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Truth crushed to earth shall rise again,- The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes with pain, And dies among his worshippers,
William Cullen Bryant

"...I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving,
fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our
lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all.
It is in fact mandatory. If such a determination is not embodied in our
political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly
lost to us – the dignity of man," Harold Pinter, Novel Lecture, "Art,
Truth & Politics."

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| The Bush Administration: Lowering the Nuclear Threshold | The Daily Outrage |
| United for Peace and Justice | Same-Sex Marriage | George Bush: What's Missing? |
| BushGreenwatch | Claim vs. Facts | America Coming Together | Michael Moore |
| Diplomats & Military Commanders for Change | Environment 2004 | SaveTheCourt |

sunflwr4.gif (1903 bytes)From the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, "... For me the simple message of the sunflower as a symbol is that we seek a nuclear weapons free world because we wish to bring life from the Earth instead of death, we wish to use the power of the sun on our planet instead of technologies and strategies of darkness, we seek transparency instead of secrecy, security instead of threat, and joy instead of fear. I think that the symbol of the sunflower represents all of this and more - there is also the beauty of sacrifice as reflected in the sunflower extracting radionuclides from the soil and in the process becoming "radioactive waste."" See also, Nuclear Issues News, The Last Epidemic, UrgentCall.org & Nuclear Policy Research Institute
A Political & Moral Imperative...

The Bush Administration has disgraced itself, the United States and our allies. It has contributed to the degradation of the human spirit. It has violated the most fundamental governing principle of "thou shall do no harm." In every facet of domestic and foreign policy it has shown itself weak and subservient to special interests and the politics of fear and hate. It has been unceasingly wrong- its policies bearing no relation to truth, reality and beauty-leading only to darkness. It has caused me to be ashamed to be an American.

It is the solemn responsibility of the American people to vote this Administration out of office. This duty transcends politics. World peace and stability may ultimately depend on it. When will the people awaken to the truth? See Also: Remarks by Al Gore, 5/26/04,
Diplomats & Military Commanders for Change & The Dangers of Fear as a Basis of Foreign Policy


Facing extinction; See also: Lawsuit
Seeks EPA Pesticide Data, 8/19/2008

See also: Lights out? Experts Fear
Fireflies Are Dwindling, 8/30/2008

Respect the circle of life. Remember the slow,
wise tortoise on whose back the world &
universe rests, The giraffe- the tallest who
can see far- the flamingo- the most delicate,
the beetle, the caterpillar- who clings close
to the earth and transforms into the butterfly-
respect all life. Remember your place in the
center - respectful of all- loving and beloved.
- Lowell Greenberg

Violence in the Healthcare "Debate"

There has been a consistent pattern of violence and/or threats of violence at town hall meetings and other venues during the so-called health care "debate." Often the people that make these threats are funded and supported by right-wing organizations such as Freedom Works, headed by former congressman Dick Armey and others. Most notable, is that these acts have not been denounced by Republican leadership. Instead the leadership of the Republican party encourages, justifies and placates those elements that are threatening the life of the President and others.

Some on the right are easily manipulated by the unscrupulous who wish to use their prejudices for financial gain and/or the accumulation of power. This is what is taking place during the health care debate. In fact, many that are so strongly opposed would have the most to gain from health care reform- seniors, the uninsured, the unemployed, veterans, working poor, etc. However with the spread of falsehoods and fears, these individuals are being used to prop up the powers behind the "deathers" and "birthers"- large health insurance companies and/or entrenched right wing operatives with close ties to corporate America and health care.

To not stand up to this violence is an act of cowardice. However the way to stand up is for legislators to vote their conscience and for the vast majority of Americans in favor of heath care reform to show their support- whether through letters, counter protests, etc. Espousing violence is the act of true cowards. -8/2009

Obama honors Harvey Milk with Presidential Medal of Freedom

"For much of his early life he had silenced himself. In the prime of his life he was silenced by the act of another. But in the brief time in which he spoke and ran and led, his voice stirred the aspirations of millions of people. He would become, after several attempts, one of the first openly gay Americans elected to public office. And his message of hope, hope unashamed, hope unafraid, could not ever be silenced."- President Obama, 8/12/2009

The President and Health Care

President Obama is not effectively addressing fundamental issues that threaten to derail his health care reform plans. These issues include:

(1) Escalating health care costs, now growing at twice the rate of inflation (119% in the past decade), threaten to destroy the American economy and standard of living. Based on present trends, it is possible that insurance costs could rise to 50% of wage earner income. The burden on US business could be staggering as well. The President needs to make this argument even more strongly to the America people. He needs to address how his proposed reforms will effectively control the escalation of costs and cover the more than 30% of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured. Savings from electronic medical records and increased preventative care, while worthy reforms, are not likely to wring enough costs from the system. Promises by pharmaceutical companies- a group he has unfortunately aligned with- about future drug cost savings- also don't pass muster. 

(3) Eliminating the morally reprehensible insurance company practices of denying or rescinding coverage to those in need and rating individuals and groups based on claims experience- while essential reforms- does not fully address the issue of how to provide affordable care to every American now and in the future.

(4) If the so-called government/public option is an essential component of controlling costs by removing profit from the system, reducing administrative costs, controlling prices and providing choice along with something close to universal coverage, then he needs to spell out what components of the public option are non-negotiable. Also, he needs to be candid and admit that ultimately the public option may need to be the only option (single payer) or principal option to cap administrative costs and constrain prices, while providing true universal coverage.

By not clearly and effectively addressing the above issues, the President may have weakened his own base of support. Incremental reforms may be justified by political reality, but those reforms need to be fiscally sound past the ten year horizon. Leadership, not backed by sound policy erodes confidence and can derail needed reforms. To put it simply- this is where the rubber meets the road.

The Dangers of Republican Fundamentalism- a bankrupt morality

Based on Rachel Maddow's report (see below), what concerns me is not the "family's" embracing of Christianity or of fellowship- but rather what appears to be their arrogance, hypocrisy, secretiveness, and unethical- if not illegal- use of public money to further evangelical causes abroad.

To address an aspect of Coe's teachings-leaders such as Hitler and Stalin, who usurp power through violence, are to be condemned- not embraced by Christianity as a source of inspiration because of the blind devotion of their followers. It was this blind devotion, that under Hitler, resulted in the extermination of over six million Jews  This is not the kind of devotion that religion and spirituality should embrace. True spiritual devotion is not blind- but always questioning because of the fallibility of human nature and the constant search for truth.

Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (“Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ”) (Matthew 22:21).
Also, more pertinently, "But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."  It is a corruption of the Christ's teaching to believe that power has any inherent virtue and that the politics of domination-church inspired or not- has any significance in the advancement of the human spirit.

Unrelated is the despicable attempt by some Republican members of Congress, to among other things, challenge Obama's citizenship and to assert that the health care proposals under consideration would kill the elderly (See second Rachel Maddow video below).. Apparently some Republicans are embracing an age old strategy of engendering fear and lies- hoping if they repeat these lies enough times, enough people will believe them and remain enslaved to the controlling classes.

Finally, it is also regrettable that only one Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted for Judge Sonia Sotomayor to become Supreme Court Justice. Rather, than her nomination being welcomed as the advent of a new age of greater equality and fairness- it has become a vehicle for assertions of white supremacy and unfounded charges of reverse racism. See also: NBC: Secretive DC prayer group has worldwide reach, 4/2008 & RachelWatch: Poker Face

The People's Money

On April 20, 2009 President Obama, in the first convening of his cabinet, called on his team to cut administrative costs in their departments by a total of 100 million dollars. The response by the political establishment (not the cabinet of course) was predictable... "Such a "paltry" sum- Obama is "laughable."" Well the laugh is on them. If they weren't so corrupt and if they were truly watching over the people's money then they would realize that 100 million dollars will feed millions of children or provide needed assistance to elderly and disable. Perhaps the sum would not be so paltry if it came out of their salaries and holdings.

Earth to Obama, Obama to Earth?

At the G-20 Conference Obama sounded more like capitalism's best hope- proudly proclaiming that he IS a capitalist. Well the Earth has a message to Obama. Global capitalism is dying. You can defend it, promote it and pretend that all is well- but it isn't. Capitalism is raping the planet of life and resources, creating enormous inequality and ultimately destroying itself. The choice is not how to make capitalism better, but rather how to move towards a more just, equitable and sustainable system before its too late. And there isn't that much more time.

Obama's lack of courage and independence when dealing with banks and the systemic issues that caused the current downturn- may well be his downfall- making it increasingly likely he will be a one term president.

Who Pulls the Financial Strings in the Obama Administration

"...Geithner has hired as his chief-of-staff, the lobbyist from Goldman Sachs. The new deputy secretary of state was, until last year, a CEO of Citigroup. Another CFO from Citigroup is now assistant to the president, and deputy national security advisor for International Economic Affairs. And one of his deputies also came from Citigroup. One new member of the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board comes from UBS, which is being investigated for helping rich clients evade taxes.

You're probably too young to remember that old song, "Sounds like the Mack the Knife is back in town." I mean, is that what you're talking about with this web of relationships?"- Bill Moyers in an interview with Simon Johnson, 2/13/2009


"... We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law ... To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. ... And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect."- Excerpt from President Barack Obama's Inaugural address, 1/20/2008.

As Barack Obama assumes the presidency, the outlines of what his leadership may be have emerged. He recognizes that even in prosperity his task would be difficult. However, the present difficulties have awakened the nation and the world- engendering fear and the desire for a new direction. Yet he does not lead by fear- but by hope and firm resolve.

His leadership has the potential to be wise and detached- wise in terms of understanding the human heart and its limitations and potential- yet detached enough to do what is right without emotional coloration and temptation. He seeks to be forgiving, balanced and non-partisan. As long as his sight is on goals that are lofty enough to address the multifaceted challenges of the world- he will be successful. Excessive compromise that also compromises the truth will lead to failure- yet the truth is not always easy to discern- hence the challenge.

Yet he understands that success or failure depends upon popular support and compassion. There is an understanding of collective responsibility that adds a moral weight to his leadership- and the possibility of disappointment- hence the need again for Buddhist like detachment. His speeches become all the more powerful as he remains detached and compassionate.

Israeli Attacks in Gaza

Israel is made less, not more secure by these attacks. It is a sign of weakness and strategic miscalculation when a dominant power attempts to repress a people for short term gain. What is needed is a long term plan for peace that addresses the aspirations of the oppressed and is a clean departure from the past.

According to Jeremy Ben-Ami, Executive Director of J Street, "While this morning's air strikes by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza can be understood and even justified in the wake of recent rocket attacks, we believe that real friends of Israel recognize that escalating the conflict will prove counterproductive, igniting further anger in the region and damaging long-term prospects for peace and stability."

Where is President-Elect Obama? Where are the voices of moral outrage? Where is the voice of peace?"- Lowell Greenberg,12/29/2008; See also: Jewish Voice for Peace. & Progressive Rabbi Michael Lerner on Israel/Gaza Interview transcript,1/2/2009

Sign the Petition: Gaza: Stop the Bloodshed, Time for Peace.

On the Choice of Rick Warren for Obama's Inaugural Invocation.

Whatever the reason- friendship, a quid pro quo- it doesn't matter. At a personal level, I believe that the Warren's attitudes towards gays is not merely a social stand- not merely a biblical interpretation- but an effort to dehumanize gays- to make it more difficult to grow up gay and as a youth believe that you are normal and entitled to the same quality of life that straight people can have.

By bolstering Warren in this way, Obama contributes to undermining the gay community. It diminishes his voice as a leader of integrity. It reminds people of his view of politics and change- one that may foreshadow weakness- not strength. Shallow manipulations by politicians or others will ultimately have no effect on the course of history and emergence of the truth. So as Obama returns a favor to his friend and reaches out to the evangelical Christian right- the struggle for gay rights marches on and will prevail. A struggle that Obama says he fiercely supports- See also: "The Better Angels?," by Kerry Eleved, The Advocate, 12/18/2008 & Three Questions About Rick Warren's Role in the Inauguration, Christopher Hitchens. Slate12/19/2008

I Have a Dream

I have a dream- that one day America will have a  leader who will be wise, possess a strong intellect and have true compassion.

He will have the energy, intellect, character and will to face the many great challenges that confront the nation and the world- environmental disasters, world economic collapse, food and water shortages and looming international conflicts.

I believe Barack Obama is that leader.

I have a dream that America will wake up and be willing to risk change. That America will release its government from the stranglehold of lobbyists and moneyed interests. 

I have a dream that America will have the clarity of thought and purpose to do what is right. To understand that appeals to fear are nothing more than efforts to enslave. To hold accountable those that have committed wrongs. To individually and collectively admit mistakes made throughout its history.

I have a dream that America will learn from those mistakes and become a force of light and compassion- freed from false dogma and fear.

This is my dream.

California Supreme Court's Ruling on Gay Marriage

Californians passed Proposition 8, which banned  same-sex marriage. Eventually this ban will be overturned- over time the truth will prevail. The California Supreme Court wrote of this last Spring in affirming same-sex marriage:

"In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual's sexual orientation -- like a person's race or gender -- does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right  (to marriage) to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite sex couples."

See also, Keith Obermann's comments on the passage of Proposition 8

Excerpt from "An Open Letter to Barack Obama," By Alice Walker

Dear Brother Obama,

"You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear."  "...We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about."- 11/2008

See Hillary Run (from Her Husband's Past on Iraq)

"...Run, Hillary, run. But your race towards the White House will never outpace the hypocrisy and duplicity inherent in your decision to vote for war in Iraq."- Scott Ritter, 3/3/2007

More than one million Iraqis dead since 2003 invasion: study, 1/30/2008

"LONDON (AFP) - More than one million Iraqis have died because of the war in Iraq since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, according to a study published Wednesday.

A fifth of Iraqi households lost at least one family member between March 2003 and August 2007 due to the conflict, said data compiled by London-based Opinion Research Business (ORB) and its research partner in Iraq, the Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies (IIACSS)."

Bush Opens Roadless Tongass National Forest to Logging, 1/26/2008

"JUNEAU, Alaska - Yesterday, the Bush administration put a “for sale” sign on trees in pristine roadless areas of the Tongass rainforest in Alaska - America’s largest national forest.

This move by Bush officials to reverse roadless area protections parallels two others made recently in national forests located in Idaho and Colorado.

Conservationists from across the country are indignant that roads will be punched through some of the nation’s last, best roadless areas to allow private corporations to log America’s public lands."

For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets, 1/6/2008

"A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets

Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator for the FBI, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office."

"...Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan..."  Sunday Times, 1/6/2008

Why I Believe Bush Must Go
Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse,1/6/2008

"As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president."

"...Of course, there seems to be little bipartisan support for impeachment. The political scene is marked by narrow and sometimes superficial partisanship, especially among Republicans, and a lack of courage and statesmanship on the part of too many Democratic politicians. So the chances of a bipartisan impeachment and conviction are not promising.

But what are the facts?

Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard..."

Retired officers: Iran attack would be a disaster: Former high-ranking U.S. military officials plead for a diplomatic solution, 2/3/2007

LONDON - Three former high-ranking U.S. military officers have called for Britain to help defuse the crisis over Iran's nuclear program, saying military action against Tehran would be a disaster for the region.

In a letter to the Sunday Times newspaper, the three former officers urged President Bush to open talks, "without preconditions," with the Iranian government in a bid to find a diplomatic solution.

The signatories were retired Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard, a senior military fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation in Washington, D.C.; retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, former head of U.S. Central Command; and Vice Adm. Jack Shanahan, former director of the Center for Defense Information.

'Stand Up Against the Surge' ...by Molly Ivins

"...We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"

The Path to Peace is not through War: Crime of the Century: Are Bush & Cheney Planning Early Attack on Iran?- David Lindorff, 12/24/2006

"...It now appears that the idea of attacking Iran is again moving forward. The Eisenhower strike force, armed with some 800 Tomahawk cruise missiles as well as a fleet of strike aircraft, and already on station in the Arabian Sea for over a month and a half, has moved into the Persian Gulf. A second carrier group, led by the USS Stennis, is steaming toward the Gulf, too. Already in position are three expeditionary strike groups and an amphibious warship, all suitable for landing Marines on Iranian beaches. On December 20, the New York Times, citing Pentagon sources, reported that both Britain and the U.S. are moving additional naval forces into the region "in a display of military resolve toward Iran that will come as the United Nations continues to debate possible sanctions against the country..."

Comment: The US plans for a tactical nuclear or non-nuclear air strike against Iran would be an unmitigated disaster for the United States, the Middle East and the world. It will destroy the possibility of peace in the Middle East for a quarter of a century or more It will lead to a chain of events that will cause an untold loss of life in and outside of the region. It will significantly increase the likelihood of wars and attacks using WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) in the region and throughout the world. It will embolden the forces of fear and repression in the Middle East and the Western democracies.

Yet both Democrats and Republicans appear to offer no significant opposition. As Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote, "Many Democrats have been trying to burnish a hawkish image and place themselves to the right of the President on this issue. They may find themselves trapped by their own rhetoric, particularly those with Presidential ambitions.”  It would be utter folly to believe that silence from the opposition will strengthen the President's hand in negotiating a peaceful solution with Iran. It is clear that while opposing forces are at work in the Administration, the thrust of the administration's policy is to prepare for war and exaggerate the threat from Iran. The Senate must not repeat the acquiescence that led to the Iraq War. Look for the enemy from within.

What is at risk in Iran & what must be done

"...We face today a crisis similar to those of 1964 and 2002, a crisis hidden once again from the public and most of Congress. Articles by Seymour Hersh and others have revealed that, as in both those earlier cases, the president has secretly directed the completion, though not yet execution, of military operational plans -- not merely hypothetical "contingency plans" but constantly updated plans, with movement of forces and high states of readiness, for prompt implementation on command -- for attacking a country that, unless attacked itself, poses no threat to the United States: in this case, Iran.

According to these reports, many high-level officers and government officials are convinced that our president will attempt to bring about regime change in Iran by air attack; that he and his vice president have long been no less committed, secretly, to doing so than they were to attacking Iraq; and that his secretary of defense is as madly optimistic about the prospects for fast, cheap military success there as he was in Iraq.

Even more ominously, Philip Giraldi, a former CIA official, reported in The American Conservative a year ago that Vice President Cheney's office had directed contingency planning for "a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons" and that "several senior Air Force officers" involved in the planning were "appalled at the implications of what they are doing -- that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack -- but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objection."

Several of Hersh's sources have confirmed both the detailed operational planning for use of nuclear weapons against deep underground Iranian installations and military resistance to this prospect, which led several senior officials to consider resigning. Hersh notes that opposition by the Joint Chiefs in April led to White House withdrawal of the "nuclear option" -- for now, I would say. The operational plans remain in existence, to be drawn upon for a "decisive" blow if the president deems it necessary.

Many of these sources regard the planned massive air attack -- with or without nuclear weapons -- as almost sure to be catastrophic for the Middle East, the position of the United States in the world, our troops in Iraq, the world economy, and U.S. domestic security. Thus they are as deeply concerned about these prospects as many other insiders were in the year before the Iraq invasion. That is why, unlike in the lead-up to Vietnam or Iraq, some insiders are leaking to reporters. But since these disclosures -- so far without documents and without attribution -- have not evidently had enough credibility to raise public alarm, the question is whether such officials have yet reached the limit of their responsibilities to our country.

Assuming Hersh's so-far anonymous sources mean what they say -- that this is, as one puts it, "a juggernaut that has to be stopped" -- I believe it is time for one or more of them to go beyond fragmentary leaks unaccompanied by documents. That means doing what no other active official or consultant has ever done in a timely way: what neither Richard Clarke nor I nor anyone else thought of doing until we were no longer officials, no longer had access to current documents, after bombs had fallen and thousands had died, years into a war. It means going outside executive channels, as officials with contemporary access, to expose the president's lies and oppose his war policy publicly before the war, with unequivocal evidence from inside.

Simply resigning in silence does not meet moral or political responsibilities of officials rightly "appalled" by the thrust of secret policy. I hope that one or more such persons will make the sober decision -- accepting sacrifice of clearance and career, and risk of prison -- to disclose comprehensive files that convey, irrefutably, official, secret estimates of costs and prospects and dangers of the military plans being considered. What needs disclosure is the full internal controversy, the secret critiques as well as the arguments and claims of advocates of war and nuclear "options" -- the Pentagon Papers of the Middle East. But unlike in 1971, the ongoing secret debate should be made available before our war in the region expands to include Iran, before the sixty-one-year moratorium on nuclear war is ended violently, to give our democracy a chance to foreclose either of those catastrophes..".- BuzzFlash guest contribution by Daniel Ellsberg, 10/26/2006

WATCHING LEBANON: Washington’s interests in Israel’s war.by SEYMOUR M. HERSH, New Yorker 8/2006

"...The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground..."

"...The Israeli plan, according to the former senior intelligence official, was “the mirror image of what the United States has been planning for Iran.” (The initial U.S. Air Force proposals for an air attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear capacity, which included the option of intense bombing of civilian infrastructure targets inside Iran, have been resisted by the top leadership of the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps, according to current and former officials. They argue that the Air Force plan will not work and will inevitably lead, as in the Israeli war with Hezbollah, to the insertion of troops on the ground.)"- Seymour Hersh, New Yorker, 8/21/2006.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) introduces House resolution requiring Congressional approval prior to use of military force in Iran, 1/12/2007

"Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC) introduced H. J. Res. 14, a joint resolution concerning the use of force by the United States against Iran. The resolution requires that – absent a national emergency created by an attack, or a demonstrably imminent attack, by Iran upon the United States or its armed forces – the President must consult with Congress and receive specific authorization prior to initiating any use of military force against Iran."

"...One of the many lessons from our involvement in Iraq is that Congress needs to ask the right questions prior to exercising its Constitutional authority to approve the use of military force."

Comment: Our policy towards Iraq is one of belligerence and reflects a failure to understand the political, cultural, religious and social dynamics of the country and region. I applaud Representative Jones, Senator Joe Biden (D-Del) and others for challenging the status quo and not permitting the Iraq debate to distract Congress from a reckless Iran policy. The Senate has a constitutional duty to block any US or surrogate US attack on Iran. See also:
U.S. plans envision broad attack on Iran: analyst, 1/19/2007

The battle to save Iraq's children: Doctors issue plea to Tony Blair to end the scandal of medical shortages in the war zone

The desperate plight of children who are dying in Iraqi hospitals for the lack of simple equipment that in some cases can cost as little as 95p is revealed today in a letter signed by nearly 100 eminent doctors.

They are backed by a group of international lawyers, who say the conditions in hospitals revealed in their letter amount to a breach of the Geneva conventions that require Britain and the US as occupying forces to protect human life. Belfast Telegraph, Colin Brown, 1/19/2007


President Confronts Dissent on Troop Levels: Bush Indicates Military Won't Dictate Numbers; Top General to Retire, Peter Baker, Washington Post, 12/21/2006

According to this article the President is rejecting the advice of the Joints Chiefs of Staff and other senior uniformed military leadership who have "opposed sending additional forces without a clear mission, seeing the idea as ill-formed and driven by a desire in the White House to do something different even without a defined purpose."

Comment: The President and the Congress are strongly advised that the senior military are correct- the sending of additional troops is nothing more than the continuance of a bankrupt policy whose goals are unrealistic and destabilizing to the region. The path to peace is not through war.


"We cannot expect either Republicans or Democrats in Congress to initiate any challenge to the existing order of things. In the history of the nation, serious injustices---slavery, racial segregation, the rights of working people, the condition of women, the war in Vietnam---have only been remedied by powerful social movements that have forced the government to change its policies. Now we have another such time.- Howard Zinn from "Impeach the President, the Case against Bush and Cheney, edited by Dennis Loo and Peter Phillips, 10/2006."

Comment: The case for impeachment and censure is strong. The American people are responsible for the illegal conduct of the Bush administration and the once Republican led House and Senate. It is Congress's responsibility to ensure the people fully understand the constitutional and humanitarian crimes committed by their government. As George Santayana wrote, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

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

Transcript of Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's speech, 8/30/2006

"...A patriot is a person who loves his or her country.
Who among you loves your country so much that you have come here today to raise your voice out of deep concern for our nation - and for our world?
And who among you loves your country so much that you insist that our nation's leaders tell us the truth? .."
"...A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the name of politeness or for the sake of being a good host; to show slavish, blind obedience and deference to a dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating president. That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That person is a member of a frightening culture of obedience - a culture where falling in line with authority is more important than choosing what is right, even if it is not easy, safe, or popular. And, I suspect, that person is afraid - afraid we are right, afraid of the truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she has put in with an oppressive, inhumane, regime that does not respect the laws and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure. In response to those who believe we should blindly support this disastrous president, his administration, and the complacent, complicit Congress, listen to the words of Theodore Roosevelt, a great president and a Republican, who said: The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole."

The Earth & All Life Cry Out

"When we conjure up the past we run the risk of reawakening old nightmares of being overwhelmed with horror. Conjuring the future is even more treacherous, because to attempt to envision the future we must resort to what is known, to the past, and if the past is nearly unbearable, how much more to look ahead and see only nightmares staring back at us. Then again, considering the dire present, imagining that we have any future at all has got to be accounted  a cause for celebration."- Tony Kushner

"If you lose touch with nature you lose touch with humanity. If there's no relationship with nature then you become a killer; then you kill baby seals, whales, dolphins, and man either for gain, for "sport," for food, or for knowledge. Then nature is frightened of you, withdrawing its beauty. You may take long walks in the woods or camp in lovely places but you are a killer and so lose their friendship. You probably are not related to anything to your wife or your husband " -J.Krishnamurti, from - Krishanmurti's Journal, 04 April 1975

Volcanic crater at the summit of Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, as it has not been seen before in 11,000 years. (Alex Mazola, Magnum Photos).

Earth is at the Tipping Point: The climate is crashing and global warming is to blame. Why the crisis hit so soon -- and what we can do about it- Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine, 3/27/2006

Global Warming 'Past the Point of No Return', Steve Connor, Independent/UK, 9/16/2005; Global Warming: Passing the 'Tipping Point'- Independent/UK, 2/2006

National Academy of Science Study says Earth's temp at 400-year high: "It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries," 6/23/2006

World temperatures keep rising: Climate data show 2005 on track to be hottest on record, 10/13/2005, Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

The century of drought

"Drought threatening the lives of millions will spread across half the land surface of the Earth in the coming century because of global warming, according to new predictions from Britain's leading climate scientists." -Michael McCarthy, Environmental Editor, Independent/UK, 10/4/2006.

An Inconvenient Truth

"Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced."- From the film an AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, Former Vice-President, Al Gore, 5/24/2006

If every man, woman and child slapped themselves and then in stunned awareness thought about ways to reduce global warming gases, it would be long over due. Global warming requires all peoples to work together. Future generations scream and cry out for help. The United States, as we know it, cannot endure multiple hurricane Katrinas every year, permanent flooding of costal cities and the disease and pestilence arising from major climactic shifts. Harsh climatic conditions will destroy its ability to feed its own people.

A global Armageddon has already begun. Yet if we act now, we may avert greater disaster. If not, some climate scientists believe that runaway global warming is possible- resulting in the extinction of life on Earth.- Lowell Greenberg

To George W. Bush

Let my people go

How much longer will your lies deceive my world?
How much longer will you endanger my people?
How much longer long will you destroy my world’s beauty- filling it with oil drenched ugliness?
How much longer will you impoverish my generations born and yet born?
My world derides you. Future generations mock you.
My truth burns brighter than your lies.
Your fear has infected my world.
Your fear has emboldened the enemies of peace and distressed my peace keepers.
Your leadership- an abyss.

Let my people go.

Stem cell research saves lives, yet the President plans to veto a bill that would give researchers the ability to use stem cell lines generated since August 9, 2001. Once again, Bush demonstrates political cynicism and an indifference towards life that has been a hallmark of his administration.

"In closing, we remind you that the welfare of millions of people worldwide depends on medical research that can help alleviate the suffering caused by injury and illness. Passage of H.R. 810 will help to meet this scientific and medical challenge and will also send a message of hope to the many American patients that could be helped by research with new stem cell lines."- Paul J. Simmons, PhD, International Society for Stem Cell Research & George Q. Daley, MD, PhD, ISSCR President-Elect.

Preamble to the Earth Charter

We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.

Earth, Our Home

Humanity is part of a vast evolving universe. Earth, our home, is alive with a unique community of life. The forces of nature make existence a demanding and uncertain adventure, but Earth has provided the conditions essential to life's evolution. The resilience of the community of life and the well-being of humanity depend upon preserving a healthy biosphere with all its ecological systems, a rich variety of plants and animals, fertile soils, pure waters, and clean air. The global environment with its finite resources is a common concern of all peoples. The protection of Earth's vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred trust.

The Global Situation

The dominant patterns of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation, the depletion of resources, and a massive extinction of species. Communities are being undermined. The benefits of development are not shared equitably and the gap between rich and poor is widening. Injustice, poverty, ignorance, and violent conflict are widespread and the cause of great suffering. An unprecedented rise in human population has overburdened ecological and social systems.The foundations of global security are threatened. These trends are perilous—but not inevitable.

The Challenges Ahead

The choice is ours: form a global partnership to care for Earth and one another or risk the destruction of ourselves and the diversity of life. Fundamental changes are needed in our values, institutions, and ways of living. We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more. We have the knowledge and technology to provide for all and to reduce our impacts on the environment. The emergence of a global civil society is creating new opportunities to build a democratic and humane world. Our environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are interconnected, and together we can forge inclusive solutions.

Universal Responsibility

To realize these aspirations, we must decide to live with a sense of universal responsibility, identifying ourselves with the whole Earth community as well as our local communities. We are at once citizens of different nations and of one world in which the local and global are linked. Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of the human family and the larger living world. The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature. We urgently need a shared vision of basic values to provide an ethical foundation for the emerging world community. Therefore, together in hope we affirm the following interdependent principles for a sustainable way of life as a common standard by which the conduct of all individuals, organizations, businesses, governments, and transnational institutions is to be guided and assessed.

World temperatures keep rising:  Climate data show 2005 on track to be hottest on record

"New international climate data show that 2005 is on track to be the hottest year on record, continuing a 25-year trend of rising global temperatures.

The new analysis comes as government and independent scientists are reporting other dramatic signs of global warming, such as the record shrinkage of the Arctic sea ice cover and unprecedented high ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico."- Juliet Eiperin, Washington Post, 10/13/2005; See also: Wilma Strengthens to Category 5 Hurricane; Warming to Cause Harsher Weather, Study Says

Apocalypse Now: How Mankind is Sleepwalking to the End of the Earth

"Floods, storms and droughts. Melting Arctic ice, shrinking glaciers, oceans turning to acid. The world's top scientists warned last week that dangerous climate change is taking place today, not the day after tomorrow."- Geoffrey Lean, Environmental Editor, The Independent, 2/6/2005; See also: "The Final Proof: Global Warming is a Man-Made Disaster," Steve Connor, Independent/UK, 2/19/05 ; Climate Change: Countdown to Global Catastrophe: Report warns point of no return may be reached in 10 years, leading to droughts, agricultural failure and water shortages, 1/24/05 & Mount Kilimanjaro Photo Wake-Up Call for Action Against Global Warming, 3/15/2005

Battlefield Earth

"I read that the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the election a mandate for President Bush on the environment. This for an administration that wants to rewrite the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act protecting rare plant and animal species and their habitats, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act that requires the government to judge beforehand if actions might damage natural resources.

That wants to relax pollution limits for ozone; eliminate vehicle tailpipe inspections; and ease pollution standards for cars, sports utility vehicles and diesel-powered big trucks and heavy equipment.

That wants a new international audit law to allow corporations to keep certain information about environmental problems secret from the public.

That wants to drop all its new-source review suits against polluting coal-fired power plans and weaken consent decrees reached earlier with coal companies.

That wants to open the artic wildlife refuge to drilling and increase drilling in Padre Island National Seashore, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and the last great coastal wild land in America.

I read the news just this week and learned how the Environmental Protection Agency had planned to spend nine million dollars - $2 million of it from the administration's friends at the American Chemistry Council - to pay poor families to continue to use pesticides in their homes. These pesticides have been linked to neurological damage in children, but instead of ordering an end to their use, the government and the industry were going to offer the families $970 each, as well as a camcorder and children's clothing, to serve as guinea pigs for the study.

I read all this in the news.

I read the news just last night and learned that the administration's friends at the international policy network, which is supported by Exxon Mobile and others of like mind, have issued a new report that climate change is "a myth, sea levels are not rising," scientists who believe catastrophe is possible are "an embarrassment."

I not only read the news but the fine print of the recent appropriations bill passed by Congress, with the obscure (and obscene) riders attached to it: a clause removing all endangered species protections from pesticides; language prohibiting judicial review for a forest in Oregon; a waiver of environmental review for grazing permits on public lands; a rider pressed by developers to weaken protection for crucial habitats in California.

I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer – pictures of my grandchildren: Henry, age 12; of Thomas, age 10; of Nancy, 7; Jassie, 3; Sara Jane, nine months. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, "Father, forgive us, for we know now what we do." And then I am stopped short by the thought: "That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world."

And I ask myself: Why? Is it because we don't care? Because we are greedy? Because we have lost our capacity for outrage, our ability to sustain indignation at injustice?

What has happened to out moral imagination?

On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: 'How do you see the world?" And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly.'"

I see it feelingly.

The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free – not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need to match the science of human health is what the ancient Israelites called "hocma" – the science of the heart... the capacity to see... to feel... and then to act... as if the future depended on you.

Believe me, it does. - Bill Moyers, Alternet, 12/4/2004; See also: Environment;  Global Economics, Politics & the Environment; Global Warming: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid, Climate Change: Countdown to Global Catastrophe: Report warns point of no return may be reached in 10 years, leading to droughts, agricultural failure and water shortages, 1/24/05; Global Warming: Scientists Reveal Timetable, Michael McCarthy , 2/3/2005 & Bush Whitehouse Harms the Environment

The Fight for Justice

Dr. Martin Luther King described six principles of non-violence and six steps for non-violent societal change. We should imbue our attitudes and actions with these principles as we strive towards collective justice & truth- a beloved community.

- Nonviolence is not passive, but requires courage.
- Nonviolence seeks reconciliation, not defeat of an adversary.
- Nonviolent action is directed at eliminating evil, not destroying an evil-doer.
- A willingness to accept suffering for the cause, if necessary, but never to inflict it.
- A rejection of hatred, animosity or violence of the spirit, as well as refusal to commit physical violence.
- Faith that justice will prevail.

The Six Steps of Nonviolence developed by The King Center and based on Dr. King's teachings include:

- Information gathering and research to get the facts straight.
- Education of adversaries and the public about the facts of the dispute.
- Personal Commitment to nonviolent attitudes and action.
- Negotiation with adversary in a spirit of goodwill to correct injustice.
- Nonviolent direct action, such as marches, boycotts, mass demonstrations, picketing, sit-ins etc., to help persuade or compel adversary to work toward dispute-resolution.
- Reconciliation of adversaries in a win-win outcome in establishing a sense of community.

New Jersey Court Stops Short of Marriage Equality
"Thursday, 10-26-06 -- Yesterday, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to the same state benefits, protections, and obligations as different-sex couples. The court split, however, on how to remedy current state law.

The majority ruled that the New Jersey State Legislature must comply with the constitution by amending state laws to allow equal marriage rights or create a legal status like civil unions. Three dissenting judges argued that the only correct solution, however, is to grant gay and lesbian couples the fundamental right to marry."

U.S. Casualties in Iraq Rise Sharply
Growing American Role in Staving Off Civil War Leads to Most Wounded Since 2004

"The number of U.S troops wounded in Iraq has surged to its highest monthly level in nearly two years as American GIs fight block-by-block in Baghdad to try to check a spiral of sectarian violence that U.S. commanders warn could lead to civil war.

Last month, 776 U.S. troops were wounded in action in Iraq, the highest number since the military assault to retake the insurgent-held city of Fallujah in November 2004, according to Defense Department data. It was the fourth-highest monthly total since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

The sharp increase in American wounded -- with nearly 300 more in the first week of October -- is a grim measure of the degree to which the U.S. military has been thrust into the lead of the effort to stave off full-scale civil war in Iraq, military officials and experts say."- Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post, 10/8/2006

Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat

"WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks."- Mark Mazzeti, New York Tines, 9/24/2006.

U.N. Inspectors Dispute Iran Report By House Panel

U.N. inspectors investigating Iran's nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran's capabilities, calling parts of the document "outrageous and dishonest" and offering evidence to refute its central claims.

Officials of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency said in a letter that the report contained some "erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated statements." The letter, signed by a senior director at the agency, was addressed to Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), chairman of the House intelligence committee, which issued the report. A copy was hand-delivered to Gregory L. Schulte, the U.S. ambassador to the IAEA in Vienna.- Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, 9/14/2006.


The Israeli Occupation of Lebanon

"This war is not a just war. Israel is using excessive force without distinguishing between civilian population and enemy, whose sole purpose is extortion. That is not to say that morality and justice are on Hezbollah's side. Most certainly not. But the fact that Hezbollah "started it" when it kidnapped soldiers from across an international border does not even begin to tilt the scales of justice toward our side."- Ze'ev Maoz, Professor of Political Science, Tel Aviv University, Haaretz

Comment: International forces that have been operating for many years are coming to the fore in Lebanon. The US state department considers Hezbollah a terrorist nation. For a number of years Iran has been arming Hezbollah with rockets capable of hitting Israel. Hezbollah is committed to Israel's destruction. Both Syria and Iran appear to be playing roles in the escalation of violence. Israel in defending its national self interest, is killing large numbers of civilians and destroying bridges, power stations and other civilian facilities. Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamic group that has civilian support In Lebanon because they set up schools, hospitals and other social services and are perceived as a legitimate resistance movement. The outbreak of war is a failure of diplomacy, but in retrospect seemed only a matter of time. My hopes and prayers are that both sides can show compassion for each other- enough to end the violence and work together for peace and prosperity. In my dreams I see a time when the Israeli Prime Minister and the leader of Hezbollah can sit down together- begin working towards reconciliation, love and peace. Ultimately this is what in the best interest of both countries- but how much pain and death must occur for this to take place? For the United States- it must be careful that in seeing the geopolitical connections with Iran and Syria, it does not unwittingly involve itself in a conflict that would even be more disastrous and for which it is unprepared- a military confrontation with Iran and/or Syria.

United States to Israel: you have one more week to blast Hizbullah: Bush 'gave green light' for limited attack, say Israeli and UK sources, Ewen MacAskill, Simon Tisdall and Patrick Wintour, 7/19/2006

Comment: If these reports are correct, this makes the United States and Britain co-conspirators in this unnecessary carnage. See also: In Mideast Strife, Bush Sees a Step To Peace, 7/.21/2006, Michael Abramowitz & Wikipedia article on Hezbollah.

Legal Experts to Senate Committee: Bush "Signing Statements" Unconstitutional, Impeachable

"...Bruce Fein, attorney and renowned legal scholar, told the committee that Bush has essentially given himself a line item veto power by declaring portions of new laws unconstitutional and offering his own revisions.

"These statements, which have multiplied logarithmically under President George W. Bush, flout the Constitution's checks and balances and separation of powers. They usurp legislative prerogatives and evade accountability," Fein said. "The President does not enjoy a constitutional option of unilaterally pronouncing a provision he has signed into law as unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it on that count."

Citing Bush's behavior as "alarming," Fein suggested that the President could be impeached for "political crime(s) against the Constitution.""

Things I Learned Today

"According to Bart Gellman's review of Ron Suskind's new book the following things are true:

Al-Qaedist Abu Zubaydah was captured in March 2002.
Zubaydah's captors discovered he was mentally ill and charged with minor logistical matters, such as arranging travel for wives and children.
The President was informed of that judgment by the CIA.
Two weeks later, the President described Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States."
Later, Bush told George Tenet, "I said he was important. You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" and asked Tenet if "some of these harsh methods really work?"
The methods -- torture -- were applied.
Then, according to Gellman, "Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty."
At which point, according to Suskind, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target.""- "Things I Learned Today, by Matthew Yglesias, 6/20/2006

Bush Directed Cheney To Counter War Critic

President Bush told the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case that he directed Vice President Dick Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter allegations made by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that his administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to people familiar with the president's statement.

  If true, then more grounds for impeachment- Lowell Greenberg



"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the King's horses and all the King's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again."

"...A retired four-star general, who ran a major command, said, “The system is starting to sense the end of the road, and they don’t want to be condemned by history. They want to be able to say, ‘We stood up.’ "- General's comments regarding Bush's plans for an invasion of Iran, 7/2006.

Though the fairy tale grim, it is the truth when speaking of the Bush Administration- the most corrupt since Warren Harding. Unmistakably the emperor has no cloths- by his own admission, unsuitable to the task. Impeached by world opinion and futile in his efforts to discredit the truly honorable. See also: The Worst President in History? One of America's leading historians assesses George W. Bush, 4/21/2006.

No nation or empire escapes the truth and the longer it tries, the harder it falls.

Global warming is the most devastating environmental calamity mankind has ever faced- yet ignored by the United States. Instead our automakers make a killing producing SUVs- some of the most fuel inefficient vehicles produced in the last 30 years.

We consume 25% of the world’s energy yet represent only 5% of the world’s population yet preach economic and social justice to the world.

We invade Iraq in contravention of international law; our military is disgraced by acts of reprehensible torture and war crimes; We expect Iraqi citizens to welcome us in open arms after we are responsible for the death of over half a million of its citizens; We proclaim to the world that we deserve the spoils of war and actually believe that any Iraqi government we support can have the least credibility- our nation building efforts misguided and ineffective- our policies doomed to failure.

Our President brazenly declares his right to violate domestic wire-tapping laws and has the temerity to begin a criminal investigation to uncover the whistleblowers; Our Vice-president viciously leaks the name of an intelligence field operative; The President authorizes the leak of confidential information to further political objectives;  A tenth of our Congress is about to be shaken by a lobbying scandal after plunging the nation into reckless debt; Political cronyism is directly responsible for death and destruction before, during and after Hurricane Katrina; Half of the American populace does not merely disagree with President Bush, but actively despises him…the list goes on and on.

We rattle sabers at Iran- a country we have made more powerful through our follies. Commission after commission certifies the Homeland security administration a disaster and that we have failed to secure nuclear weapons in other countries or adequately prepare for more terrorist acts. Our freedoms are under continual attack as we fight a war on terrorism that is not a war but was invented to rob us of our freedoms and keep us in perpetual fear- the list of errors of judgment seems to have no end.

We actively seek to preserve the institution of marriage by denying it to loving and committed sexual minorities- even as the heterosexual community makes marriage a shambles. We boldly proclaim the right to life, but do little to make sure the unborn have a life. Our politicians pander to our prejudices and divert attention from their own hypocrisy and personal corruption.

Wake up America. No nation or individual is perfect and one of the strongest tenets of Christianity and other world religions is the notion of forgiveness. With humility and compassion, we must learn from our mistakes and move forward. We must open our hearts to the truth and what is right- then the answers will come and perhaps then we can be forgiven. - Lowell Greenberg, 1/4/2005.

John Murta, Meet the Press, 3/19/2006

"...MR. RUSSERT: Some in the administration say the media is distorting the good news that’s coming out of Iraq.

REP. MURTHA: Well, they said the same thing about Vietnam. They said the same thing over and over and over about Vietnam. "...Well, everything’s not going fine in Iraq. They have to realize that. When the whole world is against you, when our, our international reputation has been diminished so substantially, when all the countries in the, in the region say, “We’d be better off without us being in Iraq,” when the people themselves in Iraq say it, and American people say it, I mean who is right?..."

Quick Note on the Alito confirmation hearings
: Judge Alito was asked a very direct question by Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York on Day 1 of the hearings- namely- whether he believes the US Constitution guarantees a woman's right to an abortion. Alito was not asked about his personal views on abortion, rather he was asked whether or not a women has a constitutional right to have an abortion. He refused to answer the question directly. Implicit in his evasion is that he does not believe the American people have a right to know the answer to this question as part of his confirmation process. I find this evasion extremely offensive and a calculated attempt to undermine the process itself. A judge may for example, hold there is a constitutional right and still rule in individual cases against pro-choice parties. Alito is already on record for supporting restrictions to abortion, for example, requiring that a woman notify her spouse prior to having one. However if the judge does not believe there is a constitutional right, it is fair to assume that when given the opportunity he will attempt to override precedent. This is what his most ardent supporters are hoping and quite frankly is likely the case. 1/10/2005; See also: Saveourcourts.org-Oppose Alito Nomination; Alito's America; "George Bush's rough justice," Sidney Blumenthal , The Guardian/UK, 1/12/2005 & "Judge Alito, in His Own Words," New York Timed Editorial, 1/12/2006


"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region..."- 11/2005 Statement by John Murtha, Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania, combat veteran and retired Marine Corps colonel. See also: ENDING THE U.S. WAR IN IRAQ : How to Bring the Troops Home and Internationalize the Peace, Phyllis Bennis and Erik Leaver. Institute for Policy Studies, January 12, 2005

Murtha spent 37 years in Marine Corps, earned the Bronze Star, two purple hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. And for the last thirty years he's been one of the most respected voices in Congress on military issues -- universally respected by Democrats, Republicans and military brass alike. See also: Rapid Response: Deconstructing the “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq,”  Think Progress, 11/2005.



"Leadership passes into empire; empire begets insolence; insolence brings ruin." -William Carlos Williams, Paterson I, quoted from a review of Wendell Berry's book, "The Way of Ignorance and Other Essays," Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005

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."- From, "The Constitution in Crisis,"  Representative John Conyer's  250 page staff report; See  CensureBush.org.

"..Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House Judiciary Committee who staged the impeachment of President Clinton ought to be as outraged at this situation. They ought to investigate it, consider it carefully and report either a bill that would change the wiretap laws to suit the president or a bill of impeachment." -Barrons Magazine editorial. Barrons is published by the Wall Street Journal.

"The practice of domestic spying on citizens should halt immediately. Oversight hearings need to be conducted. Judicial action may be in order. We need to finally be given answers to our questions: where is the constitutional and statutory authority for spying on American citizens, what is the content of these classified legal opinions asserting there is a legality in this criminal usurpation of rights, who is responsible for this dangerous and unconstitutional policy, and how many American citizens' lives have been unknowingly affected?"- Senator Byrd: No President Is Above the Law, 12/19/2005

"But where says some is the King of America? I'll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve as monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is."- Thomas Paine, Common Sense

"The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading – as a last resort – all other justifications having failed to justify themselves – as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people. We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'."- Harold Pinter, Noblel Lecture, "Art, Truth & Politics."

Comments: After reading John Dean's comments- made over two and half years ago (The Case for Impeachment, 6/11/2003) and those he made a week ago (Boxer Impeachment Letter) (see below), as well as John Conyer's recent Congressional staff report on Administration misconduct quoted above- it is apparent that the case for impeachment is mounting. It will be another test of U.S. democracy whether the legislative/judicial branches and the press can hold George W. Bush and Dick Cheney legally and morally accountable. The time for compassion for the Administration and Congress can only come when there is complete disclosure, true repentance and a genuine exploration of how similar misconduct can be prevented in the future.

According to an article in the New York Times, dated 12/15/2005, Bush ordered the NSA to wiretap and eavesdrop on thousands of Americans without a court order- committing actions forbidden buy the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. As a consequence a federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest and Republican Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine joined Democratic Senators Carl Levin of Michigan, Dianne Feinstein of California and Ron Wyden of Oregon in calling for a joint investigation by the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees into whether the government eavesdropped "without appropriate legal authority."  According to John Dean, former Whitehouse Counsel, President, President Bush is the first President to admit an impeachable defense. Indeed, rather than admitting error- Bush has falsely claimed that this flagrant flouting of the FISA law was necessary because fighting terrorists needed to be done quickly." In fact, out of 19,000 requests for eavesdropping the Federal Intelligence Security Court has received from the Executive Branch since 1979 only five have been refused. See also: Doug Direland- A Time To Impeach. 12/19/2005 & Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say, 12/20/2005

The Case for Impeachment, 6/11/2003
"...To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."

"It's important to recall that when Richard Nixon resigned, he was about to be impeached by the House of Representatives for misusing the CIA and FBI. After Watergate, all presidents are on notice that manipulating or misusing any agency of the executive branch improperly is a serious abuse of presidential power."

"Nixon claimed that his misuses of the federal agencies for his political purposes were in the interest of national security. The same kind of thinking might lead a President to manipulate and misuse national security agencies or their intelligence to create a phony reason to lead the nation into a politically desirable war. Let us hope that is not the case..."- John Dean, former Special Counsel of the United States who was charged with obstruction of justice and spent four months in prison for his role in the Watergate cover-up. See also: An Open Letter To Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald From Former White House Counsel John W. Dean, 11/18/2005. & George W. Bush as the New Richard M. Nixon: Both Wiretapped Illegally, and Impeachably; Both Claimed That a President May Violate Congress' Laws to Protect National Security, 12/30/2005

Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials
"To avoid having to account for his administration's misleading statements before the war with Iraq, President Bush has tried denial, saying he did not skew the intelligence. He's tried to share the blame, claiming that Congress had the same intelligence he had, as well as President Bill Clinton. He's tried to pass the buck and blame the C.I.A. Lately, he's gone on the attack, accusing Democrats in Congress of aiding the terrorists."

"Yesterday in Alaska, Mr. Bush trotted out the same tedious deflection on Iraq that he usually attempts when his back is against the wall: he claims that questioning his actions three years ago is a betrayal of the troops in battle today."

"It all amounts to one energetic effort at avoidance. But like the W.M.D. reports that started the whole thing, the only problem is that none of it has been true." - New York Times Editorial, 11/15/2005;

Powell aide: Torture 'guidance' from VP

"Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who served as former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, told CNN that the practice of torture may be continuing in U.S.-run facilities.

"There's no question in my mind that we did. There's no question in my mind that we may be still doing it," Wilkerson said on CNN's "Late Edition."

"There's no question in my mind where the philosophical guidance and the flexibility in order to do so originated -- in the vice president of the United States' office," he said. "His implementer in this case was [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department.""- CNN News, 11/20/2005

Comments:  If Larry Wilkerson's comments are correct then both Cheney and Rumsfeld should be removed from office and charged with international war crimes. In addition to torture, both men and the President should also be held accountable for actions such as falsification or distortion of pre-war intelligence for the purpose of justifying war, the torture at Abu Ghraib prison, the use of cluster bombs, napalm, and depleted uranium, and crimes against civilians such as occurred in Fallujah. Further an international tribunal should be held to make sure that all war criminals are held legally and morally accountable for: (1) Crimes against Peace; (2) War Crimes and (3) Crimes Against Humanity. See also: Cheney accused on prisoner abuse: A top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell has launched a stinging attack on US Vice-President Dick Cheney over abuse of prisoners by US troops, BBC News, 11/29/2005. In this interview Col. Lawrence Wilkerson leaves open the question of whether Cheney can be accused of war crimes.  Also, Did Bush Really Want to Bomb Al Jazeera,? 11/23, Jeremy Scahill, The Nation. If the British memo is correct, it is further indication of a mind set leading to war crimes. The article,  "Dick Cheney's shadow play, by Sidney Blumenthal, 11/25/2005,"  exposes how the Vice-President, going as as far back as 1976, has been a major player involved in distorting US intelligence and manipulating foreign policy.

Convoy of Death: Why have US television stations refused to broadcast this documentary?

"The film provides eyewitness testimony that U.S. troops were complicit in the massacre of thousands of Taliban prisoners during the Afghan War.

It tells the story of thousands of prisoners who surrendered to the US military’s Afghan allies after the siege of Kunduz. According to eyewitnesses, some three thousand of the prisoners were forced into sealed containers and loaded onto trucks for transport to Sheberghan prison. Eyewitnesses say when the prisoners began shouting for air, U.S.-allied Afghan soldiers fired directly into the truck, killing many of them. The rest suffered through an appalling road trip lasting up to four days, so thirsty they clawed at the skin of their fellow prisoners as they licked perspiration and even drank blood from open wounds."

Dennis Rahkonen: 'U.S. forces 'shake and bake' Iraqi civilians!'

"Recognizing its devastating significance, progressive websites have been quick to headline the shocking story that a recently run Italian television documentary quite compellingly and gruesomely shows U.S. forces used the chemical terror weapon white phosphorous during their withering assault on Fallujah, Iraq."- Dennis Rahkonen, 11/11/2005; See also: US Criticized for Use of Phosphorous in Fallujah Raids, 11/9/2005, Andrew Buncombe, Independent/UK; 'I treated people who had their skin melted,' Dahr Jamail, The Independent, 11/15/2005 & Defense of Phosphorus Use Turns Into Damage Control, 11/21/2005, Scott Shane, New York Times.

Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting As Illegal
Voting Rights Finding On Map Pushed by DeLay Was Overruled

Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan.

The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department's voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts. It also said the plan eliminated several other districts in which minorities had a substantial, though not necessarily decisive, influence in elections.- Dan Eggen, Washington Post, 12/2/2005; See also: Fixing the Game, New York Times Editorial, 12/5/2005. Quoting from the editorial:

"Mr. Bush and his team don't understand that they merely hold the current majority in a system designed to bring periodic changes in the governing party and to protect the rights and values of the minority party. The idea that the winners should trash the system to make sure the democratic process ended with them was discredited back around the time of the Bolsheviks."

Powell aide: Torture 'guidance' from VP

"Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who served as former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, told CNN that the practice of torture may be continuing in U.S.-run facilities.

"There's no question in my mind that we did. There's no question in my mind that we may be still doing it," Wilkerson said on CNN's "Late Edition."

"There's no question in my mind where the philosophical guidance and the flexibility in order to do so originated -- in the vice president of the United States' office," he said. "His implementer in this case was [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department.""- CNN News, 11/20/2005

Convoy of Death: Why have US television stations refused to broadcast this documentary?

"The film provides eyewitness testimony that U.S. troops were complicit in the massacre of thousands of Taliban prisoners during the Afghan War.

It tells the story of thousands of prisoners who surrendered to the US military’s Afghan allies after the siege of Kunduz. According to eyewitnesses, some three thousand of the prisoners were forced into sealed containers and loaded onto trucks for transport to Sheberghan prison. Eyewitnesses say when the prisoners began shouting for air, U.S.-allied Afghan soldiers fired directly into the truck, killing many of them. The rest suffered through an appalling road trip lasting up to four days, so thirsty they clawed at the skin of their fellow prisoners as they licked perspiration and even drank blood from open wounds."

Dennis Rahkonen: 'U.S. forces 'shake and bake' Iraqi civilians!'

"Recognizing its devastating significance, progressive websites have been quick to headline the shocking story that a recently run Italian television documentary quite compellingly and gruesomely shows U.S. forces used the chemical terror weapon white phosphorous during their withering assault on Fallujah, Iraq."- Dennis Rahkonen, 11/11/2005; See also: US Criticized for Use of Phosphorous in Fallujah Raids, 11/9/2005, Andrew Buncombe, Independent/UK; 'I treated people who had their skin melted,' Dahr Jamail, The Independent, 11/15/2005 & Defense of Phosphorus Use Turns Into Damage Control, 11/21/2005, Scott Shane, New York Times.

Senate Approves Limiting Rights of U.S. Detainees

"The Senate voted Thursday to strip captured "enemy combatants" at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, of the principal legal tool given to them last year by the Supreme Court when it allowed them to challenge their detentions in United States courts." -Eric Schmitt,  New York Times, 11/11/2005

William Frey: 'Confessions of a repentant Republican', 11/11/2005

"This essay explores many of the issues that led me personally to the recognition that the policies I was supporting in Iraq were not consistent with the justifications made for the invasion in the spring of 2003, that implicit in our post-invasion actions was the goal of permanent occupation, which would ensure endless war and the resultant degradation of our liberty, our security, and our moral authority.

For me, recognizing that I could no longer support the President for whom I voted, and the occupation of a land we had invaded, remains personally painful.

I have learned that while it is difficult to admit being wrong, such recognition is a prerequisite for redemptive action, necessary both for individual growth and for the healing of our nation.

It is in this spirit that I submit these reflections.

How U.S. Fell Under the Spell of 'Curveball'
The Iraqi informant's German handlers say they had told U.S. officials that his information was 'not proven,' and were shocked when President Bush and Colin L. Powell used it in key prewar speeches

BERLIN — The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the war in Iraq.

Five senior officials from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in interviews with The Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that the source, an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball, never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so.

According to the Germans, President Bush mischaracterized Curveball's information when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. Then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell also misstated Curveball's accounts in his prewar presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, the Germans said.-  Bob Drogin and John Goetz, 11/20, Los Angeles Times

The Man Who Sold the War
Meet John Rendon, Bush's general in the propaganda war by James Bamford, Rollingstone Magazine, 11/2005

"...Although Rendon denies any direct involvement with al-Haideri, the defector was the latest salvo [in late 2001] in a secret media war set in motion by Rendon. In an operation directed by Ahmad Chalabi -- the man Rendon helped install as leader of the INC -- the defector had been brought to Thailand, where he huddled in a hotel room for days with the group's spokesman, Zaab Sethna. The INC routinely coached defectors on their stories, prepping them for polygraph exams, and Sethna was certainly up to the task -- he got his training in the art of propaganda on the payroll of the Rendon Group. According to Francis Brooke, the INC's man in Washington and himself a former Rendon employee, the goal of the al-Haideri operation was simple: pressure the United States to attack Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein."

ACLU Says White House Usurps Patriot Act Reauthorization Process, Negotiators Neglect Privacy and Civil Liberties Concerns but Add Poison Pills, 11/15/2005

"WASHINGTON - A conference committee tasked to reconcile differences between House and Senate Patriot Act bills ignored bipartisan calls to restore checks and balances on government power and protect privacy and civil liberties, the American Civil Liberties Union said today. The Republican-led conferees also attached several "poison pill" measures to the must-pass legislation, unrelated to the 2001 anti-terrorism law. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the bill this week.

The following can be attributed to Lisa Graves, ACLU Senior Counsel for Legislative Strategy:

"The Patriot Act was bad in 2001, and despite bipartisan calls for reform, it's still bad in 2005. Instead of addressing the real concerns that millions of Americans have about the Patriot Act, the Republican majority in Congress buckled to White House pressure, stripping the bill of modest yet meaningful reforms. Congress must reject this bill.

"Don't be fooled by some lawmakers spinning this bill as Patriot Act reform. It’s anything but. Lawmakers have let the administration take us from bad to worse. There's a reason why groups like the Chamber of Commerce, American Conservative Union and American Library Association have all come together for Patriot Act reform. The question is: Why haven’t lawmakers listened?""

Cheney 'cabal' hijacked foreign policy

Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.

“Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.”- Edward Alden, London Financial Times, 10/20/2005

Frustrated Scowcroft Assails Neocons, Cheney

"One week after a top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell issued a blistering attack on foreign policy-making in the George W. Bush administration, Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser under Bush's father, assailed neoconservatives who persuaded the president to go to war in Iraq.

In an interview with The New Yorker magazine, Scowcroft, whose relations with the Bush administration have been badly strained since he publicly warned against invading Iraq seven months before U.S. troops crossed over from Kuwait, argued that the invasion was counterproductive.

"This was said to be part of the war on terror, but Iraq feeds terrorism," Scowcroft told the magazine, adding that the war risked moving public opinion against any new foreign policy commitments for some time, just as the Vietnam War did during the late 1970s and through the 1980s.

"Vietnam was visceral in the American people," said Scowcroft, who also served as national security adviser in the mid-1970s under former President Gerald Ford. "This was a really bitter period, and it turned us against foreign policy adventures deeply. This is not that deep, [but] … we're moving in that direction.""- Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service


La Repubblica's Scoop, Confirmed: Italy's intelligence chief met with Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley just a month before the Niger forgeries first surfaced, Laura Rozen, The American Prospect, 10/25/2005

"...Although [Italian Prime Minister] Berlusconi's government clearly sought deniability while pushing the Niger uranium claims, the Bush White House went still further by trying to blame its citation of exaggerated and discredited Iraq WMD claims on the CIA, the very same agency that consistently discounted the Niger claims. The White House's war on the CIA and on the Wilsons --the extent of which has been revealed in recent news reports emerging from the Fitzgerald investigation -- has always had an excessive and almost hysterical quality. Why was the White House so worked up over Wilson and the Niger hoax, when there was so much evidence that the administration had based its drive for war on claims that were so thoroughly discredited from top to bottom? Why did Wilson and his CIA wife become the primary targets, when Wilson was hardly alone in pointing out that the White House should have known better about the Niger claims?

UN Official: US Troops 'Starving' Iraqi Civilians

GENEVA - A United Nations human rights investigator on Friday accused U.S. and British forces in Iraq of breaching international law by depriving civilians of food and water in besieged cities as they try to flush out militants.

Swiss Jean Ziegler, UN special rapporteur of the commission on human rights on the right to food, speaks, with regard to World Food Day on October 16, about the hunger situation in the world at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Oct. 14, 2005. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini)

But the U.S. military denied the charge and said that while supplies were sometimes disrupted by combat, food was never deliberately withheld.

Jean Ziegler, a former Swiss sociology professor who is U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food, said the Geneva Conventions banned military forces from using "starvation of civilians as a method of warfare".- Reuters, 10/15/2005

According to the latest 50 state Survey USA poll, President Bush’s net job approval fell from -16 in September to -21 in the last month. Net job approval is the percentage that approve minus the percentage that disapprove.
Bush has a net job approval of +25 in Utah, the highest in the nation, to -41 in Rhode Island, the lowest in the nation.
In May, Bush had a positive net job approval in 20 states. Today, Bush has a positive net job approval in just 7 states.

Indictments Expected

Former CIA Agent Larry Johnson: "Had lunch today with a person who has a direct tie to one of the folks facing indictment in the Plame affair. There are 22 files that Fitzgerald is looking at for potential indictment. These include Stephen Hadley, Karl Rove, Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney, and Mary Matalin (there are others of course). Hadley has told friends he expects to be indicted. No wonder folks are nervous at the White House." Update: Hotline On Call has a list of all those who have either testified or been interviewed by Patrick Fitzgerald. The AP notes Rove "canceled plans to attend two Republican fund-raisers" today "as he waits to hear whether he or anyone else will be indicted in the leak of a CIA officer's identity."
"They have got a senior cooperating witness -- someone who is giving them all of that."

-- A source who has been questioned in the CIA leak probe, quoted by the
New York Daily News, suggesting that one of Dick Cheney's top aides might be cooperating with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
Raw Story says the cooperating witness is John Hannah, a senior national security aide on loan to Cheney's office. Talk Left has an excellent explanation of the pressure to cooperate.
Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Frist Accumulated Stock Outside Trusts

"WASHINGTON - Outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist earned tens of thousands of dollars from stock in a family-founded hospital chain largely controlled by his brother, documents show.

The Tennessee Republican, whose sale this summer of HCA Inc. stock is under federal investigation, has long maintained he could own HCA shares and still vote on health care legislation without a conflict because he had placed the stock in blind trusts approved by the Senate.

However, ethics experts say a partnership arrangement shown in documents obtained by The Associated Press raises serious doubts about whether the senator truly avoided a conflict."- Larry Margasak and Jonathan M. Katz, Associated Press Writers, 10/11/2005


"I believe I was the first to float the name of Harriet Miers, White House counsel, as a possible Supreme Court. Today her name is all over the news. I have to confess that at the time, I was mostly joking. Harriet Miers is a capable lawyer, a hard worker, and a kind and generous person. She would be an reasonable choice for a generalist attorney, which is indeed how George W. Bush first met her. She would make an excellent trial judge: She is a careful and fair-minded listener. But US Supreme Court?

In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met."- David Frum's Diary, 9/29/2005


For GOP, a troubled year gets worse
DeLay indictment represents significant blow to Republican Party, 9/28/05

"Bad news comes often comes in bunches, but for a Republican Party that not long ago looked ahead to an unfettered period of growth and expansion, yesterday's indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) represented one of the most significant blows the party has suffered in a year replete with problems."- Dan Balz, Washington Post

"Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of future hurricanes. But since this administration won't acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal"-
New York Times Editorial, 8/31/2005.

"...And then there's something deeper I think, and something more long term. And that is the fact that the Bush Administration has been contemptuous of all of the scientific evidence about global warming. There was an article not long ago in a British magazine, in fact shortly before the New Orleans disaster, which pointed to the sequence of hurricanes in recent years and how they have gotten worse and worse and worse and the only explanation for this is global warming. And the Bush Administration of course, you know, has not only refused to sign the Kyoto treaty, but The Bush administration has not taken any steps to reduce the emissions in the atmosphere, they're in cahoots with the auto companies and with the oil companies, and all they care about is the profits of corporations. And not what can happen to human beings as a result of natural disasters."- Howard Zinn, "Howard Zinn calls for Iraq pullout, 'Same arguments for Vietnam are being made now in Iraq'"- Raw Story Interview, 9/10/2005.

"The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis, it is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences," Al Gore said.- Political Will Is a Renewable Resource, SierraSummit 2005

Comment: This disaster is not only about Bush and his administration's reactionary and incompetent policies. Tragically, thousands have died and many more have become injured, sick and homeless. Yet Katrina may be a harbinger of worse things to come as the effects of global warming accelerate. Is there a direct link between global warming and the Katrina disaster? Can melting ice caps, mass extinctions, rainforest devastation, rising global temperatures, air and water pollution, changes in ocean currents, etc.- continue unabated without consequences? As the oil companies accumulate record profits- species of plants and animals die at records rates. The life, liberty and happiness of future generations of mankind is endangered. All life is connected and there is no escape from the pain and sorrow caused by crimes against the Earth. Yet this pain is unnecessary if we collectively apply ourselves to the difficult yet joyful task of renewing the planet's biosphere. But make no mistake- time is running out.

Aid too late for Niger's 'forgotten' children
Donate to Africare.

"Eight months after the United Nations launched its first appeal, warning of famine in Niger, three months after assistant secretary general Jan Egeland called it the "the number one forgotten and neglected emergency in the world" graves are being dug every day. The warning of another senior UN official, Jan Ziggler, that "the children, the sick, the elderly are on the brink of being wiped out", is coming true."- By Kim Sengupta in Baoudeta, Niger; Published: 08 August 2005;

Green rules seen on "chopping block" post-Rita, 9/27/05

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House Republicans on Wednesday will launch a rapid-fire assault against environmental protections on the pretext of helping the U.S. oil and gas industry recover from hurricane damage, environmental groups charge.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Resources Committee are holding separate meetings to finalize legislation on Wednesday, with the aim of combining them into a single energy bill for the full House to debate next week.

The resources panel, led by Richard Pombo of California, wants to lift a ban on Florida offshore drilling, promote oil shale and sell a dozen national parks for energy development.

"This really has very little to do with the hurricanes or relief efforts or even refiners. This is deregulation pure and simple," said John Walke of Natural Resources Defense Council.- Chris Baltimore, Reuters, 9/27/2005

None Dare Call It Stolen: Ohio, the election, and America's servile press by Mark Crispin Miller, 8/05

"On January 5, 2005 Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, released Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio. The report was the result of a five-week investigation by the committee’s Democrats, who reviewed thousands of complaints of fraud, malfeasance, or incompetence surrounding the election in Ohio, and further thousands of complaints that poured in by phone and email as word of the inquiry spread. The congressional researchers were assisted by volunteers in Ohio who held public hearings in Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, and Cincinnati, and questioned more than two hundred witnesses. (Although they were invited, Republicans chose not to join in the inquiry.)

Preserving Democracy describes three phases of Republican chicanery: the run-up to the election, the election itself, and the post-election cover-up. The wrongs exposed are not mere dirty tricks (though Bush/Cheney also went in heavily for those) but specific violations of the U.S. and Ohio constitutions, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Help America Vote Act. Although Conyers trod carefully when the report came out, insisting that the crimes did not affect the outcome of the race (a point he had to make, he told me, “just to get a hearing”), his report does “raise grave doubts regarding whether it can be said that the Ohio electors selected on December 13, 2004, were chosen in a manner that conforms to Ohio law, let alone Federal requirements and constitutional standards.” The report cites “massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies” throughout the state—wrongs, moreover, that were hardly random accidents. “In many cases,” the report says, “these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio."

Scandal Visits the White House

"The Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal reached into the White House yesterday, picking off President Bush's top procurement official -- who just barely had time to resign before being arrested.

The federal charges against David Safavian stem from his tenure as chief of staff of the General Services Administration, predating his arrival at the White House a year ago. But his arrest nonetheless draws renewed attention to the ongoing corruption and influence-peddling inquiry swirling around Abramoff, a lobbyist well known for his connections to conservative Republicans in the White House and Congress.

And for a White House so desperate to build public confidence in its ability to respond to the Gulf Coast disaster, it doesn't exactly help that the man who up until Friday was overseeing contracting policy for the multi-billion dollar relief effort has now been charged with lying and obstructing a criminal investigation."- Dan Froomkin, Washington Post, 9/20/2005; See also: Jack Abramoff: The friend Tom DeLay can't shake, James Harding, Slate Magazine, 4/7/2005.

FEMA leaders lack disaster experience:
Agency has suffered ‘brain drain’ since 2001

"Five of eight top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and now lead an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

FEMA's top three leaders -- Director Michael D. Brown, Chief of Staff Patrick J. Rhode and Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks D. Altshuler -- arrived with ties to President Bush's 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation, according to the agency. Two other senior operational jobs are filled by a former Republican lieutenant governor of Nebraska and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who was once a political operative.

Because of the turnover, three of the five FEMA chiefs for natural disaster-related operations and nine of 10 regional directors are working in an acting capacity, agency officials said.

Patronage appointments to the crisis-response agency is nothing new to Washington administrations. But inexperience in FEMA's top ranks is emerging as a key concern of local, state and federal leaders as investigators begin to sift through what the government has admitted was a bungled response to Hurricane Katrina." - Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, 9/9/2005; See also: Steady buildup to a complete meltdown
Confusion, bureaucracy reigned as floodwaters overtook New Orleans, Susan B. Glasser & Michael Grunwald, Washington Post, 9/11/2005

The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford (Day 18)- a message from Cindy Sheehan, Crawford, Texas

"The most emotional thing for me though was walking through the main tent and seeing the huge painting on canvas of Casey. Many things hit me all at once: That this huge movement began because of Casey's sacrifice; thousands, if not millions of people know about Casey and how he lived his life and the wrongful way in which he was killed; but the thing that hit me the hardest was how much I miss him. I miss him more everyday. It seems the void in my life grows as time goes on and I realize I am never going to see him again or hear his voice. In addition to all this, the portrait is so beautiful and moving and it captures Casey's spirit so well. I sobbed and sobbed. I was surrounded by photographers, I looked around until I finally found a friendly face, then the news people crushed in on me and I couldn't breathe. I didn't mean to have such a dramatic re-entrance to Camp Casey, but the huge portrait of Casey really surprised me.

I can take all of the right wing attacks on me. I have been lied about and to before. Their attacks just show how much I am getting to them and how little truth they have to tell. What really hurts me the most is when people say that I am dishonoring Casey by my protest in Crawford. By wanting our troops to come home alive and well, that I am somehow not supporting them." 8/25/2005- MichaelMoore.com; See also: Gold Star Families for Peace. 

Who Will Say 'No More'?, former US Senator Gary Hart, 8/24/2005

History will deal with George W. Bush and the neoconservatives who misled a mighty nation into a flawed war that is draining the finest military in the world, diverting Guard and reserve forces that should be on the front line of homeland defense, shredding international alliances that prevailed in two world wars and the Cold War, accumulating staggering deficits, misdirecting revenue from education to rebuilding Iraqi buildings we've blown up, and weakening America's national security.

But what will history say about an opposition party that stands silent while all this goes on? My generation of Democrats jumped on the hot stove of Vietnam and now, with its members in positions of responsibility, it is afraid of jumping on any political stove. In their leaders, the American people look for strength, determination and self-confidence, but they also look for courage, wisdom, judgment and, in times of moral crisis, the willingness to say: "I was wrong."


Bolton throws UN summit into chaos

"The Bolton amendments [to the UN reorganization plan], published in the US press, seek to play down the emphasis given to alleviating poverty, and expunge all references to the millennium development goals, including the target for wealthy countries to donate at least 0.7 % of national income to the developing world. America currently gives less than 0.2% in such aid.

The changes would also scrap provisions in the draft calling for action against global warming, and remove endorsements of the international criminal court and the comprehensive test-ban treaty - both of which are opposed by the Bush administration.

Instead, Washington is pushing for more emphasis on international measures against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." Julian Borger, The Guardian, 8/26/05


"...THE PLAME LEAK IS OF VITAL IMPORTANCE: Commenting on the remarks of the federal judges who have ruled on Cooper/Miller case, Lawrence O'Donnell today pointed out that "All the judges who have seen the prosecutor's secret evidence firmly believe he is pursuing a very serious crime, and they have done everything they can to help him get an indictment." And remember, it was George W. Bush's father who, speaking at CIA headquarters in 1999, said, "I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors.""- The American Progress Action Fund, 7/7/2005; see also: "Matt Cooper's Source: What Karl Rove told Time magazine's reporter," Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, 7/18/2005"It's Here! Newsweek Does Nail Rove," by David Corn, 7/10/2005; Bush Aide Deflects Questions On Rove: Democrats Seek Firing in Leak Case, Mike Allen & Dave Balz, Washington Post, 7/12/2005 & Plame's Identity Marked As Secret: Memo Central to Probe Of Leak Was Written By State Dept. Analyst, 7/21/2005

Oregon House Guts SB 1000, 7/21/2005

"House Leadership feels public pressure on SB 1000 and resorts to extreme measures in an effort to prevent it from passing

Just one day after more than 800 Oregonians stood on the steps of the State Capitol and two weeks of thousands and thousands of phone calls to Speaker of the House Karen Minnis demanding a vote on Senate Bill 1000, the Speaker Minnis saw the writing on the wall: If SB 1000 came to a vote in the House, it would pass.

Today, in a cynical effort to prevent fair-minded legislators in the House from even having the chance to debate the bill or vote, Speaker Minnis resorted to a series of extreme political ploys designed to deny same-sex couples and their families security and certainty under the law and to ensure that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity remains legal in the state of Oregon."

Oregon senate passes bill that would create civil unions for same-sex couples & prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity, 7/8/2005.

Will the Oregon House have similar courage to bring the bill to a vote, let alone pass it? Probably not without significant lobbying from the general public and continued leadership from Governor Kulongoski: see: Basic Rights Oregon Legislative Action Center

Canadian Parliament stands by the Charter: Same Sex Marriage is Legal in Canada: Reflections on people, brave and determined, 6/28/2005

Spain makes gay marriages legal, 6/30/2005

Myths and Truths About Social Security

See also: "Support for Bush on Social Security Wanes, Poll Finds," 3/14/2005 & Social Security: On With the Show: President's 'Conversations' on Issue Are Carefully Orchestrated, Rehearsed 3/12/05

Bush's Far-right Agenda

"..In the long run, thus, the Bush agenda has poor prospects in the world-system. But for the moment, it has quite good prospects on internal questions within the United States. We may indeed get a judicial system that will force social life backward. And if we do, the polarization of political life of which everyone is talking may escalate into serious internal levels of conflict. The United States is the big loser of the 2004 elections; the world may actually be a gainer. "- Immanuel Wallerstein, Al-Ahram Weekly ,

National Election Data Archive Project: Thursday, 31 March 2005: Although the election is over, serious questions remain unanswered.

On March 31st, our National Election Data Archive Project released a new scientific paper and executive summary report on the discrepancy between exit polls and official vote tallies in the 2004 presidential election.

"...Unprecedented discrepancies between exit poll results and final tallies in several key states occurred that still have never been explained. It has only recently been officially confirmed (by the exit pollsters themselves) that on election night the final set of exit polls showed John Kerry defeating George Bush by 3% of the popular vote and a clear majority of 316 electoral votes."

A General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation is already underway into the security and accuracy of voting technologies, the distribution and allocation of voting machines, and counting of provisional ballots. The FBI, the Department of Justice and the Congressional Research Service have also been officially asked to investigate various aspects of the 2004 election. See also:  Teresa Heinz Kerry - Hacking the "Mother Machine"?

Scalia Slams Juvenile Death Penalty Ruling, 3/15/05

Commentary: Democracy is not about the unfettered will of the majority to impose itself on the minority. Justice is nourished by evolving standards of common law, due process, compassion and morality. If the court cannot or does not fulfill its role as a protector of the rights of minorities it becomes an instrument of their oppression.

Senate Votes to Open Alaskan Oil Drilling, 3/16/2005

Fascism in Action: Administration Rejects Ruling On PR Videos: GAO Called Tapes Illegal Propaganda, 3/15/05; See also: Screened Audiences, Fake News Promote Bush Agenda, Helen Thomas, 4/1/05.

Nuking the spin, Part I: Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter talks to Raw Story on Iran, Iraq, 3/11/2005

Commentary: Below are excerpts from a 3/11/05  interview Scott Ritter did with Raw Story columnist Larisa Alexandrovna. Ritter's analysis appears sound and sheds light on the Administration's plans for Iran.

"... Military plans [for Iran] are on the table and the President has signed off on those plans. That does not mean we are going to bomb, but to sit here and pretend that we have fully embraced the diplomatic option or have not considered military plans is wrong."

"...Iran does not have a fully functional nuclear program."

"The US cooked the election in Iraq. For three days after the election the Shia were saying “we” had 60 percent of the vote. The election was flawed to begin with. I was not a big supporter of having a so called democratic election under martial law where 300,000 troops were securing the scene. ...The election results came in and the Shia got 60 percent of the vote. Now, it is no secret that the Shia want a law based on the Islamic law [not secular]. ...The Kurds want independence and they got somewhere in the mid 20 percentile of the vote. I don’t think most Americans are aware that the Kurds had their own referendum during this election. Ninety-eight percent of Kurds voted for independence. ...Allawi’s group got low single digit figures. That makes them meaningless as any government influence in Iraq. The Kurds do not have enough votes to have their own government. The Shia do, however. Now what would happen is that the Shia would cut a deal with the Kurds and give them autonomy as a road to independence." ...Well suddenly, three days later after the election. We have a secret recount and ballots appear, disappear…So you have ballots appearing from nowhere, disappearing, and there is a secret recount and suddenly the Shia have 48 percent of the vote and Allawi has 13 percent. Allawi is now a viable force and can deny the Shia control. This is what was wanted from the beginning. Now why this is important is, and we come back to Iran and these things are related. You cannot talk about bombing Iran unless you have neutered the Shia of Iraq.

[Regarding the use of American troops against Iran] "Well, there are things that can be done with conventional forces, without going into Tehran. The fear is that if we bomb Iran, the Shia of Iran will do their best to use the Shia of Iraq to strike back at U.S. forces...From a national security perspective this [and the resulting galvanization of an international Muslim force supporting fundamentalist factions] makes no logical sense. Rethink this from a domestic political consideration from the perspective of a radical minority called the neocons.

What the Rest of the World Watched on Inauguration Day by Joan Chittister, 1/28/05

The Coming Wars: What the Pentagon Can Now Do in Secret, 1/17/05

"George W. Bush’s reelection was not his only victory last fall. The President and his national-security advisers have consolidated control over the military and intelligence communities’ strategic analyses and covert operations to a degree unmatched since the rise of the post-Second World War national-security state. Bush has an aggressive and ambitious agenda for using that control—against the mullahs in Iran and against targets in the ongoing war on terrorism—during his second term. The C.I.A. will continue to be downgraded, and the agency will increasingly serve, as one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon put it, as “facilitators” of policy emanating from President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. This process is well under way." - Seymour  Hersh, The New Yorker, 1/17./05; Commentary: A full reading of this article suggests that the United States will embark on a disastrous foreign policy that will severely jeopardize regional and world peace.

Yet the President appears hypocritical. In his inaugural address he proclaims that, "America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal, instead, is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom and make their own way." On the other hand, his words and actions suggest an almost messianic belief in his ability to judge good and evil in the world. He and his PNAC supporters believe in the use of force to "spread" democracy- a naivety that in the 1960's led  to the Vietnam War. We cavort today as we did then with ruthless dictators when they serve our apparent interests. See: Bush's Words On Liberty Don't Mesh With Policies: U.S. Maintains Close Ties With Repressive Nations, Glenn Kessler and Robin Wright,  Washington Post, 1/21/2005 ; ‘The Salvador Option’: The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq, Michael Hirsh and John Barry, Newsweek, 1/14/2005; The Salvador Option, Scott Ritter, Aljazeera, 1/25/05 & "Bush Bad for Global Peace, US Image, World Believes," Jim Lobe, 1/20/05, Inter Press Service 

"They [studies of public attitudes], show that there are substantial opportunities for education and organizing, including the development of potential electoral alternatives. As in the past, rights will not be granted by benevolent authorities, or won by intermittent actions—a few large demonstrations after which one goes home, or pushing a lever in the personalized quadrennial extravaganzas that are depicted as “democratic politics.” As always in the past, the tasks require day-to-day engagement to create—in part re-create—the basis for a functioning democratic culture in which the public plays some role in determining policies, not only in the political arena from which it is largely excluded, but also in the crucial economic arena, from which it is excluded in principle." - Noam Chomsky, "The Non-Election of 2004- The Electoral campaigns were run by the PR Industry," 1/2005

See also: 2004 Election Issues; Some Bush Supporters Say They Anticipate a 'Revolution'; Same-Sex Marriage;
The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy: Steven F. Freeman, The Center for Organizational Dynamics, University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Division,12/29/2004; "Harness That Anger," by Howard Zinn, 1/2005  & Democracy in America

How to Help: A List of Organizations Accepting Donations to Provide Disaster Relief

Local and national organizations accepting donations to help victims of the South Asian tsunami. Most groups recommend that people donate cash rather than supplies.

Childhood Under Threat

"The recently released UNICEF 2005 report on the State of the World's Children found that:

-One in six of the children on the planet were severely hungry.
-One in seven had no access to health care.
-One in five had no safe water.
-One in three had no toilet or sanitation facilities at home.
-640 million children did not have adequate shelter
-140 million children, the majority of them girls, had never been to school.

More than 10 million child deaths were recorded in 2003, with an estimated 29,158 children under 5 dying from mostly preventable causes every day.

Nearly half of the 3.6 million people killed in conflict during the 1990s were children and around 20 million children were forced from their homes and communities by fighting.

UNICEF said almost half a million children under 15 died of AIDS in 2003, while another 630,000 children were infected with HIV. By 2003 some 2.1 million children under 15 were living with HIV/AIDS, most of whom were infected during pregnancy, birth or through breast-feeding. From 2001 to 2003, the number of children who had lost one or both parents to AIDS rose from 11.5 million to 15 million and around 80 percent of those were living in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN's Millennium Development Goals, which the UN's 191 member states agreed to meet by 2015, include:

-Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger- reducing by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and by half those suffering from hunger.
-Achieving universal primary education
-Promoting gender equality & empowering women
-Reducing by two-thirds the  child mortality among children under 5.
-Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
-Ensuring environmental sustainability- reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020
-Developing a global partnership for development

According the UN these goals could be achieved at an annual cost of $40-$70 billion. In comparison, world spending on military in 2003 was $956 billion.
$40 billion is roughly a fifth of what the U.S. has spent so far on the war in Iraq.  Further, the developing world spends $13 on debt repayment for every $1 it receives in aid. Billions are allocated toward paying off debt to powerful Western banks instead of being invested in needed water systems, infrastructure to rural communities, education, & health care.

When another human being suffers needlessly- we all suffer and a part of our humanity dies. We possess the means to alleviate much suffering- but do we have the love and compassion to act?

"...For I was an hungred and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." (Matthew 25:43-45)

Sources: "Crumbs From Our Table, Direct action against third world misery," by Mickey Z, The Raw Story, 12/25/2004 & UNICEF: Poverty, War, HIV Hurting Children, Catherine McAloon, Associated Press, 12/9/2004.

Why Iraq Has Made Us Less Safe ...

"...But as the trail of bodies that began with the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 continues to lengthen, we need to ask why the attacks keep coming. One key reason is that Osama bin Laden's "achievements" in standing up to the American colossus on 9/11 have inspired others to follow his lead. Another is that American actions--above all, the invasion and occupation of Iraq--have galvanized still more Muslims and convinced them of the truth of bin Laden's vision."- Daniel Benjamin, Time Magazine cover story, 7/10/2005

Senate Panel Postpones Vote on U.N. Nominee, 4/20/2005

WASHINGTON -- A surprise last-minute defection by an Ohio Republican forced the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to postpone a vote that had been scheduled for Tuesday on the nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.

The chairman of the panel, Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, reluctantly agreed to put off any vote until next month to allow a review of what Democrats portrayed as troubling new accusations that cast doubt on Mr. Bolton's temperament and credibility.- Douglas Jehl, New York Times


Scare Reveals Lack of Anthrax Tools: Testing Chemical in Dangerously Short Supply, Experts Warn, 3/15/05

The anthrax scare at the Pentagon this week has prompted health experts to warn of a shortage of the critical chemical compounds used by laboratories to test for anthrax and other bioterrorism agents.

Because of the shortfall of the reagents, U.S. authorities probably would limit testing to cases of suspected human exposure at the expense of thorough environmental testing in the event of a major biological attack at numerous sites, several federal experts said. - Spencer S. Hsu and Jamie Stockwell, Washington Post, 3/15/04.


U.S. Misled Allies About Nuclear Export
North Korea Sent Material To Pakistan, Not to Libya, 3/20/2005

In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. That was a significant new charge, the first allegation that North Korea was helping to create a new nuclear weapons state.

But that is not what U.S. intelligence reported, according to two officials with detailed knowledge of the transaction. North Korea, according to the intelligence, had supplied uranium hexafluoride -- which can be enriched to weapons-grade uranium -- to Pakistan. It was Pakistan, a key U.S. ally with its own nuclear arsenal, that sold the material to Libya. The U.S. government had no evidence, the officials said, that North Korea knew of the second transaction.- Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, 3/20/2005

Commentary:   Lies, Damned Lies & Stupidity from the Bush Administration- further undermining US credibility and leading to foreign policy disaster.

Jubilant SF Gays March Thru Castro by Mark Worrall 365Gay.com San Francisco Bureau, 3/15/05

"(San Francisco, California) Hundreds of cheering gays and lesbians marched through the Castro Monday night celebrating a court ruling that declared California's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Some waved rainbow flags, others held up their marriage licenses. Couples held hands, others carried their small children."

Commentary from Basic Rights Oregon:  "A state Superior Court judge ruled on 3/14/05 that a California law limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman is unconstitutional. In the opinion, Judge Kramer wrote, "Same-sex marriage cannot be prohibited solely because California has always done so before."

Today's ruling is similar to the one issued in Multnomah County trial court last year, prior to the passage of Measure 36. California law bans same-sex marriage, but it does not have a constitutional amendment specifically banning same-sex marriage like those passed in 13 states in November.

"This decision is part of a growing body of legal opinion throughout this country that confirms that the exclusion of same-sex couples from the fundamental right to marry violates every principle of fairness and equality this country and state hold dear," said Roey Thorpe, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon. "Today's ruling is not just a victory for California, but for an entire nation moving forward on the path to full equality." "

CIA's Assurances On Transferred Suspects Doubted: Prisoners Say Countries Break No-Torture Pledges

"The system the CIA relies on to ensure that the suspected terrorists it transfers to other countries will not be tortured has been ineffective and virtually impossible to monitor, according to current and former intelligence officers and lawyers, as well as counterterrorism officials who have participated in or reviewed the practice."- Dana Priest, Washington Post, 3/17/2005.

Gambling Interests Funded DeLay Trip:
Later in 2000, Lawmaker's Vote Helped Defeat Regulatory Measure, 3/12/205

"An Indian tribe and a gambling services company made donations to a Washington public policy group that covered most of the cost of a $70,000 trip to Britain by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), his wife, two aides and two lobbyists in mid-2000, two months before DeLay helped kill legislation opposed by the tribe and the company."- James V. Grimaldi and R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post, 3/12/05; See also: Time Magazine, Karen Tumulty, 3/13/2005,  "DeLay And Company: The G.O.P. leader's troubles mount, with new questions about his dealings with the former aide who helped build his political machine"

The World According to Bolton

"On Monday, President Bush nominated John Bolton, an outspoken critic of multinational institutions and a former Jesse Helms protégé, to be the representative to the United Nations. We won't make the case that this is a terrible choice at a critical time. We can let Mr. Bolton do it for us by examining how things might look if he had his way:

The United States could resolve international disputes after vigorous debate with ... itself. In an interview in 2000 on National Public Radio, Mr. Bolton told Juan Williams, "If I were redoing the Security Council today, I'd have one permanent member because that's the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world." "- New York Times Editorial, 3/9/05

GOP May Go 'Nuclear' On Judges

"Senate Republicans are considering taking the rare step of enacting a rules change to disable Democrats' ability to block Supreme Court nominees.

The option has not been utilized since 1975. It is so likely to divide the Senate along the strictest of partisan lines that in Washington parlance it is being referred to as “going nuclear.” "- 11/17/2004, David Paul Kuhn, CBSNews.com political writer.

Senate Nixes Efforts to Soften Bankruptcy Bill

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Efforts to soften the effect of tougher bankruptcy rules on families with children and close a loophole for the wealthy were rejected by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday as the legislation moved toward expected passage.

Leaders of the chamber's Republican majority had hoped for a final vote on Wednesday on the measure, which makes it harder for consumers to erase their debts in bankruptcy court. But the final vote was postponed until Thursday as lawmakers haggled over amendments.

Banks, credit card companies and retailers have sought the bankruptcy overhaul for years, arguing that bankruptcy has become too easy. The measure is also favored by the White House.

Critics charge the measure is too harsh and rewards lenders who have encouraged consumers to take on higher debt burdens." - Reuters, New York Times, 3/9/05


Maximum Pain is Aim of New US Weapon

"The US military is funding development of a weapon that delivers a bout of excruciating pain from up to 2 kilometers away. Intended for use against rioters, it is meant to leave victims unharmed. But pain researchers are furious that work aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon. And they fear that the technology will be used for torture."- David Hambling, New Scientist Magazine 

Top Former CIA Agent Condemns New Terror War

"Robert Baer explains to Foreign Editor David Pratt why the ‘clumsy, knee-jerk approach’ to al-Qaeda is counter-productive."- David Pratt, The Sunday Herald (Scotland), 2/27/04

Palestinian, Israeli Leaders Pledge to End Attacks

"SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Feb. 8 -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas promised Tuesday to halt attacks on each other's people, expressing optimism that renewed relations offered a chance to end a devastating four-year cycle of suicide bombings and military assaults." - Molly Moore, Washington Post

Will what was formally agreed to in Egypt become the basis for long lasting peace? Abbas appears to have credibility with his own people, Middle East allies and Palestinian militant groups. Ariel Sharon has a track record that goes back to 1953 of obstructing the peace process and promoting his own brand of terrorism. Yet Sharon recognizes that "peace with security" is essential for the long term survival of Israel. The long abandoned Roadmap to Peace supports a two state solution- and still has broad U.S. & Middle East support. In conclusion- all parties have a strong vested interest in the peace process. However neither Sharon or Bush have demonstrated the level of compassionate leadership required for peace.

Can Abbas spark a new beginning- where all parties renounce the use of force and each demonstrates trust and a desire to work together for the common good? 

Can Condoleezza Rice steer the Bush administration into consistent, pragmatic and compassionate positions that inspire a sense of fairness among all parties?

Can the new Israeli government, which depends on left wing opposition members and Arab Knesset members, moderate Sharon's positions?

Can the Europeans and counties such as Jordan and Egypt play a constructive & credible role in the peace process?

Climate Change: Countdown to Global Catastrophe: Report warns point of no return may be reached in 10 years, leading to droughts, agricultural failure and water shortages, 1/24/05

"The global warming danger threshold for the world is clearly marked for the first time in an international report to be published tomorrow - and the bad news is, the world has nearly reached it already.

The countdown to climate-change catastrophe is spelt out by a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world - and it is remarkably brief. In as little as 10 years, or even less, their report indicates, the point of no return with global warming may have been reached." - Michael McCarthy, Independent/UK, 1/24/05; See also: "Study finds Earth temperature 'skyrocketing," Leigh Dayton, The Australian, 1/27/05 & "Uncertainty in predictions of the climate response to rising levels of greenhouse gases conditions," 1/2005.


Bush Appointees Need To Follow The Law

"President George W. Bush has appointed three more officials with unsavory baggage from previous government roles. Let's hope they have learned something from their past misdeeds.

One of the nominees -- Michael Chertoff -- is expected to be confirmed shortly as secretary of the Homeland Security Department, replacing Tom Ridge. Chertoff headed the Justice Department's criminal division in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

White House legal counsel Alberto R. Gonzales -- the replacement for John Ashcroft as attorney general -- did not get the usual pass accorded Cabinet appointees. The Senate vote on his confirmation was 60 in favor and 36 against, meaning that he was easily confirmed but that a sizeable chunk of the Senate didn't like his nomination.

Gonzales had to answer for Justice Department and White House legal memos defining what constitutes torture of terrorist suspects. Those documents have been blamed for creating the legal environment that led some U.S. military personnel to torture detainees in Iraq and elsewhere.

The third man is Elliott Abrams, who was convicted of withholding information from Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan era."- Helen Thomas, Hearst White House columnist, 2/4/05

House GOP Leaders Name Loyalist to Replace Ethics Chief

"House Republican leaders tightened their control over the ethics committee yesterday by ousting its independent-minded chairman, appointing a replacement who is close to them and adding two new members who donated to the legal defense fund of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.)." - Mike Allen, Washington Post, 2/3/05

Drug 'probably killed thousands,' 1/25/05

"An arthritis drug withdrawn on safety grounds last year probably killed many thousands of patients, a new study suggests.

Researchers said the drug Vioxx may have caused between 88,000 and 140,000 serious heart problems in the United States alone since its introduction in 1999.

With heart disease death rates in the US running at 44%, many of these cases were likely to have been fatal, it was claimed."

The Coming Wars: What the Pentagon Can Now Do in Secret, 1/17/05

"George W. Bush’s reëlection was not his only victory last fall. The President and his national-security advisers have consolidated control over the military and intelligence communities’ strategic analyses and covert operations to a degree unmatched since the rise of the post-Second World War national-security state. Bush has an aggressive and ambitious agenda for using that control—against the mullahs in Iran and against targets in the ongoing war on terrorism—during his second term. The C.I.A. will continue to be downgraded, and the agency will increasingly serve, as one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon put it, as “facilitators” of policy emanating from President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. This process is well under way." - Seymour  Hersh, The New Yorker, 1/17./05

Annals of Outrage, 1/13/05

"In 2004 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Inspector Generals (IG) in various departments of the federal government issued reports revealing fraud, mismanagement and corruption. Here is my list of the Bush Administration's Ten Most Outrageous Scandals thus far uncovered by government investigators."- Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor, The Nation, 1/13/05. Commentary: Ms. Heuvel goes on to list and discuss: Halliburton's Corruption; Iraq's Decline; Abu Ghraib Prison Torture; The CIA's Pre-9/11 Intelligence Failures; HHS's Deceptive Ad Campaign; HHS's Scully Scandal; Government-wide Accounting Problems; Sex Education Misinformation; CAPPS II's Failures and The Real Costs of War.

U.S. tells D.C. to pay inaugural expenses
City will divert funds from homeland security projects, 1/11/2005

"D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects."- Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, 1/11/2005

Conservative columnist who took $240k from Bush criticized NAACP for sexual harassment and economic “improprieties” after settling his own sexual harassment suit, 1/10/2005

Frist's Hypocritical and Dishonest Attack on Democracy, 1/4/2004

"Documents obtained by American Progress show Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist participated in an effort to block one of Bill Clinton's judicial nominees via filibuster, then lied about it.

In recent weeks, Frist has been relentlessly preaching about the evils of judicial filibusters. Speaking to the Federalist Society on November 12, Frist said filibustering judicial nominees is "radical. It is dangerous and it must be overcome." [1] Frist called judicial filibusters "nothing less than a formula for tyranny by the minority." When Bill Clinton was President, however, Frist engaged in the same behavior he is now condemning."

The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy
Steven F. Freeman, The Center for Organizational Dynamics, University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Division,12/29/2004

"Most Americans who listened to radio or surfed the internet on election day this year sat down to watch the evening television coverage thinking John Kerry won the election. Exit polls showed him ahead in nearly every battleground state, in many cases by sizable margins. Although pre-election day polls indicated the race dead even or Bush slightly ahead, two factors seemed to explain Kerry’s edge: turnout was very high, good news for Democrats and, as in every US presidential election with an incumbent over the past quarter-century, undecided voters broke heavily toward the challenger. But then, in key state after key state, counts showed very different numbers than the polls predicted; and the differentials were all in the same direction."

"...Given that neither the pollsters nor their media clients have provided solid explanations to the public, suspicion of mistabulation or even fraud is running rampant and unchecked. The fact that so many people suspect misplay undermines not only the legitimacy of the presidency, but faith in the foundations of the democracy. Systematic fraud or mistabulation is as yet an unfounded conclusion, but the election’s unexplained exit poll discrepancies make it an unavoidable hypothesis, one that is the responsibility of the media, academia, polling agencies, and the public to investigate."

Feeney implicated in vote fraud: Congressman sought to alter totals, testimony in Ohio case says

Republican Congressman Tom Feeney of Oviedo asked a computer programmer in September 2000, prior to that year's contested presidential vote in Florida, to write software that could alter vote totals on touch-screen voting machines, the programmer said.

Former computer programmer Clint Curtis made the claim Monday in sworn testimony to Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee investigating allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 presidential election involving touch-screen voting in Ohio.

In his testimony, Curtis said that Feeney, then a member of the Florida House of Representative, met with Curtis and other employees of Yang Enterprises, an Oviedo software company, and asked if the company could create a program that would allow a user to alter the vote totals while using the touch-screen machine. The program had to be written so that even the human-readable computer code would not show its illicit capabilities, Curtis recalled.- Alex Babcock, Seminole Chronicle, 12/16/2004.

US Failed to Honestly Assess Iraq Threat - Report
by Carol Giacomo, 12/23/2004


Bush: Time Magazine's 2004 Person of The Year

Rewarding Incompetence: Cindy Sheehan - Whose Son Died in Iraq - Responds to Time Magazine's Choice for "Man of the Year"

Fallujah Pictures

"Fallujah Napalmed," 11/28/2004, Paul Gilfeather Political Editor, Sunday Mirror UK; "The Fallout From Fallujah," Brent Gregston, Worldpress.org, contributing editor, 11/12/04; "America's Sinister Plan for Fallujah," Michael Schwartz, ZNet, 12/17/04; Iraq Watch, ZNet

The Road to Abu Ghraib

"Since late April 2004, when the first photographs appeared of U.S. military personnel humiliating, torturing, and otherwise mistreating detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the United States government has repeatedly sought to portray the abuse as an isolated incident, the work of a few “bad apples” acting without orders..."

"..In fact, the only exceptional aspect of the abuse at Abu Ghraib may have been that it was photographed. Detainees in U.S. custody in Afghanistan have testified that they experienced treatment similar to what happened in Abu Ghraib -- from beatings to prolonged sleep and sensory deprivation to being held naked -- as early as 2002. Comparable -- and, indeed, more extreme -- cases of torture and inhuman treatment have been extensively documented by the International Committee of the Red Cross and by journalists at numerous locations in Iraq outside Abu Ghraib.

This pattern of abuse did not result from the acts of individual soldiers who broke the rules. It resulted from decisions made by the Bush administration to bend, ignore, or cast rules aside." HRC Report, 6/2004, "The Road to Abu Ghraib."

See also: "Detainee Abuse by Marines Is Detailed: Variety of Units In Iraq Involved," Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, 12/15/2004


100,000 Civilian Deaths Estimated in Iraq

"One of the first attempts to independently estimate the loss of civilian life from the Iraqi war has concluded that at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians may have died because of the U.S. invasion.

The analysis, an extrapolation based on a relatively small number of documented deaths, indicated that many of the excess deaths have occurred due to aerial attacks by coalition forces, with women and children being frequent victims, wrote the international team of public health researchers making the calculations." - Rob Stein, Washington Post, 10/29/2004

Blacks dying for lack of health care- Disparities cost 886,000 lives in the U.S. in '90, 12/21/2004

"More than 886,000 deaths could have been prevented from 1991 to 2000 if African Americans had received the same care as whites, according to an analysis in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The study estimates that technological improvements in medicine -- including better drugs, devices and procedures -- averted only 176,633 deaths during the same period." -  January W. Payne, Washington Post, 12/21/2004

Battlefield Earth

"I read that the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the election a mandate for President Bush on the environment. This for an administration that wants to rewrite the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act protecting rare plant and animal species and their habitats, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act that requires the government to judge beforehand if actions might damage natural resources.

That wants to relax pollution limits for ozone; eliminate vehicle tailpipe inspections; and ease pollution standards for cars, sports utility vehicles and diesel-powered big trucks and heavy equipment.

That wants a new international audit law to allow corporations to keep certain information about environmental problems secret from the public.

That wants to drop all its new-source review suits against polluting coal-fired power plans and weaken consent decrees reached earlier with coal companies.

That wants to open the artic wildlife refuge to drilling and increase drilling in Padre Island National Seashore, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and the last great coastal wild land in America.

I read the news just this week and learned how the Environmental Protection Agency had planned to spend nine million dollars - $2 million of it from the administration's friends at the American Chemistry Council - to pay poor families to continue to use pesticides in their homes. These pesticides have been linked to neurological damage in children, but instead of ordering an end to their use, the government and the industry were going to offer the families $970 each, as well as a camcorder and children's clothing, to serve as guinea pigs for the study.

I read all this in the news.

I read the news just last night and learned that the administration's friends at the international policy network, which is supported by Exxon Mobile and others of like mind, have issued a new report that climate change is "a myth, sea levels are not rising," scientists who believe catastrophe is possible are "an embarrassment."

I not only read the news but the fine print of the recent appropriations bill passed by Congress, with the obscure (and obscene) riders attached to it: a clause removing all endangered species protections from pesticides; language prohibiting judicial review for a forest in Oregon; a waiver of environmental review for grazing permits on public lands; a rider pressed by developers to weaken protection for crucial habitats in California.

I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer – pictures of my grandchildren: Henry, age 12; of Thomas, age 10; of Nancy, 7; Jassie, 3; Sara Jane, nine months. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, "Father, forgive us, for we know now what we do." And then I am stopped short by the thought: "That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world."

And I ask myself: Why? Is it because we don't care? Because we are greedy? Because we have lost our capacity for outrage, our ability to sustain indignation at injustice?

What has happened to out moral imagination?

On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: 'How do you see the world?" And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly.'"

I see it feelingly.

The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free – not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need to match the science of human health is what the ancient Israelites called "hocma" – the science of the heart... the capacity to see... to feel... and then to act... as if the future depended on you.

Believe me, it does. - Bill Moyers, Alternet, 12/4/2004; See also: Environment;  Global Economics, Politics & the Environment; Global Warming: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid & Bush Whitehouse Harms the Environment

Officer Alleges CIA Retaliation: Lawsuit Says Agency Urged False Reporting on Iraqi Arms

"A senior CIA operative who handled sensitive informants in Iraq asserts that CIA managers asked him to falsify his reporting on weapons of mass destruction and retaliated against him after he refused.

The operative, who remains under cover, asserts in a lawsuit made public yesterday that a co-worker warned him in 2001 "that CIA management planned to 'get him' for his role in reporting intelligence contrary to official CIA dogma." - Dana Priest, Washington Post, 12/9/2004


All hail to Caligula's horse

"...In line with other second-term cabinet appointments - Alberto Gonzales as attorney general, Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state - Bernard Kerik will be an enforcer, a loyalist and an incompetent. The resemblance is less to Inspector Clouseau or Chauncy Gardner than to Caligula's horse." - Sidney Blumenthal, 12/9/2004, The Guardian

2 C.I.A. Reports Offer Warnings on Iraq's Path, 12/7/2004

"WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 - A classified cable sent by the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Baghdad has warned that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not rebound any time soon, according to government officials."- Douglas Jehl. New York Times, 12/7/2004

Oxfam: Poor Are Paying the Price of Rich Countries' Failure, 12/6/2004

A new report from international agency Oxfam today reveals that 45 million more children will die needlessly by 2015, because rich countries are failing to provide the necessary resources they promised to overcome poverty.

CBS contacted Media Matters, but left questions on advocacy ads unanswered, 12/3/2004

Comment: CBS in a reprehensible move decided to not air a United Church of Christ ad that says all are welcome in the church- including sexual minorities...See also: Faith-Based Communicators React to CBS, NBC Nixing of Church Ad & United Church of Christ files petition with FCC over networks' refusal of church advertisement

In response to Media Matters for America's December 1 item about CBS's decision not to air a United Church of Christ ad, a CBS spokesperson contacted Media Matters to make the case that the network's policy on advocacy advertisements is consistently applied. The spokesperson, however, was unable or unwilling to explain why the network ran advocacy ads that support Bush administration positions while rejecting those deemed contrary to administration policies.

The CBS spokesperson wrote: "CBS has a long standing policy of not accepting advocacy and issue oriented advertisements" and provided the text of the network's policy on the matter, as well as a January 28, 2004, statement on the same. The written policy added no significant information to what is already known: that CBS says it doesn't run "advocacy" ads on "controversial issues of public importance." But the statement ostensibly explained why the network's decision to air White House ads about drugs did not run counter to CBS's ban on advocacy ads:

Suggestions have also been made that we are violating our own policy by allowing the airing of messages which aim to curb drug abuse and smoking by minors. CBS is unaware of responsible groups which advocate drug abuse and smoking by minors, so it is hard to understand how these laudable efforts would constitute "controversial issues."

Media Matters found this paragraph curious, and CBS's advocacy policy still seems to be inconsistently applied. Seeking clarification, we asked the CBS spokesperson the following questions via email:

Why did CBS not consider the White House's Medicare ad an advocacy or issue oriented ad?

What is "controversial" about the message that "all are welcome in our Church"? Even the Reverend Jerry Falwell said on CNN yesterday that he didn't understand why CBS & NBC refused to air the ad.

20/20 Response: Statement from Judy and Dennis Shepard Concerning 20/20 Report aired on 11/6/2004 on the Murder of Matthew Shepard

"On November 26, 2004, 20/20 will air a piece that promised 'new information and facts' about Matt's beating and subsequent death. Dennis and I reviewed an advance copy of the show and were dismayed and saddened by the tabloid nature of the show, its lack of serious reporting of facts in evidence, and the amateurish nature of asking leading questions to the people who were interviewed..."

"...Despite their promotional efforts to the contrary, 20/20 has not presented a 'new' theory.  Much of this information was included in a Vanity Fair story in March 1999.  What is new is the unfortunate downslide of a reputable news magazine show when its highly respected host retires. 20/20 has sacrificed years of professional journalistic ethics and values for a stab at revisionist history ... and ratings."

"A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state's African-American voting districts," Greg Palast, reporting for BBC Newsnight, 10/26/2004

"Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."

Bush suppresses damning CIA report on 9/11
Intelligence official says a report that is "very embarrassing for the administration" is being withheld from Congress until after the election, 10/20/2004, Robert Scheer, Salon Magazine


Letter from David Brock to Sinclair Broadcast Group (10/10/04)

Commentary: The Bush campaign should disavow itself of this obvious smear campaign- however, it likely will not- instead following the precept- if all else fails lie- and the bigger the better....

David D. Smith
President and Chief Executive Officer
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
10706 Beaver Dam Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030

Dear Mr. Smith:

I'm writing to ask you to cancel plans, reported in the October 9 edition of the Los Angeles Times, to force Sinclair Broadcasting Group stations to preempt regular programming and broadcast a film attacking Senator John Kerry between now and the November 2 presidential election.

According to the Times, the film, Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, "features former POWs accusing Kerry -- a decorated Navy veteran turned war protester -- of worsening their ordeal by prolonging the war." The Times reported that the maker of the film, former Washington Times reporter (and former Bush administration official) Carlton Sherwood, tells viewers on the film's website: "Intended or not, Lt. Kerry painted a depraved portrait of Vietnam veterans, literally creating the images of those who served in combat as deranged, drug-addicted psychopaths, baby killers" that has endured for 30 years.

I don't have to remind you, as the Times pointed out, that "Sinclair stations are spread throughout the country, in major markets that include Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas. ... Fourteen of the 62 stations the company either owns or programs are in the key political swing stations of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where the presidential election is being closely fought."

As described by the Times, Sinclair's plan to air the film raises questions about whether Sinclair would be running afoul of federal regulations "requiring broadcasters to provide equal time to major candidates in an election campaign ..." Provisions of the McCain-Feingold law would also appear to be at issue in your decision. The reported effort by Sinclair executives to instruct station managers to classify the film as "news," thus skirting these political broadcasting regulations, would be a charade given its blatant anti-Kerry slant.

I trust that in light of these concerns, you will reconsider your company's apparent decision to air "Stolen Honor."


David Brock
President and CEO
Media Matters for America

See also: Owner of firm pushing anti-Kerry film was Bush appointee; Provides rental space for production company, handles checks, John Byrne, Raw Story Editor, 10/13/2004 & Sinclair axes journalist critical of film, 10/19/2004, Kasey Jones, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Nobel Winner: US Voters Hold Key to Ending Iraq War, Curbing Global Warming

"NAIROBI - American voters hold the key to ending the war in Iraq and can help revive a UN treaty on global warming which was rejected by President George W. Bush, Kenyan ecologist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Wangari Maathai, told reporters.

"There are very many Americans who are not for the war (in Iraq) and who are wishing that this war could come to an end," Maathai said at the United Nations offices in Nairobi.

"In a country like America, there are lots of people who would prefer that their government ratify the (Kyoto) protocol, who would gladly change their consumptive lifestyle, especially the rate at which they consume fossil fuel, so that they are not polluters of the environment," Maathai, who is Kenya's deputy environment minister, said."-  Agence France Presse, 10/12/2004

Senate Passes Corporate Tax Bill: Bush Plans to Sign $143 Billion in Cuts

"...Critics - including budget watchdogs and liberal activists - decried what they saw as a cornucopia of special-interest tax cuts that would complicate the tax code, favor companies doing business overseas and ultimately worsen the budget deficit. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pronounced it "disgraceful" and "a classic example of the special interests prevailing over the people's interest."

Major Assaults on Hold Until After U.S. Vote:
Attacks on Iraq's rebel-held cities will be delayed, officials say. But that could make it harder to allow wider, and more legitimate, Iraqi voting in January.

"WASHINGTON — The Bush administration plans to delay major assaults on rebel-held cities in Iraq until after U.S. elections in November, say administration officials, mindful that large-scale military offensives could affect the U.S. presidential race.

"Although American commanders in Iraq have been buoyed by recent successes in insurgent-held towns such as Samarra and Tall Afar, administration and Pentagon officials say they will not try to retake cities such as Fallouja and Ramadi — where the insurgents' grip is strongest and U.S. military casualties could be the highest — until after Americans vote in what is likely to be an extremely close election."

"...Any delay in pacifying Iraq's most troublesome cities, however, could alter the dynamics of a different election — the one in January, when Iraqis are to elect members of a national assembly." - Mark Mazzetti, Los Angeles Times, 10/11/2004

Commentary: It is beyond disgraceful to time military operations so as to not hurt Bush's reelection chances. Even so, the cycle of violence continues to increase as peace seems more & more elusive. See: U.S., Iraqi Forces Raid Ramadi Mosques:  Air Strikes Resume in Fallujah, Fred Barbash, Washington Post, 10/13/2004.

Election 2004 Reuters/Zogby Daily Tracking Poll: Dead Heat Race For the White House Continues: Kerry, 46% - Bush, 45% - New Reuters/Zogby Poll Reveals, 10/09/2004

Sidelined Neo-Cons Stoke Future Fires

"WASHINGTON - Sidelined by their failed predictions for Iraq and U.S. President George W Bush's efforts to reassure voters he is not a warmonger, prominent neo-conservatives and their Christian Right allies are nonetheless trying hard to prepare the ground for future U.S. adventures in the Middle East.

"...A growing number of observers, particularly in the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), are coming to the conclusion that the neo-cons may actually enjoy greater influence if Bush wins re-election."- Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, 10/08/2004

House Leader Rebuked - Again

"CBS) The House ethics committee Wednesday criticized House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for conduct that appeared to link political donations to legislation and for improperly contacting U.S. aviation authorities for political purposes, House sources said Wednesday. The committee's findings were an extraordinary second rebuke of the Texas Republican's ethical conduct in just six days."  See also:  DeLay sought to have group which wrote complaint found in contempt of Congress, 12/9/2004

Bremer criticizes troop levels in Iraq: Ex-administrator says planning failure created 'atmosphere of lawlessness'

"...Bremer's comments were striking because they echoed contentions of many administration critics, including Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, who argue that the U.S. government failed to plan adequately to maintain security in Iraq after the invasion. Bremer has generally defended the U.S. approach in Iraq but in recent weeks has begun to criticize the administration for tactical and policy shortfalls."- Robin Wright & Thomas E Ricks, 10/5/04, Washington Post

Race for President Falls Back into Dead Heat, New Zogby Interactive Presidential Battleground Poll Reveals

From the Kerry Campaign, 9/24/04: "We have the momentum now, but that doesn't mean this is a time to be complacent. We can't relax for one moment over the next 39 days -- good news in the polls isn't enough to win this election. Now that their lead has evaporated, the Bush-Cheney team and the Republicans are going to kick their smear machine into high gear. You're going to see attacks in the next few weeks like nothing you have ever seen before.

This news comes as we face the most urgent deadline of this campaign. The money that the Democratic Party raises today is the money that will go to respond to the vicious smears against John Kerry, John Edwards, and our Democratic candidates we'll see over the next 39 days. It's the money that will go to our final push to get out each and every vote we need to win.


This is the moment where every last dollar counts -- it does not get any more urgent than the Democratic Party's September 30 deadline.

Ashcroft Continues to Seek New Powers

"Attorney General Ashcroft and his allies in Congress are taking advantage of the 9/11 Commission report to push an expansion of the powers of the Department of Justice and erode key checks and balances that prevent government abuse. Many of their earlier proposals met with defeat, but now they are pushing new legislation that would dramatically expand on the PATRIOT Act and even further restrict our freedom.

The latest proposed legislation -- "Tools to Fight Terrorism Act of 2004" (S. 2679) -- would increase the government’s powers to secretly obtain personal records without judicial review and limit judicial discretion over the use of secret evidence in criminal cases. It would also eliminate important foreign intelligence wiretapping safeguards and allow the use of secret intelligence wiretaps in immigration cases without notice or an opportunity to suppress illegally acquired evidence.

The legislation would also grant the Department of Justice expanded administrative subpoena power -- the authority to seize records and compel testimony in terrorism cases without prior review by a court or grand jury. This would erode already diminished judicial oversight, and would allow access to confidential records without individual suspicion of wrongdoing.

Furthermore, this legislation would expand the use of the death penalty -- a step that would hurt efforts to coordinate anti-terrorism activities and extraditions with those countries that oppose capital punishment."

Dead soldier's mother disrupts GOP rally
New Jersey woman's son died in Iraq trying to defuse a bomb

"HAMILTON, N.J. — A woman wearing a T-shirt with the words ``President Bush You Killed My Son" and a picture of a soldier killed in Iraq was detained Thursday after she interrupted a campaign speech by first lady Laura Bush." - AP, 9/17/04; See also: "A Key Question from a Slain GI's Mother," by Jimmy Breslin, 9/19/04

Comment: The Iraqi War is an illegal war that has made the world less safe. We must not forgot the very real human tragedies that occur every day- both among the Iraqis and the foreign troops that occupy the country. Both political parties bear responsibility for this reckless war, quoting Senator Robert Byrd's Senate Floor Speech on February 12, 2003:

"To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war.

Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.

We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war."

Howard Zinn wrote this past April, "Not only did the president deceive the public, and take the country into war with a rationale that defied common sense, but Congress and the media, by going along, became accessories to that deception. "

Iraq War was Illegal and Breached UN Charter, Says Annan, 9/04

"The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly for the first time last night that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal.

Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN's founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service broadcast last night, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: "Yes, if you wish."

He then added unequivocally: "I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal." "- Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger in Washington, Guardian/UK

Group Offers Bush Bleak Iraq Assessment, 9/04

"In a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate, the council looked at the political, economic and security situation in the war torn country and determined that- at best- a tenuous stability was possible, a U.S. official said late Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The document lays out a second scenario in which increased extremism and fragmentation in Iraqi society impede efforts to build a central government and adversely affect efforts to democratize the country.

In a third, worst-case scenario, the intelligence council contemplated "trend lines that would point to a civil war," the official said. The potential conflict could be among the country's three main populations — the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds."- Katherine Pfleger Schrader, Associated Press, 9/16/2004

Brothers in Arms

In 1969, during the Vietnam War, Senator John Kerry was one of a handful of soldiers assigned to a "Swift boat," a small reconnaissance vessel that patrolled the rivers in search of North Vietnamese camps hidden in the thick jungles along the banks. Like most of the Swift boat crews, Kerry's company came under attack several times during its hitch in Vietnam, and the horrors of combat and the emotional weight of the war's legacy proved to be a great obstacle to overcome for these soldiers. Brothers in Arms is a documentary that profiles the men who served in the Swift boat crew -- Kerry is included, but not given particular emphasis -- and discuss in detail their experiences in Vietnam, the difficulties they encountered after returning home, and how they each came to terms with their traumas and moved on. Directed by Paul Alexander, Brothers in Arms was one of two films about John Kerry's Vietnam experiences scheduled to be released in the fall of 2004, as he was in the midst of a campaign for president.- Mark Deming, from All Movie Guide

A Secure America in a Secure World, 9/2004

"The Bush administration’s “war on terrorism” reflects a major failure of leadership and makes Americans more vulnerable rather than more secure. The administration has chosen a path to combat terrorism that has weakened multilateral institutions and squandered international goodwill. Not only has Bush failed to support effective reconstruction in Afghanistan, but his war and occupation in Iraq have made the United States more vulnerable and have opened a new front and a recruiting tool for terrorists while diverting resources from essential homeland security efforts. In short, Washington’s approach to homeland security fails to address key vulnerabilities, undermines civil liberties, and misallocates resources."- John Gershman with Foreign Policy In Focus Task Force on Terrorism.

Three Years On, War on Terrorism Looks Like a Loser, 9/11/2004

"...While some 70 percent of al Qaeda's leadership from the time of the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks has been killed or captured -- as Bush and his top aides never cease to remind nervous voters - terrorism experts have been amazed at how quickly the group appears to have reconstituted itself, in part by associating with new ”franchises” that have grown like mushrooms, particularly since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

U.S. forces and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world, something Osama bin Laden has been trying to do with substantial but incomplete success since the early 1990s,” wrote a top counter-terrorist official at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who calls himself ”Anonymous”, in a new book entitled 'Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror'.- Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, 9/11/2004

Democrat John Kerry Clings To A Narrow Labor Day Lead, New Zogby Interactive Presidential Battleground Poll Reveals, 9/8/2004

"...Pollster John Zogby: “Kerry has lost ground – either in the size of his lead or in the outright lead itself – in several states. Noticeably, the President is now doing better among Republicans in more states than Mr. Kerry is among his own Democrats. Mr. Bush has also made gains among Independents. In addition to the Senator leaving voters cold on his personal characteristics, he is not contrasting himself with the President on the war. Mr. Bush has clearly defined himself, as Fritz Wenzel points out above, as the clear, decisive war leader. All Mr. Kerry has done is say he is ready for duty and would do exactly the same. With Democrats angry over the war, they will need to hear more from the challenger."

Comment: Kerry's challenges with undecided voters, see: "Undecided Voters Speak Out," & investors, see: "Investors are moving in Bush”s direction to Kerry’s peril," are troubling. Nader's willingness to challenge Kerry in swing states is also concerning. All of this is in the back drop of a plethora of books and news reports over the last six months that have highlighted major failures in the war on terrorism, mounting causalities in Iraq, weaknesses in the economy, increasing dangers of global warming, negative Presidential job performance ratings, etc.

The Kerry campaign needs to strengthen support among undecided/weakly decided voters in swing states and more clearly define policy differences on issues critical to voters. In addition, the campaign needs to closely examine the reasons why voter's are "cold" to Kerry's personal characteristics-particularly voters who are undecided or weakly decided. Further, the campaign must do a much better job highlighting the wonderful accomplishments of Teresa Heinz Kerry. This can aid in attracting swing voters, the majority of which are woman. John Edwards who is admittedly more charismatic and eloquent than Kerry can also assist in the above effort.

Bush's National Guard File Missing Records by Matt Kelly, Associated Press, 9/5/2004

White House Blocked Probe of Sept. 11-Saudi Link: Top US Senator

"WASHINGTON - The White House blocked a congressional investigation into alleged links between the Saudi government and two September 11, 2001, hijackers, a top US senator wrote in a book.
Florida Senator Bob Graham, the Democrat who co-chaired Congress's probe into the September 11 attacks, wrote that Saudi government agents were part of a support network in the United States for two hijackers who took part in the devastating strikes, the Miami Herald reported Sunday.

But President George W. Bush's administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation blocked Congress's investigation into the alleged ties, Graham wrote in "Intelligence Matters," a copy of which the Herald obtained.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry called for an immediate "independent investigation" into the allegations "to determine if the very agencies charged with investigating the war on terror have been compromised by White House politics." " - Agence France-Presse, 9/6/2004

Poverty Rate Up 3rd Year In a Row: More Also Lack Health Coverage

"The number of Americans living in poverty or lacking health insurance rose for the third straight year in 2003, the Census Bureau announced yesterday, reflecting a job market that failed to match otherwise strong economic growth.

Overall, the median household income remained stagnant at $43,318, while the national poverty rate rose to 12.5 percent -- 35.9 million people -- last year, from 12.1 percent in 2002. Hit hardest were women, who for the first time since 1999 saw their earnings decline, and children. By the end of 2003, 12.9 million children lived in poverty." - Ceci Connolly and Griff Witte, Washington Post, 8/27/04

Washington Accused of Ignoring Nuclear Terror Threat, 8/22/04

"The Bush administration insists that its top priority is keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists. But in a withering new book, one of America's foremost nuclear weapons experts argues that the White House has been so heedless of the threat that nuclear armageddon in one or more US cities is now "more likely than not" over the next decade.

Graham Allison, a former defense official under both Republican and Democratic administrations and now a leading researcher at Harvard, describes the Bush administration as "reckless" for its failure to secure fissile materials around the world and its apparent lack of interest in preventing North Korea and Iran from becoming nuclear powers. In his book Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, Mr Allison lays out a series of measures to minimize the risk that al-Qa'ida or another group could either build or buy a nuclear weapon and then smuggle it into the United States."- Andrew Gumbel, Independent/UK, 8/22/04

"Deserter: Bush's War on the Military and His Past, by Ian Williams," 8/04

"Deserter looks objectively at the military record of George W. Bush, his role in the armed forces, and his treatment of them. Drawing upon military and former-military sources, Ian Williams convincingly argues that the president is guilty of breathtaking hypocrisy, cynical doublethink, and egregious neglect of the actual defense of the United States." -from the Publisher, Thunder's Mouth Press

Former Swift Boat Commander Backs Kerry on Vietnam

"PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - An American journalist who commanded a boat alongside John Kerry (news - web sites) in Vietnam broke a 35-year silence on Saturday and defended the Democratic presidential candidate against Republican critics of his military service and integrity."- Carol Giacomo, Reuters, 8/21/04. See also: Navy Report Backs Kerry Role in Incident, 8/26/04; Political drama unfolds as letter carriers fail to deliver, 8/26/04 & Vets’ lawyer quits Bush campaign, 8/26/04

Bush's camp may cut 1 debate, 9/03/2004

The Post on WMDs: An Inside Story
Prewar Articles Questioning Threat Often Didn't Make Front Page

"Days before the Iraq war began, veteran Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus put together a story questioning whether the Bush administration had proof that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction."

But he ran into resistance from the paper's editors, and his piece ran only after assistant managing editor Bob Woodward, who was researching a book about the drive toward war, "helped sell the story," Pincus recalled. "Without him, it would have had a tough time getting into the paper." Even so, the article was relegated to Page A17. "

Pre-9-11 Intelligence Underpinning US Terror Alert

Washington Post 8/3/2004

The newspaper cited anonymous US intelligence and law enforcement officials as saying that most of the information was at least three years old and had been obtained through the Internet or other "open sources" available to the public, including some floor plans.

"There is nothing right now that we're hearing that is new," said one senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the alert. "Why did we go to this level? ... I still don't know that."

The Conservative Party: Kerry's Democrats

"...Domestically, moreover, Bush has done a huge amount to destroy the coherence of a conservative philosophy of American government; and he has been almost criminally reckless in his hubris in the conduct of the war. He and America will never live down the intelligence debacle of the missing Iraqi WMDs; and he and America will be hard put to regain the moral high ground in world affairs after Abu Ghraib. The argument Kerry must make is that he can continue the substance of the war, but without Bush's polarizing recklessness. And at home, he must reassure Americans that he is the centrist candidate - controlled neither by the foaming Michael Moore left nor the vitriolic religious right. Put all that together, and I may not find myself the only conservative moving slowly and reluctantly toward the notion that Kerry may be the right man - and the conservative choice - for a difficult and perilous time. " - Andrew Sullivan, 7/25/04

Republicans blast President Bush on Environment, 7/20/04

"CONCORD, New Hampshire - One of the Environmental Protection Agency’s earliest leaders, flanked by Republican state politicians, blasted the president’s record on the environment Monday during a news conference organized by an anti-Bush environmental group.

Russell Train, a Republican, was the EPA’s second chief under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. But he said Bush’s record is so dismal he’s casting his presidential vote for Democrat John Kerry in November.

"It’s almost as if the motto of the administration in power today in Washington is not environmental protection, but polluter protection," he said. "I find this deeply disturbing.""- Erik Stetson, Associated Press, 7/20/04

Regime change in Iran now in Bush’s sights

"PRESIDENT George Bush has promised that if re-elected in November he will make regime change in Iran his new target.
Bush named Iran as part of the Axis of Evil along with North Korea and Iraq almost three years ago. A US government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that military action would not be overt in changing Iran, but rather that the US would work to stir revolts in the country and hope to topple the current conservative religious leadership.

The official said: “If George Bush is re-elected there will be much more intervention in the internal affairs of Iran.”" - Jennifer Johnston, Sunday Herald, 7/18/04

Commentary: It appears that if re-elected Iran may be Bush's next target. In my opinion, unilateral U.S. military action against Iran or North Korea (the two remaining "Axis of Evil" countries), could trigger a major regional conflagration with global repercussions. However, there may be a need for continued or strengthened international sanctions if the current regime, in Iran, for example, continues to support terrorism. See also: "The Folly of Invading Iran," by James Bovard, 10/17/03. 

Advocates of War Now Profit From Iraq's Reconstruction: Lobbyists, aides to senior officials and others encouraged invasion and now help firms pursue contracts. They see no conflict.

WASHINGTON — In the months and years leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, they marched together in the vanguard of those who advocated war.

As lobbyists, public relations counselors and confidential advisors to senior federal officials, they warned against Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, praised exiled leader Ahmad Chalabi, and argued that toppling Saddam Hussein was a matter of national security and moral duty.

Now, as fighting continues in Iraq, they are collecting tens of thousands of dollars in fees for helping business clients pursue federal contracts and other financial opportunities in Iraq. For instance, a former Senate aide who helped get U.S. funds for anti-Hussein exiles who are now active in Iraqi affairs has a $175,000 deal to advise Romania on winning business in Iraq and other matters. - Walter F. Roche Jr. and Ken Silverstein, Los Angeles Times, 7/14/2004

9/11 Commission Sticks By Its Iraq, Al Qaida Findings

"WASHINGTON -- The Sept. 11 commission is standing by its finding that al-Qaida had only limited contact with Iraq before the terrorist attacks.

The 10-member, bipartisan panel issued a one-sentence statement Tuesday saying it had access to the same information as Vice President Dick Cheney, who suggested strong ties between ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.

That assertion was one of the justifications the Bush administration gave for going to war with Iraq. In a preliminary report released last month, the Sept. 11 commission cited contacts between Saddam's regime and Osama bin Laden but said there was no "collaborative relationship." " - Hope Yen, Associated Press, 7/7/04


Rumsfeld Gave Go-Ahead for Abu Ghraib Tactics, says General In Charge

"The former head of the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad has for the first time accused the American Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, of directly authorizing Guantanamo Bay-style interrogation tactics.

Brig-Gen Janis Karpinski, who commanded the 800th Military Police Brigade, which is at the center of the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, said that documents yet to be released by the Pentagon would show that Mr Rumsfeld personally approved the introduction of harsher conditions of detention in Iraq." - Julian Coman, Telegraph, UK, 7/5/04

Republican Senator Rips Bush on Iraq Strategy:
Hagel says war hurt U.S. in terror battle

LOS ANGELES -- Sen. Chuck Hagel, an influential moderate Republican from Nebraska, sharply criticized the Bush administration in an interview here Tuesday, saying that the war in Iraq appears to have hurt America in its battle against terrorism.- James Sterngold, 6/30.04, San Francisco Chronicle

Iraq Regime Change a Sham, Say Mideast Experts, 6/04

UNITED NATIONS - Despite the positive responses Monday from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and members of the Security Council who praised the U.S. "transfer of sovereignty" to an interim government in Iraq, Middle East experts and political analysts dismiss the regime change in Baghdad as a "monumental fraud". - Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service, 6/29/04

One Million Black Votes Didn't Count in the 2000 Presidential Election: It's not too hard to get your vote lost - if some politicians want it to be lost

"In the 2000 presidential election, 1.9 million Americans cast ballots that no one counted. "Spoiled votes" is the technical term. The pile of ballots left to rot has a distinctly dark hue: About 1 million of them - half of the rejected ballots - were cast by African Americans although black voters make up only 12 percent of the electorate."  Greg Palast, 6/21/2004


Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror

"Though U.S. leaders try to convince the world of their success in fighting al Qaeda, one anonymous member of the U.S. intelligence community would like to inform the public that we are, in fact, losing the war on terror. Further, until U.S. leaders recognize the errant path they have irresponsibly chosen, he says, our enemies will only grow stronger."  Published 8/04 by Brassey's Inc.

According to NBC News, in a 6/23/04 article by Andrea Mitchell entitled, "CIA insider says U.S. fighting wrong war," the author is a "22-year veteran of the CIA and still works for the intelligence agency, which allowed him to publish the book after reviewing it for classified information."

"In an interview with NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, the author calls the U.S. war in Iraq a dream come true for Osama bin Laden, saying, “Bin Laden saw the invasion of Iraq as a Christmas gift he never thought he’d get.” By invading a country that’s regarded as the second holiest place in Islam, he asserts, the Bush administration inadvertently validated bin Laden’s assertions that the United States intends a holy war against Muslims."- Andrea Mitchell, Correspondent NBC News, 6/23/04.

Imperial Overstretch: George W. Bush and the Hubris of Empire

From the Publisher: "Burbach and Tarbell argue that George W. Bush has fundamentally changed America's place in the world--for the worse. Hijacked by neoconservatives and the petro-military complex, the nation that once broke from an empire is swiftly becoming an empire itself. Fed by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; a never-ending fear of terrorism; mushrooming defense expenditures; and the slow but steady erosion of civil liberties on the home front, is this empire in danger of becoming too large to survive?"- Roger Burbach & Jim Tarbell, "Imperial Overstretch: George W. Bush and the Hubris of Empire," Zed Books, 7/04

9/11 Panel Disputes Iraq Link to Attacks

"Rebuffing Bush administration claims, the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said Wednesday no evidence exists that al-Qaida had strong ties to Saddam Hussein (news - web sites). In hair-raising detail, the commission said the terror network had envisioned a much larger attack and is working hard to strike again." - Curt Anderson, Associated Press Writer, 6/16/04

Retired officials say Bush has made U.S. isolated, distrusted

"More than two dozen retired high-level U.S. diplomats and military officials, including many who say they voted for President Bush, Wednesday will issue a harsh indictment of the administration's foreign and defense policies.
"Never in the two and a quarter centuries of our history has the United States been so isolated among the nations, so broadly feared and distrusted," the statement says. The document accuses Bush of adopting "an overbearing approach to America's role in the world" that has weakened U.S. security and "led the United States into an ill-planned and costly war from which exit is uncertain." "- Barbara Slavin, USA Today, 6/16/04.

Bush Knew About Leak of CIA Operative's Name

"Witnesses told a federal grand jury President George W. Bush knew about, and took no action to stop, the release of a covert CIA operative's name to a journalist in an attempt to discredit her husband, a critic of administration policy in Iraq.

Their damning testimony has prompted Bush to contact an outside lawyer for legal advice because evidence increasingly points to his involvement in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to syndicated columnist Robert Novak," Capital Hill Blue, 6/3/04


Interrogation abuses were 'approved at highest levels'

"New evidence that the physical abuse of detainees in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay was authorised at the top of the Bush administration will emerge in Washington this week, adding further to pressure on the White House.

The Telegraph understands that four confidential Red Cross documents implicating senior Pentagon civilians in the Abu Ghraib scandal have been passed to an American television network, which is preparing to make them public shortly." - Julian Coman, The Daily Telegraph, 6/13/03

New Prison Images Emerge: Graphic Photos May Be More Evidence of Abuse

"The collection of photographs begins like a travelogue from Iraq. Here are U.S. soldiers posing in front of a mosque. Here is a soldier riding a camel in the desert. And then: a soldier holding a leash tied around a man's neck in an Iraqi prison. He is naked, grimacing and lying on the floor. " - Christian Davenport, Washington Post, 5/6/04.; Also: A Wretched New Picture Of America: Photos From Iraq Prison Show We Are Our Own Worst Enemy, Washington Post, 5/4/04, Philip Kennicott ; Rueful Rumsfeld: `Cruel' truth hurts: Rape and murder feared in Iraq abuse- Noelle Straub, Boston Herald, 5/8/04 ; US Pushes World Court Immunity Amid Iraq Scandal, Reuters, Carol Giacomo, 5/14/04 The Gray Zone, How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib, by Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker Magazine, 5/15/04 & Iraqi Teens Abused at Abu Ghraib, Report Finds, by Josh White and Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, 8/24/2004

From Bush, Unprecedented Negativity
Scholars Say Campaign Is Making History With Often-Misleading Attacks

"It was a typical week in the life of the Bush reelection machine.

Last Monday in Little Rock, Vice President Cheney said Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry "has questioned whether the war on terror is really a war at all" and said the senator from Massachusetts "promised to repeal most of the Bush tax cuts within his first 100 days in office."

On Tuesday, President Bush's campaign began airing an ad saying Kerry would scrap wiretaps that are needed to hunt terrorists.

The same day, the Bush campaign charged in a memo sent to reporters and through surrogates that Kerry wants to raise the gasoline tax by 50 cents.

On Wednesday and Thursday, as Kerry campaigned in Seattle, he was greeted by another Bush ad alleging that Kerry now opposes education changes that he supported in 2001.

The charges were all tough, serious -- and wrong, or at least highly misleading. Kerry did not question the war on terrorism, has proposed repealing tax cuts only for those earning more than $200,000, supports wiretaps, has not endorsed a 50-cent gasoline tax increase in 10 years, and continues to support the education changes, albeit with modifications."  Dana Milbank and Jim VandeHei, Washington Post, 5/31/04

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity--A Diplomat's Memoir

"In 1991, President George H. W. Bush called Ambassador Joseph Wilson a "True American Hero." In 2003, senior officials in President George W. Bush¹s White House tried to intimidate critics and punish Wilson for what he knew (and finally made public) about the administration's lies before the invasion of Iraq.

The disclosure of the undercover identity of Wilson's wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame, was an unprecedented and potentially criminal act.

The Politics of Truth tells the revealing story of this courageous American diplomat and his pivotal career in foreign policy, from telling Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait to confronting the White House leaks that have breached national security." 


No Way to Run a War
The Democrats are guilty of ideological confusion and the Republicans of disdain for reflection

"Though America has condemned the cruelties of Abu Ghraib, they remain nonetheless a symbol of the inescapable fact that the war has been run incompetently, with an apparently deliberate contempt for history, strategy, and thought, and with too little regard for the American soldier, whose mounting casualties seem to have no effect on the boastfulness of the civilian leadership."  Mark Helprin, The Wall Street Journal, 5/17/04

Chickenhawk Groupthink?

"In a 1972 book, 'Victims of Groupthink: A Psychology Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes', Irving Janis identified the Vietnam War and the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba as particularly compelling examples of how very smart people can collectively make very stupid decisions..."

"...As in Iraq, many of those assumptions were based largely on the accounts of exiles and defectors, but the group dynamics involved in decision-making also played a key role in rallying the administration of the ''best and the brightest'' behind an adventure that proved disastrous, according to Janis." -Jim Lobe, Inter Press, 5/12/04

Bush Circles Wagons, But Cavalry Has Joined the Indians

"...U.S. President George W. Bush, backed by his vice president and national security adviser, have been circling the wagons around Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld since the White House told reporters that the president had given him a mild rebuke over the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq.

But the embattled Pentagon chief may have made too made enemies -- particularly within his armed forces -- to be saved.

While Bush praised Rumsfeld for ”doing a superb job” during a rare visit to the Pentagon Monday morning, his words were somehow unable to overcome the distinct sounds of knives being sharpened in the hallways just outside, as well as across town on Capitol Hill and at the State Department, where Secretary of State (and former army general) Colin Powell compared the possible impact on U.S. foreign policy of the abuse photographs to the 1969 disclosure of the infamous My Lai Massacre in Vietnam.

The big news of the day was that the Army Times, which, along with the major dailies of the other armed services, is published by a private company, called for both Rumsfeld and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, to step down in light of the scandal surrounding the abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad."- Jim Lobe, Inter Press, 5/10/04

Former Diplomats Attack Bush:  White House accused of sacrificing credibility with Arab world in US protest that mirrors assault on Blair

Fifty-three former US diplomats today accuse the White House of sacrificing America's credibility in the Arab world - and the safety of its diplomats and soldiers - because of the Bush administration's support for the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon. - Suzanne Goldberg, Guardian/UK, 5/4/04.

The Palm Beach Playbook
Bush showed his weak grasp on details at his press conference. But his new Mideast policy proves he can count votes

"...What few friends Bush had in the Middle East he lost this week when without warning he overturned decades of U.S. policy to unequivocally side with Israel...The timing is terrible. As U.S. troops struggle to put down the insurgency in Iraq, bin Laden can point to the alliance between the U.S. and Israel, and recruit more radical Islamists for the holy war...If Bush can get his share of the Jewish vote up from one quarter to one third, that could mean the election. Bush may not be much of a conceptual thinker, but he knows how to count." Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, 4/16/2004; See Also: "Arafat Warns U.S. Could Kill Middle East Peace," by Wafa Amr, Reuters, 4/14/2004.

Comment: Ms. Clift implies that Bush's Mideast policy reversal may be pandering to the Jewish vote. As a Jew, I resent the implication that Jews will be swayed by such a tactic. A broad cross section of American Jews and Israeli citizens from both the Left and Right oppose Sharon's policies. Beyond election year politics, there must be a renewed commitment to the Middle East Roadmap to Peace by all parties.

Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror, by Richard Clarke, 3/2004

"The [Bush] administration has squandered the opportunity to eliminate al Qaeda....A new al Qaeda has emerged and is growing stronger, in part because of our own actions and inactions. It is in many ways a tougher opponent than the original threat we faced before September 11, and we are not doing what is necessary to make America safe from that threat."
No one has more authority to make that claim than Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The one person who knows more about Usama bin Laden and al Qaeda than anyone else in this country, he has devoted two decades of his professional life to combating terrorism." See also: "Shoot the Messenger: White House Tries to Discredit Counterterrorism Coordinator,"  by William Douglas, Knight Ridder,3/22/03.


Claim vs. Fact: Rice's Q&A Testimony Before the 9/11 Commission, 4/8/2004

Blix: Iraq Worse Off Now Than With Saddam, 4/6/04

"COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Iraq is worse off now, after the U.S.-led invasion, than it was under Saddam Hussein, Hans Blix told a Danish newspaper Tuesday.

"What's positive is that Saddam and his bloody regime is gone, but when figuring out the score, the negatives weigh more," the former chief U.N. weapons inspector was quoted as saying in the daily newspaper Jyllands Posten." - Associated Press, 4/6/2004

Carter Savages Blair and Bush: 'Their War was Based on Lies,' by Andrew Buncombe in Atlanta, Independent UK, 3/22/04

"Jimmy Carter, the former US president, has strongly criticized George Bush and Tony Blair for waging an unnecessary war to oust Saddam Hussein based on "lies or misinterpretations". The 2002 Nobel peace prize winner said Mr Blair had allowed his better judgment to be swayed by Mr Bush's desire to finish a war that his father had started.

In an interview with The Independent on the first anniversary of the American and British invasion of Iraq, Mr Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, said the two leaders probably knew that many of the claims being made about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were based on imperfect intelligence."

Damage from Warming Becoming 'Irreversible,' Says New Report

WASHINGTON -- Ten years after the ratification of a United Nations  treaty on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming are still on the rise, signaling a "collective failure" of the industrialized world, according to the Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI), a leading environmental think-tank.

"We are quickly moving to the point where the damage will be irreversible," warned Dr. Jonathan Pershing, director of WRI's Climate, Energy and Pollution Program. "In fact, the latest scientific reports indicate that global warming is worsening. Unless we act now, the world will be locked into temperatures that would cause irreversible harm." - Jim Lobe, OneWorld.net, 3/15/04

Bush's War For Reelection: Iraq, the White House, and the People by James Moore

"James Moore masterfully details how Bush's war for reelection has real victims: the families of soldiers who have died in Iraq and American citizens who have dared to tell the truth. This exhaustively researched book exposes the dishonest underside of an administration that claims integrity as its calling card. Real young men and women are paying the price for Bush's follies with their lives, Moore reveals, while the man in the White House has used elitist connections to avoid ever risking anything."

Bush administration ordered Medicare plan cost estimates withheld

"WASHINGTON - The government's top expert on Medicare costs was warned that he would be fired if he told key lawmakers about a series of Bush administration cost estimates that could have torpedoed congressional passage of the White House-backed Medicare prescription-drug plan." , Tony Pugh- Knight Ridder, 3/11/04

Blix: Iraq War Was Illegal: Blair's defense is bogus, says the former UN weapons inspector, 3/5/04

"The former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has declared that the war in Iraq was illegal, dealing another devastating blow to Tony Blair."

"Mr Blix, speaking to The Independent, said the Attorney General's legal advice to the Government on the eve of war, giving cover for military action by the US and Britain, had no lawful justification. He said it would have required a second United Nations resolution explicitly authorizing the use of force for the invasion of Iraq last March to have been legal."- Anne Penketh in Stockholm and Andrew Grice, Independent UK, 3/5/04.

Now the Pentagon Tells Bush:
Climate Change Will Destroy Us-
Secret Report Warns of Rioting and Nuclear War; Threat to the World is Greater than Terrorism

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defense chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents. - Mark Townsend and Paul Harris, Observer/UK; 2/22/04

Bush Administration Accused of Suppressing, Distorting Science, 2/19/2004

A group of more than 60 top U.S. scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisers to past Republican presidents, on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes.

In a 46-page report and an open letter, the scientists accused the administration of "suppressing, distorting or manipulating the work done by scientists at federal agencies" in several cases. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a liberal advocacy group based in Cambridge, Mass., organized the effort, but many of the critics aren't associated with it.- Seth Borenstein, Knight-Ridder, 2/19/04

Ruling in Mass. Sets Up 1st Gay Marriages in U.S.

"The highest court in Massachusetts declared yesterday that the state legislature may not offer "civil union" instead of marriage for same-sex couples, a ruling that paves the way for the first state-recognized same-sex marriages in U.S. history." - Charles Lane, Washington Post, 2/5/04

US Officials Knew in May Iraq Possessed No WMD

Senior American officials concluded at the beginning of last May that there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, The Observer has learnt.

Intelligence sources, policy makers and weapons inspectors familiar with the details of the hunt for WMD told The Observer it was widely known that Iraq had no WMD within three weeks of Baghdad falling, despite the assertions of senior Bush administration figures and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.- Observer/UK- Peter Beaumont, Gaby Hinsliff and Paul Harris, 2/1/2004


US Plans Spring Offensive in Pakistan

"The U.S. military is making plans for an offensive that would reach inside Pakistan in coming months to try to destroy operations of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday."- Reuters, 1/29/04

'It's Just Wrong What We're Doing'
In an exclusive interview, repentant Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara breaks his silence on Iraq: The United States, he says, is making the same mistakes all over again

""We're misusing our influence," he [Robert McNamara] said in a staccato voice that had lost none of its rapid-fire engagement. "It's just wrong what we're doing. It's morally wrong, it's politically wrong, it's economically wrong...""- Doug Saunders, Globe & Mail, 1/25/04

Ex-Arms Hunter Kay Says No WMD Stockpiles in Iraq

"David Kay stepped down as leader of the U.S. hunt for banned weapons in Iraq on Friday and said he did not believe the country had any large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons.

In a direct challenge to the Bush administration, which says its invasion of Iraq was justified by the presence of illicit arms, Kay told Reuters in a telephone interview he had concluded there were no Iraqi stockpiles to be found." - Tabassum Zakaria, Reuters, 1/23/04

CIA Officers Warn of Iraq Civil War, Contradicting Bush's Optimism

"CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war, current and former U.S. officials said Wednesday, starkly contradicting the upbeat assessment that President Bush gave in his State of the Union address.

The CIA officers' bleak assessment was delivered verbally to Washington this week, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the classified information involved." - Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay, Knight-Ridder, 1/22/04

Saddam's Ouster Planned In '01?

"The Bush Administration began laying plans for an invasion of Iraq, including the use of American troops, within days of President Bush's inauguration in January of 2001 -- not eight months later after the 9/11 attacks as has been previously reported."

Commentary: Please read the above article in its entirety. Vote this President out of office- he is squandering the nation's wealth and undermining its global position with friends and foes. America and her friends deserve better.

I.M.F. Says Rise in U.S. Debts Is Threat to World's Economy

"With its rising budget deficit and ballooning trade imbalance, the United States is running up a foreign debt of such record-breaking proportions that it threatens the financial stability of the global economy, according to a report released Wednesday by the International Monetary Fund." - Elizabeth Becker and Edmund L Andrews, New York Times, 1/8/2004

What Ever Happened To Peace On Earth
Willie Nelson

There's so many things going on in the world
Babies dying
Mothers crying
How much oil is one human life worth
And what ever happened to peace on earth

We believe everything that they tell us
They're gonna’ kill us
So we gotta’ kill them first
But I remember a commandment
Thou shall not kill
How much is that soldier’s life worth
And whatever happened to peace on earth


And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we’ve been told from our birth
Hell they won’t lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liars word worth
And whatever happened to peace on earth

So I guess it’s just
Do unto others before they do it to you
Let’s just kill em’ all and let God sort em’ out
Is this what God wants us to do

(Repeat Bridge)

And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we’ve been told from our birth
Hell they won’t lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liars word worth
And whatever happened to peace on earth

Now you probably won’t hear this on your radio
Probably not on your local TV
But if there’s a time, and if you’re ever so inclined
You can always hear it from me
How much is one picker’s word worth
And whatever happened to peace on earth

But don’t confuse caring for weakness
You can’t put that label on me
The truth is my weapon of mass protection
And I believe truth sets you free


And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we’ve been told from our birth
Hell they won’t lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
But how much is a liars word worth
And whatever happened to peace on earth



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Site News

11/02: Site currently averages over 200,000 visitors per year. It is gratifying and humbling to know that it is a resource for so many. I hope its' message of love, tolerance and community makes at least a small difference. There is so much good work yet to be done.

3/02: New main page banner incorporates a rainbow. It is inspired, in part, by the following Hopi prophecy:

"When the Earth has been ravaged and the animals are dying, a tribe of people from all races, creeds and colours will put their faith in deeds, not words, to make the land green again. They shall be known as Warriors of the Rainbow. Protectors of the Environment." - Greenpeace Canada

8/99: the site name was changed from "Cyberplanet for Renewal" to "earthrenewal.org."  The permanent URL is now: http://www.earthrenewal.org.


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