insinuation of possible government complicity in September 11 on the floor of Congress.
The Phoenix memo and the curious case of the FBI whistleblowers.
The idea that the anti-aircraft missiles used when Bush visited Genoa, Italy, we intended to thwart a kamikaze attack.
The Bin Laden family's clandestine flight out of the United States in the days after September 11.
Bush's 6 August 2001, comprehensive briefing, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."
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posted by Lorenzo 4:17 PM

Red Friday!
(Granny D)
To my Compatriots: Many, many people are against this Iraq thing, and are also upset by the attack on our Bill of Rights --conservatives, liberals and everybody inbetween. We activists know how to speak up, march, get arrested and all that. But we also need to find ways for other people, who perhaps don't feel as free to be activists, to nevertheless express their feelings. We need a signal of solidarity. How about if we start asking people to wear something red each Friday as a sign that they are opposed to the Bush Administration's warmongering and its attack on our Bill of Rights? If we leaflet transit stations and spread some e-mail around, maybe it can catch on. Maybe millions of people on the street, in offices and malls, and everywhere will be wearing a bit of red each Friday until we turn this thing around. What do you say?
--Doris "Granny D" Haddock
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posted by Lorenzo 11:04 AM

The Memory Hole >At Least One Foreign Country Assisted the 9/11 Terrorists
(Senator Bob Graham, Senate and House Intelligence Committees Report)
I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States. . . . I believe the American people should know the extent of the challenge that we face in terms of foreign government involvement. That would motivate the government to take action. . . . I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing -- although that was part of it -- by a sovereign foreign government and that we have been derelict in our duty to track that down . . . It will become public at some point when it's turned over to the archives, but that's 20 or 30 years from now. And, we need to have this information now because it's relevant to the threat that the people of the United States are facing today.
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posted by Lorenzo 10:55 AM

MIT Accuses Administration of 'Star Wars' 'Lies, Cover Up Of Flaws'
(William J. Broad, New York Times, 2 January 2003)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is looking into accusations that its premier laboratory lied to cover up serious problems with the technology at the heart of the administration's proposed antimissile defense system. . . . Dr. Postol has said M.I.T. appeared to be hiding evidence of serious flaws in the nation's main antimissile weapon . . . Dr. Postol, who first called for an investigation 20 months ago and repeated his request many times, is unsatisfied. "Potentially, this is the most serious fraud that we've seen at a great American university," he said in an interview. . . . His argument draws on stacks of letters, reports and interview transcripts, their details technically daunting and plentiful. . . . "Either there's a serious problem with the G.A.O. report, which needs to be corrected," Dr. Postol told Dr. Crawley in August, according to a meeting transcript, "or Lincoln Laboratory could be involved at the highest levels of management in covering up fraud."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 2:24 PM

George W. Bush's Constitution
(Nat Hentoff, Village Voice, 3 January 2003)
The imprisonment of "enemy combatant" Yaser Esam Hamdi in a naval brig in the United States is not a matter of concern to most Americans, since they do not know of Mr. Hamdi's isolation from the Bill of Rights, and might not care if they did. But the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether George W. Bush's Constitution will replace--in significant parts--the Constitution that most Americans are also not familiar with. . . . federal judge Robert Doumar in Norfolk, Virginia, that veteran jurist, appointed by Ronald Reagan, was astonished at the sweep of the government's declaration that the president had the right to personally put Hamdi in the brig and strip him of all his constitutional rights after claiming that he was an "enemy combatant." It is also the government's contention that the courts have minimal jurisdiction over the commander in chief as he locks up Americans he calls "enemy combatants" during our war against terrorism. . . . Think about that. This American citizen was officially stripped of all his constitutional rights and this flimsy two-page document is the government's explanation before the court. . . . In addition to Mr. Mobbs's pieces of paper, the government prosecutor also told Judge Doumar that the Defense Department had to hold Hamdi for interrogation. And since the war on terrorism has no defined end in sight, he must be "detained" indefinitely. . . . Said Judge Doumar: "How long does it take to question a man? A year? Two years? Ten years? A lifetime? How long?" . . . the United States Supreme Court. Those nine men and women will decide whether the essential liberties in the Framers' Constitution have been removed by George W. Bush. It's a pity the Democratic Party cares much less about civil liberties than about Bush's tax cuts.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 2:18 PM

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